Hi and welcome!
I was new to New England 6 years ago and had some of the same questions you do. I would seriously reconsider the Boston area unless you end up with a solid job offer only because you can find decent costs of living and very good wages if you look on the western side of Massachusetts. Boston is a great place to live if you can afford to.
A previous poster suggested Baystate medical Center in Springfield. This is an awesome facility. Look it up online and although the city of Springfield is affordable, its still a fairly BIG city. The good thing is the highway access is very easy from that hospital, so if you want to live out in the country (The Berkshires, parts of Agawam) you can certainly commute with little problems. Oh, and Baystate has a terrific L&D unit. You can search open positions online and they are usually always looking for nurses with experience.
The school systems in the western Mass areas are phenomenal. My children currently go to a VERY small school out in 'the hilltowns'. Coming from a big city where kids go to schools
with hundreds of other kids, my kids are among 87......in the entire elementary school. Not that all schools out here are that small, but the education systems in Massachusetts, in general, are terrific.
Okay, so the question about mudrooms and basements. The most appealing thing to me when I first moved here was the houses. They are architectual beauties. There are areas that have more contemporary housing, but I'm still in love with the older style that still seems to flourish very nicely out here. The 'mud room' is a small room very close to the front or rear entrance of a house where you can take off your boots (usually covered in ice/snow/mud...etc.) and leave your coat/hat before tracking things into the house. I'm sure someone else may have a much better description but this is the jist of what I've noticed. Most of the older houses have these rooms and they are wonderful in the colder months. Pellet stoves are heat producing stoves that people install inside the home. They are similar to wood burning stoves except you fill them with small pellets.....I'm not exactly sure of the specifics of what a pellet consists of but I think its still wood based. These stoves are cleaner than wood burning stoves and people who have them love them.
Sorry for the looooong post,but I couldn't help it! Hope it helps.