Moving south to Metro Boston?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moving south to Metro Boston?

    Hey folks, I have the opportunity to move south from Portland Maine down to Metro Boston and I have some questions for fellow cyclist before i commit.

    I grew up on the N shore so i know the area alright but not well. Proximity to work is not REALLY relevant b/c im a photographer, but i'd like to stay on the T lines. FWIW, i'm a single 27yo male.

    I also have a dog. A big one. She's a black lab and generally quite lazy and doesn't need much exercise. Dog parks are not her thing. She can deal just fine with dogs individually, but in the overwhelming chaos of most dog parks, things sometimes don't work out. Around here i take her to quieter city parks and trails or even walk the railroads tracks sometimes. Are there any metro Boston folks out there that can recommend some places to live. Also, are there any dog friendly rides in the area?

    How often do you folks get out to ride a week? Currently i'm spoiled and when there is enough light, i can ride any day of the week providing i don't have previous commitments.

    Then there is Road riding. I live downtown Portland, and can still ride from my front door. Is that even a possibility from anywhere on the T lines?

    Then of course there is $$$ for renting. under 1600 for a 2br would really be nice.

    I appreciate the help, and happy fall.

  2. #2
    memento mori
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    My biased opinion would be Ayer,Shirley,or Leominster for T line living.The road riding out that way is way better than anything you'll find inside 495.Far less congested.Plenty of dog friendly woods for walking.Save $$$ on rent.Puts you within 30-45 minutes of most the popular mtb spots,nevermind the local trails.

  3. #3
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    those aren't on the T line. Commuter rail, sure...

  4. #4
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    I live in Somerville, right on the red line, and consider it a good location. The subway gets me into downtown (and to work, when the weather is bad or I'm feeling too lazy to pedal). But it's also pretty easy to load up the car and hop on Rt 2 or I-93 to get out of the city.

    Middlesex Fells is about 3 miles from my doorstep, close enough to ride to. The trails there aren't the greatest, but they're not bad, and it's nice being able to get in a ride on dirt before or after work without having to load up the car. Lots of good riding is within a 30-60 minute drive. I don't get out and ride as often as I like, but that's due to crappy time management on my part, not lack of easy trail access.

    I don't think the area is super friendly to big dogs. A number of my neighbors have dogs, but they're all the small and yappy kind. The parks in the neighborhood tend to be small and devoted to playgrounds and ballfields, not wooded or particularly nice for walking. But the Minuteman Trail MUP runs through the neighborhood, and that might be a good option when it's not crowded. There's a nice park area along the Charles River, a little further away. Or you could drive her to the Fells.

    For road riding, it really depends on how you feel about traffic. I have to go through some congested areas when I first leave my place, but once I get a couple of miles west, I cross over into quieter suburbs and the traffic dies down and the traffic lights become a lot less frequent. 10 miles west and you cross over Rt 128, and at that point you're practically out in the country.

    I think your rent goal will be doable. Check Craigslist. Off-street parking is kinda hard to come by, and will definitely cost you more.

  5. #5
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    +1 for somerville. great town for a 27 year old with a dog.

  6. #6
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    As you consider your move to Urban life consider the following reasons not live in metro Boston area:
    Parking - It sucks, you will get tickets, your car will get dents.
    Traffic - It sucks, stop lights every 10 feet, one way streets that go nowhere, stop and go that doesn't go.
    Crime - Get lots of insurance and always be on your toes. I had 2 bikes stolen that were locked to my porch. I had stuff ripped off my bike while locked at the T. Car broken into, etc.
    Bring lots of money - Everything is more expensive in the city. Bars are too fun to resist. Restaurants are too good to ignore.

    That being said it's nice to have bars and restaurants in walking distance. The ability to get to downtown Boston. And if since your single you will really enjoy the "scenery".

    As far as "where" is I have to agree with these guys. The Davis Square Somerville area is probably as close as you will get to what you want. I lived right next to Tufts so I was able to walk to the bars and T and I was also able to ride to the Fells from my apartment. Since it's on the outskirts it's pretty easy to get to either 93 or 128 (via Route 2). When I lived there I rode the Fells, HP, and Lynn Woods pretty regularly. I was also able to get to the North Shore in about 30 to 40 minutes for those trails.

    As far as finding good road riding you better be good with dealing with cars. Almost all the roads are extremely busy until you get past the 128 belt. I know plenty of people that road ride from the city to the burbs on a regular basis. It's just not as relaxing as say Maine.

    As far as dealing with the dog the fields at Tufts are fenced in and pretty big. There are also a couple of other smaller park areas in walking distance. I don't think you'll find anything much better within T range. The Boston Metro area is extremely overbuilt.

    Hope that helps...

  7. #7
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    So far everything has reenforced my feelings - i've been thinking Somerville actually. I'm a photographer and the bigger market would likely make it easier to work exclusively for myself. I just can't quite get there on a freelance basis here in Portland. That would meen more free time, = or more money too.

    Gotta say, giving up trail accessibility and road riding out my front door (from intown) is something i'm really gonna have a hard time giving up. I have some decisions to make for sure.

    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    I agree with YoungerNow, ikkin, and Woodyak.

    Ant

  9. #9
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    I lived in Arlington for a few years while in college. It's a bit less "urban" than Somerville, but still very close to the redline T at alewife station, Davis Sq, Porter Sq. etc....And it's close to the Fells and half decent road riding. However, I now live in Western Mass (Northampton) and certainly love it. Riding on the road and in the woods is simply amazing out here!

  10. #10
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    Living in the city

    I am a rabid mountain biker who lives and works in the city of Boston. I take the train every day to work and have a decent sized dog. I live in Jamaica Plain, probably the last neighborhood in the city of Boston where you can have an apartment, yard and a parking spot for a reasonable price, and not have to worry about getting shot. Well, not worry too much.

    Jamaica Plain is incredibly dog friendly. More dog friendly than when I lived in New Hampshire. Big dogs, small dogs, it doesn't matter. JP also has several huge parks for walks and whatnot. Check out the park at Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum. They are both huge by city standards and are dog friendly.

    As for riding, thats the tough part. From JP you really need a car to get to any place for a decent ride. That said I can get to a vast array of places to ride within 1/2 hour to 1 hour drive. These places include but are not exclusive to Lynn Woods, Middlesex Fells, Vietnam, Harold Parker State Forrest, Borderlands, Foxboro, Bradley Palmer, the Private Reserve, Blue Hills, Cutler Park, the trails up in Beverly, and most of southern New Hampshire (FOMBA, Fort Rock, Pawtuckaway).

    Boston is a great city if you love to live in the city but like to leave if you feel like it. I'm a huge city fan. While I maybe forced to live in the suburbs one day (kids, etc), I won't do it willingly.

    Let me know if you want to check out the trails down here in Mass. I would be happy to give you a tour of Lynn Woods, Vietnam or really any place in the area....

    SpK

  11. #11
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    My place is right on the Orange Line (Sullivan Sq) in Charlestown, 15 minutes from the Fells,30 from HP, allows big dogs, and bumps right up to Cambridge/Somerville (bike lanes heading to parts less urban).

    PM for details, I don't want these crazies know where I live

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