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Top 5 Places To Live In The Merrimack Valley

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Located between the Massachusetts and New Hampshire borders, the Merrimack Valley runs along the Merrimack River. There are 24 cities and towns in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts with the eastern portion generally being more rural. The Massachusetts side is part of the Greater Boston area. Travel through the valley is by Interstate 495.

A primary area for textile production in the 1800s, now the largest employers on the Massachusetts side are in healthcare and higher education (University of Massachusetts at Lowell and Merrimack College). Here are the top five places to live in the Merrimack Valley.

1. Billerica

This city of nearly 38,000 people was a contender in 2009 for CNN Money's top 100 "Best Places to Live" but did not make the final list. Sports Illustrated named Billerica one of the top 50 towns for sports and recreation and "Sportstown for the Bay State." Golf and Country Club of Billerica, put at Rangeway Golf (miniature golf and driving range), swim and play ball at the Boys and Girls Club or jump around at Trampoline Park (featuring a rock climbing wall and a battle beam over foam pits). There is also a beach and water activities at Nuttings Lake. Middlesex House of Corrections is a major local employer. Boston is only 20 miles away. Transportation is through Routes 3 and 495 or by train or bus. Average salary is $58,000 and home prices average $375,733.

2. Georgetown

Work in the city via Routes 95, 97 or 495 and enjoy small-town life while at home in Georgetown. With a population of over 6,000, this rural town has acres of state forest lands to enjoy and is close to the sea. Employment is available along Route 95 industrial developments and Boston is only 28 miles away. The average salary is $73,000 and median price of homes runs $400,000. Georgetown has a charming downtown area with antiques a supermarket and an organ manufacturing company. Golf is available at the country club. Enjoy family fun at Georgetown days in the summer with food, rides, music and fireworks.

3. Lowell

With a population of about 104,000, Lowell is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts. Average salaries are $36,000 with a variety of area jobs. Once known as the center of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S., the National Park Service has preserved a number of the city's industrial sites. Transportation is by numerous routes, bus and even a streetcar shuttle through the city center. Lowell has a treasure trove of libraries, a branch of the University of Massachusetts, art galleries, performance venues, sports centers and even a teen youth center. Median home prices are $232,000.

4. Amesbury

Relax and enjoy weekends off from work in quaint Amesbury where the average salary is about $54,000. This is a city of over 16,000 people located across the river from Newburyport and about 30 miles from Boston, both places for employment. Formerly a farming and mill town, it's now mainly residential. The restored downtown area boasts restaurants and plenty of historic buildings. Have fun snow tubing at night in Amesbury Park or use the fields in summertime for soccer, rugby or obstacle races. The park is also a great place to listen to concerts. Median home prices are $338,724.

5. Tyngsborough

Tyngsborough was a vacation community with most of its population comprised of summer residences. Now, the town has a population of over 10,000 and growing, as evidenced by a boom in residential construction with median home prices at $362,000. New construction includes both a junior and senior high school and police station. Only 30 minutes from Boston along the Route 3 corridor, this picturesque town has many streams, lakes and large ponds. Maintaining its small-town New England character while building up its services to support the increase in population is important to Tyngsborough citizens. Average salaries are $64,000.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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