When many people think of Marshfield, they picture the beaches. For decades, the South Shore town has been a popular vacation destination — the population nearly doubles in the summer, by some estimates — but for Joe Mastriani, a 15-year resident, Marshfield is appealing for different reasons: the peace and quiet.
The place shines during the summer, but it sparkles in the offseason, too, when wild turkeys dot the neighborhoods in the early morning and children play hockey on frozen cranberry bogs.
“It feels like a getaway,” said Mastriani, 73, who retired to the town after visiting for more than 40 years. “Having a piece of land is extremely attractive to me. There’s a lot of wildlife,” he said. “We have a turkey that keeps coming back. We named her Gertrude.”
So when people pack the town’s main beaches — Rexhame, Brant Rock, Fieldston, and Green Harbor — Mastriani and his wife grab their bikes, go for a walk, or just sit back and enjoy their yard near Humarock, a beach just over the town line in Scituate. They’re also close to the two Mass Audubon sanctuaries in town.
Marshfield is by no means remote. It’s about a 40-minute drive to Boston, the Mastrianis said — if they time the trip around peak traffic, that is. And there is a shopping center and numerous restaurants, including a southern outpost of Fenway’s Cask ’n Flagon; Hola, a creative and affordable tapas restaurant; and not one, but two frozen-yogurt bars.
The Marshfield Fairgrounds also brings a little action into town. The Marshfield Fair will be held the last two weeks of August, but there’s also the Levitate Music and Arts Festival, hosted by the local surf shop of the same name; wine and beer festivals; flea and farmers’ markets; and more.
And who can forget the Marshfield Hills General Store, arguably the most quintessentially old-school New England place in town? Purchased by actor Steve Carell in 2009 and maintained by his sister-in-law, the store is a throwback, with penny candy, food, trinkets, and opportunities to chitchat with the locals.
So, you may come for the beaches, but if you’re like Mastriani, you stay for everything else.
By the numbers
The cost of the town’s new high school, which opened in 2014.
The 267,500-square-foot building has a center courtyard, marine fabrication laboratory, a student-run restaurant, a fitness center, a robotics room,
and a television studio.
Cost of a seasonal beach parking pass for residents. Nonresidents can buy day passes for Rexhame and Brant Rock beaches. Those are $15 per day on
weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays.
The cost for a week of Levitate Warrior Surf Camp. Held by a shop on Ocean Street, the camp is for ages 7 to 12, and it can provide all of the equipment for the daily four-hour lessons. The camp sells out “immediately,”
according to the shop.
Pros and Cons
The average price per square foot in Marshfield is $211, according to Trulia. In Boston, it’s $422.
Route 3 is a nightmare. Traffic is miserable to and from the city on weekdays and to and from Cape Cod on the weekends. Couple that with the fact that the nearest commuter rail stop is in Scituate. Better hope you don’t have to leave.