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
After growing up in Medford and Somerville, we longed for privacy and wanted to look into our backyard and see wildlife. We fled for the Merrimack Valley, purchasing our North Andover home in 2013. We had spent a lot of time running in North Andover with friends from the Borderline Running Club and the Merrimack Valley Striders and felt North Andover fit who we are. And the area has a lot of offer!
Vibe :: Suburbia
In size, North Andover spans 27 square miles — but it has a small-town feel. There are historic areas, including the Machine Shop Village and the Old Burial Ground on Academy Road, but also brand new homes. A popular spot in North Andover is the town common; the town’s original meeting place, The North Parish Church, overlooks the old center. The common attracts residents to roam the perimeter of the large area of green year round and hosts events such as the Sheep Shearing Festival and weekly summer concerts for kids and adults. It is a very family-centric town and was recently voted the 33rd safest town in the country.
Live :: Single-family, condo, multi-family — it’s all here
You can find whatever type of home you’re looking for in North Andover. According to Trulia, 84% of North Andover residents are homeowners. There is a variety of neighborhoods, including more densely populated areas with multi-family homes, various developments and condominiums, and streets like ours where the houses are spaced farther apart. The town is predominantly single-family homes, and the median sale price for a home is $477,000.
North Andover has a great school system. There is an early education center, five elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Our high school has a 96% graduation rate. There is also a youth center. Although my girls are not of school age yet, I have received feedback from other North Andover moms of how amazing the schools are, inclusive of teachers and staff. North Andover is also home to Merrimack College.
There is a lot to do in North Andover. Steven’s Pond attracts many residents in the summer. Weir Hill, Harold Parker State Forest, and Ward Reservation are all beautiful places to go hiking. Steven Coolidge Place, the summer home of one of the descendants of the founding families of North Andover, the Stevens family, has year-round events. Smolak Farms is another cherished establishment in North Andover for its variety of fruit picking (apples, blueberries, strawberries, and more), petting zoo, and an endless list of seasonal and holiday activities. Smaller in scale but great for that exact reason is Boston Hill Farm — it has similar features to Smolak, but it’s a little quieter.
North Andover is the suburbs, and you need a car. One of my favorite things about this town is how accessible it is to multiple major highways, including 495, 93, and 95. Given that fact, we can be in Boston, New Hampshire, or Maine within 30 minutes or less (excluding high commuting times). Most people commute by car to Boston, but there is also commuter rail access in neighboring Andover.
I 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.