And Move ’em Out
Part 2: Where We’re Going and Why
As I explained in my last post, we’ve thought about leaving Austin for quite a long time, as traffic worsens and housing becomes less affordable.
Our criteria for our new home were these:
- Smaller city; not a small town and not a large urban area
- Within a few hours’ drive of my daughter (Chloe’s mom), and fairly close to other family in the Austin area
- Good medical care
- Good schools
- Art, theater and music
- Geographically attractive
- A Unitarian-Universalist congregation
We believe we’ll meet all those needs in Kerrville. It’s two hours southwest of Austin, two hours south of Chloe’s mom, less than an hour from San Antonio if we need a big city. Of course there are concerns, primarily that it will be more conservative than Austin, but there are liberals everywhere, especially in arts communities, and I’m teaching Chloe to revel in her quirkiness so she can stand up to people who might tease or bully her.
Here are the highlights:
- Small size and little traffic make it easy to get around
- Beautiful setting on the Guadalupe River, much of which is fronted with parkland
- Good schools
- In addition to the river, there are beautiful parks, a great recreation center and other recreational attractions
- A UU congregation where we’ve already made friends, and it’s a short drive to the UbarU retreat center
- Other new friends, because everyone we know knows someone in Kerrville
- A fairly large regional medical center (and we can go to San Antonio or Austin if we need specialty care)
- Good restaurants
- Beautifully restored and vibrant downtown area with a great used book store
- Art center, performing arts center, theater companies, music, even the Hill Country Chorale when I’m ready to get back to singing
- Near beautiful Hill Country state parks: Enchanted Rock, Lost Maples, Garner
- Near Fredericksburg, Boerne, Comfort, Bandera, many wineries and other tourist attractions
- Chloe’s other grandparents used to live there so it’s familiar to her
- There are not one but two HEBs. (There is a J.C. Penney, but no Target or Michael’s. The nearest are about 30 minutes on I-10 on the outskirts of San Antonio.)
- And the biggie: more affordable housing
For what we expect to get for the Austin condo (nice complex, near downtown), we’ll get the house below, plus we should cover all our relocation expenses.
It’s a little less than 2,000 sf, in a settled neighborhood .6 mile from an excellent elementary school. There are two nearby parks, one at the end of the street and one around the corner. When we were there last week I walked the dog so I could try to meet some neighbors, and I talked to one nice fellow who told me there are lots of kids on the street. Our new house has a pool,which will be great for entertaining.
Here’s the house that will be our new home after we close at the end of April:
(Not showing the three bedrooms because of previous owners’ possessions.) There is also, adjacent to the laundry area and between the garage entry and the kitchen, a bedroom-size space, well-lit and with large double-doors to the front courtyard, that will be my studio. The third bedroom will be Gary’s office and the guest room, so we’ll want our old friends to visit.
Of course we have hurdles between now and then: getting the condo ready to sell, going through both closings, having a place to stay until school is out if it sells quickly, making some trips during May to paint Chloe’s room (she wants it purple; the rest of the house is fine), taking some carloads and keeping an eye on the pool. Then the big move after school gets out.
I haven’t moved in 18 years, and haven’t moved inter-city for 35. I think I’m still pretty good at it, but it’s going to be challenging with a kid, a dog and a four-hour round trip.
I want this to be our forever home. I hope Kerrville will be as welcoming as it’s been so far. Our ReMax agent, Brian McCarty, has been my therapist and hand-holder these past few weeks, as is our Austin agent, Bill Evans, as we proceed with selling our home of 18 years.