From the Boston Globe


April 3, 2005

Berlin Orchards, on Route 62 in Berlin, at Sunset.
Above left: 6 Collins Road, a four-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 4,234-square-foot home, is listed at $929,900.
Above right: 75 Coburn Road, a three-bedroom, one-bath, 836-square-foot home, is listed at $319,900. (Globe photos)

Miles from Boston: 34
Population: 2,380
Median house price: $400,000 (2004)
Tax rate: $12.12
Transportation: Route 62, Interstates 290, 495
MCAS: Member, Berlin-Boylston regional school system, whose middle and high schools ranked 115th out of 373 systems statewide. Member, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, which ranked 255th out of 373 systems statewide. Berlin's sole elementary school ranked 138th, all according to a Boston Globe analysis of 2004 MCAS results.
Census facts: Median family income is $76,419, compared to national rate of $50,046, and 36 percent held a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to national rate of 24 percent.
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BERLIN -- Should the desire to leave here ever arrive, it is a task easily accomplished given the easy access to Interstates 290 and 495.

But David R. Marble, a native of this hilly town, wonders why one would ever think of departing.

''We still have working farms, cattle farms, dairy farms, and we have apple" orchards, said Marble, chairman of the board of selectmen. ''You can buy fresh milk, fresh eggs, cabbage, lettuce, corn -- whatever you want. You don't even have to leave town to shop for produce in the summertime."

Currently, one does have to leave this Worcester County town to shop at a mall or a major supermarket. But that may soon change as residents are being asked to revise zoning rules to permit two separate projects that combined could bring 800,000 square feet of commercial and residential development.

Marble said there is disagreement over the projects. Some residents are opposed to mall development and others contend the town must expand the commercial tax base beyond the portion of the Solomon Pond Mall that lies within Berlin. A vote is set for April 9.

Whatever the outcome, Marble said this town will retain its country atmosphere due in part to its two-acre residential zoning rules. Homeowners must also build their own wells and septic systems, he said. Town Meeting makes budget decisions, he said.

''It's Old New England, which is why people are moving here," said Marble, adding that new residents are being drawn from the high-tech companies in the region.

''We have the best of country living and we're still close to 495 and 290."

On a recent week, listed 16 single-family homes, ranging from $319,900 for a three-bedroom, one-bath, 836-square-foot home to $929,900 for a four-bedroom, 4-bath, 4,234-square-foot home.

A historic footnote: It's pronounced BURR-lin, not Burr-LIN. Marble said the pronunciation was altered during World War II.


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