Cleveland & Lakewood baby and motherhood Photographer| Ashley Brandich
I often hear the question, "Why do you love Lakewood so much?" Before I answer that let's rewind just a bit. I grew up in the outskirts of Sandusky, Ohio on 15 acres of farm land. I had ponds to fish in, barns to climb in and a woods to camp in, all in my backyard. I went to a private school with nearly no diversity and our neighbors were few and far between, with other kids my age rarely near by. (Don't get me wrong, I loved my childhood and I am lucky enough that we can make the 45 minute drive to visit "the farm" anytime we'd like). After college my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I settled in Lakewood because it was in between our two job commutes, mine to Huron and Paul's to Pepper Pike. We have now been in Lakewood for 11 years and plan to stay here for the long term.
So here's my why! This city is ALIVE, Paul and I are very social people, we thrive on activity and human interaction. Parks, restaurants, festivals and schools are all in walking distance. It's the most densely populated city by square mile between New York City and Chicago and you would notice that when you drive around town and see there is a large number of apartment complexes and multi family homes. Lakewood city school is a melting pot of culture and diversity with over 30 (yes 30) native languages spoken by it's student body. We have really great neighbors, neighbors who we are forced to interact with due to living in close quarters and in our case, sharing our driveway. The housing size and prices are very affordable (well "mostly" until just recently when word got out how awesome Lakewood is and now we are currently a desirable inflated market). The housing stock is old, with the majority of homes being 100 or more years with Colonial charm and character. I never thought after growing up rural that city life would be what I desire for our family, but it is! Lakewood is so much more than the loathed stereotype title of "college town." This is no college town, Lakewood is a thriving community of families, families of every age and size who seek more than what the average city offers.
So many families start out in Lakewood because it appeals to the younger, more active population. It's no wonder when it comes time to say goodbye, families such as the O'Brien's want to document some of those memories before moving on. These are the houses that new couples purchase as their first home. The house where they buy a puppy because they finally have their own yard. The house where they have a bar with their name on it because they used to party A LOT! The house that they bring home their first baby from the hospital to. The house that they remodel each room one at a time. The house that's not just a house anymore it's their HOME! The home they almost can't bare to leave.
Even though we don't plan to leave Lakewood ourselves, there will come a day when we move to our next home and when we do, we will leave with all of these amazing memories just like the O'Briens. Leah, I hope I didn't make you sob while reading this and it was my pleasure to take these very special photographs!
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