Friday, May 27, 2005
I Found my Mo-Jo in Denver.
Husband and I spent 4 full days touring the Denver area. The neighborhoods are beautiful and the streets were filled with children and dogs. As we drove by, people waved to us from their front yards (I continue to be stunned by this).
The photo above is from an area known as Highlands Ranch, located just south of Denver. In total, we checked out more than 9 cities and we toured more than 30 homes. These are just a few of my observations:
We spotted dozens of wild, cotton-tailed rabbits running amuck in the front and back yards of the homes.
The clouds had an amazing degree of dimensionality - the colors and depth were gorgeous.
Overall, we didn't care for the homes in the city of Denver, especially Washington Park. They were small, packed in tightly to one another, and cars lined the streets.
I learned about the hazards of Radon, something I knew nothing about.
The South-Metro area appears to be highly transient. In reviewing the 2004 Assessor's records, the average home ownership tenure was about 3 years.
Every home we toured included a remodeled kitchen with granite - despite the age of the house. Apparently, one cannot sell a house easily or quickly there without the upgrades.
I didn't see a single commercial-grade stove/oven, which is a really hot item in the Bay Area.
Most homes had tv's in the family room, the master bedroom, the kid's bedrooms and downstairs in the basement. More than half the homes had full-fledged media rooms with screens and projectors. Why do people need so many?
Most sub-divisions are governed by a home owner's association, and the residents are mandated to adhere to strict design, color and landscaping rules. Overall, I think this is a good thing. While I appreciate the diversity of the Bay Area, it always bothered me to have a lavender (yes, purple) house on our block....that clashes horribly with the neon-orange Mediterranean down the street. It has also really bugged me that 50% of our neighbors don't water their lawns...so they turn crispy-brown in the summer. I know all of this sounds very Steppford, but the neighborhoods in Colorado are incredibly well-kept.
Everybody in Colorado goes outside during the day. Runners, bikers, walkers...they were everywhere! There were miles upon miles of trails and oodles of neighborhood parks. About 25% of the homes had a portable basketball hoop in the driveway.
A lot of people have complained about the smog in Denver (we didn't see any) and the horrific traffic conditions. We drove one of the freeways early on a Monday morning, and the slowest we went was 30mph. Certainly not as bad as the commute here from San Jose.
It's difficult to find a reason to NOT move to Denver. Sure, it will be tough acclimating to the snow (I'm born and raised in California). But as far as I can tell, that's the only drawback.