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Is it time for you to know
Acton, Massachusetts is well known, locally, for the public school system which consistently
ranks at the top of “regional-school” rankings.
In 2009, the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and
for several years, Acton has been named as one of the best places to live by Money Magazine.
This town, formerly the grazing lands for the town of Concord, Ma, was settled in 1639 and incorporated itself in 1735.
Approximately 21 miles from Boston, Acton, MA is 20 square miles and is bordered by the towns of Carlisle, Concord, Westford,
Littleton, Sudbury, Maynard, Stow, and Boxborough. Acton, Ma was primarily an agricultural town harvesting apples but when
the 1950 population boom came the shift from apples to housing became permanent.
The town design, for the most part is one of a cul-de-sac neighborhoods and commercial strip malls developed along main transportation corridors. Typically, people use cars to run errands rather than walk or ride bikes however, the town continues to discuss strengthening opportunities for non-vehicular alternatives during Master Plan Updates.
Depending on your housing needs the Acton real estate market offers many home options.
Acton real estate offers rentals of apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes.
If your housing needs are long-term, the Acton real estate market also offers condominiums, and single-family homes for sale.
Anyone considering Acton real estate needs to ask: Is the neighborhood the right fit?
Town of Acton, Ma Acton became a town in 1735 however, the shaping of the town from agriculture to housing can be traced back to the establishment
of railroad stops. Five villages developed within the town of Acton, Ma which are directly
associated with railroad stops established during the 1800’s and all of the railroad stops except for the South Acton have ceased operation.
While the “villages” help identify certain areas Acton, because this land was re-developed the town is now more similar than distinctive
especially since statistically, most of the population increase and development occurred between the 1950’s and the 1970’s.
There were 3,500 people residing in Acton, Ma in 1950 and 17,000 by 1974. Since those population booms, most of the additional
population increase has been to attributed to the birth rate.
North Acton experienced major growth from 1975-1980 with the growth of the Route 2A/119 corridor, North Acton has developed many
commercial complexes and condominium buildings. Within this area lies The North Acton Recreation Area (also called NARA Park)
which consists of a swimming pond, an open air auditorium, playing fields, and hiking trails. North Acton is home to conservation
areas including Grassy Pond and Nagog Hill, Wills Hole Conservation Area and Town Forest, Nashoba Brook, Spring Hill, Camp Acton,
Bulette Land, Heath Hen Meadow, Jenks Land, Morrison Farm & Ice House Pond.
Acton Center is the neighborhood with the historic heartbeat. A meeting place since the days of the American Revolution,
the town hall, the main public library, a children's playground, an obelisk monument commemorating the Acton, Ma lives lost in
the American Revolution, a fire station, congregational church, the post office and police station are all located here. The Acton
Arboretum is located in Acton Center which consists of 53 acres of woods, meadows, swamp, ponds, old apple orchards, a glacial
esker, a bog, herb, hosta, wildflower, rhododendron and butterfly garden.
South Acton Village used to be the industrial area of the town with a rich history of mills and small scaled industrial
development that used water power generated by Fort Pond Brook. The Faulkner Homestead (the oldest home in Acton) was owned by
the Faulkner family who also owned and ran a mill across the street. Jones Tavern is another still-standing revolutionary-era
structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While South Acton’s roots are industrial in nature it is
also home to a 185 acre green space called Pratt’s Brook and Great Hill located behind the School Street fire station.
There are picnic tables a skating pond and two sets of playing fields. The South Acton (MBTA station) is the only rail station
on the Fitchburg line still active in Acton and is a very active train stop for commuters (See Commuting from Acton, Ma).
East and West, Acton were small commercial areas that grew up around their respective train stops and with the advent of the
automobile, and the demise of this branch of the railroad, both sections of town are largely residential and the commercial
services are disposed along Routes 2A or 111.
Commuting from Acton, Ma
Several options exist for commuters out of and into Acton, MA via car. The town has several transportation corridors that
run through the town...
Routes 2, 2A, 27, 62, 111 & 119.
Interstate 495 (I-495) is 5 miles from Acton Ma
Interstate 95 (I-95) also known as 128 is 10 miles from Acton Ma
The MBTA Commuter Rail train stops in South Acton & terminates at North Station in Boston (50 minute ride).
The South Acton parking lot has 287 parking spaces.
Access to the south side of Boston can be accessed
via the T and/or local buses which intersect at certain points along the Commuter Rail.
Yankee Lines provide a commuter bus service to Copley Square in Boston from the intersection of Route 2A and 119.
8357 housing units per the American Fact Finder – US Census Bureau 2006-2008.
Government of Acton,Ma
Acton uses the Town Meeting form of government and town-elected selectmen serve as the presiding government officials.
Anyone may attend Town Meeting but only registered voters (Ma property owners and renters alike) may vote. Acton also has a
water district, which is run separately from town government, as a public utility.
The town services are primarily funded through the residential property tax and the tax rate may be raised however, taxes may
not be raised more than 2½% (locally known as State "Proposition 2½”) unless approved by the voters at Town Meeting.
If real estate taxes are to be raised a separate budget line item must be delineated in the budget as opposed to wrapping all
the taxes into an overall budget proposal. The Water District is funded through water rates, connection fees and property rental.
The Water District revenues, however, are not subject to State "Proposition 2½."
Acton Town Hall has more information.
Water Supply and Sewage Treatment of Acton, MA
The Acton Water District supplies drinking water to the majority (approximately 90%) of the town via seven wells located in Acton,
Ma and most homes and businesses use private on-site sewage systems (i.e. septic tanks). Higher density developments such as
condominiums and apartment buildings (approximately 10% of the town) use private sewers which go to small-scale private treatment
plants. Title V is the State law that requires an on-site septic system must meet certain standards and pass a test when a piece
of property is sold. Most banks
require the septic system be functioning and a home habitable to fund a residential loan however, there are exceptions to this
rule. The Title V test and a water test, if there is a well, is a requirement of the seller prior to an
Acton real estate sale.
Education of Acton, Ma
The Acton Public School District consists of five elementary schools and the Acton Public School Pre-school. Acton
implements the “Open Enrollment” process to assign students to elementary schools. First-time incoming kindergarten parents
participate in a lottery-based selection process where the parents "choose" the school by listing their preferences in ranked
order. This method of school choice has a large impact on the nature of the town. Acton is less oriented around neighborhoods
than other towns which have neighborhood based schools. Other child-oriented activities such as town sport teams are also based
on community-wide participation. As a result, students and families are likely to have social connections that are independent
of their neighborhood.
While the elementary education curriculum in the district is fairly standardized, each of the elementary schools, in the
past has offered a different teaching philosophy. Because this changes over time and in response to State requirements, please
check with the individual school.
There are 5 elementary schools:The Conant School, The Douglas School, The Gates
School, the McCarthy-Towne School, and the Merriam School.
The Raymond J. Grey Junior High School (Grades 7 & 8)
The Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (Grades 9th-12th).
The U.S. Department of Education designated Acton-Boxborough a Blue Ribbon School in 2009
Newsweek magazine ranked ABRHS as one of the best high schools
in the country in 2008.
The school has ranked in the top ten for the National Academic Decathlon as well.
Massachusetts offers a program entitled “School Choice” which allows students from neighboring towns to attend the local public
school if there are spaces available and if the local School Committee decides this is in the best interest of the district. If
there are spaces available, a notice is published in the local paper. There has been some discussion as to parents of children
exercising this option to provide some compensation to the schools district. Each district is different so, please check with
administration officials for the current policy.
The Francis W. Parker Charter School, is another education option, technically located in Fort Devens. Admission
is based on a lottery system for grades 7th -12th. One of Massachusetts’ first charter schools, Parker was started in 1995 by area
parents and teachers committed to the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. According to the website, The
Coalition of Essential Schools, were established in 1984 by Theodore R. Sizer at Brown University, is a national network
of over 1,200 schools and Centers engaged in restructuring and redesigning schools to promote better student learning and
achievement. Essential schools share a common set of ideas known as the Ten Common Principles, which call for schools to set
clear and simple goals about the intellectual skills and knowledge to be mastered by all the school’s students; to lower
teacher-student loads, personalize teaching and curriculum, and make student work the center of classroom activity; to award
diplomas based on students’ "exhibition" of their mastery of the school’s program; to create an atmosphere of trust and respect
for the school, faculty, students and parents; and to model democratic practices and honor diversity.
The MinuteMan Regional School District,
which Acton is a member, has a campus located in Lexington, Ma. The educational
option offers an alternative high school in Applied Arts & Sciences. Minuteman Career and Technical High School is a public
vocational high school (9th-12) that combines academics and college preparation (the main purpose of traditional high schools)
with carefully designed courses related to career exploration and learning (the main purpose of vocational-technical schools).
The original school planners focused on needs of students living along Massachusetts' high-tech corridor. Any 8th, 9th, 10th,
or 11th grade student who is a resident of Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster,
Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland or Weston who expects to be promoted into the grade they seek to enter by
their local district is eligible to apply.
Library System in Acton, Ma
Acton has two public libraries the Acton Memorial Library and the
West Acton Citizens' Library. The Acton Memorial Library was
given to the town of Acton by William Allan Wilde as a memorial to its Civil War veterans in 1890. The building was expanded in
1967, and a second major expansion was completed in 1999. Both libraries are part of the Minuteman Library System, where a patron
may check out a book in over 31 towns and 7 academic libraries. The library hosts many activities and programs conducted
throughout the year and are worth exploring. Another resource in the town, the Jenks Library, is owned by the Acton Historical
Society. This library contains historical maps, documents, photographs and drawings. Terrain of Acton, Ma
The terrain of the land is mostly flat however, the glacier retreat approximately 10,000 years ago left nine drumlins.
And the kettle ponds of Wills Hole and Grassy Pond. Located in the southern part of Acton, is the Nashoba Brook Stream,
comprised of three other brooks, the Butter Brook, Will's Hole Brook and Conant Brook and the Fort Pond Brook system is comprised
of Guggins Brook, Inch Brook, Grassy Pond Brook, Pratt's Brook and Coles Brook which all empty into the Assabet River.
The Assebett then merges with the Concord and Sudbury Rivers in Concord, Ma. Nagog Pond in the north, on the Acton-Littleton
line provides drinking water to the Town of Concord.
Acton, Ma has many fields for baseball, soccer, field hockey, tennis courts, basketball and a swimming pond. These fields are
located throughout the town but many of them are located at NARA (North Acton Recreation Area). Details about hours of operation
and usage fees can be found at Acton Town Hall.
From a regional perspective Acton, Ma has made an effort to interconnect to the Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway which is a
planned hiking path that will encircle Boston, starting in Ipswich on the “North Shore” and ending in Duxbury on the
“South Shore”. An interpretive historical trail, named the “Trail Through Time”, also overlays the trail system and stops at
various farms, cellars and mills.
The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail is a paved, re-purposed old railroad line for non-vehicular uses such as biking, roller blading,
walking, and running and in winter cross-country skiing. When complete, this trail will run through Acton, Westford, Chelmsford
and on up to Lowell.
The Discovery Museum location has two museums at the same location.
The Children’s Discovery Museum has exhibits suitable for
toddlers to about third grade, while the Science Discovery Museum focuses on older children. The museums are easy to find on
Route 27 with Bessie the huge dinosaur statue located in the front yard.
Jones Tavern was originally the home of the Jones family but by 1750 it had become a tavern and general store and operated
under various names until 1950.
The Faulkner House and Mills were built for Ephraim Jones founder of a textile business that helped shape the town.
Often this house would serve as protection from Indian raids during Queen Anne’s War of 1702–1713 and later the same home
would be utilized by the South Acton Militia during the Revolutionary War.
Acton Town Center is marked by an obelisk monument, the final resting place of Captain Isaac Davis, James Hayward and Abner
Hosmer. The Hosmer House is a Revolutionary War era home which is owned and maintained by the Acton Historical Society.
Communities We Serve That Have Massachusetts Homes For Sale
Known for a great school system that consistently ranks at the top of the "regional-school" rankings.
Acton Ma real estate offers both single-family and condo options.
Located on the bank of the Merrimac River this walkable town has a lot to offer with proximity to major highways,
resturants, many type of housing opportunities and close to several beaches.
The town design is a combination of grid pattern neighborhoods near the historic downtown
and suburban cul-de-sac neighborhoods that take advantage of ponds and open space areas outside of downtown proper.
A rural feel with meandering roads & pockets of single-family neighborhoods.
Boxborough Ma real estate is highly coveted as the school system consistently ranks at the top of the "regional-school"
Boxford lovely suburban town to offer with proximity to I-93 and a short drive to Boston. A historic farming community refelects
rural modern-day suburb of the Greater Boston area. Close by are resturants and beaches.
Known for peaceful living and openspace preservation. Homes are situated on 2 acre lots with well water and septic systems
Home to Great Brook State Park which is enjoyable year round.
Chelmsford Ma has been voted by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live
for several years. Chelmsford offers many cul-de-sac neighborhoods
and a variety of condo options.
Concord Ma, is one of the most famous Boston suburbs. Distinctive neighborhoods, tourists, unique retail, recreation &
private school options.
In the face of urban sprawl, Dunstable has maintained a rural feel along with a 25 mile per hour center. Single family homes
galore & the Pheasant Lane Mall is about 10 minutes north but a world away.
Georgetown, more dense than Rowley of which it was orginally a part but this town offers small industry & residential.
Noted as a greater Boston suburb close to the beach and highways.
A quintessential New England town. Groton is a rural suburban living with 35%
preserved in open space, some neighborhood retail serving mostly single-family homes and is home
to the Groton School and Lawrence Academy.
A small 9 squre mile town abuting the hustle and busell of Haverhill. Downtown is framed by the gazebo and after the morning
commute returns to a quite residential town with local roads and neighborhood commercial.
Handsome Harvard~ Harvard Ma is known for apple orchards, beautiful vistas with meandering rural roads
and single-family homes, and excellent schools. Real Estate in Harvard Ma primarily offers single-family, suburban living.
Wandering coastline and famous for thier clams and Crane Beach. Ispswich is a destination town being walkable with resturants,
commercial stores, museums, and a Commuter Rail stop!
Town design is varied as Littleton developed from a rural community to a suburban destination. Part of the Boston "new" high-tech
corridor change is in the air with building both single-family homes and commercial.
A small community formerly known as Niptown because the town is comprised of
grazing lands of Concord Ma, Weston Ma and Lexington Ma. Lincoln is predominately single-family homes, a retail
center and a MBTA stop.
Merrimac is a small town community close to Newburyport and NH but in it's own right offers small commercial and a variety
of suburban neighborhoods. Great highway access too!
A more rural town than the surrounding communities, lots are larger here and distinctive neighborhoods exist. Excellent higway
access, the beach, open space and a stones throw to Newburyport for resturants and commercial needs.
Newburyport Ma is a destination as a wakable town, the beach, highway access and small scale regional shopping. There is a communter
rail stop as well regional bus services. Character and community are noticable here. A lovely place to call home.
The heartbeat of Pepperell seems to be at the intersection of Route 113, the Rail Trail
and the Town Clock where local retail and recreation activities merge. Pepperell real estate offers many types of single
family neighborhoods branching off Route 113.
Rooted in agricultural from 1698 wide open space and access to marsh lands, beach, I-95 and a Commuter Rail stop
postions Rowley as a desirable town for many.
Salisbury abutts NH and is a small town with strip commercial corridors along major transportation routes. A car is a must
have to get around in this town unless you like a nice walk to Salisbury Beach State Park.
Shirley Ma is a suburb with commuter train access, a regional school system, a library, and many recreational
opportunities. The town offers primarily single-family homes.
Townsend Ma made the transition from rural to residential with the population boom of the 1950's.
Real Estate in Townsend offers single-family neighborhoods and typical suburban amenities. Townsend Ma is also home to
Willard State Brook Forest.
Tyngsborough Ma hugs the banks of the Merrimack River. Mostly developed post 1960 with single-family
cul-de-sac neighborhoods & commercial strip malls. Public & private schools along with the
Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsborough Regional State Forest.
The town design, of Westford's agricultural past has continued to give way to rapidly expanding
high technology industries, suburban retail, and single-family homes. Known for having good schools, recreation and a great location.
West Newbury as self described by the town offers rolling hills with broad valleys, open fields, woodlands, ponds,
and historic homes. Working farms and a dairy, as well as extensive conservation land, characterize West Newbury.