Halloween parties. Ice cream socials. Wine tastings.
Those are some of the things that bring neighbors together in Brookhaven Fields, a group of small neighborhoods behind the Brookhaven MARTA station between Dresden Drive and North Druid Hills Road.
Long-time residents Donna Hall and Meredith O’Connor got together one afternoon to talk about why they love their neighborhood.
“It feels like you’re in a community,” O’Connor said. “When you come home, you’re not alone. You’re with your neighbors.”
Hall’s home office sits on Fernwood Circle and overlooks Fernwood Park.
Hall says that community feeling was what sold her on the neighborhood. “When you walk down the street the neighbors are going to wave at you if they see you,” she said. “Our porches overlook the sidewalk so you can yell out to your neighbors. I’ll step out I see someone walking by.”
A real estate agent, Hall says she bought the townhome 15 years ago when showing a client another home in the same development, built and designed by Brookhaven Fields resident Jack Honderd.
“I really love nature,” she said, and added that a commercial real estate developer friend told her that near the MARTA station was where she should buy.
Hall listed some of the reasons she fell in love with the neighborhood: “I wanted to be able to look out over a park. The walking distance to MARTA is incredible. I knew Dresden Drive would do things. The redevelopment of MARTA is going to be the real deal.”
For O’Connor and her husband, Riley, buying their single-family home in Brookhaven Fields was a long-term investment.
“I moved here 23 years ago after living in D.C. for eight years,” she said. “I realized how valuable a transit system was to the city and the properties around it. We knew it was an investment that would pay off in the long run, but we wanted to buy somewhere we would stay, and, boy, has it ever paid off. Finally living close to a MARTA station is starting to mean something.
“All of a sudden, the things we’ve been waiting on for years are happening.
“Now you can walk to restaurants and shops. I knew that was going to happen, because in D.C., that’s what happened. I knew it was important to be here and I was willing to wait. We were in no rush.
“Other people moved in and left because it was not gentrifying fast enough, but we really did just wait it out.”
The pair, who have known each other for 10 years, serve on the social committee of the Brookhaven Fields Civic Association. Activities organized by the group include a Halloween party, a Spring Fling, wine tastings, a yard sale and an Easter egg hunt.
Some of those events take place in Clack’s Corner, a pocket park that serves as a point of pride for the neighborhood.
The property was owned by Howard Clack, who lived on it until he died in 2006. His wish was for the property to become public greenspace.
O’Connor said that creating the park brought the neighborhood’s residents together, as they had to raise money to maintain it for DeKalb County to purchase and approve it. The city of Brookhaven has recently taken over maintenance of the park.
Hall’s townhome looks over the community’s other park, Fernwood Park, a protected spot that serves as a drainage area for the MARTA station. Due to its topography, events can’t be held on it, but it does have a pedestrian bridge connecting Fernwood Circle and Sylvan Circle.
“You can’t have a picnic on it, but it’s pretty,” O’Connor said.
“The woodpeckers came out last week and it was fabulous listening to them.”