About Braintree, MA
Officially known as the “Town of Braintree,” Braintree is a 14.5 square mile town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. Like other towns in New England, Braintree is named after a town in England. As to the origins of the admittedly strange name of the eponymous town, that’s anyone’s guess, but most experts believe it was derived from words in an older English dialect that probably have little to do with brains or trees in the first place.
Originally, Braintree was mostly suburban, but the opening and substantial growth of the South Shore Plaza in 1961 led to an influx of new residents. This has led to some of the locals complaining about the traffic, but they still love the community for its friendliness, diversity, services, and opportunities, not to mention its proximity to Boston. Braintree also provides easy access to the cape via the CapeFLYER train line.
Braintree is mostly home to families and young professionals, so you can find all the amenities you’d need to settle down and raise kids. There are also plenty of professional opportunities in Braintree’s office, retail, and industrial parks that wouldn’t require you to commute to Boston.
For family-oriented fun, check out the X1 Boston go-kart center or the competitively priced Braintree Municipal Golf Course. If you need a dose of nature, just head over to Pond Meadow Park. The paved walking trail is ideal for runners, but many locals prefer the trails through the woods when they need a space to walk and think. You can also go to the nearby Blue Hills Reservation if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
Many of the homes in Braintree are either renovated or relatively new, but there are still historic and Colonial-style homes available as well.
In the 2016 presidential election, Braintree voted:
The residential Tax Rate in Braintree is on the low side at $9.86 per thousand with an average home tax bill of $5,088 (annual tax on homes range from $4K to $15K in eastern Massachusetts).
There are two commuter rail stops in Braintree: the Braintree stop, and the Weymouth Landing/East Braintree stop, which is right on the border between Braintree and Weymouth.
The Braintree stop is wheelchair accessible. It has a bus connection and it’s the last stop on the Red Line, the MBTA subway line which runs directly into downtown Boston. Both the Middleborough/Lakeville and the Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail lines run through the Braintree stop.
The Weymouth Landing/East Braintree stop, part of the Greenbush Line, is wheelchair accessible. It also runs into downtown Boston (South Station).
If you plan to commute via car into Boston, the best way to go is I-93 North, but you can expect plenty of traffic during rush hour. When commuting on a Monday morning, it will take you anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to get downtown.
Both Uber and Lyft have extensive coverage in the Braintree area due to its proximity to Boston and other major outlying towns, such as Quincy, Weymouth, and Hingham. There is at least one Zipcar lot in Braintree. It’s right by the Braintree commuter rail stop.
Braintree invested $82.5 million in teachers and schools through its annual budget in 2018.
Braintree has 3 early education schools (Integrated Preschool, ECE Preschool Lab, Monatiquot Kindergarten), 6 elementary schools (Ross, Morrison, Liberty, Hollis, Highlands, Flaherty), 2 middle schools (East and South), and 1 high school: Braintree High.
The MCAS Tests from the most recent year shows that Braintree’s performance is above the state average for the Proficient, Advanced, and Proficient or Higher categories and below the state average for the Needs Improvement, Warning/Failing categories.
Please note “Advanced” and “Proficient” are both subsets of “Proficient or Higher”. The numbers are percentages of Braintree students in each testing result category.
Braintree is a dense suburban neighborhood. Most of the residents own their homes, but there are some rental properties available as well. Like many towns in Massachusetts, the housing prices here are a bit higher than in other states, but there are still plenty of beautiful single-family homes that are affordable.
Because Braintree is on the MBTA Red Line, anyone looking for an exciting nightlife can hop on a train into Boston for the weekend. Some folks might also rather go to Quincy for a night out, but that doesn’t mean Braintree doesn’t have its own fun to offer. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area, and South Shore Plaza, Braintree’s mall, has stores enough to keep even the most fervent shoppers busy. There’s even a movie theater in town.
The one complaint from the locals is that many of the bars and restaurants in the area are chains and franchises. Still, there are restaurants in town that serve international cuisines, as well as a few independent favorites that the locals flock to. If you’re looking for an unpretentious local spot to get food and drink, try Southside Tavern.
Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all have considerable 4G LTE cell phone coverage in Braintree according to their own maps.
Like many towns in Massachusetts, Braintree has some local sports clubs, including a girls’ softball league and a youth soccer league. The town isn’t home to any major sports teams, but Beverly High has teams for baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey, and other sports.
Some of the neighborhoods in Braintree are walkable. You may be able to do most of your errands on foot if you live in South Braintree or East Braintree, for example.
But for the most part, Braintree is a very car-dependent town. Walkscore.com gives it a Walk Score of 37. Unless you live in one of the denser areas, you’ll need to drive to run errands.