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Glenbrook Advice?


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Considering a house in Glenbrook and wondering about some things that I take for granted in my current location. Would love to hear from folks who know the area about things like:

  • Decent, well-lit running trail? Someplace safe/populated if running alone.
  • Interesting restaurants or cafes in the area.
  • Time to commute to downtown/Best route.
  • Someplace good to grab a beer.
  • Thoughts on/experience with local schools.

Would also be interested to hear any thoughts people might have about the area's future. I know that light rail is being planned along the SE corridor and that there are a couple of East End coalitions trying to push redevelopment and beautification out that way.

I'm a realist (I know every area has their own issues) and am definitely not looking for a cookie cutter neighborhood. But I really have no experience with this side of town at all. Any feedback would be apprecoated.

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Decent, well-lit running trail? Someplace safe/populated if running alone - new walking/running path being built along Sims bayou. But boyfriend just heads to Memorial Park from here for his runs. I do see folks running in the neighborhood, but not as scenic as Memorial Park.

Interesting restaurants or cafes in the area - there are a few local spots. In fact there is a group of about 20 residents who get together every other month for dinner out in the area. either to try something new or revisit an area favorite. There's not much in the way of cafe to sit outside and people watch. but some good local spots.

Time to commute to downtown/Best route. - 12 minutes to downtown in the mornings. Take 45 N. There are other ways avoiding the freeway but they actually take longer unless there is a major accident on the freeway.

Someplace good to grab a beer - I recommend a neighbor's house. I haven't ventured out to too many area bars, there are a few. I haven't had to venture out to explore this too much as there is always a neighbor up for a glass of wine or a beer on one of our patios

Thoughts on/experience with local schools - no clue, but I think many in the area send their kids to private schools

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i want to hear more about glenbrook too. i'm about to become a new homeowner (hopefully me and the SO will close on the 7510 Cayton property at the end of October/first week of Nov) and I know nothing about this area as well...

i do want to add - is there anything comparable to whole foods/organic food, et cetera in this area?

thnx. :)

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I have done as much research on GBV schools as possible since considering moving into the neigborhood. A great resource for any area is schooldigger.com. What I have found is that the elementary schools are quite badly rated and the privates are not much better. So for us if we purchased in GBV we would have to move as soon as our daughter was ready to go to school. I have also looked into other kid type activites in the area and did not come up with much there either, our little one loves gymnastics and we would have to drive down to Clear Lake area several times a week for that. Whereas other areas of the city that would not be the case.

Stolitx did give a good tip on a park closeby.

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I have done as much research on GBV schools as possible since considering moving into the neigborhood. A great resource for any area is schooldigger.com. What I have found is that the elementary schools are quite badly rated and the privates are not much better. So for us if we purchased in GBV we would have to move as soon as our daughter was ready to go to school. I have also looked into other kid type activites in the area and did not come up with much there either, our little one loves gymnastics and we would have to drive down to Clear Lake area several times a week for that. Whereas other areas of the city that would not be the case.

Stolitx did give a good tip on a park closeby.

Keep in mind that there are a number of good private schools that aren't that far from GV; near the medical center, for example, or in Montrose. If you send your child to a private school that is reasonably close to where you live you'll find other kids from your neighborhood are also attending there. You may not have to move. There are also HISD magnets, and while many of the good magnets are clear across town from GV, there are a few good ones closer to the SE part of the city. If you have enough time to do your research, you'll probably find some good options.

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I have done as much research on GBV schools as possible since considering moving into the neigborhood. A great resource for any area is schooldigger.com. What I have found is that the elementary schools are quite badly rated and the privates are not much better. So for us if we purchased in GBV we would have to move as soon as our daughter was ready to go to school. I have also looked into other kid type activites in the area and did not come up with much there either, our little one loves gymnastics and we would have to drive down to Clear Lake area several times a week for that. Whereas other areas of the city that would not be the case.

Stolitx did give a good tip on a park closeby.

I saw information on the HISD website that kind of indicated the same thing. I grew up in HISD myself so I know that the magnet school program is an option provided you have the flexibility to drive your kids to school in another part of town.

We don't have kids yet, but we're thinking about it. And I don't know if it's hopelessly naive, but I wonder what the impact would be if people moving into the area tried to be "pioneering" with local schools. That is to say, enrolling their kids and beginning to demand better locally. I guess they'll never improve if people don't take an interest in them.

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Yes I know, but when you add up your extra time, mileage and gas expenses it hard to justify it. If you need to drive extra all the time, just kind of calculate that into your mortgage, are you ahead by purchasing there?

I know the homes north of Bellfort really kick ass, but I really considered this since we had this same senario when we lived in Long Beach and drove out of our neigborhood for everything, that got real tired real fast. If it was just my wife and I, likely we would take a shot in GBV regardless, but with a little one there is so much more to think about.

I think its a great notion to change a school system but I don't think thats ever going to happen.

Thats a cool house you bought. We thought about it but could not make the numbers work out, restoration costs vs home value comps

Edited by retromodernjeff
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Yes I know, but when you add up your extra time, mileage and gas expenses it hard to justify it. If you need to drive extra all the time, just kind of calculate that into your mortgage, are you ahead by purchasing there?

I know the homes north of Bellfort really kick ass, but I really considered this since we had this same senario when we lived in Long Beach and drove out of our neigborhood for everything, that got real tired real fast.

Sure. That's absolutely a fair point. On the other hand, given the price of other close in neighborhoods, what other options are there? I haven't been able to find the answer. There isn't much in my price range between downtown and the far west side where schools are better (there are a few houses in my range - but nothing that excites me).

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I think that house is very suitable for a young couple first time purchase that wants to put in 2-3 years of hard work and some money and end up with a really unique home. Then when the market allows move on up to the next.

I have been there and done that. Its too bad that house was not built with that side load driveway as in the drawings. That kitchen is way cool, and would be very easy to replicate new parts from old that can't be repaired. Plus the fact simple materials were used originally. We had great satisfaction on a couple of our places in Long Beach in restoring all the original Honduran Mahogany wood used throughout.

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Thoughts on/experience with local schools - no clue, but I think many in the area send their kids to private schools

the public schools in the area have gone downhill over the yrs. quite a few went to mt carmel high school but that closed as well. a replacement will be opening next school yr but you have to qualify by not making too much money.

i do want to add - is there anything comparable to whole foods/organic food, et cetera in this area?

nope.

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Glad to hear you are considering Glenbrook Valley. Choosing where you live is a matter of sensibility, and naturally, a decision one considers carefully. You've gotten lots of opinions, valid and good ones. Let me tell you my experience.

We moved to Houston from out of state, and I had a terrible time coming to understand the city, its neighborhoods, etc. Early on, we saw Glenbrook Valley as a possibility, and over the next year, we kept cycling back to it.

Ultimately, we choose Glenbrook Valley for two reasons: cool houses and an engaged community. While the house we bought is not architecturally significant, it has a wonderful feel, and we enjoy it. The GBV community, though, is fabulous. Yes, there are quite a few "pioneers," but there are also long-term residents, many seniors, who add stability and depth to the neighborhood.

I don't think I would have wanted to be anywhere else throughout the hurricane. I'm especially grateful to our neighbors across the street.

Schools are another matter, and I appreciate that kind of angst. When our kids were in school, we lived in a place that had unsatisfactory public schools. We opted to go the private school route. It was expensive and often inconvenient (until they got their driver's licenses), but as adults, I think they'd both say it was worth it to them. They had the benefit of two communities and developed a breadth and depth of appreciation for diversity they might not have had otherwise.

You have lots to think about. Good luck.

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I have been living in GV for 3 years now and I really like it. Will you be working "in town"? Since I'm in town for work every day, I frequently shop for groceries and stop off for drinks while I'm in. The grocery stores in our area are not too good, but you can get most things you want. It will be awhile before there is a Whole Foods out there!

There are no fine restaurants in our area. However there are some good places nearby for Mexican food, Chinese food, diner food, seafood and pizza. I haven't seen any normal bars that I would recommend, but if you like gritty dive bars and ice house type places there is no shortage of those! There is a Pizza restaurant, Spanky's, at Telephone and The South loop that seems to be a popular neighborhood place to stop for a beer.

There are jogging/biking paths being put in right now along Sims bayou, but I haven't heard if they will be lit at night. I would think so. There is a park/pool/golf course complex just across I-45 where you could safely run I'm sure.

It really is only about 10-12 mins to downtown proper with normal traffic via I-45. Driving in or out at peak traffic times will be longer.

I don't know about the schools. I have heard the quality is low. If you can afford to send your child to a private school in town, that is what I would do. If you can't, I would consider a different area or be aggressive about getting your child in to the magnet school program.

I think the neighborhood has amazing potential. It was a very nice neighborhood from the beginning. The majority of the houses are good quality custom houses. The neighborhood is full of good (and sometimes still relatively untouched) examples of ranch and modern design houses at very fair prices. This post WW2 architecture is just now coming in to vogue again and I think the appreciation for these homes is going to continue. The civic club in GV is very active and the deed restrictions are enforced. A neighborhood committee is pursuing a historic designation for a section of the neighborhood. There is also a core group of residents that are starting to come together to do things socially on a regular basis and new residents are always welcome!

If you think of other specific questions keep them coming!

Considering a house in Glenbrook and wondering about some things that I take for granted in my current location. Would love to hear from folks who know the area about things like:

  • Decent, well-lit running trail? Someplace safe/populated if running alone.
  • Interesting restaurants or cafes in the area.
  • Time to commute to downtown/Best route.
  • Someplace good to grab a beer.
  • Thoughts on/experience with local schools.

Would also be interested to hear any thoughts people might have about the area's future. I know that light rail is being planned along the SE corridor and that there are a couple of East End coalitions trying to push redevelopment and beautification out that way.

I'm a realist (I know every area has their own issues) and am definitely not looking for a cookie cutter neighborhood. But I really have no experience with this side of town at all. Any feedback would be apprecoated.

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I was reading something about the Sims Bayou restoration the other day but had a hard time finding out what the status of the project was. Looks like it will be a good option when it's complete.

I actually tried talking to the golf course about using the paths and the guy on the phone sounded like he thought I was out of my ever-loving mind to even ask about running over there.

I certainly have never minded a gritty bar. Back in the good ole days before Midtown/Downtown got all fancy we used to go grab beers at the Lone Star Saloon. ;)

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I have been living in GV for 3 years now and I really like it. Will you be working "in town"? Since I'm in town for work every day, I frequently shop for groceries and stop off for drinks while I'm in. The grocery stores in our area are not too good, but you can get most things you want. It will be awhile before there is a Whole Foods out there!

There are no fine restaurants in our area. However there are some good places nearby for Mexican food, Chinese food, diner food, seafood and pizza. I haven't seen any normal bars that I would recommend, but if you like gritty dive bars and ice house type places there is no shortage of those! There is a Pizza restaurant, Spanky's, at Telephone and The South loop that seems to be a popular neighborhood place to stop for a beer.

There are jogging/biking paths being put in right now along Sims bayou, but I haven't heard if they will be lit at night. I would think so. There is a park/pool/golf course complex just across I-45 where you could safely run I'm sure.

It really is only about 10-12 mins to downtown proper with normal traffic via I-45. Driving in or out at peak traffic times will be longer.

I don't know about the schools. I have heard the quality is low. If you can afford to send your child to a private school in town, that is what I would do. If you can't, I would consider a different area or be aggressive about getting your child in to the magnet school program.

I think the neighborhood has amazing potential. It was a very nice neighborhood from the beginning. The majority of the houses are good quality custom houses. The neighborhood is full of good (and sometimes still relatively untouched) examples of ranch and modern design houses at very fair prices. This post WW2 architecture is just now coming in to vogue again and I think the appreciation for these homes is going to continue. The civic club in GV is very active and the deed restrictions are enforced. A neighborhood committee is pursuing a historic designation for a section of the neighborhood. There is also a core group of residents that are starting to come together to do things socially on a regular basis and new residents are always welcome!

If you think of other specific questions keep them coming!

There is a Whole Foods in Clear Lake's future, and that's not too far from where you live.

Edited by PapillionWyngs
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I was depressed to realize that I couldn't afford a three-bedroom house zoned to a high-achieving school. But Meadowcreek Village, a few miles from Glenbrook Valley, has been good to us since we moved in December.

Both my kids are in magnet schools. I like what I've seen of Carnegie, a great science magnet not terribly far from Glenbrook. But I'm still looking for a comparable middle school. (Suggestions, anyone?)

*****

As for restaurants...

Las Hamacas: A Honduran restaurant at the Monroe exit. Plantains for breakfast! (Alison Cook reviewed it for the Chronicle a few months ago.)

Dot Coffee Shop: At I-45 and 610, you can see Houston's best surviving example of Googie architecture -- a style so retro-goofy that I'd like the place even if the food were terrible. But in fact, the food is decent, and often more than decent. (It was the Pappas dynasty's first restaurant, and the family still runs it.) I especially like the homey plate lunches with things like meatloaf and three vegetables. Great green beans, cabbage and fries. Avoid desserts. And be warned: Portions are enormous. Those dinner plates easily feed two people.

888: Chinese food in the Gulfgate Mall area (tucked just behind Dot Coffee Shop). Less Americanized than most Chinese restaurants. (I think Alison Cook reviewed that one, too.)

Taqueria Jalisco, Monroe/Winkler/Richey Rd near Forest Oaks: A great taqueria -- the kind that makes its own tortillas while you watch. Very cheap -- I can make lunch off a $2.50 soup, but often add a $1.50 taco. And on the bleak, un-electric Monday after Hurricane Ike, the place was open for breakfast, fresh-squeezed orange juice and all. Knowing a little Spanish helps ("huevos rancheros, por favor"), but isn't necessary.

*****

Organic groceries are hard to find. The HEB at Gulfgate stocks some organic produce -- but for really good bread, or esoterica like Brown Cow yogurts, you have to schlep into town.

Mi Tienda, HEB's prototype store for serving Hispanic immigrants, doesn't carry anything organic. But for foodies, it's fabulous. As far as I know, it's the only place in Houston where you can buy tortillas made with fresh masa -- a six-inch-tall stack, still warm in their plastic bag, for $2. Terrific ceviche. Great cremas and cheeses. And a juice bar, where you can order "jugo vegetales." Right in front of your eyes, the juice ladies will push hunks of fresh pineapple, celery, carrots, beets and more through the juicer. I feel healthy just thinking about it.

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Thats the spirit. I like gritty bars too, but I just wanted you to know. Yeah the Lone Star was kind of cool...probably has valet parkers now!

There are a few neat surprises out there that you might not know. There is a small book that was just published on Telephone Road that gives some history of the Southeast side. You should pick up a copy. Also, the park I mentioned actaully has an olympic sized pool that is not too crowded in the evenings and its free. There is a small bird sanctuary over on the bayou in the old Park Place section. And, the old Municipal Airport tower is now a museum over at Hobby. The tower was designed by architect Joseph Finger who designed City Hall, Lawndale Art center etc. Very moderne and very cool. I have been told that after the restoration of the tower is complete, there is going to be a restaurant in there too.

I don't know much about the bayou restoration except that there is money in place for the jogging/biking paths.

I was reading something about the Sims Bayou restoration the other day but had a hard time finding out what the status of the project was. Looks like it will be a good option when it's complete.

I actually tried talking to the golf course about using the paths and the guy on the phone sounded like he thought I was out of my ever-loving mind to even ask about running over there.

I certainly have never minded a gritty bar. Back in the good ole days before Midtown/Downtown got all fancy we used to go grab beers at the Lone Star Saloon. ;)

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The concrete path is already done on Sims. Just don't know when the rest of it will be done like benches and lighting. Hurricane probably set it back like everything else. But I still prefer the soft running track at Memorial to the concrete.

There is a bar on Airport called Cockpit. Used to be pretty cool dive bar back in the day. Pilots and crew used to hang out there too. But I haven't been in years. Like I said, I think about going out for a drink after work and end up just going to a neighbor's house instead. It's been open for over 20 years that I know of.

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Holy crow! I just read up on Mi Tienda. I don't know how I didn't know about this place. Definitely going to check it out whether we move to GBV or not.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback. It really helps in terms of getting a feel for the hood.

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A short regular trek over to Mi Tienda is worthwhile. Its a neat cultural experience and fun shopping. I think you can actually pay with Pesos! I got really good prices on produce the last time I was there...like 3 perfect small avacados for $1. The bakery goods and hot food look really good too but I haven't tried those yet. While you are in Pasadena, if you like to shop for vintage clothing, there are three or four huge thrift stores within a couple minutes of Mi Tienda. Hard core vintage fashion and mid century modern dealers/collectors have been hitting Pasadena thrift stores for years, but they still aren't as pricey and picked over as the ones closer in to town. You could actually make a day of shopping the thrift stores then hitting Mi Tienda for a late lunch and grocery shopping.

Holy crow! I just read up on Mi Tienda. I don't know how I didn't know about this place. Definitely going to check it out whether we move to GBV or not.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback. It really helps in terms of getting a feel for the hood.

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i want to hear more about glenbrook too. i'm about to become a new homeowner (hopefully me and the SO will close on the 7510 Cayton property at the end of October/first week of Nov) and I know nothing about this area as well...

i do want to add - is there anything comparable to whole foods/organic food, et cetera in this area?

thnx. :)

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Welcome to the neighborhood AJM ! I hope you'll like it as much as I do. There is a very nice signature Kroger on South BW8 and Gulf Freeway. It's about a 5-10 minute drive on the freeway. They should have anything you need. While you're there, killl 2 birds with one stone and hit 2 Brothers Pasta for lunch or dinner. Great little mom and pop Italian !

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[/quo

Welcome to the neighborhood AJM ! I hope you'll like it as much as I do. There is a very nice signature Kroger on South BW8 and Gulf Freeway. It's about a 5-10 minute drive on the freeway. They should have anything you need. While you're there, killl 2 birds with one stone and hit 2 Brothers Pasta for lunch or dinner. Great little mom and pop Italian !

oh man, there's nothing better than mom & pop italian. thanks for the head's up on the kroger - will have to check it out. :)

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We actually did a test commute last night from downtown to GBV and then decided to check out the Mi Tienda. What a cool place! I particularly liked the bulk chorizo that had been shaped to look like the head of a pig. Then we stuffed ourselves on ceviche and some sort of Salvadoran cake.

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