Either-Or: An Oasis in Cambridge vs. a South Shore Single-Family

Two listings. The same price. What's worth it?

Welcome to Either-Or, where we compare two listings with the same price—one in Boston and one outside. Build your own conclusions.

Photo via Compass | Photo by Chris Bernstein/CDB Photos

To remind you that real estate price tags around Boston are a special breed, we’ve been presenting two homes listed at the same price from time to time. This round, it’s a showdown between an attached single-family in Cambridge and a standalone home in Duxbury, where the decision could come down to whether you place a higher value on proximity to the city or the ocean. Both of these lovely residences are asking for $775,000.

78 Bristol St., Cambridge
Price: $775,000
Size: 1,113 square feet
Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 1.5
21 Hunt Farm Drive, Duxbury
Price: $775,000
Size: 2,607 square feet
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 3

Green-thumbed gardeners will appreciate this attached single-family in Cambridge, which in place of a typical grassy yard has what the listing agent calls a “zen garden.” A wood fence hems in a brick patio, partially shaded by the neighbor’s weeping willow, a raised sunflower bed, and a pebbled walkway that leads up to the front door. There are also flowering vines, magnolia trees, and a lilac bush that perfumes the air each spring. But when the cold weather drives owners inside, a big box window provides views of the private patio, while also serving as a miniature greenhouse for indoor plants. The 19th-century home’s simple, sunny rooms occupy two floors, and a finished basement can be used as a guest suite or in-home office space. As a whole, it’s a refuge in the heart of Cambridge: Depending on which way you walk, the Central and Kendall T stops are 15 minutes away in either direction.

But if you want to get a bit further from the bustle of the city, this residence in a South Shore suburb may be a better way to go. The professionally landscaped acre comprises mature trees, a spacious deck, and a heated in-ground pool filled with salt water. A clapboard and shingle exterior supports a recently redone hip roof, and a set of sliding doors leads inside from the terrace. A fireplaced living room with grand cathedral ceilings, a skylight, and octagonal windows with diamond panes bring interest and light into the space. French doors cordon off most rooms, keeping the light flowing and allowing for some privacy when needed. And this house comes with a finished basement, too—the carpeted den generates another 500 square feet of living space.

With the choice of a sunny home between two popular Cambridge squares for $696 per square foot, or a South Shore spot with its own heated salt water pool for $297 per square foot, you just have to decide: What’s more worth it to you?