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Meet the Emanuels, our December Newcomers of the Month

The one piece of advice our December Newcomers of the Month would offer to new residents is to avoid becoming involved with too many community activities too soon.

“There are so many things the Signal Mountain community has to offer, it’s almost overwhelming,” said Sara Emanuel, who moved to the mountain with her husband Jonathan and children Millie Grace, Ellie Anna, Charlie Mac and Lottie Rose in July. “It sounds silly, but it’s true — take it slow and start with a couple of things; pace yourself.”

“You can get so involved, you miss the point,” agreed Jonathan Emanuel, who sees Signal Mountain as his refuge from work and life’s hectic pace. “Keep it in perspective and keep it relaxing.”

The couple grew up in Texas until middle school, when both of their families moved to the Chattanooga area. After meeting in college, the two were married and lived on military bases for seven years while Jonathan Emanuel was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.

The couple said they were attracted to the Signal Mountain community for its sense of security and camaraderie which they find similar to what they experienced while living on an Air Force base.

“Living on a base is like living in Mayberry,” said Jonathan Emanuel, whose family lived on bases in California, Virginia and Mississippi before settling in Soddy-Daisy in 2007.

“I think we both felt at home right away,” his wife added.

The first week of school, a tree fell in the neighborhood, blocking the bus route to the Emanuels’ home. Sara Emanuel said she was impressed by a neighbor she hardly knew, who watched after her daughters as well as sent her own husband to pick her up from down the street and to retrieve the girls.

“It made feel like someone really cared,” said Sara Emanuel.

The Emanuels said they have yet to find a church, but they began visiting churches on the mountain several years ago.

“I felt like when we moved up here, we had instant friends because of that,” said Sara Emanuel, who attends bible study at Signal Mountain Presbyterian and is also involved with the local Mothers of Preschoolers group.

“I like that it’s just peaceful and quiet; I work downtown, so it feels separated from work,” said Jonathan Emanuel, who for the past three years has been a portfolio manager for Chattanooga-based boutique investment firm Barnett & Company.

The family frequents the Pumpkin Patch playground and nearby Ayala’s, where the employees know where they like to sit and what they want to eat without asking.

Sara Emanuel said she adores the Bread Basket, her favorite mountain shopping destination.

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