Centers And Squares
Welcome to Centers and Squares
As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.
Ice Cream Places Near Cambridge Hot weather’s on the way – and hot weather means ice cream. Hot and humid weather is the only excuse you need to satisfy your craving for a nice, big ice cream cone.
Here are some of my favorite spots for a cone. And since hot weather is also a good excuse for an air conditioned road trip (especially since I don’t have air conditioning at home!) these ice cream stands are outside of Cambridge, just a short drive away:
Bedford Farms in Bedford Center is one of my family’s favorites. Delicious ice cream, a place to sit on the lawn, and a quick drive from Cambridge.
Bedford Farms Ice Cream is located at 18 North Street, Bedford MA. Open year round. Check the website for more info. Summer hours are Mon – Sat 11am – 10pm and Sunday noon to 10pm.
Kimball Farm has three locations. Carlisle is closest to Cambridge and a nice scenic drive. There are farm animals to watch while you eat. If you want to make a day of it and plan an outing for the entire family, the Westford location has a driving range, bumper boats, miniature golf, a midway with arcade games and more. The location I know best is in Jaffrey NH where Kimball’s took over longtime favorite, Silver Ranch.
Be warned – the kiddie cone at Kimball’s is most shops’ large. You’ll be overwhelmed by the small size cone. And large servings make for large crowds – the parking lot is often packed and the line long.
Check the Kimball Farm website for hours and more information.
Johnson’s Drive-in in Groton Mass was a pleasant surprise when we ended up there one night after a long day. The fried clams were great and so was the ice cream. It’s the kind of roadside joint I like – not too fancy (not at all in fact!), not expensive, and mighty tasty food.
Johnson’s is on Route 119 at 164 Boston Road, Groton MA. Call 978-448-6840 for hours.
I’m sure there are lots of fabulous ice cream places out there. What are your favorites?
As much as I dislike overhead wires (you would think it’s still the Wild West! – why on earth do we put up with these ugly wires strung down our streets?) it hadn’t occurred to me that it was the advent of overhead wiring that put an end to the moving of houses.
Moving houses was once a fairly common undertaking. Street widening, changing neighborhoods, economizing – all were reasons to move a house. Sometimes a portion of a house was removed and moved for a family member.
Once you start digging into the history of Cambridge’s buildings you’ll discover many that were moved around town. Nowadays with those dratted wires - not to mention street lights, signs, and overpasses - moving a house or building is a much bigger undertaking. But with deep pockets almost anything is possible.
In 2007 Harvard spent something on the order of $1,000,000 to move three mansard structures down Mass Avenue close to Harvard Square. Two three story-mansard houses and a matching mansard carriage house were moved to facilitate a building project. Here’s a video of the moving houses:
Here’s the last market report for July - The Somerville Real Estate Market - July 2009.
Somerville Real Estate Market – Homes for Sale
257 residential properties were on the market in Somerville on July 31, 2009, 25 fewer than a month ago. Properties were priced between $105,000 and $1,600,000. The average days on market was 124.
Somerville Real Estate Sales in July 2009
79 residential properties sold in Somerville during the month of July. The average sales price was $404,843. The median sales price was $366,800. The average days on market was 60.
6 single family homes sold in July for prices between $267,500 and $1,100,000. The median sales price was $404,000. Somerville single family homes sold in July for an average of 92% of list price. Average days on market was 92.
56 Somerville condos sold in July for sales prices between $88,200 and $667,000. The median condo sales price was $364,500. The average days on market was 57. Condos sold in July for an average of 98% of list price.
17 multi-family properties sold in July for prices ranging from $224,900 to $673,500. The median sales price in July was $476,000. Multi-unit houses sold for an average of 98% of asking price. Average days on market was 57.
Total Somerville closed residential sales volume in July was $31,982,625.
Information about Somerville real estate market activity from MLSPIN
While on the What Style Is It? architecture tour during Cambridge Discovery Days we came across this excellent example of a Greek Revival door style on Brattle Street in Cambridge Massachusetts.
The Greek Revival period in American architecture dates from about 1825 to 1860. This house was built in 1852.
What appears to be the original door provides an example of some of the most common features of Greek Revival door styles:
- There is a full transom window across the top
- Sidelights flank the door
- Plain columns support the classic entablature – the overhang above the door
- The door itself has four panels
- two longs panels above, two short panels below
- Greek Revival doors also included single panel or two panel styles
- Sometimes doors were paired
I couldn’t help but snap the photo at right of the door on this red painted Greek Revival house in Arlington. Built in 1848, with what looks like a more recent door, the door frame has the typical sidelights. I had never seen these with shutters before and I’m not certain to when these date. Nifty idea!
For a full illustration of Greek Revival door styles see Virginia and Lee McAlester’s book A Field Guide to American Houses.
It’s that time of the month again – time for a quick look back at the state of the real estate market in Cambridge MA in July 2009:
On Market Snapshot
On July 31, 2009 there were 359 residential properties on the market in Cambridge MA. That’s a significant drop from a month ago when 410 properties were active on the market.
Asking prices ranged from $185,000 to $4,850,000. Average days on market was 121.
Cambridge Real Estate Sales during July 2009
124 residential property sales closed in Cambridge during July - the second month in a row where closed sales increased more than 25% over the previous month’s closings. The average sales price was $571,333. The median sales price was $442,000. Average days on market was 68.
19 single family homes sold in July priced from $366,700 to $3,746,000. Houses that sold had been on the market for an average of 68 days and sold for an average of 98% of asking price.
101 condos sold in July in Cambridge. Wow! Sales prices ranged from $200,000 to $1,400,000. The median condo sales price in July was $420,000. Condominiums sold for an average of 98% of the asking price and were on the market an average of 70 days.
4 Cambridge multi-family houses sold in July 2009 for sale prices from $676,500 to $1,000,000. The median sales price was $797,500. Average days on market was 27.
Total closed residential real estate sales volume in Cambridge in July was $70,845,340.
Information from MLSpin.
Last month’s numbers:
Live In a Renovated School – Medford Schoolhouse Condos Old brick school buildings make beautiful condos. Large windows, high ceilings, wide hallways, and wonderful original detail make for dramatic spaces. Medford Massachusetts has a great selection of converted schoolhouse condominiums. The old High School was converted to condos in the 1980s and several years ago the City of Medford retired several elementary schools that are now condo buildings. Here’s the scoop on condos in schools in Medford and links to search the MLS for currently available units.
The Gleason School - 160 Playstead Road
This school was converted in 2006 to just eight large units ranging in size from approx. 1200 to 2800 sq.ft. There are flats and multi-level units with two to four bedrooms. The building has an expansive, park-like yard with a common patio. Located in West Medford with the commuter rail station – just one stop to Boston! – right down the street. Market rate units sold for $439,000 to $599,000.
The Swan School – 75 Park Street
The Swan School, at the corner of Park and Washington Street, was converted to 15 renovated schoolhouse condominiums in 2006. There are flats and multi-level units all with beautiful finishes. Features include oak floors, central air conditioning, gas fireplaces, two parking spaces, an elevator, and basement storage. Units range from 1000+ to over 3700 sq.ft. with two to four bedrooms. Sales prices ranged from $450,000 to $585,000.
The Franklin School – 68 Central Avenue
The Franklin School, at the corner of Farragut Avenue, was converted to twenty condos in 2006 ranging in size from about 900 to 2000 sq.ft. Most condos have two bedrooms and two baths. Amenities include private storage room, an elevator, two parking spaces, central A/C, and maple cabinets, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchens. Units on the first floor have private patios.
The Hervey School – 122 Sharon Street – 51 Holton Street
Yet another one of the recent schoolhouse conversions, the Hervey School is in West Medford near the Mystic River. The eight units range in size from approx. 1000 to 2600 sq.ft. Each unit has two parking spaces, there’s storage outside the unit and an exercise room. Condos in the Hervey School have sold between $369,000 and $476,000 for market rate units.
The Medford High School Condos – 48 – 64 Forest Street
The original Medford schoolhouse conversion, the old Medford High School in Medford Square has over 100 condos. Condos range from two-room units to large, loft-like 2000 sq.ft. units. There’s garage or outdoor parking, central air conditioning, elevators, tennis courts, sauna, and best of all – a beautiful indoor pool. In the last two years homes here have sold for prices between $162,000 to $256,150.
More Schoolhouse Conversions on the Way
The Kennedy-Lincoln School at 215 Harvard Street is under renovation as I write. New townhouses have been constructed and the second phase will include condos in the renovated school building. The project is being marketed by Doug Rae of Hammond Residential. There is also talk of converting the Fulton School in Fulton Heights to condominiums.
If you’d like to live in a renovated school – call Liz Bolton for more information about Medford schoolhouse condos. Liz is a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker and can be reached at 617-504-1737.
I think of fences as house parts since it’s the whole package we fall in love with when a house catches our eye. And a fence is often the first thing someone sees when they walk up to your house.
If you’re trying to decide on a style, Cambridge is great for getting ideas – you’ll find all styles of handsome or charming fences here – from the modest to the elaborate or fanciful. Most are made of wood – believe me you won’t be seeing any plastic on these pages – from picket fences to grander versions, some vintage cast iron can be found as well as ones that use granite for posts or bases.
There are a couple of popular companies in our area if you’re thinking of adding a border at the street or want to enclose your yard:
Walpole Woodworkers‘ exquisite work can be spotted along Brattle Street and elsewhere in Cambridge.
W.J. McDonough Fence has done a couple of fences for me and does very nice work
Here’s a gallery of local fences and walls:
Time for another market report – here’s a look at the July 2009 Belmont MA Real Estate Market.
On Market Snapshot:
97 homes were listed for sale in Belmont on July 31, 2009. The least expensive was listed for $209,000 and the highest asking price was $2,345,000. The average days on market was 158.
Belmont Real Estate Sales in July:
34 residential properties sold in Belmont during July. The average sales price was $668,121 and the median sales price was $592,500. Average days on market was 105. Houses sold for an average of 98% of list price.
24 Belmont single family homes sold in July for sale prices ranging from $400,000 to $1,365,000. The median sales price for a single family home was $657,500. Average days on market was 105. Single family houses in Belmont sold for an average of 97% of asking price in July.
7 Belmont condos sold in July. Condominiums sold in a wide price range with sale prices between $260,000 and $1,175,000. The median condo sales price was $409,500. Average days on market was 111. Condos sold for an average of 99% of asking price.
3 Belmont multi-family properties sold in July 2009 for $525,000, $555,000 and $565,000. Average days on market was 87. Multi-families sold in July for an average of 97% of asking price.
Total residential sales volume for July was $22,716,100.
Check out last month’s Belmont real estate activity here:
Data about Belmont MA real estate market activity for July 2009 data from MLSpin.