Stephanie and Austin have lived in and loved the South End for the past ten years. They are clear to state that many of the things that initially drew them to the South End are the same attributes that find them still calling it home. In particular, they both cite the stellar architecture, abundant greenspace, the arts scene and the diversity of the neighborhood's population as quality of life enhancers. Of course, as their own family has grown to include their one year old son and family dog, Rafa, they enjoy that so many other young families have moved into the neighborhood as well.
Austin particularly appreciates the art scene in the South End. "The arts scene in the South End and SOWA helps to build a vibrant culture and many folks move to and stay in the South End because of it. It's something that has just become more vibrant over time. More artists, more galleries. More ability to see art and display art."
Having choice restaurants all around them adds to the appeal of the urban lifestyle for Stephanie and Austin. Orinoco is one of their favorites and they have dinner there frequently. Metropolis and Black Lamb are also among the local spots that they enjoy.
Stephanie and Austin are quite civically engaged, committing themselves to being active in numerous South End nonprofits. Austin works closely with South End Soccer, which delivers youth sports experiences to anyone regardless of income, needs or skill set. Austin has also worked on a scholarship program for graduating seniors. "It is an incredible neighborhood oriented organization. I love that I can stay engaged in my neighborhood." Stephanie has served on the board of Rosie's Place, which is a shelter for homeless women that has been serving the South End for many years. "I love investing in a local cause and a local effort. I think many people don’t know we have the first women’s shelter in the country right here in the South End and it is gratifying to help Rosie’s Place support so many local women and families"
Both Stephanie and Austin recognize that raising their family in the city is a decision. "It is absolutely a choice and we are lucky to be able to make that choice." says Stephanie. Austin acknowledges that for him it has taken a mindset shift to adjust to life in the city. "Having grown up in rural Maine, you're used to having wide open space to spread out into as a family. You have to rethink some of those priorities, but that's not difficult to do if you are dedicated to the end goal of staying in the city." Stephanie has all the green space she needs in her immediate field of vision. "We essentially have six backyards within a couple block radius. There are so many wonderful parks and playgrounds in the South End."
Life changes for everyone over a ten year period and that is certainly true for Stephanie and Austin. Stephanie reminisces about her first apartment in the South End which was over B&G Oyster. She loved living in the South End then as well but did find it to be a very different place. What Stephanie loves most, however, are the things that she believes have not changed. "It's never been too crowded or touristy. It feels like you are part of a neighborhood. There's not a lot of traffic. There's not a lot of noise. You get to know your neighbors and the local businesses."