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Old 01-22-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: a northwest suburb
35 posts, read 59,912 times
Reputation: 30

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We have sold our home on the North Shore, and so we're stepping up our house hunt, looking at GLEN ELLYN and ELMHURST. On first glance, we like both towns, but there is a big nagging question for us: Are either of these towns too much like the environment we're leaving?

After 25+ years, we do like much about the North Shore; it's very safe, clean, very safe, and residents are typically well-educated.

But there is a lot about the North Shore we have come to loathe: Unrelenting pressure to conform, mania to impress the neighbors, run by Lakefront Liberals, perverse pride in paying stunning property taxes to prop up curb appeal schools, mostly upper-level cogs in large corporations (rather than innovators and entrepreneurs), people who vacation solely to resorts and upscale beach enclaves (rather than to intriguing places like the Oregon coast, Fairbanks, Williamsburg, Munich, Galway), and lots of uber-stylish stores and restaurants but dang hard to get a good lasagna.

So that brings us to our dilemma about ELMHURST and GLEN ELLYN. Would either of these towns put us right back in the kind of environment of the North Shore that we are eager to leave?

We are leaning towards ELMHURST because it has a downtown filled with all kinds of restaurants and stores appealing to a neat variety of tastes, and the college and library add a touch of class that we hope implies great conversations and laughs over backyard BBQs.

We know much less about GLEN ELLYN. We see it's very pretty. But many downtown stores look disturbingly Winnetka-like, and we've been told by a couple of people that the town has much of the same mindset as the North Shore.

We have to move within 100 days, so we're eager to hear thoughts! (And if you recommend an entirely different west or northwest town that you think fits our goals, we're all ears!)
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:37 AM
 
21,618 posts, read 36,706,743 times
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I tend to agree that the kinds of development that happened in Glen Ellyn over the past decade or so was modeled on the upscale look / feel of towns like Winnetka. The relative success of that development, however, is questionable. Glen Ellyn has a history of being both kind of boosterish toward its schools and public events as well as a little self-deluding even when the relative merits of same are not as easily measured as successful...

To be sure there are an awful lot of well off folks in Elmhurst too,mostly becuase of its large size, which lends itself to a greater range of incomes, and also due to its location on the eastern most edge of DuPage Co, which has only a few expressway bridges separating it from poorer areas in Cook Co the "carriage trade" veneer is less obvious. (Oak Brook being immeadiately south also probably pulls things that way..)

I think if you want an even wider range of incomes / view points you might want to consider Downers Grove or towns along the Fox River. If work is in the Loop the superior BNSF service of Downers Frove can also be a nice time saver...
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:55 PM
 
373 posts, read 537,138 times
Reputation: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sodium View Post
But there is a lot about the North Shore we have come to loathe: Unrelenting pressure to conform, mania to impress the neighbors, run by Lakefront Liberals, perverse pride in paying stunning property taxes to prop up curb appeal schools, mostly upper-level cogs in large corporations (rather than innovators and entrepreneurs), people who vacation solely to resorts and upscale beach enclaves (rather than to intriguing places like the Oregon coast, Fairbanks, Williamsburg, Munich, Galway), and lots of uber-stylish stores and restaurants but dang hard to get a good lasagna.
From the lakefront liberal comment, I assume Oak Park or River Forest would not be your cup of tea, but almost everything you describe can be found in OPRF. There is ZERO keeping up with Jones here. I think it's because everyone lives in an old/older house, and there is only so much you can do. Lots of interesting people, especially people who either left the corporate world to become an entrepreneur or run a foundation. Great Italian food, both found here or in nearby Elmwood Park (check out Antico Forno in EP). Nobody I know vacations at fancy resorts but do the things that you describe, like drive to Williamsburg.

Riverside might be a good option for you too.
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:06 PM
 
8,441 posts, read 6,976,321 times
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I agree that the North Shore, while never poor, has become more concentrated with the super rich than ever before. Probably many have never been to the local beaches the region is known for. But Elmhurst is also attracting those types lately. I would go for Glen Ellyn, which also has the College of DuPage. Warning: property taxes are worse in DuPage.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:33 PM
 
909 posts, read 757,063 times
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I have a friend in Glen Ellen, says she's the only women she knows that works, and has found it hard to fit in with all the stay at home moms that have little else to do all day but gossip and talk about all their new pricey purchases. This is just her experience, but it certainly set a strange vibe for the place. She gets invited to these day time get togethers, and the other wives can't understand why she can't come... CAUSE SHE WORKS!

It sounds like you want a place that is diverse yet conservative? Hard to find in Chicagoland. Like Kindrakindra said, Oak Park fits a lot of what you want, but is a lot more liberal.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,460 posts, read 6,312,997 times
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Have you checked out Arlington Heights? May be worth considering. Good balance between liberal and conservative. I don't run into much "Jonses chasing" or noses stuck too high. Downtown is decent (for a suburb) and is very walkable. The neighborhoods closest to downtown have older more eclectic housing and put you in walking distance of the library.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:53 PM
 
7,946 posts, read 5,746,123 times
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I think the suburbs you are talking about will be worse in terms of "Unrelenting pressure to conform, mania to impress the neighbors"
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:07 PM
 
21,618 posts, read 36,706,743 times
Reputation: 10660
Default Not at all...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlajos View Post
I think the suburbs you are talking about will be worse in terms of "Unrelenting pressure to conform, mania to impress the neighbors"
Such pressures are rather uncommon in area with a large diversity of income / housing sizes/costs. Elmhurst has a really wide range of incomes, with a pretty sizeable number of folks that really do struggle to make it. Similarly while there are sections of towns with full blown mansions and some blocks with lots and lots of expensive tear downs the majority of Elmhurst has a pretty mix homes from various eras.

Even in Glen Ellyn, when one includes the areas aouth of Roosevelt and to the extreme north you get a much wider range than in the blocks closest to the heart of town.

Frankly I think that many parts of Chicago have come to exhibit an awful lot of conformity even if that means that the "uniform" is not the chinos of suburbia but the hipster outfits of low rise tight ankle jeans. There are similarly blocks in Lincoln Park where the odds of folks driving other than a German auto / British SUV are vanishinlgly small unless you are hired help...
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:20 PM
 
7,946 posts, read 5,746,123 times
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Not in my experience Chet. It's a sickening rat race in most nice suburbs.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:49 PM
 
21,618 posts, read 36,706,743 times
Reputation: 10660
I thought you've lived exclusively inside Chicago for your adult life?
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