Andover living

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  • 11-14-2006
    Andover living
    I am currently a resident of Northern NJ, just outside of Manhattan. I moved here after growing up and schooling in central NY. My GF and i are growing tired of the area and have been researching for years now where we would like to move. I am not one for change so i would like my next move to be more permanent. I have considered and visited so many places trying to come to this decision from east to west coast, and there is always a piece missing. I am looking for an area where i can have an active social life, afford a decent place within walking distance of a social life, be near trials, and have access to some year round activities (i.e. skiing during the winter, and of course mountain biking). I came across Andover from searching the site here and seeing that it has some nice local trials. So now i ask if people familiar with the area can fill in the blanks. Is there a decent young scene there (i am nearly 28)? Is there a decent amount of bars and restaurants? Is skiing far? Any chance of kayaking? How is the Boston/Andover commute. And what is the area of N Andover / Andover i should be looking at for apts. It looks like a pretty sweet area and 2/3 of my family has ended up in Mass, and that would be cool to be closer to them too. I just got into MTBing this year and know it will be a part of my life from here on out, and am planning around that. Please help. And thanks.

    ADDED: I see that this regional forum doesn't as nuch attention as NJ's regional section, so if there is another fourm that i may get more results, please point me in that direction.
  • 11-14-2006
    Yo idbrian,

    I live in Andover, just moved here from San Jose, CA.. I accepted a different job in my company so they moved me across the country. Long story as to my motivation. The further we get into winter, the more I will question my sanity. I've lived in Chicage & Vt, so I know what winter is about.

    Anyhow, Andover is a quiet town. I would say that the majority of the people here have childern and choose to live in Andover because of the schools. There are a few bars & resturants in the town. I have checked these bars/resturants out Dylan's, Park Street Pub, and Palmers. Each has a bit different flavor and a pretty decent crowd on the night I went out (Friday).

    Mountain Biking, hiking, kayaking, .... Andover is a great town for outdoor activity. I find more and more trails & open space (state forest, conservation land, parks, sanctuaries, ...) every day. Harold Parker State Forest has a ton of MTB trails. I've also enjoyed Ward Reservation, the highest point in the county. Some good technical climbing.

    Commuting to Boston - the train takes about 45 minutes. Driving - my neighbor drives to Boston everyday. Think it takes him around an hour but he works south in the city. With light traffic it takes me about 25 mintues to get from my house to Logan airport.

    Cost of Living - Andover is not the cheapest town in the world. Infact it is one of the more expensive towns in Mass.. Not the highest by any means but definetly in the upper quarter.

    You may want to check out or Both of those have forums for discussion. I haven't been to since moving to Boston. I was checking some stuff and decided to come to this forum.

    FYI - I'm in my late 30's & the town is great for me and my family. Most of my neighbors are a little bit older than me. There is Merrimack College around the corner from my house but haven't made my way over there. My neighbor is an Alumni & she went over for their homecoming recently. On the other side of my house is Philips Academy. So I am surrounded by High Schoolers & College kids. Funny thing that the town doesn't have more bars.

    Good Luck!
  • 11-14-2006
    Thanks for your reply, i'm guessing you enjoy living there then.

    Just one more question, it sounds like there isn't too much going on as far as nightlife, but is that the same for North Andover and Andover? Or is there another desirable area around that Boston metro / Maine border?

    Thanks again.
  • 11-14-2006
    Short of actually living in Boston night life in the surrounding cities won't be anything great. Most bars around where I live in Beverly close at 12 or 1. On the other hand I'm 30 minutes north of Boston and have 2 train stations to choose from to get there. There is plenty of riding around here. Two hours to the mountains for boarding. The best part for me.... Right on the ocean. Also there are 3 colleges near by, and a good mix of bars as well as Salem right next door which has its own share of good bars.
    If you're looking for a place to settle I would think quality of schools and location would be more important than the local night life though. Just something to think about. Good luck
  • 11-14-2006
    I'm far from having kids, if ever.

    I don't need crazy amounts of nightlife, Burlington VT is about as much a downtown as i need. I have lived 10 minutes from manhattan via 24 hr buses for 5 yrs and end up going to the same 5 bars. 12/1AM closing times is a pretty big eye opener. I lived in Braintree and Quincy for a summer and they had some bars, i was hoping maybe there was something going on North of the city.

    Salem you say......
  • 11-14-2006
    Salem is OK..... if you don't mind the tourists and traffic:madman: (especially in October). Also a bit more of a drive to the highway. But then the train passes through there also. It also depends on weather or not you want a house or condo. If a house and some land then forget Salem, not a-lot of that around there. Either way on the North Shore you can't go wrong. Newburyport is also really nice, with a good amount of bars and restaurants. You'll have to pay a little more and trvel a little farther for riding but its a nice town. I guess the best thing to do is to come and visit and see for your self.

  • 11-15-2006
    Since you mentioned BVT, I'll go with that and compare to Andover. BVT has more of a nightlife because of UVM, St. Mike's, & CC but its more of a drink until you puke type of atmosphere. If your looking for that, then Andover won't suit. I lived in the BVT area for 4 years in my early 20's (Winooski, Essex Junction, ...). Doesn't sound like your looking for that type of atmosphere though. Andover has a number of bars & resturants within walking distance of its center. They range from a sport bar to nicer resturants ($30+ for an entree). So think Church Street minus Nectars, Rasputins, and few other of the college bars. Oh and no street people, granolas, dreadlocks or berkinstocks. Andover's downtown is much smaller than Burlington's.

    North Andover has a very, very small center. N. Andover is more rural than Andover. Although most of the major stores and fast food chains are in N. Andover. Best way I can discribe N. Andover is it has two sides (one industrial/stip malls and the other rural wooded estates). To go for a drink in North Andover you are definetly going to have to drive. The places are further apart to drink but seem to be more bars & resturants. I live right on the border of Andover and North Andover, about a mile to the center of Andover & a few miles to the shops in North Andover. So my house is in town but on 1.4 acres of wooded land. I like it more than Burlington except for the views of Lake Champlain coming in from Rt. 2 around UVM.

    Riding - there is alot more riding in Andover than in BVT.

    Others have mentioned Beverly, Newbury Port, and Salem. I haven't spent much time in any of those town. Most of the North Shore is expensive. So I don't know what kind of money you are thinking or if your just planning on renting. If renting, then the majority of the apartments are in North Andover.
  • 11-17-2006
    In some regards you are going to have to choose between quiet country/burbs with quick access to trails and nice country roads for road riding or living in the city (cambridge/somerville/jamaica plain top my list of boston 'hoods) with restaurants bars and culture galore within walking distance. driving around here is pretty bad, like everywhere else these days, but riding to the trails from within the city isn't so bad from where i am -in jamaica plain, which means blue hills and some other places but i can't get to lynn woods and the north shore - too far by car or bike to be worth it. cambridge has better night life and all that but is very very expensive to live in and i find it somewhat more crowded as far as road congestion than south of the city where i am. newburyport maybe has the best combo of culture and riding opportunities, portsmouth NH is also worth a look, all these places are terribly expensive but what are you gonna do?
  • 11-17-2006
    Hey Idbrain,

    What?? Bored of Mahlon Dickerson and Ringwood already?? I grew up in Northern Bergen County--my folks and most of my family are still there--know it oh so well--but, I couldn't cut it in NJ--yet, at heart, by demeanor and outlook I'm still such a hardcore Northeasterner (can't handle 'slow-talkers', long-yarn-spinners or the blaise attitudes of the terminally unambitious)--I love outdoor recreation (Bikes, skis, kayaks, etc) but also the finer pursuits endemic to the over-educated (good restaurants, a music scene that runs the gamut from edgy to sophisticated, art and artists, good coffee, etc.).

    So where to live?? I moved all over the Northeast for year-but struck Gold in The Pioneer Valley (Connecticut River Valley Region of Western, MA).

    With the College/ Artsy mini-metros of Northampton and Amherst establishing the high-end cultural scne-and the accessible, ancient hills cut by the Connecticut, Deerfield, Millers, Westfield and Cold Rivers setting the stage for endless outtdoor recreation pursuits-for me, the inveterate Easterner who wants to play close to home-this area is Mecca.

    From a Biking Standpoint I'd put it up against anywhere (taking in all opportunities within a 1 hour drive--most within minutes!).

    Nightlife-come spend a weekend taking in the scene at Northampton (and budding easthampton for that matter--heck even Worthington St in Springfield) or even the college scene in Amherst--I think you'll find it's incredibly dynamic and satisfying (A little more so than North jersey anyhow-Like Hoboken-without the masses and with more parking!).

    Schools and communities are topflight, traffic minimal (compared top Jersey/ Boston Burbs)-and Boston is onlyy 1.5 hours down the'pike anyway. Homes-there are cheaper areas--but Northern Jersey and Boston Metro aren't one of them!! 'bout half the cost of those uber-suburbs---which is still greater than the national average-but that's he price of things.

    Quick access to the glories of VT and NH are also a great perk.

    Anyway--from one Jersey Refugee to Another (btw-I'll always love Jersey-it's a home thing)-- Western, Massachusetts is a pretty great shore to wash up on.

  • 11-19-2006
    Superbman, that post hit it home for me, i will look into it. I currently live in Weehawken. I am from small town central NY. I really like the riding here, but finding acess and living in a cooler community is difficult.

    Thanks all for the advice.