Neighborhood Projects Bring Smiles to Others’ Faces

In this time of coronavirus and social distancing, plenty of people are stuck in their homes, trying their best to ward off boredom and keep their spirits high. But somehow, communities around the world have found a way to do just that, for themselves and others.

These friendly folks have found creative ways to brighten up their neighborhoods with social distancing–friendly activities. These projects not only help pass the time, they also bring some hope to fellow neighbors.

Read on to learn some great ways communities have come together during this difficult time—and maybe get some ideas to help bring some fun to your street!

Take that holiday decor out of storage

People have been brightening up their neighborhoods with lots of decorations—holiday decorations, that is! Christmas twinkle lights seem to be a popular choice among homeowners, but it seems people will go with any season. With everything from Valentine’s hearts to spooky Halloween pumpkins, neighborhoods are being filled with all kinds of festive looks.

And not only are these decorations fun for neighbors to look at as they pass by in their cars or on a walk, they’re also fun to put up. Nothing says “finding something to do” on these long quarantine days like unpacking all those boxes of Christmas decorations!

As the Washington Post reports, this practice is helping people, especially children, cheer up in this time of uncertainty.

Amanda Boudreaux, a mother of two, points out that her daughters love seeing decorations light up the street.

“Every time we go outside … they get excited all over again, especially when it’s nighttime,” she says.

Start a scavenger hunt

Who doesn’t like a scavenger hunt? They’re fun for all ages, plus they’re a great excuse to get outside (while still practicing social distancing).

The New York Times reports that some kids have been participating in a different kind of scavenger hunt, seeking out teddy bears that neighbors have left propped up in windows, on porches, or even hidden in trees.

“It’s really exciting when you walk past, because there are so many different bears,” Stevie-Lee Tiller, 13, said of the scavenger hunt in her community in New Zealand. “There’s little ones, and some are, like, massive. There’s stuff like emoji pillows, and there’s Minions.”

No matter which bear is waiting in the window, it seems the #TeddyBearHunt has brought extra fun to neighborhoods worldwide, according to Time. Filling windows with cute, cuddly stuffed animals seems to be a great way to give your neighborhood kids a reason to smile.

Bring color to sidewalks with chalk drawings

Colorful chalk drawings can always brighten up a sidewalk. But in these days of social distancing, a beautiful chalk drawing, or note, can mean so much more to those out stretching their legs.

After a Facebook post (via Fox10 Phoenix) encouraged Americans to “chalk your walk,” and leave messages for others to see during this time of uncertainty, neighborhoods have become overrun with beautiful chalk drawings and notes of encouragement.

While some kids are leaving chalk notes to friends on their driveways, others are writing jokes like “Why don’t scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything!” reports, a New Orleans news site.

One community even worked together to create a neighborhood art museum.

Daphne Sashin, a Northern California mother of two, organized the project by asking her neighbors to draw pictures on their sidewalks and driveways so everyone could enjoy some colorful pictures as they walk or ride their bikes past, reports CNN.

“The idea was this would be something that would brighten everyone’s day, and it would bring us together as a community, even though we can’t physically be together,” Sashin said.

Display drawings in your window

When kids need something to occupy their time during this time of quarantine, one easy (and creative) solution is to bust out those markers and construction paper for some fun art projects. But what to do once that masterpiece is complete?

Families all over the globe are showing off their kids’ drawings in the windows of their home so that neighbors across the street, or walking by, can enjoy the colorful art. It’s an easy and fun way to add some color to the neighborhood.

While drawings can come in all shapes and sizes, some popular drawings have included pictures of rainbows, People reports.

“The neighbors have already been interested and it has been lovely to see smiles on people’s faces as they walk past the house,” says Danielle Oliver of Sunderland, England.

Celebrate one another with a parade

While decorating your house, the sidewalk, and even your windows with colorful drawings might be fun, one community decided to liven up their neighborhood with a social distancing–friendly dinosaur parade.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, people dressed in inflatable dinosaur costumes and walked in a line as neighbors enjoyed the parade from a distance.

But a parade doesn’t necessarily have to be dinosaur-themed. In fact, plenty of other communities have celebrated their neighbors’ birthdays with a parade of cars giving a honk.

It’s definitely a parade, and a birthday, they’ll never forget!

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Jon Bon Jovi’s NJ Home Sale Is Hiding a Secret: Can You Guess?

Jon Bon Jovi fans may often wonder what his rock star life is like, and here’s their chance to take a sneak peek: His New Jersey mansion is for sale, and the photos show that his digs are worthy of his legendary status.

Located on 15 acres in Middleton, NJ, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Navesink River, an hour outside New York City, High Point Estate boasts six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, all in an 18,000-square-foot French-inspired château.

So how much is it worth? Bon Jovi has decided to leave that number a mystery. According to the listing from Christie’s, the price is available “upon request.”

Inside Jon Bon Jovi’s NJ mansion

This mansion makes quite the first impression.
This mansion makes quite the first impression.

Christie’s International Real Estate

Designed by the celebrated architect Robert A.M. Stern, High Point Estate features stately solid wooden double doors, large windows, French balconies, and even a double-wide entrance driveway.

And this isn’t even the only building on the property. The mansion comes with four additional outbuildings, including a three-bedroom carriage house and Bon Jovi’s recording studio. It’s a perfect mix of history and rock and roll.

This rock star's mansion is surprisingly filled with Old World charm.
This rock star’s mansion is surprisingly filled with Old World charm.

Christie’s International Real Estate

This ornate fireplace is stunning.
This ornate fireplace is stunning.

Christie’s International Real Estate

But the most impressive features of this home are on the inside. The living room is huge, with a 12-foot ceiling and gorgeous fireplace. The living room flows to the bar, which features a large window so that guests can enjoy the riverfront views.

This dining room is perfect for intimate dining.
This dining room is perfect for intimate dining.

Christie’s International Real Estate

Of course, we can’t forget the stunning dining room, designed to accommodate a round dining room table for optimum dinner conversations. The dining room isn’t the only place perfect for congregating. There’s a luxurious in-home theater, a family room with a fireplace, and even an outside sitting area complete with an outdoor fireplace.

Upstairs, there are two wings, one for staff and one for the family—the latter of which includes four en suites—including the luxurious master bedroom, worthy of a rock god.

This staircase makes a dramatic statement.
This staircase makes a dramatic statement.

Christie’s International Real Estate

With so much space, the property might be better used for something other than a family residence.

“A great buyer might be a boutique hotel operator or an events company,” says Jeanne Whipple, owner of the Philly Home Girls at Elfant Wissahickon Realtors®. “This property wouldn’t only be a great palace to live in, but a great place to work or stay if the local ordinances allow it. I’d love to go to a luxury music camp there for a week.”

The view from this mansion is incredible.
The view from this mansion is incredible.

Christie’s International Real Estate

So, how much is Bon Jovi’s house really worth?

But the question still stands: Why keep the price tag a secret?

“There are all sorts of reasons the exact price of luxury houses like this one aren’t listed,” says Tyler Drew, a real estate developer in California. “Many times, the owner simply doesn’t want to advertise it to the world. ‘Price available upon request’ in the luxury market usually means ‘You can’t afford it.'”

“Often when celebrities or high net worth individuals sell their homes, they are seeking discretion and privacy,” agrees Brad Bateman, a real estate agent in New York.

“When I have shown celebrity homes in the past, it is standard for the listing agent to ask that we sign a nondisclosure agreement, so that we don’t discuss anything about the home or its famous owner to our friends or colleagues.”

But Cara Ameer, a real estate agent licensed in California and Florida, also points out that real estate agents don’t disclose the price in order to add an aura of mystery and pique the curiosity of the public.

“There are varying viewpoints on this, but some real estate professionals feel that assigning a public price tag to an exquisite property sort of cheapens it, and it may eliminate some buyers from considering it altogether,” says Ameer.

“By disclosing a number, some buyers may judge the property by that alone and eliminate it, feeling that it doesn’t measure up to the number being asked for.”

This tactic could also prove useful for those who aren’t celebrities—in fact, we could see more mystery prices in the future.

“We see the ‘Price to be determined by market’ or ‘Pricing upon request’ moniker frequently in the commercial sphere,” Kurt Westfield, MBA, managing director, WC Equity Group. “I feel it does serve some purpose and also acts as a prescreening for potential buyers. Plus, by not listing a price, the market value is then determined by purchase offers and not by a seller’s opinion.”

Still, real estate agents can wager a guess as to what the price would be.

“Given its size, location, and amenities, I’d say at least $100 million,” says Drew.

Westfield has a way different figure in mind. “There is another listing in the same ZIP code at just under $3 million,” he says. “Granted, it has roughly 60% less square footage and isn’t being sold by a celebrity. There is another at just under $12 million, with 10% more square footage and just slightly less acreage. I would assess pricing Bon Jovi’s property at roughly $14 million.”

Are any of these guesses correct? Only time—or Bon Jovi himself—can tell you that.

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