My family moved to Southern Indiana in January 2014 from Washington, D.C. and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made! My wife, Michelle, is originally from New Albany and we met in 2006 at a party in D.C. (that is another story for another time). We dated for four years before getting married in 2010. We celebrated our wedding in New Albany, so we already had beautiful shared memories of the area before we were truly “locals”.
In those dating years, we would come back to the area to celebrate holidays and family milestones.After we landed in Louisville and Michelle reminded me to be on my best behavior and avoid political discussions (I tried, really), we would breathe deeply and comment on how little traffic there seemed to be (compared to DC!), how everyone seemed more relaxed, and how much less everything seemed to cost, from rental cars to housing. After driving over the bridge and into Indiana we always got a warm and fuzzy reception from her family, and escaped the business and stress of our DC lives for a while.
Eventually, after many trips back and forth, we asked ourselves “why don’t we just move here?” There was then, and continues to be, something so appealing and charming to me about the southern Indiana life. I am from the Philadelphia area and this area just seemed different to me whenever I visited. Maybe it is that Midwest charm I heard so much about, or that Hoosiers in general are simply the nicest people around.
We were also kind of feeling “burned out” in regards to the D.C. scene. I had been involved in politics for about 17 years and accomplished more than I could have ever imagined: I was a congressional staffer, a lobbyist for the home building industry, and a technology vendor for the House and Senate. I had built a great career but my whirlwind D.C. life wasn’t enough anymore – along with becoming a father, my desires and needs changed. I was ready to settle into the quiet suburbs and spend time with my family every day instead putting in after-hours at the evening work functions that seemed to happen multiple times each week.
Michelle and I debated the pros and cons of sticking around in D.C. or relocating to southern Indiana for quite a while. There were valid arguments on both sides and we did not come to a decision lightly. By the time our first son was born in 2013, we had moved out of the city to the Maryland suburbs. One factor that tipped us over the edge was that he suffered from colic until he was three months old. He would cry without stopping for hours on end and we had very little support in the area; our only family was in Bethesda, about an hour’s drive from our home, and all of our friends were geographically spread out across the tri-state metro D.C. region (trust me, it’s bigger than it looks on a map). If you’ve ever had a child with colic then you know how tough it can be – we really needed his nana around to help and she didn’t have the time off or money to fly to D.C. every weekend (not that she didn’t want to!!). By the time he grew out of colic and enrolled in daycare, we realized that staying in D.C. was not going to be easy for us if we wanted to give him the time and attention we believed he deserved from us. Additionally, our commute to the city during peak times was one hour, so getting to and from work was a chore. We didn’t like leaving our baby boy in daycare for almost 11 hours a day and had no relatives nearby to help.
We made the decision to move, and started search for jobs in the Louisville area. Michelle eventually found a promising job prospect, and amazingly, her employer in D.C. offered to let her change her position to 100% telework, so she could work from home if we moved. That was the magic key to set things in motion: we set a date and put our Maryland home on the market, and began seeking a home in New Albany. Craig Eberle has been a friend of Michelle’s for a long time; he is considered an extended member of the family and also happens to be a great realtor, so the next call was to have Craig help us in our search for a really nice home for our little family. We had an idea of the neighborhood we wanted to live in and asked Craig and his team to zone in there. When we started the process of looking at some homes, I was personally impressed that in this neighborhood Craig was the agent for about 85% of the neighborhood listings! We told him what our needs were, and whenever we toured available homes, we only saw the ones that were pretty much exact fits for us. I really appreciated his attention to details.
As you can gather, “the rest is history!” We love it here. Though I definitely miss some things like Wawa (please move here!), Rita’s “wooder” ice (that’s how you say water with a Philly accent, fyi), Yuengling Beer, and seeing my Philly sports teams in person, we have gained so much more! In 2015 we welcomed our second son and it’s so nice that our little family can have dinner together every night, instead of the boys eating at daycare and falling asleep in the car before even arriving home. You may never get me to root for the Reds, I.U., or U.K., but that’s OK, I still making new friends and putting my roots down here, and I’m not leaving anytime soon!