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.

Arlington MA Real Estate Sales in July 2009

Welcome to the Arlington MA Real Estate Report

Welcome to the Arlington MA Real Estate Report

The months pass so quickly!  Here’s a look at Arlington MA real estate sales in July 2009

Residential Properties Currently on the Market in Arlington Massachusetts

118 residential properties were on the market in Arlington on July 31, 2009 priced between $113,800 and $1,095,000. Average days on market was 69.

Arlington Real Estate Sales in July 2009

74 homes sold  in Arlington during July – a significant increase over June when 56 homes sales closed.  The average sales price in July was $455,851 and the median sales price was $432,400. The average days on market was 42.

43 Arlington single family homes sold in July for sale prices from $294,000 to $822,500.  The median price for a single family house sold in July was $521,000.  Average days on market was 40.  Houses sold for an average of 99% of list price.

29 condos sold in July for prices from $180,000 to $595,000.   The median price paid for a condo was $355,000.  Arlington condos sold for an average of 98% of the asking price.  Average days on market was 48.

multi-family property sales closed in July for $562,500 and $640,000.  The properties were on the market for 28 and 26 days respectively.

Total Arlington residential real estate sales volume closed in July was $33,733,000.




Categories: Real Estate Market Info
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Franklin Street Park – Cambridge Parks – An Urban Oasis

Entrance to the Franklin Street Park in Cambridge Mass

Entrance to the Franklin Street Park in Cambridge Mass

Franklin Street Park on Franklin Street in the Riverside neighborhood of Cambridge Massachusetts is a lovely and unusual pocket park.  Measuring just 4400 sq.ft. the park is similar in size to the city house lots that line the street.

Before Franklin Street Park was rehabbed in 2003 it was a dark, gloomy space covered in large part with paving. The city held a number of meetings to solicit feedback from Cambridge residents about what they hoped the park would become. Goals in the reconstruction of the park included increasing safety, adding more natural elements in the park, adding play areas for kids, and making the park wheelchair accessible.

In 2004 the American Society of Landscape Architects’ magazine Landscape Architecture awarded the park an “Editors’ Choice” designation.

Today the park is a treat to discover.  From the granite entrance gate designed by Boston sculptor Murray Dewart to the unusual metal dome that seems to rise from the ground at the back of the lot – this park is full of surprises.

The park is green, lush and serene. There are places to sit, a water feature, and kid-friendly spaces.  That mysterious metal dome? It’s meant to be a space for kids to play and is surrounded by plastic grass.

The City of Cambridge’s Community Development Concept Plan in Spring 2002 gave this vision for the park project:

“The concept is to create an exciting and unique enclosed public open space that residents will discover and enjoy. A space for quiet reflection, reading a book, playing a game or watching a child play… A space with beautiful plantings, shade and visual interest… an urban oasis…”

A visit to Franklin Street Park confirms that the city has achieved its goals – the park is indeed an oasis – and a beautiful space to while away the afternoon.

Here are some more photos of Franklin Street Park:


This is the second in a series on Cambridge parks.  Here’s more:

The Smallest Park in Cambridge


Categories: Living Here
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Green Street Cambridge – Real Estate, History and More

Green Street Cambridge – Real Estate, History and More   Green Street, in the Riverside neighborhood, is popular with Cambridge real estate buyers. It offers a variety of architectural styles and a convenient location just one block from Mass Avenue between Central Square and Harvard Square offering proximity to the Charles River, MIT, and Harvard University.

Two-family Houses on Green Street in Cambridge MA

Two-family Houses on Green Street in Cambridge MA

Most of the land lining Green beyond Brookline Street, by University Park, is today owned by MIT.  A number of multi-unit buildings and commercial establishments line the street on the blocks behind Central Square as you head towards Western Avenue.  Beyond Sellers Street Green Street is primarily residential.

History of Green Street in Cambridge

Green Street was laid out in sections starting in 1801 when the first stretch from Pearl Street to Pleasant Street was laid out.  It was originally named First Parallel Street.  In 1806 the street was extended to Hancock Street and in 1836 it was extended to Putnam Avenue.  By 1900 it had reached its current length from Putnam to Landsdowne Street.

Green Street Cambridge Real Estate

Houses on Green Street today include triple deckers built in the late 1800s to early 1900s, brick rowhouses, wood double houses and row houses, and single family homes most built in the mid to late 1800s.  Some modern townhouse condos were built in the 1990s.

#516 is one of two unusual round buildings in the Riverside neighborhood – clearly ahead of their time when built in 1963.  Originally built as 16 apartments, the units were converted to condos in 2005.  A condo in the building sold this year for $350,000.

Real Estate Sales in the last two years included:

  • Condos in triple-deckers sold for $319,000 and $519,000
  • 1990s townhouse condos sold for $692,500 and $775,000
  • A renovated condo in a wood rowhouse sold for $$435,000
  • Two units in newly renovated two-unit house sold for $449,000 and $550,000

Green Street Homes for Sale

Cambridge Homes for Sale


Here are some more photographs taken on Green Street in Cambridge:



If you’re interested in selling or buying a home on Green Street in Cambridge contact Liz Bolton, a Cambridge real estate agent at the Huron Avenue Office of Coldwell Banker at 617-504-1737.

Categories: Area Info
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

Black Swallow-wort in Massachusetts – Join the Fight


Black Swallow-Wort on a Cambridge Chain Link Fence

Black Swallow-Wort on a Cambridge Chain Link Fence

It’s prime time in the war against Black Swallow-wort in Massachusetts – Swallowwort is flourishing in Massachusetts and there are large stands around Cambridge, Watertown, Medford and Somerville.

Black Swallow-wort is a very invasive plant that can take over a landscape and spread far if seeds are dispersed. Not only will it crowd out other plants but it has been shown to have a negative impact on songbird populations and on monarch butterflies.

I have a feeling that Black Swallow-wort thrives with a lot of rain because there’s a bumper crop out there.  The pods seem to have come out early – I found vines with maturing pods in June. 

Around the city it often seems that homeowners think that Swallowwort is an attractive vine.  In Cambridge and Somerville you often find the vines climbing over chain link fences – providing a wall of greenery that hides the chain link.  When we were on our weekly tour I spotted a new real estate listing in Watertown where a support had been carefully placed in the garden for a Swallow-wort vine.

You do NOT want to encourage Black Swallow-wort in your garden – and instead should mount a full scale campaign to eradicate it.

While it is an ongoing struggle to kill Black Swallow-wort – best done with liberal applications of Round-up – and lots of digging – now is the time to collect pods.

The first year I discovered swallow-wort in my yard I made the mistake of breaking off  the vines and leaving the pods. Unfortunately even when the vine is dead the pods will eventually open and disperse their fluff-borne seeds

Pounds of Swallow-Wort Pods

Pounds of Swallow-Wort Pods

Pods must be removed and burned or carefully bagged and disposed of in a landfill.

I have taken to carrying bags with me in order to collect pods.  This morning in Watertown Square I happened to pass a hedge with Swallow-wort vines growing in it.  By the time I was done I had collected over 2.5 POUNDS of pods!!

What Does Swallow-Wort Look Like?

  • Swallow-wort’s shiny green leaves come in pairs
  • The vine grows fast and will twine around fences and tree and bush branches
  • The pods are slim, smooth and green
  • When it flowers the vine has small, purple, star-shaped blossoms

Please join the fight!!  If you see swallow-wort pods – pluck them!  Swallow-wort will soon blanket Massachusetts if we don’t stem its spread.

Here are some more photographs of Black Swallow-wort found in Cambridge and Watertown:


Categories: Living Here
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Medford Public Library Lectures- Not To Be Missed

Medford Public Library Lectures   I love attending lectures and with the many colleges in Cambridge, Boston, and nearby there tend to be a lot of them to choose from. With the students away for the summer the schedule thins out however.  The Medford MA Public Library Lecture Series is one of the best around and it’s still going strong in the summer months.  Here are some of the upcoming offerings:

The Charles River and Boston Skyline from the BU Bridge in Cambridgeport

The Charles River and Boston Skyline from the BU Bridge in Cambridgeport

Exploring the Hidden Charles – Michael Tougias

The Charles River is an integral part of the landscape in many towns and cities in Eastern Massachusetts.  Learn more about the Charles River with Michael Tougias, author of Exploring the Hidden Charles.

Michael Tougias will speak at the Medford Public Library on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm

The Boston Harbor Islands – Christopher Klein

I’m looking forward to learning more about the Boston Harbor Islands at Christopher Klein’s lecture.  Klein is the author of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands: A Guide to the City’s Hidden Shores.

Christopher Klein’s presentation at the Medford Public Library is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Baked Beans and Fried Clams: How Food Defines a Region – Lecture by Edie Clark

Edie Clark has long been one of my favorite Yankee Magazinecolumnists. The food listed in the lecture description “baked beans, Indian pudding, fried clams, and lobster rolls” sounds like it was pulled from the menu at the Willow Pond Kitchen, a local institution where I waitressed through college and graduate school.  I look forward to hearing Edie Clark’s take on what these classic New England dishes say about us.

Edie Clark will speak at the Medford Public Library on August 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm.

Tour the Peter Tufts House

Not a lecture but a house tour.  The Peter Tufts House, built in the late 1600s, is one of the oldest brick houses in the United States.  The Medford Public Library with the Medford Historical Society is sponsoring group tours of the house on:

  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, August 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm with an overflow tour at 3:00 pm if needed

Tours are limited to 10 attendees.  Tours will meet at the Peter Tufts House at 350 Riverside Avenue, Medford, MA

Register for a tour by calling the Libary at 781-395-7950.  Admission is free.

The Medford Public Library lectures are free of charge.  Pre-registration is not required.

The Medford Public Library is located at 111 High Street, Medford, MA 02155.

Categories: Area Events
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The Washingtonian – Cambridge Condos at Linnaean Street and Washington Ave


The Washingtonian Condos on Linnaean Street Cambridge

The Washingtonian at the corner of Linnaean and Washington

The Washingtonian is a Cambridge condo building at the corner of Linnaean Street and Washington Avenue. This handsome yellow brick building houses 27 one, two, and three-bedroom condominiums. At the base of Avon Hill and close to Porter Square and Harvard Square, the shops, restaurants and boutiques that line Mass Avenue are just a few blocks away.

The Washingtonian was designed by Boston architect John A. Hasty and built in 1912. Hasty also designed the Newport Road Condos building and many other Cambridge homes and buildings during the Victorian period and early 1900s. Watch this space for an article on Hasty and the Cambridge houses and buildings he designed.

Features of the Washingtonian Condos

Condos at the Washingtonian are elegant and charming. Original details include:

  • corner cabinets in the dining room with leaded glass doors
  • decorative tiled fireplaces
  • picture moldings
  • transom windows
  • pantries

Other features of condos at the Washingtonian include:

  • maple floors
  • bay windows
  • living room, formal dining room, one to three bedrooms
  • private basement storage and common bike storage
  • common laundry with in-unit laundry in some condos 
  • expansive backyard and garden
5 - 9 Washington Avenue Condos in Cambridge

5 – 9 Washington Avenue Condos in Cambridge

Recent Condo Sales at the Washingtonian

Condos at the Washingtonian range in size from just over 800 sq.ft. to 1300+ sq.ft.  Most have two or three bedrooms.  Many have been renovated to varying degrees.

Recent sales at the Washingtonian include:

  • 840 sq.ft. lower level two-bedroom condo sold for $365,000 in 2013
  • 1374 sq. ft. top floor three-bedroom condo with renovated kitchen & bath and in-unit washer/dryer sold for $741,000 in 2013
  • 840 sq.ft. two-bedroom corner unit on the 1st floor sold for $610,000 in 2014


The Washingtonian condos span the corner of Linnaean St. and Washington Ave.  The addressses for the condominiums are 27 – 31 Linnaean Street and 5 – 9 Washington Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138.

Looking for a condo in a classic Cambridge building like the Washingtonian?  I can help!  Call me at 617-504-1737 or email me at [email protected].

Liz Bolton, ReMax Destiny, Cambridge

Washingtonian Condos sales data from MLSpin

Categories: Property Info
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

A Garden Bed On Wheels – Cambridge Real Estate Agents on Tour

Pickup Truck with a Vegetable Garden Bed

Pickup Truck with a Vegetable Garden Bed

Cambridge real estate agents – or at least the big bunch that work at Coldwell Banker – every Wednesday tour the properties that are coming on the market for the weekend.  It’s a great way to get a first look at a lot of real estate and is one of my favorite days of the week.

I’ve taken to carrying my camera with me looking for fodder for this blog.  We’re often out and about through three to six towns, touring up to 20+ properties, so there’s a good chance I’ll stumble across something that’s picture-worthy.

This pickup truck was cause for a double-take.  I don’t know the story behind it – if you do let me know.  There’s a mini-farm – a garden bed – a raised bed for sure – in this truck bed.  Corn, tomatoes, and a bunch of other plants that I assume are also vegetables (can you guess I’m not a gardener?).  We spotted it on a Somerville side street and every real estate agent with a camera was snapping away.  Wherever this truck goes it’s sure to be a head-turner.




Check back for more oddities and interesting sights spotted while we’re out and about in Cambridge, Somerville and nearby towns. And if you’d like a heads up about properties we see on our weekly real estate tour or want to talk about how our property tour can get your home sold fast give me a call at 617-504-1737.

Categories: Everything Else
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Do You Need Air Conditioning In Cambridge?

Do you need air conditioning in Cambridge?  If you’re asking that question in the summer of 2009 the answer is No! I haven’t even taken the fans down from the attic.  But this summer is exceptional – usually we do get a few stretches of hot and humid weather.

Perhaps a fan will do in lieu of air conditioning in Cambridge

Perhaps a fan will do in lieu of air conditioning in Cambridge

But this is New England after all and you have to wonder – is air conditioning essential?  More and more buyers seem to think so. Me?  I’m not a fan (no pun intended!) of air conditioning at home.   It simply was never that common around here – nor should it be – the Northeast summers just don’t justify it.  My parents have never had it and as an adult I’ve had a/c only once in a condo I owned for just one year.  I’m not a fan of heat and humidity so I completely understand air conditioning’s allure but can’t justify the expense myself – or the lack of fresh air.   But to each their own – and if the house of my dreams happened to come with central air I’m sure come July or August I’d be delighted to be cool.

One of my new pet peeves is that newly constructed condo buildings in Massachusetts have been awarded various “green” certifications despite having air conditioning.  There is nothing green about home air conditioning in the Northeast.

Air conditioning at work or in public buildings is another story.  In the A/C temperature wars at work I’m firmly in the camp of colder-is-better. A/C in a real estate office that houses 50+ agents and even more pieces of office equipment is essential.  Energy dollars spent for the benefit of many people rather than a few makes all sorts of sense.

It seems that more people – in the interest of the environment and their pocketbooks – are foregoing air conditioning.  Today’s New York Times Home section had an article “The Unchilled Life” about this trend.  Several of those interviewed live in much hotter parts of the US.  Luckily for us in Cambridge, our older housing stock is often designed in a way that promotes natural cooling:

“Houses built before the 1960s, when widespread use of window air conditioners began, tended to incorporate many of the elements that make it easier to stay cool: higher ceilings, alignment of windows to facilitate cross-ventilation, more windows on the north side of the house than the sun-exposed south, and a large covered porch to shield the sunniest part of the house.”

There are some great tips in the article for surviving the hot days and nights sans A/C.  Read more tips for staying cool here.

In addition to the article about air conditioning or the lack thereof, today’s NYT Homesection had articles on the Brimfield flea market, a spread about a fabulous renovation of a lake house in New York, and a piece about a garden in Norwich Vermont.  Though it’s a bit slimmer nowadays, if you’re at all house-obsessed the Thursday New York Times is a weekly treat not to be missed.

In the end my method for dealing with the hottest of days is to spend plenty of time in my air conditioned real estate office in Cambridge. Stop on by – we’re at 171 Huron Ave in Cambridge.

Categories: Living Here

Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

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