The sad part about going back home is that things were so familiar that I didn't take any pictures!! Shame on me. We drove through various subdivisions, past previous houses we had lived in. Things just didn't look the same to us. Much older, much more crowded. We had considered Cleveland as our second area of where we might move to for the winter. But the more we drove around, the less it seemed to call us back home.
Cleveland is where we basically raised our sons, and we have great memories from those years. We loved living in Cleveland, and in fact had never planned to move away, but God had other plans for us. You would have to read my blog posts from "My Story - God's Story" to find out more about why we left.
We made great friends while living in Cleveland, and we stayed with one of them...Marilyn. She graciously opened her home to us...and made us feel so at home. Even though we didn't want to put her to work serving us while we were there, she still made a delicious broccoli soup, and a Strawberry Lush Cheesecake to satisfy our sweet tooth. She is always busy cooking for someone or some event at her church. She wears me out just watching her!! A true servant's heart, for sure! I attended church with her on Sunday at the Church of the Nazarene, one of the churches we used to attend when we were living there.
Marilyn has a daily walking partner, but there were a couple of times she and I walked together. Once was at the mall...and Cleveland has a very nice mall! Great for walking, great for shopping. Another time we walked on the Cleveland Greenway. I am so impressed with Cleveland and what they have been creating for its citizens. I believe the current Greenway extends four miles through the city, along Mouse Creek. There are plans to continue to expand that. It's a paved pathway for walkers, joggers, and bikers. Here are some pictures I took from my two walks:
At one point the path goes past the Church of God Headquarters. They invite pedestrians to walk through their prayer garden. It's very serene, with some statues from the life of Christ.
The path is super convenient. Along the way they have placed restrooms, drinking fountains, benches to sit and meditate or rest, and some whimsical things...like the big chair. And you never know who else will be out there enjoying the path...like the family of ducks.
There are even signs for thought:
Kudos to Cleveland for providing this community walkway!!
Paul had to fly out to Austin, Texas for a few days while I stayed behind in Cleveland. That's another great thing going for Cleveland...the airport in Chattanooga is only about 20 miles away, easy to get to. While he was gone, I spent time visiting another friend and going to some of my favorite spots...such as Jenkins Deli! Across from Jenkins is a new, huge apartment complex...The Retreat at Spring Creek. I took a tour of one of their apartments as a possible place to rent next winter. Very nice. It is also a gated community and has all the amenities, besides being across the street from Jenkins Deli.
Paul and I drove through historical downtown Cleveland and through the ever expanding campus of Lee University. It's hard to believe I graduated from there in 1991. It has changed so much. That's another institution Cleveland can be proud of. There was one sad thing to us about Cleveland...the Rolling Hills Golf Course is no longer in existence. Westmore Church of God has purchased some of the grounds and will eventually be building their new sanctuary there. For now they have been developing the area nicely. The sad part are those sections of the old golf course that are still visible and terribly over grown. We spent many hours on that golf course...it was a very nice course back when. Not sure why it went under.
The city continues to grow, and there are so many new subdivisions. The roads seem very busy, not as easy to get around as it used to be. But Cleveland lacks for nothing. It is still a great community...a wonderful place to raise a family.
Our last night there we went out to eat with some friends from the past. Bo mentioned to us that he had considered Crossville, TN as a place that might be nice to retire in. So Paul and I decided when we left Cleveland to drive out across the Tennessee River up to Crossville. On the way we drove through Dayton, home of the great Monkey Trial. Here's a picture of the courthouse.
As we went across the river we were heading into the Cumberland Plateau, the highest plateau between the Rockies and the Smokies.
Back in the mid 1970's when Paul and I first moved to Cleveland, we got a postcard in the mail inviting us to come and visit Fairfield Glade in Crossville. They would give us gas money and free golfing if we came to listen to their presentation of the development they were planning for that area. Well, we went, had a great time golfing, but knew there was no way we were interested in purchasing property in middle Tennessee. Oh, if we had only known what it was going to grow into!!
Once we got into Crossville we drove by the Church of the Nazarene...a very nice location, right across from Walmart!! It seemed to be a nice complex. We hope to visit there some day.
We didn't waste much time in town, we headed out the 5-6 miles northeast on I-40 to the area of Fairfield Glade and went to the sales office to inquire about properties to rent, and to find out more about the Fairfield Glade of today, 40 years later. It's so spread out. They now have five golf courses (90 holes) and 11 lakes. It has over 6 miles of walking paths. and more than 10 miles of nature and hiking trails. They have recreational opportunities galore, and their own restaurants, shopping, and medical facilities. The community is a 55+ community, but there is much to do for families visiting the area. There are numerous housing options from condos/time share villas to grand single homes. It's an amazing place. And I only took one picture in the whole place, can you believe it?
This is a picture of the largest lake, which I took as we were driving across the dam. Isn't it beautiful? I can just imagine what that setting must look like in the fall when the leaves are in their prime.
Besides the cheaper cost of living there, it is also an area of moderate year round temperatures. The 2,000 feet elevation makes summers less humid and more mild. We were told that when it snows, it is usually melted the next day. Well, everything sounded great to us. We got a packet of information and headed out to drive through some of the subdivisions, past the golf courses, and walk through some patio homes in a new area being developed. And, yes, there are many rental possibilities. For now it gave us a whole new area to research and consider for our escape from the Michigan winter. If you want to learn more about Fairfield Glade, go to www.fairfieldglade.net.
Well, we were headed home, with miles to go. Our next destination was Seymour, Indiana. We had wanted to get a Marriott hotel in Louisville, but nothing was available. An hour north in Seymour was the closest one available. We drove through Louisville Friday night without a hitch, thinking it was one of our easiest times getting through the city. We found out later that Saturday was the Kentucky Derby...thus the reason for no hotels being available. Glad we didn't wait until Saturday to drive through!!
Saturday morning we drove up to an outlet mall in Edinburgh. We are hooked on Clark shoes, so whenever we get near a store, we stop and shop. When we left there we drove up highway 31 through the middle of the state until south of South Bend. We went 20 across to Middlebury, Amish territory, an hour from home. We met friends at Das Essenhaus for supper...the same friends we ate with on our night we took off, 25 days previous.
It was good to be back home, but we both said it was one of our best trips...for just the two of us. We had terrific weather and safety on the roads, and just enjoyed being together and observing the sights as we rolled along. It did not settle the question for us about where we would live next winter, if given the opportunity, but it did give us plenty of options to think about and research!
For us, life is about honoring God, putting Him first in our lives, and following the path He has for us. We don't know where that will lead, or when, but we trust in His wisdom. We give Him our gratitude for this spring fling. It was so refreshing to us, and inspiring. We place our future in His hands. He knows best, and His timing is best. We desire to live simply and finish well!!