Location, Location, Location.
One of the main reasons that Lanny & I have been so happy in Madison over the past 5 years is that we were fortunate enough to live in our ideal neighborhood: The Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood. Located on Madison’s isthmus on the near east side, this amazing neighborhood was home to the hippies in the 60’s and 70’s, and though it’s now changing rapidly, it’s still heavily saturated with like-minded, politically committed folks. The homes are historic and beautiful, Lake Monona graces the border, and there are gorgeous parks throughout. Almost a little town in its own, it’s completely walkable/bikable, and downtown is just steps away. There are fantastic ethnic restaurants, great bars, funky coffeeshops and cafes, and great bakeries. A Madison icon founded in 1974, the Willy Street Coop is smack dab in the middle of the ‘hood and growing by the day. There are awesome festivals in the summer. In sum, it hits basically every one of our heart strings, and I probably will always consider it home.
We knew when we decided we wanted to buy a house that we wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in our beloved neighborhood. So, we started with looking at nearby neighborhoods so we could still easily bike to Willy. And we just weren’t finding what we wanted. We grappled, we cried, we broke down.
And then we found our little blue house with the screened-in back porch way up on the northside of town where we had never really explored. It’s a whole different world up there. Residential. Hilly. Not right on the lake. Very diverse economically and racially. No vegetarian restaurants in sight. No hip bars. Less young’ns like us. More space. Better houses for the dollar. More lawns. Newer homes. No quick walks to the Capitol. Potential. TONS of magnificent green space, including Warner Park and Cherokee Marsh. And woods and hills and little parks too!
Given the reality of our budget, we tearfully made the plunge. And let me tell you, it’s been hard. And it will continue to be for a long while, I’m sure. The thing is, we care deeply about how we get around. Not using the car more than necessary has changed our lives the last number of years. It creates challenges & joys that one just doesn’t experience sitting in traffic. And it’s made our overall carbon footprint much lighter. So, not only is it sad for us to not have the comfort of being a block from our favorite bakery, it also makes us feel like we’re speeding up the melting of the ice caps more than we were before (so to speak).
The good news is that we’ve gained a lot, learned a lot, and have come to really enjoy our new stomping grounds. We’ve found that our neighbors are just as lovely, friendly, and considerate as our Willy ones. We’ve traded traffic noise and nearby concerts for the sounds of dogs, lawn mowers, children. We’re outside a lot more. And I won’t even start to describe how much Willa loves the new digs (that’s a post in its own!). We’re finding new ways to care for the earth that were out of reach before.
Willy Street was Madison to us before. And in some ways, it still is. And we’re still definitely feeling pained about not being able to walk to our favorite places. But, we’re up for the challenge of finding a new rhythm (and developing killer bicycle skills so we can still get to The Weary Traveler without emitting CO2).
It’s new. And it’s hard & exciting & wonderful & scary.
Post by Amanda