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Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

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TAMPA
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Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

Hello all,

I just moved up from Tampa, FL with my girlfriend. She is orginally from Western, MA, but we are now living in Grafton outside of Worcester. She works in Marlborough, but I just got a job in Cambridge and the commute is way to much from here, plus I'm not a big fan of the area I'm in.

We are looking to live somewhere inbetween with a fun, walkable downtown (cafes, bars, culture, etc...). I'm a 29 year old sales professional, I don't need to live in a crazy party town, but we do like to go out on occasion. Also, I love to jog so somewhere with running paths would be nice. The size of the town doesn't really matter as long as it's fairly safe and has a centralized downtown area.

Here's the tricky part we're looking for somewhere semi-affordable. We would like to rent a 2 bedroom apartment or house for under $1300 a month. I don't mind commuting a hour each way with traffic to Cambridge, but any longer would be out of the question and I'd like to keep her commute to Marlborough under 45mins.

I know this is all very specific, but I tried to do my own research online and really didn't find that much useful info. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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1. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

You can try Waltham or Framingham, both of which have reasonable sized downtowns. However, I suspect you'll need to raise your budget a bit.

MA
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2. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

That is kind of tricky because of your location and price requirements. What about Waltham? That is my best suggestion. It is closer to Boston for you, commute will not be bad for her; she could take Pike to 495 to Marlborough or Rt 20 all the way. It also has a very walkable downtown with lots of restaurants, bars, cinema, etc. You could take a map of MA and use it to pinpoint areas 1 hr from Boston, 45 minutes from Marlborough and see which areas intersect, then drive out with your GF and visit those towns.

Boston, MA
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3. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

I would also suggest Natick, busy downtown, The Natick Center for the Arts, access to Rt. 9 & the Mass Pike.

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4. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

I think Waltham is a good idea, but you should spend a weekend driving around the area. $1300 for a two-bedroom is low for some towns that might work otherwise.

Just one thought. We knew a couple, one of whom worked in Worcester and the other in Providence. They tried living halfway where they both had to commute. They found that they both came home too tired and grumpy to face doing evening home chores. So they decided to live where one of them worked. That way, one person had a longer commute and the one with the short commute, would get home, start dinner, walk the dog, and whatever else needed attention.

They found that the perfect solution for them. A few years later they moved near the other town to reverse commuting roles.

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5. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

I agree with Waltham. Check out Moody Street and the paths along the river. It's pretty accessible to the highways and you can also get public transport into Boston from there.

Quincy...
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6. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

I will also suggest Waltham. It is somewhat cheaper than it's neighboring towns. There is a wealth of fine restaurants, bars and shopping there, and you could even take public transportation to work in Cambridge if you wanted to.

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7. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

Again, you'd probably have to up your budget, and it's probably further than you want from Marlborough, but Quincy has four Red Line stops, so you could go directly to Cambridge, and depending on where you lived you could walk to them. The Quincy Center stop would probably be the liveliest area, and there's also a lot more development planned for that area. Quincy also has a ferry to Boston, which can be a really cool way to commute, especially in the summer. Quincy can also offer beachfront running. (Obviously it'd be a lot more if you wanted to live on the beach, though.)

You might also try Braintree (also on the Red Line) and Weymouth (has Commuter Rail; and North Weymouth is close to Hingham and Quincy ferries). I would recommend Hull, but it's somewhat far from the highway, so that would add a lot of commuting time to Marlborough.

All these towns are fairly near Hingham (not in your budget, unless you get really, really lucky), which has an excellent dining scene in general, and a great new development on the water near the commuter boat with bars, shops and restaurants, including a Beer Works and a movie theater. Great little outdoor waterfront dining scene.

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8. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

How about Marlborough? Seems they (whoever they are) keep putting all the culture, restaurants and walkable downtown areas in more expensive areas. Don't know why.

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9. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

Lowell has a very vibrant and cultural downtown area. It falls within your commute parameters and $1300 will get you a decent apartment in a the Belvidire neighborhood...

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10. Re: Fun, Affordable MA town to call home?

Quincy and Lowell? The ideal place was supposed to be somewhere between Cambridge and Marlborough. Those aren't even close.