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#1 of 19 Old 01-23-2006, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are have had a job offer in this area and wondered what it is like. Is it crunchy? What are the schools like? Elementary and high schools (can't believe high school next year!) Any good open minded peds in this area? Any info is much appreciated. As I continue to research I may have more questions.
Thanks again.

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#2 of 19 Old 01-24-2006, 01:34 AM
 
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Westminster, a suburb to the NW of Denver, is a pretty nice area. It's generally pretty new, very white-bread suburbia but it's accessible to many communities, including Boulder and Denver, that are more crunchy than the 'burbs. It's in Jefferson County and I just moved to Jeffco (we live a little south of Westminster) but I understand that the schools are decent, I actually think the high schools are quite good. Welcome to Colorado, it's fabulous!
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#3 of 19 Old 01-24-2006, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nak
Thank you for your response. We also have never lived in the snow before. I think Chico is at about 200'. Any suggestions advice on how to prepare? What sort of ideas for inside activities for kids? Are there many inside playgrounds there? I have never driven in snow for any length of time (ocassional day trips). We have an older minivan. Do we need to get something different? 4x4? We are not keen on the idea of an SUV. Although I sure wish we had the $ for a highlander hybrid.
Home prices appear to be fairly reasonable in Westminster. Are there any areas that have comparable home prices with a bit of land? 1-2 acres.
How long is your growing season? What types of veggies and fruits can one grow in the area?
Thank you

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#4 of 19 Old 01-25-2006, 09:51 PM
 
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The weather, imo (as a native) is quite temperate, really. We were outside for over 2 hours, in 20-30 minute spurts today and most of this month has been similar. On days that it is really icky out, there are some awesome rec centers around, many with indoor play areas that are free Westminster City Park Rec center is on Sheridan north of 104th, and it has a big, kid friendly pool plus climbing wall, playarea for the little ones, etc.

You won't need any new vehicles unless yours don't handle the transition to altitude well, be sure you get them tuned once you're up here. We do have a 4x4 for when we want to hit the mountains on dirt roads, but even to go skiing, you rarely need 4 wheel drive or even chains. Driving in snow will take some getting used to, but imo it's no worse than driving in rain once you understand how it feels.

Land is, unfortunately hard to come by for a reasonable price unless you head pretty far east We have .6 acre, and most people say we have SO MUCH YARD (uh, not imo, but then my mom had over a full acre, my dad right at 1 acre. Occasionally you can find a place with land, but we're loath to leave this property because it's so expensive to have land and still commute to Boulder (where dh works).

Our growing season is fairly short, typically mid June-Sept. For tomatos, and crops that need a longer growing season, we have to start indoors in May, then transplant once the ground is staying warm. Things that are easy to grow: corn, strawberries, most melons and squashes, beans and peas, and hardy fruit trees (we have cherry and apples) I'm sure I'm forgetting some. We are in drought with heavy watering restrictions (although they may be a bit lighter this year) so you need plan carefully when planting. Biggest bummer is you may find your yard it mostly clay (ours is) and no good for planting - we finally decided to buy a black compost bin to spead up our composting (hoping to increase heat, etc) because without compost, we can't grow much at all.

HTH
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#5 of 19 Old 01-28-2006, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for resonding to my questions. We are seriously considering this area. I was born and raised in Chico,ca and have never lived anywhere else. We have 4 kids, so naturally we want to know as much as possible to help us decide.

does westminster have a natural food store? farmers market? what is the produce like in the middle of winter? any community gardens?

what about health care in the area? are there pediatricians that are open about non vaxing, cosleeping, etc...are there lactation consultants? doulas? homebirth mws? i am interested in working with them.
i appreciate any info you'd like to share about the area. We are looking at homes online. Are there any areas in westminster or close by that you would recommend for families with children.

thanks to all for your thoughts, advice and opinion.

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#6 of 19 Old 01-29-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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I recetnly moved to Broomfield which is the next town north of Westminster. I like it here very well. There are a lot of parks. The rec center is nice. The library has lots of programs for kids. I don't know about the schools. There is a Wild Oats natural food store in Westminster although the one at that location is small. I'm not aware of any community gardens since I moved here in November. I do believe they have a farmer's market in Westminster.
The pp mentioned fruit trees but that can be difficult in this area with the late frosts. It warms up really nice in the spring the trees bud out and then a late frost hits.
The air is very dry out here and that may take some getting used to.
I'll try to think of more info for you.
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#7 of 19 Old 02-02-2006, 06:29 AM
 
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I live in Westminster, near Standley Lake. It's a pretty nice area. It's not as crunch as Boulder, but we're pretty close so it's easy to get more crunchy stuff if you need it.

There's the Wild Oats that a pp mentioned, and we do a lot of shopping there. There's also a Vitamin Cottage (locally-owned natural store--great for supplements and stuff especially) in Arvada, just a mile south of where I live. I've seen a farmer's market in Westminster, but wasn't terribly impressed. However, I think Arvada and Broomfield both have farmer's markets too. And there's a farm or two, not terribly far out, where you buy a share of something and can come and pick up foods in season (I know there's a name for this...forget what).

Right now, the produce is ok, although I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't find any winter squash at Wild Oats this week. I plan to check Vitamin Cottage, and if not there, just give up and get the conventional produce at King Soopers or Safeway (both of those stores carry some organic now too, although it's limited). I recently bought organic mangos and papayas, kiwis, avocados, oranges, pears, apples. We've got broccoli and greens and carrots. Saw some eggplant. So, it's not bad, although not everything is available.

If you drive up to Boulder, there's a larger Vitamin Cottage, larger Wild Oats (actually, more than one location) and a Whole Foods. There's also a Whole Foods store in Cherry Creek (downtown Denver), which is probably a 30 minute drive in decent traffic. BTW--one of the great things about Westminster is that you're very close to Denver (it takes me 15-30 minutes to get downtown, and there are plenty of express buses for anyone commuting), and that you're also close to Boulder (about a 30 minute drive, and again, more buses for commuting).

Health care: There are lactation consultants, both independent, and as part of hospitals (our hospital, in Wheat Ridge, included them as part of the services--including after we left so we could come back and do weight checks and ask questions--all for free) and a few different LLL groups (haven't gone...10 am meetings are not our strong point in this household). There are also a number of breastfeeding stores in the area. I can think of at least three, and more in the southern suburbs. There are plenty of doulas. I'm not sure about homebirth midwives, but being so close to Boulder, I'd be shocked if we didn't have them. As far as peds: our ped is pretty conventional overall, so I can't really help you (DD starts out the night in her crib...he doesn't need to worry himself about the co-sleeping half of the night). But again--if you can't find one in Westminster that works for you, I'm sure there's one in Boulder/Broomfield/Lousiville/Superior/Lafayette--all of which are about a 10-20 minute drive depending on where you are.

Westminster is split between two counties: Adams and Jefferson. Those of us in Jeffco (as we so affectionally call it) are mostly in the western portion of Westminster. Areas differ considerably, so keep that in mind. Some of Westminster is very nice, and others are more modest. We live in modest neighborhood (1974 bi-level), but my backyard also backs to a community walking path with a canal behind that and open space behind that...so I think it's pretty nice. The closer towards the city you go, the more city-like it is. The further north or west (or really east--probably towards the plains), the more land you can get.

One of the neatest things, in my mind, are all of the trails and parks Westminster has to offer. The path behind my house connects to a number of different trails, so there's a lot of biking/running/walking opportunities nearby. I left my house and took a 10 mile run a few months back, and still didn't get to the end of one of the trails. Plus, the weather here is so nice a great deal of the time, so they get use year-round. I bring DD in the jogging stroller and we go in all kinds of weather. The average January temp is probably 45 or so--and it's a sunny, nice 45 (or often, 50) so it's easy to go outside and enjoy the weather. The North Jeffco Parks Dept also has an indoor playground somewhere, and there are some other thing like that. Still, it's rare to have more than a couple of days of nasty weather, so for the most part, you can enjoy outdoor activities without a lot of trouble.

Gardening: I usually start my garden in April with crops that can handle frost (lettuce, carrots, etc), and then plant tomatoes and such mid-May or the end of May. We usually don't tear out the remaining plants until October, and as long as you cover the plants in case of a nasty frost, it's fine. Zucchini and other squash grow great. Tomatoes do well for me, lettuce is usually fine, my carrots are fine, and I've done beans too. If you can set up a drip irrigation system in your garden, you'll save a lot of water (and $$) and time, and the plants will love it. I haven't tried fruits, so I can't be of much help there. We've added a lot of compost and peat moss to our garden, and it's done really well. We also did a lot of xeriscaping so we can have flowers with little effort, and that's definitely paid off.

I can't imagine that you'd need a new vehicle, unless, like a pp said, yours can't handle the altitude. We have a Buick and a Saturn, and that's what we use for going up into the mountains, even with our canoe tied on top. It works fine. The snow here (in Westminster) is of two types: either you can drive through it with little problems, or there's so much that no one is going anywhere. When I first moved to CO, my apt manager told me that and I thought he was crazy (I'm originally from Chicago). But, it's true for the most part. Up in the mountains is a different story, of course, so if you plan to go skiing, you'll want to practice driving in snow and be prepared.

OK--that's a ton of stuff, but I hope it helps. I love living in Colorado!

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#8 of 19 Old 02-02-2006, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you sooo much for your imput! I appreciate the information. I will have more questions soon. I'm sure

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#9 of 19 Old 02-05-2006, 12:37 AM
 
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I just moved to Arvada which is close to Westminster, I don't have much to offer because I am just getting to know the area myself. I did want to say that the schools are the reason we moved into Jefferson County. There are many option and choice schools to fit your child's learning style or needs. I liked that. Also, I really like this location close to Boulder, close to downtown Denver. We have lived here since August and the weather has been amazing.
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#10 of 19 Old 02-05-2006, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm really looking forward to visiting soon. Probably in March. It appears to be a beautiful and fun place for families. Do they have any Monessori schools/preschools? Is there a central park or downtown central area? We look foward to meeting families to play with. Any summertime concerts, or regular occuring outdoor activies for families? We hope to find a few summertime camps as we would be moving in May/June if all works out well.

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#11 of 19 Old 02-06-2006, 07:22 AM
 
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There are definitely a number of Montessori preschools, and I suspect there are also schools (DD is only 13 months...it hurts my brain to think too far ahead ). There is a main park (Westminster City Park, and the rec center and fitness center are also located there), but Westminster is kind of large, really, so it's not like everyone in Westminster meets up there. In this area, people tend to go to whatever happens to be nearest, even if it's not technically part of their city. For example, the Standley Lake Library (Jeffco system) is in Arvada, but it's closest to me. I've never been to either of the Westminster libraries because they are further away.

There are summertime concerts at City Park, and all sorts of other stuff goes on. I'm not sure how many regular outdoor activities there are during the summer, seeing as most families head up to the mountains for hiking on a fairly regular basis. A lot of other people enjoy water sports and are out boating or waterskiing on the local reservoirs. I suspect there's plenty of organized familiy activites, but we've preferred the self-organized mountain variety.

Oh--I meant to tell you that we got our weekly paper today, and apparently there are community gardens in Westminster. There's one on 72nd Ave someplace, and there's talk that they might take some property that's currently open space (it was a historical apple orchard, apparently) and start a community garden. I'm rather excited about that since it's only a mile or so from where I live.

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#12 of 19 Old 02-06-2006, 10:00 PM
 
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You might want to consider Denver proper as opposed to Westminster, which is your basic suburb
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#13 of 19 Old 02-07-2006, 03:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We were looking at Westminster as that is where dh job location would be. We are definately open to other areas. What is Denver proper like? Is that the main part of Denver? We are looking for affordable housing. How is the housing costs in Denver proper?
I was born and raised in Chico, CA (northern CA). Chico doesn't have suburbs, it is just a small city. I am anxious about the chance to live in a new area. It will take time to adjust as always, with any move.
It sounds like it is a beautiful place to live. Are there any areas that would not be ideal for familes with small children?
Are there any birthcenters in the area?
Yay for the community garden! That sounds awesome. What is the local newpaper called in Westminster?
THank you for taking time to answer my questions

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#14 of 19 Old 02-07-2006, 05:59 AM
 
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Well, there are some areas of the Denver metro area that are nicer than others, but I think that's true anywhere.

The local paper is the Westminster Window, and it is a weekly paper. However, I'd encourage you to look at the Rocky Mountain News or Denver Post. Both papers carry news of the suburbs, and that's what nearly everyone reads anyhow.

I don't think there are any free standing birth centers anywhere in Colorado. I might be wrong about that. My own hospital experience was pretty relaxed--they encouraged women to walk around, had jacuzzi tubs, birthing balls, etc. (Yes, I had an emergency C-section, but that had nothing to do with invasive medical practices or any of the other elements that might lead to a C-section in a hospital setting. Sadly, I wasn't in the LDR room long enough to anything besides glance at the tub while giving a urine sample ).

Like a PP said, it's definitely typical suburbia. If you are looking to try to keep some of the small town feel and don't mind a commute, you might look at some of the communities that are NE or E of Westminster (around Brighton, maybe Lafayette or Louisville, Erie), etc. I used to live outside of Chicago (grew up in small farming town, although it was a Chicago suburb and later moved to a more "true" suburb), so this feels pretty normal to me. There's lots of open space places though, so it's not like it's just blocks and blocks of neighborhoods.

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#15 of 19 Old 02-08-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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I don't think there are any free standing birth centers anywhere in Colorado.
There is apparently one opening in Denver soon.
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#16 of 19 Old 02-08-2006, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have any information on the Birthing Center? I am a looking to get connected with one. Do you know of any homebirth mws in the area?
Also, does anyone know of moma and baby yoga classes in the area?

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#17 of 19 Old 02-08-2006, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Do you have any information on the Birthing Center?
This is all the info I have:

It is called "The Mountain Midwifery Center" and Tracy Ryan is the
sole proprietor and sole practitioner. It's located off Jefferson Ave. (a/k/a hwy 285) and Clarkson near Swedish Hospital in a small building with a Spanish/Hacienda motif.
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#18 of 19 Old 02-09-2006, 09:31 PM
 
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There are several homebirth midwives in the area. The two main professional organizations are Colorado Alliance of Homebirth Midwives and Colorado Midwives Association.

Tracy's birth center is a very exciting development! I was so pleased when I heard about it! It has long suprised me that there wasn't one in this area.

Another suggestion for the small-city feel would be Longmont. Longer drive but a nice area.

When I first moved to the area I worked in Westminster and lived in central Denver. My commute was a breeze since I was going opposite of most of the traffic...but then that was several years before we were rated #4 for the worst traffic in the country. It really depends on where you are coming and going from.

I eventually moved to Arvada, which is another northwestern suburb and completely hated it. I'm just so not a suburb person, no offense to those who are I moved back central as quick as I could I lived in the older part of Lakewood for awhile too (still working in Westminster) and had a quick commute. It had somewhat of a smaller-city feel to it.

Denver metro is population is 2.4 million so it is a large city, and while there are areas that may have a smaller city feel, they are the exception rather than the rule. Old Town Arvada and Old Town Littleton are two such areas...pockets of older neighborhoods surrounding historic business districts enveloped in generic suburban landscape. In Denver proper you'll find neighborhood business districts spread throughout. We have two older business districts within walking distance from us with a few shops and restaurants. We also live just off an area of Colfax Ave. which has a distinctly urban feel - lots of funky cafes, galleries and such.

Will you get some chances to visit the area before moving? Are you buying straight away or renting? If renting, you'll be able to spend some time exploring the city and deciding what is right for you.
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#19 of 19 Old 02-10-2006, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Mamas! I really appreciate all the information. It sure helps having someone in the area to answer my questions. You all have been super helpful I look foward to a visit soon. I know I will have more questions....

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