Berkeley Parents Network
Google Custom Search
Home Members Post a Msg Reviews Advice Subscribe Help/FAQ What's New

Moving to Boston

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Moving to Boston



Relocating to the Boston area with a baby

Oct 2009

My husband, 7-month old daughter and I are relocating to the Boston area in December. We do not know the area at all. My husband's office will be in North Andover so we'd like to live as close as possible, or at least within 25 miles. We can't afford to live in Boston itself (budget of about $1,500/month rent) but are looking to rent a house in a family-friendly neighborhood. Right now we live in Alameda and really like the small town atmosphere with lots of charm and little boutiques. Does anybody have advice for us? We are excited, but sad to leave the Bay Area, and nervous about moving in the middle of winter!


Please check this link where they have a Quality of Life Guide to North Andover. http://www.townofnorthandover.com/Pages/index You will fly in and out of Boston, but look for housing in North Andover. Find a real estate agent who knows the area and maybe get a rental at first. You will find quite discrete neighborhoods in the area and you want to feel comfortable, live where you would want your kids to play with neighborhood kids, etc. I believe there is commuter rail between that area and Boston if you want to go in for a day at the museums or other cultural events. Driving in Boston is crazy and even though I lived across the Charles for about 12 years, I tried to use the T (like BART) as much as possible to get around downtown. Please feel free to email me if you have more questions about life in Massachusetts. I loved it there! kl
My wife and I lived in the Boston area for about 10 years; we left there for NY and finally ended up in Alameda last year. Our kids were born in Mass. but we moved away when they were still babies. Anyway, we lived in Wakefield (about 20 miles south of N. Andover) and I would recommend that as a place to start. It is a nice suburb with a cute downtown, and a lovely lake to walk around. It's also close to the highway so commuting isn't too tough. Good luck, both with the move and the weather! Relocated North Easterner
This will be pushing your 25 mile limit, but we loved living in Arlington, Massachusetts. Great small town feel, wonderful schools, nearby metro. Fabulous parent resources- mainly Arlington Family Connection.http://www.arlingtonfamilyconnection.org/index.html. There is also a separate Arlington parents email list. Some of our favorite things to do in the area- Drumlin Farm (with a trip to Dairy Joy afterwards), Walden Pond, Woburn YMCA, Gibbs Gym drop in playtime, Tumblekids USA open Gym time, Burlington Touch a Truck Day, Belmont Kidspace and the Museum of Science. The areas of Medford and Winchester are a bit closer to Andover and have a lot of family resources as well. You'll find lots and lots of California transplants. Hope you enjoy the area. MA is nice, but nothing beats Berkeley

Family friendly neighborhoods in Boston?

July 2008

my partner and i and our then 16 month old daughter are moving to the boston area this september to be near my family and my childhood home. i'm wondering if anyone knows about a resource like berkeley parents network in the boston area? i'm also open to suggestions about very family friendly neighborhood/towns, as far as where we should live. my family is in woburn, and i have friends in south boston and dorchester, so we're considering those general areas. i like city living and the ability to walk or take public transportation most places. my partner likes the suburbs/country-ish places better but would also like to live close to good public transportation. any great ideas? going east.....


I'm looking forward to seeing the replies your posting gets, as we are planning to relocate to the Boston area in the next 3-5 years with our growing family. I grew up in Newton, and my mother worked for the public school system there for 20 years. She believes that Newton itself, while a great place to raise kids for all sorts of reasons, does not have the strong schools it had ten or twenty years ago. We are looking at neighboring communities and so far I have really liked what I've seen of Arlington. My husband needs close proximity to either Boston or Burlington, and I would love to live somewhere even more rural-y than Newton, so we are focusing on Concord, Acton, Carlisle, and Lincoln. My best friend from 7th grade and her husband independently came up with the same focus area, and they've done a lot more research into school systems than I have. 3rd generation Red Sox fan
Hello, I spotted your message while I was cleaning out my email inbox. I haven't been keeping up with email because we have been busy moving this summer, from Massachusetts back to California (where we consider home) and soon to Virginia. We moved to Massachusetts for my husband to attend grad school, and luckily we moved to Arlington, MA. It is a lovely town. The Arlington Family Connection is a fabulous resource- lots of playgroups, etc. There is also a Arlington Parents listserv (not as vast at BPN, more informal and personal, but good nonetheless). My first purchase was The Compleat Daytripper which was written by 2 locals moms and details daytrips around the area. Other great things about the area: the Bike Trail, the Woburn YMCA, the Museum of Science, Drumlin Farm in Lincoln (with a stop at Dairy Joy afterwards) and KidSpace in Belmont. Our last weekend there we went to a party at a friend of a friend. I think the house was in Carlisle or Lincoln (just past d! rumlin farm) the setting was amazing, but I am not sure how many things we would walkable. Arlington is a nice mix of open spaces and walkable places. Be sure to check out Robbins Farm Park (with it's amazing slides) and Mentomomy Rocks Park. The Boston area is fabulous; hope you enjoy it. Like Boston but Love Berkeley

Moving to Boston (Newton? Arlington? Brookline?)

Feb 2007

Hi! Some good friends of ours have been given an amazing opportunity in Waltham (near Boston) and so they're leaving us this spring. They're two Oakland natives with a 5 year old son. Anyone have Boston wisdom they could share to help them out? (they read the archives, and would like a little more info) Right now they're most interested in Newton because of the good public schools and family oriented community, but Arlington & Brookline sound similar to them. Their specific questions are: 1. How ethnically diverse are these areas? 2. How are the public schools in these areas? 3. How safe, quiet, family friendly are these areas? 4. How hard would the commute to Waltham be from these areas? 5. In general, which of these places is most like Rockridge in Berkeley/Oakland? Thanks! already missing our friends


All three towns you mention are small towns, Newton is the least citylike of the three, Brookline is closest to the city. Newton & Brookline are pricy with large homes and more wealthy folks living there, Arlington is more affordable. Newton has the best schools. None of the three is like Rockridge, though Arlington is the one closest to shops, cafes etc, along Massachussets Avenue. Crime is a non-issue in any of these towns, crime in the greater Boston area simply doesn't exist like it does in the east bay. I felt comfortable walking home from work ...alone... at midnight; never once heard gunshots or had to call 911 like we do here all the time. Other towns your friends might consider right in that same area are Watertown, Belmont and Winchester, the latter two especially for good schools. Watertown is especially affordable, well-located on the T (bus)near Cambridge. missing Boston
I lived in Arlington for a year (then moved 20 miles north where we could actually afford a place to buy!!). We loved it there.... and Newton and Brookline are also great places. They each offer something different: Arlington, although 3 miles from Boston as the crow flies, could be considered more of a suburb, with tree-lined neighborhoods, playgrounds, good schools, accessible downtown, and close to everything. Newton is more of an ''upscale'' Arlington - housing is much more expensive, it's a bit ''busier'' than the streets of Arlington, upscale shopping, great schools, etc. I always considered Brookline a ''college town'' - mostly because the few people I knew who lived there were still students somewhere! It has a great downtown area, with awesome, local coffee shops, sandwich places, art galleries, anything you need.

To actually answer some of your questions, I would say that each town has a fair display of diversity (however, we're talking New England here, not Oakland). I know the most about Arlington in terms of neighborhoods and schools: there are good ones and bad ones (as in any town!!). Closer to the ''downtown'' or ''heights'' area is the best. As far as commuting, as the crow flies, I believe Newton is closest, and Brookline is the farthest, but my experience is that it's a pretty easy shot from Arlington to Waltham. And, in general, I would say that Brookline might be the most like Rockridge.......

So, given all that, I have a couple of suggestions - I have an excellent realtor to recommend (Bob Pawlak - lives in Newton and has lived in that area all of his life! - (617) 281-3339) I'd also like to recommend your friend check out Arlington's website: http://www.livefromarlington.com/ There is also a link to a listserve sign-up that is particularly helpful!! Finally, feel free to give them my e-mail if they have other questions!


Moving to Boston Area with 2.5-Year-Old

Nov 2006

We're thinking of moving to the Boston area with our 2.5-year-old this winter. We're New England natives, but not too familiar with Boston. We're looking for a family-friendly neighborhood; a progressive atmosphere; access to parks, museums, etc.; and a fabulous, play-based co-op preschool in the vicinity. We'd be looking to buy a 2 br house or duplex with a yard for under $500k. What towns and/or neighborhoods would fit our needs? Great preschools to recommend? Advice on things to do and places to go, especially in the winter? Fabulous realtor to recommend? Thanks so much! Boston, here we come!


My family and I just moved here from Boston (North Andover) 5 months ago with our 2 yr. old. Not sure how far you are willing to look outside Boston, but I am most familiar with the ''North Shore.'' Andover and North Andover are great towns (20 miles north) - incredible school systems, parks, etc. That being said, I would actually recommend Arlington (if you want to be closer to the city) - about 4 miles from Boston as the crow flies! Great access to public transport, parks, etc. They also have a great parents network in the town - very active town politically, and a great community all around. We moved from there before our son was born, so I don't know about specific schools, but do know that there are plenty of folks who can refer you to places. Housing prices there have taken a BIG hit - we know, we lost a ton of money on the place we just sold.... so you'll probably be able to manage with your budget, not a problem - for that much, you can even go larger, if you'd like! Feel free to contact me directly for other questions - happy to provide resources
I second the recommendation on Arlington as a great town in the Boston area for people with young kids. I lived in Boston for over 10 years, lived in a number of neighborhoods, and spent the last 3 right in Somerville, right on the border of Arlington & Cambridge. I think Arlington is the BEST, most family-friendly, most convenient ''sub''-urban place in Boston. Have several friends, with kids too, who have bought houses there in the last couple years. Please feel free to email if you want more specific info. on Arlington (or other neighborhoods) resources/places/ things to do. My husband and I are moving to Oakland next month!! so I am happy to build up good relocating karma by sharing info!! Catherine

Pregnant and moving to Boston

February 2006

A good friend just moved to Boston and is pregnant. She desperately needs recommendations for everything -- doctors, midwives, prenatal yoga classes, massage therapists who do pre-natal, resources for pregnancy/babies, etc. Anyone out there who's lived in Boston and had babies there? Thanks! boston baby friend


Your friend might want to check out the Isis Maternity Center (www.isismaternity.com). I read about it in the Boston Globe- it's a lot like the Day One center in San Francisco. They have a bunch of prenatal classes, baby stuff for sale, etc. It was described as a place to go for ''Yoga moms''. Displaced Bostonian in Rockridge
How great for your friend! I lived in Boston for many years and had my first baby there. It was a fabulous experience. My OB/GYN's name was Lori Berkowitz and she is at Massachusetts General Hospital. I checked, she's still there. Most of my friends had their babies at Brigham and Women's Hospital and also had good experiences. As for new-mom community stuff, Jamaica Plain is the place to look. I found a great community there, literally just by walking around the Pond. Also, there are several stores and community centers on Centre Street that have postings for moms groups, etc. Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (640 Centre) is a great place to start.

I know a lot of people like to compare Berkeley to Cambridge, but I really found in my many years of living there that JP is way more Berkeley-ish in the best ways possible. Good luck! Nicole


Boston is a big place so recommendations will really depend on which neighborhood your friend lives in - I had my first child at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, and then the second across the river at Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, MA. Both excellent places, positive experiences at both, great midwives & doctors. Tell your friend to check out the Somerville Moms Message board to find friends/advice in the Boston area (Somerville is a town just outside the city of Boston with memebrs from all around the city): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/somervillemoms/ Good luck to her, Boston a great place to live (despite the huge mounds of snow and freezing temperatures!) Cathy
Moving to Boston. Our health care provider was HCHP through Havard Vanguard. As an HMO it was so much better than anything we have experienced here. Our pediatrician was Thomas Krueger in the Cambridge office and he was awesome. Calm, not super high intervention, smart, kind, good listener and good with kids. Dr. Chin in that office is good too - we saw her when Dr. Krueger wasn't there and she was impressive. The nurse in that office, Jan, is great.

Beth Israel was a wonderful hospital to deliver at. The Brigham has a stellar reputation as well. My OB/GYN, Susan Mann, is smart, not very cuddly and in charge of risk reduction at the hospital. There is a Parents Paper available at Whole Foods and other stores that has a lot of resources. I took pre-natal yoga at Mystic River Yoga in Medford (just 10 minutes from North Cambridge) from a Swedish woman whose name I forget. There are a ton of pre-natal yoga classes available. Music Together classes are available in lots of communities and a good way to meet people once the baby is 18 months or so. Good luck. Tracey


I suggest she look at Massachusetts Friends of Midwives for a resource list. http://www.mfom.org/ in peace Samantha

Moving to Boston with school-aged kids

October 2003

We are considering moving to the Boston area this summer, and I was hoping to get advice from others about neighborhoods and elementary schools. My sons will be entering Kindergarten and 4th grade next year, and have been in great Montessori schools here. We are hoping to find an area that has good public schools if possible, is family friendly, is not too expensive (housing-wise), but not too far from Cambridge. We would also be open to private schools if there are any amazing ones to consider. Do schools out there do lotteries and matching like they do in Berkeley, and will we be in bad shape if can't enter a lottery or apply to a school this winter?

We lived there as grad students 12 years ago, but my experience of life as a grad student is probably going to be much different as a parent! The postings on the web site are helpful, but I'm hoping to get more specific suggestions for elementary aged kids, e.g., schools, sports, music lessons, etc. Many thanks in advance Sima


We just moved from Cambridge to Oakland in '02. We miss Cambridge dearly. We used to live near Central Square, which is a fun, vibrant area. I felt like everything we needed could be found within the Cambridge borders. Housing is very expensive though not as eye-popping as out here. I don't know specifics about schools but do know there are numerous private schools both in Cambridge and in the area. I think public schools within Cambridge vary. I've heard Brookline has a great school system, has an urban/ suburban mix, and is minutes away from the city as well as the shopping malls and other fun places to go. But be warned, if you consider Brookline, the buses can be SLOW going into Cambridge and the trains require you to take an indirect route (changing trains downtown, I believe.) We used to live in Brookline and both work in Cambridge. It took an hour by bus and about half an hour by car. The reason is because there is one main artery that has lots of traffic lights and is travelled by everyone and their mothers. Newton is further away but the drive is easy if you're near Route 16 and the Charles River. I used to drive from Central Square to Newtonville in 15 minutes and really enjoy the beautiful drive along the river. Newton is supposed to have great neighborhoods and good schools. Watertown is between Cambridge and Newton and though it lacks some of the charm of Cambridge and Newton, a lot of people live there b/c it's cheaper and not too far away. Somerville, which is next to Cambridge and which may have been called ''Slummerville'' when you were grad students, has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years. It has some nice pockets and neighborhoods (i.e. Porter Square), but the schools are not as great. In my experience, Cambridge was the best--more neighborly, easy to walk, bike or take public transportation around, family- friendly (with parks and restaurants). Once you get used to the New England culture, it will be a great place to live. Enjoy! East coast girl

Moving to Boston for 6 months

October 2002

Hi: We're spending 6 months in exile in Boston, and are looking for leads for housing, nannies, and online resources for parents, etc. Any advice is welcome. Joe


I can see why having to spend any significant amount of time away from lovely & fabulous Berkeley may seem like exile! :^) As an East Coast transplant, I wouldn't trade our li'l Berkeley bungalow for all the money in the world! But I lived in Boston for 10 years and assure you that you can have a wonderful time if you really try. I adore that place, though (brrrr!) not the winters! This is also the best time of year to go - Boston summers are fabulous! Sunny and warm with fresh ocean breezes. Except for occasional & usually brief heatwaves, you won't encounter the soaking humidity that pervades the rest of the East Coast.

FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE

First, I recommend that you find a sublet in Cambridge, if possible. It feels a lot like Berkeley and is a mere hop, skip and a jump across the river from Boston. I particularly recommend Porter Square. Brookline is also a very nice family- oriented area that borders on Boston. Somerville is cheaper & borders on Cambridge. And Arlington's really nice, though more suburban. Jamaica Plain is also really neat - and is one of the more lively & diverse areas of Boston with lots of families, students and artists - though parts of it are kind of hinky.

Sublets abound through the Cambridge and MIT listings and campus newspapers. The big rental agencies over there are Just Rentals (www.justrentals.com) and Boston Apartments (www.bostonapartments.com). Since it's a college town, realtors often do handle sublets. You can also check out the classifieds in the Boston Phoenix (Boston's alternative paper at www.bostonphoenix.com), the Boston Globe (the main paper at www.boston.com). There's also the Boston Tab, an outfit that publishes local papers (i.e. the Cambridge Tab, the Brookline Tab), but they don't have a Web presence.

PARENTING RESOURCES

When you get to Boston, pick up the Boston Parents Paper (free at any library or Borders Books & other locations). Despite the fact that I once had a grunty production job there, I still recommend it! ;^) You'll find this publication chock full of helpful information, ads and classifieds. Unfortunately, they do not have an online presence.

There's also Boston Online (www.bostononline.com), which has a childrens' section, and Beantown Kids.com (www.beantownkids.com) which lists events and activities for kids.

Parenting.com (www.parenting.com) and GoCityKids (www.gocitykids.com) also have sections on kids and parenting.

THINGS TO DO

Your posting does not specify your child(ren)'s age(s) ... But Boston abounds with historical & cultural attractions & fun things to do with kids. Especially in the summer. There's the world-renowned Boston Children's museum; The Freedom Trail (a nice long walk with historical sites along the way - though in some parts, the cobble stones can get kind of rough on strollers); lots of neighborhood festivals and fairs (the Central Square Fair is my favorite!) with fun for kids and grown- ups; concerts, movies and other free events at Boston Commons (a large park downtown) and the Esplanade (the park and recreation area along the Charles River). Kids also love exploring the U.S.S. Constitution (AKA ''Old Ironsides'') which dates back to the War of 1812. Castle Island in Southie is also a nice beach/park area.

You can also take tons of fabulous day trips. You can drive 20 minutes to Concord (or ride your bike along a pretty biking trail) to Concord where you can swim at Walden Pond, see Thoreau's house, and walk over the bridge where the minute men fired upon the British during the revolutionary war. Or travel 40 minutes to Salem - famous for its charm as well as its witches.

New England also offers something else that you won't find in Northern California ... pretty beaches where you can actually go swimming! The water's kind of cold, but nothing compared to the frigid Pacific Ocean. Gloucester's a charming old town with nice beaches. And there's Singing Beach in Manchester, NH - where the sand makes an odd humming sound when the wind blows. If you want to stay closer into town, there's Castle Island (which was officially declared ''Clean'' a few years ago).

And of course, you must see Cape Cod (I recommend Chatham and Provincetown) and take the ferry to Nantucket! Kids love throwing bits of bread to the seagulls. Or if the 3 hour ride seems too long, try a shorter trip to Martha's Vinyard.

There's also Faneuil Hall - a historic, semi-outdoor shopping area with lots of fun stuff to look at, eat and buy.

Whew! I've already gone on long enough. I hope you find this helpful & that you & your kids have a great time! Elisabeth


Try boston.com for the Boston Globe's site with real estate and rental listings. Craigslist.com also has a Boston section. Most Boston area rentals go thru realtors, who charge one months fee to you for their service. To avoid this, look for 'no fee' listings. If you have kids, I'd highly recommend the Newton area. Although pricey (but still less than the Bay Area!), it has tons of families, playgrounds, parks, health food stores, and lots of rentals. Check out Warmlines on Walnut St in Newton for chilcare and playgroup connections. The Parents Paper is available at kids stores and the libraries and has tons of listings of things to do every month as well as camps, childcare, and stores (not online as far as I know). Feel free to email me if you have other questions. Jen
Joe, Where in Boston are you moving? Are you affiliated with a univeristy (on sabbatical?) -if so, go through their housing dept. We're moving back to Boston (Arlington) this summer. Check the Boston Globe (online classifieds) and TownOnline (homefind.com?). Also, BostonApartments.com has some listings for NO FEE and some sublets. If you have kids, you're going to be ''handicapped'' with the deleading laws. I'm finding that many real estate agents won't even tell me about a place unless it's deleaded. Good luck to you! bccporter

Moving to Boston for the summer

February 2000

My family will be moving to Boston/Cambridge for the summer, and then permanently in May 2001. We're hoping to find a parents' list like this one, and are especially interested in any housing tips, specifically a way to find a good sublet for the summer. Any suggestions welcome heather


Laura
Good sublets for the summer are usually not a problem if you have access to Harvard or BU's student or faculty housing offices. Housing is not cheap there, but it's a bit easier to find than here and mass transit serves more communities better. The biggest obstacle to finding housing is Massachusetts' draconian lead paint law, which drives many landlords to discriminate against families with children under age 6. (Essentially, it's illegal to, knowingly or unknowingly, rent out housing with ANY lead paint to kids under 6. And any place built before 1971 is likely to have lead paint. De-leading is a huge business with a 100 percent mark-up over standard renovations. So those units are very rare and rent for well over market rates.) Buying is pretty much the way to go, if it's at all possible for you.When we left two years ago, there was no comparable list to ours here. Playgrounds, particularly the one in Cambridge Common, play a big role in social networks. The Cambridge Public Library's storytime was also good for networking. There are places like ArtBeat and TotStop in Arlington that are nonprofit indoor project and play areas for wintertime. And parent coop preschools are much more elaborate than here, with great curricula and parent bodies (and yet less time commitment). We LOVED Newtowne School on Cambridge Common. If the teacher Martha is still there, she's not to be missed. Also, the state of Massachusetts funds Child Care Resource Centers in every city, which are the closest thing to Bananas. They can give you referrals to family day care providers and help you apply for child care vouchers and the like. But it's a real word-of-mouth kind of region. And child care is more heavily regulated there than anywhere else in the country, so it's even more expensive than here.
Home   |   Post a Message  |   Subscribe  |   Help   |   Search  |   Contact Us    

this page was last updated: Feb 11, 2010


BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website! Read more, and see how you can help: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org

The opinions and statements expressed on this website are those of parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network.
Please see Disclaimer & Usage for information about using content on this website.    Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network