Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

Christmas Tree Pickup and Disposal

2011 Christmas Tree

2011 Christmas Tree

Thinking about taking down the tree?  Wondering how to dispose of your Christmas tree?  We’ve pulled together the Christmas tree disposal info for local towns.

The lyric “but it took so long to bake it…” keeps running through my head as I ponder dismantling the Christmas tree. But I’m determined to get it outside for the regular pickup rather than sticking it in the yard until spring as I so often do.  And at least this year we won’t be posing the trees in snow banks or waiting for the snowbank to melt and expose long since abandoned trees. Score one for global warming.

Remember: Trees must be bare – free of all decorations, tinsel and stand.  Do not put trees in plastic bags.  Wreaths cannot be mulched because of the wires and must be put in the trash.

Cambridge Christmas Tree Pickup and Disposal

Cambridge recycles Christmas trees and uses the mulch produced for city landscaping. 

Christmas trees in Cambridge will be picked up curbside on your regular trash day between January 3 and January 13, 2012. 

Cambridge residents may also drop off trees at the Recycling Center from December 31, 2011 to January 21, 2012 during open hours.  The Recycling Center, at 147 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 pm to 7:30 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

Somerville Christmas Tree Recycling

The Somerville DPW will pick up Christmas trees left curbside in January for mulching.

Belmont Christmas Tree Pickup

Belmont will pickup Christmas trees left curbside on your regular trash day through January 12, 2012.

Medford Christmas Trees Pickup

You get one chance to get your tree picked up in Medford – Christmas trees will be picked up on your regular trash day the week of January 9 – 13, 2012. 

Watertown Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas trees can be placed curbside for pickup during the month of January in Watertown.

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Better Get Raking – Yard Waste Pickup

Yard Waste Pickup Ends Soon

Yard Waste Pickup Ends Soon

It was a beautiful day to be out in the yard today and plenty of people were out raking leaves.  You’d better get raking – particularly if you live in Medford.  For reasons hard to fathom, Medford’s final yard waste collection is this week. Yes – Thanksgiving week – when plenty of people travel and others are busy with holiday preparations.

Not to mention that there are still leaves on some trees.

Medford will have its final yard waste pickup on your trash day this week, November 21 – 25, 2011.

In the rest of Centers and Squares territory you’ve got a bit more time to rake those leaves.

Arlington will have its last yard waste pickup on your regular trash day through December 2, 2011

Belmont picks up yard waste on your trash pick up day through December 8, 2011.  You get a couple more days to drop off yard waste at the Transfer Station at 1130 Concord Ave through Saturday, December 10, 2011.

Watertown picks up yard waste for the last time this year on December 2, 2011.  You can also bring yard waste in paper bags to the Watertown Recycling Center on Grove Street year round.

Somerville will pick up yard waste on your regular trash day through December 9, 2011.  Yard waste can be dropped off year round at the DPW yard.

Cambridge gets the prize – yard waste will be picked up on your regular trash day through the second full week in December – by my calendar that’s December 12 – 16, 2011.

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Cambridge Pothole Hotline

Cambridge Pothole Hotline

Cambridge Pothole Hotline

I’m not sure why it took half a dozen jaw-clacking trips over – through – into the pothole on Sherman Street before I remembered the Cambridge Pothole Hotline.

Cambridge makes it super simple to report a pothole.  You can fill out the form online like I just did or call the Cambridge Pothole Hotline at 617-349-4854.  When you fill out the online form you’re given the option of providing your email address and / or phone number in order to be updated on the pothole’s status.

I’ll be delighted to get that call – that Sherman Street pothole is a doozy!

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Bus Service Only Past Harvard Square

Bus Service Only for Weekend Red Line Commuters

Bus Service Only for Weekend Red Line Commuters

Starting tomorrow, weekend T commuters will have only bus service on the Red Line past Harvard Square.

The MBTA is doing maintenance work on the Red Line T line for the next 17 weekends.  From November 5, 2011 through March 4, 2012, T riders will be bused between Harvard Station and Alewife Station on the weekends.

For North Cambridge residents and visitors, “taking the T” will mean taking the bus on Saturdays and Sundays.   Porter Square, Davis Square and Alewife will be bus-only on the weekends.

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The City Was Spared Snow Damage

The snowman family didn't make it to Halloween

This snowman family didn't make it to Halloween

This is what the snow looked like on Monday morning in the city.  Sure, we got snow Saturday night, but it wasn’t major and it melted by late Sunday. 

Thankfully around Cambridge and Somerville we were spared for the most part the damage to the trees that I feared when I heard the forecast.  Heavy snow is a disaster when the leaves are on the trees.  The trees aren’t structured to bear the weight of collected snow on their leaves.

While I breathed a sigh of relief, I couldn’t let myself think of the devastation outside the city. It was easy to lose track of just how bad it was – until you saw the school closings for Monday.  Just 20 minutes or so out of the city and students in town after town were treated to a snow day on Halloween – Acton, Bedford, Woburn, Medfield – the list went on and on and on.  Clearly things were not good if schools couldn’t open on Monday – and were still closed on  Tuesday in some towns.

Driving through Arlington on Tuesday to visit broker open houses (we real estate agents live the good life – several days a week we get to tour properties newly listed for sale and get treated to multiple lunches) we came across many downed branches and broken trees.  It was a terrible sight.

I can only imagine it’s much, much worse the further west or north you drive.  Many homes and businesses remain without power.  The thought of how many trees Massachusetts lost is heartbreaking.

Our tree canopy has really taken a beating in the last year or two – drought, tornado, tropical storm and now this.  One has to wonder what the landscape will look like in the coming years as the climate continues to change.

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Antique Shops In and Near Cambridge

Discover antique shops in and near Cambridge

Discover antique shops in and near Cambridge

Do you ever get the bug to go antiquing?  You don’t need to head to Western Mass or to NH – there are a variety of antique shops in or within an hour or so of Cambridge.  Most of these are group shops – antique stores where dealers rent booth space which means inventory is always changing and you can often find a deal or two.  Here are some of my favorites:

Cambridge has a large group shop in East Cambridge, the Cambridge Antique Market.  Booths are spread out over five floors.  I tend to have so-so luck here but there are deals to be found and it’s an easy way to get your antiques / vintage  fix without leaving the city.  Cambridge Antiques Market, 617-868-9655, is located at 201 Monsignor O’Brien Highway.  The  shop is open every day but Monday from 11 am to 6 pm.  It’s right by the Lechmere T or if you’re driving there’s a parking lot.

Waltham‘s not far and I tend to always pick up something when I visit Downstairs at Felton Antiques. It’s a group shop with a combination of open booths and locked display cases.  The shop is having its annual sale November 11 – 28, 2011. Downstairs at Felton Antiques is open every day but Tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm and stays open until 8 pm on Thursdays.  You’ll find the shop at 100 Felton Street in Waltham.  781-894-2223.

Head out to Concord where you’ll find three group antique shops on Walden Street in the center of town.  I’ve always loved Upstairs Antiques at 23 Walden.  It’s got a really nice ever changing array of antiques and collectibles. Thoreauly Antiques at 25 Walden Street has fun smalls, linens, ephemera, Concord themed books and plenty more.  Across the street at 28 Walden you’ll want to stop in at North Bridge Antiques.  By my estimation it has the highest priced stock of the three shops.  It also has, in a booth tucked in the back, used and antiquarian books from the former Books With a Past, a long time favorite bookstore that closed after many years on Walden Street.  All three of these shops are open open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays noon to 5 pm. 

Concord’s shops can easily fill a day.  If you want to peruse an excellent selection of old books be sure to stop in at the Barrow Bookstore at 79 Main Street.  I always leave with a full bag or two.  Another delightful shop – mixing vintage items with new, creative and unique pieces – is Nesting on Main, on the second floor at 44 Main Street across from Walden Street.

Upton House Antiques in Littleton is a lovely antique shop.  The store features a lot of country style antiques and primitives with plenty of turn of the century cookware, old blanket chests, ironware, and more.  The prices are very reasonable and I’ve picked up a number of favorite pieces here.  The antiques shop is located at 275 King Street in Littleton, not far from Littleton Center, and is open every day but Monday from 10 am to 4 pm.  978-486-3367.

Back in Littleton Center take Route 119 west to Townsend.  In the center of town take a left on Route 13 and eventually you’ll get to Jeffrey’s Antique Co-op Mall in Lunenburg.  It’s a bit of a drive from Cambridge but if you want to hit the aisles of a really large antique shop this store can be worth the trip.  Like many group shops sometimes the stock seems better on some visits than on others but you’ll usually find something that strikes your fancy. Jeffrey’s Antiques is located at 54 Chase Rd in Lunenburg MA and is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and open until 8 pm on Wednesdays.  978-582-7831.

Head back to Route 119 and continue west to West Townsend.   Take a right on Route 124 and you’ll immediately be able to pull in to shops on your right or left.  The Hobart Village Antique Mall has booths and cases on two floors and you’ll find everything from smalls to furniture.  The antiques shop, at 445 Main Street, West Townsend, is open every day but Tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm.  978-597-0332.  Across the street you’re in for a treat at Delaney Antiqe Clocks located in the carriage house behind a glorious brick colonial.  Home to the country’s largest collection of tall-case clocks, aka grandfather clocks, it’s almost an out-of-body experience to be in the shop at the turn of the hour when the clocks begin to chime.  This is a place to dream – the clocks are exquisite and often in the 10s of thousands of dollars.  In addition to tall-clocks the shop carries wall clocks, carriage clocks and shelf clocks.  The clocks are restored and in working condition. Delaney Antique Clocks at 435 Main Street is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

A bit further down Route 119 you’ll find Antique Associates at West Townsend.  This is a group shop that features fine antiques including furniture, art and accessories in 15 rooms.  It’s in a different league than the other group shops in our mix.  Open seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm at 473 Main Street, West Townsend.  978-597-8084.

These are my regular haunts and admittedly the outer reaches of my antiques trail are probably a bit over an hour.  If an hour’s drive is doable that also puts Sturbridge within reach – but that’s a day’s worth of shopping and worthy of another post.

Do you have favorite antiques shops nearby?  Leave a comment to let us know!

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Cambridge Installs More Bike Parking Slots

New Bike Rack in Front of our Real Estate Office on Huron Ave

New Bike Rack in Front of our Real Estate Office on Huron Ave

It took a flyer on a condo building bulletin board (note: if you’re looking for a condo to buy you should always read the bulletin board notices – you never know what you’ll find out about the condo association) for me to figure out that the new bike parking post outside our office is part of a city-wide project in Cambridge. 

Hundreds of bike parking posts are being installed all over Cambridge.  Actually the city calls them post-and-ring bicycle racks.

Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in Cambridge and Somerville.  Chances are good too that you’ll see some pretty funky bicycles around town.

Some of the more unusual bikes you’re likely to spot include:

  • Recumbent bicyclists – cyclists ride close to the ground, on an elongated low bike – it’s sort of a cross between a bike and a recliner
  • Bikes that are a mix of exercise equipment and bicycle – the pedals look like those big oar-like things – and the bicyclist stands up – there is no seat.  It’s like a traveling elliptical machine according to someone who knows quite a bit more about gym equipment than I do
  • Big wheel bikes – these are amazing – and a bit scary – to see since the riders are way high up with one enormous wheel and a much smaller one behind.  The correct term for these – and it’s not uncommon (but always fun) to see them around Cambridge – is high wheel bicycles or high wheelers. 
  • And watch out for the bicylist we spotted the other day – his bike seat is a vintage plastic rocking horse

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Local Post Offices Threatened With Closure

Massachusetts Post Offices May Be Closed

Massachusetts Post Offices May Be Closed

As a Cambridge real estate agent I tend to do more mailings than most people – doing my part to keep the post office running.  I have my favorite post office branches and was dismayed to learn that several of my favorite local post offices are threatened with closure.

The USPS is deciding whether or not to close some 3,700 post office branches that don’t do enough business by their estimation.  Forty-three Massachusetts post offices are on the list of post offices that may be closed. Half a dozen branches in Centers and Squares territory are threatened with closure.  If you do any mailing, believe me, these are the branches you don’t want to see closed – you can usually get in and out in less than 20 minutes – not the case in other post offices. 

You can help by patronizing these post offices before it’s too late – post office traffic will be studied through the end of the year.  So head on out – buy some stamps, send some letters, mail some packages – or the next time you do it’s likely to be a long wait. Here are the nearby post offices that may be closed:

  • Arlington Heights at  1347 Mass Ave Arlington 02476
  • East Arlington at  240 Mass Ave Arlington 02474
  • Inman Square at  1311 Cambridge St Cambridge 02139
  • West Medford  485 High Street Medford MA 02155
  • East Watertown Watertown MA 02472
  • New Town  123 Galen St Watertown  02472

Additionally, the post office branches at MIT and at Tufts may be closed.

The lines at the main post offices are unconscionably long.  I can’t bear the thought of having to devote a morning to mail a package.  I’ll be making my rounds, doing my part at my favorite local post offices.  See you in the short line!

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