Massachusetts

Loving Local Life: Carlisle

Once described by Thoreau as the “city of the woods,” Carlisle, Massachusetts is next on tour for our Loving Local Life series. Our second-to-last stop, Carlisle continues to be a natural community, with over 30% of land remaining under a conservation effort.

Great Brook Farm is a large destination for those around the town, open each day 11 am to dark (dependent on weather) from April to October. A modern dairy farm, Great Brook has 61 flavors of ice cream for visitors to enjoy after exploration of the trails. Perfect for biking, hiking, or a picnic, it is great for family and friends alike.

The Malcom Preserve is another outdoor adventure for those seeking one in Carlisle. This 11 acre reservation includes trails that suggest a minimum of one half hour to explore, with one wheelchair accessible trail spanning one half mile long, lined with crushed stone. The Malcom Preserve also leads to a larger protected landscape of 1,300 acres in surrounding towns.

The Carlisle Cranberry Bog continues the theme of natural enjoyment and agriculture that is prevalent in Carlisle. Cranberries have been grown here since 1904, currently with 19 acres of active production. The bog provides another outdoor experience, especially grand in autumn.

With local companies such as Kimball Farm to stop at for more ice cream, and Ferns Country Store for any of your other needs, Carlisle is a great trip to make, for all!

Loving Local Life: Lincoln

The next town along the “Patriot’s Trail” that we’re stopping at for our Loving Local Life series is Lincoln, MA.

Following with our trend of historical towns, Lincoln is no exception! Lincoln is home to the Thoreau Institute, part of the Walden Wood Project. The Thoreau Institute Library holds over 60,000 items, all pieces of Thoreau-related material. There are conservation efforts, a farm, and plentiful educational elements to the Walden Woods Project, where the Thoreau Library is located.

Lincoln is also home to the Gropious House. The Gropious House was designed by the founder of the Bauhaus design school, and follows the Bauhaus style combining traditional elements of New England architecture. Anyone interested in Historical Architecture (especially in New England) will love a visit here!

The Codman Estate is another historically-steeped element of town. Known to some as “The Grange,” this estate has been passed through generations. Not only is it a landmark to visit, but the Codman Community Farm is a Lincoln staple, which has been in continuous operation for over 150 years.

If the farm has peaked your interest in heading to the great outdoors, the Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary is another great place to go. Drumlin Farm is a working farm, with 206 acres total, and four miles of trails to explore, with two Universally Accessible trails.

For something with a bit of indoor and outdoor choice, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum makes a great local day trip! deCordova is a welcome place for new visitors and return guests alike, supplementing the 3,500 piece Permanent Collection in several media with ever-changing Upcoming Exhibits.  

Finally, no visit to Lincoln is complete without a stop at Ponyhenge. An eclectic display, a local property owner found that each time they went away they would return to a new pony figure or statue left on their land. When driving, pull off at 39 Old Sudbury Road in Lincoln and look across to find this display to complete your tour!

Loving Local Life: Bedford

For the second week of our Loving Local Life series, we’re highlighting Bedford, Massachusetts. This history-steeped town is another we are fortunate to be a part of!

With the oldest known flag in the United States, Bedford remains a part of history, often associated with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Pole Capping, an ‘act of defiance’ predating the revolution, is reenacted in April each year to commemorate the participation of the town in this historical event. Similarly, Bedford Day is another annual event, occurring each September, celebrating the incorporation of the town. The Bedford town website has extensive information about the history and events in the community (click here for A Citizen's Guide to Bedford). 

With our office centrally located, and many active Realtors® who work and live in Bedford, we’re in a great place to be a part of all the festivities. Bedford is family-friendly, active, and has a lot to offer those passing through.

In fact, Bedford has many visitors by chance! With the Rail Trails converging at Depot Park, residents and tourists from far and wide get some exercise. This great addition to the town and surround communities brings great value to those who take advantage of the easy, fun opportunity. With three trails, those going for a ride, walk, or run can choose where they visit each day. Of the three options, the most notable in length is the Minuteman Bikeway, at 10.5 miles long and begins in Bedford passing through adjacent towns, reaching West Cambridge.

Springs Brook Park is another element of the town, with a water park, a playground, and a yearly events schedule. In the past there have been magicians, yo-yo tricks, reptile events, and more. During the summer, there are also Fourth of July events and swimming lessons!

The Chip-In-Farm is a local company, open year-round. The farm sells locally sourced food as well as fertilizer during the spring and fall. There is a petting zoo for visitors to enjoy, birthday party accommodations, and a farm camp for kids during the summer.

Loving Local Life: Concord

In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series focusing on the towns we serve and why we love them! Check back each Monday for a new town.

This week, we’ll start where we got our start! You guessed it – Concord, Massachusetts.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon filled with history, nature, or literature, you can find it here! Minuteman National Historical Park brings history alive where the first battle of the Revolution began. The park has a rotating schedule of events, a Junior Ranger program that you can guide yourself through and earn a badge, as well as programs for parents and teachers alike.

If you’re interested in the nature aspect of Concord, the conservation land is abundant! The Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge with an entrance on Monson Road includes trails and both a wildlife observation tower and platform. Hapgood Wright Town Forest, or “Fairyland Pond,” is another option for trails and relaxation in the conservation land of Concord.

For more varied exercise in nature, the South Bridge Boat House is open for kayak and canoe rentals throughout the warmer weather.

Nature and literature collide here in many ways, as well. A local (and tourist!) favorite is Walden Pond. This gorgeous location is brought to life throughout the year with the warm and changing air, the fall colors, and the tranquil feeling that accompanies the winter months.

Many choose to continue their literature tour of Concord by paying tribute to our great authors at Author’s Ridge in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, leaving a pen in homage to their legacy. Coming full-circle, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House welcomes visitors to appreciate the history that Concord offers in literature at the “Home of Little Women!”

Even if you’re not looking for a long tour of history, nature, or literature, Concord still has a lot to offer. The community we are a part of here welcomes small business ventures, with local favorites such as The Concord Cheese Shop, celebrating 50 years in Concord this July, and Nesting on Main for lunch and treasures to be found!

Weekend Events in Greater Boston: Memorial Day 2017

Still not sure what you’re doing this Memorial Day Weekend? The towns we serve, and Greater Boston, have a lot of opportunities for you! 

In Bedford, MA the Memorial Day Ceremony and Bedford Memorial Day Parade take place. The events are said to start at 11:15am on Monday, at the Old Burying Ground in Bedford. 

In Lincoln, MA there will be a Memorial Day Barbecue for Veterans. This will be held at Bemis Hall, 15 Bedford Road, Lincoln from 11:30am - 1pm. However, Veterans must RSVP (contact: 781.259.8811, as per the website).

In Lexington, MA the weekend starts off with the Annual Discovery Day in the Municipal Parking Lot on Muzzey Street/Waltham Street. This event will be held from 1am - 3pm, followed by a free concert by The Nowhere Men from 3:30pm - 5:30pm. The day awaits you with dancing, food, shopping, clowns, and tables from each Town Department. Free parking and Lexpress Rides will also be available throughout the day for your convenience. 

On Memorial Day, Lexington will have wreath-laying ceremonies starting at 8:45am. For a full schedule, visit the town website here

If you are looking for something further out, Boston also has various events this weekend. 

For a summer feel, the Boston Pops present Jaws in concert on Thursday and Friday evening starting at 8pm. The iconic movie will be coupled with live score for an evening to really start the warmer weather.

Throughout the weekend the Memorial Day Flag display will be on the Boston Common. 

While you are in the city, there will also be free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts on Monday, from 10am - 4:45pm.

With all of this in mind, you can plan ahead and enjoy the weekend! 

Weekend Events in Greater Boston: SoWa Open Market

Every Saturday and Sunday between April 29th and October 29th from 10am - 4pm, local vendors and artisans gather together to create the SoWa Open Market in Boston, MA. Locals and visitors alike are welcomed to the various venues along Harrison Avenue, predominantly between Paul Sullivan Way and Union Park Street. The goal? To build community and support small, local businesses. 

Visit the SoWa Arts Market at 460 Harrison Avenue to meet the artisans who set-up shop for the weekend, 75-100 at a time. Carefully curated, this event provides the perfect opportunity to select art for your home, daily life, and more. Every First Friday of the month galleries open to the public from 5pm - 9pm for a night of new culture.

The SoWa Farmers Market is located at 500 Harrison Avenue, providing the ability to do some light (or heavy) shopping in place of your weekly stop to the grocer's. 

Cap your time at the SoWa Open Market with the Food Truck Bazaar and the Beer Garden, both located at 540 Harrison Avenue. The Food Truck Bazaar hosts 10-15 of Boston's best food trucks, weekly. The Beer Garden is the first weekly, outdoor venue of it's kind in Boston, hosted by eatBoston. 

Countless restaurants, studios, and stores are open throughout the year - including the Vintage Market at 450 Harrison Avenue. Selling antiques, vintage items, and oddities, this store is open all Sundays 10am - 4pm and alongside the Open Market on Saturdays 11am - 4pm.  

The weekends of mid-spring to mid-fall allow the ability to host a variety of events, workshops, and shopping opportunities in the South End, but the festivity does not end there! This community continues various gatherings throughout the year. The Power Station, once the world's largest electric power generation plant, has been renovated and restored as a venue for events of all kinds. For more, the continually updated calendar can be found here.

2016 Residential Tax Rates Greater Boston Towns

The following are the 2016 tax rates for our Greater Boston communities. We are happy to provide this comparison as a real estate resource in Greater Boston for over 30 years. If you are considering a home purchase or rental in the area and would like assistance in comparing these towns on other important factors, please call us at 978-369-6453 or email us at info@barrettsothebysrealty.com. We look forward to assisting you.

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Ice Bootcamp Gains Momentum in Massachusetts

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You don't need a gym membership for this one, just some gigantic New England ice dams and the will to keep the water on the outside of your house.

For the Ice Death Bootcamp you need four 50# bags of calcium chloride, 4 feet of snow, an 8' step ladder, a 12 foot roof rake, an axe, and of course, 16" ice dams. Here's the drill:

Day 1: Flat roof shoveling
Clear half your flat-roof garage of the almost 4 ft. of snow using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. You'll need to haul this gear up to the flat roof. While clearing the roof, be sure to dump snow off the back -- you'll need the 10 foot pile of snow for Day 2. This event will not be held if the outside temperature is above 15F.
When complete, get a beer and try not to feel too good about what you got done. Day 1 is cake compared to Day 2.
Day 2: The main event
Warmup:
- Finish clearing snow from the flat roof in 2 hours or less, then stow your gear.
- Unload the 4 50# bags of calcium chloride from the back of your car and do 10 step lunges with each bag held against your chest.
- Break for lunch
Ice Dam Challenge
1. Climb up on the flat roof and then down to the back (all the back doors are blocked with snow anyway). Break trail through 4 ft. of snow the length of the house in back (2 passes).
2. Return to the front by climbing back over the garage for each piece of equipment, as follows:
- Roof rake
- Ladder
- Axe
- 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt (deductions for any spillage)
3. Retrace your steps on the newly broken trail with each piece of equipment:
- Carrying the 8 foot ladder overhead (snow's too deep to carry at your side). Deductions for touching the snow with the ladder.
- Carrying a 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt with both arms up against your chest. If you fall over and spill, restart at the front of the house.
- Axe held overhead like you're an infantryman crossing a rice paddy
- Roof rake held vertical like a medieval pikeman
Place each piece of gear in the designated zone.
4. Now, take roof rake and clean the entire roof six feet up the eave, starting at the east end of the house.
5. Now, set the ladder at the east end of the house, climb to the third from top step, and rake another 6 feet of snow from the eave to expose the back of your magnificent second-level ice dams. Repeat down the length of the house, moving and resetting the ladder as you go.
6. Return to the east end of the house . Reset the step ladder -- bonus points for the added weight of snow/ice on the ladder as you struggle to control it in 4 ft. of snow and uneven footing.
7. Taking your axe, climb to the third-from-top step, and take 25 full force blows on the thickest ice dam. Bonus points for loosening ice chunks of greater than 25#. Point deductions for knocking yourself off the ladder, but bonus points, if that happens, for keeping your grip on the axe as you fall into the 4 ft. of snow. Double points for landing face down.
8. Now, cut channels in your ice dams every four feet, the length of the house. When complete, return axe to equipment zone.
9. Reset the ladder at the east end of the house. Take your 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt and climb back to that 3rd from top step. Using the scoop, fling ice melt as far down the roof as you can, being sure to land the granules above the ice dams. Alternate left and right hands. After emptying the bucket, climb down, then climb back over to the front of the house with the empty bucket, refill with ice melt, and return to the back, climbing over the house with the bucket.
10. Repeat 5 times to cover the ice dams with ice melt.
11. Stand under one of your 6 foot icicles and allow the now rapidly flowing meltwater to drain down your neck, inside your parka for 15 seconds.
Congratulations, you've survived Ice Death Bootcamp. Maybe just barely, so here are some nearby places that do deep muscle massage: