I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis County. At the time it was the "place to be" with the newer homes and larger lots seldom found in the more established communities. Years later when I bought my first home I chose to move to the historic community of Webster Groves and Kirkwood, and more specifically Glendale, MO which sits smack dab in the middle of the two and shares both school districts. Glendale is often affectionately referred to as "Beaver Cleaver land."
My friends and family couldn't figure out why a west county girl like me would be moving east. And why on earth I would want a smaller 100 year old home on a 60 foot wide lot instead of a massive newer home on an acre for about the same price. What they didn't understand was the while away at college I discovered the concept of community. It's not a word you hear about much in the suburbs. Or at least it doesn't mean the same thing.
Where I live "community" equates to actually knowing my neighbors and most likely their kids and their cats and dogs as well. It's a place where children still walk to school, church and even the local ice cream parlor. A place where when I head out for my four mile run I know the names of neighbors on nearly every street and where I can take a detour to the local farmer's to experience the true taste of my hometown.
Our quaint streets are framed by historic architecture and 100 year old oak trees with leaves that blanket the street in the fall in a way that I never quite experienced in the suburbs. When it snows in the winter my son can run out the door and find loads of other children sledding down the street and heading to the frozen lake at the golf course around the corner. It's a place where when the lights went out for an entire week last summer in 100 degree heat that rather than head to the nearest motel my neigihborhood headed to the front porch and lit the barbeque pit!
It's hard to explain what makes a house a home, but it surely has more to do with the people who live in the neighborhood than the studs and bricks that frame the house. And I'll happily take my over-priced 100 year old bungalow with all its bumps and bruises any day over a huge vinyl box in the suburbs. Others may disagree but isn't that what keeps things interesting anyway!
If you want to learn more about where I live or the eight communities that comprise the Webster Groves and Kirkwood school districts than visit the Communities section of my web site at Websterkirkwood.com