Most of Framingham's soil is a course mixture of sand and gravel left behind by retreating glaciers. The gravel deposits were actually quite profitable for the town, especially since the land is not terribly well suited for agriculture.
Initially, I was infatuated with the Southwest quarter. That's where my apartment was located, and I loved everything in my neighborhood. I lived on Salem End Road; the "Best Street in Framingham" according to Boston Magazine. I was practically on the grounds of Framingham State, which has a lovely campus, and I loved being near the beautiful reservoirs with all the gorgeous shorebirds close by.
We walked up and down all the streets abutting the reservoir and through the area behind the college. I fell in love with about five houses in the southwest quarter, but either they were too expensive or too small or in a flood zone or something. Still, everything was beautiful around there. I saw Great Blue Herons flying overhead, and once even glimpsed a bittern taking a shower in the waterfall of Reservoir #2! There were swans and ducks and red winged blackbirds, and I often saw a red tailed hawk from the balcony of my apartment! Of course, things might have been different if we hadn't found such a nice apartment building. It was called Salem House. The apartment in this link is exactly like ours (I don't know long the link will be there. Probably not long.)
The Southeast quarter wasn't so attractive to us. For one thing, my husband refused to be south of the railroad tracks, because he couldn't deal with waiting for trains during every commute. We didn't like the crowded conditions or the older houses much, either. My husband was especially against getting a house that needed work. (Looking back, that statement seems more than a bit ironic!)
We looked at DOZENS of houses in the Northeast section of town. There were three houses we almost made an offer on, but I'm glad now that we didn't. Strangely enough, all three had a HUGE hill in the backyard, but that was not what bothered us. One was too expensive, one had a wet basement, and one had a huge foyer but no usable storage space. A couple others looked really nice to me, but they were in a flood zone. Considering how many homes are in this area, it is hard to believe we couldn't agree on any one of them. But in the end we fell in love with a house in Northwest Framingham.
Our new house is just one mile from our apartment, but with a backyard that could pass for a full blown wilderness. It is a cute little neighborhood of small ranch homes, but there are some McMansions on nearby streets. Everything my daughter said in her presentation about Northwest Framingham is 100% true. Steep terrain and a lack of till and vegetation makes for heavy runoff situations whenever it rains or during the spring thaws. But our house is built on a slab, so we figured we would never have to worry about a wet basement. We love the house and the neighborhood and especially the yard. But all our research didn't begin to prepare us for what was soon to come!