Braintree, Massachusetts

Just a 15-minute drive from downtown Boston, or slightly longer if you opt to ride “the T,” as the subway system is known, Braintree is an ideal spot for commuters looking for an affordable place to call home.

And it’s not just access to the city. To the west, Braintree borders the 6,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation, which features hiking and mountain biking in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter. To the east is what Bay Staters call the South Shore, including picturesque beach towns like Hingham and Cohasset. The entrance to Cape Cod is only a little bit further about 45 minutes away.

John Adams, John Quincy Adams and John Hancock were all born in Braintree, although their homes are in a neighborhood that has since evolved into the separate town of Quincy. Homes in Braintree, with a median sales price of $427,000, are expensive by national standards. But median prices in nearby towns similarly close to Boston can easily exceed $1 million. — Mayra Paris

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