Full disclosure: My neighborhood made this month’s list of Hot Neighborhoods. That was not by design. When we sent writer Pam George out to find the best places to live, it was strongly recommended to her by trusted authorities. I find that reassuring. I may be the editor of this magazine, but I am a reader, too, so Dina and I use the information in DT to make important life decisions. Our home is a case in point. Here’s why:
Times were good for buyers when we purchased our house in early 2010. With the real estate market still rebounding after the lending scandal and crash of 2008, we probably could have done better on the price. But we bought not as an investment in the traditional sense. We made a long-term investment in our life together. We wanted to live in a great place to raise a family.
We searched several neighborhoods before we decided, based on a previous story in this magazine, to look where we eventually would settle. We found a house we loved, but, more importantly, from DT we had a strong sense that our neighborhood was a real community, in the strict sense of the word. We were pretty sure we would live shoulder to shoulder with people who shared a common interest. And that proved to be true in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
In this case the common interest was the neighborhood itself. What we learned right away was that what makes a neighborhood great is the neighbors. That should seem obvious, but it’s a fact many of us often overlook.
Within four hours of moving—van still parked out front—we met almost everyone in the 16 houses on our short block. We all chat in the street and on our porches. We shovel snow from each others’ walk, water the plants and feed the fish for neighbors who have gone away. One family of young women who grew up on the block loves the neighborhood so much, they have stayed there to raise their own families. There are impromptu happy hours for us grown-ups, games and pool parties and birthday bashes and meet-ups at the playground for the kids. Add a new family next door, with children solidly in the age range—there are new friends for all, new kinds of fun to be had. And the vibe radiates from block to block. You should see the place at Halloween.
That’s not the neighborhood everyone wants to live in, of course As Pam’s story shows, there a place—a feeling, a style, a unique community—for everyone. If you’re looking ahead to your next move—step-up house, beach place, a new home for empty-nesters—we hope you find our story, and others like it, a help, as I did. You’ll want to ask around before you commit, of course, but we can give you a great start.
I, for one, never want to move again. But if I must, I’ll be checking in here first.
—Mark Nardone • Executive editor