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5 things to know about living in Natick

Buying Natick
Natick Center.
A view of Natick Center. Wikimedia Commons / Marcbela

Natick is home to miles eight through 12 of the Boston Marathon, with Framingham to the west and Wellesley to the east. In fact, “Natick” was the answer to a 2008 New York Times crossword clue: “Town at the eighth mile of the Boston Marathon.”

There are also a few big corporate headquarters in town, including Cognex and MathWorks, and there used to be a Hostess Factory, which was torn down to make the Natick Mall.

Apart from the mall, Natick has a vibrant downtown area with an abundance of family-friendly places to spend time.

Check it out.

1. You’ll live in…

Natick, MA--7/15/2014--This home is on Walnut Street. Scenes around Natick are photographed, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Photos by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 072714Location Reporter: XXX
A home on Walnut Street in Natick. —Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

… a colonial style home. Though there are new constructions in town, many of the homes listed for sale are in varying forms of the colonial style. Don’t be surprised if you see a few cape style homes as well. There have also been hundreds of new apartments and condos built in the last few years as Natick has become a more popular place to live.

On the other hand, for those who love to shop, the Nouvelle building has 215 luxury condo units and a private entrance to the Natick mall.

There are a couple historic districts in town — the John Eliot Historic District in South Natick and the Henry Wilson Historic District on West Central Street — which have many historic homes and landmarks.

2. You’ll pay…

Natick, MA., 12/31/13, This expanded house is the Home of The Week---11 Nolan Street. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
A Globe Home of the Week in Natick. —Suzanne Kreiter / Globe staff

… quite a bit less than neighboring Wellesley. The Zillow Home Value Index puts Natick’s median home value at $480,500 — Wellesley’s is around $1,150,000. Natick’s home values have gone up 7.9 percent in the last year and are expected to increase another 2.1 percent in the next year.

For $400,000 to $500,000, you can get a home that is around 1,500 square feet and has two to three bedrooms. Though there is not a specific WalkScore for the town of Natick, many of the addresses in town get below a 50, meaning a car is a necessity. There are also multiple MBTA Commuter Rail stops with direct access into Boston.

3. You’ll hang out…

Natick, MA--7/15/2014--On Main Street, the Middlesex Savings Bank and First Congregational Church are viewed from Little Bits Toys. Scenes around Natick are photographed, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Photos by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 072714Location Reporter: XXX
On Main Street, the Middlesex Savings Bank and First Congregational Church are viewed from Little Bits Toys. —Pat Greenhouse / Globe Staff

… in downtown Natick. The The Boston Globe cites Natick’s vibrant downtown as a huge plus for living there — “Natick has a great downtown: broad streets, lots of stores and businesses, and, as a result of the [1870] fire, lots of impressive brick buildings. Check out Lola’s Italian Groceria for a great sandwich or Comella’s just doors away.”

(There was a huge fire in in the 1870s that destroyed much of the town center and most buildings had to be rebuilt.)

Natick, MA--7/15/2014--The Center for Arts in Natick. Scenes around Natick are photographed, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Photos by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 072714Location Reporter: XXX
The Center for Arts in Natick. —Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Also in the downtown is the Natick Center Cultural District, which calls itself “the arts and culture hub of MetroWest.” The Cultural District is “home to more than 100 working artists, The Center For Arts in Natick, the Morse Institute Library, many independently owned businesses and cultural organizations, and an active Parks and Recreation Department, all contributing to a busy year-round schedule of arts and cultural events.”

Natick, Massachusetts11-17-2011 Shoppers at The Natick Mall on Black Friday making the rounds. (Jonathan Wiggs ) Topic: Reporter:
Shoppers at The Natick Mall on Black Friday in 2011. —Jonathan Wiggs / Globe staff

But the Trip Advisor No. 1 thing to do in town is to go to the Natick Mall, which has plenty of places to shop, restaurants where you can grab a quick bite or sit and dine, and an American Girl Store.

For the history buff, the Museum of WWII Boston is in Natick and has a bevy of artifacts and exhibits. If you’d rather be outside, Natick has plenty of options, like the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary and the Belkin Family Lookout Farm, which has been in operation since 1651.

A view of Casey's Diner.
A view of Casey’s Diner. —Flickr Creative Commons / Andy Ihnatko

When it’s time to eat, there are plenty of options, the highest rated on Yelp being Spalla’s Chicago Italian Beef. But if you want a historic place to go, Casey’s Diner is it — it has been around since 1922.

4. Your kids will…

Natick, MA--7/15/2014--A group of "junior working farmers," and their teacher, head to the 199-year-old barn at Natick Community Organic Farm (cq) after weeding potatoes. Scenes around Natick are photographed, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Photos by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 072714Location Reporter: XXX
A group of “junior working farmers,” and their teacher, head to the 199-year-old barn at the Natick Community Organic Farm after weeding potatoes. —Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

… go to excellent schools. Two schools in town are ranked a 10 on the 1-10 GreatSchools rating scale, including Brown Elementary School and Johnson Elementary School. There are also two schools that get a 9 and the rest get a 7 or above.

The Natick Community Organic Farm was founded in 1975 and is a place where kids can learn where their food comes from.

5. You’ll love…

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House at 2 Pleasant Street in Natick.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House at 2 Pleasant Street in Natick. —Courtesy of the Natick Historical Society

…that Harriet Beecher Stowe used to spend time in Natick. Though the Uncle Tom’s Cabin author never had a permanent residence in town, she did visit her husband’s family at 2 Pleasant Street and based her 1869 book Oldtown Folks on people she met on her visits. Many of the homes she wrote about in the book are still in the John Eliot Historic District.