Does it seem to you that the days of neighborly hat-tipping and backyard barbecues are behind us, when uninitiated conversation was welcomed and front doors could be left unlocked? If so, stepping into a neighborhood as vibrant and interconnected as mine — the place where I grew up and live still — may seem like entering a different world altogether.
The small but bustling community of Lochwood sits tucked away a few miles east of White Rock Lake, a 15-or-so-minute drive from downtown. It sits at a curious junction of natural beauty and metropolitan living, in an area as replete with foliage as it is with nightlife attractions. This place offers the best of both worlds. My childhood memories here are chockfull of creek-side hiking adventures and bike rides to the local movie theater. The woods stand in the center of our community and offer a peaceful respite from the bustle of urban life; you can follow that creek all the way to White Rock Lake if you choose, without hearing so much as a car horn.
This is a community where people look out for one another; the residents connect through social media to address safety concerns and organize response teams when folks need help. Recently there was a woman whose backyard was decimated by a fallen tree; the expenses required for removal by a professional would have been enormous, so she reached out to her neighbors for help. Dozens of people showed up with chainsaws, wheelbarrows, and smiles on their faces — it took all of two hours to clear the rubble.
Lochwood has been this way as long as I can remember. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina there was a vacant house a couple streets over whose owner kindly opened its doors and offered refuge to a family of survivors, and I remember watching night after night as people dropped off bags filled with groceries, household electronics, and Toys “R” Us packages for the children.
The really great thing about growing up here is that there’s always something to do. Whether you’re a nightlife enthusiast in your mid-20s or a married mother of four, the neighborhood is close to enough activities and hangout spots to keep you busy for many a weekend.
Within three miles of Lochwood you’ll find a goldmine’s worth of hole-in-the-wall eateries — whether you seek a pub with atmosphere, a sandwich with personality, or a house dressing with attitude. These are the same menus I was ordering from 15 years ago, and the salivation has followed me to adulthood (as has the paunch, I’m afraid).
If the skies are clear, it’s a short drive to the gardens of the Arboretum, or you can drop a few bucks to rent a kayak at the lake. And when the sun finally sets, when you’re tired and worn out but wouldn’t mind knocking back a local craft brew or two with your buddies, stop at Goodfriend on your way back — it’s an aptly titled spot. (And you could easily do all this with a bike, if you prefer.)
I could go on about the seemingly endless list of nearby attractions that Lochwood boasts, why it’s a haven perfect for both the young and the old, the quiet and the outgoing, but that’s not what matters most to me. The reason I live here has less to do with the location and aesthetics and more to do with the people and the spirit. At the end of the day, what I need is a place where the neighbors look out for one another, where I feel safe but not sequestered, where I can enjoy the best my city has to offer—there’s a difference between a house and a home, after all.