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Boston area: Western Cambridge

Boston area: Western Cambridge

Old Jul 16th 2020, 9:28 pm
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Default Boston area: Western Cambridge

Hi all

I'd be grateful for suggested areas or neighborhoods to (at least initially) rent a 3-4 bedroom house. The job is in Western Cambridge, near Cambridge Discovery Park. The commute could be by car, public transport or both.

School boundary catchment area is our main concern. We have a five year old (rising kindergarten) and a 10 year old (rising 5th grade). The 10 year old is a whizz at languages, fine art and history. This is relevant for potential high schools. The five year old is already focussed on engineering and math. (Not my fault and he didn't get it from me.)

Tips and tricks most appreciated.

Cheers

(PS - Democrat leaning if it makes a difference.)
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Old Jul 17th 2020, 3:13 am
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Towns of Arlington, Belmont and Winchester all easy commute to that part of Cambridge. Traffic around where your office is can be tough in the mornings, lots of people drive to Alewife T to get the Red Line into a Boston. Although not an issue right now...
As for schools I don’t have kids so don’t know from any personal experience, from what I know and am told by friends who are teachers and/or work in schools in MA says that the schools in MA are overall very good and in almost any town around here the education is very good.

cambridge is also an option to live, a lot of Cambridge is close enough to walk to the red line to get the T out to alewife, and not need a car for work. Cambridge is more expensive, especially for single family houses. Depends on your budget as to what is an option. But might be possible to not need a car, or two cars if can commute to work on the T. I live in Cambridge and M-F don’t use a car at all, grocery shopping done on foot and car typically only used weekends. It is a very accessible city.
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Old Jul 17th 2020, 12:02 pm
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

For schools, Belmont is your safest bet among those towns and cities. Our kids went through Belmont schools, k through middle schools, and they are all really sound. Students in Belmont are high-achieving, high proportion of new immigrants, parents are professional or academic ... Lots of decent rentals in Belmont too, from mid-price to high. I don’t know if you would cycle to work, but I believe that work location is handy to the cycle trail (can’t remember the name of it.)

Somerville and Medford are lovely towns to live in, “cheap & cheerful” working-class towns, but the schools would be a bit of a curate’s egg.
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Old Jul 17th 2020, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Never lived there but have visited a friend in Watertown a couple of times, and it seems quiet, leafy, easy access to the city and Harvard (where she works).

She has a now 6 year-old; let me know if you'd like me to pick her brains re schools in the area.

I'd say lucky you as I love Boston, but oh that snow!
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Old Jul 17th 2020, 11:30 pm
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
Never lived there but have visited a friend in Watertown a couple of times, and it seems quiet, leafy, easy access to the city and Harvard (where she works).

She has a now 6 year-old; let me know if you'd like me to pick her brains re schools in the area.

I'd say lucky you as I love Boston, but oh that snow!
True, it does snow - but the winters are pretty mild. I say that from the perspective of northern New York!

The schools in Watertown are a bit mediocre - certainly compared to nearby towns and cities, Belmont, Arlington, Winchester etc. It’s a pleasant enough town though.

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Old Jul 18th 2020, 8:08 am
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

The politics is irrelevant. You are going to have to get along with people of all stripes and political beliefs wherever you go.

Concur with Mercury39, I have friends there and the school system is fairly solid across the board, perhaps with the exception of South Boston.

The traffic can be very difficult and commutes long. Boston's popularity as a place to live has ebbed and flowed through the years but is at a high point now, lots of New Yorkers etc leaving and taking up residence in "smaller big cities" like there and Philadelphia, and Floridians doing a reverse migration thing (parents moving to FL from the northeast and upper midwest, then kids leaving Florida and going back after uni). Boston has become popular with the millennial set.

I would, really wait a while before fretting over what high school the 5 year old will go to.

As for renting it really depends on what your budget is. I would probably head west before I headed south.

A lot of people get by without a car there and just using public transit, unusual for an American city. I would recommend cars though especially with kids.

It is not my favourite town but as kooky indicated - I am very much in the minority on that. Most people love living there.

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Old Jul 18th 2020, 12:56 pm
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Well, commutes are not really an issue, living in the towns so far discussed in this thread. None of these places are more than three or four miles from the Cambridge Discovery Park area. Belmont, for instance, is just three square miles in extent (from memory) so you can walk from one side to the other in twenty minutes!

We owned a car when we lived in Belmont, but just used it for jaunts out to the countryside. I took a bus to work, my wife cycled or walked, and the children walked to school. Supermarket and public library were walking distance.
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Old Jul 18th 2020, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Originally Posted by Ozzidoc View Post
Hi all

I'd be grateful for suggested areas or neighborhoods to (at least initially) rent a 3-4 bedroom house. The job is in Western Cambridge, near Cambridge Discovery Park. The commute could be by car, public transport or both.

School boundary catchment area is our main concern. We have a five year old (rising kindergarten) and a 10 year old (rising 5th grade). The 10 year old is a whizz at languages, fine art and history. This is relevant for potential high schools. The five year old is already focussed on engineering and math. (Not my fault and he didn't get it from me.)

Tips and tricks most appreciated. ***(see below)

Cheers

(PS - Democrat leaning***(see below) if it makes a difference.)
First of all...congrats re new job. It must be a nifty position to warrant this transcontinental upheaval
So, thinking out of the box, what about this...

Biden is slated to announce his female VP pick before the 1st Aug.
Elizabeth Warren is evidently on his short list
We don't know whether she'll get the nod but if she does...

Warren, her husband and their golden retriever have a gorgeous Cambridge house
Why not woo her with an offer to rent, love and maintain it for her (as a supportive Democratic family) while she's otherwise engaged, serving our Country in Washington as Vice President


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Old Jul 19th 2020, 2:21 am
  #9  
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Default Re: Boston area: Western Cambridge

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
True, it does snow - but the winters are pretty mild. I say that from the perspective of northern New York!

The schools in Watertown are a bit mediocre - certainly compared to nearby towns and cities, Belmont, Arlington, Winchester etc. It’s a pleasant enough town though.
I know she's driven to school, not sure how far. Mama is an academic so definitely won't settle for mediocre schools
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