Possible relocation to Cambridge

Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 06:01 AM
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Possible relocation to Cambridge

It is possible, along with the chance of moving to Chapel Hill, NC that we may be relocating to Cambridge, Mass. Can anyone tell me anything about this city....what it's like living in the area. I know Boston is a great place to visit but what about living there? Thank you! Karen
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 06:47 AM
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Very expensive!

Nice area, multicultural,many college students, decent technology base for jobs, nightmare to drive/park in/around(if you're thinking of owning a car there). Boston is the opposite of Chapel Hill in many ways. If you have a choice between the two, it shouldn't be a difficult decision because they are so different; it just depends on what you're looking for...
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 06:52 AM
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Cambridge is a smaller city across the river from Boston. It is one of the more diverse cities in the area - having everything from mega-mansions around Harvard University to some areas of real poverty. Many people who work in Boston/Cambridge area live in suburbs, and this is especially true if you have kids since the school system has many of the problems of many city school systems.

Obviously it is New England, and the weather is often difficult (I can't stand it but have happily lived in the area for 25 years). Don't know from where you would be moving, but relocating may cause housing "sticker-shock". Unless you make a very long commute, housing prices are very high. If you have any say in relocation negotiations, consider that.

Massachusetts is always a political circus - a lot of old-time entrenched politicians and if you have a sense of humor, always amusing.

So - it's cold, expensive, annoying for a lot of reasons, but I couldn't see living anyplace else for the foreseeable future.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:07 AM
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Karen, you are making me laugh cause I was also on this board asking about several different cities after my husband lost his job...We are in Durham NC but thought we were going back north to PRov/Boston area. I had mixed emotions. I love NE and think it has lots more to offer in terms of beauty, vitality, food, diversity and culture BUT I was freaking out at the housing prices. They have gone crazy in the 4 years we've been away . Also, commuting is getting harder.. more traffic, etc. If you lived and worked in CaMBRIDGE as opposed to commuting in it probably would be manageable . Where have you lived before... city or more rural and what are you looking for? Also, how much money will youhave to work wih.. if he is a student, I'm guessing you will be on a budget. Good Luck with whatever you chose and keep us posted.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:09 AM
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As usual, I agree with everything Gail has said (except that I've lived in Boston twice as long). Expensive but worth it, depending on what you're looking for. Tell us a bit about yourself and what factors are important to you in choosing a location -- climate? Public education? Museums, arts, etc.? Friendly neighbors?

Cambridge itself is a rather small city (population about 100,000 I think) and the housing prices in all of the non-scary sections are reaching absurd Silicon Valley stratospheric levels. So I guess we're assuming that you're relocating for a job or school in Cambridge, not literally living there for sure?
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Karen, I just spotted your other post about possibly moving to NC and you mentioned that you "have a family" and that your husband will be in school. If you have school-age kids, Cambridge and Boston proper are simply not good choices, period, the public schools are terrible and the private schools are full. Let us know if youre going to be renting or buying, what ages your kids are, etc. I have a lot of info about suburban school systems.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:58 AM
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*Post to Jen re Chapel Hill & Cambridge.
We are the family who are looking into either UNC or possibly Harvard. Of course Harvard is THE school, but we have four children (13,11,7,3)and a limited budget so I don't think we could swing the cost of living in the NE area. I know CH is costly too, but it doesn't seem as crazy. We will be renting for the first few years. My husband is a dentist and returning to school for a Ph.D grad program. Although we want a good school for him, our priority has to be our children's environment, schooling, etc. Jen, or anyone,can you tell me anything more? We are Canadian and the thought of a gentler climate in NC is very appealing. Thanks! Karen
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:25 PM
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If your husband's grad program at Harvard is medical (i.e., at the Dental School, School of Medicine, or the School of Public Health) then he won't be going to school literally in Cambridge, those schools are in the Fenway area of Boston. (Harvard Business School is also in Boston.)

There are lots of nice towns within commuting distance, with wonderful school systems. A lot of it comes down to your budget and your personal priorities. My town (Milton) borders Boston so it's an easy commute, we're rebuilding all the public schools in town, there's a French Immersion program and all sorts of excellent mustic and arts programs in the public school, plus access to public trnsportation. But rents for a 3-bedroom half of a two-family house will run you US$1500 and up, plus utilities.

Commuting into Bostonis a big hassle, and the only thing worse is commuting THROUGH Boston (e.g., commuting from the southern suburbs into Cambridge or from the northern suburbs into the Fenway.) SO I guess one factor in choosing a town is which School he's considering!
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:51 PM
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I have lived all over the Boston/Cambridge area and have now settled down in Chapel Hill. I miss New England and city life, but I find everything much easier in Chapel Hill.
The weather is mild, and while housing is still pricy, you're likely to live somewhere with trees and a yard and plenty of sunshine. The public schools are good and in general things are family-friendly. UNC is a top-notch University and the campus is full of
cultural activities and sports events.
Traffic is not a problem, the airport is close, and beaches and mountains are also easily accessible. People are very friendly and more diverse than anywhere else in North Carolina. Though not nearly as diverse a population as Cambridge, it is a liberal-leaning town.

I'm glad I spent my single years in the Boston area and wouldn't have traded that experience for the world. Cambridge is a lively, fun city and Harvard is
the best of the best. I would move there again if I had a lot of money and the time to enjoy it. Right now, with job and kids, Chapel Hill is ideal. We fly to NY or Boston when we need our city fix.

You've got two great places from which to choose -- you can't go wrong.
Lots of luck!

Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Karen, since Harvard is an option, and it's the med campus, take a look for housing in Brookline. Schools are excellent, and it's very close to the medical campus of Harvard. You could also look in Newton, where housing and schools are comperable to Brookline, and public transportation is better than farther out in the 'burbs. You can check rentals online for an idea of prices (yes, they're high, but it's for Harvard after all). If you have any questions on the areas, feel free to contact me directly.
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 07:00 AM
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Go to this website. Obviously its' focus is primarily for those in the marketing field. However if you click under their Career Center, there's links that will lead you to good information on relocation.

As for my personal input, I grew up outside the Boston area. It astounds me how expensive New England has become (I've been living elsewhere for past 20 yrs). Boston has alot going for it ~ AND, and they're even making progress on the 'Big D' ! I should live long enough to actually witness its' completion.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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If your husband gets an opportunity to earn a PhD from Harvard, it will be difficult to turn it down. The benefits, financial, professional, personal, will flow to the entire family in the long run.

To give you a better idea of what the cost of living is like, Money magazine had these stats (Raliegh was the closest I could get to CH):

Boston's Median Household Income: $49,059
Boston's Average Home Price: $187,180

Raliegh's Median Household Income: $50,154
Raliegh's Average Home Price: $176,350

So there is little difference in the basic numbers but of course, there is much more to cost of living. Check out the stats yourself. Hope it helps!



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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 11:19 AM
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I gotta help you out here. Not long ago I was in your almost exact position. either U of Fl or Harvard. Fla instate tuition (almost nothing) vs. student loans for the rest of my life Harvard. I made the choice for Harvard and Boston/Cambridge. It is not a choice I regret at all. Keep in mind, with an increase cost of living, the salaries also keep up with these costs.

Cambridge is a nice place to live. but it sounds like your husband will be at the public health/medical campus (longwood area) in Boston. If so, there is no shortage of affordable housing in the area. I lived in Brookline and either rode my bike, walked, or took the T to school. It was awesome living there! Brookline is a very wealthy town, with very low crime, excellent schools, beautiful parks and playgrounds, great restaurants......the list goes on. Newton is also very very nice, just not as urban as Brookline. sending your kids to either of those school systems would be doing them a favor. If you can't afford Brookline/Newton most of the surrounding suburbs are also very nice.

I can't emphasize enough however, how much differently a Harvard Ph.D. is viewed versus any other university's degree (the increase in salary resulting from it will make up for the lean years). If it was up to me, you would be going to Boston.

another much more affordable housing option is Nashua, NH. no state income tax, nice town(I think it was #1 or high on the list of places to live one year). the drawback would be the commute, but I went to school with several people who did the commute.

Moving up to the big scary city might seem scary to you now, but you'll be ok and glad you did it. also no shortage of employment when he grauates from Harvard.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 01:56 PM
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I don't know where Money Magazine got thta figure of Boston's average home price being $187K , but that figure must be from the mid-1990s. Nowadays, there is virtually nothing available in the city for under $300K. I sold my rather average house in Roslindale for $250K in 1999 and the buyers re-sold last year for $339.

Plug in some ZIP codes into realtor.com to see what the market is like right NOW in any area you're considering.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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But the best ice cream.
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