When my wife Sydney and I moved to San Antonio from Austin we had no idea what to expect. Both of us were raised in San Antonio so we were very familiar with the “Keep SA Lame” mantra that had permeated during our high school years. We’d heard about some new things occurring in the downtown area and that Pearl was actually a hotspot of sorts. Other than that we assumed things were the same.
For us, Austin had become so overly crowded that the things we’d loved about the city years before had begun to fade and dim. The restaurant scene was always a battle; never a wait under 15 minutes. Traffic was at the level where most people started comparing it to LA. At the end of 2013 we found ourselves at a crossroads and decided that moving back south to San Antonio was the right thing to do. We packed up our apartment into a U-Haul and jumped on I-35.
If I had to say one way or the other, my expectations were pretty low for the Alamo City. And that’s the point. I hadn’t heard about anything that would have caused me to have high expectations. Now, yes, you can take this as a negative, but it’s not. The secretive quietness that covers the city is for good reason; it’s a diamond in the rough. A hidden secret watched over by the ghosts of Davy, Stephen. F, and Mr. Bowie. It was a total refreshment of spirit.
As the first two months faded past us, we quickly found that the city had changed immensely over the past 10 years. We moved into Monte Vista, one of the original suburban neighborhoods of San Antonio, founded in 1889 on the site of an old goat farm. At first we felt that we were simply moving into a unique, old neighborhood with some good character and huge houses (we live in an apartment built in 1921).
Quickly though, the reality of a new foundation was revealed. Barbaro quietly serves top-notch drinks on McCullough, quality coffee is just down the street at Press Coffee and the go-to Tex-Mex spots like Las Salsas and La Fonda on Main are thriving. It’s amazing. It was (and is) a heaven that we found without even knowing it.
Monte Vista over the past year has grown to be a place that we call home. Its proximity to so much is one of its greatest qualities. Easy access to downtown, Alamo Heights, and U.S. 281 and I-10 allow us to tell people that we live in, what we consider, the center of the city. The hub for things to come.
It’s here, in this hallowed place of history, that my family feels drawn to sit and stick and plant some roots. The 200-year-old oaks, homes with history dating back to 1900, and roads wide enough for a horse-drawn carriage to make a u-turn are the reasons that we love it. It’s a place where a lot of deep, meaningful life has been lived and we intend to write our chapter next. Monte Vista might not be the neighborhood that we call home forever, but for now it’s just that. Home.
*Featured/top image: Home in Monte Vista. Photo by Jake Aschbacher.