Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How Walkable are You?

One of the major reasons we love living so close to the city is the walkable-ness of our location. A corner grocery, coffee shop, parks, restaurants etc within a short walk or bike ride. For example, the other day I set a pot of water on to boil for manicotti and by the time I got back from the store with spinach, cheese and garlic bread, the water had just begun to boil.

Last week I was out in the country doing a bit of garage sale-ing, which I love. Carefully following the signs to the block sale I spent my drive looking at old farm houses, fields of flowers and new developments. It's the old farm houses that get to me. They put the itch in my heart to live in the country.

I grew up on 18 acres of wooded property across from a large Holstein farm. We didn't really have neighbors with which to play and instead I spent my time running through the woods and creating a world of my own.

Every year I find myself looking for more space to plant flowers and vegetables. We added the rooftop garden and just last week I planted a floral 'fence' between our lot and the next. As I was driving to the sales, I yearned after the space. The space to plant any and every flower I could come up with. The space to cultivate a truly productive garden. The space to run and play.
And yet.

And yet I love our neighborhood. I love the park across the street where kids play all day and the crazy ice cream trucks that patrol the roads. We ride our bikes to the hardware store to pick up a part for a project we're working on and stop to get an ice cream cone on the way back. We know the policeman who watches these homes.

Today we ran into a friend on our way home from blueberry picking. She was walking to an appointment, so we gave her a quicker ride there. You don't run into friends driving through the country. You can't walk over to the local coffee shop to sit and read a book while you sip your latte. You can't see the city skyline from your rooftop or hear the summer festivals from your front porch.

Every weekend we save gas by riding downtown for our entertainment or we hit the trail behind the park where we can ride for miles.

Our address scored a 62 out of 100 for how walkable it is. I think that's pretty darn good. It's not possible to get by without owning a car (at least with our current jobs), but there are enough amenities within walking distance to make it so very worthwhile.

I'm sure I'll still get the itch now and then, but there are plenty of things to love about being right here. Besides, who wants to mow a huge lawn anyway?


Hillary said...

Mine is a 43. But wow. That's a creepy little application! Type in your addy and BANG! There's your house.

I am soooooo excited about getting to see you in FIVE SLEEPS!!! I'll look forward to walking to all those fun little places!

Jean said...

12 out of 100 is mine. I guess I must be considered the "country". :)

Though I must say I don't mind the huge lawn...course I'm not the one who mows it. :)

Scrapnqueen said...

Actually, you do run into friends when you live in the country--everyone within a seven-mile radius becomes your neighbourhood, and they are the ones you get to know at community socials, etc. So if someone's out for a walk, you probably know who they are.

Also, Miss Green Queen Anne, while you may not be able to ride your bike to the store, you find other ways of being efficient. For instance, instead of going to the store for only tonight's meal fixings, you make one trip a week for everything you can't grow in your own garden or milk from your own cow or gather from your own chickens. (One trip a week does not necessarily mean you are sacrificing freshness, either.)

And as for not seeing the city skyline or hearing the summer festivals--I guess it depends if you want to see and hear that! (I wouldn't!)

It's a personal choice, and not an easy one, as you have found out. While I do not look forward to giving up the convenience of town when we move to our acreage next year, and the park that's right over our back fence, I think the gains will far outweigh the losses.


Carbon said...

My hubby is trying to convince me that we also should buy land out in the country to build a little cottage. "To escape the city life". He grew up in the country and is also feeling the itch. I can do occasional stints but I really love my city life.

That's a great link. My place scored a 38. I wish it was better but our city just isn't laid out that way.

Anne said...

If we could all just have BOTH it would be fan-freaking-tastic!! A sweet little cottage in the country with lots of garden space and a fabulous old restored home in the city. Ahhh...the dream.

M said...

I like that walking thing. It showed all the businesses nearby that I can walk to--how cool. Our home got an 80. I tried my parents' home where I grew up: only a 20.

By the way, I'm just passing through, first visit to your blog. Thought I'd say hey and thanks for posting that walkable link--I love it!