Right to the Heart of Dixie

Alaba­ma – The Yel­lowham­mer State

Published: 20 January 2021

 Mov­ing to the Southland

Splendid News

Last summer, Karen received an exciting offer from the US government to promote her and relocate her to Huntsville, Alabama.

It was great news for us, as we had hoped to move away from the hectic DC Metro area for years. While NOVA is a fantastic place in many ways, the unbearable commute made life difficult. Karen's workplace was 24 miles away, but the 90-minute drive each way on a good day was a nightmare. The traffic during the 'commute' was so terrible that it affected every aspect of our lives.

After putting up with it for 18 years, we knew it was time for a change

Getting a Move On

We got the green light to relocate during the first week of November. During the next five hectic weeks, we were to:

  • Market and sell our home in Lake Ridge, Virginia.
  • Drive to and from Huntsville to find and buy a new home. It's a 680-mile drive each way, and we took the dogs along.
  • Organize some essential work on the old house to ready it for its new owners. The aim was to close with them 30 days from their offer – on 10th December.
  • Have Karen fly to Huntsville and back for the buyers' new house inspection.
  • Get our goods and chattel packed up and moved.
  • While they were en route, we drove back down to Alabama and closed on our new house on 11th December.

Moving house at any time is never fun. Doing it during the COVID-19 scenario is scary. A Government Relocation Group managed our move. They did the administrative and procedural heavy lifting with our Realtors at each end.

Sweet Home Alabama

Our new home is in Owens Cross Roads. It's over Monte Sano Mountain from Huntsville in the sub-division "The Meadows of Hampton Cove." It has a gateway, i.e., one way in and out, but no gate or gatehouse exists.

Property prices are significantly lower here than in NOVA. So is the cost of living in general. So our house is better, and our dollars go farther.

It's a brand new house; we bought it from the builder.

  • There were no window treatments of any type. We have some on order, but we are in plain sight for a few weeks more for anyone to see except for bedroom windows, where we have pinned up a sheet for decency and public order.
  • There are no towel rails, door hooks, toilet roll holders, etc., anywhere. These are on order, too, and in transit from Oregon with the US Postal Service.
  • Natural runoff from the massive ridge behind us waterlogs the backyard. Muddy dog paw prints are being mopped continuously from the floor. We are getting some restorative landscaping underway to address this and other shortcomings.

But, in general, we are thoroughly enjoying our new surroundings. But we are frustrated, too, because bloody COVID-19 stands in the way of becoming more acquainted with our new neighbours.

Living in Hampton Cove

A local real estate agent makes these videos about relocating to Huntsville. It is borderline pretentious, but he gives a good idea of the scene. The new guy bought a house in a neighbouring subdivision. The right schools for his kids are the main drivers. For us, it's a good score on the dog-friendliness index.

A Superior Commute

Karen's commute to her office in Redstone Arsenal is about 15 to 20 minutes. She takes a scenic back road up and through Blevins Gap, into Jones Valley, and then to the Arsenal. Once she gets through the gate, there's still a couple of miles to go.

A Better Workplace Too

Redstone is nominally a US Army installation. For instance, I went to the US Army Missile and Munitions Center and School in 1975 to train on a particular missile. It has another but similar title these days. NASA, the FBI, and other Federal Agencies have long been housed there. The other day, they announced that Space Force would be headquartered there.


 Ye Wee Blogger

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