Suburban living never looked so un-suburban.
Some Dublin residences affect a style unlike that of the conventional suburban neighborhood home. Rural-style living inside the City limits hearkens back to Dublin’s roots as a farming community.
In some cases, rural-style homes in Dublin have strong connections to those farming roots. Such is the case with Honey Bear Farm, a horse farm on Rings Road.
Paul and Celeste Fender have owned the property and lived there since the 1970s, so the City’s past as a village with a three-digit population is familiar to them. Celeste has been at Honey Bear since 1972 and married Paul in 1975.
The farm raises paint and quarter horses and is named for its first paint horse to show, which became the foundation of its breeding program. In addition to running the farm, the Fenders taught in Upper Arlington City Schools for many years.
The Fenders have about 20 horses on their 16.4-acre property, though they have had as many as 33 in the past.
“Except for the residence and the surrounding yard area, the whole (property) is used for farming, either small grain crops or pasture,” says Celeste.
The location works very well for the couple thanks to its proximity to Interstate 270, making it an easy trip to the Ohio Expo Center, where the All American Quarter Horse Congress is held every October. It’s also near Ballantrae, Darree Fields and the Golf Club of Dublin.
The Fenders also appreciate the quality of Dublin’s police, fire and trash collection services, not to mention the city’s natural beauty.
“We’re enjoying country living with city convenience,” Celeste says.
Though not all residents with rural properties use them for farming, as the Fenders do, many take full advantage of the space they have and the surrounding peace it brings them.
Dan and Melissa Lorenz greatly appreciate the 9 acres on Jerome Road they have owned since 1997.
The location was a big selling point for the Lorenzes. St. Brigid of Kildare School had just opened when they moved, and being close to the newest Catholic school in the area was important for the couple, who have four children – it meant no stoplights and just a few stop signs sat between them and the school.
The house is also close to such amenities as Kroger at Perimeter Center, not to mention Muirfield Village. And when Tartan Fields was built nearby, it provided an appreciated boost to the Lorenzes’ home value.
They used the great amount of space on their property for a variety of entertainment options for the children, building a pond with a dock, an athletic field and a bridge over a creek. They’re also close to a 10-acre wooded plot that, thanks to an agreement between the City and the Tartan Fields development, must remain wooded.
The house was in unincorporated Jerome Township when the Lorenzes bought it, but they had it annexed into Dublin about five years ago. Becoming part of the City meant gaining sewer and water service, which has been a big plus for the family, and it also meant being part of a well-planned community, Dan says.
“It has zoning that you can count on,” he says. “Your home is going to maintain value and the community is going to be well run.”
Though neither the Fenders nor the Lorenzes are part of a subdivision, it’s possible to enjoy rural-style living in Dublin while still being part of a neighborhood. River Forest, off Dublin Road north of Brand Road, affords residents spacious properties with a great deal of natural character.
“Most of the houses in this neighborhood are actually (on) an acre or more,” says Kathy Hull, a resident and president of the River Forest Civic Association. “We have tons of trees and many, if not all, of our residents are very into keeping the natural aspect of the neighborhood.”
Hull and her husband, Craig, live on about 1.3 acres on Ashford Road with their two children. They have been in the house three years; the oldest homes in the 116-house neighborhood date back to the 1950s.
The neighborhood is an amazing location, Hull says. Though each resident is afforded peace and seclusion, they’re only about two miles north of Historic Dublin – easy biking distance, made easier by the bike trails running all the way there.
“We really wanted our kids to be able to get out and move around, so I love the bike trails,” says Hull.
The space and seclusion have allowed the Hulls to put in bird feeders that draw a host of avian visitors, as well as a full garden of all manner of vegetables from tomatoes and broccoli to Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.
The wildlife is another bright spot; Hull often spots chipmunks and deer on and around her property. And the quality of Dublin City Schools was a big selling point, too.
Garth Bishop is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.