It was 4:20 Saturday afternoon, and an email popped up from Val Murphey of the Westover Hills Neighborhood Association, telling me that our neighborhood picnic was still on for that evening despite the shaky skies. Since our driveway spills into the block that is closed off for the party, it was timely info, and I knew to leave my car stashed elsewhere for a few more hours.
Val and her husband, Dick Bragg, are some of the bedrocks of our neighborhood â€" our modern stone-age family equivalent. They help to organize the biennial house tour, assist with newsletter distribution and work on association membership drives. They embody what good neighbors are â€" the people we want to find when we move into a new community.
My husband and I will be marking five years in Westover Hills this October. We purchased the smallest, ugliest house on our block and have been turning her around, slowly but surely. (Please forgive us for all the jackhammering done last week on our driveway. I know it was worse than any leaf-blower.)
While we wonâ€™t be going anywhere for quite some time, there are plenty of you who are ready to move on, and it seems like itâ€™s finally a better time to sell, according to the experts we spoke with for our 2013 Real Estate Guide.
When we move on, we all seem to be looking for that â€œsomething,â€ whether itâ€™s in the city limits or in the â€™burbs, and thatâ€™s the approach we took with our guide. If water is your thing, we throw you a few lines. Looking for a small-town feel? We give you a few suggestions. We provide ideas in five categories. By no means are they comprehensive. Just look at them as a way to get your feet wet as you begin your search. Plus, we share sale prices, days on the market and school information for 120 neighborhoods. Freelancer Sarah McDonald, who started with us as an intern and is now a writer living in Dallas, has been compiling that chart for us for 10 years. See what I mean about bedrock?
Go South is our guide to South Richmond and Chesterfield County, and it runs in the June and December issues. This month, we look at Stony Point Fashion Park, which opened just as Hurricane Isabel was making landfall 10 years ago, and we visit Bellwood Elementary School, where teachers, not just gym teachers, are incorporating fitness into their everyday lesson plans.Â