Need housing/school advice in central Mass.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by beansy, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. beansy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #1
    I'm hoping there are a few people native to the Worcester/Marlborough area in central Massachusetts that can point me in the right direction on a couple of things. I'm considering a position with a company based in Marlborough, and knowing nothing about the town or surrounding area, I'm hoping to find out where the good neighborhoods and schools are. Should I consider commuting from a different area such as Worcester? The comparative cost of living to where I am now is rather high, but it seems mostly because of higher housing costs. Should I consider trying to live closer to Boston and trying to commute? I currently live in Columbus, OH., which is a somewhat medium sized city. I enjoy being able to catch good shows when they roll through town. Will I see anything like that in the Worcester area, or is Boston the closest place any "national" act is going to be? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #2
    The closer you go to Boston, the higher the prices go. Worcester itself, though large, doesn't really have any theaters (if that is what you meant by shows). It is mainly a college town, and so it has a small downtown area. The DCU Center (a.k.a. Worcester Centrum) used to be the place to see bands on tour, but in the last 10 years or so most of the bigger bands have moved back to using the (new) Boston Garden for their area shows. Outdoor shows are held at the Comcast Center (a.k.a. Great Woods) which is south of Boston and Worcester in Mansfield, or at Gillette Stadium which is even farther south in Foxboro. They are somewhat of a pain to get to, but unless you are going to a show every week it isn't that bad.

    Marlboro (you will notice that locals end all the "boros" without the "ough" unless entering them into a GPS :)) itself has some very nice areas. Or you can go Westboro rather than going all the way to Worcester. I've lived in both (as well as Worcester where I went to college -- University for those of you outside of the US). As far as moving closer to Boston, the next town in from Marlboro is Sudbury, which is very expensive. It stays pretty expensive until Waltham. I've lived there, too, and it has the benefit of being right on Route 128, which is the highway ring road around Boston. It is a nice balance of proximity to Marlboro and Boston and has lots of apartments to choose from.

    Of course if schools are your top priority, Sudbury is excellent as well as the other higher priced towns along Route 20 between Marlboro and Waltham.
     
  3. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    If you're going to be based in Marlborough,you might want to also consider the Route 495 belt,north or south..495 goes right through Marlborough and there are some nice towns and some solid school systems along there. To the north you have towns like Acton,Boxborough,Chelmsford,Westford etc. If you're north,you can go into Lowell for shows (Tsongas Arena,Lowell Memorial Auditorium). If you're into sports,you've got the Lowell Spinners.
    To the south,you've got towns such as North/South/West boroughs, Hopkinton,Holliston,Franklin etc..
    495 is nice as you're not that far from Boston,the North/South shores, central MA etc..Boston proper is $$$ housing wise.
     
  4. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #4
    Yes, I was thinking east-west on Route 20, but north-south along 495 is good too. If you are planning to stay working in Marlboro long term, then I'd stick along these two axes. Lots of areas have nice housing, but since you are coming from out of town you have a chance to minimize your commute. If you think you will be branching out, then there are many high tech startups heading north along 495 as well as from Waltham north on 128. Biotech and medical companies are mainly in Cambridge, but Marlboro is starting to get some as well. So if you start widening your housing search, widening to the north and east would be better if you plan on moving jobs but staying in the area. Note that 495, 128, Route 20 and Route 9 all see heavy commuting traffic. If you look at a map and think "that commute doesn't look very long" you might end up with a longer commute than you were hoping for.

    I love the Lexington-Bedford-Burlington area that I am in. It's not ideal for commuting to Marlboro, but it does provide flexibility in the number of directions I can commute to work in the area. Right on 128 and Route 3 which takes you to 495. Pretty much all of eastern Mass available, many without taking the above highways once you know your way around. And all have really good schools (Lexington has very good ones but is the most expensive of the three towns).
     
  5. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    Marlborough is attracting a lot of companies,especially since the new exit was added off 495. We'll see if that casino complex gets approved for Marlborough as well. Half an hour north or south,and you've got quite a selection of towns. Getting in and out of Boston is no fun at all,traffic wise. The third lane on Route 3 has helped my commute a lot.
    To the OP,you've got a good amount of choices..Post back if you have more questions..
     
  6. beansy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #6
    A lot of great information here, much appreciated. At this point, housing prices are probably going to be the deciding factor, as the fiancee and I are currently childless, save the menagerie of pets. This is one reason we would prefer to buy instead of rent. Also because a move of this kind would only be for a permanent career move. She's a speech pathologist, which is somewhat akin to being a doctor in terms of finding a job. No matter where you go, there's typically a need. The same could be said for computer geeks like me, if we didn't seem to be a dime a dozen, which is why this offer is so attractive.

    Anyway, I suppose a more direct question would be what area would provide the most "bang for my buck" in terms of housing? In other words, if Sudbury is expensive such that the same price in another area would render a similar home for half the price, that's where I'd want to look. I ask in the hopes that someone has said information off the top of their head, as I don't expect anyone to do the research for me.

    On another note, is public transportation (i.e. trains) a viable means of moving in and out of Boston proper? Or is it easier to simply make the drive? Thanks again.
     
  7. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    If you would like to stay along 495,I would recommend looking at the following towns:
    Boxborough,Westford,Littleton,Northborough,Hopkinton,Holliston..All have solid school systems..
    Venturing away from 495..Waltham,Ashland,Framingham...

    Great bang for buck towns...

    Forget about driving into Boston..MBTA (public transportation) or Commuter Rail is the way to get in and out of Boston..Park in the suburbs and take the train into the city..
     
  8. beansy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #8
    For reasons I can't recall, I was already taking a good look at Framingham and Natick. Thanks a lot, fotografica.
     
  9. JML42691 macrumors 68020

    JML42691

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #9
    I can't really speak for towns west of Boston as I live on the South Shore, but in regards to the question of commuting I would have to support taking the commuter rail into the city during weekdays (or the T depending on how close you are to the city/what area). I had to go into the city each day for high school and taking the commuter rail from Abington saved me about 15 minutes off of my commute, might not seem like a lot to some, but it was for me.
     
  10. fotografica macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    A couple of good choices. Good values RE wise and close proximity to Marlborough and Boston (via the Pike or Route 9).. Good starting point for looking anways..

    No doubt there..Weekends aren't bad,depending on time. As far as during the week,I wouldn't think of driving in. I'd much rather park at Alewife or Wellington and take the T or go to one of the commuter rail stations.
     
  11. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #11
    I'm happy I stumbled on this thread!

    I grew up in Worcester, and go to school in Boston. I live in both (school year in Boston, other times Worcester).

    Worcester is a great city, with lots going on. I'm 19, and love the area. We have an awesome new Theater (Hanover), a decent sports venue (DCU), beautiful natural areas, and a high level of culture. We have a great indie music scene, lots of educational institutions, a renown art museum, and tons of historical sites. Shrewsbury Street is a prime location for restaurants, and Water/Green Streets are up and coming, lined with a plethora of newer bars and lounges.

    I would suggest living in Worcester, seeing that rent is much much much less than Metro West / Boston. I pay $1,700 a month for a two bedroom apartment in Boston. In Worcester, you can get a three bedroom for under $1,000. Worcester to where your potential work location would be a 20 minute, if that, commute. Not much traffic between Worcester and the " 'Broughs," so that's something in your favor.

    Public transit in Worcester itself, the WRTA, is a joke, and runs on a limited basis. I would not rely on it for actual transit. A car is a necessity here. Boston's "T" isn't much better on terms of speed, but it's generally reliable, and runs to lots of locations. There's a commuter rail that runs from Worcester to Boston, and that takes about an hour and 30 minutes one way. By car, even with traffic, the drive from my home in Worcester to Boston takes about an hour (with no traffic on the MassPike, it can be done in 40 minutes). I drive this 2-3 times a week for both business and pleasure, and it's not a bad commute.

    Within Worcester, there are plenty shady parts, but also lots of excellent ones. Generally, the City's "West Side" is regarded as the wealthy and haughty area where you'll find plenty of million plus homes and upscale apartments. Downtown is not a residential area by any means, and you'd want to stay away from "Main South," and the areas around Clark University. Like any city, there are housing projects, the prominent ones being Great Brook Valley and Plumley Village; both "ghettos" with large minority populations and high crime rates. Otherwise, the city is generally safe and habitable. For reputable neighborhoods, there's the Summit, Burncoat, Greendale, North Worcester, and areas off Massasoit Road, in addition to the aforementioned West Side.

    If you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask, or send me a PM. I'd be more than happy to help!
     
  12. beansy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #12
    So am I! Thanks a million.
     
  13. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #13
    No problem. Keep us updated on this potential move!
     

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