Best Places to Live 2014: Power Couple
— Winner —
Median home price: $1,037,000
One-year change: +22%
Lincoln is the affluent aesthete’s dream. In this hideaway known for its modern architecture, residents enjoy both swift access to Boston via Route 2 and a burgeoning MetroWest restaurant scene (brunch at French-Asian fusion restaurant Aka Bistro, run by Ken Oringer disciples Chris Chung and Christian Touche, is a must-try). If you’re philanthropically inclined, attend charity events, volunteer at the deCordova, or get involved with the town’s modern-architecture society. If you prefer seclusion, that’s fine, too: Luxuriate in a contemporary or Bauhaus estate on four-plus acres, or stroll the trails of nearby Walden Pond and Codman Farm.
On the Market
Address: 8 Hawk Hill Rd., Lincoln
Stats: Three bedrooms, two and a half baths
Listing Price: $919,000
— Also worth a look —
Median home price: $219,750
One-year change: +19%
Yes, yes…we know. Lowell gets a bad rap (see: High on Crack Street, The Fighter), but Kerouac’s hometown is a brilliant buy for artistic-minded robber barons. Think of the cobblestone downtown as a gritty Venice: Nestled among the canals, converted mills have been transformed into modern lofts. The Mill No. 5 complex houses an artisanal chocolatier, startup offices, and vintage clothing shops. Light-filled Western Avenue Lofts and Studios provide designated work and living space for artists. If you prefer an estate, visit the Belvidere neighborhood, where an Andover Street mansion can be had for under $450,000.
Median home price: $741,000
One-year change: +11%
Looking for a new home in an established community? Needham, once home to Peabodys and Wyeths, has plenty of architectural promise, with older homes making way for sparkling fresh builds. (There were 94 permits for residential demolitions in 2013.) If you want a brand-new abode, set your sights on the large lots of South Needham, toward Dover and Wellesley, and along Charles River Street and Carleton Drive. Also newly renovated is the Needham Golf Club (members only). Take Route 9 into the Back Bay in less than 30 minutes.