My Dynamic Huntsville
Stephanie, a mother of two, shows what she likes about Huntsville and why she thinks the city is a great place for kids and raising a family.
Stephanie: Huntsville in a word. Dynamic. That’s how I would describe Huntsville. Dynamic.
[Upbeat, energetic music]
My name is Stephanie and I work here at the Hazardous Devices School on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
I’m 43 years old. I am divorced. I have two sons. One is about to be 18 and one is 10.
I’m originally from the northeast, born and raised in New York City. I lived for quite awhile in North Carolina and actually went to college in North Carolina, as well, so I’ve been moving further and further south ever since high school.
And I do like the south. I like to travel. I’ve lived overseas for a total of five years, so going to a new place has always been exciting to me.
Huntsville is definitely a special place. It’s very neat because there’s a lot of people here from different walks of life and I think Redstone Arsenal has a lot to do with that with there being a large military community here and many of them are retired. They all come from different parts of the country, so you get a different perspective from everybody that you meet here and in the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve probably met maybe 10 people that are actually born and raised here. Everyone else has moved here from somewhere else and has decided to stay because they like it so much.
The cost of living here is a lot better than it would be in the D.C., northern Virginia area. Taxes aren’t as high. Property taxes aren’t as high. I live in a subdivision and that’s a common residential makeup for this area. I feel safe letting my kids ride their bikes here and walk to their friend’s houses. Just knowing that you can get more house for your money and you don’t have to live in a little, skinny three-story townhouse. You can actually have a little bit of land, if you want it.
This is my backyard, if you can see. It’s a pretty modest size but it’s enough room for my kids to run and play. They play football here. We’ve got a basketball hoop. I’ve got a fire pit that we enjoy in the spring and summertime. I’ve got a bird bath and I’m even an AirBnB for birds, apparently, because I’ve got like three nests out here. We’re not far from the beach. Just a few hours drive from the beach down in the Gulf of Mexico. Orange Beach is amazing. My kids love it down there.
Huntsville’s a bustling kind of city. It’s actually the second largest city now in Alabama. Just about every night, you can go to a lot of different places and find some kind of music event or comedy show or trivia night. And there are so many restaurants, there’s an art museum, and there’s poetry and there’s lots of culture and a lot of history, as well. For kids, there’s lots of parks and greenways and walkways, where they can ride bikes and skate.
I like to go and shop. I like to go to wine tastings, I like to go out to eat.
[Hip, loungy music]
This is one of my favorite restaurants to come to in Huntsville. They have the best sushi in town. I like to bring my kids here. They love it. We’re here often and it’s just a great atmosphere. The people are so nice and the food is delicious.
Thank you. Thank you so much. Oh, this looks so good! I am ready to dig in.
[Playful, energetic music]
Good evening. I’m about to make a little bit of dinner. We’re going to have some barbeque ribs, some macaroni and cheese and some broccoli florets.
As a working mom, you kind of have to learn how to make quick dinners. When I get home, I’ve got, pretty much, maybe two-and-a-half to three hours to kind of do cooking, homework, and if it’s bath night, get that going. Maybe watch a little TV or something. I try to get at least the young one in bed by about 9 but that doesn’t always work. But que sera, sera.
Son: All of Mexico’s people live on the plateau.
Stephanie: On the plateau…where did you find that part?
I think Huntsville’s a really great place to raise a family. They’ve got good schools here especially in the Madison County area and Madison City, especially, are ranked tops in the state. Top 10 in the state. Our two high schools are actually ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report.
So my commute’s maybe about – with no traffic – it’s 20 minutes. With traffic, it’s probably about 40, 35, and that’s at school time. Once school is out in the summertime, traffic is so much easier.
Mommy eats whatever’s left, usually. If there’s anything left, which is good for my diet. Sometimes I just lick the plate and put it in the dishwasher.
[Low key guitar]
My advice to you is to own your feelings, first off, and know that it is going to be a change but change isn’t bad. When you get here, I think that you will see what I mean by that. It’s a great and thriving city and it’s only going to get better. People come here and they stay and that’s not an accident. They stay because it’s a great place to live, it’s a great place to raise a family, and I really feel like it’s home for me now. I don’t think I could really live anywhere else.
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