Moving to Boston
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Moving to Boston
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
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!
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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!!
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!
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):
Good luck to her, Boston a great place to live (despite the
huge mounds of snow and freezing temperatures!)
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
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.
I suggest she look at Massachusetts Friends of Midwives for a
resource list. http://www.mfom.org/
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
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
We're spending 6 months in exile in Boston, and are looking
for leads for housing, nannies, and online resources for parents,
Any advice is welcome.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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