Thanks for the great information. I just wanted to provide an update on this as we went to a number of open houses today in various towns, specifically; north Reading, Andover, Acton, and Wilmington (so depressing seeing what is available for 450-500K in these areas)
As for the list of towns, I think from what we have seen we are leaning more towards North Reading, Reading, North Andover, and Acton. These towns and the respective houses in them seemed a better "fit" with our style though the houses in Acton were a bit older and or seemingly not as kept up as we had hoped for.
As for the other respondents, thanks for the suggestions, we had considered Needham and briefly Arlington, but nothing ever seemed to pop on the various web searches we did in our range. We didnâ€™t consider Concord and Carlisle due to cost, much like Wayland and Wellesley.
New Hampshire and too far north is somewhat out as my wifeâ€™s commute to Waltham would be potentially too much for her to handle, she really wants to be max 30 minutes from work in case something happens with our child at school which needs to be attended to.
We have been checking www.greatschools.org and find the information helpful but also wonder how much of a difference there is between the towns and their quality of the school system, also donâ€™t know how much weight to put into the MCAS.
Thanks again for all the suggestions and keep them coming.