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Harvard, Massachusetts is locally known for apple orchards and riding stables in a town of rolling hills and homes nestled throughout. A drive through town will reveal views overlooking the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, community owned open space, and working apple, blueberry and Christmas tree farms. Residents enjoy the intimacy of a small town, with its Fourth of July Parade, Apple Blossom Festival and other town events, the majority of which take place in the vicinity of the historic town common. The school system in Harvard, which is an individual not a regional school district, has the highest rating in Worcester County and is considered one of the reasons families with young children choose to live in Harvard. There are over 2,000 acres of conservation land, much of it is interconnected and offers walking trails. Home to Bare Hill Pond, 330-acres, where swimming, sailing and canoeing lessons are offered in the summer, cross country skiing and skating in the winter. Harvard, Ma was settled in 1658 and incorporated in 1732.

The town is known for a series of sociological and religious experiments, as Mother Ann Lee, founded a Shaker Village, a utopian religious sect, known for simple architecture and furniture in 1781. The Shaker village reached its peak membership in the 1840s but, employment opportunities introduced by the Industrial Revolution eventually lured away some potential and practicing Shaker members and others became dissatisfied with the church's insistence on celibacy, self-abnegation and communal ownership of property. Over time the membership dwindled, and the Harvard Shaker Village closed. Today, only one church "society" remains open and is located in New Gloucester, Maine. Amos Bronson Alcott, father of Louisa May Alcott, also relocated his family to Harvard in 1843 and carried out a transcendental living experiment. The inhabitants, Alcott’s family and friends, hoped to live off the fruits of the land, purchasing nothing from the outside world.

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Massachusetts Homes For Sale
Friends that visited included Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson but the community only lasted 7 months and closed in January 1844. Louisa May Alcott used her experience at Fruitlands as an inspiration for her novel Little Women. Later, Clara Endicott Sears, whose summer estate was also situated on Prospect Hill restored Fruitlands and opened it as a museum in 1914. On the grounds of Fruitlands Museum there is also a Shaker house, that was relocated there from Harvard's Shaker Village. Sears became interested in Native Americans after Nipmuck arrowheads, which the Nipmuck Indians called Makamacheckamucks, were found on the property and later she opened a gallery dedicated to Native American History.

Approximately 30 miles from Boston this 27 square mile town is bordered by Ayer, Shirley, Littleton, Boxborough, Stow, Bolton and Lancaster. The town design remains largely intact from 1734 and therefore Harvard is a rural town with winding streets leading to the main common where a general store, library and town hall sit. The master plan has been recently updated and much of the original vision for the town continues to be the guiding principles of the updated version. Harvard, Ma also continues to be a “dry town” and therefore, no liquor may be purchased.

The Harvard, Ma real estate market primarily offers single-family home options however, close to the town common there are some multi-family developments. Anyone considering Harvard real estate needs to ask: Is the neighborhood the right fit?
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Neighborhoods in Harvard, Ma
Since 1734, the town was considered to have five districts or villages. These were Oak Hill, Bare Hill, Still River, Old Mill and Shabikin and today these neighborhoods remain with the exception Shabikin as this area was absorbed by Devens.

Commuting from Harvard, Ma
Typically people who reside in Harvard rely on the automobile for commuting purposes. The convenient public transportation systems, such as the MBTA Commuter Rail run through the neighboring towns of Ayer, Littleton and Acton. The town of Harvard is bifurcated by Route 2 so, depending upon which side you live on depends upon the distance to this transportation corridor however, in most cases the Interstate is approximately 3 miles. Interstate 495 is adjacent to the town and access is close by depending on the origination within the town.

Population of Harvard, Ma
According to the Census of 2010 there were:
MA homes
Government of Harvard Ma
Harvard 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. 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. More information is available at Town Hall

Water Supply and Sewage Treatment of Harvard, Ma
Harvard, Ma rooted in rural development since inception, the town does not supply a public water or sewage delivery system therefore, each property provides a well for potable water and a private septic system for sewage.

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 a Harvard real estate sale.

Trash Pick-Up Harvard, Ma Harvard provides a transfer station (dump) located on Depot Road however, if curbside pick and/or construction debris pick-up there are several privates companies that provide this service.

Electric Service in Harvard, Ma
Electricity and natural gas is provided by National Grid Education in Harvard, Ma
The Harvard Ma Public Education System is among the top 5% in the state and more than 97% of high school graduates go on to college. Hildreth Elementary (Pre-K-5th) and Bromfield School (6th-12) are both located in the center of town near the library.
Every year the State of Massachusetts requires public school districts to participate in Standardized Testing called the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). The test scores are published in the Boston Globe and are also located at the State of Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education

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.

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Another education option is the The Francis W. Parker Charter School,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 System in Harvard, Ma
The Harvard Public Library opened in 1856 and is centrally located in the center of town. The local 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 and Recreation of Harvard, Ma
The town is largely wooded with small rolling hills, fields and wetlands. In addition to the numerous streams and brooks throughout Harvard, Bare Hill Pond is the largest body of water and offers swimming, and boating in the warmer months. Many people enjoy biking throughout Harvard taking in the beautiful vistas.

MA homes
Points of Interest in Harvard, Ma
      Fruitlands Museum is a museum and a special events location at the former site of the Transcendentalist movement conducted by Bronson Alcott and then further expanded by Ms. Sears with her interest in Native American, Shaker and American art. Originally, the Fruitlands property spanned 458 acres, but in 1939, 248 acres were seized by eminent domain for the expansion of Fort Devens and now part of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge

      Shaker Village Cemetery was established around 1790, and is the final resting place of more than 300 members of the Harvard community. Walking among the cast iron grave markers, visitors can follow chronologically the life and times of the people of the Harvard Shaker Village and slowly piece together the past for themselves.

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