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.
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.
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!
7 thoughts on “Top ten reasons you should move to Stoneham MA”
Another reason you should move to Stoneham … Baja Fresh – excellent fish tacos! reminds me of California.
Great top ten list.
Sandy Avila, Director of Operations at Prepped & Polished: Tutoring, College Counseling, Test Prep
Unfortunately Baja Fresh in the Redstone shopping plaza closed last year I believe. But there is a quite good Mexican eatery just a block closer to town square called The Three Amigos (http://www.yelp.com/biz/three-amigos-mexican-restaurant-stoneham).
One BiG reason NOT to move to Stoneham is the poorly funded school system. The HS has been warned for years about losing accreditation. No arts programs and crowded classrooms. Used to be much better but the town is virtually bankrupt, police, fire and services have been slashed. Too bad.
There are two ways to look at the town. One is to say it’s not as good as it used to be. This may be true – I wasn’t here 10 or 20 years ago to know. Another is as an outsider looking at it on its own current merits. It’s a charming, quaint, lovely New England town with a good school system in a great location. It may not be Lexington or Arlington or Winchester, but it’s an awesome place to live and raise a family. Of course there are challenges with schools and funding as there are across the US, but the superintendent seems like he will resolve the issues you raise, and the elementary schools are excellent.
The town isn’t going to get better if all the locals can do is diss it and complain that it isn’t how it used to be.
My husband and I are thinking of moving up to Stoneham from Allston. This article sealed the deal for me! I am from a small town, and local newspapers SLAY me. Your list is amazing; we clearly consider the same things important — Officer Rotondi? I love it!
I was wondering if you could give me any advice about neighborhoods to seek our or avoid. We’d love to be on a quiet street within walking distance from downtown.
I also love that there’s a butcher and an italian grocer in town — are they any good? Where do you fall on the Great Chinese Takeout Debate that apparently tears Stoneham apart? Any great pizza places?
Thanks so much for this article — it made a huge impact on us!!
Glad to hear you’re seriously considering our fair city!
Stoneham is relatively small, and there are no bad neighborhoods or slums, so you’re not going to go too wrong. If you want to be in walking distance of the downtown area on a quiet street, you’ll have lots of options. I live in the square of town between 193 and Main Street, and Marble & Montvale avenues. There are several great properties available in that area, and it is quiet, walkable, and extremely commute-convenient. It is served by South School, where my son attends Kindergarten and has so far had an excellent experience!
The butcher is great. They have lots of Italian cooking supplies. We are, perhaps, slightly oversupplied in Italian food. Our big fight is for best pizza (top contenders being Angelos or Deli Works. So far we usually order Thai instead of Chinese when the urge strikes.
Good luck! Let us know how your choice works out!!!
Thank you so much for the quick reply! That’s just the area we’re hoping to land in. We’ll be in the area house-hunting this weekend. Looking forward to it!