Like many people, I have also followed a career path. Just after we were married, Susan and I made our first move from Lakeland, Fl, to New Orleans. Then we relocated to Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Memphis, back to Lakeland, and as far North as Farmington Hills, Michigan. Each move brought with it an opportunity to grow professionally and make new friends, while exploring new locations and living among diverse cultures.
We learned early on that it's easy to find the basic necessities of life from one city to the next. However, it's hard to appreciate the new experiences you can have until you actually live out the relocation process a few times. My wife's parents have said many times, "We would never have seen the places we have visited had you not moved around the country so much." Yes, you have to live it to experience it.
Relocation is what you make out of it: Had we never moved to Michigan, I probably would have never learned how to snow ski by age forty. I have wonderful memories of the family traveling by train to go Christmas shopping in Chicago, and fun boating vacations on the Great Lakes during the summer.
Whether moving to Huntsville, or any new location for that matter, relocation begins with the right attitude. We were fortunate to figure out early that our family provided an in-house support group. We learned to depend on each other in making relocation a positive experience. It's hard to say goodbye to old friends and those special places around home you have always enjoyed. However, at some point, you need to begin thinking about and looking forward to new possibilities to establish a functional relocation attitude.
Friends and family can make it tough:
We moved to Huntsville ten years ago. I will never forget telling my friends in Michigan that we were moving to Huntsville. Their reaction was similar to what my father-in-law said when I told my in-laws we were moving to Michigan from the gold coast of Florida. He said, "Who in life did you kick?" Likewise, when I told my friends in Michigan we were moving to Alabama well, the reaction was pretty similar. It was funny how they said the word, Alabama. They said it more like a question than a statement, "A-L--la-BAMA?" People always think that where they are from is the greatest place in the world. I think it's more about a reluctance to change than anything. I still get a chuckle when I think about their reactions.
I guess I'm no different, in a sense, because after living in Huntsville for ten years, I think it's one of the greatest places in the country to live. But, I would like for you to know why.
Huntsville - Madison County Weather: First of all, the climate is hard to beat. We experience all four seasons, but nothing to the extreme. Huntsville is located roughly 30 miles form the Tennessee border and nestled in what is commonly referred to as the Tennessee Valley. We are situated in the Appalachian foothills with lush trees, flowers, greenery and natural beauty.
The best time to experience Huntsville is during the months of early February to June, and then again from September to November. Typically we get two cold months in the winter and two hot months in the summer. Yes, the summer can be humid, but I have experienced the humidity of the Northeast, Mid-West and the Southeast during the hottest summer months, and honestly never noticed that the humidity in Huntsville was out of the ordinary.
When we first moved to Michigan, I remember the people saying, "You will learn to pray for 40 degree weather." We did! Well, as for Huntsville, your prayers are answered because December and January can reach in the low 20's at night while easily warming to the 40's and 50's during the day. Yes, those dog-day afternoons in July and August will give you a taste of Southern-hot, but we wouldn't have anything to look forward to if the weather were perfect all the time. If nothing else, the hot summer months give us a good excuse to head to the lake, the Tennessee River or venture down to the Gulf Coast.
Lake Guntersville: Speaking of water, Lake Guntersville is about 35 minutes from downtown Huntsville. Lake Guntersville is a man made recreational lake on the Tennessee River, controlled by The Tennessee Valley Authority, (TVA). You can go anywhere in the world, by water, from Lake Guntersville. Lake Guntersville Yacht Club provides covered slips for boats of all sizes and in excess of 100'. Yes, I too was shocked when I realized how many large yachts there are on this beautiful body of water. Ditto Landing, and Signal Point Marina also provide covered and open slips for boating. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, skiing, sailing or just going for a swim, Lake Guntersville will surprise you with it's surrounding beauty, weekend or day trip options. You may also want to consider investing in a lake house for weekend getaways, holidays or to simply enjoy year round.
Traffic Congestion - Airport: Huntsville doesn't have the major traffic problems you experience in much larger cities. I remember our first house-hunting trip to Huntsville. I couldn't help but notice how clean the Interstate was from the airport to the city. This was a pleasant surprise. If you are relocating from a large metro area, the long commute to work is o-v-e-r...There is a life beyond planes, trains and automobiles. You just haven't experienced it yet.
I live on the SE side of Huntsville, about thirteen minutes, depending on the time of day, from downtown Huntsville, over Monte Sano mountain. During rush hour, it can take 20 minutes to get across town. It takes me 25 minutes to get to the airport and usually 10-15 minutes to get to the departure gate. We have direct flights to cities such as Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Orlando, to name a few. Depending on your destination, you may experience more connection flights from Huntsville than the major hubs.
Rocket City: Huntsville is commonly referred to as the birthplace of rocket travel. I had never heard of Von Braun until I moved to Huntsville. Dr.Wernher Von Braun and many of his colleagues escaped from Germany during WW-II and settled in Huntsville where our country began the long journey to the moon and beyond. No doubt you have heard of Space Camp. Huntsville is the home of Redstone Arsenal, and the largest NASA training center in the world. Beginning in the early days of rocket development, through the Mercury and Apollo programs, Skylab, the Space Shuttle and as recent as the design, testing and development of the new Space Station, Huntsville has been an integral partner, and technological leader in Space Exploration. Technology is a key component to our economic growth and development. Supporting this technological position provides an abundance of residual job and career opportunities in a variety of fields spanning every industry and profession.
Major Metros - Sports: Huntsville is in a great location that provides reasonable access to major cities surrounding the Tennessee Valley. By car, Huntsville is 2 hours from Nashville, 3.5 hours from Atlanta and 2 hours from Birmingham. The Gulf coast is about a 6 hour drive to Destin, FL and about 7 hours to Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Of course Alabama is known for loving sports of all kinds, especially football. The Titans play in Nashville and the Falcons are in Atlanta. If you want to go to a Crimson Tide game, The University of Alabama is just outside of Birmingham, in Tuscaloosa, and the Auburn Tigers play at Jordan Hair stadium in Auburn, Alabama. If you love baseball, you can attend a Braves game in Atlanta, or a Huntsville Stars game in Huntsville. If you are a NASCAR fan, well, you will want to learn more about Talladega Raceway, which is located near Gadsden, Alabama, just 2 hours away.
Tennis - Golf: In 2005, the city of Huntsville completed a new, first class outdoor Tennis complex near downtown Huntsville. There are multiple indoor tennis facilities available with USTA sponsored league tennis for all ages.
We have some of the best golf courses you will find anywhere in the country. Courses are well maintained and reasonably priced. In Hampton Cove, we have two 18 hole, Robert Trent Jones courses developed around the subdivision. If you want to join a Private Country Club we have several. To name a few, The Ledges, is a beautiful course with a spectacular mountain top view and Clubhouse with dining. The Huntsville Country Club is located near the downtown area and also provides dining for members.
RCRC - Radio Control: I have always been fascinated with flight. As a boy, I built control-line airplanes with small gas engines. It wasn't until my adult years that I was able to afford transitioning to Radio-Controlled Airplanes. It all started when my youngest son, Daniel, purchased a small Park-Flier. It didn't take long for me to catch the bug. We learned how to build and fly these amazing scale airplanes at one the most renowned facilities in the country. Huntsville is home to Rocket City Radio Controllers, (RCRC). The club has over 100 members with a converted landfill for a flying area. RCRC provides a 600' paved runway, covered pit area, 5 chain link fence protected flight stations and air-conditioned clubhouse. Spectators are welcome and provided with protected bleachers for viewing events, or just watching pilots fly amazingly detailed scale airplanes. Flight training is provided for beginners at no charge. All you need is your AMA card, club membership, an airplane, radio and field equipment. If you ever thought about getting involved in this wonderful hobby, RCRC is one of the best places in the country to learn and get involved.
Jogging - Biking: Whether you simply want to walk the mall, jog the neighborhood, or run competitively, Huntsville walks, jogs, runs and races. Pick the terrain, climate, distance, competition level and you will find what you are looking for in Huntsville. There are sponsored track, cross-country and marathon events going on year round. There are several biking associations and clubs with planned biking events in all categories. Or you can simply get on your bike and ride.
People and Food: Huntsville radiates southern hospitality and cherishes southern cooking. No matter where you are from, everyone loves good ole southern cooking.
People from the south love to cook. It's a southern tradition that becomes quite competitive. Each year the Whistle Stop BBQ Cook-off is held in Huntsville. People from across the Tennessee Valley attend this annual event, vying for cash purses and the honor to compete in the World Championship, held at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Whether you are just cooking on the grill in your back yard or getting ‘jiggy with the piggy' in a cook-off competition, good food shared with family and good friends is a southern tradition we genuinely appreciate.
Huntsville sponsors and is host to several festivals during the year that attracts people from all over the Tennessee Valley. The Big Spring Jam, and Panoply, features famous music talents, art crafters and great food from all over the country.
I could go on and on telling you about why I love Huntsville, Alabama, but there just isn't enough room to tell you everything. I guess you are going to have to come visit Huntsville and see for yourself. Or, you can click on one of the many links I have provided on my website for more information about the area.
If I can help you with your relocation plans, feel free to send me an email explaining how I can be of service. I would be more than glad to send you a welcome packet with more information. Or, give me a call at 256-656-1174. I'm a good listener! Tell me how I can help you make your move to Huntsville a more enjoyable experience.
In closing, here is one other helpful hint in making relocation better for everyone. Remember how I began this article with how much I envied those people who have lived near family? Well, Mom and Dad moved to Huntsville about three years ago. As the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, join them". With the right attitude, things just always seem to have a way of working out for the best.