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    Searching for ZIP: 21228 in Bel Air
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    Name: Kelly | Age: 53 | Gender: Female | ZIP: 21228 | Resident for: 1-7 days | Added at: 2007-04-08
    Artisticness: 3.0   Calmness: 4.0   Helpfulness: 4.0   Intelligence: 2.0   Neatness: 4.0   Outgoingness: 4.0   
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    What do you like about Bel Air?
    I don't live in Bel Air, but I belong to the Bel Air Community Band, and so I'm in Bel Air every week for rehearsal, and have several friends who do live in Bel Air. Bel Air is a large town, and very civic-minded, as shown by the existence of a fully-funded community band. There are quite a few parks, and Shamrock Park has an excellent band shell - covered, with backstage rooms for storage - in which there are concerts several times a week during the summer, including pop music, classical, the community band, the military bands stationed in Maryland, etc. The Bel Air branch of the Harford County Public Library is a large, well-run branch which always has a great selection of new books, and even has a gift shop - I enjoyed buying book-related Christmas ornaments there this past December!
    What do you dislike about Bel Air?
    There is a certain smug, somewhat conservative, \"whiter\" than Baltimore, parochial attitude on the part of some people - a \"we're more patriotic than the more urban places\" feeling, fueled in part by the army base in nearby Aberdeen. It's not overwhelmingly provincial, but some. (It should be noted that a Catholic Republican from Bel Air is still likely to be less conservative than a Democrat from Texas - everything's relative.)
    What are your favorite parts of the city to live and/or hang out in?
    Shamrock Park is a great park (see the above-mentioned concert series), and there's a large Arts Festival there every September.
    How expensive is it?
    Living in Harford County can be a bit more expensive than Baltimore County - in part because there's fewer row houses (townhouses) and more single-family homes. It's not wildly expensive, but houses do cost a bit more than the same square footage in Baltimore County. Food and gasoline prices are average for the state, certainly cheaper than in the counties closer to Washington DC.
    Is it safe?
    Fairly safe - when people complain about crime, a lot of it is teenage vandalism such as graffiti. Not to say it's perfect, and as with many suburbs, by now drugs have managed to make their way into the high schools. But in general, certainly much safer than living in Baltimore.
    How is the weather? Bel Air extends fairly far north in Harford County, almost to the Pennsylvania border, and so can get a bit more snow in the winter than the parts of Maryland that are further south and west. It's not oppressively cold, though, nor is summer oppressively hot - it doesn't get so hot and humid that people don't engage in lots of outdoor activities!
    Additional thoughts?
    We strongly considered Bel Air when we moved to Maryland, but settled on a spot in Baltimore County which was slightly more central to all the things we want to do that involve travelling all around the state and to Washington DC. But for people who don't need to be only 15 minutes from Johns Hopkins hospital, and who are prepared to pay a slight premium to live in a safe suburb with an adequate school system, Bel Air is an excellent choice, almost as good as living in one of the more expensive counties such as Howard County.