I am originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and lived many years in San Diego, where I sold real estate before I moved to San Antonio in 2011. I was excited to accept a position working for a luxury developer on the River Walk that allowed me to be closer to family. Since I was going to be working close to downtown, I rented a duplex in Monte Vista and swiftly became localized to the benefits of life inside “the bubble.”

Everything was so accessible, charming, and convenient. The historic ambiance resonated with my neighborhood in La Jolla, and the verve of the city growing and changing was exciting to be a part of. I was enjoying riding the extended river reach, and learning about living la vida San Antonio.

After the 2011 drought and continued recovery from the rumblings of the mortgage crisis, rents and real estate values increased dramatically. And, since finding an investment was a goal of mine, I simply did not want to throw all my money away on rent.

I found a town house just north of Brook Hollow, very pocketed and close to the Shady Oaks neighborhood. I was drawn to the the immense mature oaks that are bountiful in the area, the park-like setting, and secured access, along with the Spanish tile roofs and quiet community. And I jumped at the chance to have a one-car garage and porte-cochère. There was also a lovely garden area and extended flagstone patio – all at a great value in comparison to my old neighborhood. And it took me only 10 minutes to get back down to St. Mary’s Street.

The Brook Hollow neighborhood in San Antonio is marked by the Rivard Report logo.

Surf was my sport when I lived in La Jolla, and I needed something that gave me the same stoke, so I started cycling. In Monte Vista, I had an inspiring, winding route and was quite thankful to have had some blissful rides all around town. However, the traffic riding inside Loop 410 was stressful, with several near disasters and aggressive drivers who seemed annoyed at me for cycling. 

Once I finally got back on my bike after an accident and started cycling in my new neighborhood, my appreciation for the area was constantly affirmed. Brook Hollow has much more of a country feel than real estate inside Loop 410. I now see deer regularly on my rides, I have raccoons that come by my casita regularly, along with possums, and I recently had a visit from an enormous tarantula. While I can do without the tarantula, the wildlife is novel to me, and I love seeing the deer on my rides.

Deer commonly stop traffic in the Brook Hollow neighborhood where Jennifer rides her bicycle.

When I was still new to the neighborhood, my neighbor, Marilyn, taught me how to trap a baby possum that was running around in my attic. Then we drove over to the park together to set it free. She taught me a ton about the wildlife over here because she is from New Braunfels, and her grandmother raised a raccoon.

This location is nimble to anywhere you want to go in San Antonio. Located centrally, I can still get to La Fogata on Vance Jackson Road pretty quickly, or Rosario’s on San Pedro Avenue, or anywhere else for that matter. The H-E-B at Brook Hollow, or the “Baby B,” as locals call it, is exceptionally hospitable.

My boyfriend and I frequent El Jarro de Arturo, where we’ve become regulars. And it is hard to beat The Groove Doctors on Friday nights, playing all of the great classic R&B songs while you eat or share a margarita with friends.

There is a new restaurant called Meadow at Artisan’s Alley, along with The Bread Box, which is a fabulous breakfast and lunch spot that has some of the freshest, yummiest baked goods one could have. The Magnolia Pancake Haus is hands down one of the best breakfast places I have ever been to, and I have been to plenty. The service is impeccable and inspiring, as well as the cheery yellow walls and welcoming garden entrance.

The newly remodeled Santikos Theatre at Embassy is also a fantastic movie theater with a bar and recliner seats. There is a New York Diner called Max and Louie’s that is very authentic next to Santikos, and several new restaurants popping up.

Like everywhere in San Antonio, taxes in Brook Hollow are increasing. And while taxes rise we still have many holes in the roads. We also need more traffic lights where there are difficult turns to prevent collisions. I also feel strongly that, as a city, we need to really stand by “Don’t Mess with Texas,” as people just blatantly throw trash along our highways and roads. I drive by trash on many San Antonio roads daily.

Jennifer Duaine drives through her neighborhood nestled along U.S. Highway 281.

The rising costs of real estate, due to people moving here from so many other places, creates some real affordability issues. How to grow, create, and sustain a quality culture and sense of community is an area of interest for me as a realtor. I have seen quite a bit of engagement in my neighborhood on the Nextdoor app. We need to be connected and communicate to resolve issues we are dealing with as a neighborhood. Just as there is opportunity for collaboration between neighbors, I see the opportunity for neighborhoods to collaborate with nonprofits on projects to benefit their communities and the city as a whole.

Though it took me a while to get back to Texas, I have grown to appreciate the relaxed nature, hospitality, and beauty of San Antonio. I hope to continue to connect with my community and to contribute to the evolution of this great city. 

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Jennifer Duaine

Jennifer Duaine is a local realtor who worked in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and San Diego before returning to Texas to be closer to family. Apart from her work, Jennifer enjoys design, horticulture, writing,...