1. Active Lifestyle - I had been athletically-minded in high school, but since then, my life had become 'busy'. At least I thought so. I had occasionally ran a few miles here and there - maybe pedaled around the block with hubby or enjoyed an evening walk. But here - I discovered that people enjoyed outdoor activities year round. Through winter, people could be found at the gym or pool, conditioning for skiing or training for a marathon. Their enthusiasm is certainly contagious. Before long, I found myself regularly going to the gym for an aerobics class. Then I started running again. Now look at me. A marathoner myself !? I can hardly believe it sometimes. Yet, at the same time, I don't want to go back to the 'old me'. :)
5. The High Desert Museum - I love the museum. I have had wonderful opportunities there... in the beginning, I was a Bird of Prey interpreter. Now, I do Living History with my children. Experiences I will cherish forever.
6. Friends - When DH and I returned to North Bend (where we'd both graduated from high school) after college, we were a little surprised to find that we didn't quite fit the mold of the typical 20 something resident. Granted, the majority of the population are elderly, retired folk. The population of school-age children had been steadily declining for some time - causing the school districts to close several rural schools in favor the larger, more centrally located schools. But the biggest challenge for us (particularly me) was meeting people with similar interests and mind-sets that were also of similar age. All of our friends were older.... they had grown children. Quite often, I found myself out of the loop, socially. I was a misfit. It wasn't until 2002 that I met my girlfriend, Lilli, with whom I dearly wanted to spend more time. But just as our friendship was beginning to blossom, we had to move. After our arrival in Central Oregon, it took over a year before I started to make new friends. For the first time in my life, I have a circle of women friends that I cherish. Amongst them, I would consider Deb to be my closest. (Hi, Deb! If this doesn't get you to leave a comment, I'll have to hijack your computer!)
- The house must be single-level.
- It must be 2000 square feet minimum.
- 3 bedrooms + den
- Master suite with walk-in closet
- 3+ car garage
- Great-room with sink in the island (not the stove) - this was my request
- Vaulted ceilings - me again
- It must have a south-facing driveway (to melt the snow/ice of winter).
- The driveway must be flat (no driving up or down to the garage).
- No more than two steps to the front door.
- Wall in great-room or bonus room must be large enough for flat-screen TV. Room must be suitable for Bose surround sound setup.
- Backyard suitable for children (fenced and relatively spacious)
Thankfully, we finally agreed that the Aspen floor plan and the neighborhood was ideal for our needs. We originally thought we would have to have one built from the ground up on a lot that wouldn't allow for a south-facing driveway.... OR wait for the next phase (which would've been at least a year). However, the stars aligned and one that had been 'sold' previously fell through and was available at the exact time we were ready. We moved in just one week before Christmas. It was a very merry Christmas that year. :)
9. Great Schools - The public schools are great. And yet, there are numerous charter & private schools to choose from. Finding the right fit for your child is certain.
10. The Public Library - Offering multiple story times for the kiddos with crafts, fun summer reading programs, and a cozy reading corner.... the kids love to go to the library. For adults, the county-wide reading program, A Novel Idea, is very popular. I've participated in the last 3 of the 4 years and have enjoyed every book selected.
11. Concerts in the Park - Throughout the summer months, there are free concerts in the park with food vendors and live entertainment. We love throwing a blanket down on the grass to take it all in.
12. The Municipal Pool - Newly remodeled, it now showcases an outdoor activity pool for young children, a 50m Olympic pool, and an expanded fitness center and a pilate's studio (mat & machines). There are many, many classes to choose from and the instructors are very welcoming/helpful. On-site childcare and children's programs are a highlight.
13. The Parks System - There are neighborhood parks everywhere... each one unique. The kiddos enjoy exploring parks they haven't visited in the past as well as returning to 'old favorites'. I most enjoy the 48 miles of river trails... accessible just a mile from my front door.
Happy trails, ya'll. :)
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