There are as many ideas of home as there are people in the world, but Stillwater offers such a diverse array of neighborhoods – from old to new, modest to opulent – that even the pickiest home browsers feel compelled to kick off their shoes and start picking out curtains.
College students, young professionals, families, corporate executives and retirees all hang their hats comfortably in this city of nearly 50,000.
“Stillwater has got some phenomenal neighborhoods,” says Mike Lauvetz, president of the Stillwater Board of Realtors. “We have some neighborhoods that are historic, like College Gardens, and we have some high-end gated neighborhoods. The majority of what we have are mid-ranged, moderately priced, family-style Middle America neighborhoods.”
Case in point: Berry Creek, in southwest Stillwater, is radiating with the American Dream. Three phases of completed and almost fully occupied homes, an enclave of garden homes – a gated section of the community where landscaping is provided for homeowners – and two still-to-come phases round out the 205-home community, which is billed as a haven of respite for busy families.
A waterfall at the neighborhood’s entrance greets residents, who also enjoy a swimming pool and a community clubhouse.
“We wanted to develop a feeling of ‘Ahhh, I’m home,’ as soon as you pull into development,” says Carol Ebert, a member of the Berry Creek Development Team headed up by her husband, Mike. “It’s just that feeling of comfort, of ‘I’m coming home, now I can let the rest of my day go.’ And I think we did it, with the waterfalls and the flowers – it’s very pretty.”
If Berry Creek is a facet of Stillwater’s new face, College Gardens is the city’s heritage. The sense of history is almost palpable in this decades-old neighborhood, where distinguished homes grace meandering streets lined with mature trees. The neighborhood, convenient to the university and downtown, is a unique blend of longtime residents and vibrant students, all of whom share a distinct pride of ownership in their homes.
“We like the fact that everything looks different – not every house looks the same,” says Katie Oomens, who moved to the College Gardens area with her family in fall 2007. “The houses all have individual character. You can tell people have lived here a long time, that they’ve made this their home.”
Just a few of Stillwater’s other dwelling options include Deer Ridge, the first eco-minded development in the area that features Energy Star ratings for each home; Stillwater Country Club, which sits on an 18-hole golf course; and a variety of retirement communities such as The Renaissance and the Sterling House of Stillwater.
But wherever home sweet home may be in Stillwater, everyone’s singing the same song about friendly neighbors and engaged communities. Oomens in College Gardens said she knew they were in the right neighborhood when, on his first night in their new home, her husband was welcomed by a neighbor with an apple pie.
“What makes Stillwater great is our people,” Lauvetz says. “You’d be amazed about how many people live here and commute to Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ponca City or Enid because they love the quality of life here. We’re second to none.”
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