Aug. 6, 2020
Much of the American drama had its prologue on the beaches, in the forests, and amid the quarries south of Boston. From the anchor-drop of the Mayflower to the earliest establishment of self-governance and freedom to worship, the story of southern Massachusetts looms large over U.S. culture. Presidents, generals, and artists lived here. Today, the communities south of Boston make headlines for their elite quality of life. From historic houses to world-class amenities, sandy shores to woodland preserves, here are some of the best places to live south of Boston ...
Forget the T—are you ready to commute to work in downtown Boston by ferry boat? Not every community in South Shore, which hugs the coast from south Boston to Cape Cod, operates Boston commuter ferries ... but the possibility of a morning boat ride to work is just one of the perks of coastal living that tempts discerning home buyers to South Shore.
South Shore boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, water from deep harbours and tidal estuaries lapping white sand along a meandering coastline that touches 32 separate communities. Swimmers, surfers, and ocean kayakers will be in heaven.
With great schools and beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder that Massachusetts’ rich and famous keep opulent houses in coastal communities like Cohasset and Scituate. Towns like Hull, Duxbury, and Marshfield offer more affordable living options. Median home sale prices clock in at $570,000.
The other great allure of South Shore is the history. The Puritan Pilgrims first made landfall at Plymouth and spread out along the coast throughout the 17th Century, dotting South Shore with charming New England Colonial villages brimming with museums, church steeples, theaters, and cultural treasures like the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra. The “Irish Riviera” also encapsulates in living history the thriving heritage of Irish immigration to Massachusetts.
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First settled in 1649, Hanover is the quintessential New England village—echoes of history sprawled across greenery, the modern seamlessly co-existing with the past under the shade of preserved trees that display brilliant fall colors in the waning summer. With median home prices of $475,000, Hanover is a steal to live in this much peace and quiet, a short commuter train ride from downtown Boston.
Only 10 miles inland from South Shore, the amenities of coastal living are close at hand. But it’s the greenery that draws nature lovers to inland suburbs like Hanover. Forge Pond Park represents the multimillion-dollar efforts of Hanover conservationists to preserve 240 acres of trails, fields, and rivers, perfect for a canoe or kayak trip to a favorite picnic spot.
Closer to home, Hanover also boasts Starland Sports Park and Fun Center, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy mini golf, bumper cars, and indoor sporting events.
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The best reasons to live in Weymouth are the affordable prices and the sense of community. A family-friendly town, nearly three quarters of the households married and over half raising children, Weymouth is the kind of village that forms tight bonds. Neighbors in Weymouth come together to celebrate triumphs, and have each others’ backs through the hard times.
A “failed colony” when it was settled back in 1622 by ill-prepared colonists, this village, sandwiched between Braintree and Hingham projecting inland from the coast, has always been a bit of an underdog in the region. Hurt when an adjacent Naval Air Station closed in 1996, property values haven’t kept up with the surrounding region.
What that does mean is that you can get into a Weymouth home at median prices of $384,000—not bad for a town only a short commuter train or ferry ride to downtown Boston. With the South Weymouth Naval Air Station site slated for development, don’t count Weymouth out as a growth area.
With the right guidance, you can easily find beauty and charm in Weymouth, including 43 parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, and memorials, as well as the preserved house where the nation’s second First Lady, Abigail Adams, was born.
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Rockland was named for the rocky terrain, different from the fertile farms and forests that characterize southeastern Massachusetts. Poor for agriculture, this inland town to the south of Weymouth instead became a hub of industry and milling, as well as a strategic military post.
Industry has mostly left Rockland, resulting in shells of old factories and warehouses that dot the historic streets. Interestingly, this has made Rockland a destination of choice for artists, who reclaim the aesthetically pleasing buildings as studios, galleries, meeting places, and installation sites. This has lent the mostly technical and STEM-oriented workforce of Rockland a decidedly bohemian flare.
With median home prices just north of $320,000, it’s one of the most affordable towns in the area. With habitation dating back to the 17th century, it’s also one of the easiest places to live in a historic colonial home or repurposed industrial loft, a remarkably short driving or train commute to Boston.
Rockland is adjacent to the now-defunct South Weymouth Naval Air Station, a site slated for development, which bodes well for the future of Rockland property values. So does forward movement on a motion to revitalize Rockland Center, a stretch of Union Street poised to thrive with a little love. The Lower South Union Street Historic District is a dream-come-true for history buffs, home of the Grand Army of the Republic Hall and eight other buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Abington is where you move if you are endlessly charmed (and who can blame you?) by the fondness of Puritan settlers for “Village Greens.” Most of the towns south of Boston have at least one. Perched between Weymouth, Brockton, and Rockland, Abington has thirty.
There’s almost no home in Abington, where the home prices median out at an affordable $359,000, that isn’t within walking distance of a beautiful, manicured green space, perfect to walk pets, have a picnic, or just enjoy the fall colors on a brisk Massachusetts autumn day.
If that isn’t enough flora for you, Abington also sits adjacent to Ames Nowell State Park, where the whole family can hike, ride horses, or fish in Cleveland Pond. It’s a great place for cross-country skiing in the winter, too.
If you like peace and quiet, Abington is just a proverbial “nice place to live”—a community of quiet streets, white picket fences, and ample parking. Only 20 miles south of Boston with easy commuting by train, it’s also an affordable place to live. Median home prices tip the scales at $359,000, with a median year of construction of 1969.
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Sprawling across 23 square miles of greenery inland from Duxbury, encompassing sparkling lakes, trimmed municipal forests, and acres of Wildlands Trust preserves, Pembroke is a place to enjoy affordable elegance within easy reach of South Shore. Known for its excellent schools and scattered with village greens, chic restaurants, and quaint coffee shops, this historic timber town was a contender in 2009 for CNN Money’s best places to live in the US.
Driving around, it’s easy to see why. Sparsely populated with room to breathe, each tasteful house seems to exist on its own block, harmoniously incorporated into the surrounding greenery. It’s almost hard to believe that median “sold” prices around here fall as low as $360,000.
There’s more to Pembroke than just a comfortable suburban existence, though. The annual Grand Old Fish Frye sets the town alight with savory sizzling the first weekend in May. The Pembroke Country Club is one of the best greens in Massachusetts to play 18 holes. The Pembroke Friends Meeting House, built by Quakers in 1706, is still an active meeting hall, while the Pembroke Historical Society operates out of two historic one-room schoolhouses that have been converted into museums.
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Part of, yet apart from, the urban sprawl of Boston just to the north, Quincy offers the perfect mix of “urban” and “suburban” to people who want the excitement of the city at their doorstep, but also a quiet hearth to come home to. It’s also a great place to enjoy an urban Boston lifestyle without the hefty price tag. The median home prices of $477,000 are steep, but nowhere near the bite of Boston proper.
Once a center for granite production and shipbuilding, Quincy is now largely a residential suburb of Boston, scattered with bars, coffee shops, and trendy restaurants to cater to the discerning professional demographic that resides here—frugal, but with a taste for the finer things.
There’s history to be had here, too. Quincy encompasses the Peacefield farming estate that is the ancestral home of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. John Hancock also called this town home. Wollaston Beach is popular for sunbathers in the summer months, while wealthy residents keep multi million-dollar homes in Marina Bay and Squantum to the north.
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A local area favorite is Hornstra Dairy Farms and Ice Cream Bar, a family-friendly chance to explore New England’s dairy heritage, meet the cows, and taste the freshest ice cream you have ever tasted. As you travel around the area, you are very likely to see their refrigerated trucks. Providing local delivery once a week to area neighborhoods, Honstra's farm fresh dairy products, as well as other specialty products, right to your door. View their delivery radius and other FAQs.
With the unique opportunities in the South of Boston, it truly is a great place to live. Regardless of the neighborhood you choose: South Shore, Hanover, Weymouth, Rockland, Abington, Pembroke, or Quincy, there are a lot of homes available on the market in the area. Contact Christopher Falco at Chris Falco Realty to help you with your next purchase in the South of Boston.