Living in Broad Ripple Village - We're open if you are!
Ron and Michele Dow love living in Broad Ripple Village. “We were not looking for the traditional suburban cul-de-sac-type environment,” Ron says. “What comes to our mind (in connection with Broad Ripple Village) is vitality. Energy. Activity. Life.”
Adds Michele, “We like the fact that it’s always alive. There are always people out doing something all hours of the day and night.”
Anne and David Shane share their enthusiasm. “It’s become such a hip residential area,” Anne says. “The condos and everything that they’ve built north of Broad Ripple have attracted a lot of younger people who want to live in the area and have easy access to the (Monon) Trail and to the nightlife. The opportunities that you have to get out and interact with people -- it’s all good.”
Your typical 20-something couples responding to the familiar Broad Ripple Village vibe, you say? Think again. Ron and Michele both celebrated 50th birthdays this year, while Anne and David are self-described empty nesters, with the younger of their two children set to graduate from medical school.
The Dows and Shanes are not alone. It’s true that Broad Ripple Village’s eclectic mix of independently owned shops, eateries and cafes -- along with parks, the Monon Trail and White River boating activities – has long appealed to an enthusiastic crowd of residents and visitors in their 20s and 30s. But increasingly, those couples and young families are being joined by active, sociable and involved neighbors in their 40s, 50s and beyond.
Anne and David Shane relate to both groups. They’ve lived in the Broad Ripple Village area for three decades, originally drawn by good schools, a friendly atmosphere and easy proximity to Downtown, where both work (David is president and CEO of LDI Ltd.; Anne is vice president of BioCrossroads). Two years ago, with both of their children already living away from home, they decided to downsize to a smaller dwelling – and in doing so, they moved even closer to the heart of Broad Ripple Village by choosing a residence in the Oxbow development.
“We live in the best of both worlds,” Anne stresses. “We’re able to stay in the area where we live and raised our children, but we’ve been able to move a little bit closer to (the heart of) Broad Ripple and have good commuting access to Downtown. And still be able to enjoy all the amenities of Broad Ripple.”
Ron and Michele Dow also have a longtime love affair with Broad Ripple Village. The couple’s first date took place at the Corner Wine Bar 25 years ago, and for 16 years, they lived in a three-story coastal-style home on Beach Avenue, a short drive from Broad Ripple Village.
When they decided to invest in a new single-floor-style residence, they knew where they wanted to look. “We were here the day it opened,” Michele explains of Oxbow. They didn’t buy land immediately, but closely followed the neighborhood’s progress. Eventually, they made the plunge, purchasing property and designing the house to be built on it.
For 18 months, while the house was under construction, the duo lived Downtown, near Ron’s job as director of the Center for Business Partnerships at the University of Indianapolis and Michele’s marketing career at Eli Lilly & Co.
“We enjoyed that as well,” Michele says, “but we definitely missed our Broad Ripple.”
Today, the Dows are still only a 20-minute drive from work. Better still, they are within walking distance of their favorite restaurants (Thai Cafe on a Thursday night, La Jolla Mexican Restaurant for Friday evening Happy Hour, Brugge Brasserie for a weekend lunch), shops (Marigold Contemporary Clothing, Big Hat Books & Arts) and activities (walks along the Monon Trail, exhibits and outdoor summer concerts at the Indianapolis Art Center).
“It’s kind of a small town feel,” Michele says of Broad Ripple Village. “It’s very comfortable. I feel very safe.”
Ron adds that the atmosphere is reminiscent of the shore towns on the East Coast, where he grew up. “You have retirees, you have high school students, college students, and you have everybody in between, and you have seasonal traffic.”
In fact, the diversity of residents and visitors is as important to both of these couples as are the more tangible Broad Ripple Village benefits.
“I think it’s better to be in an environment where you’ve got all age groups and lots of different interests,” stresses Anne Shane. “Once you get stuck with (only) people who are your age, you all have the same kinds of issues (and) you tend to focus on that. It’s better to be around a lot of other people who are thinking about different things.”
“It’s alive,” says Ron Dow of the Broad Ripple Village ambience. “That’s what we love about Broad Ripple. Just driving through there, you come alive. You feel the energy.”
And that energy doesn’t apply only to Broad Ripple Village’s shopping and dining district. There’s green vitality here as well.
Ron and Michele label access to the White River and the Canal the area’s “hidden gem.” Kayaking and canoeing are popular, as are water-side strolls. The Dows also like to relax over dinner at the laidback Canal Point Grill. And then there are casual get-togethers at the White River Yacht Club, where they mingle with fellow members on a retro “tiki barge” that cruises along the White River with a sand-covered floor, a mirrored-ball dance area and satellite television.
Back at Oxbow, the Shanes enjoy life around the neighborhood’s lake. “We’re between a lake and the River,” Anne says. “So there’s a lot of wildlife back there. We see all kinds of birds. We have foxes, coyotes, deer, badgers, beavers. And it’s pretty all seasons of the year. You can get out and walk at any hour of the day or night in the neighborhood.”
Both the Shanes and the Dows also stress their development’s “friendly factor.”
“We have more of a neighborhood feel here,” Anne Shane says. “It’s always referred to as Broad Ripple Village, and I really think that it is.”
“We know the neighbors,” Michele Dow stresses. “We walk and talk to our neighbors, say hello.”
Broad Ripple Village’s bottom line, then? The Cultural District’s slogan, We’re Open If You Are, certainly applies to those 20-something hipsters long associated with the area. But if you’re past your post-college days? Come on in.
Visit www.discoverbroadripplevillage.com for more!
Visit www.discoverculturaldistricts.com to learn more about the six Cultural Districts.