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Ayer, Massachusetts captures the visitor upon arrival with its quaint historic downtown including retail, office and restaurant
establishments. Due to the development of the railroad industry since the 1840’s, this town was a major junction for both east-west and north-south
rail lines and therefore an important commercial center. During the turn of the century the Federal Government took part of the
town to site an American Civil War training camp known as Camp Stevens and later the area was re-named to Fort Devens which
trained soldiers for World War I. The presence of thousands of military and civilian personnel in the area shifted Ayer's commerce
from a major commercial railroad junction to servicing the military needs until Fort Devens closed in 1994. The closure of the
base has allowed an opportunity for Ayer, Ma to re-invent itself and today, Ayer, Ma today is home to an ethnically diverse
community, numerous industries, a “historic district“ downtown, a modern Commuter Rail service and an active freight railway.
Ayer, originally part of Groton, incorporated itself in 1871 and was named in honor of Dr. James Cook Ayer, a prominent resident
of Lowell who provided the funding for the construction of Town Hall in 1873. Approximately 35 miles northwest from Boston and 27
miles northeast from Worcester Ayer is 9 square miles and is bordered by the towns of Groton, Littleton, Harvard, and Shirley.
The town design for Ayer, Ma 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. Ayer, Ma is also home to the Oxbow
National Wildlife Refuge, a large and diverse environmental system of land and waters specifically set aside for the conservation
and management of wildlife resources. Oxbow is one of eight refuges in eastern Massachusetts. Residents that live close to
downtown can walk or ride bikes to run errands but most Ayer residents use cars.
Ayer, Ma is a town that offers a community to people in different stages of life.
Depending on your housing needs the Ayer real estate market offers many housing options. Ayer real estate offers rentals of apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes.
If your housing needs are long-term, the Ayer real estate market also offers a few condominiums but mostly and single-family
homes for sale. Anyone considering Ayer real estate, needs to ask: Is the neighborhood the right fit?
Neighborhoods in Ayer, Ma Historic Ayer runs through the center of town along the operating railroad line on one side and abuts a grid pattern neighborhood
on the hill overlooking downtown. Quaint homes on smaller lots line the walkable streets and it is convenient to access the
Historic downtown to grab a bite to eat or play a round of pool in one of the billiard halls. The commuter rail is located here
as well as a commuter parking (30-80spaces) lot shared with the Nashua River Rail Trail. The Nashua River Rail Trail is an old
railroad bed that has been re-purposed for non-motorized travel, which begin or ends in Ayer and runs up through Groton, along the
Nashua River through Pepperell an eventually terminates in Nashua, New Hampshire.
West of the historic district are dead-end cul-de-sac neighborhoods that are in close proximity to or directly abut wildlife areas
including Surrenden Farms, owned by the Town of Groton, and the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife including hawks, deer, rabbits,
owls and the occasional black bear are spotted in this area. The Sandy Pond neighborhood is a suburban developed area that takes
advantage of access to the water. In the warm months activities of fishing and swimming are common.
Pinigryville Estates is a single family development, currently under construction just off of Route 2A, in the
eastern portion of the town. This hill, in 1935, was home to the largest Nordic ski jump in North America.
A 700-foot-high wooden trestle was the ski jump and operated for a single winter season amid the hardships of Great Depression.
Part of the structure was blown down by the wind in the summer of 1936 and it was never rebuilt so, the ski jumps lives on in the
Across the hill from Pinigryville is larger cul-de-sac suburban neighborhood with approximately six streets that wind around and
cross each other. Most of the homes in this sunny subdivision sit on about one acre lots. It is an area that has attracted many
young families so beware of young bikers, pick-up street hockey games and weekend garage sales.
Commuting from Ayer, Ma
Several options exist for commuting out and into Ayer, Ma.
Route 2A runs through the town which provides easy access to I-495 (5 miles from Ayer, Ma) and Route 2 (6 miles from Ayer, Ma).
If you prefer to ride the train the MBTA Commuter Rail train
stops in Ayer terminating at North Station in Boston and is approximately a 70 minute ride. The Ayer stop is a busy stop and
provides 80 parking spots. Access to the south side of Boston or in the South Station direction can be accessed via the “T”
and/or local buses which intersect at certain points along the Commuter Rail.
The town adopted a Comprehensive Master Plan in
2005 and is in the process of exploring the opportunity for an upgraded train depot. The town received seed money from the State
to look at the issues and design alternatives for this busy commuter stop.
Freight travels daily through Ayer over the tracks of the historic Stony Brook Railroad. The line currently serves as a major
corridor of Pan Am Railway’s which connects New Hampshire and Maine with western Massachusetts, Vermont and New York.
Population of Ayer, Ma
Similarly to other towns Ayer, Ma experienced rapid
population growth from 1950 when there was 5,740 persons and in 1960 there were 14,927 however that population increase
(over 160%) has tempered to about half since the military base closure.
According to the Census of 2010 there were:
Approximately 7,427 people a 1.9 % increase from 2000
Approximately 3358 housing units (American Fact Finder~US Census Bureau 2006-2008)
Government of Ayer, Ma
Ayer uses the Town Meeting form of government and 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. Ayer also has a water district,
which is run separately from town government.
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."
The Water District is funded through an Enterprise fund and the federal and state rules apply to those revenue procedures. More
information is available at Ayer Town Hall
Water Supply and Sewage Treatment in Ayer, Ma
The Ayer Water District supplies drinking water to the majority (approximately 80%) of the town via wells located in two
different areas of the town. Sewer is available to the same area as the water service however Ayer, Ma doesn’t require
residents to hook up if the line runs by the property therefore, some private water well and private septic systems service
about 20% of the properties. 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.
As for private well regulations, it is at the discretion of the
property owner to insure the water consumed from the property is potable however, both tests, the Title V test and the potable
water test is the seller’s responsibility and are required prior to an Ayer real estate sale.
Trash Pick-up in Ayer, Ma
Ayer provides a transfer station (dump) located on the Groton-Harvard Road however, if curbside pick and/or construction debris
pick-up there are several private companies that provide this service.
Electricity of Ayer, Ma
Electricity and Natural Gas is provided by National Grid
Education of Ayer, Ma
The Ayer Ma Public School System includes elementary school, Page Hilltop,
and it provides education from Pre-K to 5th. The middle school is shared by
the neighboring town of Shirley and known locally as Ayer-Shirley Middle providing education for (6 – 8). The
Ayer Senior High
School is for students (9th -12th).
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.
Library of Ayer, Ma
The Ayer, Ma public library is part of the Central West Massachusetts library
system (C/W MRS) with access to over 65 local libraries and
12 academic libraries. As a member of the network, library patrons have access to over one million items. The library hosts
many activities and programs conducted throughout the year and are worth exploring.
Terrain of Ayer, Ma
As with other towns in the area, the terrain of Ayer, Ma includes some rolling hills, ponds, a river and flat open areas that
have been developed. The river and creek system for the most part is near the
Oxbow Wildlife Refuge located in the northwest
portion of the town and the ponds for swimming are located in the eastern part of the town.
Recreation of Ayer, Ma
Ayer has an organized sporting recreation area that includes playing fields for activities such as baseball, pick-up soccer,
basketball court and a playground for young children. Located across the railroad tracks from downtown Ayer, Ma behind a
residential neighborhood this area is relatively easy to find. Sandy Pond is the local town beach where children take swimming
lessons in the summer and residents cool off on hot humid summer days.
Home to the terminus of the Nashua River Rail Trail this 11 mile long railroad line that has been re-purposed for biking,
rollerblading, walking, running, wheelchairs and cross-country skiers runs through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell,
Dunstable and on up into Nashua, New Hampshire.
The Red Tail Golf Course is located in the Fort Devens area of Ayer, Ma and was
named after the Red Tail Hawks that soar overhead. This, membership only, club is an 18 hole, par 72 course is laid out over
rolling wooded hills and meanders alongside streams and ponds.
Points of Interest Ayer, Ma
Ayer, Ma has several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places which can be viewed by either walking or
driving by. They include: Community Memorial Hospital (15 Winthrop Ave.), Fort Devens Historic District, Ayer Main Street
Historic District (Main St.) and St. Andrew's Church (7 Faulkner St.).
The Oxbow Wildlife Refuge is located in the northwest
part of Ayer and travels southeast through Devens, Shirley and on into
Harvard. This Refuge is managed by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition to birding, hiking, canoeing, hunting
is also permitted with proper permits and at certain times of the year.
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.