Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Neighborhood Part II: Barcroft

Our little neighborhood in South Arlington is called Barcroft. Its borders are Rte 50 on the north, S. George Mason on the east, Columbia Pike on the south and a green space on the west.

View Larger Map

It's been intriguing moving into a suburban neighborhood after living in apartments for so long. I was curious what it would be like to have our own space and what neighbor interactions would be like. One of our first introductions to the neighborhood was the 4th of July parade. I had met a woman a few doors down who has a 4-year-old daughter, and she told me about the neighborhood parade, so we went. It was adorable, with kids and adults in costumes, waving flags, playing music, riding decorated bikes, trikes and wagons up and down the streets. The parade ended at the Barcroft Community House, which will get its own post soon, where there was a potluck picnic/BBQ and awards ceremony. We met a few families and neighbors, and got the same message from everyone: this is a great neighborhood.

And so it seems to be. Every time we go to the park or out on a walk we meet someone new, very friendly, and usually with kids. "Oh, my favorite pizza place is ____", they tell me, or "You just missed our spring block party but we'll have one at Halloween." "Do you know about the neighborhood playgroup?" or "The schools here are great. My wife and I are both teachers..."

Indeed, Barcroft Elementary School, only 3 blocks from our house, is the only school in the county on a year-round schedule, which parents love because it puts vacations at off-peak times and avoids the long summer break that families with two working parents dread finding childcare for. It also draws an ethnically and socio-economically diverse group of students from surrounding neighborhoods, another perk that parents appreciate. In addition, two of the six or seven families I've met in the neighborhood are headed by gay couples, one of which is the Barcroft PTA president - more diversity that I can appreciate.

One of my dreads of surburbia has always been the homogeneousness, I know this shocks all of you. Same houses, same colors, same residents up and down each street. Luckily in an area as old as Arlington we can generally avoid such sameness inside and out. Take the houses. I love walking the streets in our neighborhood because almost no two houses are the same, and they're all interesting to look at.

Some are tiny:
Some are big (like this monstrosity next door to us, which looks even bigger from the back):
Some are old and charming:
Some, obviously new builds:
There are stucco bungalows:

And - this one's my favorite - brick and stone cottages:
There's even an occasional white picket fence:
And of course there's our funny little house on the odd-shaped end lot, which definitely doesn't resemble any other, and which we believe was somebody's afterthought. But we love it.

I was on quite the photographer's rampage yesterday and I don't want them to go to waste so here are some more houses in the neighborhood. Some are even for SALE...

(Check out the polka-dot door on the first one - you won't find that in some Nazi covenant community!)


Lindsay said...

What a cute little neighborhood! I'm glad you guys are enjoying yourselves there.

Emily said...

Hi Kari! I hope you check this post's comments even though it's older. Your neighborhood looks so great. I'm glad you like it and you're meeting neighbors. Adam and I are still overcoming our shyness and trying to meet our neighbors and it's been almost a year! Your girls look so big in your lilypie thing. We miss you. Glad you're adjusting and happy.

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