Marley, Adriana, and Nick Brown in their backyard in Vista Del Norte. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Before making the move from the Schertz area, my daughter was attending a school in the Whispering Oaks area near Dreamland. My husband Nick and I were having to commute to the Medical Center as our home health business grew, so it made sense to look for a new place to call home. We really started to appreciate this part of town because of the central location and access to four major highways.

We found Vista Del Norte and instantly fell in love with the neighborhood. We saw the trees and the park-like atmosphere, the two-story homes, and knew we found our place. The house that we bought is on a nice corner property with a big backyard. When I walked in, I remember thinking it was a great house for entertaining. There were tons of windows overlooking the backyard and a deck where we can drink coffee and watch the birds. We see a lot of different wildlife in our neighborhood. Often we’ll see deer and armadillos in our yards, owls and hawks in our trees, and even coyotes running down the street.  

Since moving in, we’ve had all kinds of gatherings with family and friends. We have birthday parties all the time, our annual cookies and cocktails party with our friends, and the occasional crab bake, where we invite the whole family, put lights up on the deck, and eat, laugh, and listen to music around the fire pit.

The entrance to the Vista Del Norte neighborhood. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Our daughter Marley is very active and has her school friends over all the time to jump on the trampoline. On any given weekend, there can be up to eight children in my yard. They are riding bikes and hoverboards or just being kids running around and laughing. Vista Del Norte isn’t a gated community, but there’s only one entrance, and it helps us feel good about Marley’s safety. It’s reassuring to live in a neighborhood like this, where everyone knows each other and checks in with one another. 

Just through the course of my daughter making friends with the neighbors, my husband and I also make friends. There’s a family on the next street we have become friends with, and Marley is in Girl Scouts with their daughter. The girls also play softball together at McAllister Park Little League. My husband helps coach volleyball with another dad in the neighborhood through the Mays Family YMCA at Stone Oak, and Marley’s part of the VDN Barracuda swim team during the summer. We have meets with other neighborhoods in our area. This all brings a real sense of community and friendship. 

The pool in the Vista Del Norte neighborhood where Marley is part of the VDN Barracuda swim team. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Vista Del Norte really enjoys the holidays. We have an annual Easter Egg Hunt. Our neighbors in the cul-de-sac behind us go all out for Halloween every year with neighbors all coming together building these elaborate interactive displays with themes. Last year we participated in helping build those displays. Halloween is always fun because I invite everyone over to celebrate my birthday and enjoy all the festivities in the neighborhood. During the winter, we do Donuts with Santa at the park, and hayride caroling through the neighborhood at night. The kids really love it. 

Hardberger Park is right across the street and the city is working on building a land bridge over Wurzbach Parkway that will connect both the parks together. It’s a beautiful park for walking, biking, and taking our two dogs to the dog park. We like to go to Blanco Road and Loop 1604 for the restaurants. They just opened a Torchy’s Tacos and a Hopdoddy Burger Bar. We love to go to Ito Ramen nearby and Lucky Noodle by West Avenue, as well as Wild Goji at Blanco and Insterstate 410. Those are our go-tos when we don’t want to cook. The whole family loves noodles.

One of the Brown family’s favorite restaurants in their neighborhood is Ito Ramen. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Right now, one of the decisions the neighborhood is contending with is whether we should bring in a management company to run our HOA or keep it volunteer-based. I understand that everyone’s busy, but I would still rather keep it volunteer-based because it gives us a sense of ownership of our neighborhood. I am currently working to create an initiative to get more neighbors involved with volunteerism. But I know that, as a community, we will come to a decision that works for all of us.

Though we love our home and neighborhood, rising property taxes recently have become a real issue. In the past five years, taxes have gone up 25 percent. Having to keep up with that is tough. But we bought this house when my daughter was 2 years old. She’s grown up here and made so many great friends. She’s able to attend excellent schools and play outside safely. This is why we moved here – to give her that kind of childhood. We’re grateful to have found a community that allows us to do that.

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Adriana Brown

Adriana Brown is the administrator of Ascensia Home Health, a family-owned and operated health care agency since 2006. She is dedicated to helping her community and industry through volunteerism and activism.