SUBURBS: Loving Life in La Grange!  ​

Laura Schwartz's family made the move from Chicago to La Grange, and NEVER looked back. See why they love life in La Grange, with this insider look at one of Chicago's hottest suburbs. Historic homes with front porches, trains to the city and a cute downtown -- those features jumped right out at us when we first toured La Grange. But, as we quickly discovered, that was just the beginning. Because, while these initial impressions drew us in, the sense of community and the people who call it home helped us fall in love with La Grange. For our family, La Grange is the perfect balance of a quaint, small town plus a decidedly urban feel. Most of the homes in La Grange are within walking distance of the Metra -- another huge selling point for us and plenty of commuting families like us. Make a Night of It… Most homes are walkable to La Grange’s vibrant downtown, which has a great mix of restaurants and retail -- again, another massive selling point for our crew. Now that we live here we have some local favorites. On a typical Friday night we love walking into town with our kids and picking from one of the many great restaurants, all right there, with ample seating even on a popular night-out. One favorite -- Nicksons -- has an amazing beef brisket grilled cheese, but also the best tacos in La Grange. Then after dinner? If the kids have their way, we wind up at Tates, an old-fashioned ice cream shop owned by one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, Maria Marciniec. Every kid who grew up in the area will, no doubt, have fond memories of eating ice cream at Tates. Whether its hosting hula hoop contests outside the store on a Friday night or hiding Tates coins in parks for neighborhood kids to find and redeem for a free cone, Maria thinks of ways to connect the community and provide family fun. Kids especially love going to Tates in the winter to make gingerbread houses and, all year, for birthday parties -- not only do you get the best ice cream, but the kids get to make fun crafts while they’re there. In that vein, my kids also love being able to walk to the La Grange Theater, where we can all catch a movie and eat what is, without a doubt, the very best movie popcorn I’ve ever had. And for date night? My husband and I love Steak and Vine, where the drinks are served by friendly, knowledgeable bartenders and the food is delicious. The shrimp and grits are amazing and my husband raves about their perfectly-cooked steaks every time we go. Rounding out our recs is Vintage Charm, a fashion and home boutique that sells cute clothes, accessories and home decor. It’s virtually impossible to walk out without something new for yourself, too, whether it be a cute pair of earrings or a unique frame -- you’ve been warned!  We’re All About WALKING  Clearly, La Grange is a walking town -- and that comes with huge perks. Besides the obvious -- hitting all of these hotspots on foot -- it’s so easy to get to know your neighbors when you’re all moving about town, sans cars. I attribute that to La Grange’s deep sense of community which, hands down, you’ll see on any summer or fall weekend. Everyone is out and about, on their bikes and zigzagging to block parties or stopping by their neighbor’s for a cup of coffee and a quick chat. All of this comes back to one thing: community. I’ll never forget when I had my third child and my husband went back to work. My neighbors immediately brought over a delicious lunch and offered to take my older two -- both toddlers at the time -- to the park so I could have alone time with the new baby. It was an amazing gesture and a true lifesaver as I struggled to balance three little ones who all needed my attention. Related Posts...Crime in Chicago is Up - and that's Sending Many to the Suburbs!The 4 Best Beaches in the Chicago SuburbsLooking Beyond a Bustling Downtown  Where Everyone Knows Your Name I have so many examples just like that, and I know my friends and neighbors do, too. People take care of each other in La Grange, and treat neighborhood kids like their own.  One of our favorite community events in the summer is the Pet Parade, which is the first Saturday in June. Local businesses and organizations create floats and the whole town lines the streets to watch the fun. In December, we never miss Hometown Holiday, which is hosted by the La Grange Business Association the first Saturday in December.   The first year we went I looked around and saw kids on their dads’ shoulders trying to get the best view of Santa as he arrived on a fire truck while the entire town sang, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” In that moment, I knew we were in a special place -- a  place that values tradition, family and small business. We walked around and saw ice sculptures, stopped in the shops to start our holiday shopping and got treated to hot chocolate and candy canes. We made so many memories that night and, now, it’s become one of our very favorite annual traditions. Now that we’ve made a home and a life here, it’s hard to imagine being anywhere else. We love living in La Grange, and are always eager to welcome new people to this bustling, community-first ‘burb. Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. 

Crime in Chicago is Up—and That’s Sending Many to the Suburbs ​

An increase in crime rates is making the Chicago suburbs an even more appealing—and safer—option If there’s one thing we’ve discovered in working with countless Chicago-area families it’s this: no two are ever the same. Sure, every parent wants A+ schools for their kids, but “A+ schools” means something different from family to family. And, likewise, people want access, opportunities and plenty of activities—but, again, each of those must-haves looks pretty different from family to family. That said, though, there’s one thing moms and dads don’t waiver on: safety. Parents consistently rank their kids’ safety as their number one concern. Not surprisingly, a host of crime- and safety-related fears account for eight of the 10 “big problems” parents worry about nationwide—think bullying, internet safety, gun violence and school violence, among other hot buttons. And, in that vein, it’s not surprising that more and more Chicago families are heading to the suburbs—the most recent census data indicates Chicago is losing more residents than any other city in the U.S. Violent crime in Chicago continues to rise. Between 2015 and 2016, shooting victims rose by 46%, and homicides were up 57%—levels the city and the country haven’t seen in more than two decades. The city alone accounted for 22% of the country’s homicide increases—more than New York City and LA combined.  On the heels of these recent increases, more and more families are packing up and heading to the suburbs. Last year alone, Cook County saw a 21,300 resident drop, more than any other county. Just outside of city limits, though, two popular Chicago suburbs—Lake in the Hills in the northwest and western suburb Bartlett—were named the seventh and ninths safest spots in America, respectively. Bartlett had 90% less crime than most U.S. cities. Crimes were even lower for Lake in the Hills, which reported by 19 violent crimes in 2017. Related Posts...In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin!In the 'burbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather Jagher!What I wish I knew before I started the House Hunt...  And these suburbs aren’t alone. Other Chicago suburbs to make the top 50 safest included Buffalo Grove (#12), Wheaton (#32), Hanover Park (#37), Huntley (#43), Hoffman Estates (#46) and Arlington Heights (#49). It’s a stark contrast to what’s happening in the city, and a big reason so many families are finally opting to make the move from urban to suburban. For many, it was a long time coming—they wanted the suburban schools, the big backyards, the space and the overall experience of raising their kids in suburbia. Seeing these increases in crime and citywide violence, though, was the tipping point, though—and judging from the latest numbers, we’re expecting to see more and more families make the leap in the New Year. Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. ​

The 4 Best Beaches in the Chicago Suburbs  ​

Some of the very best Chicago area beaches are in the SUBURBS! Check out these family-favorites, all in the suburbs.  For many families, leaving Chicago for the suburbs boils down to a few key considerations—namely, space, space and more space...plus the plus the A+ schools. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a host of reasons Chitown moms and dads are heading to suburbia, most of which boil down to specific lifestyles—in other words, finding a ‘burb that syncs with their family’s unique wants, needs and passions. Passions that, increasingly, include beachfront living. The Chicago suburbs, maybe surprisingly, are home to some of the best beaches anywhere. Because Lake Michigan feeds right into the greater Chicago area, families have access to endless waterfront fun and a relaxed, beach-inspired lifestyle—especially surrounding some of these top suburban beaches.  #1. Glencoe Beach (Glencoe, Cook County) Hands down the jewel in the crown of the Glencoe Park District, Glencoe Beach is an incredible family hotspot open all summer long. Families can hang out on the sand, splash in the water or grab a paddle board, kayak or hobie catamaran and hit the surf—all are available at the Beach House for day-of rentals. There’s also a beachfront playground and opportunities to picnic and, even, camp out overnight if you’re family’s feeling extra adventurous. Daily admission is just $7 for local residents age 15+ and $14 for non-residents—kids are $5 and $10, respectively. Many area families, though, opt for a season pass—get yours in early May and you’ll pay a discounted early bird rate. For the 2017 season, it was just $76 for the first family member, then $10 for every additional person.  #2. Illinois Beach State Park (Zion, Lake County) This sandy beach stretches nearly seven miles along Lake Michigan and has consistently been voted one of the most beautiful natural settings in the U.S. The only remaining beach ridge shoreline in the state, Illinois Beach has incredible dunes, swales and marshes, plus plenty of oak trees, animals and flowers perfect for families who love life in the great outdoors. For outdoorsy families, be sure to check out Dead River. This stream is blocked by sandbars during peak season but, when it’s not, you’ll spot tons of aquatic plants and fish, perfect for animal-loving kids. And, anytime, be sure to check out the rest of the 4,160-acre park—there are loads of opportunities for swimming, boating, hiking, camping and picnicking.  #3. Rosewood Beach (Highland Park, Lake County) Part of the Park District of Highland Park, Rosewood Beach is an award-winning beach on the Lake Michigan shore. The beach was reopened in June 2015 after a massive renovation. Today, Rosewood Beach is a popular hotspot, completely restored—and, now, better than ever. Rosewood includes everything from a fun family beach open all season long to a full nature cove and public nature programs, a recreation beach, a guarded swimming beach and an expansive boardwalk with food, activities and more. In summer 2017, Rosewood even introduced stand-up paddle boarding—beach-goers can reserve a board and hit the water. Even in the off-season, Rosewood Beach is the place to be. In November, for example, Rosewood is hosting a luau, open to the public. Check the beach’s website for more information and to order season passes.  Related Posts...In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin!In the 'burbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather Jagher!The Town vs The House: Which Matters Most?  #4. Gillson Park (Wilmette, Cook County)One of the most popular spots in the Wilmette Park District, Gillson Beach offers 60 acres of lakefront access. Families can swim in designated areas, or can head over to Langdon Park Beach for more in-water options. Got a four-legged friend? Gillson Dog Beach is adjacent—be sure your pup has a beach permit tag so he can go off-leash in the designated area between the pier and the harbor mouth. Gillson also boasts dedicated areas for picnicking and, even, a sailing beach where rentals and lessons are available. Families can rent sailboats day-of, grab racquets and hit the beach’s tennis courts or, in the off-season, skate on Gillson’s lighted ice rink. That’s just the beginning—the Chicago suburbs are filled with great waterfront access and fun, relaxing options for beach-going families. Ask your Strategist for more information, then grab your SPF and get ready for family weekends soaking up the sun and sand.  How we compiled our round up: We tapped our Suburban Jungle Strategists and Locals to share their “best of” rankings. From here, we layered in rankings, reviews and reports from Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Chicago Traveler to get our list.  Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED. 

In the CHICAGO SUBURBS with Suburban Jungle’s WILMETTE LOCAL Amanda Doblin! ​

Now that they’re settled in suburbia -- and loving life in Wilmette! -- the Doblin family can see why THIS is the perfect community for their lifestyle. See why SUBURBAN JUNGLE LOCAL AMANDA DOBLIN opted to call this amazing town “home,” and why having friendly, approachable neighbors makes all the difference… NAME Amanda Doblin MEET THE DOBLIN FAMILY! “My husband Jeff is a Financial Planner in the Wealth Management Division of Forum Financial -- and he’s an AVID Cubs and Alabama football fan. We have three kids -- Evan is 12 and a big baseball player and sports fan, Avery is 10 and a thespian, singer and pianist, and five-year-old Cady is a dancer...and card shark!” WHERE THEY LIVE NOWThe McKenzie area of Wilmette, a popular Chicago suburb.        WHY THEY CHOSE WILMETTE “With easy city access on the Metra or the El, Wilmette was an easy choice for us. We love the downtown, amazing beach access and the schools for our three kids. And besides all of that, the people of Wilmette are amazing. Everyone is friendly and approachable!” 3 AMAZING THINGS ABOUT WILMETTE  1) “The schools are A+! We’re thrilled with the experience our kids have had in the district.”2) “The people! Since day one everyone has been so friendly and approachable which has made our transition very easy.”3) “The BEACHES. Wilmette is bordered by Lake Michigan, so there’s lots of beachfront parks, including Gillson Park and Langdon Park. There are also beaches in neighboring Winnetka and Glencoe.”4) “The Park District is another huge plus to living here. Not only are there amazing parks, but there are also tons of programs and events for kids of all ages.”         Related Posts...In the Suburbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist Heather JagherUnderstanding the Chicago Suburb's Dual Language Program5 Signs it's Time to Move to the Suburbs ONE THING SHE’D TELL CITY FAMILIES CONSIDERING MAKING A MOVE “When you choose to move to the suburbs, know that it will sting at first. You will miss the food and the hubbub of the city, but the tradeoffs will far outweigh the initial sting!” WHAT SHE LOVES MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH SUBURBAN JUNGLE FAMILIES “I love listening to the concerns families have about moving to the suburbs and then validating those concerns. Making a move is difficult, no matter what! Suburban Jungle helps to assuage those fears to partner with you to make the right choice for your family!” Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.      

In the ‘burbs with Suburban Jungle Strategist HEATHER JAGHER!

This Chicagoland Mom does it all, including helping families make the move from urban to suburban.MEET HEATHER JAGHER, Chicago Strategist for Suburban Jungle!​ COLLEGEWashington University in St. Louis FIRST REAL JOBLifeguard at the JCC MOST RECENT JOB BEFORE SUBURBAN JUNGLEHR Business Partner at Lululemon Athletica WHAT SHE APPLIES FROM HER PREVIOUS CAREER TO HER WORK WITH SUBURBAN JUNGLE“When I do my work, I think about culture and clients I'm working with as I'm delivering the greatest quality product and service.”                WHAT SHE LOVES MOST ABOUT WORKING AT SUBURBAN JUNGLE“Discovering hidden gems in Chicagoland and then visiting those great neighborhoods with my own family. I really try to teach families about places they wouldn't have considered in their home search.”                WHAT SHE LOVES MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH SUBURBAN JUNGLE FAMILIESMeeting people who are in the exact same boat as I was 5 years ago...I love looking back and helping to make their experiences better than mine was and offering them information that will help ease their mind and move with absolutely no regrets.” ABOUT HER FAMILY“Eric, my husband, works for a telecommunication company. He loves to frequent our local golf club and coaches our son's baseball and hockey teams. He is an avid New England sports fan, as he grew up in Boston. Zoe is 11. She loves all things theater and summer camp. She also walks to Glencoe's yoga studio once a week for tween yoga and volunteers at the public library helping young kids learn to readLevi is 8. He loves sports -- hockey, dodgeball, baseball, basketball and you can find him playing street hockey on our driveway most afternoons. Levi is heading to his first summer of overnight camp this year.Mae is 4. She loves Disney Princesses, baby dolls and playdates. She is a social butterfly and would hang with friends every day after school if she could. She also loves to swim and takes ballet.” WHERE SHE MOVED FROM Roscoe Village WHERE SHE CALLS HOME Glencoe WHEN IT ALL HAPPENED Heather and her family moved five years ago.     

Millennials Hit The Market in the Chicago Suburbs​

While countless reports put millennial home buyers well behind Gen X and the Boomers, it seems these 20 and 30 somethings are finally putting their stake in the real estate ground—at least in the Chicago suburbs. From the Chicago Tribune:“Weighed down by massive student debt and job struggles, the generation brutalized by the Great Recession has lacked both the money and the desire to buy homes. They've been a generation of renters. But as millennials have entered their 30s, established themselves financially and started having families, they've gradually begun to show interest in homeownership…”READ THE FULL ARTICLE, WHY MILLENNIALS ARE FINALLY STARTING TO SETTLE DOWN AND BUY HOMES HERE.In Cook County alone—home to hot suburbs such as Arlington Heights, Glencoe and Winnetka—43% of all mortgages issued in 2016 went to millennials. That’s 13% higher than the national average. Many experts attribute this to millennials getting a later start than their older siblings and parents and, now, diving into the market head first—and making some serious gains. And it all comes at the perfect time for many of these young buyers—they’re more financially secure, more settled in their careers and, now, starting or growing their families.“Millennials seem to be doing at a later age exactly what their parents' generation did when younger…[they] have delayed marriage and have waited for several years for the job market and pay to improve. But as incomes rise and they marry and get ready for children, they are less interested in cramming into studio apartments...and start searching for homes or condos they can afford to buy.”READ THE FULL ARTICLE, WHY MILLENNIALS ARE FINALLY STARTING TO SETTLE DOWN AND BUY HOMES HERE.And it’s a trend that’s not just taking hold in the Chicago ‘burbs—millennials from coast to coast and getting in the mix in their markets. That’s good news for home values and for the market as a whole, as these first-time buyers historically represent a major piece of the real estate landscape.Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.​

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