Home Fire Safety in Cooler Weather

Devastating house fires can happen in an instant, and many begin due to human error. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that cooking tops the list of residential building fire causes (50 percent), followed by heating equipment (12.5 percent) and electrical malfunction (6.3 percent).

Make your fall and winter seasons merry, bright and fire-free with these essential fire safety tips.

  1. Schedule a chimney inspection at least once a year. Creosote, or condensed smoke, builds up on the flue and can catch fire. An annual cleaning and inspection can help prevent chimney fires.
  2. Keep flammable items at least three feet from heat sources. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 56 percent of fatal home heating fires ignite from items being placed too close to heating equipment. Make sure everything is a safe distance from heat sources, including the furnace, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
  3. Check smoke detectors frequently. Approximately 60 percent of house fire deaths happen in structures with no working smoke alarms. Test your home’s smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries each year.
  4. Have a family escape plan and practice it regularly. All household members need to know all exit strategies in case a fire breaks out, as well as where to meet once they’re safely outside. Have a semiannual drill and practice at different times of the day.
  5. Cook safely. Never leave the room when boiling, frying or baking, keep pot holders and dish towels away from the flame, and immediately turn off appliances when not in use.
  6. Be mindful of holiday decorations. If you choose to decorate with strings of lights, always check their condition first. Throw out those with exposed electrical wiring, and be sure to read over the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: “Fireplace at Mom’s” by Catherine © 2009 (CC BY 2.0)

Chanhassen, MN

With all of the recent news surrounding Prince’s death and the subsequent conversion of Paisley Park from the late artist’s home into a public museum, Chanhassen has been in the national spotlight quite a bit lately. But by no means is the museum the only attraction the city has to offer.

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The western neighbor of Eden Prairie, Chanhassen is a charming suburb fit for a postcard. A quaint downtown, tree-lined streets, and plenty of park acreage make it a beautiful place to visit year-round, but especially in autumn, when the fall foliage is at its peak.

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If a drive or stroll through town isn’t enough to satisfy your autumnal leaf cravings, then you’ll definitely want to visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to see nature at its most colorful. Ranging from red maples to maroon and purple oaks, the trees here are the state’s most diverse collection. While at the arboretum, be sure to check out Pumpkin Palooza and the AppleHouse, which has an offering of more than 50 varieties of apples. We’ll bet there’s nary a doctor in sight!

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Before Paisley Park opened to the public, the most well-known destination for visitors was probably the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. The theater is the nation’s largest of its kind, and more than 10 million people have enjoyed its 220+ productions over the years. It’s earned more than 1.6k 5-star reviews on Facebook alone, and fans rave about the Broadway-caliber performances, live music, amazing food, and exceptional customer service. The theater can take you from first date all the way to “I do,” as it’s a popular choice for both nights out and wedding receptions. Looking for something more low-key? Then check out the attached Brindisi’s Pub, which claims to have the best happy hour in town.  

With a median sales price of $347,500 (most homes sold for $350k+ in the last six months), the city is way ahead of the rest of Carver County and the Twin Cities region as a whole.

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Chanhassen’s population is growing at a rate about twice that of Minnesota; this is the main impetus for a bevy of new development throughout the city. All the new construction is reflected in the city’s median home age of just 23 years (half of the state’s average age).

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The city is overwhelmingly popular among mid-career level professionals and their families, which fuels the demand for homes with 3+ bedrooms. Luxurious neighborhoods like Longacres and Stone Creek are recognized for their beautiful spacious homes, many boasting more than 2500 square feet.

Most residents spend an average of 23 minutes traveling to work each day. For those who rely on public transportation for their commute to downtown Minneapolis and the U of M, there are two transit stations conveniently located on opposite ends of town, with eight routes making frequent roundtrips.

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In 2009, Chanhassen was named the #2 best place to live in America by Money Magazine (most recently, it ranked #7 in 2015). With a high quality of life, low unemployment, unparalleled amenities, fantastic schools, well-educated residents (97% of adults have a high school diploma or higher) and homes as cute as the one seen above, these accolades come as no surprise!

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Outdoor recreation and leisure activities are highly prioritized among Chanhassen residents. There are two golf courses within the city limits (Bluff Creek and Halla Greens), and Hazeltine National Golf Club (of recent Ryder Cup fame) is just a chip shot away in neighboring Chaska. When it gets too chilly to hit the links as it inevitably does every year, you can take your golf game indoors at Golf Zone, which features 40 heated driving range stalls and an 18-hole putting green.

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Fitness is also important to Chanhassians. More than 90 miles of trails, 20+ parks, and five public beaches help residents stay on the move. Undoubtedly, this collective passion for a healthy lifestyle influenced the choice of Lifetime Fitness to establish headquarters in the city. More than 1,000 of the national brand’s employees are based in Chanhassen, and we’re betting those lucky people have access to the high end amenities offered by the impressive health club onsite.

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The importance of physical well-being is imparted on residents from their early years, with a pay-as-you-go recreation center (attached to Bluff Creek Elementary School) that has served the community for over 20 years. According to the city website, the rec center “takes pride in creating a fun and friendly atmosphere for people of all ages at an affordable price. [It] is a focal point for many of the city’s recreation activities. The facilities include a gym, fitness room, aerobics/dance room, and meeting rooms.” Outside, there are tennis courts and plenty of green space. About three miles east in downtown Chanhassen is the skate park, another favorite pastime for the city’s youth.

Speaking of the youngins, there are plenty of seasonal activities that will delight both children and children-at-heart. From the annual Halloween party to February Festival to the state-renowned Fourth of July celebration, the family-friendly events are great ways for Chanhassians to connect with their community.

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Of course, we can’t end this blog without mentioning Prince one more time. While the longtime community member and landowner is no doubt the most famous former resident of Chanhassen, he certainly is not the only star who’s called the city home. Minnesota congressman Erik Paulsen grew up in Chanhassen, as did NFL player Tim Mattran. Kris Humphries (yes, Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband) has a home here, and James Denton (who had his own famous Housewife) is rumored to live in the area as well.

Do you live in Chanhassen? Did you ever get a chance to meet Prince? Have you been one of the lucky few so far to tour Paisley Park? We’d love for you to share your stories in the comments!

Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Public Parks & Attractions

District 112 See the full list of community and regional parks here
District 276 Chanhassen Dinner Theater
Chapel Hill Academy Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
St. Hubert Catholic School Paisley Park

Faith Communities

Local Restaurants

Bethel Fellowship Church Brindisi’s Pub
Chanhassen Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Chuckwagon Charlie’s Smokehouse & Saloon
Discovery United Methodist Church Gina Maria’s Pizza
Family of Christ Lutheran Church Happy Garden II
Living Christ Lutheran Church Houlihan’s
St. Hubert Catholic Community Kai’s Sushi & Grill
Temple of Eck, Eckankar Na’s Thai Cafe
Westwood Community Church Paragon Bakery
For more info on life in Chanhassen, check out this year’s Residents Guide! Piada Italian Street Food
Pizzaioli
Rey Azteca

Adding Privacy to Your Patio or Yard

A yard or patio is the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors, whether that means playtime with your kids or quiet relaxation after a long day. And while you may like your neighbors, you may not want to see and hear them every time you venture into your backyard. If more privacy interests you, consider these options below:

Fencing — Probably the most straightforward solution, fences have long been the go-to for homeowners seeking seclusion. Be sure to check city ordinances and HOA policies before installing one.

Hedges — Shrubs like boxwood and privet are commonly planted along property lines. Choose an evergreen variety for year-long privacy. Make sure it’s suited for your climate and matures to your desired height.

Screens — Stylish and effective, folding wood-panel screens add a nice visual element while blocking unwanted views. Opt for a weather-resistant screen designed for the outdoors.

Trellis — The lattice configurations on these simple wooden structures offer an element of privacy. They’re also a perfect host for climbing vines and plants if you’d like additional coverage. Just be sure to check the sunlight and care requirements for the vegetation you plant.

Pergola — A pergola helps block views from second-story windows and balconies. It can be as simple or intricate as you’d like and will offer a degree of shade along with privacy.

Drapes — Budget-friendly and chic, panels help screen off your patio and can be moved as desired. Make sure the fabric is suitable for outdoor use or spray it with a water-resistant coating.

Vertical Garden — If you’re looking to increase privacy and also want to grow your own herbs, consider a living wall. You can buy prefabricated tower planters for easy installation.

If neighborly noise is a problem, a water fountain is a relaxing, sound-muffling solution. Consider your outdoor space and choose the privacy-adding options that work for you.


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Featured Image Photo Credit: “RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014” by Karen Roe © 2014 (CC BY 2.0)

Fall Landscaping Ideas: How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter

Fall landscaping preparation ideas ready your yard for a long winter and glorious spring.


By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon | Published: October 4, 2011

Fall landscaping chores are your last chance to prepare your property for winter, and to protect that curb appeal you’ve worked so hard to create. So pull on some gloves, grab your tools, and get ready to mulch, prune, and plant before snow and frozen ground turn the lights out on your landscaping.

Spread Mulch

“Fall mulching is better for the plants than spring mulching,” says Dan Taft, owner of The Cutting Edge in Chantilly, Va. “It helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during a cold and dry winter.”

Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees. Taft warns home owners to avoid using free mulch from municipal piles, which often contain disease spores; instead, buy hardwood shredded mulch from home and garden centers, he says.

“Cheap, dump mulch mainly is made from trees that have died from disease,” Taft says. “Many diseases will linger in the mulch, like leaf spot and pine bark borers. You don’t want ground-up diseased plants around your landscaping.”

Remove the Dead and Dying

Fall isn’t the time to prune, because that encourages growth when healthy plants should remain dormant. But don’t shelve your shears and loppers yet. Fall is the time to neaten your landscaping before putting it to bed for the winter.

“If you remove dead landscaping in fall, you don’t have to look at it all winter,” Taft says.

  • Remove dead annuals.
  • Deadhead spent blooms, and cut back dead and desiccated ornamental grasses and perennials.
  • Lightly prune dead and dying branches from shrubs and trees. Carefully remove dried blossoms from hydrangea, but don’t remove dead-looking stalks, where new buds will form in spring.
  • After the first frost, cut back tea roses to about a third of their height.

Wrap Delicate Shrubs

Heavy snow, ice, and high winds can dry and split your delicate and pricey shrubs. To protect your landscaping from the winter elements:

  • Hide small plants under overturned plastic pots or buckets.
  • Wrap shrubs, such as boxwoods, in burlap.
  • Surround vulnerable trees with shredded leaves.

Take Advantage of Fall Sales

Early fall until the ground freezes is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Not only do cooler weather and autumn rain put less stress on young landscaping plants, nurseries often have sales to empty their shelves before winter.

“They need to sell every plant by Dec. 1,” Taft says. “Nurseries generally pay a third of the price that you’re paying. So don’t be afraid to offer less than the asking price. If you’re buying several things, the manager may give you a break.”

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Featured Image Photo Credit: “Williamstown, Massachusetts” by Doug Kerr © 2010 (CC BY-SA 2.0; Edited)

Top Corn Mazes in the Country, From Family Friendly to Super Scary

Fall is upon us, which means pumpkin spice and flannel is bound to be everywhere soon. But while those two trends may not be for everyone, there is an autumnal activity that all can enjoy: corn mazes! With hundreds of mazes available across the country, there’s something to please families, brainiacs, and thrill-seekers alike. Read on for our list of America’s most a-maize-ing corn mazes!

Family Fun

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1. Sever’s Corn Maze (Shakopee, MN; Sept. 9th-Oct. 30th)

Part of Sever’s beloved Fall Festival – now in its 20th year – the corn maze is fun for all ages. Navigate through the winding stalks as a family, and read fun facts about the 19 previous mazes along the way. Those who participate in this year’s Maze Challenge will be entered into a grand prize drawing, and the winner will be chosen at the end of the season. Past maze designs include the state of Minnesota, the Vikings logo, and a world map.

2. Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Corn Maze (Brooklyn Park, MN; Sept. 24th-Oct. 30th)

Of course we couldn’t forget to mention Minnesota’s largest corn maze. This year, locals will love tackling the Vikings-themed maze, which celebrates the team’s inaugural season at U.S. Bank Stadium. The maze has a sporty history, having previously been designed to honor the Wild and the Twins. Other activities at the festival include a straw bale maze (perfect for kids!), petting zoo, and hayride (of the non-haunted variety).

3. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (Ronks, PA; July 2nd-Oct. 30th)

You can tell by the farm’s website alone that this corn maze will be an adventure the whole family can enjoy (just check out that smiling corn cob!). You never have to worry about getting lost in this five-acre field, as there are friendly “Maze Masters” positioned throughout to help you on your way. The color-coordinated challenges along the way help encourage teamwork, making this a perfect activity for families and school field trips alike.

Challenging, Not Creepy

1. Great Vermont Corn Maze (Danville, VT; Aug. 1st-mid Oct.)

The largest maze in New England, the Great Vermont Corn Maze has been called one of the top 10 of its kind in America (and you can vote now to make sure it keeps that title). In fact, it’s so challenging, that organizers encourage participants to arrive as early as possible and bring lunch since most maze-goers spend between two to five hours in the maze and checking out the adjoining attractions. They even discourage most teenagers from entering the maze without adult supervision, since they feel they won’t be able to complete it on their own without giving up!

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Photo Credit: “Corn Mazin” by Mark Smithivas © 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0; Edited)

2. Richardson Farm (Spring Grove, IL; Sept. 3rd-Oct. 30th)

Calling all maze (and maize) aficionados – here’s one you don’t want to miss since it happens to be the self-proclaimed largest and most intricate corn maze in the world. This year, the 33-acre maze pays tribute to Star Trek for its 50th anniversary. If you think you can “live long and prosper” in this tough but fun course, then make the trek (see what we did there?) to Illinois and beam on over to Richardson Farm asap!

3. Cool Patch Pumpkins (Dixon, CA; Sept. 17th-Oct. 31st)

Founded in 2001, this maze has been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest (at 40 acres in 2007 and, again, at 60 acres in 2014). Bigger isn’t always better, though, as many challengers have discovered by getting lost among the tall stalks…and then proceeding to call 911 for help (a practice local sheriffs discourage, by the way). To avoid the commotion and potential panic, heed the map given to you at the maze’s entrance and plan to be in there for at least a couple hours.

This year’s design was inspired by the farm’s logo, and last year’s pattern was the emblem of nearby Sacramento Kings. The grounds also feature a world-renowned pumpkin patch (of course!), where the youngsters can partake in picking their own pumpkin from a field of thousands. More fun activities include the pumpkin cannon, a corn bath, and hay rides.

Terrifically Terrifying

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We wonder what’s lurking around those corners in the darkness… Photo Credit: “so scary” by Lindsey Turner © 2007 (CC BY 2.0)

1. Ludicrous Labyrinth at Scream Town (Chaska, MN; Sept. 30th-Oct. 30th)

Ready for some crazy thrills around every corner? Then enter the Twin Cities’ scariest labyrinth, and get ready to run for your life. Not only will you have to navigate the twists and turns of a typical corn maze, but you’ll also be combating fog, flashing lights, and creepy characters chasing you through the corn. Enter only if you’ve got nerves of steel (and a good pair of running shoes).

2. Haunted Carter Farms (Princeton, IA; Sept. 30th-Oct. 31st)

Touted as America’s original haunted corn maze, the only clue given by the creators here is where to begin – getting out of “the place where corn and nightmares grow” is entirely up to you. While they are all about unabashedly scaring the bejeezus out of you, there is a bit of good in their wicked hearts – if you bring two non-perishable food items, you’ll get $2 off admission and the items will be donated to The Hunger Drive. That, however, is where the kindness ends. Also, be sure to arrive on time – as they say, the last “victims” enter the gates at 10:30pm.

3. Dark Harvest Corn Maze (Ulster Park, NY; Sept. 17th-Nov. 5th)

Just one of many terror-inducing attractions at the Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, New York, the corn maze will surely fulfill your need to scream this Halloween season. Based on a chilling story, the maze is a dark, daunting labyrinth…with no emergency exits. This is definitely an enter-at-your-own-risk situation. Each attraction (including a hayride, several haunted houses, and the corn maze) leads to the next, so be prepared to be scared straight silly for at least three hours. If you can’t handle chainsaws, crazy clowns, or crowds, then we’d advise skipping this one altogether. May we suggest a visit to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm instead?

Have you ever ventured into a corn maze? Where? Do you prefer family friendly or freakishly frightening? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Photo Credit: “UFV corn maze media day 01” by University of the Fraser Valley © 2014 (CC BY 2.0)

Create an Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

Your vehicle requires routine maintenance to run smoothly, and the same goes for your house. Without service reminders, however, it can be easy to forget to tend to all the systems that keep your house fully functioning. Fortunately, you can create a simple annual maintenance checklist to properly care for your home and prevent potential issues from becoming major problems.

Start by making a list of each task you’ll need to complete over the coming year. Make sure your yearly home inspection includes all major systems (HVAC, electrical and plumbing), the interior and exterior of your home, water and septic tanks, doors and windows, and the attic or basement if applicable.

When that’s done, organize the list according to how often each item needs to be checked or maintained and set reminders accordingly. Your home maintenance checklist might start to look similar to this:

Monthly

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Change air filters in the heating and air conditioning system.
  • Clean range hood filters to avoid possible grease fires.
  • Trim back any shrubbery or plant growth around the outdoor HVAC unit by at least 18 inches.

Quarterly

  • Check and wipe down sliding doors and window tracks.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors.
  • Test garage door and grease tracks as needed.

Semiannually

  • Clear gutters of spring and fall foliage.
  • Power wash windows and siding.
  • Schedule seasonal service of the HVAC system before summer and winter.

Annually

  • Inspect and insulate pipes to protect them from freezing.
  • Trim trees and shrubs away from the home’s exterior.
  • Touch up exterior paint and check for wood rot or water damage.
  • Check grouting in kitchen and bathroom and repair if necessary.

A home maintenance checklist will make it easier for you to manage the upkeep of your house. It can also help you catch minor issues before they become costly home repairs.


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Featured Image Photo Credit: “3D Home Inspection Checklist” by Chris Potter via Flickr © 2012 (CC BY 2.0)

Minnesota Universities Rank Highly on U.S. News Best Colleges List

It’s back to school for most of us, and that means one thing: school ratings are here. U.S. News just released its annual rankings of the best national colleges, and two Minnesota universities have scored coveted spots on the highly regarded list.

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Photo Credit: “Pillsbury Hall” by Mulad (Public Domain)

The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities made the top 100 at #71 overall and #26 among public schools. With campuses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, students are just minutes away from either downtown and the urban amenities that entails. Likewise, students who make the short trek to Stadium Village get to watch the NCAA Div. I Gophers play at TCF Bank Stadium. Location and camaraderie are just two factors that contribute to the school’s 92% freshman retention rate. Another noteworthy accomplishment? The U has the nation’s #4 best undergraduate chemical engineering program among schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. Also impressive are the school’s top-ranking graduate programs: #9 for best medical school (primary care) and #27 for best business school (the Carlson School of Management).

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Photo Credit: “St. Thomas Campus” by Mulad (Public Domain)

Coming in at a respectable #118 is the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. An 84% acceptance rate and low student to instructor ratio help make all Tommies feel welcome, aiding the high retention rate (currently at 88%). St. Thomas also notably tied as the 78th best college for veterans in the country.

Schools on U.S. News’ list are ranked on various indicators, including graduation and retention rates, academic reputation, and financial resources (see complete methodology here). Other Midwest universities on the list include University of Chicago (#3), Northwestern University (#11), and University of Notre Dame (#15). The full rankings can be found here.

How to Tame Your Jungly Late-Summer Garden

Don’t suffer the ugly anymore. Here’s how to give your garden a fall makeover.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon


Your poor, sad garden. The spent vines, stubborn weeds, and greens gone to seed are putting a pitiful spin on your backyard retreat.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some simple tips to tidy up your garden and yard, which will also help prep them for next year.

Bury the Dead

Nothing looks sadder than leggy tomato vines, yellow zucchini leaves, and dried-up perennials that long ago displayed their last bloom. So pull and prune the dead or dying plants in your garden.

Bury spent plants in your compost pile; double-bag diseased and infested plants and place in the trash. (Empty mulch bags are great final resting places for these plants, so be sure to stockpile them in spring.)

If your tomato vines are still bearing fruit, keep staking and pruning them until the first hard frost, when they’ll likely die. And give the birds a break and leave some seed-bearing but spent blooms for them. They love sunflowers, cone flowers, berries, and black-eyed Susans.

Pull Weeds

This is the last time this season to pull weeds. Pluck them before they flower and send seeds throughout your garden that will rest in winter and sprout in spring.

If you have a mulcher, chop the weeds and throw them on your compost pile. If you want to be extra sure that weed seeds are dead, bag weeds in black plastic and place in a sunny place for a couple of months. The heat will kill the seeds. Then throw the cooked weeds on your compost pile.

Harvest Seeds

One way to cut garden expenses is to harvest and store seeds. One large sunflower, for instance, can provide seeds for hundreds of plants next spring. Here are some seed guidelines.

  • Harvest seeds from heirloom vegetables and standard plants.
  • Disease can spread through seeds, so only harvest seeds from your healthiest plants.
  • Don’t harvest seeds from hybrid plants, which often are sterile or will look nothing like the parent plant.
  • Only harvest mature seeds from dry and faded blooms and pods. Mature seeds are often cream colored or brown.
  • After seeds are dry, store them in envelopes or glass jars in a cool, dry place.

Gather Supports

Stack and cover metal tomato cages. Bundle wooden or bamboo stakes, and store in a dry place so they don’t rot over winter. And retrieve panty-hose vine ties that you can re-use next spring.

Instead of throwing out broken cages and stakes, repurpose them. Snip off remaining cage legs to use for pepper supports. Broken tomato steaks will support smaller plants if you whittle one end into a point, so it easily slips into the ground.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Featured Image Photo Credit: “September Backyard” by Brian Teutsch ©2014 (CC BY 2.0)

New Hope, MN

Located about 10 miles Northwest of Downtown Minneapolis, New Hope is a first-ring suburb that’s a great choice for those seeking large city convenience with small town comforts. Currently home to more than 20,000 people, the city’s population is expected to grow to 22,500 by 2030.

Back in 1936 when Crystal first became a city, not all residents supported the idea. So the rural residents in the western half of the original township broke away from the city of Crystal and formed their own township, which was named New Hope as a reflection of their ambitious endeavor.

Although New Hope eventually incorporated and became a city itself in 1953, it didn’t lose its roots of being a farming-rich community. Its agricultural history can still be seen today through the city’s community gardens and farmer’s market, the only Saturday market in the northwest suburbs, open June through October. The new Hy-Vee store also recently dedicated its own community garden in honor of the daughter of the brand’s co-founder. Sustainability is undoubtedly important to New Hope, and it definitely shows – the city was recently recognized as a “Step 3” Minnesota GreenStep award-winner, one of only 23 cities to receive this honor.

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New Hope is a distinctly picturesque city that encourages residents to capture its unique beauty through the annual New Hope In Focus photo contest, which began in 2010. The competition is meant to inspire civic pride, motivate amateur and professional shutterbugs, and encourage those who live and work in New Hope to explore their city. Residents can submit pictures in four categories: people, places, nature, and youth. This year’s nominees can be seen here; voting for the People’s Choice award ends September 15th.

One of the most photogenic aspects of the city is the green space – there’s more than 200 acres of it throughout the city’s 20 parks. Impressively, nearly every New Hope home is within a quarter-mile of a city park. The crown jewel of the city’s park system is Northwood Park, which even inspired a resident to dedicate an entire blog to her beauteous observations. Check out some of the stunning sights here. For more inspiring views of nature undisturbed by human development, head on over to Dorothy Mary Park – six acres of untouched land called home by critters such as grey squirrels, red-tailed hawks, and many others.

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Other recreational opportunities for residents and guests include the New Hope Village Golf Course, the New Hope Ice Arena, the soon-to-be Bassett Creek Regional Trail (connecting the city to Plymouth and Golden Valley), and the Milton C. Honsey Outdoor Pool. Open June through August, the facility features a concessions area, an Olympic‐sized pool with a drop slide and diving boards, and a separate shallow water pool with play features for young children. Just a couple blocks away is the New Hope YMCA, featuring an outdoor waterpark, perfect for hot summer (or Indian Summer) days. For those who prefer to fly high and stay dry, there’s a tier-one skate park called the “Sk8 Pad,” which opened in Civic Center Park in 2008. Human New Hopers aren’t the only ones who can enjoy the outdoors, though; there are also several off-leash dog parks throughout the city (see the 2016 resident’s guide for a full list).

New Hope is currently undergoing a period of reinvigoration. Since 2000, almost 800 new housing units have been constructed, with more big development projects in the works. Indeed, one of the city’s primary goals is to focus on the redevelopment of existing land for creative housing and commercial endeavors.

In addition, many New Hope homeowners are also updating their existing homes by expanding or making improvements that better suit their lifestyle. 2006 was the inaugural year of the Residential Property Recognition Program, which spotlights homeowners who have done a particularly outstanding job with property maintenance or improvements; remodeling, renovation or home addition; landscaping or gardens; or environmentally sensitive improvements. Highlighting these exemplary properties helps to encourage residents to display their community pride and to inspire every New Hope homeowner to make their property something special.

Linden Park Condominiums 3    New Hope Place Apartments 2

There are plenty of housing choices for those who want to share in the New Hope pride of homeownership, ranging from single family homes (previously owned or new construction) to condos, townhouses, and more. Whether you’re part of a growing family or young professionals seeking your first home (check out the MCPP [see page 21 for more info]), you will be able to find a nice, affordable option in New Hope. Since bottoming out in 2012, the city’s median sales price for single-family homes has been steadily increasing to its current level of $227,000 (see chart below).

The city of New Hope is well positioning itself for the future by continuing to provide a healthy economic base, a well‐maintained infrastructure, and public facilities to enhance the quality of life for residents. In 2001, the city established a cost efficient approach to maintaining vital infrastructure. According to the city’s website:

“The New Hope City Council made a commitment to preserve the city’s streets and parks in very good condition. A street infrastructure plan was developed based upon a detailed analysis of pavement condition throughout the city to ensure that street improvements would be made when they were most cost effective. The Council also established street and park infrastructure funds, financed through city property taxes, to pay for these ongoing improvement programs. So, while the city of New Hope’s share of property taxes may seem slightly higher than some neighboring communities, owners of taxable properties in New Hope pay no special assessments for street improvements (which often total $4,000 to $8,000 in other communities).”

Cost savings are not the only reason residents love living in New Hope. In fact, 89% of those interviewed in a recent city survey rated quality of life in the suburb as either good or excellent. One of the main factors contributing to their happiness is its location and accessibility. With the major arterials of Highway 169, Highway 100, I-694, and I-394 all nearby, New Hope has easy access to Minneapolis’ western suburbs and the entire Twin Cities area. The city is also well served by several Metro Transit bus lines and a Park and Ride facility is conveniently located for residents at 63rd Avenue and Bottineau Boulevard. 

IMG_2911Furthermore, New Hopers’ high quality of life is, in part, due to the dedication of the public servants. Residents have a chance to thank their local firefighters in person each October, when the West Metro Fire-Rescue District hosts an open house at the city’s three stations (including the centrally-located headquarters, seen above).

New Hope’s nearly 500 businesses also make it easy for residents to live and work all within the city’s borders. One of the largest companies headquartered here is Liberty Diversified International (LDI), which began as a small family-owned business in 1918 and has since grown to a worldwide enterprise with more than 1,500 employees. In fact, in 2006 LDI was presented with the city’s inaugural Outstanding Business Award. In the 10 years since, 26 other New Hope companies (both large and small) have been given the award, which recognizes businesses for noteworthy accomplishments such as expanding or improving a building or property, creating new jobs for residents, reaching a milestone year in business, or providing outstanding community service.

Speaking of longstanding businesses, New Hope Bowl has been a local-loved favorite for over 50 years. Recognized by its bold sign and sand volleyball courts in the parking lot, the bowling alley is so much more than lanes and pins. A popular venue for birthday parties, company gatherings, and wedding receptions alike, the lounge also serves food from the Italian Pie Shoppe. Moonlight bowling will also be starting back up for the year in October, for those who prefer knocking strikes in the dark.

Outtakes Bar & Grill 2

The New Hope Cinema Grill and Outtakes Bar is a perfect option for so many different events: date night (dinner and a movie in one place), watching the big game (they’ve got huge screens), and birthday parties (party packages are available). There’s also stand-up comedy, live music, and an arcade. Check out showtimes here!

Pub 42 3    Mountain Mudd 3

For a mid-size suburb, there is a surprisingly wide variety of dining and entertainment options in New Hope. One new hotspot is Pub 42, which took the place of The Sunshine Factory (which relocated to Plymouth after 37 years in New Hope) on the corner of Quebec and 42nd. A great happy hour, diverse menu, and options for private dining all make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood! Another enjoyable eatery is Mountain Mudd & Niko’s Bar (recently rebranded), a chill place to enjoy a cuppa joe and listen to live tunes. Don’t forget to take a look around at the eclectic interior decorations. Another local joint known for its live entertainment is Frankie’s Pizza, which also hosts trivia games every Wednesday night.

Outdoor Theatre 3

Throughout the year, New Hope also holds several seasonal celebrations that are beloved by locals and visitors alike. The annual summer festival, quirkily called Duk Duk Daze, is held the third weekend of July, and features activities such as a fire hose demo, bean bag tournament, and Frankie’s Pizza eating contest. Also at the end of July, the Off Broadway Musical Theatre presents a musical at the outdoor playhouse. Past productions include “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Sound of Music,” “Cinderella” and “Annie.” Lastly, the holidays are a big deal to New Hope residents, who get a chance to put their Christmas spirit on display through the New Hope Sparkles lighting contest. Greg and Jennifer Larson have taken their love for lighting to the next level, making Larson’s Lights a local phenomenon. The display, featuring over 100,000 lights, must be seen to be believed! Luckily, you don’t have to wait long, as this year’s opening night is just over 2.5 months away (check out the website’s countdown!).

If the city’s many amenities, growth opportunities, and entertainment options sound like a great fit for you, then consider calling New Hope home! Contact us today to find out more about moving to New Hope!

Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Public Parks & Attractions

District 281 See the full list of city parks here
District 287 New Hope Bowl 

Faith Communities

Local Restaurants

Calvary Solid Rock Cake Box
Evergreen Community Church Cinema Grill & Outtakes Bar
 Holy Nativity Lutheran Church Country Kitchen
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church DW’s Diner
House of Hope Lutheran Church Fat Nat’s Eggs
 New Hope Church Frankie’s Pizza
Northwest Church of Christ  Gion Restaurant
 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Hy-Vee Market Grille
 

For more info on life in New Hope, check out this year’s Residents Guide!

 

Italian Pie Shoppe
Jet’s Pizza
Mountain Mudd Espresso
New Panda House
New Wok Express
Papa’s Cafe
Pub 42

Is it time to replace your front door?

Your front door is one of the first things guests notice when visiting your home. In addition to providing security and protection, your front door can make a bold statement and reflect your personal style.

But whether or not your current front door matches your home’s interior and your taste, if you feel a draft, see any cracks or hear squeaky joints or scraping sounds, it may be time to replace it. Consider your options with some of the most common front door materials and features.

Materials

  • Wood: Though beautiful, solid wood doors are expensive and sensitive to the elements. Some modern wood doors come with steel cores to minimize warping and reduce cost.
  • Fiberglass: A durable and cost-effective option is a fiberglass composite door. Their foam cores are good insulators, and they can withstand harsh climates.
  • Steel: Strong but subject to dents, steel doors are the least expensive of the three. They have shorter life spans and aren’t well-suited for extreme climates, but depending on their core, they can be energy efficient.

Styles
There are multiple styles to choose from, including:

  • Solid panel doors
  • Arched doors
  • Dutch or split doors
  • Double doors
  • Decorative doors with glass inserts
  • Frosted glass doors with ornamental wrought iron overlaid for added security

You could even complement your front door with sidelights or a transom window while also letting in more outside light.

Colors
The color of your front door should depend mostly on the exterior style and colors of your house, your personal taste and the type of door chosen. If your house is mostly neutral in color, don’t be afraid to go bold with your front door.

Use these tips to help make your front door an inviting entrance that not only offers protection from the elements but also reflects your personal style.


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Featured Image Photo Credit: “Front door with flowers” by Peter Stevens © 2009 (CC BY 2.0)