The Village, as I'll call it to maintain its privacy, is something else. After that first meeting, we felt fairly certain we had been interviewed. Though the farthest cry from a "planned community," one like this does not happen entirely by accident. It takes a certain kind of person, I think, to want to live in a 130-year-old house. One week in, we received a brochure in our mailbox (with no postage) describing the Architectural Committee guidelines (one of the perks of renting: no need to worry about such things!). Not everyone would want to deal with the trouble and expense of taking this kind of care to preserve the historical integrity of a home or a community. What I've seen of our community thus far is diverse, but not like you'd think. Not the way my high school was, which was racially, mostly. Though there is some of that brand of diversity, this is different. There is a variety of ages: young families, retired singles and couples, and everything in between. The Village definitely leans to the left, but even in that there seems to be room for variance. I guess that sums it up: There is acceptance, and there is room for differences.
The Village is web savvy and uber connected. I am already part of its Google Listserv and a Facebook group; I am accustomed to this type of "community." But a week later, we were taken aback as we cleaned the house to prepare for 10 days of company and a neighbor stood on our porch with his granddaughter. She and Mirabella had hit it off at the pre-move-in cookout, so she had come to play with Mirabella. She stayed for an hour and explored our toy room, and everyone had a good time. Daniel and I stood in the kitchen, unsure of what to think. This had never happened to us before. Playdates usually require weeks of pre-planning and a barrage of e-mails.
"Oh, right," I agreed. "This is what we wanted."
We've since had additional visits by more neighbors, and several more playdates. Our downtown daughters don't know what hit them, but they know better than to question a good thing.