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Advice about Burlington, MA

Advice about Burlington, MA

Old May 31st 2011, 12:20 pm
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Default Advice about Burlington, MA

Hi all

I have been a lurker here for a while as there is a strong chance my small family will be moving to the USA with my husband's work, most likely to Burlington, MA.

I have been reading up alot on Massachusetts here and on citydata.com forums, seen a few things about Burlington but what confuses me is people seem to say its a nice town, with good schools but no one really recommends living there! Most people seem to recommend Bedford or Lexington etc to live in.

Now can anyone who knows that area give me a clue why, Im looking for an expats opinion! I know it might be a bit on the boring side with the Mall being the main attraction but is that the only negative, what am I missing? It seems to have alot going for it on paper, good schools, decent house prices, not too far from Boston etc.

Any help would be much appreciated, thank you

Jenz
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Old May 31st 2011, 12:50 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

I live in Watertown which is relatively close by and prior to this, in Arlington, also very close by to Burlington. The mall is surrounded with a some good places to eat and a great book store. Also a little mall which is on the other side of the highway which has some nice little shops and places to eat. Burlington is right near the highway so you are close by to get to anywhere fairly easily.
I have been in Boston for 4 years and had three earlier years in Northern Virginia . Struggled to fit in and find my way in Northern Virginia but like this area very much. I am from London and find Boston freindly. I love living here. let me know if I can help any further!
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Old May 31st 2011, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by Jenzen View Post
Hi all


Now can anyone who knows that area give me a clue why, Im looking for an expats opinion! I know it might be a bit on the boring side with the Mall being the main attraction but is that the only negative, what am I missing? It seems to have alot going for it on paper, good schools, decent house prices, not too far from Boston etc.

Any help would be much appreciated, thank you

Jenz

A US Citizen's opinion counts for diddly???????????????????????

As for the mall being the main attraction, it is that way through out the US and parts of Canada. Young people use the mall as a social gathering place to meet, greet, ogle and be ogled, eat, drink, entertain and be entertained. Sad world these young people today live in. They don't know the pleasures of outdoor activities and if they are away from an electronic gadget, you might was well just bury them in sad faces.
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Old May 31st 2011, 2:00 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
A US Citizen's opinion counts for diddly???????????????????????

As for the mall being the main attraction, it is that way through out the US and parts of Canada. Young people use the mall as a social gathering place to meet, greet, ogle and be ogled, eat, drink, entertain and be entertained. Sad world these young people today live in. They don't know the pleasures of outdoor activities and if they are away from an electronic gadget, you might was well just bury them in sad faces.
No... I didnt mean to infer it didnt count

I was simply asking as on other forums I have read such as citydata, people referred to it as a boring town, something not a problem for me as Im not much of a social bee, and a mall would be a plus for me not a negative thats why I was confused.

Having an expats opinion is something I value as they would have a better understanding of the lifestyle I am currently used to.

Thank you for your input.
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Old May 31st 2011, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by Jengreg View Post
I live in Watertown which is relatively close by and prior to this, in Arlington, also very close by to Burlington. The mall is surrounded with a some good places to eat and a great book store. Also a little mall which is on the other side of the highway which has some nice little shops and places to eat. Burlington is right near the highway so you are close by to get to anywhere fairly easily.
I have been in Boston for 4 years and had three earlier years in Northern Virginia . Struggled to fit in and find my way in Northern Virginia but like this area very much. I am from London and find Boston freindly. I love living here. let me know if I can help any further!
Thank you very much
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Old May 31st 2011, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

I live in Andover, MA and drive through Burlington every day on the way to work. Stopped many times.

I don't think Burlington has a tremendous amount of residential area (relatively). Certainly from what I've seen, it's mainly stores and offices. That could explain why not too many live there. Like you, I've encountered very few people that actually live in Burlington!

It's a nice enough area with, of course, the huge mall (as seen in the movie Mall Cop!). And not too far from Boston.

Lexington is a very nice area if you can afford it. Bedford is pretty good too. 95 can be a bit of a grind in the morning and evening, so best to look into that depending on where your husband's offices are.
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Old May 31st 2011, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by hobbes79 View Post
It's a nice enough area with, of course, the huge mall (as seen in the movie Mall Cop!). And not too far from Boston.

Lexington is a very nice area if you can afford it. Bedford is pretty good too. 95 can be a bit of a grind in the morning and evening, so best to look into that depending on where your husband's offices are.
Mall Cop! Loved that film thats great I have to go watch that again soon then!

Thanks for your reply, I have noticed that Lexington seems very nice, although rents seem a bit pricier.
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Old May 31st 2011, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

My impression is that Burlington is more of a non-descript post war suburb - i.e most development took place post 1960 and before that there wasn't much there. As a result it's a perfectly alright sort of place but lacking in character - unlike say Lexington or Concord where you have the more typically New England type stuff - the steepled church on the village common etc.

Dunno what your budget is like but Winchester MA to the south is pretty nice. See photo thread

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190875

Last edited by HumphreyC; May 31st 2011 at 3:37 pm.
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Old May 31st 2011, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
My impression is that Burlington is more of a non-descript post war suburb - i.e most development took place post 1960 and before that there wasn't much there. As a result it's a perfectly alright sort of place but lacking in character - unlike say Lexington or Concord where you have the more typically New England type stuff - the steepled church on the village common etc.

Dunno what your budget is like but Winchester MA to the south is pretty nice. See photo thread

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190875
+1
Burlington is very suburban. There are plenty of nice homes and a good school system, but it's mainly known for its big mall and light industry. It straddles the Boston ring road (Rt 128) and has no real centre or character.
It's really a commuter town, but there's no public transport to Boston

Lexington and Bedford are more typically New England with older buildings and defined centers with shops. They are both pretty expensive. Winchester is probably one of the most expensive towns, up there with Wellesley and Weston. But Winchester inhabitants also have the reputation of being completely caught up in being able to afford to live in Winchester.....in a recent Boston magazine article it was described as a "stepford town".

Lexington is very nice with a good center and public transport into Boston. It is, however, the home of a very active Revolutionary war re-enactment group so you'll have to deal with some gentle ribbing about being British particularly on July 4th and Patriots Day.

If you want something a bit more urban any of the communities along Mass Ave from lexington towards Boston are good, that's Arlington and Cambridge.
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Old May 31st 2011, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Thanks again for the replies!

We would be renting for a year or so initially in the Burlington area to see how life in the States goes but this thread has given me alot of info, much appreciated! Didnt know about Winchester wow that looks lovely

Must say houses to rent seem few and far between in Burlington too but are some around.

Its all helpful to get my head around whats going to be such a major decision, my brain has been hurting thinking about it lol.
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Old May 31st 2011, 4:21 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

All the options so far have been expensive inner suburbs. I've heard Melrose touted as a less expensive alternative and it apparently has a very walkable center with a lot of Victorian homes. If budget is an issue there are probably a host of alternatives further afield - back some time ago my wife was looking at something in Burlington and I think Littleton came up as an option though it has less character than other New England towns around it (e.g Westfield and Groton) and our budget is probably way below yours.

Definite plus about the location is being near the north shore of MA where there are a lot of cool historic places to visit - Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Gloucester, Rockport and Ipswich. Then in the other direction the revolutionary war stuff around Lexington & Concord is a lot of fun - particularly the Minuteman historical park where they have preserved the landscape more or less as it was in 1775.
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Old May 31st 2011, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Burlington, not much happening out there, but some fantastic Indian grocery stores!

The town common is pretty nice too and there's a Building 19 just past it, which is one of the best places to get furniture and kids stuff...and also an LL Beans the other direction...fab couple of restaurants and Mexican place there too.

Apart from that, it's a very quiet, dead town with a nice mall, it's nice in that there's a food and healthy food court, a kids play area, a good collection of kids events, decent shops and unlike most other malls around here which have hundreds of dead space, this one is pretty filled with shops and ample parking for it....quite small though.

There really just isn't anything to do, there are pavements which is a plus, but not places where you will want/able to walk around in, compared to other local towns.

Great road links...towns nearby, Bedford, Concord, Lexington, all within a few mins and are lovely towns.

Traffic wise, ideally you want to be west of Burlington if you aren't living in town because the commute is murder the other side of.

One thing going for the town, they have a bus service, it's regular, it gets you to neighbouring towns, not that far from Alewife, the Redline T stop.

House stock in the town itself, check out the side streets that go out behind the town police station/library, it extends a fair bit out that way and also sprawls out quite a ways in the other direction.

There is a lovely back road that gets you into and through Concord/Lexington and all the way out behind the shiny modern courthouse in Woburn, that town is a dump of the shittest order, but there are some lovely homes sprawled around along that back route, which is almost parallel to I-95. It's a quicker drive than I-95 too.
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Old May 31st 2011, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post

Definite plus about the location is being near the north shore of MA where there are a lot of cool historic places to visit - Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Gloucester, Rockport and Ipswich.
Salem is the biggest let down ever...it's a tiny, shit tourist hot spot that's at best a spring day out and there's sod all parking, no decent public transport to get there and no major roadways.

Biggest meh moment for me checking that place out
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Old May 31st 2011, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Burlington, MA is one of the most depressing towns I know. And not just because my sister-in-law lives there. As Bob said, one of the best things in Burlington is the Building 19½* ("Good Stuff, Cheap.") Burlington is 12 sq. miles of boring 1960s - 1980s tract housing. There is a reasonably good bus service to Alewife (for the T) and Boston, but mostly you get around by car if you live in Burlington.

As others have mentioned, there are many nice towns much closer to Boston with decent, reasonably priced housing where you have good access to subway, bus and trackless trolley (i.e. trolleybus) routes.. as well as being able to WALK to shops, cinemas, parks, schools etc. Among the places I know (have lived in, worked in, have friends in etc..) I'd include Medford, Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Watertown.

If you live in Burlington, though, you'll be within a reasonable drive of plenty of nice areas. I'd particularly mention Lincoln, a (nearly) neighboring town to Burlington, that has an extensive network of really nice walking trails, a lot like the English footpath system. You can walk for miles in Lincoln through forests, farmland, by ponds and lakes and you'd never know you were in suburbia..

*Not to be confused with the Building 19⅕ which is in Natick, and the Building 19¾ which is in Norwood. (Just to pick two further examples.)
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Old May 31st 2011, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Advice about Burlington, MA

Thanks thats all very very helpful, has given me a much better mental picture of Burlington and its nearby towns, thank you.

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