It’s That Time of the Year: Get on the Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour, May 17

Join Mid-Atlantic Cohousing‘s Annual Spring Bus Tour on Saturday, May 17, 12:30 – 6:30PM. Visit three well-established cohousing communities in DC, Maryland and Virginia: Takoma Village, Eastern Village and Blueberry Hill. You’ll get a guided tour, presentation and Q&A at each community. Snacks and transportation are provided.

This tour always sells out. Get your seat now!

2014MACBusTour

It’s Cohousing Auction Time!

online-auctions

The Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour has been sold out for weeks, but there is one last opportunity to get a seat: check out the CohoUS auction!

The Cohousing Association of the US (CohoUS) is currently hosting an online auction until May 17, 2013, 11PM PST. Scan an intriguingly diverse lineup of national and local vacation trips & excursions, artwork & jewelry, professional consultations and coaching sessions, and — of course — overnight stays and tours of cohousing communities throughout the US, all from cohousers and cohousing communities across the US.

See what’s up for bid at http://auctions.readysetauction.com/cohousing/. Auction proceeds benefit CohoUS, a national, donor-based organization that advances cohousing by providing assistance to forming and existing cohousing communities.

newtcaofuslogo_sidebar_medFind a gift for family and friends, get something for yourself, or just make a donation and help CohoUS build a better society one neighborhood at a time.

Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour: Sold Out!

2013MACBusTourSoldOutWe told you it would, and it did: The Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour has SOLD OUT and it’s not even May. People are hungry to learn about community. (Speaking of hungry, I hear the folks at Liberty Village Cohousing are planning a delicious meal of locally grown fare for lunch during the tour.)

It is still possible to go on the tour, if you act fast. One of the tour attendees bought a couple of tickets but is now unavailable to attend. Contact kori [at] midAtlanticCohousing [dot] org ASAP to find out how to buy the tickets directly from the attendee.

Be an Early Bird for the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour

Walking the pedestrian-friendly paths of a local cohousing community and conversing with the people who live there is, arguably, THE best way to get to know cohousing. One of the members of Good Tree Village went last year and it only stoked her desire to live in an intentional community.

Mid-Atlantic Cohousing’s Annual Spring Bus Tour is set to hit the road on Saturday, 18 May 2013 from 8:30AM – 6:30PM, visiting several cohousing communities throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Whether you’re just checking out the cohousing concept, need to talk with someone about how to create a cohousing community, or you’re ready to move into an existing cohousing neighborhood, MAC’s bus tour will be expedition well worth your time. Register before April 7 to get early-bird pricing.

MAC Annual Spring Bus Tour 2013

Within Reach: a Couple’s Journey to Find Sustainable Community in the U.S.

WithinReachMovie.com

Experience and discuss the future of sustainable community with the movie Within Reach, followed by conversation with Associate Producer Raines Cohen, at a near-Metro cohousing community. Warm up after the #ForwardOnClimate 350.org rally at the White House (and maybe park there beforehand and Metro in to avoid downtown traffic/parking challenges) and meet cohousers and cohousing professionals visiting from all over. Sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Cohousing, the regional group providing education about community in the greater DC area.

Raines Cohen is a Cohousing Coach and Cohousing California / East Bay Cohousing regional organizer in Berkeley, California. Raines’ friends Amanda and Ryan set out to make a documentary of a trip seeking sustainable community, visiting 100 Ecovillages, cohousing neighborhoods, co-ops, group houses, and more, all across the country…6500 miles by bicycle! Watch the trailer:

The movie is now available for community screenings, after several years in development. It focuses on ten key communities, including cohousing and spiritual communities, and includes animations about sustainable community.

… one man in the Berkeley Fundraiser Preview Premiere audience stood up and said:
“I fell in love with this country again.”

… Betsy Morris of East Bay Cohousing writes:
“A fabulous and inspiring movie. A new take on the great American road trip.”

… Josh Harper of New Hope Community in Oakland, California said:
“I was so inspired by your film tonight. The world is longing to know the truth you reveal in your journey. May it be seen by many.”

Learn more about the film (and get your own screening kit for your community) at www.WithinReachMovie.com.

Doors open at 6:30PM, film rolls at 7PM, with conversation to follow.

Suggested Donation $15, or $10 for members of Mid-Atlantic Cohousing member groups.

RSVP via the DC cohousing MeetUp to get sent the address and directions:
http://www.meetup.com/Washington-DC-Area-Cohousing/events/104796162/

What Can Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Do For You in 2013?

midAtlanticCohousingDid you know that Good Tree Village is a member of Mid-Atlantic Cohousing (MAC)? MAC is a non-profit “organized for the expressed purpose of educating and informing the public at large and those folks actively engaged in cohousing about the benefits and challenges of forming, building and living in cohousing.” One of the ways we are planning for success (inshaAllah / God Willing) is by learning from and working with others who have already been where we’d like to be: spending the rest of our lives in a community that eats together, works together, and shares together.

At the end of the meeting we brainstormed about what exciting programs, events and activities we could we could provide for folks in the DC Metro area next year. A cohousing film festival? Workshops on getting the community built? Programs on consensus decision-making and governance? What would you like to see from MAC in 2013?

On the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour: Blueberry Hill

I know, I know: Blueberry Hill conjures up hip-gyrating images of Elvis. Or is it just me? This cohousing community is not a commune of worshipers of “The King” — at least they didn’t mention it — nor is it where Fats Domino retired from the proceeds of his biggest hit song. What may explain the name is Blueberry Hill’s location: it was built on 7 unfarmable acres of 23-acre Potomac Vegetable Farm, a certified organic farm in Vienna, VA. (A few of the owners even live in Blueberry Hill.)

It took six years of meeting two times every week to self-develop these 19 colorful homes clustered within a grove of mature trees. The houses are built around a walkable greenway made of grass block pavers that can support vehicles — like ambulances and moving trucks — that occasionally need closer access than the two peripheral parking lots afford. The houses range between 700 – 1100 square feet, but when walking through them, the open plan kitchen-dining-living room, the abundant light from numerous windows, and nine-foot ceilings give the homes a more expansive feeling. In addition, the wrap-around porches extend the living spaces outdoors. The geothermal HV/AC gives these modest units bills of no more than $75 a month.

A walkable greenway

One of Blueberry Hill’s many colorful homes.

Wrap-around porches invite neighbors to sit-n-chat.

Roomy open plan living spaces

A peek in the common house kitchen

While Chuck & Katie’s cohousing bible says build the common house first, Blueberry Hill’s common house was completed a couple of years after the last homes were finished in 2000. Even so, the common house seems to get the most use out of all the communities we visited that day, as the residents eat together 2 – 4 times a week. Not only do they eat together often, but the culinary magic happens in a relatively normal-sized kitchen. According to our guide, eating together often helps these neighbors develop good relationships so that there are less problems which can’t be quickly snuffed by a quick conversation.

The common house.

Common house dining room

A wall in the common house children’s area

Clustered mailboxes and a basketball hoop near a peripheral parking lot.

The residents include about 50 people: a little more than 30 adults from ages 20 – 70-something (including and handful of single heads of households), and a little less than 20 children. With all these people, Blueberry Hill has a pretty simple structure for getting things done around the community. There are three self-explanatory committees: indoor, outdoor, people and fun. It’s probably the fun committee that gives the necessary lubrication in the other committees.

The collection of homes — not the car — take center stage in this walkable community.

We visited many of the DC metro area’s cohousing communities on the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour. Up next is part four in this four-part series: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC.

Part 1: Eastern Village Cohousing, Silver Spring, MD
Part 2: Liberty Village Cohousing, Libertytown, MD
Part 3: Blueberry Hill Cohousing, Vienna VA
Part 4: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

They say it’s work to get together after work, but not in cohousing. What do you do in your community to make it easy for neighbors to make stronger connections?