PCS'ing to Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts? The friendly folks there create a warm and welcoming community. Outside the gates are the small towns of Bedford, Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln. Located less than 30 miles northwest of the city of Boston, the area is peppered with museums and historical sites, as well as options for shopping and dining.
Small Towns with Big History
- Bedford is known as the home of the first United States flag flown during the American Revolution. This artifact is the oldest battle flag in the U.S. and is displayed at the Bedford Public Library.
- Besides being notable for Concord grapes, the town of Concord became a hub for writers. The homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott are now museums. Additionally, nearby Walden Pond State Reservation gained notoriety from author Henry David Thoreau.
- Lexington is the location of the first shot of the American Revolutionary War. Emerson penned it as “the shot heard ‘round the world.” From Lexington, the British marched on towards Concord, where the minuteman militia had organized resistance.
- On his midnight ride, patriot Paul Revere was captured by British army patrol near the town of Lincoln. That site and other notable landmarks are found along the trails of the Minuteman National Historic Park.
Easy Transit into Boston
Part of Hanscom AFB includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense research and development center. Each weekday morning, a shuttle bus leaves from MIT Lincoln Lab at Hanscom AFB to the MIT University campus in Cambridge, offering a stress-free way to commute into the city.
Another way to avoid driving in Boston traffic is a 12-mile trip from Hanscom AFB to a parking garage at the Alewife train station. From Alewife, the red line subway train leads to stops in Cambridge and Boston in under an hour.
Wear good walking shoes if you plan to tour the city. There’s so much you can see and do on foot!
Breathe easy, parents of school-aged kiddos; Massachusetts is known for its top-ranked schools.
If living in base housing, children in Kindergarten through 8th grade may attend school on base. High school aged students may attend Bedford High. A new middle school is under construction at Hanscom AFB, with hopes for a new primary school in the upcoming years.
Hanscom AFB offers privatized housing through Hunt Military Housing Communities. Most of the housing is fairly new. Within the base neighborhood, older properties are available at market rent rather than at BAH rate. The base housing community includes several playgrounds and green spaces, along with a clubhouse available for social gatherings.
Hanscom AFB offers a wide variety of amenities, including an Aero Club, Auto Skills Shop, Movie Theater, Outdoor Rec office, Pharmacy, Thrift Shop, Veterinarian, and Youth Center. The Base Exchange (BX) plaza includes a food court, dry cleaner, barbershop, salon, optical shop, and florist.
The Airman and Family Readiness office includes a computer lab and reference materials, in lieu of a base library.
If stationed at Hanscom AFB, MA, here’s hoping you enjoy the friendly atmosphere and peaceful setting of this woodsy area. With plenty of history all around and access to the capital city of Boston, your assignment in Massachusetts should be a memorable experience!
Photo: Flickr user Guilherme Nicholas