Easy Living, Affordable HomesMy Dallas Story

Name: Lissa Dewar

City: Dallas

Neighborhood: Lakewood

When did you move here? From where?
2006, from Chicago

Where else have you lived?
Suburbs of Chicago and central Illinois for college

What made you Say Yes to Dallas?
My husband Christopher and I met immediately after I earned my undergraduate degree and he graduated from law school. We are both from the Midwest, but he already had a job in Dallas. On our first date, he asked me if I would ever move to Dallas. I was young and didn’t know anything about Dallas, but I told him, “sure.” The rest is history; I moved one year later and have been here ever since. My husband moved here for the weather, ease of living and affordable home prices.

How did you choose where to live in the Dallas Region?
We both grew up in areas with lots of trees, and we like to be outside. We immediately fell in love with the Lakewood area because of the trees, White Rock Lake and its proximity to downtown. We’re on our third house in Lakewood, and we don’t have plans to leave the area. We love the small town feel in the middle of a big city.

How has your opinion of the Dallas Region changed since moving here?
Dallas itself has changed a lot in the past 10 years! When we arrived, there was no arts hub or anything other than office buildings in the downtown area. Now, Dallas has arts buildings, Klyde Warren Park and museums. We also found that the people in Dallas are not at all what we thought as “stereotypical Texans.” We’re friends with many transplants who have political beliefs all over the spectrum. Not many cowboys here!

Tell us about your city/neighborhood. What do you like best? What makes it different?
Lakewood has a small-town feel and is a SUPER involved community. It seems like we know people everywhere we go — the park, the grocery store, any of the local restaurants. The Lakewood residents are very loyal to the community, and you rarely hear of people leaving the area for other parts of Dallas. The public elementary school and nearby private school are also very strong. I often say East Dallas is a more liberal part of Dallas and is definitely much more liberal than most of Texas. We love the laid back and diverse feel.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to move here?
Get involved! If you have children and move to Lakewood, join the Lakewood Early Childhood Parents Association (LECPTA). We met many friends for life through this organization, and it’s a lot of fun. If you don’t have kids, join the neighborhood associations, which are also very active.

What is your passion, and how does Dallas help fulfill it?
I am a competitive horseback (dressage) rider, and I have competed all over the country. My competition horse lives at a training facility about an hour away, but I’m able to ride/train 3-4 times per week. I drive an hour each way, and thankfully Dallas traffic isn’t too bad, especially compared to other big cities. Although dressage is not super common in the area, it’s growing and there’s a huge presence of Western riders and trainers. There are even signs that say “Horse Country USA.”

What would you miss most about the area if you had to leave?
Our proximity to downtown and the lake, but mostly our wonderful friends.

Where do you go and what do you do on the weekends or days off?
We are currently involved in many kids activities and sports. When we’re not doing that, we love going to White Rock Lake, the Perot Museum, swimming at the country club pool, the Dallas Arboretum (especially the Children’s Arboretum—it’s fabulous!), and enjoy we going out to dinner. Dallas has so many excellent restaurants. There are also different areas of Dallas to explore: Uptown, Bishop Arts and the upscale NorthPark Center.

Do you have kids? How is the experience of raising them in the Dallas Region?
We have three kids, and we think Dallas is a great place to raise them. We have a house with a large yard and great neighbors — I’m pretty sure everyone in Lakewood claims their neighbors are “the best.” Lakewood is filled with kids, and our children spend most of their free time playing outside with our neighbors. We love knowing that a lot of their friendships could last a lifetime.

What is your favorite outdoor activity, and where is your favorite place to do it?
We love the Dallas Arboretum, White Rock Lake, Klyde Warren Park, golfing at Lakewood Country Club, the Santa Fe Trail (great for running/walking/biking), and countless local parks and playgrounds.

Where do you like to shop? Why?
Highland Park has some great local shops and NorthPark Center has more designer shops than I have seen at any mall.

Do you travel often? Is it easier or harder to do here?
We travel back to Chicago several times per year. Love Field is very convenient and easy to navigate. DFW Airport is a bit further of a drive but is also pretty easy to use.

Q+A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Photo Credit: Michael Samples