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What is it like to live in Peabody?

Location, Location, Location
A Saturday morning game was well underway at James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink in Peabody.
A Saturday morning game was well underway at James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink in Peabody. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff

Situated on about 250 acres that feature classic New England orchards and hiking trails, Brooksby Farm has been owned and managed by the city of Peabody for decades. The farm store, specializing in fresh cider and other organic foods, is home base to rolling hills where families can pick their own fruit or cut down their own Christmas trees. It’s a popular destination for people from across the North Shore and beyond, said operations manager JoAnne Roden, who has worked here since she was in high school.

“I like to call it the jewel of the city,’’ she said of the farm. “We’re in our own little world up here.’’

Growing up in the Crow Village neighborhood near the city’s southeast corner, where downtown Peabody was once dominated by leather tanneries, Roden was scarcely aware that there was another side to the city west of her stomping grounds. She still lives in a house that used to be her grandmother’s. Next door, the home Roden grew up in is now occupied by her brother and his family, and Roden’s sister lives in the house on the other side.

In 2009, Peabody was named one of Forbes magazine’s “Most Livable Cities in America.’’ Once recognized as a haven for Irish and Russian immigrants, as well as a sizable population of immigrants from the former Ottoman Empire, the city hosts an International Festival that attracts tens of thousands each September to celebrate its continuing diversity.

At one point or another, newcomers and lifelong residents alike have crossed paths at the farm.

“It’s something I grew up with, so I wouldn’t know any different,’’ Roden said of the city’s diversity. “It’s a positive thing.’’

BY THE NUMBERS

240 people

The capacity of historic Smith Barn, one of the North Shore’s most popular sites for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Operated by the Peabody Historical Society & Museum, the meticulously restored barn is set on a picturesque hilltop on the Felton-Smith Historic Site.

$10m+

The estimated amount in dollars George Peabody, the city’s namesake, granted to charitable organizations. Peabody (1795-1869), born in what was then known as South Danvers, overcame modest means to become a wealthy international financier. Known as the “father of modern philanthropy,’’ he was a benefactor to numerous institutions, including the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Academy of Science (now the Peabody Essex Museum) in Salem, and the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

5 & 15

The number of national and state championships, respectively, Salem Country Club has hosted. Founded in 1895 and designed by architect Donald Ross, the golf course will be the home of the 2017 US Senior Open Championship on June 26-July 2.

140+

The number of stores at Northshore Mall

 

PROS & CONS

Pro

New middle school

Upon completion of the new Higgins Middle School this year, the old one, a high school when it opened in 1964, was demolished. The new building, built at a cost of nearly $100 million, features state-of-the-art technology.

Con

Traffic

Some communities sacrifice a little bit of tranquility for the convenience of quick highway access and a full array of stores, but Peabody’s location at the confluence of routes 1 and 128 and Interstate 95, with a dense cluster of commercial businesses along Route 114, means congestion can be an issue.

 

The George Peabody House Museum. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
Brooksby Farm. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
Boy Scouts from Pack 88 at Brooksby Farm. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
The Osborne-Salata House. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
The Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
Peabody Institute Library. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
Downtown. —Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff

James Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.