The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city 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.
My husband Cory and I moved into our home in Ingram Hills in October and were welcomed right away by our neighbors. One neighbor saw the moving trucks and brought over a bottle of wine, another neighbor invited us over to see the plants in her backyard, another has been guiding us through our own gardening, and our next-door neighbors are currently coaching us through homeownership. As first-time homeowners, we appreciate the tips on what fixes our home needs now and what can wait. Our house was built in the ’50s, so we know it needs some updates. And now, thanks to our neighbors, we know what to prioritize.
I grew up in Corpus Christi, and my husband is from the Pacific Northwest, so San Antonio was a new experience for both of us. We moved here when I started law school at St. Mary’s and quickly grew to love the city. My favorite part of San Antonio is the people. Between my husband and me, we’ve lived in quite a few cities in the U.S. and abroad, but we’d never encountered a group of humans who are so different – people who come from different places, care about different things – but are still pretty united as a single community. My husband and I like to say that San Antonio is the biggest town we’ve ever lived in because, though it’s such a big city, it’s rare for us to go somewhere without running into someone we know.
Before purchasing our home, we lived in Woodlawn Lake and then Southtown. We loved Southtown because it was so lively and we could walk and bike everywhere. When our realtor suggested looking at homes in Ingram Hills, we were hesitant at first. But when we came out here and saw all the big yards, we quickly changed our minds. We’re just 15 minutes or so from downtown, but we have so much more space here. We do have to use the car more than we did when we were more centrally located, but that was a tradeoff we were willing to make.
Now we have a big backyard where we plan to start a garden. We started our company Grow Ensemble here in San Antonio. Through our work in environmental sustainability and social equity, we started learning about regenerative agriculture and how we could do our part to combat climate change by creating healthy soil at our house. In our quest for healthy soil, we’ve informally become the neighborhood trash collectors. It’s kind of an intrusive thing to ask your neighbors for their food scraps, but everyone’s been so nice about it. Now we have compost buried all over the yard and we’ve started building the biodiversity of the property. We haven’t planted food plants yet because we need to test the soil to see if we can plant in the ground or we need above-ground beds. That’s our next task.
The previous owner of our home built a screened-in porch, which is one of our favorite features of the house and it’s perfect for enjoying the fresh air without having to battle mosquitos. There’s also a casita on the property that we’ve been working out of during the pandemic. It’s been nice to have that separation between our working and living spaces so we don’t feel like we’re always working.
We’ve only experienced Ingram Hills during the pandemic, so we haven’t had much opportunity to explore beyond taking our two dogs for walks around the neighborhood. But we have found some local restaurants that we like to pick up food from. We’re usually pretty diligent about eating healthy foods, but it’s hard to resist the barbacoa from Los Habaneros or the pan de campo from El Monte BBQ.
Despite not being able to socialize with neighbors, we can see that Ingram Hills is a tight-knit community that looks out for each other. We’ve heard a lot about pre-COVID times from our neighbors, and it feels like they’re talking about a time that feels pretty unfamiliar to us now. They’ve told us about holiday gatherings, potlucks, and neighborhood meetings with Councilwoman Ana Sandoval. We’re looking forward to being able to participate in all of that once we’re able to do so safely.
On our walks around the neighborhood, we’ve noticed so many spaces that look like they could be beautiful public parks. Everything about this neighborhood is conducive to being outdoors and enjoying nature, so with a little bit of intentional planning, we could create some wonderful outdoor spaces for the community to enjoy. I’d also love to see more community sustainability efforts, like community solar panels and community gardens, not just in Ingram Hills, but throughout San Antonio. As we spend more time in the neighborhood, we realize that everyone has their little ecosystem at their house, whether they’re gardening or working on land restoration, so the effort is already underway.