Friendly Small Town - 10/10/2012
I moved away from Elkhart and returned 20 years later. During my time away I lived in many locations around the west coast - but mostly in Arizona. The last couple of years since I've returned have been just great. I found that most people who complain about Elkhart are the people who never do anything. There are things to do here and plenty of great people to meet. Our family has made more friends faster in this area than any other area we've lived. We've met some really wonderful people and made some good friends. Again, these people do things - they're involved in their community and they're active.
The parks here are beautiful. My favorite is OxBow park - it's gorgeous any time of year (yes you can go to this park all year round, hike, bike, ski, sleigh) , it is really well kept and they have a lot of activities year-round sponsored by Elkhart County parks. Bonneyville Mill is another park my family goes to often. There are plenty more in the area - plus rivers and lakes galore!
There are a lot of the standard commercialized stores/restaurants and a few local gems here and there. The selection isn't as abundant as Chicago, so we try to support those local businesses, and because of this, we've made more friends and found our experience here become richer.
It is a great place because you're so close to many other cute little towns and cities - we frequently go to Goshen, Warsaw, Wakarusa, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, South Bend, and we're just a train ride to Chicago and we go there often to visit all the great museums, restaurants and sites with out paying for living there.
All and all, our experience here as been great! We love how close we've become to people so quickly here - they just seem friendlier than in other places. No, Elkhart is not a sandy beach town on the ocean nor is it a huge city - it's a small town in the midwest full of friendly locals and transplants such as myself, not tourists, so people are truly interested in connecting and getting involved in their community. [read more...]
Friendly Small Town - 10/9/2012
I left Elkhart 20 years ago, lived mainly in Arizona and returned recently. I have been pleasantly surprised at the wonderful people I've met here. I've made more friends in this area than in other places - I think people here are friendly and eager to meet others. Our family has also found a few hidden gems as far as good food and fun places to visit as well. The parks here are beautiful (my favorite is OxBow) and there are rivers and lakes-galore! You have to be proactive in getting out and experiencing what Elkhart has to offer. The people I meet who don't like it here don't do anything! It is a nice small town - plus it is very close to other places that have a lot to experience - Mishawaka, Goshen, Wakarusa, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Chicago... etc. etc. [read more...]
One year later... - 10/9/2012
Wow, such negativity from other reviews. Let me shed some light for anyone who wants to know what Elkhart and surrounding areas are really like in 2012. I'd disregard the outdated reviews from disgruntled, bitter people.
My family (wife and two toddlers) and I moved to Elkhart, the white hot center of the economic meltdown, a year ago (2011). We moved here from San Francisco, our home for the past 10 years. Yes, you read that right. Pretty much the complete polar opposite city from Elkhart, yet we are having a blast. (Why we moved here is another story).
Anyways, after a year here I can tell you with all honesty that Elkhart is a definitely an up and coming city. Well, check the history and Elkhart used to be thriving, but went down some after some of the big time medical industry went away. So maybe "experiencing a resurgence" is more appropriate.
There has been a lot money put into reclaiming downtown and doing a complete renovation of the Lerner Theater. There are actually a few fantastic places to eat and grab a drink downtown (not crappy dives). A new brewpub just opened up and it is as hip/cool as any brewpub in San Francisco. Seriously. I know, hard to believe as it is in ELKHART and not Chicago.
You've got all the normal chain restaurants here, too. All the other normal things any other city has (Walmart, Lowes, Target, etc.). And all the nasty people at Walmart (check out the "people of Walmart" website).
There is an old mall here that used to be the place to hang out...not so much anymore. Only a hand full of stores left, but a couple large department stores to anchor are still there.
So is there "a lot" to do here in Elkhart? No, I wouldn't say that. But I wouldn't say that about South Bend, either. Is Elkhart clean and family friendly? Yes! There are parks all over the place and a great riverwalk downtown. I'm not sure what movies people are watching or what racial biases people have, but I feel completely safe here in Elkhart. I have lived all over the U.S. (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Richmond, VA, Tacoma, WA, to name a few). I was in the Army, and have seen and lived around "bad". Elkhart is not "bad" by any stretch of the imagination.
As far as housing...it is absolutely fantastic here. I'm serious. There are so many choices of places to live. My favorite is the Strong Ave/West Blvd area. Sort of by the hospital (which is a great hospital, by the way). The houses have so much charm and the people in that area seem to be a bit more trendy/modern than in other areas (also not expensive). However, if you want a big ol' house with a lot of land, there are subdivisions galore (also not that expensive), too. All of the housing here is very, very affordable. Which makes this area terrific for young families.
Try to get any home in California that is comparable to a home in
Elkhart...it'll cost you an arm and a leg...and your first born.
Are there "good" and "bad" neighborhoods? Of course!! What city in America does not have both? What city in the world doesn't have a "bad" neighborhood? I lived in Japan, Korea, and Germany. They have "bad" neighborhoods, too. I also deployed to Afghanistan. That was bad.
The only things I see that are "bad" are the NASCAR loving, loud ass Harley riding people. There are quite a few of those around here (surprise surprise), but hey, it's the Midwest. It adds to the character...
I hope that this review will be helpful to you in your research. Do not count out Elkhart if you are thinking about relocating to the area. It's been over a year now and we've made many new friends here, most of which are like minded, young, educated folks, some single and some with families. Chances are, if you looking at this website and read this far into my review, you fit that description, too.
I am SO glad I moved away - 8/14/2010
I moved away from Elkhart December of 2006 and I am SO glad that I did. Living there was a nightmare. I never saw this "good" side of town. I thought it was all pretty rotten. Sure there were some large homes along the dumpy river, but there were shacks right next to them too. I never understood that. The air pollution was off the charts. The crime was unbelievable. The corruption was ghastly, and the people were in general either hopeless, depressed, ignorant, uneducated, criminals, drugged out, stuck or angry. I remember several times where people would run up to our car and pound on the windows begging for any money we could spare. Random people would wait by my husband's and other people's cars after work to beg for money. Also, the police were a joke, I have personally seen them break the laws that they are supposed to enforce and not do anything about anything when you call them. At least four people were shot and killed outside my husband's place of work, we nearly got hit by a car walking around our neighborhood and witnessed first hand people either driving or parked doing drugs, and had some guy that ran up to my husband wanting to pick a fight with him (I think he was drugged). It was ridiculous there. It is NO place for a family or children. I on purpose did not get pregnant there because I could not bring a child into that place.[read more...]
Elkhart- A Smaller Version Of Detroit - 5/4/2008
Elkhart is segegrated as far as the class of people. There is a good side of town and a bad side of town; in which the bad side hosts most of the African-Americans. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone.
The type of life you life is based upon where you live and what type of job you have. If you are a professional and live in the good side of town, then you will do just fine. All other types of people live in the bad side of town. On the bad side od town, you will see a bunch of people sitting on porches (reminds me of the poor side of Alabama!). If you drive on the bad side of town, you will see people in their cars stopped in the middle of the road having a conversation; they don't care if you are waiting behind them. And don't think about confronting them or honking your horn; you better back up and find an alternative route.
A lot of drug activity is present as well as several streets that are known for purchasing drugs and hiring prostitutes.
On one side of town you see the professionals walking around in business suits and on the other you see porch dwellers. You will never see these two types of people in the same area; whether it's a restaurant, gas station, or grocery store.
The people on the bad side of town act like a mini-Detroit. They use a lot of slang and get offended easily.
In general, you don't see people carrying guns around, but they do have them. They just conceal them.
My experience in Elkhart is like a visit to the Twilight Zone and I'm glad I moved away...............(FAR AWAY!!).[read more...]