GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Sometimes, a neighborhood is more than just a place where people live as they pass each other by in their busy lives. Sunset Hills in Greensboro fancies itself as one of those rare places.
“I grew up in Summerfield, so I always knew of Sunset Hills being a great neighborhood to live in,” said Meredith Dewald, who moved to the northeast for a while before returning to Greensboro. “It’s a very tight-knit community but very welcoming.”
It’s actually something of a famous neighborhood. First built in 1924, it enters its centennial year as a place that has been on national television a number of times, mostly for the famous lighted Christmas balls they shoot into the trees the day after Thanksgiving, attracting thousands of folks both creeping by in their cars or just walking the neighborhood to see them all.
“I like to say that this neighborhood is as close as you can get to living in Europe…without leaving the country,” Drea Douglass said.
Douglass says it’s not just because of the famous colored Christmas ball decorations but because of the way everyone interacts with each other. The pandemic has shown us how essential that is.
“We’re all guilty of being stuck in our little bubble,” you’re like, everyone’s busy,” said Melanie Jones, who grew up in Greensboro and counts Sunset Hills as the fourth Greensboro neighborhood she’s lived in.
It’s that personal connection that Jones and her neighborhood friends say is a lot more than just a way to show southern hospitality.
“I think it’s essential for sanity,” Jones said.
She’s not exaggerating, and Douglass backs that idea up.
“We’re preserving the fabric of society here in Sunset Hills,” Douglass said.
For Douglass and her family, the connections started on one of the many common areas that thread their way through the streets and homes.
“We started going to the playground here in Sunset Hills, and that’s where the real, fertile soil of friendship was,” Douglass said. “It was all these other families with kids around the same age that we started to really make relationships, especially when COVID happened because no one was traveling anymore, so everyone’s outside. The outdoor spaces in the neighborhood are perfect for that.”
The stories of how they help each other are too numerous to list, but we can tell you the area is so attractive that Brooks Ann McKinney was determined it was the place she wanted to raise her young daughter.
“During COVID, I bought my house, and…I only saw it on FaceTime, and I bought that house because that’s how bad I wanted to live here,” McKinney said.
Meet some of the women of Sunset Hills in this edition of The Buckley Report.