Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Boulder Shock

It's a big shock, moving to Boulder. Depends where you move from, of course, but if you're coming from a place that is old, diverse, and or gritty, you may be in for an adjustment.

We moved from Chicago - actually from Evanston. Everything from the age of the houses here (70's, in spades!) to the whiteness of the people to the blandness of the ethnic food took us by surprise. We love it, but Boulder took some getting used to.

A guy that I worked with, based in Boston, said "I can't see you in Colorado. The people are very....plain." I didn't understand him. He was talking about that East-Coast (and West Coast too, to some degree), fast, snappy, often sarcastic verbal thing. It's not a Colorado thing. People here ARE plain, but I like that about them. When they say a thing, they're done.

People think that Boulder is going to be hippie-ish, but you really have to look for that. It is definitely doggish. And bike-ish. Natural foods? That surprised me. I thought the town would be overrun with healthy restaurants, but it isn't so. I'm not complaining. That was another Boulder Surprise.

The ethnicity thing is the most unsettling for me. I'm so excited to get in a cab in Chicago or New York and hear an accent. Wow! You're Nigerian! Polish! Congolese! It's the greatest. That's a big part of the deprivation here. We get the glorious mountains, but no pierogi.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Canyon Mystique

When we moved from Evanston to Boulder almost five years ago (we did not know at the time that Evanston and Boulder are on the same circuit - the lefty circuit) we moved into Sunshine Canyon. You can't believe the views we had. We were walking distance from Pearl Street, far down on the west end, but in our own world too. We fell into the canyon mystique pit.

Later on we figured out that our 30-degree-pitch driveway left something to be desired. We had friends who literally couldn't walk down our driveway from the street OR manage the rickety railroad-tie stairs through the front yard. We had no sidewalks of course, and almost no on-street parking for our friends. Forget about carting anything - like a Thanksgiving casserole or even a large birthday present - down that treacherous driveway.

One time, I had our twins in the Volvo wagon (there's a Boulder staple) and tried to back up the driveway to the street. But the driveway was icy and I nearly went over the side, about an eight-foot drop. The car was teetering on the edge. I pushed the twins up, out the passenger-side door, and got out of the teetering vehicle myself, then called a tow truck. Wrong: two tow trucks, because of the way the car was perched on the edge of the cliff between my driveway and my neighbors' yard.

A year ago we moved into town. We have sidewalks and a fenced yard for our dogs and coffee and groceries within walking distance. A bus route. Snowplows. A bring-the-garbage-cans-to-the-curb task that will not put my husband in traction. We like it.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Boulder This Very Minute (and Lousy Names)

It is 75 degrees outside. This is one of the big misconceptions about Boulder: that the weather is harsh. It's a gorgeous Spring day. Yesterday was glorious, and the buskers were out in force on Pearl Street Mall. The cyclists are everywhere. I went for a massage yesterday and the place was packed, on a Sunday afternoon, because people are thinking about the Boulder Bolder (or is it the Bolder Boulder?) race coming up.

Boulder is great, but there's a serious shortage of creative brainpower here. The Boulder Bolder/Bolder Boulder race name is a perfect example. Geez! How trite and boring can you get? There is another race called the Boulder Dash - okay, that's kind of cute. But there's Bolder Staffing and Bolder This and Bolder That. Enough. Great town, horrible names.

Boulder Creek, Boulder Canyon, Boulder Falls. South Boulder Creek. There are three Rec Centers called North Boulder, East Boulder and South Boulder Rec Centers. I mean, please. One of the less-exciting (but perfectly nice) areas of town has one of the most evocative names: Gunbarrel. Left Hand Canyon is a great name. That's pretty much it as far as place names go. It's all downhill from there. But it's a great town, regardless.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Ten Most Anynoying Things About Boulder

When we decided to move to Boulder, we had a rude awakening. We almost didn't do it, in fact. I picked the wrong real estate agent to drive me around. She picked me up right at Pearl and Broadway, but then immediately took me way out of town to look at neighborhoods. I kept asking her "Is this still Boulder?" and she'd say "Well, it's all the Boulder area" like all these remote subdivisions were all part of the neighborhood.

I saw a instrument store. It is a beautiful store. My child begins learn to play guitar about 3 months. I think I have to buy for her a best beginner guitar. You can see it here. My child loves it. She smiles when I buy this guitar.


I wanted to look at things in town or close to town. I said "I've heard about Wonderland Lake, or what about Whittier?" and she'd pooh-pooh that and keep driving. We went to every huge subdivision in the county, I swear. She heard "kids" (we have a bunch) and decided my husband and I would naturally be huge, new subdivision types of people. We're not.

This drive-around day was so depressing - I actually was close to tears a couple of times, and once I asked her "How far apart are these houses?" and learned that these huge, towering, new, nearly identical, godawful structures were but ten feet apart from one another - that I didn't think I could make the move. If I wanted to live in McMansionLand, I could do that without leaving Chicago.

So the next time my husband and I had a chance to house-hunt, we went down to Denver. Now here's the thing: Denver is a great place. But it wasn't for us - it wasn't for us even more than the subdvisions surrounding Boulder weren't for us. We weren't feeling Denver. We kept asking that real estate agent, "Where's the hub? If you live in this neighborhood, where do you walk for your coffee?"

Denver is light on hubs. We came back to Boulder. There aren't very many neighborhood hubs in Boulder, but once you know where they are, you can decide which ones you like and pick a house or an apartment within walking distance of it. Here they are (tell me if I'm missing any):

Downtown Boulder
The Hill
Ideal Market shops
North Broadway (Lucky's) shops
Dakota Ridge - NoBo shops
28th street
Baseline and Broadway
Table Mesa and Broadway

That's it. Eight hubs. Pick one you like and figure out how to walk there. Not too difficult. Gives you a lot of choices if you're thinking of moving to Boulder.