Not in California, but here:
Monterey Cohousing Community. It’s in Saint Louis Park (half a mile west of the Minneapolis border, but there’s no visible delineation, it’s still full-on city). The old mansion used to be a retirement home for Christian Scientists, but now it houses eight apartments, and there are a further seven townhouses on the property. It’s set up to be an “intentional neighborhood;” not a commune, but a community. All residents are autonomous (apartments are owned separately), but you really get to know your neighbors. People are friends, everyone helps with the running of the house and grounds, there are (optional) community dinners a couple of times a week and everyone serves on committees. There’s more to read on the website, if you’re curious, and an old article here as well.
There are several units open right now, and we’re falling in love with a gorgeous three bedroom apartment on the third floor. Like I said yesterday, lots of Big Conversations are going on, but we have plenty of time to hash it all out, because the process of joining the community is a long one. We’ve been to a dinner and a meet-and-greet, Michael’s been to one Board meeting, and we spent a night in one of the guest rooms on Saturday. We got to talk to several other residents, and everyone is friendly. (And extra-enthusiastic when we mention the possibility of having kids. All of their kids have grown up, so they’re really interested in getting some younger people back in residence.)
We’re going to another dinner tomorrow night, where we’re going to discuss taking the next steps. We’d join as Associate members, sign up for a work team (I’d love to get my hands on their internet presence, so hopefully there’s room on their PR team), and get on the email list. I love that they’re so deliberate; living in close quarters, you really want to make sure you can get along with everyone. This also gives us the time to finish making the decision for real, get our finances in order for the down payment and line up a mortgage, and gives our landlords now time to find a new renter so we don’t have a big lease-breaking fee.
(Reading back over this, it kind of sounds like I’ve already made up my mind. Hmm.)
Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures. The grounds are gorgeous, but I apologize in advance for the quality of the indoor shots. It was dark in there. We’ll do better next time we get in to see the actual apartment.
This is the view of the house through the trees from the guest parking area.
They call this the “Oak Knoll,” out by the driveway.
The sweetest little bench.
The west side of the main building. The apartment we want has the three rectangular windows (though everyone has access to the little balcony on the 2nd floor).
More gorgeous landscaping as you round the corner to the south side of the building.
This isn’t used as the main entrance, but it’s fancy and I like it.
The big lawn out front (dirt rectangle is where they’re experimenting with different vegetation).
A local beekeeper has settled some hives here; Mococo will get 10% of their yield in return for the real estate.
The vegetable gardens, including both community and individual plots.
The giant maple at the southeast corner is quite friendly, but it misses kids playing on the lawn.
The east side of the building. Kitchen below, dancing porch above.
Down into the lovely woods behind the big house.
Up from below. It’s a steep hillside, five switchbacks to the bottom, down a woodchip lined path.
Ken told us that the kids built this twig igloo. There are large rocks inside for seats.
Invasive…something. (Garlic mustard?) Pretty, but kind of disconcertingly omnipresent. They worked hard to rid the hillside of poison ivy, and now that’s done, this is the next target.
From behind the garage, back up to the townhouses.
Poor lonely playground.
The north side of the building. If I’m not mistaken, the very top two windows on the right would be our bedroom.
Having circumnavigated the property, we see the townhouses on the left.
And back at the west side.
The common living room reminds me of the parlor at Columbia College.
You can see that Michael made himself right at home.
The big community kitchen is downstairs.
And the community dining room.
The fancy dance floor on the porch.
I think the big bay window would be my favorite reading spot.
So do you guys have any thoughts? Any questions? Do you have a psychic insight you’d like to share?