Just days before the COVID-19 shutdowns (and baby #2!), Abigail and Alan were moving to Newton…
After Abigail’s husband began his graduate studies in Cambridge, the couple had some major decisions to make. With no definite plans for after graduation, the idea of moving to Newton wasn’t initially on their radar. Coming from different backgrounds—Abigail from the suburbs of Seattle and Alan from DC, with both having lived in New York City before—they had no strong ties to Boston.
“We didn’t have any family here,” Abigail shares. “But we loved our neighborhood—Kendall Square—and, after Alan graduated, he got a job in Boston, so we started making more substantial plans.” Their primary goal was to find a home with more space. This search led them quickly—and unexpectedly—to Newton, marking a new chapter in their lives.
“We got in touch with Suburban Jungle and with our Strategist, Barbara, in September and started talking about the different Boston suburbs that could be a good fit for us. Then, we got out and started exploring.”
Finding and moving to Newton, a perfect fit in the Boston ‘burbs
With an eye on finding a new neighborhood, the couple worked closely with Barbara Hirsch, the Head Boston Strategist at Suburban Jungle. They were focused on identifying their key priorities for their next home. “When we first connected, Abigail and Alan were very clear on what was important,” Barbara recalls. “They wanted great public schools and walkability—ideally, walkability to those schools and preschools since their nanny doesn’t drive. All of which moving to Newton could resolve.”
Their needs also included being close to public transportation, as she works near Downtown Crossing and frequently travels for work, while he commutes daily to Fenway. Balancing the desire for more space with proximity to the city, they embarked on their suburban exploration. They investigated various communities with their two-year-old in tow, considering options like Newton, Brookline, Milton, Arlington, and Belmont. It was Newton, however, that immediately stood out to them. “We loved Newton right away,” Abigail shares.
“Barbara and our Suburban Jungle agent, Allison, were really helpful in giving us a real feel for life in Newton—and what we could and couldn’t afford. We got a very clear picture of what life would be like here, and we also had a good sense of what we’d get at different price points—we basically went through all of Newton real estate in an afternoon and learned all about the different neighborhoods so we could make a smart decision for our family.”
When moving to Newton took an unexpected turn
Despite not finding their dream home immediately, Abigail kept a watchful eye on one specific property – a single-family house in Newton that had caught their attention from the beginning. The house, ideal in many ways, had been perpetually under contract, marked as “pending.” However, as the 100-day mark approached, Abigail noticed it hadn’t yet been sold. “I reached out to Allison just to ask about the house,” she recalls.
“Allison promptly got in touch with the seller’s agent and discovered that the sale had fallen through. It seemed like fate – it had the exact number of bedrooms we needed, the right amount of space, and it was in the perfect neighborhood. Although a bit older than we had initially wanted, being built in 1927 and recently renovated, it met all our other criteria,” Abigail explains. Eager to seize the opportunity, they made an offer on the house just before a scheduled open house. By the end of that weekend, they were under contract, marking a significant step in moving to Newton. The closing occurred a month later, in late February, and they moved in two weeks afterward – coincidentally, on the Friday when COVID-19 shutdowns began.
“We didn’t think we’d manage to move,” Abigail says, reflecting on the chaos of that period. “With the rush of people leaving the city and the uncertainty of the situation, especially since I was eight months pregnant, we were worried the movers might not turn up.” Despite these challenges, they successfully completed their move to Newton in mid-March. Since then, they’ve been adapting to life as a family of four. “It’s been incredible,” she shares with enthusiasm. “Every Sunday at 10am, our neighborhood has this adorable socially-distanced coffee gathering. We have a park just two blocks away, which is fantastic for the kids. Even in these crazy times, we’ve been able to make social connections in Newton – we’re truly happy here.”
They also secured a spot at the local preschool, where their now three-year-old son is enrolled. “It’s a 10-minute walk,” Abigail says, “and he loves it there.” They’re also very close to Boston. While both Abigail and Alan are working from home at least until January, after that, he plans to make the 15-20 minute drive to Fenway each day and she’ll take the express bus, which is just four blocks from their house. “ “We’re four blocks from Boston,” Abigail says. “We’re as close to the city as you can be and still be in the suburbs. It’s a good balance for us.” This meant that, despite adversity in buying their house, moving to Newton was a great step for Abigail, Alan, and their kids.
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