I've lived in Somerville/Cambridge for 10 years, the last 4.5 with my husband in Spring Hill. It really is a great place to live if you are in your 20s & 30s: it is bike-friendly, dog-friendly, and no kids/young kid-friendly, which sums up my peer group very well.
But we are ready to move on. We are both creative professionals, so while we do well, we will never earn software engineer salaries like some of our friends. Neither of us work in downtown Boston, so the convenience public transportation doesn't help us. Somerville's population density has exploded, and with it rental & dining out costs. I commute 7 miles each way to work, but that takes me 25-60 minutes depending (Construction nearly every day for 4 years through Harvard Sq! Really.). We bought motorcycles & bikes to avoid driving. We don't drive on the weekends if we can help it. Commuting is like the 7th circle of hell, and I want to find a place where we can live without that stressful congestion.
We want a house, open space, trees, possibly a family. The trouble is figuring out where to relocate. We'd love to buy an affordable home in a rural area, but with access to creative professional opportunities. Anywhere in the 128 belt is a traffic nightmare, at any time of the day.
We've looked in southern Maine, southern Vermont, and western Mass. I keep looking into the Hudson River area (from Peekskill to Saratoga Springs), for the proximity to NYC/Albany jobs, but I don't know NY state very well. I keep thinking about NC/VA, especially along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are a ton of homes out there and a ton of realtors eager to show up places, but I haven't figured out which region to focus our search. Where do GenX creatives thrive, when they are done with the single nightlife, but not interested in suburban sprawl?