Anyone from the Springfield area? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 09-04-2008, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We may be moving to this area for my husband's job and I would love some more info about this area. We currently live in Southern NH and from what I've heard, the cost of living is rather expensive in MA comparatively.. This makes me nervous. Are there any good schools or decent places to live that aren't very expensive? I'd really love any input I could get.

Thank you!
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#2 of 14 Old 09-08-2008, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am bumping this because I would also like to hear more about the areas around Springfield. DH's job would be in Springfield but it sounds like there are some more.. cruncy areas around it? Like Northampton and Holyoke?? Maybe? There has to be someone who knows this area!
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#3 of 14 Old 09-08-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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Northampton and Easthampton are both very crunchy, as well as Amherst and Greenfield (which may be too far north for you, depending). There's a lot of queer mamas on MDC who live out that way, so I can only imagine there's even more straight ones... so all in all, you'll have plenty of company, once you settle in.

As for cost of living, Springfield/West. Mass is MUCH better than eastern Mass/Boston - not just housing, but things like how much it costs to park when you go somewhere, the lack of toll roads, cheaper/more produce options, etc. There's also some good CSAs out that way (sorry no details, but this is all from memory of my living there a few years ago, and other people posting here)...

Springfield itself is not exactly a bastion of progressiveness, but I"m sure there are areas that are better, as in all places!

Good luck, and enjoy your time in "the happy valley"!
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#4 of 14 Old 09-08-2008, 10:02 PM
 
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I live in the Springfield area and would be happy to answer any questions you have.

If you're looking for crunchy - Northampton is probably the place for you. However the whole area is relatively crunchy-friendly.

I'd be happy to talk more with you, but I'm horrible at checking in here. PM me!
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#5 of 14 Old 09-10-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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Hi! I live in Holyoke, which is about 5-10 minutes from Springfield and about 10 minutes from Northampton. I think its the perfect in between because it's a lot more racially and economically diverse than Northampton but still has some crunchy people. There are some really nice neighborhoods and then some not so great ones. The cost of housing is also significantly cheaper in Holyoke then in Noho. One thing I don't know about are the Holyoke school system. I just moved here a year ago from the midwest and know what it feels like to try to figure out where to live...If you need any suggestions, just PM me!

Back to lurkering....

-Kate
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#6 of 14 Old 09-15-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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I live in Hampden , a fairly sleepy suburb of Springfield its moderately low on crunch compared to Northampton, but we've got great schools, large yards and a good quality of life.

I've lived in Holyoke and Northampton as well - feel free to PM me if you'd like my takes on all three areas.
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#7 of 14 Old 09-18-2008, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies

Thank you so much for your responses.. After going a little batty trying to drive back and forth looking for apartments (to MA from NH!) I think we are settled on a house in Westfield... Does anyone know much about that particular town?
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#8 of 14 Old 09-23-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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I don't live in Westfield but I live in a neighboring town. There are some great things about Westfield for families-there is a children's museum (although I've never been), Stanley Park (a beautiful park with playgrounds, picnic areas, rose garden) and a nice children's library. There is also an indoor play structure/gym place but I can't think of the name right now. I believe it is on Mill Street. I also know that they do a farmer's market in season, it is small but at least it exists. There are also a few farms in Westfield that have their own stands. I also think that the city itself is trying to reinvent the downtown area. I know they are trying to work with Westfield State College to bring art exhibits, theater to the area. I'm not sure about the crunchy factor but I think you can find like minded people anywhere you go. Plus, the cost of living is much cheaper than Northampton.

Mama to DD1 2007, DS 2009, DD2 2012, What a Journey this parenting thing is...
 

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#9 of 14 Old 10-08-2008, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the input!!

We're moving this weekend and now I have the more heavy duty questions..

I am looking for recommendations on the following:

A pediatrician who is okay w/ us not vaxing

A good/cheaper place to shop for natural/organic/whole foods

Car/renters insurance (because none of the companies I know of cover mass!)

Daycare- either preschool, in home, or nannies

A fun mommy playgroup!

Thanks again mamas!
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#10 of 14 Old 10-15-2008, 12:10 PM
 
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If you decided to move to Westfield-try the PriceRite on Route 20 for some of your organics. It is a discount grocery store but it has a small selection of well-priced organics, including milk, eggs, hummus and some veggies. The organic milk is definitely the cheapest that I've found.

Usually, I'll make a trip to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods up in Hadley once a month or so to stock up on stuff. It's a bit of a pain to get there but totally worth it.

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#11 of 14 Old 10-15-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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Westfield is a pretty good town. It has a nice mix of convient shopping and more woodsy areas. If you go up to Northampton area, try Cornucopia in Thornes Marktplace - it's organic/natural foods and they have bins of grains, spices, and herbs & they're reasonably prices. You should also find lots of great farmstands in Westfield and surrounding towns when the season is right.
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#12 of 14 Old 10-16-2008, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So here we are!!

We tried the Big Y this weekend and.. sticker shock!! I ran out to stop and shop in a pinch the other night, which was better, and then I just drove the half hour to TJs and was so happy!! That place is huge, and so much more hoppin' than the one back home!

Thanks for the other recommendations, though! We will definitely be checking them out!

Now on to find other mommies IRL, a pedi, and childcare...
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#13 of 14 Old 10-16-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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Have you looked into Progressive for car insurance? They just started covering in MA about 4-6 months ago but I've been using them for about 3 years (I moved from Michigan). I've only ever had good experiences with them (I totalled my car after only having it for a month) and they have great customer service on the phone.
Have you looked into Stop and Shop? It's not as great at TJ's but I think some of the stuff is cheaper than Big Y.

Good luck and welcome to the valley! Let me know if you ever have any other random questions. We just moved here a year ago and still know what it's like to be lost in a completely new place.

-Kate
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#14 of 14 Old 10-22-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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Hi there! We're actually getting ready to move to the area from RI. We did the same thing as you, drove back and forth and finally settled on a place to rent in Palmer. I, too, need to find a ped. and all that good stuff. So if you come across anything, let me know!
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