A lifelong Marylander, John Laur lived most of his life in the Carroll County area until he moved to Baltimore six years ago. Initially a Mt. Vernon resident John says he began looking for something with a little less concrete. Finding Lauraville was actually a very happy surprise.
"It's actually kind of funny. We did not even realize that a place like Lauraville existed in the city. Around two and a half years ago, my girlfriend and I realized we wanted to buy a house. We absolutely loved being around all the arts, culture and activities of the city, but we also wanted a yard – a place we could let a dog and eventually a kid run around."
"We had started looking in areas like Hampden and Locus Point, but nothing clicked," he continues. "Then we had a few friends and our real estate agent recommend we check out Lauraville. We instantly fell in love with the small town feel inside of the city."Nature and nurture
According to John, the Lauravile and Hamilton area has a lot of great aspects that make living there a real dream.
"There are a number of great benefits we get from living in Hamilton/Lauraville. A lot has been made recently of the great restaurants in Lauraville, and for good reason - places like Clementine's, Chameleon Café, Koco's, Hamilton Tavern, Red Canoe offer up not only some of the best food Baltimore has to offer, but they are all also just great places to hang out," he says.
That said, John is especially taken with two other benies of living there - its natural open spaces and its people.
"I would like to make a BIG deal [that we are] very close access to Herring Run Park, an amazing place to take a jog, walk the dog, or just take in some nature. [And our] incredibly active and passionate community association, the Lauraville Improvement Association. It's really good to know my neighbors are working hard to make the neighborhood a better place to be."
And though he admits that dining out is a easy and favorite thing to do in a community with so many options, its the simple pleasures available there that really standout for John.
"I think that my favorite thing to do in Lauraville is just hang with neighbors. We have become good friends with a few people in the neighborhood and my best friend and his wife moved to the neighborhood about the same time we did. It is really nice to go to a neighbor's house with bottle of wine and hang out on their porch or in their back yard and just catch up."The barbarshop
It may seem like an unusual choice, but for entertainment and shopping John doesn't head to a bar or local music joint, he goes for a haircut.
"I am not sure if this is considered shopping or entertainment, BUT one of my favorite spots in Lauraville is the Chop Shop where Bill the Barber is always willing to offer up a cheap cut, good conversation and a complementary Natty Boh."Wining and Dining
I" am a big fan of Koco's for a "after a long work week" Margarita. For food, I think that the Hamilton Tavern may have perfected the burger and the Big Bad Wolf Sandwich is the be all, end all meat lovers fantasy. For when I really want to wow someone coming up to visit Lauraville, I take them to The Chameleon Café, one of the great fine dining places in all of Baltimore," he says.BoB
The best thing about being in Lauraville, according to John, is getting the benefits of a small town and being in the city. "The neighborhood is great to walk around in with your dog, you get friendly hello's from neighbor's and you have great shops and restaurants you can walk to. When you want the downtown feel – Mt. Vernon, Fells Point, Canton and other downtown hot spots are a short drive or taxi ride away."
For anyone who hasn't been to the area and is considering putting it on its list of place in Baltimore to explore, he says that "everyone will and should visit for the restaurants and the food, but when you do get here take a look around a see what great people are here."
"The Lauraville/Hamilton area is an area that it is truly a neighborhood built by neighbors and is completely family-friendly. A large majority of the people who own, or work in the shops and restaurants around the area also live here and they have families in mind, that is why the majority of the restaurants have children's play areas and often don't stay open too late. The Lauraville Improvement Association is always making strides to make the neighborhood and surrounding area a better place to raise families. These are just I few reasons why I decided to start my family here."