Umm, you've got Worcester Polytech just around the corner. Google that and linux users group, and you get:
right at the top.
Stop in and say hello, or contact them by email.
Or if you really don't have time to get into it, and really want to stay away from WinBlows, and seem to have money you are willing to pay a consultant, then why not just take what you were going to spend on a computer and a consultant and buy a Mac and be done with it? ;-) It's not Linux (initially), but Mac OS X is BSD underneath, and it just works. Plus, if you ever want to, and end up having the time, you can install Linux, maybe Solaris, or even WinBlows on a Mac now, since they are Intel. Dual boot. Triple boot. Or run Parallels. We have a MacBook Pro with Parallels running Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, and Windows XP.