Norwell MA Homes & Real Estate
Norwell is a Plymouth County town that was settled as part of Scituate in 1634 and officially came to be known as South Scituate in 1849. It was once inhabited by indigenous people who lived off the land and water sources in the area until the early 1600s when they unfortunately succumbed to a major disease outbreak. Norwell didn’t get its present-day name until 1888, becoming the namesake of Henry Norwell, a dry goods merchant and businessman who used his wealth to help maintain the town. It relied first upon agriculture and later the shipbuilding industry (because of the river) as major sources of income through the 19th century.
The waterways still hold value in town today. Almost one third of the 21-square-mile town is bordered by the North River. Much of the town’s border with Hanover is marked by Third Herring Brook. Although Route 3 passes through the town, there are no exits directly within the town. However, two exit ramps will lead you quite quickly into the town. Route 123 is Main Street and Norwell’s major throughway, while Route 53 or Washington Street is the main business area near Assinippi and Jacobs Pond which has restaurants, grocery stores and small shops. Boston Magazine ranked Norwell #2 of South Shore towns to live in and it has a history of being very safe. The population is about 11,000.
Norwell’s public school system consists of two elementary schools (preschool through fifth grade). The Grace F. Cole Elementary School is in the western part of town while the William G. Vinyl Elementary School is in the east. There is one middle school for grades six through eight and one high school. Norwell High School is competitive in academics and sports alike. They are called the Clippers with town colors of blue and gold. Students may also attend South Shore Regional Vocational Technical School in Hanover for free. South Shore Public Charter School serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Families must apply and be selected in a lottery process. There are a number of private early childhood education centers in town as well.
A unique and useful feature the town invested in are the accessible series of paved pathways and boardwalks that connect the public school areas to the center of town. It’s a lovely journey that leads partially along streets and partially among the trees for bikers and walkers. From it you can access Gaffield Park, an 8-acre public area with a playground, picnic tables and a great sledding hill in the winter.
The Norwell Village Area Historic District is considered the center of town, centralized at the town common and including areas of Main, Central, West, River and Dover Streets. Here stands Cushing Memorial Hall or the Cushing Center (a rentable function space) and the Civil War Memorial statue. If you have an interest in local history, the Jacobs Homestead is a major historical site in Norwell, located right near the man-made Jacobs Pond. The first part of the house was originally built in 1726 and the Jacobs family lived there until the 1930s. Now it is managed and maintained by the Norwell Historical Society as an exhibition area and time capsule of the past.
Not far from there is the South Shore Natural Science Center, a nonprofit organization founded in 1962 that is passionate about bringing nature, wildlife and environmental preservation to public attention. Within it, the EcoZone is a great interactive museum where kids can view live animals, explore trails and learn about nature. The center also has a nature adventures summer camp and an outdoor children’s garden with chickens.
A good 30% or more of the town is covered in wetlands. Although there are many nature trails to explore in town, Norris Reservation is one of the top spots. After passing an old mill site, continue on to follow any combination of three main trails through a forest of pine and oak to find a wetlands boardwalk or admire the banks of the North River from the deck of the boat house. Bring your canine friends along too.
Whether it’s wetlands, watersheds or marshes, there is no shortage of conservation land in Norwell. Partially owned by The Nature Conservancy, Cuffee Hill Conservation Area features the tens of thousands of years old Black Pond Bog. Miller Woods and Fogg Forest Conservation Area, Simon Hill/Bowker Street Conservation Area, Hatch Lots Conservation Area… the list goes on and on. This makes it a great location for the North and South Rivers Watershed Association’s home office. They have great resources available for kayaking and other river-related activities.
Hornstra Farm, located on Prospect Street, is a 100-year-old family owned and operated dairy business. They offer field trips and tours as well as home delivery and a farm store full of their own fresh dairy products and other tasty treats.
Norwell Farms has 14 acres of organic produce that locals have access to via CSA shares and pop-ups they do throughout the summer. They also have educational workshops, summer programs, community events and lots of volunteer opportunities.
Norwell has Methodist, Christian and Unitarian Universalist churches.
Not far off the highway is The Company Theatre, a community space for arts and education. The company started as a dream in 1978 in a church basement and has grown into a facility of its own offering youth programs through Academy of the Company (A.C.T.) and multiple theatre productions per year for the community to enjoy.
The North River Theater building was originally a one-room schoolhouse built in 1865. It is now home to the Church Hill players and they put on shows and host dinners and other events.
The Norwell Public Library houses almost 100,000 physical items in addition to digital resources and museum passes. It is a member of the Old Colony Library Network and runs programs on everything from homework help to mindfulness meditation. If you’re looking to do some local research, The Norwell Historical Society Research Library & Archives Center protects multiple historic documents, maps and artifacts inside the Sparrell School.
The James Library and Center for the Arts is the oldest library in Norwell, right on the village green. It was first opened for a collection of Sunday School children’s books and over time has grown into a fully operational library facility and a meeting place for many local societies, clubs and group organizations. On the lower level, a major renovation has given birth to a lively art gallery for exhibits and sales. They hold a number of events such as arts programming, author talks and small concerts. The building survives as one of the few examples of Victorian architecture in the Norwell Historic District.
Although there are some historic residential homes, about 73% of the homes in town today were built between 1940 and 1990. There is a small amount of apartment and condominium options in town, including a few 55+ or 62+ exclusive communities, but most residential housing is made up of owner-occupied, standard single family homes.
Summer Fest, a free event started in 2014, is an outdoor festival held in the town center where they close off the streets to enjoy live music, local food, art and attractions.
There are a few industrial parks in town with office buildings and health centers, including South Shore Medical Center, which has over 100 board-certified primary care providers as well as a myriad of specialty care services.
Twenty miles south of Boston and seventeen miles north of Plymouth, Norwell is a quiet town full of cul-de-sac neighborhoods and some truly stunning homes. It’s a wonderful, rural location for making your home or connecting with nature.
Included below are homes for sale and real estate in Norwell, MA.
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