U.S. News Ranks Massachusetts as #1 for Education

The U.S. News & World Report released their 2018 Best States report based on a total of 77 metrics

Using McKinsey & Company's Leading States Index, each state was assessed under eight major categories with the following weighted values:


Massachusetts earned the eighth spot in the overall state ranking. New Hampshire (#5) and Vermont #9 were the other states from New England who ranked in the Top 10. Here's how Massachusetts lined up in the 2018 Best States report:

  • Overall Rank: #8
  • Education: #1
  • Crime & Corrections: #5
  • Healthcare: #5
  • Economy: #9
  • Quality of Life: #25
  • Fiscal Stability: #40
  • Infrastructure: #45

Learn more about the full methodology and the other state rankings on the U.S. News & World Report website

Another study published earlier this year recognized Massachusetts as the "Best State to Raise a Family."

Timeline and Tips for Moving to Your New Home

Congratulations, you've closed on your new home or signed your new lease! Now it's time to think about the moving process

Packing and moving are not easy feats, but there's no reason that the processes can't be easier with careful planning in advance. Creating an organized, proactive strategy for your move over a reasonable duration prevents a lot of headaches. 

If you're a procrastinator or proactive planner, we've put together a checklist of things to keep in mind while planning your move: 

6 Weeks Before

  • Create a list of people who will need to know your change of address
    • Family and Friends
    • Current Workplace(s) and former workplaces (W-2 forms)
    • Insurance and credit card companies
    • Cable and telephone companies
    • Subscription delivery services (ex: Amazon Prime, Uber Eats)
  • If you're planning on hiring a company, compare prices of moving services in your area
  • If you're planning on doing the move yourself, contact friends and family willing to help and compare prices of truck rentals
  • Start thinking about items you plan to keep or get rid of via selling, donating or disposing of 
  • Buy moving supplies, in bulk if necessary
    • Boxes
    • Packing tape
    • Scissors
    • Sharpies or any brand of permanent markers
    • Bubble wrap
    • Padded quilts (can be rented from moving company)
    • Twine
    • Reusable bags and containers
  • Pro Tip: Stop by your local liquor store and ask for boxes to use for your move—these smaller boxes are great for transporting household items

4 Weeks Before

  • Figure out which items will need special packaging or delivery to your new home
  • Make copies of your important documents in case they are misplaced or stolen during the move
  • Begin packing your belongings, starting with the items you do not immediately use (ex: seasonal clothing, guest room) and moving onto room decorations
  • Begin organizing items for a moving yard-sale or donation drop-offs to Goodwill, local shelters, and food pantries 
  • Confirm with friends and family who had committed to helping with your move
  • Schedule/Confirm moving services 
  • Pro Tip: Labeling your boxes will save you plenty of time and spare yourself from headaches while unpacking. Note what it is contained in each box on a "master inventory list" on a GoogleDoc, as well as organize boxes by room

1-2 Weeks Before

  • Decide who will be the key person to coordinate move-in day for people to ask questions
  • Confirm that your utilities are set up and ready for your new home
  • Confirm that your utilities will no longer be in service in your old home after your move is complete
  • Set aside essential items (ex: toiletries, change of clothing) from the remaining items that must be packed 
  • Set aside cleaning supplies needed to prepare for move-in day
  • Reduce the number of perishable foods you normally purchase and use as much food that is already in your food pantry
  • Pro Tip: If you have perishable food items that cannot be donated or unused, host a party with friends and family and feature a "free table," allowing guests to take odds and ends as they wish. This is a fun way to reduce potential waste.

Day of

  • Make sure everyone has the contact information for the key moving coordinator and other collaborators as needed
  • Pack the moving trucks with the heaviest items first, then group boxes together by room
  • Ensure that fragile items are carefully placed 
  • Provide water and snacks throughout the day and order food for family and friends helping out—they are doing a huge favor!

Additional Resources


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Parks and Green Spaces in Boston

With spring coming around the corner, Bostonians are getting ready to smell blooming flowers, see green grass and take in the warmer weather!

Residents and tourists are familiar with Boston Common and Public Garden, but there are more green spaces throughout the city. Smaller neighborhoods have corners of green gardens peppered on every other street, whereas other neighborhoods are in close proximity to large parks like Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park or the Wharf District Park.  

We've put together a short of list of parks and green spaces in some of our favorite Boston neighborhoods:

Back Bay-Beacon Hill

For everyone:

  • Copley Square
  • Public Garden

For playgrounds:

  • Clarendon Street Play Lot, 260 Clarendon Street
  • Myrtle Street Playground, 50 Myrtle Street
  • Phillips Street Play Area, 21 Phillips Street


For everyone:

  • Thompson Square, 111 Warren Street
  • Winthrop Square, 55 Winthrop Street
  • Mayor Menino Park, 1st Avenue Street Frontage

For playgrounds:

  • Caldwell Street Play Area, 9 Caldwell Street
  • Cook Street Play Area, 15 Hill Street
  • Harvard Mall, 29 Harvard Street


For everyone:

  • Angell Memorial Square, 152-158 Congress Street
  • Bay Village Garden, 32 Melrose Street
  • Bay Village Neighborhood Park, 113 Charles Street South
  • Boston Common, 139 Tremont Street (location of tourist office)
  • Cardinal Cushing Park, 5 New Chardon Street
  • Christopher Columbus Park, 110 Atlantic Avenue
  • Copp's Hill Terrace, 520 Commercial Street
  • Faneuil Square, 1P Faneuil Hall Square
  • Lincoln Square, 2 Columbus Street
  • North Square, 1P North Square

For playgrounds:

  • Langone Park, 529-543 Commercial Street
  • Puopolo Playground, 517 Commercial Street


For everyone:

  • Back Bay Fens, 100 Park Drive
  • Commonwealth Avenue Mall, 484 Commonwealth Avenue
  • Ramler Park, 130 Peterborough Street

For playgrounds:

  • Edgerly Road Playground, 6 Edgerly Road

Jamaica Plain

For everyone:

  • Arnold Arboretum, 125 The Arborway
  • Jamaica Pond Park, 507 Jamaica Way
  • Mahoney Square, 399P Centre Street
  • Nira Rock Urban Wild, 22 Nira Avenue
  • Olmsted Park, 217 Jamaicaway 

For playgrounds:

  • Forbes Street Playground, 60 Forbes Street
  • Mission Hill Playground, 60 Smith Street
  • Mozart Street Playground, 10 Mozart Street

For the complete list of parks and green spaces, visit The City of Boston's website.

Free Home Buying Seminar Thursday, March 1st!

Join us at 6:00 PM on Thursday, March 1st for a fun, informative and FREE Home Buying Seminar.  This short presentation - perfect for first-time homebuyers or anyone looking for a refresher on the process - will feature info and tips from real estate agents, lenders, home inspectors and real estate attorneys.  


Topics will include:

  • Overview of the home buying process
  • Snapshot of the local market
  • Secrets to get an accepted offer
  • Comparing financing options
  • Preparing for home ownership
  • Buying vs. renting
  • Home inspection process
  • What to expect at the closing table
  • Q&A


WHEN:  6:00 to 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 1st 2018

WHERE:  The "Brookline Teen Center" @ 40 Aspinwall Ave, Brookline, MA 02446

WHO:  Anyone interested in the home buying process!

RSVP: (limited space!)



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    8 Winter Weekend Getaways in New England

    Boston is beautiful year-round, but sometimes it's to escape outside of the city in the winter months

    Winter activities in New England are not limited to skiing and snowboarding—there are plenty of outdoor activities to do that would not necessarily draw your attention once summer begins. 

    Here are 8 destinations to spend a long weekend trip in other parts of New England:

    West Hartford, Connecticut

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 2-hour drive 
    • What to See & Do:
      • Visit Connecticut's Children Museum 
      • Take a short drive to see classic American author Mark Twain's house
    • Dinner Date: avert Brasserie 
    • Where to Stay: Delamar West Hartford 

    Stowe, Vermont

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: > 3.5-hour drive; > 6.5-hour bus ride 
    • What to See & Do:
      • Take in the wintry weather at Stowe Mountain Resort's scenic trails
      • Hit the slopes at Mount Mansfield for downhill skiing
      • Tour Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory
    • Dinner Date: Cork Wine Bar & Market
    • Where to Stay: Field Guide 

    Portsmouth, New Hampshire

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 1.5-hour drive; 2-hour bus ride
    • What to See & Do:
      • Explore the restaurants and shops in Market Square 
      • Visit the Strawberry Banke Museum to see what colonial life in Portsmouth, NH was like
      • Spend the afternoon at Book & Bar, an old-fashioned bookshop that serves light fare and has live entertainment 
    • Dinner Date: Surf Portsmouth
    • Where to Stay: The Hotel Portsmouth

    Newport, Rhode Island

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 1.5-hour drive
    • What to See & Do:
      • Visit the historic Gilded Age mansions on Bellevue Avenue
      • Explore The Cliff Walk from Easton's Beach to Salve Regina University's campus
      • Wine tasting at Newport Vineyards in nearby Middletown, RI
      • Enjoy local nightlife by bar hopping along Broadway, Newport's main scene for locals
    • Brunch: The Clarke Cooke House
    • Dinner Date: Stoneacre Brasserie, Castle Hill Inn
    • Where to Stay: Gilded

    Kennebunkport, Maine

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 2-hour drive
    • What to See & Do:
      • Ski, snowshoe or walk in the National Estuarine Research Reserve of Wells Reserve
      • Shop around Dock Square and Kennebunk's Lower Village
      • Relax during a spa treatment at Whit Barn Inn & Hotel by Grace Hotels
    • Dinner Date: Bandaloop, 2 Dock Square, Kennebunkport
    • Where to Stay: Kennebunkport Inn

    Providence, Rhode Island

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 1-hour drive; < 1-hour via Northeast Regional Commuter Rail
    • What to See & Do:
      • Visit Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum
      • Go ice skating in the downtown Bank of America ice rink
      • Take a self-guided walking tour along Benefit Street to see historic colonial homes
    • Brunch: The Duck and Bunny 
    • Where to Stay: The Dean Hotel

    Rockport, Massachusetts

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston:  < 1-hour drive;1.5-hour T ride via Newburyport/Rockport Line 
    • What to See & Do:
      • Walk around downtown Rockport along Bearskin Neck neighborhood for unique New England shopping
      • Visit the Twin Lighthouses, among the oldest lighthouses in the United States
      • Grab your camera and explore Halibut Point State Park to see beautiful views of Cape Ann
    • Dinner Date: Feather & Wedge
    • Where to Stay: Emerson Inn

    New Haven, Connecticut

    • Estimated Travel Time from Boston: < 3-hour drive; 2-hour Acela train ride
    • What to See & Do:
      • Visit Yale Peabody Museum of Natural Museum
      • See the largest collection of PEZ products at the PEZ Visitor Center 
      • Taste classic New Haven pizza at Frank Pepe's Pizzeria
    • Dinner Date: Olea (Spanish/Mediterranean) 
    • Where to Stay: The Study at Yale


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    2018 Boston Housing Market: What You Need to Know

    As Boston continues to experience an influx of growth, here's what you need to know about Boston's real estate market in 2018

    With the arrival of corporate giants like GE—as well as the much-anticipated arrival of Amazon—Boston is on the fast-track to becoming a booming business and commerce center well beyond 2018. 

    There are some sources that speculate metropolitan cities in the United States like Boston are currently overvalued, but it shouldn't immediately deter potential home buyers or renters from investing in the area. With proper research and planning, it can be possible to find the right luxury condo, apartment or home in the Boston area. 

    To get an idea of the 2018 Boston housing market, we've picked these articles to provide an overview of what other real estate experts are saying: 


    The Housing Market Looks Good Unless You're a First Time Millennial Buyer

    The nation’s housing market for 2018 continues to look good, according to two recently released reports. But first-time millennial buyers will continue to struggle with affordability, especially in high-priced areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Washington DC.

    Continue reading...


    Four Things to Watch Out For in 2018 Boston Real Estate

    Every new year brings with it changes to housing markets, consumer preferences and how real estate professionals conduct business, and 2018 is no exception. It’s a year that will see sweeping federal changes take hold, as well as a number of local and regional changes that will impact housing markets in ways both big and small. From tax reform to rising interest rates to the impact of a potential major corporate relocation, here are some of the issues that will have the biggest impact on Boston real estate in 2018.

    Continue reading...


    Will That Remodel Pay Off? Here's the project payback for projects

    Not all remodeling projects are created equal. In fact, some may help you resell your house more than others. In its annual Cost v. Value report, Remodeling magazine tracked the price and payoff for 20 of the most popular professional projects (midrange and upscale) in 100 US markets for 2017.

    Continue reading...


    Boston-area rent/price ratio tells tale of neighborhood potential

     “Asking price can be seen as a measure of the long-term prospects of a neighborhood,” NeighborhoodX research director Constantine Valhouli said over email. “Asking rent can be seen as a reflection of what the neighborhood is like right now.”

    Continue reading...

    Study Ranks Massachusetts as "Best State to Raise a Family"

    Massachusetts ranks #1 Best State to Raise a Family according to 2018 study

    Whether you're a young couple looking to build a family or a larger family seeking more opportunities, moving to the right place can be an overwhelming decision for anyone. Will there be relatives and friends nearby? How are the public schools for your children? Are there plenty of activities to engage different ages? Is the area you're interested in even affordable?

    Massachusetts 2018 Best State to raise a family WalletHub published 2018’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family to address many of these concerns. 

    The WalletHub study evaluated each state based on 42 indicators of family-friendliness under five main categories—Family Fun, Health & Safety, Education & Childcare, Affordability, and Socio-economics. 

    The highest average score between the five categories produced the overall rank.

    The Results

    Massachusetts, followed by Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont are the top five ranking states. The lowest ranking states are Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Connecticut (#11) and Maine (#17) were the only other New England states to make the Top 20.

    "States can make family life better—or worse—by taking steps to ensure quality childcare and education and by providing economic programs that support families," says Anne L. Alstott, Jacquin D. Bierman Professor in Taxation at Yale Law School. "Families are inevitably affected by the cost of living, by child care, and educational quality, and by policies like family leave and mandated sick leave. And facilities like public transportation, public parks, and affordable housing can all improve the quality of family life."

    In addition to earning the top spot, Massachusetts ranked #3 for having the lowest infant mortality rate. However, Massachusetts was recognized as one of the least affordable childcare costs in the country at #48. 

    Review the full WalletHub study to see the complete list of rankings, methodology and expert panel. 

    In 2017, Boston ranked #8 on The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for its strong job market opportunities, low unemployment rate, and high desirability to live in the New England city. 


    5 Classic Boston Sports Bars

    It's no secret that there are few sports fans that are as avid and loyal as Boston sports fans.

    Each Boston neighborhood has its own spots, so it's hard to name every amazing sports bar in Beantown!

    Here are five Boston sports bars that are tried-and-true places to grab a few beers and cheer on the Celtics, the Red Sox, and the New England Patriots:

    The All-Star Line Up

    Cask 'n Flagon, 62 Brookline Avenue (also located in Marshfield)

    Claim to Fame: The Fenway staple has been serving Boston sports fans since 1969

    The Fours Restaurant and Sports Bar, 166 Canal Street (also located in Norwell and Quincy)

    Claim to Fame: Recognized as #1 Sports Bar in America by Sports Illustrated—a claim that no other local sports bar refutes

    The Bleacher Bar, 82A Lansdowne Street 

    Claimt to Fame: With a centerfield view of Fenway Park, it's hard to think of a better place for Red Sox fans to enjoy the ball game. The space was previously used as the visiting team’s batting cage, as well as field storage.

    The Harp, 85 Causeway Street

    Claim to Fame: In addition to being a favorite sports bar and restaurant steps away from TD Garden, The Harp hosts a variety of nightlife entertainment that is perfect for post-game celebrations

    Parlor Sports Bar, 3 Beacon Street, Somerville

    Claim to Fame: Named 2017 Best Sports Bar by Boston Magazine and known for having a well-curated beer and cocktail list 

    More Suggestions for Boston Sports Bars:

    Romantic Restaurants in Boston

    Have you thought about where to go for a special date night in Boston?

    Whether you're looking to plan Valentine's Day dinner or surprise someone you love for no reason, these Beantown restaurants check all the boxes for a romantic evening. 

    The Classics

    It's no surprise that the highly-recommended romantic restaurants in Boston are French—after all, it is one of the most romantic languages and cultures in the world. 

    • L'Espalier, French, 774 Boylston Street, Back Bay
    • No. 9 Park, Italian/French, 9 Park Street, Beacon Hill
    • Bistrot du Midi, French, 272 Boylston Street, Back Bay 
    • Mistral, French, 223 Columbus Avenue, South End
    • Tasca, Spanish Tapas, 1612 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton

    The Newcomers

    Spoke Wine Bar, 89 Bennet Square, Somerville

    Spoke Wine Bar has been around since 2013, but has been under new management since April 2017. Late founder and original owner Felicia “Flea” Foster had stepped away from the restaurant in 2015 as she dealt with her amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. Spoke reopened last spring with new owner Mary Kurth and new executive chef Eric Frier who sought to combine their new ideas with well-loved Spoke's legacy. Foster, who passed away in October 2017, is remembered for her many accomplishments, fierce spirit and opening one of America's Top 20 Wine Bars and a Somerville neighborhood favorite. 

    Benedetto, Italian, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge (inside The Charles Hotel)

    When The Charles Hotel made the decision to close Rialto in June 2016, shortly after the departure of chef and owner Jody Adams, the restaurant space was leased and replaced by Michael Pagliarini, chef and owner of Giulia. An Umbrian native, Pagliarini and his wife Pamela Ralston invite customers to "experience the re-imagining of rustic Italian recipes with luxe ingredients and artisan bravado." If the main plates aren't enough to entice you, perhaps Boston Magazine's review of the "enchanted sugarscapes" crafted by pastry chef Renae Connolly will hit your sweet spot. 

    Café Du Pays, French-Canadian, 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge

    The same restaurant group behind State Park, Mamaleh's and Hungry Mother—which closed in 2015—opened the new French-Canadian restaurant in July 2017. If the established restaurant collection doesn't indicate a positive future for Café Du Pays, the restaurant has earned 2017 Restaurant of the Year and 2017 Top Best New Restaurant. Not convinced enough to make reservations? Read this review.

    Additional Recommendations

    Check out the Boston Chefs website for a more comprehensive list of Valentine's Day restaurant specials.

    Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Boston

    Boston is ready to ring in the New Year for 2018

    After a fireworks hiatus for last year's New Year's Eve celebrations, the Boston Globe reports that the First Night in Boston is back!

    The First Night in Boston, which is now run by Conventures on a pro bono basis, will be a free event open to the public. An estimated 200,000-300,000 attendees will enjoy a variety of events to suit the entire family with a view of the Boston Harbor. 

    Unlike in years past, when attendees had to purchase a button to attend some events, Conventures turned First Night into a free event featuring local artists and performers, ice sculptures, a figure skating show, a parade, and a 7 p.m. family fireworks display on Boston Common sponsored by the Mugar Foundation.

    To follow the New Year's Eve festivities, the First Day in Boston will host more family friendly activities in Copley Square. 

    Boston has had a long history of being one of the best cities to celebrate New Year's Eve in the United States for over forty years. 

    The Boston Globe recognizes the First Night as "the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country, it inspired dozens of similar festivals across the country and pumped millions into the local economy." Although the city has struggled to gather funds for the First Night in Boston in recent years, residents and tourists are excited to see the celebration return for 2018. 

    Visit the First Night in Boston's website for more information.

    More on New Year's Eve Celebrations in Boston