Romance, as we age, blossoms from ever deeper wells of the soul. True, probably, but it helps to have a charming, waterfront city to help get things rolling.
Boston manages to meld scrappy and intellectual — a relatively small city that is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, bolstered by culture, parks and a fine quality of life.
Greater Boston (population 4.5 million) includes the city of Boston (617,594) and more than 100 cities and towns. The smaller places range from 17th-century villages (Plymouth) to some of the oldest suburbs in America (Brookline and Braintree). Many area towns were built in the 18th century and most feature central squares surrounded by small businesses and residential neighborhoods.
In 2011, Boston was ranked the fifth most literate big city in the United States, and a high share of area residents have a college degree.
The city's parks are big and exceptionally good, with several designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard is one of the finest in the world. The Massachusetts Audubon Society's Boston Nature Center has opened on the grounds of the old Boston State Hospital. The metro area also offers nearly 120 miles of Atlantic coastline and lots of dedicated bike paths.
Locals bond over sports: The Red Sox and New England Patriots have become regular contenders; the Celtics are synonymous with Boston hoops tradition; and the Bruins have the second-most Stanley Cup victories by a U.S. team in NHL history.
Massachusetts is a great place to be retired from a government job or the military because most payments from public pensions are exempt from state taxes. And metro Boston is a major center of medical talent, with a very high concentration of physicians, hospital beds per capita and teaching hospitals. Rates of smoking and obesity are low, so the metro area has low mortality from heart disease and low rates of hypertension.
Because traffic congestion is a serious problem in the city, many locals use the region's excellent subway system or walk or bicycle to work. Boston's coastal location means it does get severe storms, including nor'easters, blizzards and the occasional hurricane. That's when it's time to curl up on the couch with that special someone and watch the weather roll in.