The Burbs

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Today was a good day.  The Husband and I took Mom on a tour of Charlotte and the surrounding towns.  We’re nearly back on the house-huntin’ bandwagon (we had a failed attempt this summer) and are beginning to consider properties a little farther away than my beloved ‘cool’ part of town.  So we drove south and north and all around.


And then we ended up at The Liberty for lunch.  It’s a awesomely decorated gastropub.


We started off with a bucket of the parmesan salted fries for an appetizer.  Most unfortunately, the bucket had a false bottom.  Not entirely filled with fries!


I had the tomato soup (topped with cheddar popcorn – very cute) and salad.


One of the tiny towns we traveled to was Davidson, which has a quaint Main Street.  I tried to keep an open mind, but I must admit that it’d hard for me to accept that we might be moving to the ‘burbs.   Trouble with living in the city is that it’s taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad (okay, a lot) out of our price range for anything that doesn’t need major renos.  And neither us are very handy.

IMG_4641  IMG_4638


Coffee break to discuss our options:


And when we got home, Lunch #2 (brown rice, peppers, kidney and chickpeas with some crumbled tortilla chips and sour cream). 


So – my friends.  I asked you… City or Suburbs?  Is location your biggest priority or would you rather live in a nice, new house?



  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen November 25, 2011, 6:49 pm

    I love Davidson! I’ve been on over 100 college campuses for work and when people ask me my favorite one, Davidson is always at the top of my list b/c of the campus & the town. As for location, I live in the burbs…like legit in the burbs and have to travel a good deal to everything. I really think it’s about what you want though. Of course I would love the ability to walk to places but, a nice/newer house, a big yard and no noise from a city trump that desire. Plus, that doesn’t really exist where we are without being somewhat in the ghetto. Good luck!

  • Rebecca November 25, 2011, 6:51 pm

    I grew up in the country and now live in the city and must say…CITY hands down. I may be biased because I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a fixer-uper that I could really make my own. While the country is beautiful, it can be a bit too slow paced for my liking.

  • Jasmine November 25, 2011, 6:54 pm

    I live in the ‘burbs and want to be in the city. My suggestion is to seriously consider waiting until you have enough money to live in the right location. To me, location is everything. You can change a lot about a house, but not where it’s located. My hubs and I are older than you guys and are probably going to be saving for another 5 years before we buy a house just because we don’t want to rush and buy something in an area we don’t absolutely love and that we can see our kids growing up in their whole lives. Just my thoughts. Wishing you the best!

    • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 10:57 am

      We are thinking about this too – it would be a LONG wait.

  • Rebecca November 25, 2011, 7:01 pm

    I bought a house in the ‘burbs 5 years ago because it was what I could afford and hated not living in the city because it was “boring” out here. Now that I’m older and more settled (I’m 27 ha!)I enjoy the quiet, more spacious living as opposed to being in a “convenient” part of town. My drive to work is 30 minutes, but now that I’ve been doing it for so long I appreciate the time in the morning to wake up before work. 🙂 Yes, the nice restaraunts are 30 minutes away (or farther), but you’ll make your home with your family wherever you are and find cute places in your new town to fall in love with. If you set your mind to love your new location, you will. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 10:59 am

      Good point – it all about the outlook.

  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets November 25, 2011, 7:02 pm

    I live in the burbs of Savannah and actually like it a lot more. To travel downtown takes like 20 minutes and its nice to not to have to hear the chaotic noise from the college students.

  • Ashlee November 25, 2011, 7:02 pm

    We recently bought our first house back in March and the best decision was to move closer to the city. We both work downtown and being 5-8 mins from work is worth spending the extra money for us. We love being close to everything and end up getting more involved in things because the time driving from the ‘burbs isn’t a problem anymore. Good luck and don’t settle. If you need a little extra time to save for what you really want, do it!!!

  • Rachel Starr November 25, 2011, 7:04 pm

    ‘burbs all the way! City/urban living is expensive & not for us. Plus, once you have kids, the city is REALLY not convenient. The ‘burbs offer you more space; in a home & in a yard.

  • Kath November 25, 2011, 7:07 pm

    I spent 4 years in Davidson… Lets gchat soon 🙂

    • Anna November 26, 2011, 1:19 am

      I was actually going to comment to Caitlin that she ought to talk to Kath, ie, Miss Davidson herself! #favoritebloggers

      • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:04 am

        🙂 I thought of you when I was there Kath!

        • lauren November 28, 2011, 9:11 am

          @CaitlinHTP: We live in Davidson and love it. It has plenty of walkability to restaurants, shops, and trails on the college’s ecological preserve. If you want any info, let me know 🙂 Burbs all the way!

  • Heather November 25, 2011, 7:11 pm

    We chose the city… We live in a 750 square foot two bedroom condo, which was the same price as a medium sized house in the burbs. BUT, we live in my favourite neighbourhood where everything I could possibly want is in walking distance, which is awesome with a new baby!!! The down side? We have SO much clutter and too much stuff. Being a new mum makes it totally worth it though, because I would go stir crazy if I was stuck in the burbs, even if I had more space in my home. It’s a chore to get the baby in the car and drive somewhere, where now I can just put her in my baby carrier and go for a quick walk to the coffee shop / drug store / grocery store / shoe store etc.

    We will eventually need a house though!

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) November 25, 2011, 7:14 pm

    We live in a smaller city close to a major city and it’s perfect! We have a real “community” feel but are still close enough to everything we need/want. Plus maybe if you live outside of the city the little babyHTP will have a backyard to play in!!

  • Hillary November 25, 2011, 7:18 pm

    I miss the city, but I don’t mind the ‘burbs too much. Nice and quiet, lots of green space. It’s nice!

  • kristin November 25, 2011, 7:18 pm

    I’m a country girl all the way 🙂 As long as I have woods and a beach by me I’m good to go. Before I was pregnant I ran to the beach everyday. I love the nature aspect of living out of the city. I also love quaint towns and beautiful beaches. What’s unique about the area I live in is its a vacation area, so we still have great restaurants and things to do around the towns. All of my friends live in NYC and it just stresses me out to go there! Good luck house hunting!

  • Brie @ Brie Fit November 25, 2011, 7:18 pm

    Our new house is technically a city address, but feels like the suburbs. We both work in the city, so we get our fill of city life during the day, and we can meet after work to take advantage of “city” activities if we want. But our house in the burbs has the benefit of being super affordable, quiet and peaceful, and in a great school district.

    And remember, cost of living isn’t just about house prices–it trickles down into things like groceries, gas, clothes, gym memberships, things like that, and it can add up quickly!

  • Heidi November 25, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Neither…close to the city no more then 30 min commute and a massive piece of property is my dream. That’s my 3 year plan to build our dream home on a huge piece of land. We bought our current home on the outskirts of the city, but the burbs scare me!

  • Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut November 25, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I’d rather have a nice and SAFE home…and I’d be willing to drive a ways to accomplish this. And if you save money by living in the burbs…why not right?

    I don’t own a home now but I CAN’T WAIT!! I love hosting parties but for now I do it at the BF’s house which isn’t quite the same.

    Good luck on the house hunting! 🙂

  • Mary November 25, 2011, 7:42 pm

    I live in Atlanta, but in a neighborhood that is technically its own city (Decatur), & I love my location. I really enjoy having my “own” little area while being less than 10 min from dt. Of course, I’m renting & Atlanta & Charlotte probably have little in common, so I’m not sure how much my opinion/advice matters here.

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove November 25, 2011, 7:48 pm

    Location! I live in a fairly rural area and the town I live in (5,000 TOPS) is about 20 minutes from the town (about 10,000 people) where Hubby and I both work, where we go to church, where our friends live, where the movie theater is, where the grocery store is, (you get the picture) and all those trips are tiring, annoying and costly!

    I got more house where I live, but looking back, I’d rather have less house and be closer!

  • Denise November 25, 2011, 7:49 pm

    In our lives, it is definitely about location. We sold our house in the burbs and rented an apartment in the city. It is AMAZING! No upkeep, we just live here! AND? We can ride our bikes just about anywhere! Not sure I’ll ever own again! Renting is it for us!

  • Sarah November 25, 2011, 7:54 pm

    I have a strong distaste for the ‘burbs, so for me it’s all about location! I don’t think the amount of money you save to live in the burbs outweighs the lifestyle disadvantages or the increased ecological footprint. Give me a small house in the city over a larger house in the burbs any day!

  • Allison November 25, 2011, 7:54 pm

    City! Especially if you want to be a one/no car household. I grew up in the suburbs and now live in the city, and all my friends’ kids who are growing up in the city are much more accepting, much more open to diversity, and much more worldly wise (in a good way) than my friends and I ever were at that age.

    Also, not sure what people mean when they’re saying that cities are not as “SAFE” as suburbs. If you look up statistics for nearly any city, that’s not true. Sounds more like something else to me.

  • Amanda November 25, 2011, 8:00 pm

    Location is extremely important to me. I like to have most things in walking distance (I HATE driving and sitting in traffic, finding parking, etc) and I love the energy of the city.

    That said, I also like to have access to green space and have it be quiet at night, so I live about a ten minute train ride outside of Boston. It’s a nice happy medium between bustling city and quiet suburb, although still pretty expensive. I think 2 br condos start in the mid $400ks in my neighborhood, which is why I’ll be renting for quite a while to save up that down payment. It’s worth it to me though.

  • Brittany @ Delights and Delectables November 25, 2011, 8:06 pm

    I live in the burbs and I love it. However, my husband and I both work where we live. I feel like it is very kid friendly. You can let your kids play outside and not worry that they will get into traffic. Plus, we just run into the city when we need to (which is usually 3-4 times a week), and it is only 20 minutes away. It is like our little get-away treat!

  • Heather November 25, 2011, 8:08 pm

    I wanted to live downtown so badly when we were house hunting but when you see what you can get for the money a little farther out, suddenly its much more appealing. 😉

  • Courtney November 25, 2011, 8:11 pm

    I honestly love the suburbs but where I live everything I need is pretty much within a 5 minute drive (still within the suburb) with work being a 30 min subway commute… I think every city/suburb situation is different but for me I can still get to the store, gym, mall, restaurants, etc very quickly and i get to live in a spacious house with plenty of yard and a great neighborhood full of kids!

  • cathy November 25, 2011, 8:12 pm

    don’t do it, caitlin!!! seriously! it sounds like you would be “settling” if you go to the ‘burbs. just from an outside perspective, can you hold out a while longer (save $, wait for a house opportunity) and stay in the city centre?? honestly, it sounds like your heart is just not in moving to the ‘burbs…
    i live in my city’s core and will never leave (used to live in a suburb so i can honestly compare the two). now, i walk everywhere, and it’s the lifestyle for me – culture, shopping, my job – love it.

  • Liz A November 25, 2011, 8:17 pm

    I live in a rural area in NH. Like, at the end of a dead-end dirt road. I love it. I lived in the heart of Boston for one semester of college and just hated it. So I have a feeling I won’t stray far from the ‘boonies’ for the rest of my life!

  • Jolene (Homespun Heritage) November 25, 2011, 8:18 pm

    Neither, country for us…we’re currently in the burbs although its “city limits”…and hopefully in 2013 we can buy rural property to build our dream home.

  • Sarah November 25, 2011, 8:23 pm

    Hrrrmmmm….so tricky. And it completely changes when you have kids. Well for us it did. We went from harbourside apartment living (Sydney, Australia that is) to a house with a huge garden about 25 mins from the city – but still 5 minutes from at least 6 different beaches.
    Most of all, I highly value our garden and suburb because of what it gives to our children. It is very leafy, safe and we have the neighbour’s kids running everywhere – it isn’t unheard of for me to feed 3 or more kids for dinner, unannounced.
    We have a big reserve with a creek (I can hear it running now after heavy rain) and parks and, as we live in a tiny cul-de-sac, we have no traffic.
    I’m a big believer in kids playing independently and being as active and adventurous as possible from a very young age. A garden is one of the easiest ways to achieve that – I just send them outside, the gates are shut and off they go. Digging in mud, playing in the spinkler, pushing trucks round, riding bikes, and we grow our own vegetables and berries. We don’t have to load up and get out of the house to do this and they don’t require helicoptering/cotton-wooling (constant supervision). My two boys are little – nearly 2 and 3 1/2 but very independent, strong and happy. I don’t believe apartment living in the city gives you that.

    • Christina November 26, 2011, 12:03 am

      This is really interesting. I feel like in the US, in newer suburbs, it’s pretty much impossible for kids to walk or bike around- no sidewalks, big roads with fast cars… It’s tough to find a suburb where kids can play on the streets!

      • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:05 am

        Agree – unless you’re on the culdesac

  • Chelsea November 25, 2011, 8:37 pm

    For what it’s worth, my parents have spent a lot of time in Davidson (they live in nearby Huntersville) and love it. It’s more college town than suburb.

  • Ashley November 25, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Love Davidson! Lots of great cycling and running options. Definitely more accessible in that realm, than in the Dilworth area. You’d probably find yourself driving more to shops/grocery store/restaurants, but I feel it’s worth it. Good luck!

  • dana November 25, 2011, 8:44 pm

    We currently live in the city, but plan to move to the ‘burbs in a year or two. My city is slightly different than Charlotte tho (I have family there) and raising children (or sending them to school) where we live isn’t something we want to do. Plus, the ‘burbs are only 10 minutes away from all the ‘cool’ spots downtown. I hope you find something! I love all of the bungalow in Charlotte…they’re so cute!

  • Stephanie C November 25, 2011, 8:45 pm

    I live in L.A. and having a house is just not attainable for my husband and I in the near future. We both love the city and don’t want to move out of L.A., even if it means not having a house. That could change once we decide to have a family.
    I’ve always dreamed of having one (having never lived in one!), but I realized that there are pluses and minuses to both apt living and house living. If it happens for us, great.. but we’re not expecting it!
    Good luck on your house hunting.. it’s a hard decision!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 25, 2011, 8:45 pm

    City or burbs…well, I’ll take city and I love raising our daughter in the eclectic and diverse offerings of a city.

    I have done both city and burbs, have bought and rented, in both city and burbs. Have even ventured out of San Diego to AZ for 9 mos b/c it’s soooo much cheaper and we could get a huge house for a tiny fraction of what it would cost in CA…it was a big, shiny, brand new house but I didn’t like AZ. I missed San Diego and all the things it has to offer, my friends, my familiar surroundings…you cannot put a price tag on that.

    For me, living where I LOVE is the most important thing. Even if that means renting. For me, that’s urban San Diego and yes, I love being a parent in the city. So much to offer and do with our little girl!

    Good luck finding what’s right for your family!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife November 25, 2011, 8:49 pm

    I love the ‘burbs!!! 🙂

  • Nancy November 25, 2011, 8:54 pm

    CITY!! Okay, I mean LOCATION!!! The house can be fixed, but the location is what it is. I would never spend my life on a freeway commuting, I would live in a smaller/older house to be near my community, able to get off work and quickly get to my daughters school to volunteer or for emergencies. Family time over drive time.

    • Nancy November 25, 2011, 9:07 pm

      Just have to add, burbs does not = safer or better school. In the city I have neighbors that watch out for each others. In the burbs it can be neighbors that are too far to actually watch out or never home because they are commuting. Schools are what you make, be involved, make it a community where ever you are.

      Never settle

      • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:13 am

        true that

  • Chelsea November 25, 2011, 8:56 pm

    I’ve always lived in the suburbs and loove love it 🙂 It’s so homey and CHILD FRIENDLY! I don’t know anything about the city, but I do know I love the burbs. It’ll be a change for sure though probably.

  • Erin November 25, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I went to Davidson College and so lived there for four years plus another after college – LOVE LOVE LOVE that town. Pretty much everything you need is close by with the exception of major nightlife. I biked and walked a lot! I actually have a house for sale there if you liked the area (really, I’m not kidding).
    I will say that I now live in the heart of downtown in another NC city and love that too – I think it totally depends on the city or the suburb or small town. Every one is different – Davidson is definitely a small town I’d live in again.

  • Meaghan (My Spoonful Of Inspiration) November 25, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I’d love to live in a big city a few years after college and then settle in the suburbs! 🙂 Best of both worlds!

  • Kristina November 25, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I would say maybe rent in the burbs, to see if you’d be okay with it. The first house I had was in the burbs, and… I have rented ever since, just because I like the city.

    Location, location location! 😉

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) November 25, 2011, 9:07 pm

    I was born and raised in a suburb, so it’s what I’m used to. I really like college towns (planning on moving to Fort Collins to finish school soon) but I would definitely love to live in a big city someday. The idea of giving up my car and using public transportation sounds good- I HATE driving!

  • Angie November 25, 2011, 9:14 pm

    We live outside LA and before we bought 7 years we wish we lived somewhere in the city. At the same time, my work is 1.5 miles from our house and we live in a small community (compared to LA), where we now know a lot of people. I like that aspect. Once we start having kids it won’t be such a big deal because we won’t go out as much. It’s all a balance.

  • Devonshire November 25, 2011, 9:19 pm

    I would rather live in a newish house. I currently own an older one. My husband and i went into it thinking we would have the time and money to make it our own.. well almost 5 years later it still looks the same (well except for some fresh paint and few other things that needed to be taken care of). With your busy life (and soon to be busier.. CONGRATS!) you’re not gonna want something that you’ll constantly have a ‘to do’ list for. So while location is important, i think being aware of the amount of work that would need to go into a house should also be a priority when choosing.

  • Jen November 25, 2011, 9:24 pm

    I chose the burbs because all of the nice areas are completely unaffordable even if I saved every penny I make. The more affordable neighborhoods are a little dicey and I just didn’t want to feel unsafe. Plus, longterm, the schools are awful. Really awful.

    If you think you might like the suburbs, you could always try renting in the area first. Just to see if you liked it. That way you get a feel for the area before you commit to anything.

    If you are sure you want to live in the city and can afford it eventually.. then just wait and save. The housing market isn’t going anywhere and when buying is a serious commitment. You should ultimately love the house AND its location.

  • Lindsay @ biking before bed November 25, 2011, 9:27 pm

    Of course it’s a personal preference. I didn’t think I would move out into the burbs until I was old… like 35:) But when I went househunting and say how much more space I could get for my money outside of the city, I was sold. Although I can’t walk to the store or restaurants, I love the quiet and the safety of being in a neighborhood. I also love that I can walk to parks and running trails.

    • jen November 26, 2011, 1:35 am

      Old is 35, eh? just see how you feel about that comment in ten years.

      • Lindsay November 26, 2011, 1:20 pm

        Haha – seriously! If 35 is old, we are all in trouble!

        • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:13 am

          35 is not old 🙂

  • Christine November 25, 2011, 9:30 pm

    Location, location, location. If you don’t live where you really want you will probably regret it. I made that mistake with my first house. You can change anything about a house except the location!

  • Sana November 25, 2011, 10:00 pm

    Brubs,I will never live else where. Great for babyhtp!

  • Army Amy* November 25, 2011, 10:06 pm

    I’m biased bc I’ve only ever lived in the suburbs, but I love living in the burbs! I feel like it’s the perfect blend of city and country buoy get convenience without crazy hustle and bustle.*

  • Cheryl November 25, 2011, 10:11 pm

    Davidson is really great! It’s so quaint. We’re in Huntersville and love it here too. Plus, we’re close enough to Charlotte that we can still experience the city. I love the burbs though!

  • nancy November 25, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Totally understand your dilemma. When we lived in Orlando we lived in the city and loved it. When we moved to Texas, even though we moved into the hippest city in Texas, we headed to the suburbs. Why? Because we had a baby, and we wanted more babies and the suburbs were the right choice for the lifestyle we wanted. The schools are great, we walked to school through the elementary years, and all the kids’ activities are very close to home. Doctors, grocery store, church, soccer, basketball, tennis, dance….you name it, it’s up here. We laugh because I am constantly in the car but rarely drive more than 5 miles in any direction. When we want what the hip city has to offer we get in the car and drive the 20 minutes down there. It’s perfect for us. Best of all, every time one of my kids asks if he/she can go to the park and meet friends the answer is yes. They can go by themselves(they are all old enough) and I know they are safe and still very close to home. Our house is much more spacious than what we could have afforded in town too so it’s been all good all the way around. We figure we have the best of all worlds here: the larger house and the good schools but still very close to what the city has to offer. Hope you can find what is exactly right for you too.

    • Mel @ MelRuns November 26, 2011, 1:54 am

      Hey Nancy, are you in Austin by any chance?? I just moved here two months ago from NYC! Agree with you on the cost of living here–amazingly affordable.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB November 25, 2011, 10:19 pm

    So, we just bought a house in the “burbs” of LA- 30sih miles East of Orange County. Our house was move-in ready and the only thing we’ve had to do it paint. It’s much bigger than the “cooler” areas and much cheaper. For us it was an acceptable trade off. We’ve got cars 🙂 Check out the school districts!

  • Lisa November 25, 2011, 10:26 pm

    I grew up in the country outside of a small town and now live in Toronto. I miss the easy access to green space and lakes but I absolutely love my everyday life in the city. I would go crazy if I had to depend on a car for everything. In the city I can walk for all of my local services and groceries; if I need to go further than public transit or my bike are faster and more efficient than it would be to drive. Plus there is so much happening here every single day that I’d have a lot of trouble adjusting to the slower pace of the suburbs. The only downside is that I don’t have a million dollars to buy a house here so I might eventually venture to a smaller city, or even a town, but walkability is very important to me.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing November 25, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I would looove to live in the city but as someone who lives in the burbs, there are definitely advantages! QUIET!

  • Allie Q (Fit Geek) November 25, 2011, 10:40 pm

    You didn’t even have to use your AK!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. I still live in Kendall so I can’t trash talk the burbs…lol. But I’d looove to live closer to the city. Still, the burbs aren’t so bad as long as you aren’t too far out in the sticks.

    • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:16 am

      wait is Kendall the burbs?!

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel November 25, 2011, 10:43 pm

    Ooooooh those parmesan fries are screaming my name. Probably a good thing that the bucket has a false bottom because if it was filled all the way, I might just eat it all. Those fries look and sound amazing.

  • kasi williams November 25, 2011, 10:48 pm

    i definitely say city all the way. i lived in mooresville, exit 33 for 3 years and commuted to charlotte everyday and seriously wanted to blow my brains out every single day! there is an accident on 77 everyday. the normal 45 commute would turn into 1.5 hours easy. it took me forever to get home and i was grouchy and in a bad mood from sitting in traffic. sitting in traffic like that seriously makes your crazy! we moved to destin, florida in 2004 and my commute is now 5 minutes 🙂 bliss

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 25, 2011, 10:55 pm

    I currently live in a city, but I’m more of a burbs fan, as long as it’s not too far from the city. I think it’s better for having a family and kids, plus I like the smaller community feel.

  • Marlène November 25, 2011, 11:05 pm

    My husband and I are currently in this same situation, and we’ve both agreed that we would give up square footage, closets, lot size, and new construction just to stay downtown. For us, it’s way more important for our quality of life to be able to commute by bike and walk wherever we need to go. We only fill up the gas tank every two to three weeks…

    Good luck!! (oh, and we’re house hunting with a 2-month old, so good for you for looking now!!)

  • Ashley November 25, 2011, 11:08 pm

    30-40 min commute from davidson plus more with traffic. your hubs won’t realize how much it takes away from his life until he’s doing it!

  • Katie (Sweet Tater) November 25, 2011, 11:19 pm

    location. but i’m single and childless… and experiencing a surplus of cats. so that influences my decision.

  • Tracy November 25, 2011, 11:35 pm

    We live in the Cit-burbs! Technically within the city, but with a suburban feel. I cannot walk to a restaurant, grocery store, market, post office, or anything. I could walk to a convenient store, but it’s about 1.25 miles away on a main road. But, we live about 5 miles from a major shopping/eating area, and about 6-7 miles from downtown (shows, sports, concerts, shopping, etc.) Have you guys made a decision of where the Holistic office will be located? I think that influences the house-hunting location very much, especially if you plan to stay a one-car family. Good luck – it’s a really tough decision.

  • Khushboo November 25, 2011, 11:59 pm

    Love the idea of popcorn as a soup topper! I’m more of a city girl but when kids come around, I think the lifestyle of the burbs is a lot more appealing!

  • Becky November 26, 2011, 12:27 am

    Location, hands down, though I don’t have kids yet. But being able to walk/bike to work, restaurants, grocery stores, other errand locations, etc, is a major priority for me. I grew up in the suburbs and hate the driving culture associated with it; I would have a hard time justifying living somewhere that would require me to drive everywhere else.

  • Katie November 26, 2011, 12:28 am

    I love city life now, but I’d rather raise my family in the suburbs. I plan to be very close to the city (15 min away), but I like the slower pace of the suburbs for a family.

  • jen November 26, 2011, 1:28 am

    I had to move to the burbs when I started teaching. I was commuting 80 miles a day and was losing my mind. I’m about 20-30 minutes from Philly and that is 20-30 minutes too far. I was raised in the city, have a city mentality, and just don’t see the appeal of a big house you have to fill and clean, a gigantic lawn you have to mow and tend, and be vanguished from anything fun or interesting to do other than look at neighbors’ houses. I’ll be 30 soon, and my older friends mid-30s and on, are all professionals with advanced degrees and great hobbies who have settled into the most vivacious, up-and-coming parts of the city. They are settled into lives but not tied down with anchor weights to Sunday soccer games and culs-de-sac bar-be-ques for the big game. I want their lives, not the stereotype American dream I was taught I should have. White picket fences be damned! I’ll have my life and live it too!

  • Esen @ COOKBOOKSANDCAKE.BLOGSPOT.COM November 26, 2011, 1:43 am

    Definitely city! I live in lower Manhattan and used to live in Istanbul and the best part about living in a city is the fact that life is always happening all around you! You can leave your house and go for a walk and feel connected to people and get energy from the streets.

    And then, if you want, you can always drive to a park of somewhere more naturey for a hike or jog.

    Also, I really do believe that when you’re in the burbs, you end up getting too lazy to go ‘into the city’ and do stuff. All the friends I have that moved out of the city became much less social. Just the way it is.

    Good luck on this journey! It’s exciting!


  • Mel @ MelRuns November 26, 2011, 1:52 am

    Coming from NYC, one of the appealing things about living in a city is the exposure that children get to the culture. There tends to be a more mixed crowd, and a bit of a more open mind–a more well rounded view of the world results.

    Also, having come from a big city and moving to a small one (NYC –> Austin), it’s a pretty big adjustment. But after time, it becomes nice. So whatever you choose, you’ll find a way to make it yours 🙂

  • AmandaonMaui November 26, 2011, 3:19 am

    We prefer the country, but we currently live in the suburbs. However, they’re large lots in the suburbs so it’s not so bad. Something private, relaxing and serene is our style.

  • Charlie (Therunnerbeans) November 26, 2011, 4:01 am

    I live in the burbs and I love it. I have grown up in the suburbs of London and still like there, so close to all my friends. I loved it growing up as its safer we were able to hang out/walk to each others houses/go out shopping etc at a younger age than if we’d lived in the city. I feel like its safer for kids. Also I think people are friendlier in the burbs!

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture November 26, 2011, 5:06 am

    We are in exactly the same position as you guys, looking to buy somewhere next year but due to budget restraints we are going to have to make some definite compromises in either house quality or area quality. Decisions decisions!! Really hope you guys find your dream house! You deserve it after the nightmare you had this summer!

  • Lee November 26, 2011, 5:38 am

    First of all that french fry bucket is such a tease. Secondly, I was very adamant about living ITP (Inside the Perimeter in Atlanta, essentially in the city). We looked and looked and realized that if we just went a tiny bit outside, we would get a lot more house for a lot less money. So I live in the burbs. I’m not going to lie, I wish we lived in the city. But I like our house and we still go into the city quite often (we’re about 15 minutes away).

  • Dana November 26, 2011, 7:17 am

    As a girl who grew up in the middle of nowhere country in the Midwest and now lives in Boston, I’m kind of looking forward to living in the ‘burbs one day. It seems like a nice compromise. Granted, I’d still want to be within a 15-20 min drive of the big city, but the perks of not living in the city (quieter, big yard for a garden, not right on top of your neighbors, owning something instead of renting, cleaner air, less traffic, more sense of community) all outweigh the slight inconvenience of a short drive to all my favorite stuff in the city.

  • Jessica November 26, 2011, 7:41 am

    I went to Davidson College and have a few friends who have raised kids there and loved it. If you can find something close to main street you can enjoy a bit of city life in that you can walk to most of what you need. There is a great community. I personally would always sacrifice space to stay in a city but if it’s no longer an option, Davidson couldn’t be better.

  • Rachel November 26, 2011, 8:07 am

    Location!! I am closing on my first house next month (fingers crossed) and because of wanting to stay in a particular area and needing to be in the midst of a lot of dog walking-friendly streets, I am getting a townhouse instead of a single-family home. But, I live in Richmond and there are a lot of bad parts of town… so to live in an area I knew was safe, I had to be in the “expensive” part of town, where my best option was a townhouse. That being said, it’s gorgeous inside and I can’t wait to do some renovations when I have enough money (helloooooo brand new kitchen!)!! Good luck, my dear!!

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner November 26, 2011, 8:13 am

    I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis. When my hubs + I were looking to buy a house, it was no question we’d stay in the burbs, because like you said, it was much more affordable for us (and close to where he works – I work closer to the city). I will probably never move to the city because we love our location so much.

  • Kristyn November 26, 2011, 8:29 am

    Suburbs 🙂 I’m all about living in the country. We already do…bute are still close to places we’d need to get to for daily living purposes. Haha when I met Jim he was more of a city boy, but I think he was able to open up to his country boy side just by us being together. Which has worked out great! 🙂 to each his own!

    I love Davidson. Such a cute quaint little town! We drove through and stopped when I was in college down right outside Charlotte.

  • Kim November 26, 2011, 8:39 am

    I live in Huntersville (actually there are several homes for sale in my neighboorhood-let me know if u need any info) and i work in Charlotte. Looove living here. H-ville is big plus we go to Davidson and Cornelius every weekend. Love this area and love that it feels like coming home every night after working in the city. 🙂

  • Jo Anna Leuck November 26, 2011, 8:48 am

    I live in the Dilworth area as well, and while I know the houses are more expensive, it is worth it to walk to TJ or to be at work 5 minutes after I leave my house. I used to live in Dallas and after dealing with an hour of commuting and traffic everyday, I promised myself never again!! Davidson is really cute though.

  • jen November 26, 2011, 9:02 am

    hey caitlin! when you throw together a meal like above… do you cook the peppers and onions or are they raw? do you use garlic or oil or any kind of sauce? thanks so much!

    • CaitlinHTP November 27, 2011, 11:17 am

      they were raw and there was some sort of sauce in the mix of beans and veggies (it was some sort of salad dip leftover from thanksgiving that i added to brown rice).

  • Tanya @ Vegan Faith November 26, 2011, 9:08 am

    I always wished I lived in a city, but alas I love the burbs. By the by, Davidson is my number one favorite place on earth! We go there to run, bike, hang out at Summit, eat at Brickhouse, and now I even work at Flatiron. It is such an active community, they are re-doing the YMCA, great area to bike and run for sure. That’s where I trained entirely for my marathon last year! My vote is for Davidson. If we could, we would live there!

  • Katherine November 26, 2011, 10:03 am

    aw my cousin lives in davidson and i think it’s adorable. it would also be fun to see all the students when school is in session.

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy November 26, 2011, 11:28 am

    We live in the ‘burbs–but that’s the only place I’ve ever lived. Wouldn’t it make it harder since you only have one vehicle? If we had the money, I’d love to live in a city–some really awesome houses in the city!

  • Maria (RealFitMama) November 26, 2011, 11:29 am

    I’m a city girl. Always will be. The hubby and I talked (very briefly) about moving out of the city limits, but I shot him down pretty quickly and now he’s thankful for it.

    I would rather have a smaller house in the city with everything that city living has to offer. I love the feel of the older houses in the city as opposed to the newer ones in the ‘burbs. I like being able to walk to awesome restaurants, shops and cultural places. I’m not a lover of driving so having public transportation close is also great!

    I live in St Louis right now, but the hubby and I (and Linsey now too) dream of living in NYC someday…someday.


  • Ashley November 26, 2011, 11:48 am

    I’m a suburbs girl through and through! More space, more yard, lower taxes, often better schools… I am looking for my gem of a house now and the cities in CT just don’t cut it for my needs.

  • Jen November 26, 2011, 11:53 am

    Oh this is tough…I’d love to know your thoughts though. Ultimately for me I think I need a good location. I’m looking at options now too but it’s tough because to live downtown is SO expensive – impossible nearly. It’s much more affordable to live further on the outskirts of town – but – it’s further. They usually are still beautiful (more-so even of course) settings because you have green space, less traffic, residential family areas, way less traffic and still close to stores and stuff. …but it lacks the VIBRANT, type of feel you get from closer to downtown where there are trails and more bustle and more younger people, etc.

    I’m torn. 🙁 Money talks though unfortunately.

  • Heather November 26, 2011, 12:06 pm

    depends on how far away. if its a nice suburb and you would still be close to things like shopping, food, groceries, etc. I would much rather have a nice new house than be in the middle of an actual “city” esp. with kids!

  • Ashley B November 26, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I hate the burbs. A tiny house for a huge price tag, that is usually incredibly outdated. I’ve always been a bit of a country girl, being raised around horses, so it only made sense for my husband and I to move outside of town. We are only 10 minutes from town and all the shopping, I was 25 minutes from my job (laid off now), and it takes us exactly an hour to get into Chicago. Not bad right?!

    I absolutely LOVE my 100+ year old farmhouse. We did spent a pretty penny renovating it this summer and still has some pretty significant issues (ie: oil furnace), BUT they are issues I’m willing to live with.

    This is a house I can see us raising children in, having parties, and rocking on the front porch watching one amazing sunset after another.

    Don’t get caught up on “city living”. Just the other day I read an article about the health of city living people. You live longer out in the burbs and country!

  • Tricia November 26, 2011, 12:38 pm

    My husband and I both grew up in Philly, but when it was time to buy a house, we tried to think about where we’d want to be for a LONG time as we don’t want to move again unless it’s a necessity. Because of the school district and basically not much else, we headed to a surrounding suburb. We love it! Try to find somewhere that does have a good main street like you mentioned and more of a ‘neighborhood’ feel than a place with giant stores and busy streets everywhere.

  • Lauren November 26, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I love the burbs! You should def look at the Birkdale neighborhood in Huntersville (which is where I live). It’s only a mile walk from my house to Birkdale Village, which has tons of great shopping and restaurants. Or you can live in Birkdale Village, and then you have an even shorter walk! One of my fave restaurants in Birkdale Village is eeZ, which has the best sushi (it is the sister restaurant of Cowfish in Charlotte – so I know you’ll love it!). And there are great running trails around here. I know it’s hard to leave the city, but I did it and have never regretted it!

  • Ashley B November 26, 2011, 12:43 pm

    After reading all the comments, I noticed quite a few people mentioned having backyards for your children to play in. As someone who absolutely adores being outside, please consider this as well. Your kids need fresh air and space to play without being tethered to mom. Can’t do that in a city setup!

    School districts are uber important as well. Unless you can afford private school, which honestly, aren’t always better than public schools.

    I’m ok on both fronts. We own 3 acres (with a huge garden, entire orchard, creek nearby), nearest neighbors are a mile, and we are on a quiet gravel road. The schools are within 20 minutes and are some of the best country districts in the state of Illinois. I think my future children will love this place. We certainly do.

  • Madison November 26, 2011, 1:03 pm

    location, location, location!

  • Amber K November 26, 2011, 1:14 pm

    I would definitely want to be in a safe neighborhood. That is my number one priority, especially if my husband and I have kids. The apartments I live in are not safe at all, but right now it’s what we can afford. I’d like to be closer to things (city), but the traffic and safety factors lead me to want suburbs.

  • Lindsay November 26, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I am a city girl – college in downtown DC, tiny condo in DC, work in DC, park on the street, bus everywhere I can, etc. But my fiance owns a 3 bedroom, 2 car garage townhouse in the burbs, right outside the city. Unfortunately, it just makes sense for me to move…it is not my first choice, but it will be more affordable, more comfortable (more space, garage for snowy days, etc) and better schools for when we have kids. Sometimes you have to compromise!

  • Lauri November 26, 2011, 1:26 pm

    We live in the city with our 4 year old abd are trying to relocate to the suburbs now – just looking for more space, a yard and a driveway! Parking is tough where we live – but I am do sad about leaving the city. I have loved every minute of living there and I’m so glad our son is old enough that he will have memories of city life. We walk to so much – playgrounds, parks, restaurants, happy hour (!). It’s time to go but I will forever cherish our city memories!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 26, 2011, 1:44 pm

    We’re young and kids aren’t in our future anytime soon so the location was key when we bought our townhouse. Luckily living in a city of only 90,000 people means that it’s pretty easy to have a good, central location and also be in an inexpensive, “burby” area. When we upgrade to our kid house (as I call it) we’ll probably be more focused on school districts, size of house and backyard etc. rather than being super central!

  • Dani November 26, 2011, 2:25 pm

    CITY. I am much more focused on location and have always preferred an older and more interesting “character” home to a new and move-in ready house.I would rather be around my friends and the places I take comfort in than a place that is a commute away from all of these things.

  • Ann November 26, 2011, 2:35 pm

    My husband and I moved out of the city to the suburbs about a year and a half ago, and while there are aspects I miss, I love it. And I can’t imagine having a baby in an apartment, I love the space. Closets! Storage! Parking! My best friend lives in Davidson, and absolutely loves it. Great for young families!

  • Laura November 26, 2011, 2:39 pm

    We lived in the middle of downtown Portland for a year in an apt and it was fun, but I think the suburbs are for us. Living downtown was noisy, the park behind us where I took the dog out was a little illegit after nightfall, and we would have had to keep moving around or deal with massive price increases. Now we are further out in the suburbs but everything is so much easier. Plus we don’t eat out as much because there are no restaurants across the street from us 🙂

  • Jamie November 26, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Location!!! You can always fix up a house but you can’t move it…

  • Melissa November 26, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Suburbs for raising a family 🙂 I live in the city now, which is great for 23-year-old me, but growing up in the suburbs was amazing! I always felt safe, had lots of room to play, and was just 15 minutes from the city if I ever needed to go there.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) November 26, 2011, 6:08 pm

    oh I adore Davidson!! I vote north 🙂 However, in Davidson, you’re still in Mecklenburg, so you pay city taxes. Our house in Mooresville has a much more reasonable tax rate.
    For the most part, I like the burbs, especially now that we have Hailey, but it is exciting to go into the city, especially for restaurant choices. Luckily it isn’t too far away 🙂

  • kathy November 26, 2011, 6:13 pm

    We live in the burbs but can walk to shopping and resturants. A 5 minute drive to hospitals and kids activities. It is safe for kids, schools are good.
    I notice a lot of people try to say city kids are more rounded and I do not believe that is always true, depends on the towns kids grow up in. I want my kids to be able to walk the streets in town with out drug addicts passed out. I grew up in a big city and I lived in a house. I would never have kids if they had to live in an apattment with no yard.

  • Claire November 26, 2011, 9:52 pm

    You should think about it from the prespective of what you can change versus what you can’t. You can change the actual house via renovating it. You can’t change the location. I think it is crucial therefore to buy in your desired location. Of course another thing to consider is whether this is a ‘stepping stone’ house to get into the property market which you will only be in for a few years before upgrading to your ‘forever’ house. I guess my advice really only applies to forever houses rather than stepping stone houses. If that makes any sense at all. One key factor that I think is really important with little kids is the ‘walkability’ of the area. Are local shops, park, kinder, school, etc all within walking distance? If so, it makes life much easier not getting little people in and out of the car all the time.

  • Audrey November 26, 2011, 10:26 pm

    We live in a small town outside a bigger city in an older house that we bought as a fixer upper. We were able to get an FHA Rehab Loan through HUD that allowed us to borrow as much as $35,000 above the purchase price for repairs and renovations so we were able to buy the house cheaper and make changes that kept the total cost within our budget, which has worked out well for us.

  • Sarah November 27, 2011, 4:53 am

    I’m a city girl at heart living in the suburbs, and having been here for 6 yrs (and the birth of 3 of my 4 kids), I can honestly say that there are pros and cons to both.

    The best advice I can give you (what I wish I had known) is not to feel pressure to move before you have to. While I’m glad we live in the house we are in now, I think we could have had a few more years renting a little apartment in the city even with little kids. We started looking to move right after my oldest was born, not so much out of necessity, but out of some idea that we *had* to move, to have more space, etc.

    Babies and little kids don’t need that much space, city life has great benefits for young families, and the suburbs will still be there when and if you want them!

  • Kate November 27, 2011, 8:20 am

    I spent four years at Davidson, too! Love, love, love it, and I still have friends who live in Cornelius/Lake Norman (an exit away) and whatever is two exits away that has that nice outdoor shopping center. Sooo it’s been a few years, clearly. 🙂

  • Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker November 27, 2011, 8:22 am

    I went to Davidson, too! And I LOVED the little town of Davidson. City life is a freeway ride away. You get the best of both worlds, in my opinion… 🙂

  • Rachel November 27, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I love the city life, but in the cute, small neighborhoods you find within the city. I still want a yard and a driveway. Condo living is definitely not for me.

    We ate at The Liberty about a month ago for dinner and loved it! Great beer and great food. I need to go back and try those fries!

  • Melissa November 27, 2011, 10:10 pm

    I live in Birmingham, technically in the ‘Burbs–Hoover–but that is a city with 70,000+ in its own right so I don’t feel like I am in a super small town or far away from anything. To put some perspective on it, several of the southern Birmingham ‘burbs all kind of run right into another, making it feel even larger than 70K population. I work downtown which is a 15 minute commute (no traffic).

    We actually chose this particular ‘burb for its location…it’s very centrally located within the southern B’ham area but still close to downtown.

    Not that we are opposed to “new construction” but I guess in a way we do have a weird bias against it. Our home was built in the mid 1960s and we have spent quite a bit of time and $$ remodeling over the 5 years we’ve lived here. It was worth it because we do love this location and it’s a place we would want our (unconceived/unborn) kids to grow up and a place we could see ourselves for quite a while.

  • Jolene ( November 27, 2011, 10:37 pm

    Those fries look SO freakin’ good!!!!

  • Kristine November 27, 2011, 11:58 pm

    I went to Davidson too (Class of ’03 – Go Cats!)! Trust me, you would love it! I have always wanted to move back and live in my beloved college town. If you live in the historical neighborhoods, it feels much less suburb and much more cozy small town. And it is SO charming! Have several friends who still live there. Did you go to Summit coffee?

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 28, 2011, 10:32 am

    We chose to buy a condo in the ‘burbs of our city, we saved so much money this way and we’re only about 15 minutes away from anywhere we want or need to go in town. Plus we live in a quiet and safe neighborhood. Good luck on your hunt for a home 🙂

  • Janel November 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Go with your gut, Caitlin! The hus and I are in a similar situation and every time we visit friends in the ‘burbs we literally get gloomy and can’t wait to go back to the city. If you visit places and aren’t so excited about the possibility of living there and raising a family there, don’t ignore those feelings. Good luck!

  • Heather November 28, 2011, 4:46 pm

    This is a debate I have some recent familiarity with…I bought a home 5 years ago in a Charlotte suburb. Brand new. Beautiful. But 30 minutes from EVERYTHING.

    My husband and I recently relocated to MN for his grad school and opted to live in heart of everything. We can walk to restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, movie theaters, etc. The trade off is a lot less space in an older, less fancy town home.

    The first month, I missed my beautiful everything-new home with lots of space. Four months later, we’ve both adjusted to less space and have fallen in love with our neighborhood.

    As we look to our future, we both decided the most important aspect of a home is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. We can buy an older, less-fancy home in a perfect location and “fancy it up” over time.

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