Though not normally superstitious, I’ve been watching what I say to people when it comes to our upcoming move. With 11 days to go until the move into our new house, there is always room for something to go wrong.
I’ve been spending the last 2-3 weeks packing up our current house, and at the same time actively preventing myself from becoming too excited about the new house until we give away our old keys and get the new keys. That is the opposite of my husband, who has been super excited since the day we put an offer on the new house. He’s doing a good job at helping me think positive.
I previously wrote about our goals for our new house here. I plan to write about our new house in the next post once we get settled. For now, this post is about our current house and neighborhood.
We currently own a 2200 square foot ranch home in the Stonehaven neighborhood of Charlotte. It is a beautiful neighborhood with tons of mature trees that was developed in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I read that in the 1700s the land was used for gold mining and was once known as Stonehaven, NC before being annexed by the city of Charlotte. What attracted us to the neighborhood in the first place (besides price and commuting distance to our work sites) was that it isn’t “cookie cutter”.
Though the ranches, split levels and 2 story houses look similar to each other, they don’t look so similar that you can’t tell them apart. There is no HOA so you can landscape your yard to look however you want. It is nice to see the growing number of raised vegetable gardens popping up in front and side yards. Why not the backyard? Not sure, but if everyone’s backyard is like ours, it just doesn’t get enough sun during the day due to the previously mentioned plethora of mature trees. The trees are great for keeping the house and yard cool in the summer, not so great for growing plants that need more than 6 hours of sun during the day or keeping those pesky cankerworms away.
I like that the neighborhood is established. There is no new construction. People tend to renovate the current structure instead of tearing down the whole house to start over again. Though you can see your neighbor’s house and can shout over the fence at them, the houses are not 2 feet away from each other like what you see in some of the neighborhoods that are currently going through the gentrification process. Just drove through Cherry yesterday. Whoa.
Stonehaven is a mixed community of young couples, families and original home owners. The neighborhood is active all year long with runners, bikers and walkers. I trained for a half marathon in this and adjacent neighborhoods. The hills adequately prepared me for the race. Lately, I’ve been lazy about riding my bicycle mainly because I no longer like it. It’s men’s bicycle, and it’s too tall for me. I test rode a bicycle yesterday that I’m probably going to buy to replace my current one once we move. But I digress…
I enjoyed our 6 years here in Stonehaven, but with a Walk Score of 10 it no longer fits with our view of what sustainable city living should be. Some house and apartment listings state that Stonehaven is “minutes away from uptown” or “10 minutes away from Southpark”. For those that don’t know Southpark is another neighborhood known for a huge shopping mall and lots of restaurants. If you live in Stonehaven, during rush hour it can take you more than 30 minutes to get to or from uptown and Southpark. The closest bus stop is at least a 20 minute walk, and to get to where either of us currently work, it would take more than 1.5 hours to get to/from work (one way) with public transportation. So sitting in our cars with everyone else in the morning and evening is the best option for us currently.
The lifestyle adjustment challenge is something we are looking forward to. As of now, the closest grocery store is 3 miles away from our house. It’s more time efficient to drive rather than to walk. At our new house, the closest grocery store is 0.2 miles away. James and I keeping saying “no excuses” to each other. When we move into the new house, there will be no excuse for us not to walk or bike for most of our errands. This may sound silly to those who already do this on a regular basis, but it is a huge lifestyle change when you have been used to driving everywhere for the last 14 years (5 years of college in rural Storrs, CT, 3 years in Charlottesville, VA and the last 6 years in the Stonehaven neighborhood of Charlotte, NC). All that driving makes you lazy, and it makes you complain about running simple errands that are more inconvenient for those less fortunate.
All that said, Stonehaven is a great neighborhood. The neighbors are friendly, it is an active community, there are clubs and monthly gatherings in the spring and summer, there are 2 swim clubs, there is an annual 5K race, there are holiday parades, and it is convenient to major roads. And the website has gotten much better over the last 6 years.
As part of our last 3 weeks in Stonehaven, James and I are making a point of eating at our favorite Stonehaven-local places before moving on to the next neighborhood. (Technically, Stonehaven has no restaurants, so I am referring to places that are within a 5 mile radius of our house). Not that we may never eat at these establishments again, but why not? Perhaps it will give us a sense of closure for the “owning our first house” chapter of our lives, and if the restaurant makes a good final impression we’ll be more likely to go back!