So begins a series of posts about life for this Bronx girl in Boulder. It’s been 7 years of Boulder living and fairly interesting.
“You’re not in Boulder!” someone told me (still a Boulder newbie) with passion and gusto when we first moved to our neighborhood, which is northeast from the central part of town.
Our house sits in a cul de sac in a neighborhood that is surrounded on three sides by open space (aka fields, pastures, lots of grass and few trees). A creek runs along side the neighborhood.
“Yes, we are,” I would say.
“But where you are is not Boulder! That’s Longmont!”
I shake my head. “Not according to my address,” is always my light-hearted answer. Both address and zip code are in Boulder. We are in a neighborhood next to a section of town known as Gunbarrel. At times, people put us in Gunbarrel, which is fine, though officially we aren’t in that section. Sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to say “Gunbarrel”.
Gunbarrel is a section of town that is a combination of two cities/counties: Boulder and Longmont. South of the main dividing road in Gunbarrel contains Boulder, north of that same main road is considered Niwot/Longmont.
In moments I give this explanation to those “in-town” Boulderites and out-of-town Coloradans who question the validity of my living address. In other moments, I just nod and smile. Sometimes it’s not worth the energy to go into details such as these.
“You’re in Boulder County!” another person exclaims to me in one huge epiphany as she tries to rationalize how I could be in Boulder but don’t live directly in town. “That’s it!”
“Yes, yes, I am.”
“So this is not Boulder but Boulder county!”
Um…actually it is both. The Boulder rural property taxes that we pay tell me so. And because thankfully to a real estate friend of ours, we discovered Boulder is divided into three sections on most real estate maps: Boulder West (next to the mountains, in the hills), Boulder (in town) and Boulder Prairie (us).
“It’s all Boulder,” he concludes.
It’s what happens when people move out from the town and set up roots in the rural area surrounding Boulder because of the desire for more living space, which happened in the late sixties and seventies. Hence an extension of the existing Boulder community was born amongst vast fields and open space.
Oh, and let’s not forget, the address is a big indicator, too. I am sure if we lived in Longmont, my address would actually say that.
Welcome to the country. Some look at as “suburbs.”
I cringe, no offense to anyone who lives in them. They’re awesome but rural Boulder is not the suburbs.
It is open space and farmland. Where the prairie dogs live and where in moments, coyotes roam, with your occasional mountain lion. Not to mention field mice, foxes raccoons, skunks, and bunnies. In moments, it really does feel like the prairie.
It is countryside and for this city girl, it was a faraway land like several of my in-town Boulderite friends viewed it. A no man’s land and so far (like in 15 minutes from downtown Pearl street far).
But now living in this no-man’s land for six years, I get that it’s an amazingly special place.
We get to pass by cows, horses, sheep and alpacas on our way into town everyday and have the quiet of the country right on our doorstep. You can literally hear the engine of a pickup truck as it goes by four streets away.
There is the community of our wonderful neighborhood of 1,000 families. Because we’re surrounded by open space we’re all we’ve got…until you drive out of it and go across the street to the Twin Lakes neighborhood (actually in Gunbarrel). We’re a naturally gated (via open space) community of friendly people of all types.
After a time of listening to the naysayers, I started to doubt myself. Whenever we drove back into town along Highway 36 (Boulder-Denver turnpike) I’d find myself looking at the gorgeous view up ahead of Boulder, trying to spot my neighborhood in the distance and wondering out loud, where is the dividing line? Do we really live in Boulder?
My husband, driving, next to me would just shake his head and smile.
Duh? His facial expression would read with a ton of endearment following it because he was confident enough and right enough to know (before the explanation of our real estate friend) that the answer is a resounding “Yes!”.
Yes…yes, where we live is Boulder, too. No need for an identity crisis, sweetie. It’s all good.
Months later, at school, a fellow Mom exclaimed to me, “Oh, you guys moved!”
Flustered I said “What? What do you mean?”
“Well, I was looking at the school directory and noticed you have a Boulder address. Weren’t you guys in Gunbarrel?”
Out pops my characteristic smile. “Oh, we still are,” I answer.
Her forehead crinkles. “But you have a Boulder address.”
I inwardly sigh and launch into the explanation, “It’s Boulder. The southern part of Gunbarrel is Boulder…”
And it goes on... :-)