Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
My husband and I grew up outside of Houston and always knew we wanted to be in the Hill Country. We had no idea how we would get there and didn’t have a plan, just a dream of a home with a big yard and a pretty view of the hills close to some rivers. I had been working for Frost for a little more than 10 years in Houston when an opportunity for a promotion came up in San Antonio. We realized it was finally our chance.
We wanted something with the views of the hills, and my husband wanted to feel like he was in the country. After about a year researching neighborhoods all over the San Antonio area, we were drawn to the Far West Side because it was close to the Government Canyon State National Area, and there were pretty views everywhere. It was still being developed, but it had a really great school district for the kids, which was a top priority for us.
Having lived in Houston our whole lives with friends and family nearby, one of the hardest things was leaving that built-in community. But they were so supportive of our move, and it was our dream to live in the Hill Country, so we took the leap. We hoped that we would get lucky enough to find neighbors like those we knew when we were growing up – the kind that watched out for each other, celebrated each other‘s successes, and cared when one of us had a rough day.
I remember the day we signed on the house, we unloaded moving boxes just hours after, but we intentionally made a point that before the night was over we would invite some neighbors out for a water balloon fight. We were so concerned that our kids would feel like they were missing something we had with our past neighbors and friends and we wanted to make sure that we met as many families nearby so they could grow up with the same kind of friendships that we were lucky enough to have while growing up.
That was just over two years ago. Since then, I can’t count how many water balloon fights, Nerf gun wars, sleepovers, birthday parties, or day trips to the river we’ve had with our neighbors. We’re closest with our two next-door neighbors because our kids are around the same age. My husband Kenny and I have a daughter Adelaide, 11, and son, Oliver, 7. But everyone on our block is great, and we’ve formed a tight little community here that we rely on and have fun with. As our kids became friends, we adults also bonded and became friends. Sometimes we’ll get babysitters for the kids and have adults-only game nights or pool parties.
One of the first things we did when we found this neighborhood is my husband and I walked the trail in the green belt behind our neighborhood. The charm of this community is that it feels like you’re out in the country. We have all this access to nature without sacrificing city amenities.
I also like that we’re close to Helotes. A favorite place to go for dinner or date night is Old Town Helotes, where we especially like Wine 101. The first weekend of the month is the farmers market, and we like to go get corn on the cob and walk around to see what the locals have for sale. We also enjoy concerts at Floore’s Country Store with neighbors or friends who are visiting from out of town. Sometimes we’ll go to family dance night, which is always a good time.
For the Fourth of July, five families in the neighborhood decided last-minute to pack up a quick picnic, throw the kids in the car, and go to the river. We went to a spot off of the Medina River and ended up spending the whole day there. We know we’re so lucky to have found such a great group of friends in our neighbors, who are always up for an adventure.
All of our kids and all of our friends know each other and care for each other, and there’s always somebody to lend a helping hand. We couldn’t have planned a better neighborhood than what we were lucky enough to find. The reason I love my community is because of the people around us.