Open Houses In Belmont: Seven Figures for the One Percent

Here are a few of the open houses in Belmont this weekend.

In fact, this week, how about the homes that are selling for a pretty penny; more like 100 million pennies: homes that are listed for more than $1 million. And according to the Seattle-based real estate brokerage firm Redfin, the most expensive one percent of homes nationwide are hot, hot, hot, with sales up 21 percent since January, while sales of the 99 percent of “lower end” housing are off 7.6 percent.

“There are haves and have nots, and the haves are the ones out buying,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said.

531 Concord Ave. Open house: Sunday, June 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m. Three-story Georgian Revival (1926), 7,277 sq.-ft. on 1.6 acres. 18 rooms, 7 bedrooms (it has 7 fireplaces, a “Gone With The Wind” staircase and its own museum section. MUSEUM! Price tag: $3,950,000.

20 Wellington Lane. (a stone’s throw from 531 Concord) Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m. Brand new Colonial”-ish” structure. 5,701 sq.-ft. (with 2,200 square feet still unfinished). 18 rooms, 5 bedrooms. (Looks finished but the photo shows the driveway not connect to the garage.) Price tag: $2,775,000.

• 529 Concord Ave. (next door to 531 Concord) Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m. Brand new “contemporary.” Only 5,664 sq.-ft. (with 2,100 square feet left unfinished) on a “mere” half acre. 18 rooms, 5 bedrooms. Price tag: $2,745,000.

 26 Cedar Road (designed by H. Thaxter Underwood who built in the same year the Underwood Pool bathhouse.) Open house, Sunday, June 1, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Monday June 2, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Antique stucco Colonial (1912). 3,700 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 6 bedrooms. (Brokers contend the house is located on a hill in Belmont; Walnut Hill. That’s a first.) Price tag: $1,795,000.

• 85 Woodbine Road (in what’s called “Old Belmont Hill” abutting Habitat) Open house, Sunday, June 1, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Another stucco Colonial (1948).” 3,244 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,595,000. (Recently reduced!)

 7 Prentiss Lane (described as a “mini estate”) Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m. Custom brick “cottage” design (1926). 2,381 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,580,000. 

 232 Prospect St. Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 1:30 p.m. What says Belmont better than a “Belmont Hill Classic Center Entrance Colonial” (1932)3,220 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,415,000. 

 6 Highland Road Open house, Sunday, June 1, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Colonial that was gut-rehabbed (1941) on the bottom of “Walnut Hill.” 2,237 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,349,000. 

 117 School St. Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 2 p.m.; Monday June 2, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Antique Victorian Shingle-style house. A classic from 1895. 3,122 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 6 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,199,000.

 49 Payson Terrace. Open house, Sunday, June 1, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A 1925 brick center entrance Colonial (. 2,731 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,095,000.

 37 Pilgram Rd. Open house, Sunday, June 1, Noon to 2 p.m.; Monday June 2, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A BIG Tudor-style Colonial on a small – 0.13 acre – lot. (1936). 3,100 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms. Price tag: $1,048,000.

Clean Sweep for Belmont Girls’ Tennis in Playoff Opener

Belmont High School Girls’ Tennis first met Melrose High back on a cold, windy day early in April and came away with a 4 to 1 win over the Red Raiders.

And the Middlesex League opponent was back again, yesterday, Thursday, May 29, this time in the first round of the Div. 2 North Sectionals playoffs.

And while it was a bit warmer nearly eight weeks later, the results of the five matches improved for the Marauders as Belmont (12-4) defeated Melrose, 5-0, to advance to the quarterfinals which will be held at Belmont.

Senior Annie Hang (first singles), sophomores Amanda Jung (second singles) and Nina Pellegrini (third singles) and the teams of junior Haley Sawyer and sophomore Sarah Paolillo (first doubles) and seniors Alexa Analetto and Amy Zhang (second doubles) had relatively easy matches against their Melrose opponents in their wins, said Belmont Head Coach Eileen White.

“We were looking for consistency, that was the goal, and we did have more of that today,” said White.

As for the next opponent, there is a likelihood that Belmont will meet League rivals Reading High which holds a share of the Middlesex League division title with the Marauders.

“I’m excited for Reading,” said White.

“We split with them during the season with each match 3-2 so they were very tight. We lost to them here and I was not pleased with that result,” she said.

Mastering the Blank Page: Blacker Awards Honor Three Seniors Who Filled the Bill

Mastering the blank page starts with Belmont’s youngest writers, said Lindsey Rinder, director of English, ELL and Reading.

Speaking before an audience of students, parents, educators and the trio of Belmont High School’s outstanding seniors writers at the annual Lillian Blacker Awards, Rinder recalled a first grader coming to her before writing her very first story.

“I’ve never been an author before and I’m nervous,” she told Rinder.

And while Belmont students’ writing journey begins with stories of buried treasurer, the capstone is the Senior Thesis, a 10-to-15 page critical analysis of literature that each 12th grade student must submit to complete their English requirement for graduation.

The year-long task involves reading multiple primary sources, studying at three libraries and online, creating countless note cards and revising, reappraising and sometimes tearing up papers during the depths of the winter quarter. Many students, even those recognized for their outstanding scholarship, cringe remembering the seemingly endless hours spent in a myriad of tasks in constructing a laudable result.

And it is a monumental undertaking, said Rinder, that immerses students in the complexity and profundity of their subject and theme as a way of knowing ones self. 

“[T]he study of literature helps us understand who we are …  as it encapsulates and dissects our most human qualities; our passions, our frustrations, our capacity of great deception as well as brutal honesty, our dignity as well as our most grieves fails,” she said.

“I believe Belmont High School’s dedication to the senior thesis and to writing education singles it out from most secondary schools,” said Rinder.

And the three honorees; Aldis Elfarsdottir, Hannah Pierce-Hoffman and Samuel Korn, succeeded in impressing their teachers and the department with their work’s depth and insight.

For their accomplishments, the seniors were presented with the Lillian Blacker Awards this past May 16. A long-time Belmont resident, active in education and politics and editor at the Harvard Medical School and the Belmont Citizen newspaper, Blacker’s family created the awards in 1991 to honor her commitment to the art of writing.

Elfarsdottir, who will matriculate at Harvard, said first and foremost she wanted to thank her subject, the modernist novelist Virginia Woolf, of her first-place paper – “In Each of Us Two Powers Preside, One Male, One Female”: Virginia Woolf’s Exploration of Mental Androgyny – “because without her I would not be here to be recognized for my writing.”

She thanked the Blacker family for their recognition of the “hard work and long hours composing our thesis have paid off, literally.”

“I will say that whether we are rewarded or not should not dent our pride in our accomplishment of having planned out, styled, drafted, redrafted, revised, edited and finalized our senior theses. No matter what profession we choose, we know that writing will be an integral to our success,” said Elfarsdottir.

Pierce-Hoffman told the audience that she as ready to present her thesis on “that ‘Blade Runner’ author,” the science fiction author Philip Kindred Dick. She read his work over the summer of her junior/senior year and “discovered I wasn’t a fan …”

When asked by her teacher if she would consider Margaret Atwood, Pierce-Hoffman responded “who is she?”

But reading four novels by the Canadian writer convinced Pierce-Hoffman that “I was a fan of her.” She noticed in the works how language and the words used to express oneself also reflect inner thoughts and by subtle changes in those words, “you can change how one thinks.”

Pierce-Hoffman, who is attending Barnard in the fall, wrote her thesis – Tongue-Untied: Rebellion Through Linguistic Manipulation in Margaret Atwood’s Works – on the cautionary message that “if we don’t watch how we speak today, we are going to end up with a nightmare vision that I see in [Atwood’s] works.”

Korn, who will enter the University of Pennsylvania in September, was inspired by a performance of Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing,” not by the acting – Korn has been active with the Performing Arts Company – but its language.

“Every line reflects troubling truths about grasping realities in our own lives,” said Korn. He added the works of absurdist writer Paul Auster to focus on stories within other stories in his second prize paper, The Pervasive Narrative of Authorial Identity: Metafiction in the Works of Paul Auster & Tom Stoppard.

Yet he admitted that he was like many of his classmates, staying up into the early morning to complete assignments.

“The thesis process is ably named. It is a process,” said Korn, speaking of sorting through hundreds of note cards and article after article, book after book.

“It really is a monument to all sweat, tears and cups of coffee I put into this process,” said Korn. “The thesis process also completely changed me as a writer and a consumer of literature and, for that, I am extremely grateful.”

Aldis Elfarsdóttir Blacker 1st Place 2014-3

Sam Korn Blacker 3rd Place 2014-2

Hannah Pierce-Hoffman Blacker 2nd Place 2014-2

The Weekend In Belmont: Town Day, Graduation, Concert at First Church, Yard Sale For Fire Victims

Belmont Town Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Belmont Center on Saturday, May 31. There will be food, music and rides and entertainment for the kids while businesses and community groups will have tables out in the middle of Leonard Street. Don’t be scared off by the small threat of rain.

Belmont High School Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2014 will take place at 2 p.m. in the high school’s Wenner Field House on Sunday, June 1. Later, the newly-minted alumni will participate in the All-Night Party in the High School’s cafeteria.

• The Belmont Police is holding a Gun Buyback event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the town’s DPW Yard at 37 C St. on Saturday, May 31. It is a “no questions asked” service provided by the Belmont Police and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office; gift cards will be provided to those who participate courtesy of the Belmont Religious Council.

• A Neighborhood/Marketplace Yard Sale for the nine victims of the fire on Marlboro Street will take place on Marlboro Street between Unity and Fairview from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31. 

• A Chamber Music Concert to benefit the SPARK Pediatric Division of Boston Medical Center will take place at The First Church Belmont, Unitarian Universalist, 404 Concord Ave. at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 31. Music of Bach, Handel, Purcell, Dowland and Gilbert & Sullivan is on the playbill.

Belmont High School Girls Tennis will likely host a quarterfinals match this weekend in the Div. 2 North sectionals but there has been no indication when that would occur as of Friday morning.

Before Cold and Rain, One Entrepreneur Makes Lemonade Pay

Memorial Day Monday was an outlier this year; a warm and a bit humid day sandwiched between cool and at time rainy weather.

It was the perfect opportunity for Evelynn of Fairview Avenue to show her entrepreneurial chops.

With attendees from the Memorial Day ceremony heading back home, the five-year-old made a batch of nicely-tart lemonade, found a table, straws, the required red cups, and a garnish of real sliced lemons. IMG_8831

“She made a list of everything she needed. She was very organized and I’m impressed,” said her dad.

To bring the point home that she was so pen for business, Evelynn created her own sign on large poster paper: Lemonade 50 cents spelled out in crayon.

Soon the customers came calling from strangers to neighbor kids. Evelynn proved an adept business person, pouring just enough lemonade to satisfy buyers so that she would not have to make another supply of the drink. In just a few minutes, Evelynn made a few dollars that her dad placed in her wallet.

“It think she’s doing a fantastic job,” her dad said.

So, could the lemonade stand foretell a future in business?

Watch out, Shark Tank.

“We’ll find out,” said her mom.

Au Revoir: After Four Decades in Town, Romneys Sell Belmont Townhouse

For the first time since 1971 when they moved into the pretty house on Winn Street, Mitt and Ann Romney are no longer Belmont residents, selling their South Cottage Street townhouse on May 6 for $1.2 million, according to records at the South Middlesex Registry of Deeds.

The Romneys purchased the townhouse in the Woodlands at Belmont Hill development on the McLean Hospital property in June 2010 for $895,000 after selling the family manse on Marsh Street in April 2009 for $3.5 million.

The townhouse, appraised in 2014 by the town for $973,000, was sold to Valmarc Corp. CFO Gordon and Laurie Low; he, like the Romneys, an alumnus of Brigham Young University.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.49.43 AM

Sold In Belmont: 1950s Split-Level Goes for $1.25 Million

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

30 Howells Road. “Country home” Colonial (1898), Sold for: $1,173,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,091 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 33 days.

37 Thayer Road. Condominium, Sold for: $234,000. Listed at $233,900. Living area: 615 sq.-ft. 4 rooms; 1 bedrooms, 1 bath. On the market: 63 days.

32 Amherst Road. Split-level ranch (1951), Sold for: $1,250,000. Listed at $1,195,000. Living area: 2,592 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

256 School St. Tudor-style colonial (1935), Sold for: $844,000. Listed at $829,000. Living area: 2,284 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 57 days.

2 Crescent Road. Condominium, Sold for: $702,000. Listed at $687,000. Living area: 2,668 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath. On the market: 42 days.

Take A Walk On the Little River Side

Come on a spring nature walk and imagine the time of the ice industry and other historical adventures along the Little River in Cambridge and Belmont during the Little River History Nature Walk led by Anne-Marie Lambert of the Belmont Citizens Forum. Walkers will pass cattail marshes, tributaries and maples to an idyllic view of Little Pond in Belmont.

The walk will take place on Sunday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon starting at the public parking lot at 15 Acorn Park Drive in Cambridge.

Bring high boots for the mud, and, optionally, a walking stick. The walk is one mile to Little Pond and the same one mile back.

Walkers will learn about geologic, Native American history, farming, industry and railroad histories of the area. The trip will travel along the river, meadow, and forest habitat which is home to wildlife such as deer, red fox, coyote, river otter, mink, cottontail rabbit, voles, mice and many residential birds including wild turkey, blue heron, red-tailed hawks, ducks, swans, robins and woodpeckers.

Walking Directions from Alewife T station, take a right, cross the bridge over Little River, a left onto DCR’s “Alewife Park Greenway,” stop at the end (10 minutes from Alewife)

Driving directions from Belmont: take a right at the end of Cross Street onto Lake Street, first right onto the Route 2 access road, first right onto Acorn Park Drive (before Route 2 on ramp at left), stop at the end.

This walk is co-sponsored by the Belmont Citizens ForumFriends of Alewife Reservation, the Mystic River Watershed Association and the Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands.

What to Do Today: How Cambridge Built Their Library, Playoff Tennis, 6th Grade Concert

• Never say die. “A New Library: An Impossible Dream Realized” is a talk by Susan Flannery, director of libraries for Cambridge, about the dream of a new public library realized in Cambridge; how it impacts the functions the library serves and what it means to the community. The talk, hosted by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library.

• The post-season comes to Belmont as the 12-4 Belmont High School Girls’ Tennis team hosts Tewksbury High in a first-round match of the Div. 2 North sectionals at the High School tennis courts beginning at 3:30 p.m.

• The Chenery Middle School 6th Grade Band, Chorus and Orchestra Concert is taking place at 7 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School auditorium.

Pair of Belmont High Alumni Race To National Championships

It was a magical Saturday, May 26, as two Belmont High School grads took home national championships at the NCAA Div. III Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Haverford College senior Chris Stadler passed long-time rival and defending champion John Crain of North Central College on the final stretch in the 5,000 meters to win by less than half-a-second, 14 minutes, 11.28 seconds to 14:11.72.Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 12.18.40 PM

On Thursday, it was Crain who ran away from Stadler to take the 10,000 meter race.

The win was Stadler’s second national championship, having won the 5,000 meters indoors last year. The victory also secured Stadler his eighth All-American certificate and secured his status as the most decorated runner in Haverford history. He was also named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Mideast Region Outdoor Athlete of the Year.

Just a few hours earlier, Johns Hopkins University senior Andrew Carey became the first Blue Jay men’s athlete to win an individual event at the NCAA track championships when he won the 800 meters in 1:50.62, ahead of runner-up Mitchell Black (1:51.30) from Tufts.

In the preliminary round, Carey broke his own school record with a time of 1:49.67, the best time posted by any Division III runner this season. Carey became the first two-time All-American in school history as he finished second in the 800 a year ago.

See Carey’s post-championship interview here.Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 12.14.41 PM

“It’s so fitting to see Andrew’s year end with a national title,” said John Hopkins track coach Bobby Van Allen.

“He put himself in that elite stage and just kept going. His confidence was overwhelming and a large part of his success. I’m ready to see the next chapter in his running career.”

Carey has become the first-ever two-time All-American after finishing second in the 800 meter at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Both Belmont High alums’ colleges competed in the Centennial Conference.