Blog :: 05-2020

FAN Town-Wide Scavenger Hunt, Saturday May 30th

Are you ready to get out of your house for a fun family adventure while social distancing??

FAN Family Action Network of Winchester is hosting a town scavenger hunt by car on Saturday, May 30th at 10am. Participation is free to all!

Join the ”Winchester Scavenger Hunt” facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/660103491231195/?ref=share OR FAN members can sign up at https://fanwinchester.wildapricot.org/event-3837171.

The scavenger hunt list of 20 things/places to photograph around Winchester will be released on Saturday, May 30th at 10am on the Facebook group and emailed to FAN members.

Please follow social distancing guidelines while participating.

Post all 20 photos once completed to the Winchester Scavenger Hunt Facebook group or FAN members can send photos to info@fanwinchester.com.

The team to submit all 20 photos fastest wins $100 gift card to Book Ends bookstore!

This event is to kickoff FAN’s 2020 diaper drive to benefit the Diaper Project at A Place To Turn in Natick.

https://www.aplacetoturn-natick.org/diaper-project/

Please drop off diaper donations at Fuller Cup starting the day of the scavenger hunt on 5/30/20 until 6/20/20. New diaper boxes and wipes, opened packages of diapers and wipes, loose diapers, and swim diapers accepted!

Information provided by FAN - Family Action Network of Winchester - for more details go to their event page on Facebook.

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    Moving to Arlington | Everything You Need to Know

    Arlington, a town 6 miles northwest of Boston, is full of history. It’s the birthplace of Uncle Sam, the location of the first public children’s library and the site of historic battles with the British during the start of the Revolutionary War. Today it is a vibrant community popular with professionals and young families for its easy access to Boston, good schools and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

    Mass. Ave. runs through the center of the town from the Cambridge border in the east to the west where it crosses into Lexington. Along its length are several distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character.  East Arlington would be considered the most “urban”, and with its close proximity to the Red Line T stop at Alewife offers city dwellers the chance to move to a larger property with more outdoor space but still have an easy ride into the city. Capitol Square is home to many independent shops and a movie theater, and is the hub for the Feast of the East cultural festival each summer. The Fox Library is also located in East Arlington.

    Tucked away off Lake Street you’ll find Kelwyn Manor, a private association with 194 single family homes built in the 1930’s. Considered a highly desirable area, this neighborhood features a park and a playground, and access to Spy Pond via a private beach. 

    Spy Pond itself is a great recreation destination for the town, a 103-acre kettle pond offering boating and fishing on the water, and walking, picnicking and a play area on land. There are also tennis courts and the Arlington Boys and Girls Club provides many sporting, educational and afterschool and summer programs for local children.  

    Heading beyond Spy Pond you'll reach Jason Heights, an area filled with classic Victorian style homes and plenty of open space and parks. Menotomy Rocks Park is popular for its wooded trails and fishing pond, while Robbins Farm Park boasts spectacular views of the Boston skyline and a great children’s playground. Also known as Skyline Park, it's a great spot to view the 4th of July fireworks. Arlington Center, where Route 3 bears off Mass Ave and heads towards Winchester, has a large concentration of stores and restaurants, including popular children’s toy store Henry Bear’s Park, the Regent Theatre, Robbins Library and the ubiquitous Starbucks. There is also a Whole Foods Market and Stop and Shop for grocery shopping. 

    Continuing along Mass Ave you’ll reach Arlington Heights, another area with mostly single-family homes and plenty of space. At this end of town you’ll find Trader Joe’s amongst other local stores and restaurants, and Arlington Reservoir, a popular spot for bathing in the summer and walks all year round. The Ed Burns Ice Arena is another of the town's recreation spots.

    Further away from Mass Ave, the neighborhood between Arlington and Winchester is known as Morningside. Homes here tend to have larger plots and be more spread out, and some will enjoy views of the Upper and Lower Mystic Lakes.

    Serving these neighborhoods are 7 elementary schools, the Gibbs School (6th grade), Ottoson Middle School and Arlington High School. The High School is currently undergoing a rebuild and the new school is scheduled to be completed in 2024. In addition, students in Arlington can enroll at Minuteman Regional High School, one of the top vocational-technical schools in Massachusetts. Arlington also has 3 private schools - Lesley Ellis (PreK - 9), St Agnes Catholic School (PreK- 8) and Arlington Catholic High School (9-12).  

    Along with the Red Line T at Alewife, Arlington has multiple bus routes including the #77 route which runs from Arlington Heights to Harvard Square, and #80 which connects to the Green Line T at Lechmere. The Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, a 10 mile paved rail-trail, offers commuters another, eco-friendly way to travel, connecting Bedford in the North to the Alewife T stop just across the Arlington line into North Cambridge.  Route 2 runs alongside Arlington, giving access to Cambridge and Boston in one direction and I-95 and route 128 in the other.

    With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why Arlington is a popular choice for those ready to move out of the city yet wanting to remain within easy reach. If that sounds like you, talk to one of our experienced agents to begin your search. 

     

    OUR REALTORS RECOMMEND:


    "One of the things I enjoy about living in Arlington is all the open space to explore. Menotomy Rocks Park, Arlington Reservoir, and Spy Pond are all great for getting out and enjoying the natural environment. If you want to really stretch your legs the bike path is perfect for a safe way to get around.  There are many wonderful restaurants, such as Twyrl which does amazing fresh pasta, and for a sweet treat head to Quebrada Bakery or Gail Anne's for old-fashioned donuts. I love that we still have a movie theater and a theatre right in the town, as well as all the other local stores."

    Jane Byrne

     

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      Support Your Community - 5 Ways to Help

       

      It’s been 9 long weeks since we went into lockdown, so the Governor’s announcement this week that we can start to open things up will be very welcome to many who have been struggling physically, mentally, and financially.  However that light at the end of the tunnel may still be a way off, with many stage gates and regulations to work through before stores, restaurants, schools, and services can get back to anything like normal. So what can we do in the meantime?  We put together five simple things we as individuals can do to support the communities we live in.

      Shop Local

       

      It goes without saying that once the local stores and restaurants in your town are fully open you would support them whenever you can.  But many businesses have innovated and remodeled their business plan to stay in operation even with the lockdown restrictions.  Restaurants offer takeout, stores offer virtual shopping, hair salons sell products online, photographers offer gift cards to be redeemed at a later date.  All of these initiatives can help them stay afloat and still be around to open up when allowed.  Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to find lists of businesses that are offering services at this time.  For example, in Winchester they have launched shop01890.com, a website where you can search by business type or name to find stores, restaurants, and services.  Melrose has a list of all its members and if they have curbside pick up, delivery, gift cards or other offers.  Arlington Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the town to play “Shop Local Bingo”, encouraging residents to patronize local businesses and possibly win a $100 gift certificate.   

       

      Donate

       

      As the lockdown has continued and many people have been furloughed or even lost their jobs, the demand on local food banks has increased dramatically.  In addition, with children no longer in school many have lost access to their only guaranteed meal of the day.  Organizations such as Winchester Got Lunch and Arlington EATS have stepped up their operations to try and bridge this gap, but they require donations (of food and money) to keep up with demand. Picking up an extra box of mac n cheese, jar of peanut butter, or box of cereal next time you are shopping can make the world of difference to a family who is struggling.  Read our recent blog to find out about other organizations in your area and where you can drop your donations safely.

       

      Give Blood

      Emergency surgery, certain cancer treatments, and critical transfusions have still been taking place during the pandemic, but with the stay-home order drop-in blood drives were canceled and donations have fallen. Many people wrongly assumed that donations were not possible, but with supplies dwindling it’s as important as ever that healthy donors continue to make appointments.  The American Red Cross has great information on their website about the extra precautions that they are taking during the coronavirus outbreak, and they can help you find your nearest donation center.  

       

      Volunteer

       

      Volunteering can be a truly rewarding experience, as well as a fantastic way to give back to your community.  Despite the restrictions, there are still many opportunities to give back in this way, although some will look a bit different from before - maybe you will be helping to man a phone helpline, or packing goods wearing a mask and gloves.  Contact Boston Cares to get matched with an opportunity to suit your availability and comfort level.

       

      Say Thanks

       

      Throughout this crisis those classed as essential workers have continued to keep our community running.  Alongside healthcare workers, those working in grocery stores, mail workers, delivery drivers, police officers, firefighters, DPW workers, cable technicians, and numerous others have been going to work, often in difficult circumstances.  Why not take a moment to show your appreciation for their efforts  - you could write a letter, have the kids make a poster, or simply say “thanks” next time you see them.  If you want to go further, check your local residents' Facebook group or email list - some towns have set up regular food deliveries to workers at local hospitals and will happily accept donations.  

      #inthistogether

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        Find Out Why Melrose is One of the Hottest Neighborhoods Around

        Located just 7 miles north of Boston, Melrose is a popular suburb, offering all the convenience of access to the city with the green space, fewer crowds and larger homes you would expect in a more suburban setting.  A small city with a population of around 28,000, the Victorian architecture, thriving downtown, good schools and convenient access to Boston have given Realtor.com cause to name Melrose one of the country’s “Ten Hottest Neighborhoods” 3 times in the past 5 years.

        Melrose offers a range of housing styles but it is known for its larger Victorian properties on wide tree-lined streets.  The pretty downtown area, with its gas-lamp lined streets, is home to many local stores and restaurants.  The city celebrates its heritage every year in September with the Victorian Festival, when the streets of downtown are closed to traffic and local stores and restaurants host stalls outside for residents and visitors to enjoy. Live entertainment draws the crowds and makes this a hugely popular event for all ages.  Other community events include the Summer Stroll and Home for the Holidays, both of which are landmarks in the calendar of residents.

        As well as the thriving downtown business district, Melrose boasts two large grocery stores - Whole Foods Market and Shaw’s - plus a very active YMCA offering sports and fitness classes for the whole community, and childcare and summer camps for school-age children.  Melrose also has its own hospital - MelroseWakefield Hospital - and other healthcare and eldercare facilities.  The Melrose Public Schools are highly regarded, with the five elementary schools, one middle and one high school accommodating almost 4,000 students.  In addition, the Franklin School has excellent Early Childhood programs.  Families are further supported by the North Suburban Family Network, offering parenting education workshops, playgroups, support groups, activities and other resources for families with children up to Kindergarten age.

        Although still close to Boston, Melrose enjoys plenty of open space, including parks, playgrounds and fields, forest areas, and conservation land.  Part of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, including the picturesque Ell Pond, is in Melrose and is popular with walkers, joggers and anglers.  Pine Banks Park has multiple sports fields plus picnic areas, a playground, a pond and hiking trails.  There are also two golf courses - Mount Hood Municipal Course and Bellevue Golf Club, a private members club that also has tennis and a pool.

        For commuters or those who want to take advantage of the Big City offerings, Boston is within easy reach from Melrose.  There are three commuter rail stations on the Haverhill Line  - Wyoming Hill, Melrose Cedar Park and Melrose Highlands - taking you into Boston’s North Station in under 20 minutes.  If you prefer the T, the Orange Line begins and terminates at Oak Grove station on the Melrose / Malden border. 

        Melrose offers the convenience of living close to a large city and the neighborhood feel of a traditional New England town. To find out more about the housing market in Melrose and discover whether this is the place for your next home, contact one of our experienced agents.

        OUR REALTORS RECOMMEND:

        "We love living in Melrose for the convenience - the Orange Line and the Commuter Rail make it so easy to travel into Boston.  For recreation there’s both a private and a public golf course, and the Fells are beautiful for a hike.  The restaurants are awesome! Giacomo’s is the best for Italian, Mexico Lindo has delicious food and a great atmosphere, and Turner’s Grill and Market is THE place for seafood."

        Lesley Smith

         

        Pictured: 52 Stratford Road Melrose, listed by Lesley Smith

         

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          Keeping You Safe - New Guidelines for Viewing Homes in Winchester

          Following consultation with real estate agents and brokers in Winchester, the town has issued new guidelines for the showing of homes.  To reflect increased demand, the town will now permit inhabited homes to be shown, providing specific rules are followed. These are in place to protect the safety of the sellers, the buyers, and the agents working with them.  

          Full details can be found on the Winchester Town website but the guidelines include 

          • Showing by appointment only (no public or broker open houses).

          • At the time of showing, only one agent plus the prospective buyers (maximum 2) will be allowed in the home at one time.

          • All parties entering the home need to wear face coverings, gloves, and shoe covers.  Shoe covers will be provided by the listing agent and should be taken away and disposed of by the buyer agent.

          • Good hand hygiene should be practiced within the home, including the buyers and their agent avoiding touching surfaces, cabinets, doorknobs, and other high traffic areas. 

          • The home should have a cleaning plan in place for before and after showings in line with the CDC Guidelines to ensure the risk of infection is minimized.

          This new guidance makes it easier for sellers to list their homes and for buyers to search for homes, confident they will be able to have safe viewings.  So if you were thinking of moving house, there’s now one less reason to delay.  Talk to one of our experienced agents to find out how the market is performing in your area. 

          Other towns have also updated or amended their regulations regarding showings.  Contact one of our agents to find out the latest information for where you live.

           

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            Market Stats - Listings During Lockdown

            At the beginning of each month we typically take a look back at the previous month to get a feel of how the housing market is performing.  Are sale prices up or down on the previous year,  have days on market increased or decreased, how many homes have sold and so on.  Right now these sorts of comparisons are difficult -  April 2020 looked nothing like April 2019 in so many ways, making it hard to draw any worthwhile conclusions.   However we decided to delve a little deeper into Real Estate activity since the pandemic really hit our communities, when non-essential businesses shut down and everyone came under the “stay-at-home” order.  Anecdotally we knew that demand was still there and homes were still selling, but would the numbers echo our own experience?

            The answer was a resounding yes!  Over the 6 weeks* since the Governor's announcement, a large percentage of the homes that have come to market have gone under contract and in some cases even already sold. In Melrose, 68% of homes that came on the market since March 23rd are under agreement, in Stoneham it’s 75%*.  While the number of homes listed has decreased compared to the same period last year, the level of interest and activity has been similar to a typical spring market.  We’ve seen this first hand at Waterfield Sotheby’s International Realty, where our three most recent listings received multiple offers and had accepted offers within 5 days. 

            So what does this mean for you if you are thinking of buying or selling?   A lot will depend on your personal circumstances - our blog “Buying or Selling a Home During the Pandemic - What You Need to Know” covers some of the things you need to consider.  But with talk of restrictions easing in the near future, there is a strong probability that inventory will increase and there will be more buyers out looking.  If moving was on your agenda for 2020, now is the time to talk to an experienced realtor to discuss your options.  Our agents would be happy to arrange a phone call or video chat to find out about your plans and give you an up to date analysis of the market.  In the meantime, take a look at these numbers to see what’s happening in your town.

            *single-family homes listed between 03/23/20 and 05/03/20, source MLSPin.

             

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