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Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Old Sep 3rd 2019, 3:30 pm
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Default Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Hello, We are moving to Boston for my husbands work in the Spring. We are a couple with two children, 4 and 18 months. We're heading out to have a recce in October but I was wondering on areas we should look at to move to? From reading endless articles and threads I really like the sound of Brookline, and the British International school. My husband however has heard great things about Newbury Port and loves the idea of living near the sea. He will be working in the Back Bay Area. Does anyone have any helpful information on these areas, schools etc or other areas we should look at? Thank you.
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Old Sep 3rd 2019, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Without knowing more about you, I'd first recommend looking at a map of the Boston area to help narrow down your choice of areas. Newburyport is way, way outside of downtown Boston - almost 40 miles, right on the border with New Hampshire. It's an hour drive into the city even with little traffic. Traffic is notoriously bad in Boston; a recent study found it has the worst rush hour traffic in the US. Since your husband works near downtown, he will probably want to take public transportation, since driving and parking there is difficult and expensive. The commuter rail goes to Newburyport; it's the last stop on its particular line. That avoids the traffic and parking problem, but has issues of its own. The trains get crowded during rush hour, and sometimes are delayed. And then, even after he finishes the long train ride, he'll have to transfer to the Green Line (tram) to get to Back Bay. Needless to say, I would not recommend Newburyport to anyone who works in downtown Boston! There are many other outer suburbs that have this problem too. Use Google Maps and set it to give you directions during rush hour to get a better idea of distances, traffic, etc.

Brookline on the other hand is a much better choice. It's an older suburb much closer to downtown Boston, and the northern part of it is well served by the Green Line, so it would just be one tram ride for your husband to get to work. The British International School is one option, and would probably be the easiest for your kids if you're planning to move back to the UK down the road. However, being a private school, it's expensive! Brookline also has excellent public (state) schools, and it isn't a cheap place to live, so if you're paying into the system anyway by living there, you might as well take advantage of them.

In case you didn't know, state schools in the US are strictly tied to your street address and you have very little, if any, choice in them once you pick a place to live. If you do decide to go the British International School route, and thus don't care about state schools, living near downtown would be a good choice, if you can afford a nice area, and would make for the easiest commute.

Of course none of this matters if you won't be able to afford to live there. Boston is expensive, especially if you want to live in a nice suburb with good schools and easy commutes to downtown. All of this depends on how much money your husband will be making, and whether you'll be working. If you could try to give more details on your budget, and what you're looking for in a neighbourhood, that will help the forum help you.

Last edited by ss120396; Sep 3rd 2019 at 8:03 pm.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Thanks for this advice, really helpful! We are looking for a place with a great sense of community and lots of families. Some nice bars and restaurants / parks would be a plus. My husband would love to be by the water but I would want us to prioritise a nice area and somewhere we could feel at home ahead of this. Ideally it would be close enough to international school as we are planning (although I understand a lot of people say this and love it so much they stay) for the kids to come back and eventually slot back into schools in the UK however far down the line that may be. My daughter is currently 4 and would have been starting school next September if we stayed in UK. I am hoping to work. Salary would be around $250,000. I’ve read Boston is very expensive to live in. I’ve also heard good things about Arlington? How does that differ to somewhere like Brookline?
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 4:36 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

I think you're right to plan for the move to be temporary, at least in the beginning. Moving countries is a big thing, some love it, some hate it, no need to lock yourself into anything before you experience it.

Boston is indeed very expensive to live in, but that is a good salary, so you should be able to live comfortably. I assume you're planning to rent? Once you've got the commute sorted out, a lot of this comes down to whether you want a more typical American suburban car-oriented lifestyle with a bigger house, or whether you are willing to sacrifice some space for a more walkable and public transport oriented location. You're lucky in that you have a lot of good options. I'm going to make recommendations assuming that you'll be doing the British school. The school itself doesn't appear to be very convenient to public transport, but they run their own bus service, which you're probably going to want to take advantage of. Driving your kid to school in Boston traffic will be no fun! I would use this link with the bus routes as a starting point for your house search:

img.nordangliaeducation.com/resources/us/_filecache/ab0/bee/26530-bus-schedule.pdf

One thing I'd consider is actually living in Back Bay itself. It's a beautiful neighbourhood, walking distance to many amenities, well served by public transport - your husband might even be able to walk to work. It's kind of "on the water" in a way - on the Charles River. Another nice, beautiful downtown neighborhood is Beacon Hill. You could also look into Cambridge - this, again is a very walkable place with lots of amenities, good public transport access, and a relatively easy commute downtown. All of these places are served by the British school bus.

Going down the bus list, Brookline is a great choice, as is Newton. They both have excellent public schools, which will be nice even if you aren't using them, since it will mean more families around. They also have public transport links, though you'll use a car more in these places than the denser, inner neighbourhoods. Compared to Brookline, Arlington has a lot of similarities - it's an older suburb with good schools and lots of families. It's less convenient to downtown and the British school than Brookline, though - not on the school bus list and not as good public transport. Though it does have cheaper housing than Brookline. Other suburbs with good schools and lots of families include Belmont, Lexington, and Milton. I wouldn't want to go any further out from downtown than that - commutes and public transport get worse the farther out you go. Even Lexington is pushing it.

You may think I'm harping on the commute stuff a lot, but it's going to be a huge factor in your family's quality of life. With your salary, you have no reason to subject yourself to a 1+ hour miserable commute. None!

Last edited by ss120396; Sep 4th 2019 at 4:53 pm.
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Old Sep 5th 2019, 3:57 am
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

I'm in no way a Boston expert - I love it, but I've never lived there - but my friend lives in Watertown and I think it's a lovely leafy area, perfect with small children (as she has) and not too bad a commute into the city. No idea about schools though, sorry.
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Old Sep 5th 2019, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

We went to a conference in Boston in March and stayed in an AirBnB in Brookline - really nice place, easy walking to subway, lots of small stores. Looked like a good place to me.
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Old Sep 8th 2019, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

If you end up considering public schools, look at Needham, we have several good friends who live there and they commute into Boston easily on the commuter rail (Needham line). Schools are well regarded, and there are a fair number of Brits there too, if that’s a plus point for you.
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Old Sep 9th 2019, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

We live in Newburyport,and it's great, close to the sea, and with lots of activities for all ages and tastes.
BUT, we are retired now and we've more or less given up going into Boston because the traffic is bad, as others have said. We used to live in the Metrowest area - the suburbs west of Boston - and getting into the city wasn't quite so much of a pain but even that has changed over the last year or two.
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Old Sep 11th 2019, 11:58 am
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Brookline is incredible, I used to rent there in a flat share. If you plan to buy, however, bring plenty of cash. $250,000/year is very doable to live a great life in Boston.
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Old Sep 11th 2019, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Young British Family Moving To Boston - Advice on Areas, schools etc..

Originally Posted by tbooth View Post
We live in Newburyport,and it's great, close to the sea, and with lots of activities for all ages and tastes.
BUT, we are retired now and we've more or less given up going into Boston because the traffic is bad, as others have said. We used to live in the Metrowest area - the suburbs west of Boston - and getting into the city wasn't quite so much of a pain but even that has changed over the last year or two.
Ironically we moved 40 miles West and my commute is now a 1 hour drive. It used to be 1hr 15 min riding the green/red line!
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