There are so many wonderful things to do. You can walk the Freedom Trail for starters. Before you start make sure that you download one of the apps so you get some info while you walk. The Freedom Trail is amazing and you will have a chance to stop by some historical landmarks like Old North Church and the USS Constitution. One of the best parts is that it is free.
Here is a little bit more about what you'll be getting: The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States.
When the weather permits I like to go and explore the esplanade, these are paths along the Charles River. I usually try this late spring through the summer months and into early/mid-fall which is ideal to get the broadest palette of colors.
One thing that I did when I was younger was go to the Boston Public Library at Copley Square. It was a nice chance to catch my breath and it is really beautiful simply to walk around the area.
The same goes for Beacon Hill, mainly because it has a great historic neighborhood to explore.
You can also go to Harvard Square. For those of us who enjoy activities like exploring the shops this part of town is ideal. And of course you can visit Harvard campus over there.
This really isn't my type of thing. But my mother loves to visit Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum and I used to meet here there when she was in town. It was nice and there is a lot of history, plus $5 admission with a student ID, and when you are on a budget it might be a nice addition.
Then we have Boston Harbor (tea party anyone) and Faneuil Hall. Both of these are interesting to visit, and there are a lot of restaurants and cafes in the area so it can be nice fora couple of hours.
I'm a foodie so the North End is great since I love to eat Italian food and they have plenty of pastry shops, too. It can be great fun to explore the area with the intention on finding something tasty to eat. If you walk the Freedom Trail, North End is right at the end of the trai so it might be a nice way to end the day.
Buying a Home in Boston
The realestate prices here are, well, high, and they can be anywhere from high, to insanely high. But there are the exceptions to the rule and I got lucky. My grandmother moved into a retirement home when my grandfather passed away and I had the chance to buy from her. I paid fair market value for the home, but knew what I was getting. My boyfriend has gone through a much different expereince and I have friends that have as well.
What I can safely say is that I got lucky.
Things canand will go fast. You need to have your pieces in place before you go forward. Because, after the initial offer things will progress very quickly.
You may feel like you are in a tennis match with, counter offers, final offers, etc. all happening within a day or less.
The purchase and sale agreement of the property all happen in a week or two. And even though mine was a done deal I have to say that I also felt like things rushed by. We don't give you much time to make these huge life decisions, and you will spend quite a while reading through pages and pages of legalspeak.
Make sure to talk those over with your agent or attorney.
Like I said, your pieces should be in place before you move forward. Your loan application will probably take forever.
Because it takes time, make sure that you start getting organized in terms of bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns etc. They will ask for all of the above, and it is better to have them on hand nd ready before they ask you for them. In fact it is a plus when it comes to getting apporved because it looks like you have everything together and that you are super organized.
Location, Location, Location People
I see a lot of people make the decision based on price alone and then hate the location.
I wasn't in the best location with my grandmother's house, but what I got was a sentimental touch that I wouldn't have gotten from any other first home. So this was less important to me, but it left me with a little bit of adjustments, more so than I would have done otherwise had I picked out a home.
The reason that I can say that is because I actually had another home selected, but when the opportunity came up I jumped on it. Had things not worked out for some reason I had everything locked into place for that property. But location is key. I was told to answer the question: What's the maximum time you're willing to commute?
And that is a rough estimate, but then you should add 50% to that.
Once you have that you have a radius that you can work from. Once you are there you can narrow your search area to certain locations and your agent can help you.
The more data you have to compare the better and you will be happier in the end. I felt like there wasn't anything else that would make me happy at that time and since I was able to recognize what is a good deal and what is overpriced or a potential money pit (thanks to the help of my father) I got lucky.
Whatever you do make sure that you research the difference between town water/sewer vs. private well / septic. I am adding these here because the further out you get the more it will play a role in the property you select. easements, town zoning laws if you plan to build or renovate in the future.
Checking FEMA flood maps can be a good idea too.
Other location-specific factors:
- Is it on a busy, main street or side street? Corner lot ok? On a hill? Near something noisy like the highway or train tracks? Near a Superfund site? What kind of services do you get for your taxes (trash pickup, etc)?
Remember that you will also need to factor property taxes, insurance, closing costs, and maintenance costs into your financial calculations. All of which will add to the cost by a couple of percent. And as in my case, with a "turn-key, all you have to do is move in!" purchase you will need to at least something done.
All of which was done by my father.
I work close to the fincial district, okay, theoretically, I work in the finical district, just not in the heart. And so most days I will just pick up some lunch there. Pricey? No, not if you know where to look. But if you don't look carefully you will just end up eating chicken salad every day.
And I hate chicken salad in general, so I can't live like that. Which is why I explore the various options regularly and see if they have something new to add. But if you like Mexican food there are a lot of wonderful places to eat. For example, Al's steak bellino which is filled with steak and cheese with onions and peppers is probably the best lunch I've had - many times now - since I work close to them. Also don't let a long line scare you away they move fast.
Here are a couple of other options:
- They are always good if you enjoy subs. I recommend their chicken Parmesan for the first try.
- Five Guys in DTX
- Falafel King
- Get a Shwarma and some napkins, it's wicked good.
- They make a Chilean and it is really good, not to mention filling. They only accept cash only and you will be satisfied with a small.
- Their salads are good and they also make flatbread sandwiches which are also really good. They have a special where you can do a 50/50, that is get a small salad and a half sandwich.
Outside of that there are tons of food trucks along the greenway, I've tried a fair bit of them and never been disappointed. Keep an eye out for Tenoch, they do Mexican sandwiches or burritos and they are so worth the wait. Tenoch's Tortas are on another level if you just want to buy a quick bite to eat and they have a pretty good variety for just a small shop. Another staple in the area is Bon Me which are solid and if you see them give them a try.
I usually do not go out to bars. But there are a number of restaurants that have great beer lists which contain a least a substantial assortment of local stuff listed below:
- Old Magoun's Saloon which is located in Somerville at Magoun Square
- Publick House in Brookline
- Idle Hands
- Deep Ellum which is located in Boston/Allston
- Mystic Brewing
- Daddy Jones which is located in Somerville at Magoun Square
- Night Shift
- Lower Depths in Boston/Fenway area, they only accept cash
- Christopher's which is located in Cambridge/Porter Square
- Five Horses Tavern which is located in Somerville/Davis Square
I don't know I have tried a lot of beer and my taste will sway from time to time, usually because a certain brewery will change the recipe, or they don't offer a certain beer in their assortment. But right now, for my tastes buds, the best Boston metro beer is Lord Hobo's Boom Sauce. Lord Hobo is a restaurant turned restaurant/brewery in Cambridge). Boom Sauce is one of my favorite beers in town.
Trillium is one of the newer local breweries that people really like. They're making really solid beers - but, I think the variation across their styles is a little limited. You can't go wrong with Trillium - but, I don't often experience as much of a change in flavor from one beer to the next as I would expect.
And if you want something a little more full, Jack's Abby's House Lager is great. You'll find that almost anywhere. They have other varieties but the House Lager is usually the best.
If we're talking the Boston area, the greatest beer of all time for me is Olde Burnside's Ten Penny Ale. Goes great with a sword too. It tastes so good it is like drinking straight ichor with your undeserving mouth. Yet they are not quite Boston, actually They are from Hartford if I'm not mistaken. I usually don't have a lot of opportunities to drink it, which is one reason why it is so good. Even though they aren't from around here you can still find their beer a little bit to the west. You will have to check out their map of spots where you can find their brew.
My times indicate that I have finally reached a point where I can qualify for the marathon. Maybe I am over reaching, but it is my dream and now my BQ is finally there.
Wish me luck, Boston!
My husband and I don't have kids, but the older we get the more we realize that our family and friends are all parents. So I thought that I would put together a list of the more family friendly activities that our wonderful city offers.
- The Common is fun but only in the spring / summer. Swan boats, a fountain, tons of green space to run around and a pretty great playground. It's shitty for kids in the winter though.
- George's Island is a good affordable option as well. You get a beautifu view of the city on the ferry ride to/from and the island has a lot of space to run around, fire pits to cook some lunch and tons of cool forts to explore. Also there's a Summer Shack which is a nice plus for everybody.
- Gore Place in Waltham is only about a 15 min drive and it is a historic homestead that has children's activities like snowshoeing, sheep-shearing, and storytimes.
- The Boston Children's Museum is WELL worth the money. If you're on a tight budget go on a Friday and it's only $1.00 per person to get in.
- There's a kid-friendly restaurant in Cambridge called "[Full Moon]( http://www.fullmoonrestaurant.com)" - 1/2 the restaurant is a huge play room with a train table, kitchen, tons of dolls and trucks etc where the kids can run around / play while the parents relax and have a drink. The food is pretty great, it's not too expensive and its the only place like this in Boston.
- First Friday's in the city all the galleries open and at 450 Harrison Ave there are a ton. My little one has loved it since she could walk free and awesome. Added bonus: Thursdays are free at the ICA as well and they have arts & crafts days for kids.
- Near Haymarket / Faneuil Hall there is a nice playground with a big sandbox for the little ones as well. Within walking distance of this playground there is an outdoor merry-go-round which is cheap and fun. Again both these activities are spring/summer related.
- Faneuil Hall has patio seating and free entertainment, weather-permitting. Don't eat at Dick's Last Resort. We have always found them very unfriendly which is what their claim to infamy is to begin with. Only got there if it is your last resort.