The most remarkable thing about Wildwood may not be its lush forests, beautiful homes or charming downtown area. The most remarkable thing may just be that the cost of living is on par with the country’s average. Sure, housing prices are elevated over other areas of the state, but that’s partially because they just build em bigger out here. Lots of space plus lots of money means epic real estate ventures. But don’t worry, theres enough land for rentals, apartment buildings and condos. And you'll still have money for groceries, which cost pennies in comparison.
The key to successfully living in Wildwood is appreciating Mother Nature’s epic contribution, most notably in the form of Babler State Park. This enormous natural play zone is filled with hiking trails slinking through the forest, which both humans and horses use. It also features tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, picnic tables, and camping sites. Wildwooders love the outdoors, especially since harsh winters mean lots of time indoors (though skiing is another favorite pastime). So plan on making use of every day that isnt showing a sign of the imminent apocalypse.
It’s not all backcountry shenanigans here; these are hardworking, civilized people, and they like their modern fun too. Closer to town youll find fantastic dining spots, from informal bars to fancy Italian places, as well as theaters, tea rooms and gyms. Farmers markets are enjoying a blossoming popularity. But if you really want to enjoy the city life, you’ll have to escape to St. Louis proper. Fortunately, it’s close enough to enjoy on a nightly basis, let alone on weekends.
The weather can be a bit surprising for those not familiar with seasons in America. Winters have this thing called snow; it falls from the sky and piles up on driveways, cars, rooftops and, well, everything else. It’s very, very cold. Scraping ice off windshields and sidewalks and shoveling snow off driveways takes time and a robust constitution. Of course, that’s how Hidden Valley Ski Resort gets such great ski conditions, as without snow there’s very little use for lifts. Some high-end homes include heated driveways to help, but you’re going to want a carport or covered parking for any apartment rental or rental home.
Other seasons bring with them their own issues. Summer is particularly humid, which brings both sweat and mosquitoes. Spring and autumn see heavy rainfall and wind. Though the seasons are beautifully displayed, they can prove expensive and difficult in their own right. It’s important to come prepared for every one, or risk having to buy up supplies last minute and no doubt at a greater cost.
Speaking of preparing, moving will be exponentially more difficult in inclement weather. So if you can plan your arrival for not-winter that would probably be best. But make sure you’re securing accommodations in advance, there’s only about a 4 percent vacancy rate, so finding something perfect may take more than a five-minute search.
There are really only two choices for where to settle, and those are go big or go neighborhood. The big boys play on the fringes, with a cluster of three or four gargantuan mansions relatively near each other and nothing else. Then there are large pockets of happy homes on familiar Anytown, America streets that run the gamut from inexpensive steals to heart-clutching investments. Its a pretty mixed bag, but here are a couple recommendations:
Babler State Park: There aren’t any homes within the state park, obviously, but surrounding it are tremendously beautiful homes in the million-dollar range. They have all the luxurious amenities anyone can shake a stick at, from heated driveways to on-site stables, so rentals are few and far between. Some are vacation homes, though, so dig in.
Near Ellisville: Closer to the edge of town, where Wildwood becomes Ellisville and on to St. Louis, there are many more rental properties and apartments for rent. These are still lovely places, but the rents are inspiring and the amenities equally fine. Look for one-, two-, three and four-bedroom homes for great rates.
The Outback: The reality is that a vast portion of Wildwood is as yet untamed. That means there are loads of areas that have no homes at all. Find all this south of Babler State Park and west of the Glencoe area. You may consider buying land, if available, but otherwise this location is a no-go.
Manchester: Manchester Road sluices through the main portion of livable Wildwood, but the homes range in price wildly, with most in the middle section of course. However, theres something for every budget, including apartment homes, condos and single-family residences.
Wildwood is, like its name, a wild and free area filled with animals, trees and dirt roads. It’s a fantastic place to live, with a welcoming community of successful folks who like their lifestyles a bit more grounded. But it still holds modern conveniences and an unbeatable proximity to St. Louis. The best of all worlds, Wildwood is a great place if you can get it.