Bedroom Communities: Great Digs Here And There

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I always found it interesting that in a bedroom community, a fair number of people never seem to leave the bedroom, while a fair number never give their hometown the time of day. In other words, well, the elephant in the room is that exciting monstrosity down the highway called New York City. For some Rockland residents New York City may as well be Sidney, Australia, a distant, exotic place to get ambushed by the locals and maybe take in a show. And maybe get out with your dignity intact.

Those folks say the best part of New York City is leaving it behind. Rockland has all they need. They are the stalwart, anchored, mildly xenophobic backbone to the community. They take part in community events, spend their hard earned pay in local stores and send their kids to school within shouting distance of our fair, lovely, quiet snooze-fest of a home town.

Oh, then there are the park-it-here trend-setters who use Rockland for a tax base and a place to sleep; they moved here for the parking and the weather. And at least they can walk their dog in a neighborhood where you do see a skunk or a dead deer or a stray cat once in a while – the kinds of things that all dogs dream about in their woofy little dreams.

But these guys really live in the Big Apple. To them, New York restaurants shame the local talent, despite the evidence to the contrary. The museums, ballet, opera, Broadway, the ball teams, the stock market, calls to them; the glitter and snap and high-toned, fancy life calls to them and they thrive on the chaos of it all. Rockland is a good place to sleep and bay at the moon.

But given its obvious advantages (you can see the moon from here), I was curious if there were not other bedroom communities similarly situated. You know, a town with actual golf courses next to a city with actual current events.

Here are some rivals to our fair suburban enclave, close to the action, but close enough for a getaway:

Southlake, Texas

Work in Dallas, swing a golf club in Southlake, a town that is successful in its own right, because 3,000 people are employed there by Sabre, the travel tech company. It’s nice to have a company where your kids can fast track and still stay close to home. In the meantime, Southlake actually turned out to be recession-proof. Since 2000, the average income in the trendy hamlet has grown by $40,000 to almost $173,000, according to Forbes Magazine. And all of this within driving distances of AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas, Cowboys.

It might be worth mentioning that New York Giants fans from Rockland moving to Southlake, Texas, will have to live as if they were in a witness protection program – incognito. In the meantime, don’t miss a single Cowboy’s game with Direct TV so you can at least name the Cowboys roster and pretend you’re a true-blue Cowboys fan.

Los Altos, California

Forbes also noted that Los Altos California with a median income of $158,745, has kept its rural atmosphere, despite its proximity to San Francisco.

Los Altos, on the southern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, has a population of about 30,000, which means it can support an upscale summer concert series, while at the same time it can boast it is still home to the well-known Adobe Creek, which is famous for its fighting steelhead trout. Any cultured town within shouting distances of the the Golden Gate Bridge with good fishing is an all around fair enough town for me.

Winnetka, Illinois

Online magazine Gadling has an article titled, “10 Chicago Suburbs That Don’t Suck.” It then suggests one of them is Winnetka, where home listings include a 27,000 square-foot home listed for $27 million and a 15,000 square-foot “fixer upper” that is listed for a tad under $16 million. In that neighborhood, however, a tad is too heavy to lift and requires a moving van with a hydraulic tailgate and maybe a crane or a team of oxen. In Rockland, you an kick a tad down the road. In Winnetka, if you tried that you would break your foot.

Let’s put it this way: If you weighed 145 pounds in Rockland, New York, and you moved to Winnetka, Ill., you would weigh a little over 1,700 pounds. Their gravity is more expensive than ours.

Wyandotte, Michigan

Wyandotte, Mi., is a small town on a big river. It has the feel of a Mississippi, riverboat town, but it’s on the Detroit River only 11 miles from Detroit. That is to say, just the length of Manhattan and you can leave the gritty, ragged city of Detroit behind and live in a town of 28,000 or so, almost all of whom appreciate the breeze off the river and the quiet, suburban lifestyle.

It is also a town of quiet heartbreak and failed justice, as it was where Chief Pontiac made plans to attack Fort Detroit in 1763, which was held by British forces at the time. Pontiac was rebuffed and a seven year war ensued. He probably didn’t realize he was fighting for a suburb at the time. If he had, it might have occurred to him to move to Winnetka, instead.

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