3 Surprising Ways to Get to Know a Suburb
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If you’re considering a move from the city to suburbia—or, really, from anywhere to anywhere—chances are you’re elbow-deep in investigating the usual suspects. From scoping the schools to exploring neighborhoods to hitting up local hotspots, families usually follow the same path when trying to suss out a place to call home. And, hands down, it’s all great, at least at first. But those basic go-tos don’t tell the whole story. To really understand a suburb, you’ve got to peel back the layers and dive right in—which means looking at some additional details that, often, fly below the radar. So what are they? How do you really get to know a suburb? There are lots of questions to ask and things to consider—but, for starters…
#1. Where Families Spend the Summer
Does everyone head to the Hamptons, Tahoe, Martha’s Vineyard or some local equivalent? Do all of the families belong to a country club or beach club and spend their days there? Or do they hang at their own pools all summer long? It might sound like a silly thing to think about especially if you’re searching in the colder months, but it’s definitely important to weigh. Why? Because you want to make sure your future friends’ plans mesh with yours—or at least don’t negatively impact yours.
Think about it—if everyone’s jetting off to exotic summer destinations and your brood is planning to stay home, you may not have the kind of fun social options you’d hoped for. What if all of the kids headed away to summer camp out of town for the entire summer and your kids were home? And that can be a real bummer, especially when you’re new to a community. Granted, this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, you just need to be prepared so you can plan accordingly. This is a great thing to investigate as you get to know a suburb.
#2. Understanding the Work vs. Stay-at-Home Scene
Is the preschool parking lot a sea of SAHMs clad in Lululemon, fresh from Soul Cycle? Or are working moms dropping kids off early, then heading to the train station? Maybe nannies and au pairs are lining the sidewalk outside of the local elementary school? What about the dads? Dashing off to work, or hitting the playground when the bell rings?
Again, there’s no right and wrong here, just something major to weigh as you’re considering a town. Most parents don’t like to feel like a parental island in suburbia—the only SAHM in a sea of 20something au pairs, for example, or the lone working mama missing out on playdates and parties.
And besides your ability to engage and connect, many families also worry about their kids integrating. It’s tough to watch your kids miss out on playdates and playground adventures because they’re heading to daycare after school, while their friends have nannies or parents picking them up. Consider it all and decide what makes sense for your crew.
#3. What Happens After Hours
Not every town is a bustling nightlife mecca—and, of course, not everyone wants that. But be sure you scope out a potential ‘burb after hours. Is the downtown packed with locals? Families? Teens? Does everything close by 8PM? Are families outside hanging out with friends and neighbors, or tucked away the minute the sun goes down? If your family’s looking for a specific type of after-hours activities—or if you just want to be able to grab late-night Thai food—be sure you’re scoping things out pre-move.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your Suburbs Strategist will be able to help you get to know a suburb before you decide to make a move. And when it’s done—when you’re finally set in your new town—there’s nothing better.
To figure out which town truly fits your family, click here and get your complimentary suburbs strategy session.
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