Top ten reasons you should move to Stoneham MA

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
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
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!

Will the excitement never cease?

I had a tiring weekend. Adam spent the weekend at a jQuery conference in Boston — basically “working” longer hours than he usually works. Friday night I spent an exciting evening doing bills (I know I know! The hedonistic lifestyle!) Saturday morning I didn’t get much sleepinginage due to aforementioned conference. But that’s ok! Stoneham Town Day! Bouncy houses! Funnel cake! Fun times! I piled Thane in a stroller and shod Grey, then went to knock on my neighbors’ doors. One neighbor wasn’t ready yet. The other neighbor had a house-wide cold, so we walked down the street by ourselves.

There was a man singing outside the Honeydew donuts. Dressed in a clown suit. Exciting!

Then the common appeared in our sights. The green, barren, empty common.

You know, they could at least have had someone there with an umbrella explaining what had gone on. I finally tracked down the guy disassembling the fair rides to ask what was going on. Postponed, he said, due to rain.

Ok, ok, I understand the postponement. What I totally DON’T understand is how the rest of Stoneham knew not to come!. I mean, neighbor #1 looked online and there was no mention. There were no signs. The paper is a weekly. I really like my town. But sometimes I feel like there’s this vast network of people named “Rotondi” who know what’s going on and who are REALLY from Stoneham and then there’s the rest of us.

As a consolation prize, I took my sons to Angelo’s pizza. There was a table of men sitting in the back gossiping in Italian, with succulent looking appetizers on a plate in front of them. This is a tip, people. The best pizza in town is likely to be found in a place where old Italian men gather to complain about the weather.

Backlit boy is angry!
Backlit boy is angry!

The rest of the day was in the same vein. Grey had a complete and total meltdown at aikido. Thane squirmed. I attempted an overly complicated dinner. Adam came home two hours later than I thought he would. Then I went to Target, failed to get sufficient formula, and spent an unconscionable amount on stuff, which included a steam cleaner. I can’t remember the other things. I think Target doubles it’s bills and I never actually noticed.

But Sunday would be better, right? My neighbors were coming to church with us. Look at that! Actual outreach! You’d think I was the chair of hospitality or something. (Oh wait….) But I was running solo. And when I went to drop Thane off in the nursery, a desperate-eyed fellow parent looked at the 7 one year olds bitterly crying and mentioned she could use a hand. I’m pretty sure it’s NOT in the membership handbook to leave your three year old with your friends (even if it includes his best friend) to “show them the ropes” while you do nursery duty. Also, I fail Fall Luncheon Planning 101 due to complete lack of knowledge of “who usually does this”. The guy who knows all that died of a heart attack this summer, and his loss is felt on a thousand levels. Anyway, I hope they felt welcomed and had a good time anyway. Also, does anyone want to sign up for a beverage for the Fall Luncheon?

We got home. Grey refused to eat the delicious meal I prepared for him. (Really. No sarcasm.) Grey didn’t nap. Thane was desperately weary and I had to keep waking him up to: get my coffee, get in the house, etc.

Proof of delicious lunch
Proof of delicious lunch

Also, I would like to mention that if your friend has a child who is learning how to walk, and you never see the child but there’s a new egg on his head, scratch on his face, and oatmeal stuck in his hair, it’s not because the parents are abusive. Or that they don’t love their children. No. It’s because 10 month olds attempt to commit suicide by stupidity ALL THE TIME. Thane loves: standing up in the bathtub and jumping (he can’t jump), climbing on to things he doesn’t know how to get down from, playing with the dishwasher, falling, hitting his head, and trying to play with his brother’s toys. All of these can lead to injuries on a regular basis, try as I will to wrap him in bubble wrap in the morning.

Then Sunday night I did yoga. Yay! And ouch! Aaaaaaand I lost in St. Petersburg by 29 points. Adam says he’s sick of playing with me. I say I’m playing until I figure out why I’m so terrible at the game, and that if he prefers I’d be happy to play Agricola instead.

Finally, I had terrible insomnia last night and despite going to bed at 10:20, didn’t get to sleep until well after midnight.

Now I’m at work and daycare apparently has NO formula (how did I spend that much at Target and not even get formula?). Grey informed me this morning that he’s “A little shy with girls” and refused to explain. Also, I’ve tried really hard not to write the “and after my Honey Nut Cheerios I let Thane clean the kitchen floor (lacking a dog) and stacked the dishwasher for the 34th time this weekend” posts. But I didn’t have any better ideas today, so you’re stuck.

Completely unrelated! The put-together bedroom for your lilac viewing pleasure!

I steamed the curtains after this, so now they're less wrinkly
I steamed the curtains after this, so now they're less wrinkly

The view from the door (a lie - our bed is never made)
The view from the door (a lie - our bed is never made)