Friday, February 1, 2013
Andrew and Martha Romanek, our Newcomers of the Month for January, said their new home in Fox Run has all the benefits of the one they left in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Ga. — large lots combined with short driveways, lots of families living nearby and good schools — minus the traffic and long commute.
“I like that it’s its own little community but still has most of the amenities that you need, and it’s still close to downtown,” said Andrew Romanek.
He was asked to move to Chattanooga when the company he works for, environmental consulting firm CDM Smith, opened an office here.
The couple has two children, Carter, 3, and Mallory, born just before the family moved to Signal Mountain in September. Martha Romanek said being the parents of a newborn has made meeting new people more difficult.
“I realized I was in this bubble and didn’t know anyone,” said Martha Romanek, who decided to attend a few lunches and a book club meeting held by the Signal Mountain Newcomers/Community Guild. “I needed to meet people and it seemed an obvious way to start.”
The group also has less obvious perks, such as providing her with people to contact when she needs a babysitter.
“I don’t think we know where to even go,” Martha Romanek joked when asked her and her husband’s favorite place to go out when they get a sitter. “We do really want to see ‘Skyfall.’”
They said their children are well-behaved in restaurants, and they have tried all the local ones aside from Ayala’s.
“We like to stay on Signal,” said Andrew Romanek. “I work on Market Street, so I can go to those [downtown] restaurants anytime.”
His wife said she likes Southern Star for the convenience factor, plus there’s no need to get dressed up to get a restaurant-quality meal.
“When family comes to town, we always seem to end up at Nino’s,” she said, adding that they also like the brown bag policy, as it allows them to drink the wine her husband makes at home. “I also really like to cook.”
Despite the 25-minute drive to get there, Martha Romanek said her favorite place to grocery shop is Publix in Hixson.
“I grew up in Miami, so Publix has always been the store we go to,” she said. “In a pinch we’ll go to Bi-Lo or Pruett’s.”
When shopping for things other than food, Martha Romanek typically reaches for her computer before her car keys. She said she went to Hamilton Place Mall for the first time several days ago, and she wishes there was a Gap closer to home.
She joked that she also found the Bread Basket, which she fears may be a bit too nearby.
Another favorite spot on the mountain is the Pumpkin Patch, which along with Nino’s is among the stops when they give the grand tour to out-of-towners.
“Whether they’re young or old, they love it,” said Andrew Romanek of the Walden playground.