Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Really Bad Photography of Our Really Beautiful Neighborhood- Westward Edition

The kids and I have been exploring our neighborhood every day for about an hour or so. The older two ride their bikes or their scooters and I pull Elspeth in the wagon or push her in the stroller. There are sidewalks all over, and not too much traffic, so we can really get around. Not that we need to go far, I joked with someone earlier about how there are businesses closer to my house than my mailbox used to be. While that is true, the neighborhood is mostly residential. But rather than tell y'all about Des Moines, I thought I'd show you. So today, I took my camera as we walked westward. We just went out and went left, and here's what we saw:

First of all, the median in front of our house. We live on a "boulevard" and therefore, the street is divided with all manner of lovely little trees and flower beds running down the middle.

We went up a block to the north to get a proper loop in (can't find ourselves coming back on the same street we went out on!) and continued west until we got to this cool old Methodist church (forgive the stroller handles in the bottom of the shot- this photography experiment could be a mistake!). There is a nice playground out back that is open to the neighborhood that we discovered last week.

This is the cornerstone: Grace Methodist Episcopal Church Est. 1926.

This little lady in the courtyard has an inscription that reads, "Angel of Grace given in loving memory of James W. Altwegg." I wonder what Mr. Altwegg was like.

Behind Mr. Altwegg's angel, down the street, and in at least one yard on every block are hydrangeas, my very favorite of flowers which I am delighted to see no matter how often. They are perfect right now for picking and drying as they are "papery" and nearly dry already. Pick 'em like this and they'll hold their color for years. I nearly knocked on the door of the house where I took this picture to ask for some- this picture only shows about a third of what this person has in her yard. A close second favorite flower is the peony, and I have also spotted many bushes (including one in our yard!) that will be all dressed up in fragrant petals come May, but are rather droopy and not so pitcturesque at this point in the summer.

You may be wondering what the houses are like. Honestly, it's a mixed bag. The cost of the houses on the same block could easily vary more than $250K in value. I am not real educated on the real estate market here, but I actually looked it up and found one house for 400 and another for 145 on the same short street, so there you have it. No matter how much they cost, most of the houses are darling.

This isn't a great example of a "darling" house, but I felt weird taking pictures of houses that weren't for sale at first. This one is sort of an example of how a lot of the houses have been given the old HGTV makeover. I haven't watched HGTV in ten years so I don't really know what I'm talking about, but notice the door and the fresh paint and the porch railing and steps. It's easier to see in person, but this house is very updated. I can totally imagine the inside having new hardwoods and sleek lighting fixtures.

And this house, right across the street, represents the more storybook look that a lot of the houses have.

This one is my favorite from today, I think. You can't see in the picture, but there are white lights like Christmas lights in through the front door. It looks cheery and festive. The trees and the fact that I was across the street which has kind of a lot of traffic made it hard to get a better shot. But it's cute and small and homey looking, I think.

Coneflowers. They're everywhere.

Also everywhere, these signs. Snow Route? What's a snow route? I think it's probably the way you go when there's a lot of snow on the road. Perhaps this guarantees that my neighborhood will always be plowed? I don't know. For all I know, a snow route could be the route that the snow usually takes. Just kidding, anyone who's ever read Snow by Uri Shulevitz knows that the snow doesn't play by civilized rules. Can't wait to see it up here in all its abundance. Remind me of that when it's actually here!

Not to leave out other religions, or bad photos for that matter, this is the local synagogue. It's a very pretty old building, but it is hard to get a picture of for all the trees. But I kept thinking, while I was taking all these camouflaged pictures, about all the lovely colors that these trees will be wearing in the fall. I can't wait! For now, they provide fantastic shade without which our walks would not be possible. Next door on one side is the tennis complex (boring picture of a bunch of tennis courts in a row) and to the other side was some sort of early childhood center. At this point, we were about a mile out, and we looped around and went back down our own street.

More hydrangeas because, as I think I already explained, you can't have too many.

This is the closest business to the west, and it's about half a mile away. It's one of the cable company's buildings. Wouldn't it be nice if all cable buildings were so lovely? I wonder what the building used to be.

Another shot of one of the flower beds on the boulevard. So quaint, don't you think? I kept telling people that Des Moines seemed so "manicured" when we visited. This is why. There's no "prairie rehab" (what George calls "an excuse not to mow the grass by the side of the road") but a lot of really nice landscaping all around.

This may actually be considered a business and it is the last landmark on our walk. Directly to the east of this house is our house. When we look out our window, this is the yard we see. And I'll have you know that a lot of bunnies live in this yard. It's also a great yard for people watching. The house is called the Thoreau Center and is one of those places that people rent out for various events. Last week there was a rehearsal dinner one night and a small carnival/ family night sort of event another night. We like to watch folks as they arrive while we eat dinner. It makes for all kinds of interesting conversation.

I was a little bummed when my favorite magazine, Cottage Living, was cancelled a while back, but I feel like I have entered into one of their spreads now that we've moved to this neighborhood! In the next few posts, I'll try to take y'all around the rest of the neighborhood.


Fittsy said...

Thanks for the tour. Des Moines is lovely!

Jessie said...

Wow! Looks amazing - you just left out a picture of your place!

Rebecca Brown said...

I've been wondering about you--thanks for the pics and update! What a beautiful place.

george said...

I think you take good pictures.

jennifer h said...

Fun to see pictures of your new neighborhood.

Bec said...

Charming neighborhood, entertaining commentary......I really miss hydrangeas.

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