So I’ve been waging a not-very-subtle campaign to get some subset of my friends who are “thinking about buying a house maybe some day” to consider doing so within convenient walking distance of my house. This is entirely selfish. It’s simply much easier to have a social life when you have friends on this side of the Big Dig.
Pony ride during winter fair on Stoneham Town Common
In support of this attempt, I thought I’d put together a top 10 list of reasons you should move to Stoneham Massachusetts.
10. The local paper is hilarious. It assumes you already know everyone important in town, exclusively covers potlucks at St. Patrick’s church, and used to feature a safety column by Officer Rotondi, who was rotund. The safety column was excellent, with advice like “Do not put your credit card on the internet. Many criminals are now using the internet.” Best of all is the crime blotter. Every third entry has to do with someone calling the cops on the “youth” who were found to be loitering. One person called the cops because they saw a deer.
9. The Middlesex Fells reservation is part of Stoneham. Who knew that we had such an extensive quasi-wilderness area in sight of Boston? There are miles and miles of trails. You can take an all day hike, with excellent views of the city skyline. It’s close enough to Stoneham Town center to be a reasonable walk, or a quick bike-ride, and is open for cross country skiing and snow shoeing in winter.
The Fells in Stoneham
8. Melissa’s Main Street Bistro
has quite possibly the best menu I’ve ever seen anywhere, ever. Better yet, they deliver on the promise of that great menu. They mix an incredibly powerful martini (and delicious!) but the great news is that if you live here, you can just walk home.
7. We’re right at the corner of I93 and I95. You can find no better location for an equally inconvenient commute for you and your partner. We’re also 10 minutes from the end of the Orange Line (depending on where you are in Stoneham, it’s possible to get closer).
6. Stoneham Town Day! September 11th this year! (You can find this actually helpful information buried on page 6 of the newspaper….) There’s carnival rides, booths from every organization in town, balloons, politician’s kissing babies, raffles and fried dough. Fun for the whole family!
5. My neighborhood has a Walk Score of 80, which is very walkable. Grey can easily walk to: a grocery store, pharmacy, library, bank, post office, police station, park, ice cream parlor (2), about 15 restaurants, live theater, mechanic, bike store, hardware store, furniture store, homepathic store, dance studio, martial arts studio, 5 salons, and best of all, the Book Oasis. And more! As far as I can tell the only things you can’t walk to are the hospital (4 miles) or a movie theater (5 miles).
4. Local politicians actually walk around and knock on doors to personally introduce themselves during election season. I find this both charming and useful. I’m sure it happens other places, but I promise it never happened to me any other place I’ve ever lived.
3. The town square. It’s un-selfconsciously exactly what you imagine New England towns that predate the Revolutionary War to be. It has the bank, post office, funeral home, church, fire station, police station, town hall, park and Honeydew Donuts clustered around it. The church carillon plays music every hour on the hour between 9 and 9. Stoneham Town day is held there. During the summer they hold concerts on the Band Stand. Santa comes to visit in the winter. And every Tuesday in summer and fall we have a Farmer’s Market! You can see people taking strolls, sitting on the bench, or playing Frisbee on unscheduled evenings. Charming!!!
2. Housing prices have held up. The median home price is down about 10% from the peak and has risen this year. Stoneham boasts a nice mix of single family houses, multifamily houses for rent or purchase as a condo, and apartment units. It’s a demographically diverse and well-educated community, but not so upper class that you won’t be able to find a place here you could afford.
And finally, the top reason you should consider moving to Stoneham Massachusetts….
1. I live here, and you could hang out with me!