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Newcomer’s Guide to Dallas

Why I Love Old Lake Highlands

Enjoying small-town lifestyle near White Rock Lake has its advantages.
By Casie Caldwell |

I am 100 percent a city girl. I was born in Dallas, and I’ve spent years enjoying all of its amenities. I still get chills when I see the city skyline or hear the theme song to the TV show Dallas. I love everything our amazing city has to offer, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

After a few short stints in cities like San Francisco, Denver, and New York, I found my way back home and started my first restaurant business in Uptown. I now own two restaurants — Kitchen LTO in West Dallas and Pink Magnolia in Oak Cliff — both across the pond (the Trinity River), and after 15 years of living and working in the midst of Dallas’ hustle and bustle, I realized I needed an escape.

That’s when I discovered Old Lake Highlands and finally found a place I wanted to call home. I took up cycling and discovered White Rock Lake just a short mile away. In a city surrounded by concrete, I found contentment living near the lake, where I could enjoy my new cycling hobby and explore others, such as paddle-boarding, sailing, and bird watching. Trees and hills are plentiful here, and because Old Lake Highlands has one of the highest elevation points in Dallas, I never want to miss a sunset. While I love working and playing in the heart of the city, Old Lake Highlands has quickly become the escape I sought, without requiring a move to the suburbs.

There’s a sense of community in Old Lake Highlands unlike anywhere else I’ve lived. It has a small-town feel. Neighbors take the time to meet each other, cook out together, watch out for each other, and kids still play in our front yards. My neighbors are now my friends, and we are active in each other’s lives. One of my favorite things to do is working out together with a local trainer who has converted her garage into a gym. (Although I think we socialize more than we workout!) Our homeowner’s association is active in keeping the community informed about important events and organizing events such as National Night Out, and town hall meetings in partnership with our city councilman and our neighborhood officers. A group of neighbors also organize “Porch Parties,” which are held at a different person’s house every month. It seems that there’s something always going on: a neighborhood parade, block party, or a school fundraiser. Even July 4 is a treat. From the corner of Van Dyke and Peavy, you have a front row seat to fireworks shows all around Dallas.

Recently my partner and I looked at selling our house and taking advantage of the upswing in the housing market. We have built quite a bit of equity here, and we figured we could make a good amount of money by selling. We did our due diligence and seriously considered other neighborhoods in Dallas, but it didn’t take long for us to kick ourselves and realize that we’re right where we want to be. No amount of money is worth peace of mind. We’re now undergoing a remodel and have moved out temporarily, planning to move back in a few months from now. The anticipation of that return is exciting – it’s as if our improved home mirrors the neighborhood vibe. It’s welcoming and comfortable, and we get to experience the newness all over again.

I love it here. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. The excitement of the city is a stone’s throw away, and Old Lake Highlands affords me the quiet moments of reflection and gratitude that I covet the most. It’s my piece of Dallas.   

Casie Caldwell has lived in Old Lake Highlands since 2007.

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