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Old 01-07-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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Considering moving from Rye, NY to Chicago North Shore....
Any information on school districts, opinions on large high schools vs. smaller ones, quality of life (perhaps slower paced in Chicago?), and the communities in the North Shore?

Did anyone else move from westchester county?
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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If you choose to live on the North Shore, your public high school choices will be Evanston Township, New Trier, Highland Park and Lake Forest. New Trier is very large and well respected. Lake Forest and Highland Park are smaller, but also well regarded. Evanston is a good school as well, much more diverse than the others, however, Highland Park has a bit of diversity (hispanic).

The quality of life is great. Good park districts, schools, natural beauty, access to the lake and public beaches. It's idyllic and friendly. I did not grow up here but found people very welcoming.

I've just e-mailed a friend who grew up in Kenilworth (North Shore's most affluent suburb) and now lives in Westchester County. Hopefully, she can give me some perspective. If so, I'll post again with her comments.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Chicago North Shore
17 posts, read 57,926 times
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Hi Nina12,
I live in Kenilworth and am familiar with Westchester (my sister lives in Larchmont). I'm not from here and have only been here a few years so I think I can give you a fair outsider's perspective.

First, the upside of the N.Shore. Schools, proximity to Lake, ease of commute, good shopping and amenities. You know the basics.

Bad side: conformity, social pressure, insularity, expense. Well, you live in Rye so you probably have an idea.

Is the N Shore right for you? Well, do you play tennis (a lot)? Are your children perfect (smart, athletic, well-behaved)? Do you like hosting/attending cocktail parties, tailgates and fundraisers? If you answered yes to all of these, then this is your cup of tea. If only one or two, choose your suburb carefully.

Wilmette, Glenview, Northfield are the most down to earth. Majority Catholic. Houses start in the 400s (good to buy right now). Winnetka and Kenilworth are moderately snobby though much depends on micro-neighborhood. For instance, while everyone assumes Kenilworth is all rich it is actually divided into East and West, with smaller cheaper houses concentrated on West side. Some are really just shacks, though you'll still pay 600-700 for a 1,000 sqft 1950s box. Winnetka offers more for your money: good park system, actual downtown(s), better tax base. Glencoe is like Winnetka but more Jewish. Highland Park is actually more like a small city, very pleasant, largely Jewish but with a growing hispanic population on the North and western edges.

Feel free to ask more detailed questions and I'll try to answer them as best I can.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,654 posts, read 7,121,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clio1 View Post
Hi Nina12,
I live in Kenilworth and am familiar with Westchester (my sister lives in Larchmont). I'm not from here and have only been here a few years so I think I can give you a fair outsider's perspective.

First, the upside of the N.Shore. Schools, proximity to Lake, ease of commute, good shopping and amenities. You know the basics.

Bad side: conformity, social pressure, insularity, expense. Well, you live in Rye so you probably have an idea.

Is the N Shore right for you? Well, do you play tennis (a lot)? Are your children perfect (smart, athletic, well-behaved)? Do you like hosting/attending cocktail parties, tailgates and fundraisers? If you answered yes to all of these, then this is your cup of tea. If only one or two, choose your suburb carefully.

Wilmette, Glenview, Northfield are the most down to earth. Majority Catholic. Houses start in the 400s (good to buy right now). Winnetka and Kenilworth are moderately snobby though much depends on micro-neighborhood. For instance, while everyone assumes Kenilworth is all rich it is actually divided into East and West, with smaller cheaper houses concentrated on West side. Some are really just shacks, though you'll still pay 600-700 for a 1,000 sqft 1950s box. Winnetka offers more for your money: good park system, actual downtown(s), better tax base. Glencoe is like Winnetka but more Jewish. Highland Park is actually more like a small city, very pleasant, largely Jewish but with a growing hispanic population on the North and western edges.

Feel free to ask more detailed questions and I'll try to answer them as best I can.
Can you explain that a little more?
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Chicago North Shore
17 posts, read 57,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennquaker09 View Post
Can you explain that a little more?
Let's start with a question. Have you ever seen "Ordinary People" or any of the other movies set on the NS (Breakfast Club, Mean Girls)? I never believed there were people as uptight at Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People, but I have met her clone 100x since moving here.

I sometimes joke that this is where the captain of the high school football team moves with his wife, the head of the cheerleading squad, and their uber offspring.

Sports matter more than anything--playing more than watching. There is tremendous pressure to join and attend a local church and join civic associations. This can be very good--most men bowl in a house league that meets every Tuesday (I kid you not) and almost all young boys and girls are in scouts. Every grade in the school has a cocktail party once a year; school recitals and events are packed. Every time you leave your house you run into 10 people you know.

I've never lived in a place like this. It is comforting and scary at the same time. Everyone knows everything about you. Police leave little messages on your car if you forget to put it in the garage. No tickets, just a note.

You can, of course, opt out of some or all of this togetherness. But your kids will pay the price, so you don't. My husband and I plan to stay through grade school, then leave. It is a pressure cooker for all concerned, but as I say has its upside as well. I just wish I knew then what I know now. You know what I mean?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Evanston, IL
137 posts, read 179,182 times
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She is basically saying that the North Shore is very snooty. Which it is. It is extremely competitive. Evanston Township, New Trier, Lake Forest, Glenbrook North, and Glenbrook South, are all top schools and all very competitive. If your child does not shine in something, and does not excel academically, they will just be a number. Lake Forest is the most unique of these, because it is old and small. Evanston and New Trier are pretty much the same, except for the diversity at Evanston. Minority students bring down the test score average, so that really has to be overlooked, otherwise it would seem like it was one of the worst schools on earth. It actually places very well on many charts. The Glenbrooks are very good schools, they really do reflect the communities that they serve. Glenview = South and Northbrook = North. North is a bit better. These towns are relatively affluent and are very North Shore. They just do not happen to touch the lake. Highland Park is nice but is very spread out. I would definitely consider it a 'Second City' meaning a self sufficient suburb. It is larger than All the New Trier communities.

Here is a description of the North Shore communities town by town.

Evanston

Evanston by many is considered to be the nicest town in the Chicagoland area. Evanston is what I would call Urburban, meaning an Urban-like suburb. Similar to White Plains. Evanston is known for its lavish residential neigborhoods to the Southeast, Northeast, and Northwest. Evanston has a very good school system. Willard, Orrington, Rhodes, Haven, and Lincoln all come to mind when considering K through 8. Evanston Township High School is also very good. Most White families have a good experience there. Evanston has many New York transplants. Evanston has elegant shopping districts including Central Street, Main-Chicago, and Downtown Evanston. Evanston has wonderful restaurants including Va Pensiero, Oceanique, and Pete Miller's. Evanston is home to world reknowned Northwestern University. Evanston has a beautiful lakefront, numerous beaches, parks, boat centers, and an art center. Evanston pretty much has all you could ask for, Good Schools, Recreational Opportunities, Shopping, and Restaurants. It is quickly becoming a great suburban destination.

Decent House: $500,000+

Train Commute: 20 to 25 minutes

Drive Commute: 30 to 35 minutes

Wilmette

Wilmette is also a very nice town. It really blends in with Northern Evanston. You really cannot tell where Wilmette begins and Evanston ends. Wilmette is solidly Upper Middle Class. Wilmette has beautiful homes on deep and narrow lots. Wilmette has lovely events, a beautiful lakefront beach and park, lovely town center, and beautiful west end. Wilmette has quick access to the Edens Expressway. Wilmette is very close to Evanston and they both share many amenities. Wilmette is in the top-rated New Trier High School. Wilmette Jr. High is a wonderful school. McKenzie is also a wonderful elementary school. Schools there are fantastic.

Decent House: $500,000+

Train Commute: 20 to 25 minutes

Drive Commute: 25 to 45 minutes

Kenilworth

Kenilworth has a reputation for being the most exclusive community in the Chicago area. Kenilworth is just south of Winnetka and north of Wilmette. Kenilworth has some of the nicest homes on the North Shore. Kenilworth has a lovely Clubhouse, Beach, Train Station, Historical Society, and Police Station. Kenilworth students attend New Trier High School. Kenilworth is home to the Nationally reknowned The Joseph Sears School. Kenilworth has a lower priced section west of Green Bay Road.

Decent House: $1,000,000+

Train Commute: 25 to 30 minutes

Drive Commute: 30 to 45 minutes

Winnetka

Winnetka is a lovely village on the North Shore. It is less tight knit than Glencoe and Kenilworth. Winnetka is home to New Trier High School. Winnetka has perhaps the largest lakefront estates. Winnetka has two lovely town centers, Hubbard Woods and Downtown Winnetka. Winnetka is known for its consistent affluence and competitiveness. Winnetka is considered the center and epitome of the North Shore. Though it is not the wealthiest, Winnetkans would have you believe that. Winnetka is a very beautiful community, some like it and some absolutely hate it.

Decent Home: $700,000+

Train Commute: 25 to 35 minutes

Drive Commute: 30 to 45 minutes

Glencoe

If I had to choose a New Trier suburb I would pick Glencoe. Glencoe is perhaps the best place to live in the world. Glencoe is a beautiful little town of 9,000. It is surrounded by the lake, forest preserves, and golf courses. Glencoe has a quaint downtown, lovely lakefront with bluffs, and unbelievable homes. Glencoe is the last Lakefront suburb in Cook County. East Glencoe and Far West Glencoe are the most expensive. Central Glencoe is on the cheaper end. Glencoe has fabulous schools. Every student in Glencoe attends the same school according to grade level, these are South School, Central School, and West School. Glencoe attends New Trier High School. Glencoe actually is wealthier than Winnetka, but does not show it. You really could not do any better than Glencoe, IL.

Decent House: $700,000+

Train Commute: 30 to 40 minutes

Drive Commute: 35 to 50 minutes

- When I have kids and if I want to move out of Evanston. I would definitely move to Glencoe. If you need the assistance of a Realtor choose Daniela Popa of Coldwell Banker Glencoe. She can help you to find a home anywhere on the North Shore.

Highland Park

Highland Park is a predominantly affluent community. Highland Park has a larger Jewish population. Highland Park has perhaps the most beautiful downtown. Highland Park is the first town on the Lake north of Cook County. Highland Park lies in Lake County. Highland Park has nice homes. Highland Park is not up to the Cook County North Shore suburbs. It is wealthy, but not as wealthy or as snooty. Highland Park is a nice alternative if you cannot afford the Cook County towns and do not want to be in a town as busy as Evanston. Highland Park may have a tough commute to Downtown Chicago but many people do it every day. Highland Park High School is not the greatest. It is good but by no means outstanding. I would not even compare it to New Trier, Evanston, or the Glenbrooks.

Decent House: $500,000+

Train Commute: 35 to 45 minutes

Drive Commute: 45 to 60 minutes

Highwood

Highwood is a small community that blends with Highland Park. They attend Highland Park schools. Highwood is perhaps the least wealthy town on the North Shore. Highwood has a lot of Hispanic people. Highwood would be a fantastic place to invest in, but most would never live there unless you lived within the walls of Fort Sheridan.

Decent House: $400,000+

Lake Forest

Lake Forest is amazing. Lake Forest is Lake County's version of Winnetka. East Lake Forest features some of Chicago's most expensive real estate. Lake Forest High School is fantastic high school as I said above. It is a small high school which has it benefits. Lake Forest High School also on some polls is not considered to be outstanding. Lake Forest has a very nice beach and lakefront. Lake Forest is a good mix of old and new money. A lovely area called Rondout has nice new construction under $1 Million that area attends top-rated Libertyville High School.

Decent House: $700,000+

Train Commute: 45 to 55 minutes

Drive Commute: 60 to 75 minutes

Lake Bluff

Lake Bluff is a very country like lakefront town. It has some old parts but most of it was built in the 80's and 90's. There are very cheap parts of Lake Bluff and very expensive. It borders North Chicago which is a major slum. Lake Bluff ranges fro $100,000 to $25 Million. It really depends. Like Lake Forest has Rondout, Lake Bluff has Knollwood. Knollwood has homes for around $500,000. Lake Bluff has excellent Lake Forest schools, including Lake Forest High School.

Inland North Shore Areas:

Skokie

Skokie is the most affordable North Shore community. Skokie is fairly homogeneous and is known for Old Orchard Mall. Skokie would be the exact opposite of Westchester. Part of Skokie has an Evanston address and Evanston schools. The zip code is 60203. This area of Skokie is actually very nice and Upper-Middle Class. Skokie has quick access to Chicago and the northern suburbs. Skokie has a good school system and attends the good schools Niles West and Niles North. 60203 attends Evanston Township High School.

Decent House: $400,000+

Train Commute: 30 to 35 minutes

Drive Commute: 25 to 35 minutes

Lincolnwood

Lincolnwood is relatively affluent. Lincolnwood is like a city neighborhood and has plenty of greenery. Lincolnwood has outstanding schools and attends Niles West High School.

Decent House: $700,000+

Train Commute: N/A

Drive Commute: 20 to 30 minutes

Golf

Golf is a quaint little village near Glenview, Skokie, and Morton Grove. Golf attends Glenview Public Schools and Glenbrook South High School. Golf is very expensive and very wealthy. Golf is the safest town on the North Shore. It has a crime index of 0.0 for 2006. Golf is along Golf Road and has large gates along the road. Golf is named this because it boarders 2 large golf courses and it is along Golf Road. Golf is very secretive and very rich.

Decent House: $1 Million+

Train Commute: 25 to 30 minutes

Drive Commute: 20 to 35 minutes

Glenview

Glenview is a lovely suburb. It is very large and sometimes sprawly. East Glenview is wooded and more dense. Park of East Glenview actually attends Avoca Schools and New Trier High School. Glenview has a lovely upscale development called The Glen. It was built on the old Glenview NAS. Glenview is home to Glenbrook South. Glenview is nicely diversified and has good newer construction.

Decent House: $500,000

Train Commute: 20 to 25 minutes

Drive Commute: 30 to 40 minutes

Northbrook

Northbrook is an uber-swank suburb with numerous white contemporary mansions. Northbrook offers a lifestyle that is convenient and perfect for the snooty type. Northbrook has a nice mall called Northbrook Court. Northbrook is close to the Edens Expressway and Glencoe. Northbrook has fabulous schools. Glenbrook North an elite institution is here. A small part of Northbrook has Northfield Schools and New Trier High School. Northbrook is really a lovely community.

Decent House: $700,000+

Train Commute: 30 to 40 minutes

Drive Commute: 35 to 50 minutes

Northfield

Northfield is a beautiful country style community. Northfield has a lot of large estate homes and smaller ranch homes. Depending on what you want Northfield might be for you. Northfield has great schools including Sunset Ridge, Avoca, and New Trier High School. Northfield shares a zipcode with neighboring Winnetka.

Decent House: $500,000 or $1 Million+

Train Commute: N/A

Drive Commute: 35 to 45 minutes

Deerfield

Deerfield is a nice community with a large Jewish population. Deerfield is Highland Park without the lake. Deerfield has lovely homes and a nice downtown. Deerfield has excellent schools including Highland Park High School, Deerfield High School, Highland Park Schools, and Deerfield Schools.

Decent House: $500,000+

Train Commute: 45 to 55 minutes

Drive Commute: 40 to 50 minutes

Bannockburn

Bannockburn is a lovely community, it is comparable to Northfield. It has Deerfield High School and Bannockburn Public Schools. Bannockburn is lovely and has plenty of characture.

Decent House: $1 Million+

Train Commute: N/A

Drive Commute: 45 to 55 minutes


I hope you make a wise decision and good luck!
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:33 PM
 
939 posts, read 2,253,588 times
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brenty has given you a wealth of good information and obviously put a lot of time and energy into his thoughts. However, I'm going to disagree with just a few of his observations. Highland Park High School is more than merely good and is on par with Evanston and the Glenbrooks, and even New Trier. The same argument that was made for Evanston Townhip H.S. could be made for Highland Park as well (minorities bringing down test scores). HPHS offers the same opportunities as NT, Stevenson, etc.

I'll also argue that a decent home in Kenilworth is not 1,000,000. I'd say it's closer to $750,000. But as always on the North Shore, your decent home will not be large. That's not specific to Kenilworth though. I also would not call Northbrook an uber-swank suburb. I would call it a nice suburb with many qualities that are similar to so many other affluent suburbs of its size all around the Chicago area. It's large and spread out, has amenities but nothing distinguishes it from any other suburb, IMHO.

The towns that are not along the Lake are much different in feel than those that are truly the North Shore. There ARE differences among the true North Shore suburbs that you would notice if you lived in one of them, but when driving through them, the feel is very similar. When driving Sheridan Road (one of the main north south routes) you would be hard pressed to tell what suburb you were in if you didnt have the town markers identifying them. The landscape and feel of the North (Glenview, Northbrook, Northfield, Deerfield, etc.) suburbs is very different from those of the North Shore. The shore suburbs feel more isolated and insular, largely because there are very few heavily traveled arteries, so traffic is slow (and by slow I don't mean congested but instead lower speed limits of 25-30 mph). Most all of the the roads are two lanes and very, very occasionally four lanes. The North Shore suburbs are also by and larger older in terms of housing stock, which also creates a different feel.

Finally, I would say that Highland Park has just as many affluent people as the other north shore towns, but as brenty says, because it is larger, it is not comprised entirely of extremely wealthy people.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Evanston, IL
137 posts, read 179,182 times
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I actually would agree with your statement about Highland Park High School. It still does not offer as many programs as New Trier or Evanston. Northfield actually does have a similar feel to Unincoporated Winnetka, Glenview is similar to West Wilmette, and Northbrook is like West Glencoe. Much of Northbrook is uber-swank. You should take a nice drive down Voltz Road.

Highland Park is avery nice community. The downtown is nice. I enjoy visiting it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:01 PM
 
939 posts, read 2,253,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenty View Post
I actually would agree with your statement about Highland Park High School. It still does not offer as many programs as New Trier or Evanston. Northfield actually does have a similar feel to Unincoporated Winnetka, Glenview is similar to West Wilmette, and Northbrook is like West Glencoe. Much of Northbrook is uber-swank. You should take a nice drive down Voltz Road.

Highland Park is avery nice community. The downtown is nice. I enjoy visiting it.
I think it does offer as many programs as NT and Evanston. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that one. I have a good friend who is a dept. head at NT, but his daughter went to ETHS, so I agree that most people "in the know" agree that ETHS is a great school. I agree that Northfield is similar in feel to the West edge of Winnetka and that the very Western edge of Wilmette is very similar to Glenview. But the overall feel of the North Shore is very different, don't you agree? I don't agree that most of Northbrook is uber-swank at all. It's nice though. I drive down Sunset Ridge Road frequently so I'll take your suggestion and make a turn onto Voltz and check it out!

Highland Park is nice, but with the larger downtown area you also get more traffic...
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Chicago North Shore
17 posts, read 57,926 times
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Paige and Brenty give a great snapshot of the area. I don't know where you either of you live. Maybe it's just me but both of you kind of sound like realtors. Factually accurate but maybe not revealing all the cards in your hands...

My advice to anyone looking to move to the North Shore is to rent for a year if you can while your eyes adjust to the nuances between them. Pick a "neutral" suburb like Wilmette. Go to coffee shops and supermarkets and check out the people. Talk to them even.

No one can give advice to a stranger--maybe you like glitz and plan to have a nanny and an aupair; maybe you live in tshirts and sweatpants. A lot depends on you.

One last piece of really really good advice: whatever you think your price range is, stay in the lower end of it unless you will soon come into money. Taxes here in Cook County are bizarre and mine have nearly doubled in 4 years without a single improvement being made to my house (which has sunk in value, along with everyone else's). That's a chunk of change. Also, even if you do NOT try to keep up with your neighbors you will go broke keeping your kids in lessons, paying for teams, paying for clubs, etc. If I had THAT to do over again I would choose a much cheaper house. Especially if you are coming from the East Coast where we tend to carry bigger mortgages than they do here in the midwest. You will think everything is a bargain compared to Rye. Beware. The rules are different here.
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