Community Profiles

Choosing the right Community is an integral part of the home search process. Deciding what is most important to you at this stage is critical. Here is a walk-through of the communities for much of the Greater Boston area with information about the communities, average prices of homes, city/town profiles, schools, and more. These cities and towns define what it is to be in Boston. From architecture and history to dancing and shopping, this region has it all. Hopefully you'll find the answers to your basic questions about Boston & the surrounding communities in the Greater Boston Area through this section of the site.

Take a few minutes to read about the area and browse through some of the communities around Boston:

Housing

Housing in Boston is one of my favorite topics (for obvious reasons). Boston is an exceptionally diverse city. Some of the communities and neighborhoods are often mistaken for separate cities and towns as a result. Each one with it's own flavor and character.

You can find almost every type of home here in Boston. From elegant old Victorians to contemporary lofts. You won't find many new construction single families around. Just too little room after 300 years of building.

Boston, however, is becoming a destination for new construction luxury condominium high-rises. With over 2,000 units planned, and under construction, some of the new condo buildings offer the finest in amenities and luxury. Doormen, full spas, laundry service, concierges, and much more are making the downtown area "the place to be".


Cost of Living

The cost of living in Boston is around 48% higher than the national average. It is one of the biggest reasons why people DON'T move to Boston. There are only a few other metropolitan areas that are higher, such as D.C., New York, San Francisco, etc.

On the plus side, your salary should go up if coming from anywhere else. Just be sure that it is commensurate with the cost of living.


Transportation

Boston has a great Public Transportation system: the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority - America's First Subway). With busses, subways, commuter trains, spidering through the city and outlying areas, you can get almost anywhere on the "T" as it is called. You will also find the prices of the public transportation some of the least expensive of most metropolitan areas. They also offer Passes that allow you to save money if you regularly use the "T".

You can also find taxi cabs and limos to suit your tastes and needs, but they are not as common as they are in New York City. Best to plan ahead and schedule a ride since you might not be able to flag one down.

Parking is also a very difficult and expensive prospect in this space-lacking city. If you are lucky enough to find a Parking Meter, consider yourself lucky. Bring lots of quarters. If you are forced to park in a lot, you can expect to pay $20+. The worst is normally around Fenway Park when the Red Sox are playing. Every available space is rented out (including gas station lots) and they run $20-$40.


Driving in Boston

Well, you've probably heard the tales of "Boston Drivers". Sadly they are rather accurate. The twisting roads and sometimes poorly marked streets (though this has been getting better) don't lend themselves to easy navigation. This gets on the nerves of many drivers. Be sure to have a good GPS or map.

Some of the things you can expect:

  • Rotaries (AKA Roundabouts): These are a very common means of dealing with traffic in the area. All you need to remember is the cars IN the rotary have the right-of-way.
  • Construction (AKA The Big Dig): The world-famous construction project rebuilding the highways through the city is fascinating to watch, but difficult to drive through. There was a period where every time I would drive through the Big Dig, the road was different.
  • Snow: As is common for an area with our climate, Boston gets snow. Finding places to put it is the bane of city officials every winter. During the winter months, many streets are narrowed further by mountains of snow. This is usually not very long lasting. The city regularly moves the snow in trucks and dumps it in the outlying areas.
  • Snow Part II: Driving in the snow is dangerous for those who've never had to do it before. If you've never had to, and absolutely MUST, drive very slowly.
  • Potholes: All that snow and cold causes frost-heaves under the asphalt. These heaves break up and leave LARGE potholes. The city is very good about filling them, when notified, but it is a never-ending battle. Just keep your eyes open for them. I bent an axle on my car a few years ago. Potholes: 1 - Charissa: 0
  • One-Way streets: Boston is rife with one-way streets. Newer maps show One-Way Streets. There was a time when the older maps didn't and you could find yourself in quite a mess.

Climate

One of the top 3 favorite topics New Englanders love to discuss! Mark Twain once said:

"There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that compels the stranger's admiration--and regret. The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go. But it gets through more business in spring than in any other season. In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours."

Humor aside, Boston's climate is wonderfully diverse. We have warm summers, snowy winters, the most amazing foliage in Autumn, and Spring is filled with beautiful flowers.

If you come from a warmer climate, make sure to get a nice ice-scraper for your car, and a nice warm jacket, scarf, boots, and gloves.

Personally, I love the snow. I love walking in the fresh-fallen snow, seeing the branches covered. It is truly beautiful. And an occasional snowball fight with my husband can be fun too. Especially if he isn't expecting one. ;)


Sports

Another of the top 3 favorite topics for New Englanders! (the last is politics) I love going to see the Red Sox and Patriots play! Having a Fenway Frank at Fenway Park watching the "Boys of Summer" play extra innings into the night is an unforgettable experience! With World Series, Superbowl, and NBA titles, we very faithful sports fans couldn't be happier. Even when our teams lose, we always feel like winners.

Culture & Attractions

With world-renown museums and music, Boston is at the top of the list for culture and art. A trip to some of the local museums is an absolute MUST when you are in Boston. I highly recommend that residents get membership to support the arts as well.

In the summertime, catching a Boston Pops performance, down by the Charles River at the Hatch Shell, is too much fun. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the music!

Here are some of the best places to visit in the area - these all open in new windows OR check out the right column for more attractions and museums!

Whatever your taste, Boston has it!

Charissa Pemper, Boston REALTOR®

Charissa Pemper
Lic. MA Real Estate Broker, REALTOR®
Charissa@HomesInBoston.com