Maybe you’ve been in Boston for years, but you’re now having kids and looking to relocate. Maybe you’re planning a move to the Boston area from another city in the U.S. or abroad, and you’re trying to make sense of your options. Whatever the case, Boston Moms is here to help with a handy guide to some popular towns in the area! We’ll tell you about the vibe, income levels, schools, and fun insider info to help you figure out the best place for you.
How we got here
I bought my first home in Hopedale in 2009, as I grew up in neighboring Mendon and wanted to stay local. After my husband and I got married, we decided to stay in Hopedale. We both loved the small-town community feel and knew we wanted to raise our children near family. My husband, who moved to Hopedale from Brighton, loved having a garage and a yard for the first time. We both worked close to the city and got our daily dose of city life while still being able to come home to our quiet, friendly town.
Vibe :: Small town
With a population of fewer than 6,000 and an area covering just over five square miles, Hopedale is a small town. I hadn’t lived here long before I had a network of people around town who all knew each other and introduced me to new people (hello, babysitters!). Hopedale has a fascinating history. It was home to the Draper Corporation back in the late 1800s. The Draper Mill, right in the center of town, was one of the largest producers of textile machinery in the country. Houses, as well as the library, school, gymnasium, community center, and parks, were built for Draper workers and are still used by residents today. Though Draper has been abandoned since the 1970s, the town’s history seeps through in appearance and feel.
Live :: Mostly single-family homes
Most Hopedale residents are homeowners (88%, according to Trulia). The town is comprised of mostly single-family homes, but there are also condos and historic duplexes. The average home cost is around $300,000. One of the things I love about Hopedale is that there are so many different types of properties. There are large, modern homes and historic homes built over a century ago — all within the same area.
Hopedale has a preschool, an elementary school (K–6), and a junior/senior high school (7-12). The junior/ senior high school has approximately 550 students total, including students from surrounding towns who choose to enroll through school choice (approximately 15% of students). The average scores of Hopedale students on both state and national standardized tests are above average. Hopedale schools also offer a variety of clubs and sports. Additionally, there are two vocational/technical high schools in the area.
Although Hopedale is tiny, there are plenty of things to do that are simple and fun, especially for families. There is a park/playground in the center of town, a community center that offers activities for people of all ages (including a candlepin bowling alley), a library, an ice arena, and the Hopedale Parklands, which is a lovely hiking trail that circles Hopedale Pond. There is also the Little Red Shop Museum, which features artifacts of the history of Hopedale.
There are many community events we look forward to each year. In the winter, there is a holiday stroll, where local businesses set up activities and goodies around town as a prelude to the town’s tree lighting. There is a pond-side fire by Hopedale Pond where everyone can enjoy s’mores in February. In the spring, there is a big egg hunt on the lawn of the Community House, and a Fairy Walk where the Hopedale Parklands are peppered with little fairy houses created by local residents and businesses. In the summer, there are concerts each week at the park, including pre-concert music and games for the kids. There are also kayak and canoe rentals on Hopedale Pond throughout summer.
Milford, next to Hopedale, features a paved bike/walking trail, a brewery, and a mountain biking trail. A much larger town than Hopedale, Milford also offers many shopping centers and restaurants. In neighboring Mendon, there is Southwick’s Zoo and a drive-in movie theater.
There is no getting around it — you need a car to live in Hopedale. Hopedale is close to 495 (just one exit from the Mass Pike), and Route 16 runs right through town. Many commuters ride the MBTA out of nearby Franklin or Ashland. The closest city is Worcester, though we can also be in Boston or Providence within an hour (depending on traffic, of course). We can also be on the Cape in about an hour.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful!
Stay tuned for more town guides to clue you in about Greater Boston’s many terrific family-oriented places to live.