Getting To Know Your Neighbors
Sunrise in my Neighborhood
New to the Neighborhood
Ever wonder why some neighborhoods in cities are more popular? Or why houses go on the market and and sell almost immediately with competing offers? Yes, even in this economy there are such neighborhoods. Why? Not only are the houses well maintained, and close to good schools, but the people are friendly and there is a social atmosphere that just radiates a great place to put down roots!
Steps to Creating a Neighborly Hood
We live in suburbia. In fact, our town was, a few years back, named the #1 Place to Raise a Family in the country. I like to believe that it still is competitive in that area. I know our neighborhood is a great place for families, senior citizens and even yuppies just starting out in the world!
We do a lot of Social events within the neighborhood. These events help to strengthen our family friendships, and make for a more trusting and enjoyable experience for everyone.
I am going to outline and explain a few of the things we do that have created this bonding experience and given the neighborhood some of it's charm:
#1) Progressive Wine Tasting Evening
To break the ice before we all knew each other very well, a few neighbors put together a Progressive Wine Tasting Evening. There were four houses within 2 blocks of each other that were the host homes. They provided the wine and minimal appetizers for the neighbors who attended. Before the event they brought adorable invitations to each of us, introduced themselves and explained the evening.
We were to show up at House #1, get our name tags, start mingling and meeting neighbors and sample the first type of wine. (Each house only needed 5-6 bottles of the wine they were sharing - as we weren't guzzling, we were sampling.) They paired the wines with homemade appetizers that complimented the grapes of the house.
House #1 was a little intimidating at first, as we were all basically strangers at that point. However, by the time we got to House #3 and #4 we learned more about each other, our similarities and interests, how many kids we had, etc.
It was from this first event that we created the remaining events that have propelled our friendships.
At the wine tasting we passed around lists to see what people were interested in doing in the neighborhood. Bunco was very well received.
For those of you who don't know what Bunco is, it is a simple dice game played on tables of four people (two revolving teams) and you can have as many tables as you want. Ideally 3-4 tables is a great evening, and you get to play with just about everyone there.
Bunco is a Ladies group. We have a Hostess, who provides the drinks: wine, or a themed drink depending on the season, and soda or tea and water. The other participants bring the food, which is usually appetizers and desserts. We never go away hungry! In the winter months we do stews and soups.
At the end of the evening we determine the MOST WINS, MOST BUNCOS, MOST LOSSES, MOST BABY BUNCOS and a consolation prize. The buy-in is $5 and depending on how many show up, the prizes range from $25 or $30 to $5 for the consolation.
We enjoy the one on one conversation, and the time away from our families for girl talk. And since there are so many playing, we usually don't have to host more than once every year.
#3 Book Club
Another reason to gather that came from our first evening was the formation of a Book Club.
We compiled an email address list and from those emails came up with our first read and first hostess. Yes, this is another ladies only group. Not that we left any of the guys out, they just tend to not read what we read.
After we picked our first book, The Help , we set the date and hostess for the first meeting. We got together and the hostess provided drinks, wine and a food that may have been inspired by the book we read. In this case, she made a delicious caramel cake, as was referred to in the book.
We delve into the plot, the characters and enjoy the socializing. Sharing our insights to the books, has allowed us to learn a lot more about each other. We pick the next book and hostess at each book club gathering. And our books range in genre and have yet to disappoint!
#4 Men's Events
You all thought the guys were left out after the first meeting, didn't you? Not the case. Several of the guys have taken it upon themselves to host "Guys nights" and gather for a beer and "male bonding." They really enjoy the time away from us girls and their own special evening.
Some of us have also hosted social evenings that included the guys and girls. We did a summer patio party and included all the bunco husbands. It was a great way for the guys to see who we spend so much time with and also to get to know the husbands that don't always go to the guys nights. I think a football group was formed at this last party, so they will start hosting football parties as well.
Is it all about the socializing?
At first glance, you might assume that all this is is a big party neighborhood. However, by getting to know our neighbors, there is a sense of community, and trust. We know that we can keep an eye on each other's kids, and houses. We actually wave and take an interest in their lives. This sense of community makes our neighborhood a safer place, and a great place for all of us to come home to. It almost reflects the days of old, where you could leave your doors unlocked and let the kids play outside all day and night, without the worry about the outside world.