The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
The signs at both ends of the neighborhood say Blossom Park, but Google Maps calls it Blossoms (plural) Park. Whichever name you choose, we’re located behind the airport, between Wurzbach Parkway and U.S. Highway 281. Of all the places I’ve lived in San Antonio, this is the most convenient for getting around, and whether I’m going to Blue Star or Stone Oak, I’m always surprised by how quick the ride is.
I grew up in Live Oak and have lived in various neighborhoods, including downtown, King William, and Monte Vista. After quitting a job in San Diego last November, I came to San Antonio, planning to take a few months to visit family and friends. Then the coronavirus happened.
So, for now, I live in Blossom Park with one of my sisters and her husband, in their guest bedroom. I haven’t been idle, though. In January, I started a part-time marketing job with a company based in California. I feel lucky that I can work from home, even if I miss the hustle and bustle of going somewhere every day.
Before the public libraries closed, I often visited the Brook Hollow branch. I even walked to the library during cooler months, although it took 45 minutes each way. Why not? The weather was nice. During the closures, I borrowed ebooks from the library’s website, but I was happy when contact-free pickup services started in June. I dream of browsing the stacks again. I like books that I can hold in my hands.
While reading has helped me through hours of isolation and boredom, I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for the nearby network of trails. Our neighborhood is near both McAllister Park and the Salado Creek Greenway-North. I would sometimes walk a loop through McAllister Park when the weather was more hospitable. I could leave the house, head due north, and nearly two hours later arrive back at the house from the south. When I started getting bored, I went the opposite way.
I also try to ride my bike on the greenway trails 12-20 miles a day, four or five days a week, unless it’s raining. I rode when it was cold outside in January, and I ride even now, in temperatures approaching 100 degrees. Something about being in nature calms me, and I love watching deer try to figure out if I’m friendly or not. (I am.)
Before the shelter-in-place orders, the trails were never crowded, even on Sundays. Now, everyone must be as bored as I am, so I time my rides closer to the most awfully hot part of the day to avoid congestion. I get tired of saying, “Passing on your left,” and I usually avoid the trails on weekends altogether.
Besides biking, I take a walk through Blossom Park almost every evening after dinner. My sister and her husband used to come along; they were the ones who got me into the habit, although they began skipping out once temperatures climbed above 90 degrees.
Because biking is a major part of my life, I wanted to find a good local bike shop. The Bike World off U.S. 281 is not the closest shop to where I live, but I like the staff, so that’s where I take my bike for maintenance.
The businesses I visit most are grocery stores. I try to rotate H-E-B locations to break up the monotony, and I also shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. I’m sad that most of my excursions this year have been to grocery stores.
Because I spend so much time at home, I’m fortunate that my sister and her husband spent the last several years turning their home into a slice of paradise. It’s beautifully updated inside and features a surprising number of places to sit and work, and the backyard is like stepping into another world. I feel like I live in a resort.
My sister says her backyard was partially influenced by The Monterey, a now-closed, mostly-outdoors restaurant in Southtown where I used to work. The patio holds a few outdoor couches, some tables, and over 30 potted plants of various sizes; my sister rearranges the whole set-up every few months. From the patio, a path of crushed granite leads through cacti, ferns, English ivy, rosemary, plumbagos, plumeria trees, citrus trees, succulents, rose bushes, and galvanized troughs jammed to the brim with herbs and other plants, to a rustic table and chairs that would have easily fit in among The Monterey’s decor. Oh, and all of this exists under the protective arms of a giant red oak tree. It’s one of the best backyards I’ve ever been in.
When I’m out riding my bike, I sometimes pass a lane with a view of the airport. I stop to watch the planes and imagine that the world will get back to normal again. When that happens, I think I’ll take a plane trip–someplace where it isn’t so hot. In the meantime, I’ll keep soaking up the laid-back pace of life in San Antonio and turn the air conditioner up.