Submitted by shapovalovts t3_zv4tu1 in massachusetts

Hi guys! My wife, son and I will move to Massachusetts soon. We have never been here before, but we have idea of our needs. We are going to rent a house for about $3.5K in one of the Boston satellite cities. We need 2 bedrooms and one room for my home office (I guess this is counted as 3 bedrooms, right?). We will rarely need to go to Boston, but when we go there we would like to not spend more than 30-50 minutes by car (in perfect traffic conditions). My son is 1.5 years old, so soon he will need a kindergarten, thus would be nice to have a good one not so far from our location. And some good hospitals nearby will also be useful. We are considering Newton, but we doubt that $3.5K is enough to rent a comfortable house for such place. What city/district would you recommend for us to consider?



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jp_jellyroll t1_j1nfnu8 wrote

If you truly only go into Boston rarely, I'd look more towards the 495 belt / Worcester County rather than staying close to Boston. $3.5k isn't getting you much of anything in Newton. You'll get more home for your money in Middlesex & Worcester County and that's actually where most of the best school districts are located (not Boston).

Hopkinton, Shrewsbury, Westborough, Northborough, Sudbury, Concord, Needham, Norwood -- all really safe & quiet towns with great public schools and great hospitals (like the UMass network, the Boston Children's network, etc) and more affordable, give-or-take, than most of the towns closer to Boston. On a low-traffic day, it would only take about 45-50 min to get into Boston by car (depending how close you are to the highway).


Constant-Piglet2163 t1_j1pknjo wrote

I was going to say Shrewsbury also. Great schools and right next to UMass medical and Tufts vet schools.


GezinhaDM t1_j1py43b wrote

I can vouch for Northborough. The best school system I've seen in years. I'm a teacher and have worked in three other districts. My son goes to Northborough public schools and I couldn't be more thankful for the teachers and assistants there, which all need a huge raise.


heyitslola t1_j1o619b wrote

Acton-Sudbury-Concord for sure. Bolton & Harvard are a little further out but both are what smaller NE towns should be. The schools are good in all of these towns.


SouthShoreSerenade t1_j1n5uq9 wrote

>My son is 1.5 years old, so soon he will need a kindergarten, thus would be nice to have a good one not so far from our location. And some good hospitals nearby will also be useful.

The reason why many of us MAholes are such big fans of our state is that when it comes to schools and hospitals among other things, they're literally all good. Even the ones people here would say are trash are still far better than the majority anywhere else.

2 bedrooms plus an office isn't necessarily 3 bedrooms. We have a "3 bedroom" that has, essentially, a 4th bedroom. We use it as a nursery but it was used as an office by the previous owner after their kids were grown, before which it was used as a bedroom.

>when we go there we would like to not spend more than 30-50 minutes by car

You could be 3 miles outside of the exact location you want to go and still have it take over half an hour. Boston is insane for car travel. Fortunately the subway/rail system is pretty great (despite all the horror stories). If you choose a location with a commuter rail station, and there are many, you're looking at decent travel time into the city and much greater flexibility for where you'll be.

Personally, I'd never want to live inside of 95 or too far outside of 495.


000neg t1_j1o6dax wrote

Watch out going to far out past 495 there be dragons!!


[deleted] t1_j1ny7w2 wrote



SouthShoreSerenade t1_j1o2d9h wrote

Yes. I would rather send my student to any Title I district in MA than any average school in about half the states in this country. A student has the opportunity to achieve at any public school in this state. That's not true nationwide.

Frankly, as someone who works in one, I refuse to subscribe to "schools that poor people go to are bad", and you should too.


[deleted] t1_j1o2z4g wrote



SouthShoreSerenade t1_j1o3qea wrote

Oh, you're not talking about poor people? But I thought you mentioned Haverhill, with half of its students economically disadvantaged. And Lawrence, where over 75% of its students are classified as such. But no, you're not talking about schools for poor people. Ok. To say that claiming a students can get a great education at any public school in this state is a "crazy statement" is ignorant of what goes on in our schools.

I'm all set with you now.


goPACK17 t1_j1nk7iu wrote

I feel like basically any town in Eastern MA that falls into your budget would be fine. Would be easier to ask which towns to perhaps avoid, that list is way smaller


shapovalovts OP t1_j1p4ajv wrote

Oh, interesting point of view. What town would you never live in that is near Boston?


goPACK17 t1_j1p4sna wrote

"Never" is a strong word, but towns I'd likely avoid are:

Chelsea, Lynn, Mattapan/Roxbury (those two are in Boston), and Brockton

And honestly, that's about it as far as towns within an hour of Boston goes. Besides those spots, I feel like every other town just falls somewhere in the spectrum between "blue-collar but still honest towns and fine places to raise a family" (Quincy, Bridgewater, Revere) to "obscenely wealthy" (Dover, Weston, Wellesley) and a whole lot of stuff in between.


valley_G t1_j1qu607 wrote

Do not go to Fall River or New Bedford. Everyone keeps saying there's beaches and so they stuff, but it's really not that nice here at all. It's a drug den with little pockets where you might not get robbed. Been here my whole life (technically Dartmouth) and have seen it all. The police genuinely do jack shit unless somebody dies or it looks good in the newspaper. This is not some hidden paradise.


goPACK17 t1_j1qubc0 wrote

Well ya, this is true too. I didn't consider these two cities because I consider them way more in the orbit of Providence more so then Boston


madtho t1_j1o699f wrote

I always recommend the South Coast. Maybe a little further from Boston than you’d like, but *ocean*. It’s Cape Cod-like without the traffic. Warm communities, good schools. Look at Westport, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett. Marion is probably pricier and I don’t know the current state of Wareham’s schools, they were in a rough patch for a while there.


ZaphodG t1_j1ofcut wrote

I see a 3/2 cape with a 2 car attached garage in Mattapoisett for $2,700. Excellent K-5. Town beach and nice harbor.


Hospitals: St Luke’s in New Bedford is a Level II trauma center.

The elementary schools in Mattapoisett and Marion are better than Fairhaven, Westport, and Dartmouth.

Off hours, that house in Mattapoisett is 58 minutes to South Station according to Google Maps. At 75 mph, you could theoretically do it in 50 minutes. I did Logan Airport to Padanaram in 65 minutes on Thursday late-morning. I can reliably get to Dim Sum brunch in Chinatown on a weekend in less than an hour. For occasional off hours Boston use, it’s not a big deal. At rush hour, it’s abysmal.


madtho t1_j1oovui wrote

The South Coast also doesn’t have the Boston burb vibe which is a big plus. 20 miles away on the South Shore is a very different feeling.

Also, the commuter rail is coming to New Bedford and Fall River. Kind of a long trip, but you’re not in traffic.


8abear t1_j1ou0e9 wrote

Theres also great busses every hour to boston from the area. Dattco/peter pan


ZaphodG t1_j1ph91v wrote

Since COVID, the bus service is abysmal. 2 commuter bus runs in the morning and one afternoon run. The commuter rail outside of the morning commute won’t be very frequent but better than the current bus schedule.


FargoBTC t1_j1qbzyd wrote

Ah you're right. I didn't realize it changed since I used it pre-covid. That stinks, but probably makes sense for them since I used to use them 3 times a week now I haven't used them once since covid.


bubalusarnee t1_j1p61so wrote

Also the improved commuter rail line construction is well underway, making a train trip to downtown boston very simple.


pep_c_queen t1_j1pv8vt wrote

The south coast really is a hidden gem. The ocean is so accessible and the housing is affordable compared to any other ocean front area. The commuter rail is an hour into Boston now from Middleboro and the south coast rail lines should be operational by the end of 2023. Ocean to Government Center in Boston by car with no traffic is an hour. During commute times this is more like 1:45. Worth it to be by the ocean for daily life.


Kap10Chaos t1_j1q1yer wrote

Second this. South Coast and the Providence suburbs are absolutely fantastic. I work in Cambridge but rarely need to go into the office, live in North Attleborough, absolutely love it.


FunkyChromeMedina t1_j1nnqen wrote

If you don’t need to be in the city everyday, you might put your money to better use by looking in a town served by commuter rail somewhere in between 128 & 495.

Franklin, Mansfield, and Sharon would fit the bill. All have great schools, all are an easy trip in on the CR and 45 min or less into the city when the traffic is light.

I’m sure there are plenty of others as well.


Temporary_Reason t1_j1ol8u9 wrote

Agreed. OP - if you’re not traveling into the city why not do Bristol or Plymouth county? Great schools.


nixiedust t1_j1qtv7s wrote

Yes. We love living in this area. The schools are great, everything is nearby, Boston, Providence, Worcester all close, Foxboro and Wrentham for events and shopping. The local arts council kicks ass. It's pretty and has a lot of history going back to pre-colonial times.


SharpCookie232 t1_j1na85b wrote

I think your best bet is West Roxbury. In the city, but you'll save on commuting, which is a lot of time and/or money in metro Boston, no matter how you cut it. West Rox is not far from Longwood medical center. Lots of great outdoor space. Some 3bd houses for rent in your price range and a wide variety of great schools, especially if you're willing to pay for private.


Twisted-Youth76 t1_j1oxzzj wrote

Wakefield is a great town 15 minutes to Boston great schools and lake q


PolarBlueberry t1_j1q89e8 wrote

As others have mentioned, I’m curious why you need to be 30mins outside of Boston if you will rarely go there? You can find some really nice places further west along I-91 that are much less expensive, and none of the major traffic and congestion of metro-Boston.

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield is an amazing hospital with a specialized Children’s Hospital and Children’s ER. Bradley Airport between Springfield and Hartford can get you anywhere you need to fly with reasonably priced flights and less busy. And while you might not be in the center of Boston, it’s the midpoint to everywhere, 90 mins to Boston, Albany, and New Haven, and 2.5hrs to NYC. Also much closer to the natural beauty of Vermont, The Berkshires, and Adirondacks.

Springfield and Holyoke don’t have the best school systems, but Wilbraham, Longmeadow, Northampton, Easthampton all do (and really most of the smaller cities/towns).

Boston is great, I usually am in the city every other month or so. It almost always takes me 90mins while my friends on the north and south shore can often take 45-60mins to go 15miles.


shapovalovts OP t1_j1qdm13 wrote

We just get used to live near big cities and thought we will visit it time to time. But you right, I should not limit myself with a distance from Boston. Thank you for the information, very useful!


wintersicyblast t1_j1on5az wrote

I live and Newton and it has everything your looking for-but 3.5K is a push to rent a house here. An apt is doable but a house might be tough...but never say never. Might want to look further as others have suggested-maybe Natick or Waltham.

Good luck and welcome!


shapovalovts OP t1_j1ovm7k wrote

Thank you! What is a reasonable renting price for a house in Newton then?


wintersicyblast t1_j1oxcqx wrote

It all depends on what your looking for. I would say minimum 4500+ but there are different sections of Newton and you might find what your looking for for less. Depends what you want-a yard, a garage, small rooms, modern etc...

If you do get into Newton, its a great place to live. Lots to do, A rated schools, public transportation, lots of young families, parks, restaurants etc...

good luck!


shapovalovts OP t1_j1p44qh wrote

Do you know why Newton so expensive comparing with other Boston satellite cities? Is it because of location, or very good community, or just wealthy house owners? I am trying to get what I miss if I will not live in Newton.


ZaphodG t1_j1qbdh3 wrote

It’s kind of moot since it’s totally out of your price range. The Boston suburbs are socioeconomically segregated. Newton is 80% college educated adults. The school system rating will reflect that. You’re competing against dual income white collar professionals for the small amount of single family home rental stock. Newton also has good commuter rail and several Green Line routes. It’s some of the best access to the city in metro Boston.

To get a single family home rental at your price point that doesn’t have something drastically wrong with it and get a strong elementary school system, you’re going to have to be outside rational daily commuting distance from the high paying metro Boston job market.


singalong37 t1_j1v8wbb wrote

Newton, the Garden City, has been a wealthy place since suburbs were a new concept. u/ZaphodG has explained everything else.


Live-Breath9799 t1_j1qtvhd wrote

How much do you have budgeted for childcare? Many cities/towns do not offer pre k. Also, apply to daycare early, many are very competitive because they have few openings.


shapovalovts OP t1_j1qz3qg wrote

Thank you for the useful link! I am going to spend up to $2K per month on the childcare. Do you think it will be enough for a good preschool? Also seems pre-k is not needed if a child is doing well in preschool.


Live-Breath9799 t1_j1rqypt wrote

I would pick an area and contact some daycare centers. Some can be under 2k but others are over. The older the child the lower the price and most have different prices depending on if you do 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10 hrs a day. Some provide meals and snacks and others do not. I would also point out " good" is subjective. For some people good only has a Montessori or Primrose label.


MOGicantbewitty t1_j1qtxe8 wrote

Being that close to Boston is overrated. There are plenty of other great areas and most everything in Massachusetts is under 2 hours from a major metro area. You pay a premium for anything east of 495, but no real extra benefits. Even to be in W Mass/Pioneer Valley area is only 90-120 to Boston, 60 minutes to Worcester, 30-45 to Springfield, 75 to Hartford, and 3 hours to New York. Needing to get into Boston every few months is completely manageable from W Mass. And it’s so much cheaper. Anything inside the 495 metro Boston area has much higher rents, utilities, food costs. Adding just a little travel time can get you a much lower cost of living with all the benefits. Check out the Pioneer Valley. It’s amazing…


shapovalovts OP t1_j1qzbya wrote

Thank you for the opinion, I am starting to think the same.


amandathelibrarian t1_j1r6gne wrote

I live in Eastern MA to be close to family but if I didn’t have to be here for them, I would move to western MA in a heartbeat. The Berkshires are great. Everything is just further away out there so you might have to drive further to go shopping for instance, but there’s less traffic than eastern MA.


MOGicantbewitty t1_j1sa55o wrote

Oh! And welcome to MA in advance! We have our own issues like anywhere else, but it’s really a great place to live.


singalong37 t1_j1v836y wrote

>Being that close to Boston is pay a premium for anything east of 495, but no real extra benefits. Even to be in W Mass/Pioneer Valley area is only 90-120 to Boston, 60 minutes to Worcester, 30-45 to Springfield, 75 to Hartford, and 3 hours to New York.

I rate walkability highly and the frequency and density of desirable walkable places is much higher in and around Boston than in central or western Mass. Living where you can walk to things and minimize car use is hard to overrate. Around Boston you're in a major metro area with dynamic economy and corresponding affluence and increasing cultural diversity. Some people like that. Proximity to the ocean is also hard to overrate.


MOGicantbewitty t1_j1v9013 wrote

Okay? Tell OP if you think they should hear it. I have my opinion, you are welcome to have your own and share it with OP. This isn’t a post to debate on so I’m not sure why you are discussing it with me. Have a great day!


beachTreeBunny t1_j1rbb40 wrote

Check out Newburyport. On the ocean, an hour north of Boston, but it has a T station. Tons of shops and restraints. Close to local beaches in MA, NH, Maine. Forget the 30 minutes to Boston requirement. Rents are too high if you are not commuting to Boston.