Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Love Letter To Longmont

Heath and I moved to Longmont over 6 years ago because it was affordable and a convenient location.  No great plan in that.  We didn't shop neighborhoods, find a house in the best school district or look at the community.  God truly orchestrated our move here and has unfolded this wonderful town right in front of us.  I believe that this is where we belong.

We feel such a sense of community here.  The people of Longmont are soooooooo nice.  The views from anywhere in town are the best on the front range, in my opinion. It's got most of the businesses you need and want and everything else is only a short drive away.   The recreation department is wonderful.  They have cool human interest classes for a good price, lots of exercise opportunities, tons of affordable activities for kids, and lots of convenient locations.

The city puts on wonderful, fun events many times per year.  Rhythm on the River is one of my favorite each summer.  It is a two day festival right on the river in Longmont.  The park was one of the heavily damaged areas by the flooding last September, and it was one of the highest priorities to repair before this event.  They host a 5K run/walk which is competitive but not intimidating. The flood took out a lot of the usual route, so they had to plan a new path this year.  It was even prettier.

This was my first 5K I had ever run (2013) and I convinced Heath to run it with me this year.  We decided that we are going to make it a family event every year.  This is right after the finish line, but right before the free pancake breakfast for participants.

The festival includes lots of local flavor.  It is mainly a music festival and has two days of any kind of music you could want.  They have lots of booths of educational, advertising and just plain fun.  The Home Depot had a free activity for the kids, of building and painting your own craft. The kids loved it!

The other city event that is a must each year is the Festival on Main.  It's a celebration of end of summer each year.  They close down at least 6 blocks of main street and have all kinds of booths, demonstrations, street performers and all of the downtown businesses are open and either giving out samples or dancing in the street.  It is so fun to bump into neighbors and friends and celebrate a beautiful night with your community.  All of the activities are free so it isn't cost prohibitive to go.  They have multiple bounce houses for kids, face painting and free concerts.  Willie Nelson's daughter was the headlining performer this year.  Not bad for little Longmont.  My favorite part of the festival this year?  Square dancing lessons.  I don't think that you will ever see another grey haired lady teaching a young man with a Slayer TShirt how to do a box step.  Priceless!

There are tons of other events during the year.  Lots of free concerts in the park, Art Walks, parades including my favorite large Veteran's Day Parade that always makes me cry, Longmont Light the Lights festival around Christmas.  If you can't find something to do for free in Longmont there is certainly something wrong with you.

One of the things I love most about Longmont is nothing was preplanned.  There is no true "nice" part of town.  There are nice neighborhoods, and newer areas of town, but everything kind of runs into everything else.  When we were house shopping we would be looking at a middle of the road house, then you would turn one corner and there would be a really nice house, and then turn the other corner and there would be a bit of a run down neighborhood.  There is no real division of community here.

We have a very fine healthcare facility.  It serves all the surrounding areas and holds the Planetree designation.  It is one of the last truly community owned hospital.  It has been a pleasure to work for them and I look forward to getting more and more involved in the organization itself.

There is no traffic.  I don't know if this topic even needs to be expanded.  I drove down to Denver several times recently and it made me appreciate this fact even more.  Usually we can get from one area of town to the complete opposite in 15 minutes.  In heavy commute time, it may take 20.

Everyone is kind and nice.  We have the best neighbors and friendly people in the park, at events and at classes.  I had a woman approach me at the library one day who recognized my kids from Itty Bitty City (another recreation department event) that Heath goes to.  She was so nice, and mentioned how our kids were a perfect mix of both of their parents.

Speaking of the library, we have a fabulous library!  Our children's department is amazing!  Great story times, fun events and great librarians.  Ms Amy is hands down the best children's librarian I have ever come across, and we are so fortunate to have her.

There is tons of local flavor.  Lots of locally owned shops, stores, grocery stores and restaurants.  We don't have to eat at chain restaurants because we have a fabulous selection of any type of food you could want. We have two awesome local breweries, Left Hand and Oskar Blues.  Heath and I have become true fans of Dale's Pale Ale.  Hard to find a time lately that we don't have a six pack in our fridge.

The city itself is great.  It was just announced recently that the local bus system is free, and will be free for the rest of the year.  I am finding more and more reasons why driving is inconvenient, many days I don't even get into my car.  We walk to and from school, I bike to work, and we walk to the grocery store.  I haven't yet, but I would love to plan a bus trip to the other side of town just to take advantage and support this great gesture.

Community.  I love the sense of community here.  I feel so fortunate to live, work and now have my children in school here.  I can't imagine anywhere better to raise a family.  I think we will continue to flourish here for the foreseeable future.

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