by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Those of us in our prime know more than most how important the old-fashioned American neighborhood is to our lives. When we sold our family home and acres to a developer, the contract allowed a year to find another and move.
Our search took place in 2004, a year when homes were sold as the signs were being hammered into the front yard. We came to know almost every inch of Great Bridge.
When we found what appeared to be a perfect neighborhood for us, Terry drove into it almost daily, hoping to catch a glimpse of a sign.
"I'm afraid the neighbors will think I'm stalking them," he quipped as the weeks went by.
It was RealtorŪ-become-friend Ray Bergey who approached us with a wonderful offer from a developer for our family home and it was Ray Bergey who sold us the first home we purchased after the big sale but did not move into. I realized I couldn't downsize from seven acres to a half acre, no matter how pretty the home. And it was Ray Bergey who called to say a home was being listed in our target neighborhood.
We went in the door as the seller went out and we signed the contract before we left. The house was perfect. The three acres were perfect. The neighborhood was perfect.
Our neighborhood reminds me of the small New England town
What we didn't know then but do know now was the most important factor. The neighbors are perfect.
We all know intellectually how important really good neighbors are but I've never experienced the feeling of belonging as much as I do here.
Our neighborhood reminds me of the small New England town where my grandmother's house sat in the middle of America Street, lined with life-long residents who knew each other through two wars and every family event imaginable.
Like those living on America Street, the 30 families in our Hickory Station Estates are available but not intrusive. If someone is ill, neighbors sign up to bring dinner. It's that kind of community.
When people decide to buy a home, they have a list of what is important to them. Price is often their greatest concern. Number of bedrooms...style of home...how big the garage(s). There are endless wants and needs. Too often the neighbors are not part of the radar. It isn't how upscale a neighborhood appears to be or how old it is or how big the lot that will make living there good, better or best. It is the neighbors.
We lucked out. With just 30 homes, turnover is infrequent. The lovely home pictured below is currently for sale and is represented by Bridgette Hamm. You can only buy it if you are a really good soul. Our neighbors are the best!
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.