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Meet the McGhies, our February Newcomers of the Month

Our Newcomers of the Month for February are the McGhies, who had a strange welcome to Signal Mountain when they first came just before Thanksgiving.

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The McGhie family, including Trevor, Chad, Cade, Blake, Sophie and Kristen, from left, are our February Newcomers of the Month.

It was dusk as Chad McGhie was moving furniture up Signal Mountain Road. A deer was in the opposite lane, and as a car headed toward it going down the mountain, the deer spun and headed straight for McGhie’s lane. He stopped just in time to keep the deer from flying through the windshield, but not soon enough to prevent the side of his car from being destroyed.

“I was excited to have all my stuff here, but disappointed my car had to go in the shop,” he said.

“I know people who’ve lived here 25 years and never hit a deer,” added his wife, Kristen.

Both are originally from California and moved several years ago to Murfreesboro where they went to school, and where Kristen McGhie’s parents now reside. Chad McGhie was employed by TVA in Nashville three years ago, and the family moved here when he was transferred to Chattanooga.

Aside from the unfortunate encounter with local wildlife, the McGhies said they have received a very warm welcome from their human neighbors, many of whom stopped by their Hidden Brook home to offer all types of cookies and treats. The snow day this winter was also a great opportunity to introduce themselves to everyone who lives nearby, they said.

“We may do a little block party when it gets into reasonable weather,” said Chad McGhie. “There’s a good sense of community up here.”

The McGhies’ main concern about moving in November was having their children switch schools mid-year and possibly fall behind. They said Nolan Elementary principal Shane Harwood was very helpful in making sure their oldest son Trevor, a fifth-grader, was on track.

“There’s less work, but it’s harder,” said Trevor of his new school. “I’m learning more.”

The schools are the reason the family chose Signal over Lookout Mountain, which they felt had a lot of character. They also looked at Ooltewah because they heard the schools were good there as well, but said the traffic and congestion was too much to handle.

The community and people on the Signal Mountain are what they enjoy most about their new town.

“We’ve met a lot of really great people,” said Kristen McGhie, who joined the Signal Mountain Community Guild/Newcomers group upon the suggestion of a member of her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She said church has also been a great place to meet people, as well as to get recommendations for places to eat or hike.

While the family got lost on a cold day on their first trek to Rainbow Lake, they plan to go back and find the falls, and Signal Point is a favorite spot.

“The kids love the Pumpkin Patch, and Chad likes the disc golf course,” said Kristen McGhie.

The best restaurants they have found as of yet include Public House and Cheeburger Cheeburger in Chattanooga and Nino’s and Pepper Jack’s (the kids’ favorite) on the mountain.

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