Boston Neighborhoods

5 Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Boston, MA

Mark the family calendar for these fun fall festivities in Boston and beyond

It can be tough to get back in the rhythm of things after summertime, but the variety of fall family activities can bring everyone back together after long work weeks and busy school days. Cities and towns all over Massachusetts know the importance of a family-friendly social calendar within their communities—it's one of the reasons why the state was named the Best State to Raise a Family earlier this year. 

Here are some favorite local Boston-area fall festivals to bring along everyone in your family: 

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival

Date: late September

Hosted by the Boston's renowned Berklee College of Music, it's described as "Boston’s biggest block party" that attracts music lovers with a variety of live music performances drawing from jazz, Latin, blues, funk, and groove. For the kids, there's also KidsJam, an instrument petting zoo, and an array of food vendors. 

 

Allston Village Street Fair 

Date: late September

Labeled as the "Boston's Hippest Multicultural Event," the Allston Village Street Fair invites the entire family to enjoy live music and entertainment, interactive activities and an international food court. Worried about parking? Allston is easily accessible on several T lines and there will be a free shuttle available to the Guest Street Parking Garage in Brighton. 

 

Nantucket Cranberry Festival

Date: early October 

Escape Boston for the day and head to the coast for family fun in Nantucket. Sponsored by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, "visitors can expect to learn about the history of cranberry farming on Nantucket through educational displays and harvesting demonstrations, participate in family activities, sample delectable cranberry treats, and other New England classics, or simply enjoy the music and the spectacular autumn scenery." The best part? You can bring some organic Nantucket cranberries to enjoy back home in Boston!

 

Annual Pumpkin Float at Frog Pond

Date: mid-late October

Bring-your-own carved 8-inch pumpkin to be displayed at Frog Pond in Boston Common! Volunteers will illuminate and place your pumpkins into the pond for a spooky spectacular. This is the perfect event to invite family, friends, and your children's friends for a family fun night out in the heart of Boston. 

 

The Big E

Dates: mid-September - late September

Based in West Springfield, the Eastern States Exposition (the Big E) is a major festival in the Northeast that offers a variety of music, food, and entertainment for everyone. The Big E spans over two weeks with live performances, food and beverage contests, car shows, circus spectaculars and much more. 

How to Negotiate in a Seller's Market as a First-Time Home Buyer

It's no secret that the Boston real estate market is on fire right now.

With all of the business development opportunities pouring into the city—alongside the already established education and medical sectors—the Boston housing market has reached unparalleled levels of competition among buyers.

Although the hot real estate market is a positive indicator for Boston, the climate is increasingly difficult for first-time homebuyers to settle in the Boston area. Today's Beantown area buyers now find themselves searching for their home in a real estate market where inhabitable fire damaged homes or barely habitable fixer-uppers are listed for $600K or $800K respectively.

What is a seller's market?

seller's market (n.)- "a market in which goods are scarce, buyers have a limited range of choice, and prices are high" (Merriam-Webster)

In a seller's market, buyers are at the mercy of the market and are much less likely to hold the position of power. Bad news for home buyers, but great news for seller's who can make a higher profit because of the increasing demand for housing.

In a buyer's market, the power reverses—buyers are in the position of power and are much more likely to able to negotiate terms (i.e. price) in their favor. The seller is less likely to get their ideal list price.

It is certainly seller's market in the Boston area—the low inventory for homes remains vastly disproportionate to the continued exponential growth of Boston residents.  

Want to know how can you succeed in your home search? We've put together a handful of tips to keep in mind while finding your Boston home:

Tips for Home Buyers in Seller's Market

Set realistic expectations. Everyone loves being optimistic, but it's also important to consider the reality. Your expectations, your must-haves, and/or your budget may not align with the current climate of the real estate market. For example, in a seller's market, there is less leverage for a buyer to negotiate repairs. 

Get prequalified/preapproved for a loan by a lender. Be proactive by getting prequalified and having a letter to show sellers. Why? Sellers want to see proof that you can afford a loan and will be more willing to accept your offer before someone else who is not prequalified.

Make a strong offer and move fast... Buying a home in a seller's market is not a gentle courtship. When you find your ideal home in a competitive market, chances are that there are plenty of other people who see the same potential for themselves. Be agile by submitting your offer as soon as possible. 

... then be ready to anticipate a bidding war. Even after you put your best foot forward with your strong offer, don't be surprised if you're caught in a bidding war.  

Work with an experienced real estate agent who you can trust. There are so many obstacles buyers face in any real estate climate, but searching in a seller's market requires an extra know-how to succeed in your home buying journey. A knowledgeable real estate agent will help find the best listings for your needs, identify the right opportunities, recommend the right way to proceed in a bidding war and so much more.

Resources

July Food Holidays and Where to Celebrate Them in Boston, MA

There are great food holidays to celebrate year-round—it just so happens that July has some of the best ones on the calendar!

If you're a New Englander, then you know what it means to make the most out of the summer season. It's time to relax, unwind and even escape your own backyard for a quick weekend getaway.

If you're a foodie living in the Boston area, it's time to get out and explore new restaurants with outdoor dining!

Here are some food holidays to celebrate in July that will give you an excuse to try something different from your normal spots:

July 1: National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day

  • Where to Go: Gracie's Ice Cream—22 Union Square, Somerville, MA
  • Why?: Change up your classic ice cream preferences from any one of Gracie's ever-changing selection of homemade flavors
  • More suggestions: The Coolest New Boston Ice Cream Shops (Eater)

July 3: National Fried Clam Day

July 4: National Spare Ribs Day

July 6: National Fried Chicken Day

July 10: National Pina Colada Day

July 14: National Mac and Cheese Day

July 24: National Tequila Day

July 25: National Wine & Cheese Day

July 30: National Cheesecake Day

Where are your favorite restaurants and bars to explore in Boston?

Boston-based Lifestyle Bloggers to Follow

Find inspiration for Boston living through lifestyle blogs

What is a lifestyle blog, anyway?

A lifestyle blog offers a more personal perspective of an individual—think of it as a more sophisticated diary, inside travel guide, home and décor magazine all in one place. Each lifestyle blogger shares their experiences in their own backyard or abroad with their own authentic voice.

Follow these Boston-based lifestyle bloggers for ideas on how to enjoy Beantown and beyond:

It's Kristin

Sub-Categories: Style/Beauty/Wellness/Travel

About: Kristin Bassett has been living in Boston since 2006. According to her bio, Bassett works in tech marketing during the day and works on her personal lifestyle blog in her spare time. She enjoys sharing her travels and connecting with other Boston bloggers through quick Q&A interviews. 

Brunch on Sunday

Sub-categories: Style/Beauty/Travel

About: Originally from coastal Maine, Mackenzie Murphy launched Brunch on Sunday as a creative outlet alongside her full-time job as a special education teacher. Murphy imbues her blog posts with her playful and authentic spirit. 

Elisabeth McKnight

Sub-Categories: Style/Motherhood/Cooking/Travel

About: Elisabeth McKnight is a happy young mother, lifestyle blogger and part-time social media consultant based in the Boston area. Although motherhood is a prevalent topic in McKnight's posts, she also shares great recipes to try at home for entertaining or staying in. McKnight attended Brigham Young University and earned her degree in Political Science and Economics. 

Paris, Meet Boston

Sub-categories: Travel/Fashion/Culture

About: Boston-based writer Lindsay Shores describes herself as an " avid Francophile, fluent French speaker, and lover of Parisian style and living." Shores, who spent time living in Paris, frequently travels back to the City of Light with her husband Dan and has a passion for bridging French culture with her Boston lifestyle.

Boston Chic Party

Sub-Categories: Style/Motherhood/Entertaining/Travel

About: Run by blogger and mother Jenna DiMaggio, Boston Chic Party is a great reference for young moms living in Boston. DiMaggio enjoys sharing her tips on entertaining and how to be a clever hostess, as well as what to do in Boston and personal style tips. 

Courtesy of Court

Sub-Categories: Travel/Foodie/Style/Fitness

About: Courtesy of Court is Courtney Osgood's creative outlet that brings her passions together.  Boston blogger Osgood describes herself as a "TV journalist turned lifestyle publicist + blogger" who "finds beauty in the 'little things', and brings them to life through her writing." In 2017, Osgood launched her own PR firm, CKO PR, to help clients gain exposure to top editors and publications.

 

Summertime Festivals in Boston, MA

As much as we love going to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard during the summer, there's also plenty of fun to be had in downtown Boston!

One of the many positive things about living in Boston, Massachusetts is having access to fun and interesting cultural events year-round. Here's a quick round-up of popular summer festivals to explore in downtown Boston and the greater Boston area:

 

Boston Calling (Memorial Day weekend)

Since 2013, Boston's music festival features major live musical acts. Past headliners include fun., Young the Giant, Vampire Weekend, Beck, Mumford & Sons, and, more recently, Eminem, The Killers and Jack White:

Boston Calling Music Festival is a three-day, multi-stage festival featuring the biggest and best acts in live music, comedy, and visual arts. The event will provide easy access to all performance areas, incredible concessions, indoor performances and many surprises to be announced. All ages are welcome and children under 10 are free. 

Tall Ships in Boston with Sail Boston (mid-June)

Want to experience New England history on the water? Come aboard the beautiful historic tall ships in the Boston Harbor:

Sail Boston brings 52 magnificent tall ships from all over the world to Boston Harbor in June for a 5-day festival. 

You can watch the Tall Ships Parade through the Harbor, join on-board tours, see them up close on special cruises, and enjoy the festival's celebrations and other special events. 

Boston Harbor Festival (late June-Fourth of July)

The five-day festival in downtown Boston is dedicated to celebrating Beantown's history. The festival always closes with the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular:

With hundreds of activities over Independence Day weekend at Boston’s best landmarks, this family-friendly event is the country’s largest Fourth of July festival. Activities include the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment and much more!

Green River Festival (mid-July)

The Green River Festival is the result of two separate events held in Greenfield, Massachussetts—the Upcountry Balloon Fair on one weekend, followed by the anniversary of the local radio stations WRSI. Over time, the local events merged into today's unique folk-boho-hot air balloon festival in the Boston-area.


Over the years, the festival has hosted dozens of music giants including established legends like Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Earle, and more recent stars like The Avett Brothers, Neko Case, Calexico, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, CAKE, Fountains Of Wayne, Old Crow Medicine Show, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and many others.  

Now in its 32nd year, the Green River Festival continues to combine hot air ballooning with world-class musical performers. 

 

Stunning Waterfront Condos for Sale in Boston

Imagine enjoying an obscured view of Boston harbor every day from the comfort of your own home

Living on the Boston waterfront provides homeowners the opportunity to see the city in a completely different perspective than most residents. With these listings, it's possible to enjoy the conveniences of city living while having an urban oasis with plenty of natural light and calming views of the water. 

Your worst problem? All of your friends and family who will want to invite themselves over every Fourth of July and New Year's Eve to get a clear view of the fireworks. 

Here are a few of the Boston condominiums available for sale (as of May 23, 2018):

Boston Waterfront Condo 100 Lovejoy Place

100 Lovejoy Place, Unit 11B, waterfront

Boston, MA 02114

MLS Number 72288321

Cheerful natural light greets you as you enter this sophisticated and stylish corner home overlooking the beginning of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Lovejoy Wharf has everything you've been looking for from front door valet parking to over 2,000 sf of health and wellness space, Related signature management services, Lovejoy Attache personalized lifestyle concierge services, rooftop sun terrace, fireside library lounge, billiards room, children playroom, event space with catering kitchen, conference room, and more, you'll find true luxury in this new community designed by Robert A.M. Stern. Captivating design features and a thoughtful layout create a warm and inviting space filled with style and sophistication. An incredible home, spectacular building, dynamic location on the waterfront and in the heart of the city. 1 parking space included.

Boston Waterfront Condo 120 Fulton

120 Fulton, Unit DE, Waterfront

Boston, MA 02109

MLS Number 72290049

Rarely available condominium in the historic McLauthlin Building on tree-lined Fulton Street. This unique brick and beam loft includes over 1000 square feet of living space. Open concept living room with office alcove. Oversized eat-in kitchen with stainless appliances. Two separate sleeping areas, one bathroom, in-unit Bosch washer/dryer and central AC. The McLauthlin is a professionally managed building in a great North End location just one block from Boston's Waterfront and steps from Faneuil Hall and the Financial District. Easy access to all major highways. A must see!

Boston Waterfront Condo 10 Constellation Wharf

10 Constellation Wharf, Unit 10, Waterfront

Boston, MA 02129

MLS Number 72238708

3-bedroom townhouse with stunning Harbor and City views. Ideally located at the end of the Wharf, this townhome features direct entry, attached garage and 2 terraces overlooking Boston’s Harbor. The open living and dining rooms have a wood-burning fireplace, custom built-ins and a wall-of-windows capturing sunsets and Boston’s Skyline. The eat-in kitchen has custom cabinets, stainless appliances and 2 pantries. The master suite has a luxurious en-suite bathroom with soaking tub, custom closets and private deck with glorious views. Guest bedroom with renovated full bathroom. The 3rd bedroom is privately located and can be used as a study/office and has a wood-burning fireplace, custom built-in desk and private deck. Features include herringbone floors in the dining room, audio, wet bar, and second covered parking space. This property is a private Harbor-side community with guest parking and a concierge.

 

Boston Waterfront Condo 85 E India Row

85 E India Row, Unit 29E, Waterfront

Boston, MA 02110

MLS Number 72319439

Enjoy spectacular views of the Boston Harbor, the Seaport District and beyond from this rarely available upper-level, one-bedroom home in sought after Tower 1. Gracious entry foyer leads you to the spacious living room with a wall of windows, custom built-in bookcase and great sunlight from the Southern exposure. Wake in the morning to Harbor views from the large bedroom with great closet space. Galley kitchen with full appliances and ample storage. All tile bath with updated vanity and glass enclosed tub/shower. Private association pool and sun-deck area with picnic area and grills. Full service building with 24-hour doorman, concierge services and on-site professional management. Move in just in time to enjoy summer on the Boston Waterfront.

Want to see more waterfront condos in Boston? Contact Longwood Residential today!

Top 10 High Schools in Massachusetts Announced for 2018

U.S. News & World Report announced the national rankings for high schools across the country

Among several other factors, U.S. News determined the high school rankings based upon four main concepts:

  • Whether students exceeded expectations in their state
  • Whether underserved students performed better than the state average
  • Whether student graduation rates met a threshold
  • Whether students were prepared for college-level work 

For Massachusetts, 20 high schools were awarded gold medals, 71 earned silver medals and 22 received bronze medals.

Here's who made the list for the 2018 Top 10 High Schools in Massachusetts:

  1. Boston Latin School *ranked #48 nationally
  2. Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School (Marlborough)
  3. Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (Malden)
  4. Lenox Memorial High
  5. Hopkinton High School
  6. Boston Latin Academy
  7. Medfield Senior High 
  8. Dover-Sherborn Regional High 
  9. Arlington High
  10. John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science (Roxbury)

Read the full U.S. News Best High School Rankings to see how other states ranked and to learn the full methodology of the study. 

The Boston Globe Names the 2018 Top Spots to Live in Greater Boston

In April 2018, The Boston Globe shared the list of towns outside of Boston with a high percentage of appreciation since 2012

With data pulled by the Warren Group, a real estate tracking firm based, The Boston Globe pulled together the list of best towns to live in outside of Boston for single-family homes based on four different price-points. The article also included information on mentioned listing of each town's median condo price, as well as expert information about each area that may help incoming residents decide where to move within in the Boston area.

Here are the top spots for the first two price-point tiers for single-family homes in Greater Boston:

First Price-point Tier: $1M+

  • Cambridge: $1,310,000; +59% change since 2012
  • Winchester $1,085,000; +55% 
  • Brookline $1,850,000; +54%

Second Price-point Tier: $750K-$1M

  • Jamaica Plain: $850,000; +80% change since 2012
  • South Boston: $790,000; +78%
  • Needham: $962,500; +43%

Visit The Boston Globe for the full article. 

5 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Boston

What to do on rainy days in Boston, Massachusetts

Although it can be nice staying inside on a rainy New England afternoon, the wet weather hardly spoils Boston's lively activities. The city and the Greater Boston area have a variety of local treasures worth exploring for everyone!

We've made a list of rainy day activities and suggested places to visit in Boston:

Get lost in an independent bookstore. There's nothing like finding a good book to curl up with and read on a rainy afternoon. The first step? Finding a new book or two. Grab a coffee-to-go and head to the local bookstore in your neighborhood. Trident Booksellers & Café in Back Bay has become a well-known Boston institute for book lovers. If you're looking for a large selection, the Brattle Book Shop is one of the oldest used booksellers in the country. 

Find a new cozy brunch spot. Rainy days in Boston present great opportunities to check out brunch places that you haven't been able to try because of the long lines that typically appear on sunnier days. The Paris Creperie's food truck makes its rounds through Boston, but their café in Brookline is well worth visiting with friends for fresh crepes and Nutella chocolate drinks. If you're looking for a healthier brunch option, head to Za, a restaurant that makes pizza and salad using seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients from local farms. Want more suggestions for brunch in Boston? Thrillist has you covered with the best brunches to try in Boston right now.

Hit the shops. Between Copley Place and The Prudential Center, you have plenty of stores to choose from to update your wardrobe. You'll find that there's a wide selection of luxury and contemporary brands available in Boston! If you're not in the mood to shop for clothes, you can always simply window shop or make your way to Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center. 

Treat yourself to a spa day. If you know that your weekend plans may be rained out in advance, book a facial or massage in Boston! Take the opportunity to do some self-care and escape from stress for an hour or a half-day. We recommend Balans, the only all-organic spa in Boston, and Corbu at The Charles Hotel in the heart of Harvard Square. 

Check out the latest museum exhibits and explore Boston's smaller museums. Take advantage of living in Boston by exploring the incredible museums in the city! The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History are some of the larger museums that are more likely to have active, rotating exhibits, but it's also worth visiting the smaller historical treasures Boston has to offer. Trinity Church, the Nichols House Museum, and the Paul Revere House are centrally located in Boston and are only a short walk away from downtown shops and restaurants.

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."