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I grew up on the south shore of Long Island, where each town had the bay as the southern border, and there was one town each to the east, west, and north.  Then I moved up here, where the borders are ragged and you can travel along a single street unaware that you have crossed from town to city and back again.  With all these interconnections, housing-hunting incoming students needn’t feel bound to Medford and Somerville.

In particular, parts of both Arlington and Cambridge are within a mile of Fletcher, and five miles would get you to Winchester, Belmont, Watertown, Malden, as well as parts of Boston.  Depending on your housing needs and whether you decide to bring a car, any of these towns could be the right place for you to spend a couple of years.

As for that tricky question of whether to bring a car, here’s what I’d say.  If you don’t own one, don’t buy one!  You’ll find other students who can run you over to the supermarket now and then.  And, there are Zipcars on campus, including in the Fletcher parking lot.  If you already own a car, I’m sure you’ll find it helpful, but you’ll want to plan carefully to prevent unintended expenses.  We locals get used to a crazy array of parking (more accurately:  NO PARKING) regulations on our narrow streets.  Meanwhile, public transportation is good, so owning a car isn’t a necessity.

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It’s not that there’s nothing to write, but I sometimes feel stumped as to what I can make interesting.  Yesterday was one of those days.  But then an admitted student gave me an idea.  He’s outside the U.S. and won’t be able to attend the Open House.  He wants to learn more about Fletcher and our little patch of the world, but he doesn’t know where to start.  So let me provide some links that will be useful to any of you who isn’t able to visit.  You’re reading the blog, so I know you’ve all found the Fletcher website.  Have you checked the Tufts site?  It has useful maps, but also information about the other graduate units of the University.

Tufts sits right on the border between the small cities of Medford and Somerville.  (The mailroom is in Medford, but the phone switching equipment is in Somerville, and the border runs under Fletcher.)  For a number of reasons, I would say that social activities tend to point students toward Somerville, though many live in Medford.  Here’s a map that shows how the towns connect.  (I’ll leave it to you to zoom and scroll to find whatever interests you.)

One reason students spend time in Somerville is that Davis Square is the nearest stop on the subway, which we all call the T.  (Davis is the second stop on the Red Line, going toward Boston.)  There are also three bus lines that cross campus:  the 80, the 94, and the 96.  The MBTA has a useful website if you want to figure out how to get from A to B.

The student who provided inspiration for this blog post was interested in access to nature.  Somerville is a relatively densely populated city (Medford a little less so), but one of the nice things about this area is that you don’t need to travel far to access a different type of environment.  For example, from campus, it’s a quick drive (or a reasonable bike ride) to the Middlesex Fells, a great place to spend a day.

But what if you’re not a nature kind of person — well, you can easily go from the small cities surrounding the campus, to the larger city of Boston.  Getting to Boston is doable by bike, but it’s an even easier ride on the T.  And while Boston is not one of the world’s largest metropolises, students are here to study and there’s no way they can exhaust everything the city has to offer in only two years.

That should get you started in your research, but I have plenty more ideas, and I’ll be back with more links soon!

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