Finally, here's a bit about the place we're actually moving! Yep, our very own new hometown of Gilbert. When we first talked about our move, this was the place that came up. It was named as Arizona's best place to live in Business Week in 2009 and kept coming up as a great place to raise a family, safe, affordable, and having good schools. It was also named as the 36th best place to live in the nation by CNN in 2010! Last stat? It's ranked as one of the 25 safest cities in the country. So, lots of good things are being said about this up and coming town.
It's location is what knocked it out of the running at first. As the most eastern part of the East Valley, commute times definitely started to grow, and most of Gilbert remains way to far to even consider. Our original home searches didn't include this area. However, with a slow down in the market, our realtor put it in the running. On the plus side, this community is also more affordable then it's neighbors (since it's a little further out).
Like Chandler, It's had explosive growth, from just over 5,000 in 1980 to over 200,000 in 2010. Of those numbers, about 81% are white, 15% are latino, 3% black 4% Asian, and less than one percent in other categories. So, mostly white, and mostly pretty conservative as well. This has been a pretty popular place for the Mormon community as well (apparently Mormons who fled Pancho Villa in Mexico settled in Gilbert). A new temple is being constructed for them in town as we speak. It's also mostly families with kids from what we've seen. So, definitely some pluses and minuses.
Speaking to that family friendly nature, I totally fell for the cuteness of Gilbert's downtown.
The shops on both side gave it much more of a small town feel than Chandler's and it just felt very homey.
It helped that it was in the high 70s around 7:00, so lots of the town was out and about, in couples, with kids, enjoying the street.
Ed and I went to put our names in the popular pizza chain, Oreganos, and then headed down the block for a pre-dinner drink. We sat out on the patio and got sparking rose, to celebrate finding a house we really loved (this was on Tuesday, before we knew if it would be ours).
Across the street was another popular restaurant, Joe's BBQ (side note: BBQ seems to be pretty popular here).
I could just imagine us coming here 5 years from now, with kids in toe, and really liked what I was picturing. Ed? We'll he's still more picturing the independent couples scene in Chandler (and for right now, I do think Chandler is more our speed. Still, hopefully in a few years...)
In any event, we spent our 45 minute wait very relaxed as we watched twilight begin to fall on town. As we got back to the restaurant, we found our timing to be perfect and were immediately called to our table.
We went with recommendations and ordered the Grandma pizza, topped with 4 kinds of cheese, potatoes, rosemary, and fennel sausage. So, so delicious!
And for dessert? The pizookie. I'd only had these at BJs, but out here, Oregano's claims to have created them. We had the half and half (half chocolate chip and half macadamia nut) topped with, of course, lots and lots of ice cream. We were incredibly full afterwards, but very, very content.
After dinner, we headed back to "our house" as we were thinking of it, hoping that would come true. We parked and just walked the neighborhood, appreciating the calm and quiet and the discovery, to Ed's excitement, of the little league games being played just down the block (far enough luckily that the lights from the field don't reach our home).
I pictured future kids on main street, Ed pictured them out on the field. We both had such a good feeling about Gilbert after that evening, so it's very fitting it will become our new home.