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  1. #1
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    Where to move to: Athens, Knoxville, or Huntsville?

    My wife, two small boys, and I are planning to move closer to family (central AL) from Charlottesville, VA. We love the progressive attitudes, cycling culture, access to amazing mtb trails, and excellent schools here. We don't, however, love the $300k mortgage on a 1450 sq ft brick rancher, or spending most of our vacations touring Alabama to visit family. So, we're looking something that's as similar to what we have here as possible in a 300 mile radius of Clanton, AL.

    We've visited Chattanooga but got the impression that the schools in the areas we'd want to live(i.e. areas close enough for me to bike to one of the hospitals for work) weren't very high quality. That leaves:

    Athens, GA - good enough schools maybe?, cheap enough houses, seems like a cool downtown vibe, smallest of the three(that's good), decent trails around and quick enough access to North Georgia, seems like a good biking scene, could probably commute to work, but, it's on the outer limits of distance to the Grandparents.

    Huntsville, AL - good schools, safe, close to family, clean, cheap houses, a decent trail or two but still quite a hike to the good stuff in TN and N. GA, not sure about commuting yet, doesn't seem to have the eclectic earthy vibe.

    Knoxville, TN - good schools?, probably could get a house close enough to bike commute, cutting edge hospitals available to work at(I do CT/MRI so the more technically advanced the better), seems like plenty of in-town mtb options with close proximity to the mountains, college town so probably eclectic enough, good mtb crowd, a bit farther than we'd like to be from Bama, and biggest of the three.

    Any experience anyone has had with any of the ones I've mentioned or any I haven't thought of yet would be greatly appreciated. Most of the above information is mostly speculation from what I can read about the cities on-line. I'm visiting at least Athens and Huntsville at the end of September but I doubt a couple of days in each will really tell me everything I need to know. Thanks in advance, Josh
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  2. #2
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    Knoxville has a vegetable-soup social scene, not a melting pot. You can find whatever community you prefer to hang with in some form or another however the group may be "closed" to outside opinion. Webb School Of Knoxville is a private 6-12 school you should consider. Highest per-capita restaurant density in the world. Just 1 hour north of Deals' Gap, the most coveted stretch of motorcycling road in the western hemisphere. For the most part, Knoxville is very polite.

    I'm just getting back into biking, can't give my personal opinion about area riding. Look for lots of good references for Haw Ridge in this forum.

  3. #3
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    Thanks

    Thanks for the reply. I should have noted that we're interested in good public schools. One of the reasons we're moving is that my wife has to work every other weekend right now so that we can make ends meet and still not have to use daycare. Thanks again, Josh
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  4. #4
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    Athens

    I've lived here going on seven years now, and think it's a great place. It's a very hip/culturally diverse college town...very progressive. To say the least, it has alot of personality. Even for someone like me, who is no longer in the college scene, there's always something to do, something going on.

    Downtown has very hip eating and drinking establishments, from 1 star to 5 star. Great music scene as well, kinda famous actually. They close down it's streets several times a year for music/arts festivals, and they have an annual cycling festival here, including mtb races, family fun poker style rides, culminating to the Twilight Criterium race around the downtown streets (it's super exciting to watch).

    There's a considerable biking community here, even some international pros call Athens their winter/training home. There are a couple of great sorba sponsored trails here, each having atleast one race per year, and some other good local trails to boot (5 or 6 total I think). The trails here are challenging and super fun, but lack the distance to make them anything epic ( I think the longest trail is around 10-12 miles, but you can connect some of them together for an epic). You can drive an hour or less to get to a dozen great trail systems, including the 96 olympic mtb course. If you drive 2+ hrs, you can get to the mountains and all those options. There are many, many not too distant mtbing options. Not to mention the miles of country roads for road riding.

    As far as the hospitals are concerned, there are 2, and one is nationally recognized for cardiac care, according to the radio add I heard this weekend. Plus you could ride your bike to some trails right from either hospital.

    The school systems: First let me say, I don't have any kids in school, but I've looked into the school systems a bit for the housing markets, and have friends with kids in area schools. The word is Athens/Clarke Co. has decent schools, but it depends on which school, not all are great. There are a couple of private schools $$$ with good reps.
    The best option is Oconee Co/Watkinsville (right outside Athens and where the best local trail is)- It has some of the best public schools in the state, and is nationally competitive. You could have a 10-15 min. commute to Athens though.

    Housing is still very much affordable here. The housing market in Athens is totally a buyers market. The housing in Oconee Co. is a little more expensive (aka the better schools), but the appreciation is ALOT better. I just purchased my home in OC (close to the best mtb trail) for $100/sq ft with 2acres. So still very affordable.

    If you would like a tour of a trail when you come, or have any other questions feel free to PM me. Hope you like our little gem of a city.

  5. #5
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    I lived in Athens from 1998-2004. I would literally sacrifice one of my testicles for the opportunity to move back.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmoses
    I lived in Athens from 1998-2004. I would literally sacrifice one of my testicles for the opportunity to move back.
    If that's not a recommendation then I don't know what is..

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    As a Chattanooga resident and knowing the public school system pretty well (Product of and wife is a teacher), you should look at the magnet school options. Battle Academy and Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts are great K-8 schools and Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences is a top High school and now has lower grades as well.

    That said as someone who lived in Huntsville for 5 years going to College and knowing the high school graduates of the area if you like the town that place has some of the best public school education I've seen. I'm a firm believer education has to be important to you to get a good one and I got one in Chattanooga but man these kids blew me aay in math and science and I got an engineering degree from UAH.

    Huntsville has a pretty decent trail or 2 and is 1hour 15 min from Chattanooga with our up and coming trail riding options. You also have Birmingham under 2 hours with Oak Mtn. I'm sure SORBA Huntsville could use another supporter willing to help get new land access to build trails.

    Having visited Knoxville many times and having very good friends going to college there it would be the last place I would live from a lifestyle stand point or a mtb biking scene. This isn't a dig on K'ville they've got a good scene just not my top choice of the 3.

    I've been to Athens a good bit for Mtn Bike racing and visiting friends. Super cool town and currently pretty weak Mtn Bike scene. I have some good friends in SORBA Athens there that could use some help as well so if you take ethis option give me a shout and I'll get you in touch.
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  8. #8
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    Hard to beat Knoxville imo. I moved here about 2 years ago and love it. The public schools are very good but some are a bit overcrowded. The riding scene is good locally and you can be in Pisgah or North Georgia within two hours. The proximity to the best mtn biking in the southeast is great.

  9. #9
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    Josh,
    Native to Athens, schooled in Chattanooga, visited elsewhere.

    I loved Chattanooga in the late 80's, moreso now after all the work downtown, and Sorba Chattanooga is kicking a$$ in the trail areas with a strong and active membership. Don't know much about the school scene or the hospital scene but GREAT town & easy to travel anywhere from. (Big point in my book) Athens on the other hand is a little more problematic because of having to go through ATL.

    As Asahi said, Athens has been for years a little weak in the MTB area however, its moving forward pretty strongly at the moment with several new trails locally underway & more in the seven county area along with a growing membership. We'd welcome the participation and the local hospitals seem to grow monthly. The housing market close to the hospitals is strong though, I'd not call it cheap, pricey in fact.

    Are you a member of CAMBA? Got a brother up there that could help you out & he's a member. PM for additional information. Good luck.

    Joe

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    Chattanooga hospital scene is ok. I work at Erlanger (County supported hospital, in the IT dept). We've got 2 other good hospitals to work at as well and they are all right in the same area (About 2-4 miles from my house). Housing in our area is affordable and there's some ok houses on the market depending on what you are looking for. We're in an older area with lots of historic homes but definitely not to the level of the ones I've seen in Athens. We're talking 19-30-40's
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  11. #11
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    Jag and Asahi- why do you say that the Athens mtb scene is weak? sorba memeberships?

    I feel like there are alot of mtbers in the area. I very rarely ride a trail without seeing others.

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    Not lack of Mountain Bikers and not based on SORBA or memberships. I base mtb opportunity and strength on trail riding opportunity and land access. Athens does not have any mtb trails in Athens that are legal to my knowledge.

    Heritage and Yargo are a ways out and Hawks Creek has limited access to my knowledge. None of these are insurmountable but just need some folks to get organized to get more local land access and build trails. It's about riding choices and opportunity to add more options to the list for me. I know plenty2 of Athens Mtn Bikers and they are all great guys and ride a lot and do their fair share of trail work but they need more help.

    Chattanooga was very much in this same boat with less than 7 miles of trails within Chattanooga until a couple of years ago. Now we have 27+ miles and quickly growing. We have more access than we have volunteers to put it to use.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by notMurray
    Huntsville, AL - good schools, safe, close to family, clean, cheap houses, a decent trail or two but still quite a hike to the good stuff in TN and N. GA, not sure about commuting yet, doesn't seem to have the eclectic earthy vibe.
    Our family just moved to Huntsville. Good public schools and housing were paramount to us as we are a young family looking to do more with the funds available from my work. This place just seemed like where we should be after fairly extensive research into everything from schools to pollution levels and demographics. Riding was also high on my list when looking to relocate. The cycling community here is pretty strong, but coming from a more cycle friendly town I am a bit disappointed with the commute options. There isn't much in the way of bike paths and bike lanes are non-existent. Mountain biking is good, but most trailheads are not practical for riding from your house. Basically need to have a car for practicality sake.

    We have been pleased with the school, church, and community so far. The local SORBA club is a good group. The scenery here is very nice. Overall we would recommend it.

    cheers,
    Doug
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  14. #14
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    I've lived in east TN for 5 years now, and love it .... if you wouldn't mind the 30 or so minute commute to Knoxville, you could live here in Maryville, about 18 miles south of KnoxVegas. Maryville school system is one of the best, if not the best, in the state. And it's a nice little city, closer to the mountains than K-town. Knoxville may not be the most happening place, but it's a decent city in the scheme of things(and I sure like it a lot better than Detroit when we lived in the suburbs up there...LOL). Seriously, check into Maryville .... we love it

  15. #15
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    Chattanooga

    Chattanooga has my vote. I was born there and moved out when I was in 4th grade. I grew up the rest of the time in Atlanta. My wife and I moved back there in 1999 and stayed for about 4 years. We are back in ATL now and miss Chattanooga almost every day. My parents are still there as well as one of my sisters so we are back up there a good bit. As a parent of a 5 year old and a 2 year old I know where you are coming from on the school situation. Although there are a number of excellent private schools you are correct in your worry about the public school systems close to the hospitals. The magnet schools, however are very good and would be very accesible to you. Commuting on bike would be no problem although there are not good bike lanes. Biking options are very good. Chattanooga has several options close in plus you are 45 minutes from Chilhowee and Tanasi in TN by the Ocoee River. You are maybe 30-45 minutes from the best biking Georgia has to offer on the Pinhoti trail system (Dalton) and the Cohutta Wilderness Pinhoti and other trails.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    Not lack of Mountain Bikers and not based on SORBA or memberships. I base mtb opportunity and strength on trail riding opportunity and land access. Athens does not have any mtb trails in Athens that are legal to my knowledge.

    Heritage and Yargo are a ways out and Hawks Creek has limited access to my knowledge. None of these are insurmountable but just need some folks to get organized to get more local land access and build trails. It's about riding choices and opportunity to add more options to the list for me. I know plenty2 of Athens Mtn Bikers and they are all great guys and ride a lot and do their fair share of trail work but they need more help.

    Chattanooga was very much in this same boat with less than 7 miles of trails within Chattanooga until a couple of years ago. Now we have 27+ miles and quickly growing. We have more access than we have volunteers to put it to use.
    I get ya. You are correct, in that most of (but not all) the in-Athens trails are illegal, but they have been used for so long, some have made it into the MTBR trails review section.
    I've been told they are in the process of getting legal access to more local and area land, as we speek. They've been trying for awhile now.

  17. #17
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    Magnet schools

    Do you know the process for getting into the magnet schools? Chattanooga was the town that actually got us thinking about this in the first place. The only negative other than public schools would be the cost of homes where we think we'd want to be, North Chat. Any other areas worth looking into in the $170 range for a decent house? Thanks for your opinions, Josh
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  18. #18
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    Magnet Schools. . . You camp out for a spot. First come first serve and many parents will wait 4-5 days to get in first. You have CSAS and CSLA as your best options and I think both have Kindergartens now (CSLA does for sure and feeds into CSAS for high school). CSAS is NEXT to Erlanger.

    We live in Brainerd. I am from Chattanooga originally and when moving back we looked at North Chatt. We wanted an older home. We then decided that prices were inflated and the access to other parts of town stunk. We went to the Brainerd area and have been very happy with out choice. I got a nice little house, garage and way more yard than anything in North Chatt has. (North Chatt is very cool by the way just not for everyone).

    If you look in Brainerd check out the Belvoir area. The area between Brainerd rd and The Interstate is a great little pocket of revitalization. We even do an Urban ride through the neighborhood over to the Levee (Part of the Greenway system) and back home and get like 17 miles in on hardtail mtn bikes (Gravel greenway).
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    i'll toss in my vote for athens.

    my wife and i both went to school here and, like many, moved to the atlanta area for work. when i found a gig that allowed me to work from home it took us less than a month to find a house in athens, pack up our belongings and move.

    the cycling scene here is top-notch, and the mountain bike scene is far, far from weak. three shops w/ teams (the hub, sunshine and ga cycle sport) and the jittery joes pro team are here. the in-town mountain biking is some of the best urban riding to be found - there are miles and miles of (challenging) trails hidden throughout this town. and while it's true that only hawkes creek and the intramural fields are "legal", chase street, mitchell bridge, the y-trails, the dirt loop, 441 and the birchmore trails have been around forever and might as well be legal.

    after that, there is so much amazing riding within an hour and a half: heritage, yargo, clemson (isaqueena is awesome and only 1.5 hours away), chicopee in gainesville, dauset in jackson, bull mountain in dahlonega, etc, etc, etc.... even pisgah, tenasi and tsali are an easy weekend trip.

    even outside of all the riding, athens is still a great choice. three years ago we bought a 2000 sq ft house 5 minutes from downtown for $140k and the housing market here is all about the buyer right now. the food in athens is ridiculously good and diverse, and even more incredible is the price. the bars and music venues are world-class fun as well. and you can easily put together a *nice* night out for two here (dinner, show, drinks) for under $50. it's an easy bike commute from almost anywhere in town. the atmosphere is liberal but diverse and the university makes it so that it is always fresh and vibrant.

    as for the school system, it was mentioned that some are good and some are not so good. right now our 4 year old is loving one of the montessori schools here in town. next year we'd like her to go to either chase street or barrow, but timothy road would also be acceptable. and, as someone already mentioned, nearby oconee county has a great public school system, though in my mind, one of the greatest things about living in athens is actually living *in* athens.

    all of that said, huntsville and knoxville are both great towns with a lot to offer. huntsville was our third choice of southeastern towns, close behind asheville, nc.

    good luck with your move and if you decide you want to bring the family down for a nice insider's tour of athens, we'd be happy to host you.

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    Forgot to mention that where we live in Brainerd we are 2.0 Miles from ParkRidge, 2.6 Miles to Memorial and 4.1 miles to Erlanger. I've commuted and it's an easy ride. Bike lanes don't exist but I ride in at 6:30 am and with a 4 lane road and lack of traffic it's easy to use a lane and the drivers seem to go around without issue.

    Great opportunities to ride from work the long way home too.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365
    Jag and Asahi- why do you say that the Athens mtb scene is weak? sorba memeberships?

    I feel like there are alot of mtbers in the area. I very rarely ride a trail without seeing others.
    Ditto on Asahi's response, not weak in bikers, but weak on trails, though there is ALOT going on relative to new trails in Clarke County and a growing grass roots effort to change what has been an odd situation. Still puzzles most why there aren't trails in Clarke County with the biking community being so strong. Years ago, there were quite a few that were loosely sanctioned and through the activities of poachers and basic bad behavior on the part of the MTB crowd, most were closed. Hoping & actively working to affect a change regarding that. With UGA & the Municipalities owning so much of Athens-Clarke property, we have options, we just need enthusiasts to push the cause. Should be alot of fun and a good example for other areas.

    Several of the LBS's, Sorba members, & outright passionate wackos are trying to change this immediately. We've got proposals in place for new pump tracks, trail systems/venues on municipal property and trying to plan events that would benefit the biking community along with the residents of the community. Needless to say, Athens has alot to offer and needs advocates to expand the energy.

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    JAGthree - what trails have been shut down? the development around mitchell bridge keeps biting into existing trails, but the dirt loop has been extended to compensate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slip
    JAGthree - what trails have been shut down? the development around mitchell bridge keeps biting into existing trails, but the dirt loop has been extended to compensate.
    In the early 90's bikes were allowed along the Oconee River behind the Loft Condo's on Whitehall Rd. If memory serves correctly, a 5-6 mile trail existed there. Also, at the top of Whitehall behind the Forestry Dept. were additional trails that were awesome. Don't even remember how many miles existed there but they were really good trails and could be re-opened for use with the right proposal. Great site. Seems to me that the Forestry Department would consider allowing bikes back on the trail for a "study" to see how bikes affect the forest?

    Camp Kelly was part of the Mitchell Bridge trails and you are correct, MB was started by several of us around that time on property owned by a friend of ours. Since, a significant portion has been developed. The Dirt 10, I'd caution you strongly here, the DOT, DNR, & local enforcement can't wait to catch someone for some newspaper fodder. Regardless of quality, they are illegal and unsanctioned. In the late 80's the Botanical Gardens were not against our using the trails, just not supportive. We logged several miles on those trails before bad behavior shut them down as well. Though I haven't rode Lake Herrick lately, I'm told that much of what we were allowed to ride then is no longer allowed.

    There were trails off Barnett Shoals Road next to the Water Treatment Plant that motorcycles and bikes alike road for a while as well. Not sure why the fenced that area off, but I suspect bad behavior was again the culprit. We logged countless motorcycle & bike miles on that site. Currently we're working on a proposal to open this site up as a Venue for biking, check out sorbaathens.org for further details. That is a great piece of property.

    I think there are a couple of other areas that developers have swallowed up but those were the original key destinations in the late 80's early 90's. Camp Kelly actually hosted the Criterion MTB race in 93 I think. Then someone died on a bike out there or was severely hurt, I don't recall. Awesome trail though.

    Ben Burton park is also in line for an upgrade. Like I've said, alot going on.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by slip
    i'll toss in my vote for athens.

    as for the school system, it was mentioned that some are good and some are not so good. right now our 4 year old is loving one of the montessori schools here in town. next year we'd like her to go to either chase street or barrow, but timothy road would also be acceptable.

    and, as someone already mentioned, nearby oconee county has a great public school system, though in my mind, one of the greatest things about living in athens is actually living *in* athens.

    good luck with your move and if you decide you want to bring the family down for a nice insider's tour of athens, we'd be happy to host you.
    So what's the process of choosing an elementary school? Is it solely where you live in the city, or is there some other way to choose? Since it's a buyer's market, we'd prefer not to have to try and sell again after we get there.

    I agree that living in the city is part of the fun. Right now my family can bike 3 mi. to downtown and be a part of whatever's going on. We're also lucky right now to not have to spend much of our time on the roads to run errands or get things done. This is definitely what we're looking for in a city.

    I'm coming down next week on either the 25th or 27th to have a look around, but it'll be alone since our youngest is 5mos. old. Our visit to Nooga was a disaster even with grandparents driving up to help out. I'll probably try to look D365 or you up when I get my plans more lined up. Know of any cheap hotels with internet access in town? Thanks for all of hte info.
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    JAG, good to read about the happenings and momentum. Sounds like you need us to push Athens more to get more advocates. Great town and with a lot of politicing you'll get an opportunity to build a system for bikers by bikers. I know and ride/race with several Athens flks and they are some of the collest guys. Brian Matthews and Drew Genteman are racing buddies I met my first year doing GAP. We still keep in touch.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    JAG, good to read about the happenings and momentum. Sounds like you need us to push Athens more to get more advocates. Great town and with a lot of politicing you'll get an opportunity to build a system for bikers by bikers. I know and ride/race with several Athens flks and they are some of the collest guys. Brian Matthews and Drew Genteman are racing buddies I met my first year doing GAP. We still keep in touch.
    I'll second you there strongly. Brian is our political pitbull moving the cause forward. He just needs help. Myself & several others south of Athens have joined the push and things are definitely happening in a good way. The website is changing with new updates and programs for our entire area with Brian, Drew, Jeff, Charlie, & Patrick leading the way. Should be some good progress by Christmas. Invite you all to stay in touch. We are going to add some bling to the MTB scene. Count on it.

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    Goot stuff JAG. Busdriver rocks (Brian Matthews). Charlie has doen a lot of work there for years now. Be sure you get these guys thinking big picture and don't undersell the opportunitiy you have. You guys could have some great trail systems. Even talk about interconnecting them with a greenway system. Athens is too cool of a town not to have outdoor/recreation features like this. Based on the momentum it sounds like they've gained since just March Athens would get my nod for coolest of the 3.

    NotMurray, If you decide to give Chattanooga a second look and would like a local Mtn Biker and School Teacher perspective just give me a shout. We'd be happy to give you a housing tour and talk education and if you have your bike we'll hit Raccoon Mtn.
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  28. #28
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    Asahi,

    I'm partial to Athens because of birth but Chattanooga stole my soul in the late 80's while in school there. It's amazing how things have changed in the years since my UTC studies, if you want to call them that.

    Commander, Shaard, & the rest of CASA has been a role model for the goals in my area. And you're right, the big picture tends to take a backseat in these type projects and several of us are actively trying to make sure the broader picture is considered always. Thanks for the support & stay in touch.

    J

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    I'm commander at SORBA
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by notMurray
    So what's the process of choosing an elementary school? Is it solely where you live in the city, or is there some other way to choose? Since it's a buyer's market, we'd prefer not to have to try and sell again after we get there. .
    I know my friend's kid changed to an elementary school across town, without having to move. I think it's based on where you live first, then you can apply to go to other schools, and then based on available seats. But I'm not expert, I'll ask my friends.
    I did forget the montessori school in my past post, it has a great reputation as well.

    I can't recommend a hotel, but there are plenty here, and some very close to the hospitals.

    If you want to look at available housing, the most up-to-date website, that all the realtors use, is http://athens.1st-place.com. The hospital area (the 2 are only a several blocks apart) is, I think, considered the "west side" of Athens and most adds will say ARMC area (Athens Regional Medical Center).

    If you need any other details for your visit, let me know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    I'm commander at SORBA
    The honors mine.
    Keep up the good work, we're trying to catch up with down here.

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    i have a meeting in fort lauderdale from the 25th to the 27th, otherwise i would offer you our guest room.

    the only hotel i've ever stayed in in athens was the foundry inn one new year's eve, but if you take a look at this little cluster of hotels around the intersection of 78 and prince, you will be in the heart of downtown. http://rubyurl.com/6ua

    there is a tuesday night ride that leaves from sunshine cycles downtown as well, so bring your bike.

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    oh, and michael littleton sells a lot of the historical properties, if that's what you are looking for - if it were me, i would be looking in the boulevard, armc and normaltown areas. in fact, the navy school in normaltown is giving way to a medical college over the next several years, so if i was looking for an area which was both a perfect place to live and sure to be a profitable investment, i would look there. you would be nestled in between the medical college and both hospitals, all within a few minutes from home.

    //edit: http://www.athenstownproperties.com/...hp?id=1&type=1 (michael littleton's site).

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    Quote Originally Posted by slip
    oh, and michael littleton sells a lot of the historical properties, if that's what you are looking for - if it were me, i would be looking in the boulevard, armc and normaltown areas. in fact, the navy school in normaltown is giving way to a medical college over the next several years, so if i was looking for an area which was both a perfect place to live and sure to be a profitable investment, i would look there. you would be nestled in between the medical college and both hospitals, all within a few minutes from home.

    //edit: http://www.athenstownproperties.com/...hp?id=1&type=1 (michael littleton's site).

    x10: definitely a good investment area.

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    visit

    Quote Originally Posted by slip
    i have a meeting in fort lauderdale from the 25th to the 27th, otherwise i would offer you our guest room.

    the only hotel i've ever stayed in in athens was the foundry inn one new year's eve, but if you take a look at this little cluster of hotels around the intersection of 78 and prince, you will be in the heart of downtown. http://rubyurl.com/6ua

    there is a tuesday night ride that leaves from sunshine cycles downtown as well, so bring your bike.
    Actually this whole trip started when Huntsville was my main focus and is timed around their Monte Sano Fat Tire Festival. Since then Athens has risen to the top of the list so I decided to split up my time and see them both. My wife's, friend's, mother is a real estate agent in Huntsville, but I just found out she isn't available the weekend I'd be there.

    I was thinking of just visiting Huntsville first(which would mean I'd have to skip what little of the festival I was going to attend) and finish the trip in Athens. I'll definitely have my bike with me and plan on sampling the trails while I'm there. I am worried about trying to look around Athens on a football weekend though. Hopefully there isn't a home game.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help so far. This is, by far, the best thing I could've done to try and figure out where to move. Everyone so far has seemed to have similar values to ours and, most importantly, you've all been great about giving reasons for your opinions. Thank you all so much, and keep the opinions coming. Josh Murrah
    If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

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    Just out of curiousity, why is Asheville not on your list? The biking scene is great, and the vibe of that city is really good, too. Don't know much about the schools. Maybe not the easiest to get in an out going to AL, but the scenery on the drive would be excellent!

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    Quote Originally Posted by notMurray
    . So, we're looking something that's as similar to what we have here as possible in a 300 mile radius of Clanton, AL.
    Asheville to Clanton is 400 miles. I'd guess that's why it didn't make the list.
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    True Dat!

    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    Asheville to Clanton is 400 miles. I'd guess that's why it didn't make the list.
    Yeah. We love Asheville but 6 hours is still way too far to drop the kids off for a weekend with the GPs.
    If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

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    There is a home game on the 29th..... which means there will be ALOT of extra people in town.

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    What about local areas to Chat like Ooltewah. I know that HS has the killer marching band program. Looked up great schools and mostly complaints about dress code. But where there is good band, there usually is good edumakation.

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    Being a product of Ooltwewah High School (And gasp, yes the band circa 1990-1994) as well as the Ooltewah Middle School it is a good choice but not my first choice. plus if he wants a biek commute to a hospital Ooltewah isn't a very good option I wouldn't think. I guess that's a matter of personal preference though.
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  42. #42
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    Bike commute

    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    Being a product of Ooltwewah High School (And gasp, yes the band circa 1990-1994) as well as the Ooltewah Middle School it is a good choice but not my first choice. plus if he wants a biek commute to a hospital Ooltewah isn't a very good option I wouldn't think. I guess that's a matter of personal preference though.
    Which brings me to the question I wanted to ask you earlier Asahi. In our short visit to Nooga I didn't take time to check out Brainerd, but from google earth it seems like my commute from there would take me over a pretty substantial mountain. Are there any neighborhoods around there that would get my kids in the right schools that would be pretty nice have affordable homes and might let me commute? Thanks, Josh
    If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

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    I think you are seeing Missionary Ridge. It's not a moountain and not even a sustained climb but it is steep. Going into work you'd be just as well to head downhill through the 4 lane tunnels. On the way home you go down 3rd street up Shallowford and over Birdsmill Rd to go up and over.

    Affordable it a matter of opinion I suppose. The Ridge top is expensive due to the view. We live on the bottom of the ridge to the far side of German town Rd on Lerch St. Housing in our area is very afforable currently with most stuff lingering around $100/sf (There is a 3bd, 2 bth selling for $189k; albeit a strange layout). In our area you would not send your child to the "zoned" school you'd want the magnet schools. Of the schools in town you'd want to live in East Brainerd / Apison or get into a magnet school like CSLA, CSAS or Battle Academy on Main St. A cool downtown development that is a bit overpriced near Battle is Cowart Place that is Neo-Traditional homes near downtown.

    My wife could better expound on the ins and outs of the schools if you really want to knw (She teaches at CSLA). PM me if you'd like to discuss via email or phone.

    Trey
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    As mentioned earlier to get into CSAS and CSLA is a first come first serve system that allows anyone despite where they live to get in (Must be a Hamilton County Resident). The people who get in always end up camping out for the week prior to the application date.
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  45. #45
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    Athens,Ga. hands down. Second choice would be Huntsville.

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    If you want more information about Knoxville, post on www.knoxvillecycling.com

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    Alright!

    So here's the latest. Athens is probably out because of the drive to our parents' places would just be too far for what we want and going through Atlanta would definitely suck. So that leaves Hsv and Chatt. I REALLY want Chattanooga to work out because of the mountain biking, but seeing Huntsville makes me feel pretty selfish when the schools are so good and the area is so safe and clean. My family ended up coming down with me and we checked out the Brainerd area on the way to Hsv. We GPS'd a couple of houses that we liked but within a couple of blocks the neighborhoods got kind of shady. I also drove from that area to downtown and felt like a daily commute by bike might eventually leave me walking a few miles to work one day with no wallet.

    Please give me ammunition to fight the safety and schools argument I'm getting from the wife right now. Are there other areas I should check out on our way back? Did I not see the right areas of Brainerd? I'll try to give a link to the houses we checked out here: http://www.chattanoogamls.net/(2je50...y_la_code=5932

    and here: http://www.chattanoogamls.net/(2je50...y_la_code=5932

    A friend of the family is a real estate agent in Huntsville and has shown us around here, and I wonder if an agent could show us something in Chattanooga that we've been missing. Huntsville would be fine, but I'd hate it if we move here and I found out I missed a way to make Chattanooga work. Thanks again for all of your input. Josh
    If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

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    Here is my house
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...4302&z=17&om=1

    You were literally a few houses down. I've been in that Yellow house but I'm not crazy about it. Not sure how much space you need but a small step up in neighbor quality is around the corners with the houses closer to Belvoir. I like our house and locaton but the renter population is higher on lerch street closer to German town than Belvoir.

    I have literally commuted to work 4 miles at 6-6:30am and the traffic isn't bad and I've never felt unsafe. Now that said the montview house you posted is on the more unsavory side of the area. Stay away from Tunnell Hill and Germantown north of Brainerd Rd. We've lived here 4 years and have yet to find somewhere else we'd rather move.
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    i'm just now returning from the 'epic' ride at the huntsville fat tire fest, and i've got to say that if you decide on huntsville, you will not be lacking anything in regards to mountain biking. the riding at monte sano is some of the best riding in the southeast, with the closest comparison being pisgah (which still wins out) - fast, flowy, technical, challenging, you name it. flatrock and arrow head alone were phenomenal. seriously, i was amazed. and it's only 1:30 from chattanoogah. now, it's not enough to make me leave athens, but i'll sure be visiting more often.

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    epic

    I was on the whole enchilada ride too and I'd have to agree. One of my digs against the area was that there is only one real place to ride, but there's so much mileage at Monte Sano that you can hit different parts of the park and never get too bored. Chattanooga still wins out for launching points to great epics and future in town trails, but with the school system and housing in Huntsville we're pulling hard in that direction.

    What was your name and what were you riding? I was the guy on the black 5spot with no decals that flatted as we were crossing the road. Thanks, Josh
    If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.

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    i don't think we met, josh. my name is ian and i was riding (for the first time) a 2008 fuel ex9.

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    Brainerd

    Agree with Asahi (Commander)... Brainerd is the most bang for the buck but you have to do the magnet schools and it is important where you look. I lived in North Chattanooga on Highland Drive for the first 2 years in Chatt and then on Hilltop Drive in Brainerd where Ashai is talking about. Personally, I liked N. Chatt better but the home prices are way higher than Brainerd per square foot. Look in Glendon Place, Belvoir (off South Tuxedo Ave), etc. and you will be looking in a good neighborhood... all south of Brainerd Road. If you can find one on Hilltop, some of them have a nice view, too. I love Chattanooga and WILL move back there one day (or close). I have some land on Lookout Mtn stashed away for a rainy day...

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    You lived on Hilltop? I live on Lerch St.

    All the places Johnmre just mentioned are the spots in Brainerd.

    Signal Mountain is the place to move to if you want zoned public schools but you'll give up a an easy commute. The new high school is really causing some buzz. You would have Edwards point as a local ride which is sort of beat down by ATVs but a great weekday option.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asahi
    You lived on Hilltop? I live on Lerch St.

    All the places Johnmre just mentioned are the spots in Brainerd.

    Signal Mountain is the place to move to if you want zoned public schools but you'll give up a an easy commute. The new high school is really causing some buzz. You would have Edwards point as a local ride which is sort of beat down by ATVs but a great weekday option.
    Yep. Sounds like I suckled the corporate teat and moved back to ATL when you moved in to Brainerd. mmmmm corporate teat...

    Signal would be a good call if you can get over the bike commute aspect. We considered it. I used to like to ride Edwards Point. There is a bunch of stuff out there. The ride out to Mushroom Rock is fun past the old mines... Or... if nobody's lookin'.... I've heard the Cumberland Trail heads out that way... Not that I would advocate riding it... Even if you rode gently and made sure it was dry, etc.

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