When Joel and I decided to make the move the Zachary 5 years ago, we got a lot of opinions on the matter. We were in the heart of South Baton Rouge in a little apartment, and some people didn’t understand why we would want to move “so far,” while others quietly told me, “Zachary is the best kept secret in Louisiana.” And after spending some time in this little city of ours, I’d have to agree with the latter.
In total honesty, it did take me a few months to get used to making the 30-minute commute into South Baton Rouge for Target runs or to go to the movies, but soon it becomes your normal. As I went to Baton Rouge less and spent more time in Zachary, I quickly fell in love with the close-knit community and all it had to offer–not to mention the breeze of a commute I get everyday going against traffic when I come home from working in Baton Rouge. But even still, I know Zachary is not for everyone. So in an effort to shed some light on why people enjoy living in Zachary so much, I’ve compiled a little list of why I love living here so much:
- Country Town Feel with Big City Access. Sometimes Joel and I just sit outside and are amazed at the amount of stars we see and how quiet everything is. It was the first thing we didn’t realize we were missing when we lived in a bigger city, so we try not to take it forgranted now. However, if the mood strikes us to have dinner in mid-city or explore downtown, then it’s a short 25-minute drive to get there.
- Two Words: Cafe Phoenicia. If you live in Zachary, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. This little gem has been around for a long time (and even opened a restaurant in Denham Springs). This is Joel and I’s favorite restaurant–not just in town, but in ALL of Baton Rouge. However, I most certainly can’t take away from the many other places that we like to go. Zachary has wonderful options from soul food to steak–and the fun part about living in a small town is that you’ll probably see someone you know while you’re out.
- Child/School-focused City. With some of the top-rated schools in the state, it goes without saying that there are lots of children here. There is no elementary or middle school, instead whole schools house only one or two grades. And then the high-school is composed of a 9th grade academy, while 10th-12th is the rest of the school. One thing I love most about Zachary is the focus that they want to be a place that rallies around one public school for their city, and the effects of that are seen throughout the town come football season. I went to a 5A high school like Zachary, and I’m thrilled that Judah will be able to experience the excitement of a Friday night surrounded by all his friends that he’s grown up with.
- The Short Drive to St. Francisville. Having such easy access to one of the most quaint and historic cities is something that I didn’t truly appreciate until a few years here. St. Francisville offers some of the best plantation homes, bed and breakfasts, antique shops, and entertainment. Friday nights at Magnolia Cafe are a sure staple for many people from Zachary!
- A Growing City. Even in just the short amount of time that I’ve been here, the city has developed and grown tremendously. There has always been buzz of a new development that would bring more shops, homes, and possibility even a movie theater, but just until the last few years has this come into a reality. With the construction of Americana officially underway, we can only get excited for what the development has in store.
- The New YMCA and BREC Parks. Speaking of Americana, one of the first projects completed was the new YMCA. With a splash pad and pool, I’m anxious to try it out this summer. I grew up going to a pool every summer, so it’s always been a high priority of mine when I had kids. And the parks that Zachary has to offer are among my favorites as well. Our personal favorite is Flanacher park where kids can swing or slide with mom, while dad goes fishing or plays disc golf–or vice versa!
- Easy Access to Greenwood Park and Splash Pad. Hands down, in my opinion, one of the best parks in Baton Rouge is Greenwood Community Park. It was recently renovated and is one of those treasures of the city that is located right down to road. With a huge lake for kayaking/canoeing/paddle-boating/fishing, unique playground equipment, splash pad, dog park, disc golf course, and hiking trails, families can clock in several hours there without even realizing.
- Being Zoo Members. Another perk of living so close to Baker is the access we have to visit the zoo. We became members last year, and it is our favorite outing as a family. Judah loves all the animals and gets especially excited when we reach the playground. We go 3-4 times a month, and I can only imagine that number getting higher as Judah gets older.
- Great Family-friendly Seasonal Offerings. Family Circle gave us a fun shout-out in 2012 as one of the “10 Best Towns for Families,” and I couldn’t agree more! With annual art crawls, Z-fest (a four-day music and arts celebration), the lighting of the Christmas tree and parade, there is always something to look forward to with your family. I also have to mention that Zachary has my second favorite snoball when SnoBiz opens for spring and summer. (Cajun Sno in Lafayette will always be near and dear to my heart, but SnoBiz comes so very close!)
- Unique Ways to Spend Momma-time. I never had a pedicure that incorporated squeezing fresh oranges or lemons on my feet until I moved to Zachary–I wish you could have seen my face the first time I went! But if pedicures aren’t your thing, I know people who like to visit the Zachary Farmer’s Market, go antiquing, or spend their morning searching for deals at a local favorite: Dirt Cheap.