Urban Homesteading – Welcome Home

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt

The downtown historical neighborhood I moved into a month ago is beginning to feel like home. Last weekend the neighborhood association held their annual breakfast and plant sale at the Presbyterian church, located smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. We wandered the half block to the sale and bought a few annuals for our small front-yard garden bed. Right now, there’s not much room for flowers, but I’m sure over the next few years the lawn area will decrease while the gardens expand.

Saturday was a beautiful day and folks were out planting, mowing and walking their dogs. We met half a dozen neighbors and discovered we already knew some of them. Serendipity!! While planting strawberries, raspberries and vegetable seeds, we were offered some thornless blackberry plants from our across-the-alley neighbor. She also has a large patch of iris and I’m hoping in the fall she might be willing to divide a couple of unusual ones for us.

At the end of the day we were sitting on the porch, just relishing the quiet ambience of the neighborhood, when we were invited to join a group of neighbors for an end of the day libation. Wow! We’ve only been in the house for a month and already a party invitation.

Everyone we’ve met expounds on the feeling of community and small-town living this particular neighborhood has developed. This historical area encompasses some lovely restored Victorian houses and some no-so-lovely rental units in need of TLC. I was encouraged to learn that many of the elderly residents are watched over by a group from the homeowners association. If the mail isn’t collected or the newspapers pile up in the driveway, someone stops in to see if all is well.

Despite the fact that my house and yard are much smaller than in the previous location, I have a sense of living in a much bigger space because the neighborhood is so inviting. I grew up in a small town and am thrilled to have “returned,” 40 years later, to a place where I am welcomed and feel a measure of belonging.

Does your neighborhood invite you in or do you feel a sense of isolation? Share your experiences in the comments section below.