Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC, a new walkable community in mountains of Western North Carolina

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Winter 2012 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Winter in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Watching the national weather news makes those of us in the North Carolina mountains feel lucky these days. We're midway through the winter, and though we've had our low temps and enough rain to insure against drought, the snow has been almost entirely on the peaks and high ridges.

That disappoints the kids, of course. They were spoiled with snow days last year. But the consolation is, we can head for the nearby ski resorts, which have been making plenty of snow on the cold days, if we want to play in the white stuff.

There are lots of reasons to love this time of year in the mountains. The high energy of the summer and leaf season are behind us.



Fall 2011 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Winter in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Just like the weather was reading the calendar, the temperature dipped right after Labor Day in Franklin, affirming yet again our claim that living in the mountains of western North Carolina offers the near perfect balance of the seasons. (With heartfelt apologies to our friends further south, who have another month or two with the AC going full blast).

We’re heading into fall now, about a month away from the third week in October, when the leaves usually hit their autumn colors peak All the self-declared leaf season experts predict a particularly spectacular show this year. Between now and then, we’ll be easing into those crisp, blue sky days, when it’s all about sweaters in the morning and evening and short sleeves in the afternoon.


Summer 2011 Newsletter:
Ready to put a little altitude in your summer?

Winter in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

No doubt about it, the season is in full swing in our North Carolina mountains. The July 4 weekend in Franklin saw the town crowded with visitors and returning summer folks, starting with our usual Friday afternoon “rush hour”. Which means you may have had to wait through an extra turn at our lights.

Even as early as May, our Main Street retailers and restaurant owners all over town had begun talking about encouraging business signs. People just can’t stay away from the mountains. And no wonder.


Spring 2011 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Winter in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Happy spring, everyone:

As much as we delight in the experience of all four seasons in the North Carolina mountains, the transition from a cold winter to a glorious spring was especially welcome this year.

Spring flowers are busting out all over. Which means the summer can't be far behind. Which, in turn, means our region's most active season is nearly upon us.


January 2011 Newsletter:
Best wishes for a joyous 2011

Winter in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Those wishes have special meaning this year and are delivered with an especially hopeful tone of voice. Economists tell us we’re finally headed out of the nation’s Great Recession, and signs of a reawakening in our neck of the woods are unmistakable.

Even with all the uncertainty, folks we know have started new businesses on Franklin’s Main Street. And we’re greeting more and more visitors who tell us they’re more anxious than ever to make the move to life in the mountains.


Fall 2010 Newsletter:
Fall’s Here. How ‘bout you?

potluck celebration on the plaza in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Not that we want to rub it in, but the season has changed here in the mountains, bringing back those crisp nights and blue-sky days we longed for during summer’s hazy days. Gosh, we had lots of days this summer over 90 degrees.

Oh? You say it was way more unbearable where you live? And summer is still hanging tough for you? Sorry. We said we wouldn’t rub it in.

Let’s try another tact. Now’s a good time to plan a fall getaway to Franklin. The leaves will be changing soon, peaking around the third week of October. It’s our second big tourist season, especially welcome to many this year after the long summer in the lowlands. (Sorry, there we go again.)


Mid-Summer 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Farmer’s Market - Franklin, NC

Hot summer where you live? Here in the mountains it's been unusually warm, as well; though we shouldn't complain about days in the 80’s and nights in the 60’s when the rest of the Southeast is sweltering. Besides, I think we get the better end of the deal we make with summer when the tomatoes come into season. And boy are they here now.

It could be the altitude or the dirt or the nighttime temps. Whatever it is, our tomatoes are in a class by themselves. And our Franklin farmers market is suddenly loaded with them.

It's not just tomatoes, either. In season now is an incredible assortment of beans, beets, potatoes, onions, corn, peaches, and berries of all types. Our growing community is expanding to meet increasing demand. So we can look forward to harvests of local delights for years to come.


Summer 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Farmer’s Market - Franklin, NC

Are you ready for the summer? We are. Or at least we’re getting there.

We’ve heard from so many of you this spring, we expect the summer season in the mountains to be a period of reconnecting. So we’ve been getting ready for you.

Our first project was to realign our website so that it’s easier to go right to the information you need. Now, as soon as you land on our Sanctuary Village home page, you get a quick explainer about what we’re doing: We’re inviting you to be part of a new-home neighborhood in the heart of an historic NC mountain town. On the right-hand side of the opening page are the newsletters like this one, arranged in chronological order, with the most recent on top. It’s a great way to see how our ideas are evolving.


May 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Potluck dinner on the square in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

This spring marks a milestone for me. On Saturday, April 24, I started my next half-century on earth. That’s the way I’m looking at my 50th birthday. It fits right in with the theme of my last newsletter about thinking and talking in the future tense.

We used my birthday as an excuse for our first potluck dinner of 2010, gathering on the Sanctuary Village Square for a feast among friends. It was a great evening, cool and clear before the next day’s spring rains. And it was fun for us all.

The party took some organization, though. Iva started planning months ago, checking with friends via email and phone. Who would be in town? What would they like to bring to the potluck? How about contingency plans for inclement weather?


April 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Tim Ryan – owner/developer for Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Finally. After a long winter, spring has come to the mountains. And in addition to the usual pleasures of watching blooms and greenery change the complexion of the landscape, we’re enjoying hearing from friends who are experiencing their own re-emergence.

People are beginning to talk in the future tense again.

For too long, lots of folks felt stuck in a place where they couldn’t imagine what might come next. The cycle of the seasons rescues us from winter doldrums each year. But it’s not so easy to reassure ourselves “this, too, will pass” when we’re experiencing a cycle that comes along once in two or three generations.


Winter 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Tim Ryan – owner/developer for Sanctuary Village - Franklin, N

Looking back through our newsletters , I’m struck by how often I’m referencing the weather. That’s not a category of conversation that popped into my mind regularly when we lived in Miami. (Okay, maybe in August when the heat was particularly oppressive.)

Here in the mountains, weather is a big deal all the time. One reason, I think, is that there are such obvious transitions between seasons. Each is distinctive. And each inspires rumination about what’s just past and what might be ahead. The seasons organize the year.


January 2010 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

a new arts & crafts certified green built home located in Sanctuary Village - Franklin, NC

Like much of the Southeast, we’re starting 2010 in the North Carolina Mountains peeking out from under down comforters and polar fleece. It’s been cold. Record cold, in fact!

It’s the kind of weather that brings to mind stories of “cabin fever,” a malady brought on by winter isolation and made worse depending on your distance from the nearest neighbors. In the old days, it could be life threatening. Now it’s just depressing when you find yourself cut off from friends and deprived of the pleasures of community because of the weather.


October 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

October in the mountains provides our annual showcase of fall foliage. Which means, in turn, the annual pilgrimage of visitors who enjoy visiting the high country when everything is painted in autumn colors. It's a glorious time. And we're looking forward to seeing many of you. Be sure and give us a call, so we can catch you up on life in Franklin and our plans for Sanctuary Village.

Because we've had so much rain this year -- a welcome change from the drought conditions of a couple years running -- botanists are predicting slightly less vibrant fall colors but a slightly longer leaf season. You can read the latest predictions here in the Franklin Press.


September 2009 Newsletter:
“A place for all ages”!

Remember when that wasn't such a big deal?

For most of human history, places where people settled were designed to accommodate all ages. It was a matter of survival, taken for granted for the eons that our species evolved in community. But since the advent of the automobile and suburban sprawl, many folks retreated to enclaves segregated by income, building use, and age. The Young and the Cool live here. Couples with Kids live there. Seniors live over there in the "Active Adult" development until they have to move to the Home (which is anything but).


July 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Although we’re deep into July, we’ve had a string of what have seemed like spring days, with daytime temperatures in the 70s and the evenings making us wish we hadn’t stored the comforters for the season. A lot of us are convinced we live in paradise most of the year. But even the most enthusiastic community boosters know we’ve been especially blessed lately.

The great weather made Franklin’s annual Folk Festival a big hit this year. My family appreciated it more than usual since this is the first time we could walk to all the downtown fun in ten minutes from our home in Sanctuary Village. For a taste of the Festival, check out our little video here.


June 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Happy summer (almost)! Even though the season's official start date is another couple weeks away, we're celebrating in the North Carolina Mountains already. Summer in Franklin means the arrival of old friends and the return of favorite rituals like Saturday morning at the farmer's tailgate market and Saturday evening at "Pickin' on the Square".  It means keeping sweaters handy for the early chills and the cool evenings but breaking out the shorts for the warm afternoons. The spring rains greened up the mountains so beautifully the whole region seems to glow.

At Sanctuary Village, we marked the transition from spring to summer on Memorial Day weekend with another of our potluck dinners on our own Village Square. We roasted a pig Cuban-style, in a charcoal-filled box designed for the purpose. Delicioso, if we do say so ourselves. And the 30 friends, new and old, who added their own dishes to the feast reminded us of the fun ahead, as homes and businesses around our Square multiply and the Village grows. The truth is, though, we're already a neighborhood. More...

May 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

We hope the month is as welcome in your neck of the woods as it is in ours. We're celebrating for several reasons. The big one, of course, is the annual one. May is the when the mountains of North Carolina "green up" into spring, when gardens are planted, and when community gatherings move outdoors. Everything feels fresh and new again.

That goes for us, too. Needless to say, this has been a tough year for real estate development, the worst of it being the level of uncertainty regarding all the interconnected markets -- financial, housing, employment. But it looks like the economy is experiencing a little spring fever, as well.

April 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Hello, friends, and hello spring (for sure, this time):

We should have known we'd have the last storm of winter this last week, since this was the week we planned to have water flowing in our Market Square fountain. Sure enough, after a weekend that flirted with 70-degree temperatures on gloriously sunny days, we got a two-day taste of the departing season; which makes the coming weeks of spring weather all the more welcome!

The weekend weather did allow us to wedge in what we intend to be the first of many open-air dinners on the Square. Even with just one house up, we already have a neighborhood in the making. A couple dozen well-wishers, some of them planning to be future Village residents, answered our invitation to help us christen the Square with a potluck dinner under the stars. It was everything we expected. More...

March 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

We're on the way to spring in Franklin.

Despite a day or two of low temps and the occasional blustery wind to remind us that winter's not yet over, we'll soon be seeing the buds and shoots. Spring's a glorious season in the mountains and greatly unappreciated, because our summer visitors don't arrive in time and because the fall hogs all the oohs and ahs for seasonal color. In a way, that makes spring a reward for those of us who live here year round.

The rewards of living year-round in a place have been on my mind lately, because we're now living full-time in our in-town community, Sanctuary Village. We're comfortably settled into the first Village home, an Idea Home I'll talk about a little later. And we're just beginning to show folks around the house and talk about our vision for the Village. More...

February 2009 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

We’re trying to keep ourselves from celebrating spring prematurely. After several weeks of wet and cold weather, the skies turned blue, the sun came out, and the temperatures hit the 60s here in Sanctuary Village.

It’s a tease, of course. It will be another month before flowers begin leaping out of the ground for real – and we really do have glorious springs here in the mountains. More...

January 2009 Newsletter:
The Power of Hope -- and Faith in the Future

I've always been in the can-do camp. So I welcomed the positive energy coming out of Washington, D.C. on January 20. We don't have to abandon reality or ignore the hard work ahead of us to embrace the hopefulness of a new era. And this IS a new era. Despite all the bad news, the whole country seems re-energized. We're feeling it in the North Carolina mountains, too. Some of us, in fact, never lost faith.

Those of you who've watched our progress creating a new in-town neighborhood in Franklin, NC, will be pleased to see we're moving ahead with next steps for Sanctuary Village. The Village's first home, a three-level beauty (elevator served), is up. And my family has moved in. More...

Fall 2008 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

Like me, you must be thankful that the October madness in the markets and now the elections are behind us! Here in Franklin, fall and all of its glory is in its peak. The weather and colors are perfect and while our highs are now in the low 70’s, last week we even had some snow. I have never seen such a beautiful contrast of colors!

I have thought about how I could speak to the times we are living now. If my world were only here in Franklin, I would feel all is right. Locally we have new restaurants, a fine arts theater under construction, our community college is expanding, we will soon have a new paved State Road to Mountain Grove (and our high mountain community – Sanctuary at Mountain Grove) and next month, our first idea home and welcome center here in Sanctuary Village will be open to visitors and sales will officially start in this exciting community. More...

July 2008 Newsletter:
The Sanctuary Village “Green” Way

Joining the Western Carolina Green Building Council has truly been an eye opening experience. Through the process of preparing our homes for NC Healthy Built and Energy Star certification, we've learned that every choice you make in the home building process - things as simple as paint and windows- can impact the environment for present and future generations.

That’s why we’ve made the decision to create Sanctuary Village and its homes in a way that not only lessens that impact but also strives to make things better. For today and tomorrow. More...

June 2008 Newsletter:
Sanctuary Village, One Exciting Piece at a Time

I am happy to say the warm “lazy” days of summer are here. Although for us, we still have cool breezes and ours are definitely not “lazy days” with all we have going on in Sanctuary Village.

Creating Sanctuary Village is, in many ways, like piecing a puzzle together. Each corner, each section, each piece must come together in just the right way to duplicate the scene depicted on the box. More...

Spring 2008 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

It's full-bore spring in the mountains, and my spirits are high. Adding to the inspiration of our setting here in Western North Carolina is the weekend I just spent at the 16th annual gathering of the Congress for the New Urbanism. It was my third CNU conference (, marking almost exactly the time I've spent on one of the steepest and most thrilling learning curves in community development. More...

Winter 2008 Newsletter:
Greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

  • Construction is under way at The Sanctuary Village!
  • The Sanctuary Village, a Model for Planned Development
  • Reaching Beyond The Sanctuary Communities
  • Fun at Mountain Grove


October, 2007:
Fall greetings from the mountains of North Carolina

We hope your autumn has been a glorious as ours (though we have a hard time imagining that). Because of the dry summer, experts predicted the fall color show in our region wouldn’t be nearly as spectacular as it usually is. But nature frustrated the predictions with a delightful display of color especially at the higher elevations, where our Sanctuary at Mountain Grove is located. More...

September, 2007:
Happy fall from the mountains of North Carolina

The change of season is especially welcome this year, isn’t it?

For most of the Southeast, the summer of 2007 was a scorcher. Our mountains suffered, as well, though not as much as the lowlands. The local organic farmers at Franklin’s weekly tailgate market talked about coping with the dry weather, but the tomato crop seemed as spectacular as usual. And we still heard the annual jokes about squash being so plentiful that you have to keep your car windows rolled up when you park anywhere in town if you don’t want farmers off-loading surplus squash to your back seat. More...

August, 2007:
Summer Days in Franklin, NC

These last two months of summer mark the peak of our traditional family tourist season in Western North Carolina. And this has been a special season in lots of ways.

First of all, it's been heartening for those of us who've tied our futures to these mountains that so many others feel the same way. Despite high gas prices, a jittery housing economy, and the kind of news that might tempt folks to stay home and cover their heads, we're working on a record summer of visitors. More...

June, 2007:
A Summer of New Beginnings

We’re in full-bore summer in the mountains now, hoping, like the rest of the South, for a little more rain but mostly settling into the seasonal routines that are part of the rewards of living in Western North Carolina’s high country. More...

April, 2007:
Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

Since a river outing a week or so ago, I’ve been thinking about how often in life we over-analyze decisions. We seem to crave the assurance of knowing how things are going to turn out before we commit to a new direction. More...

March, 2007:
Regulatory barriers cleared, site planning begins
We’re on our way

After a year of planning, the design of our new in-town community has sailed through all the Town of Franklin approval processes. More...

February, 2007:
The paths we walk lead home

For as long as I can remember, I have always gone for long walks. Whenever I need to find some answers or shed some stress, I head to open ground and fresh air. More...

January, 2007:
From this side of the ridge
Our memories make us who we are

Looking back over the three years since our family moved to Franklin from Florida, I am struck by how the memories we are crea-ting now are so different from those that defined us not so long ago. More...

December 14, 2006:
As we come to the close of 2006, we can hardly wait to continue our momentum into the new year. More Details...

October 31, 2006:
Town planning board approves zoning proposal
By Colin McCandless.
Staff writer The Franklin Press

The Town of Franklin planning board held a special called meeting Thursday to review a set of proposed Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) overlay regulations. Developer Tim Ryan presented them to the town in conjunction with his plans for a community called The Sanctuary Village. Complete story

August 29, 2006:
Sanctuary Village Master Plan book completed, including: master plan concepts, residential architecture and architectural guidelines.

August 1, 2006:
Construction of the first home begins at The Sanctuary at Mountain Grove.
Click here to view photos.

July 13, 2006:
Master plan created for The Sanctuary Village.

May, 2006:
The Sanctuary Communities hires the firm of Allison Ramsey Architects to design a traditional neighborhood development in Franklin, NC.

In the News
Sanctuary Village in the news
Co-housing: In Franklin’s future?
By Ben Brown
For The Franklin Press
‘Cohousing’ concept could be implemented locally
Options discussed at LWV forum
By Colin McCandless
For The Franklin Press

New model for mountain living
By Julia Merchant
Smoky Mountain News

"Walkability Steps into the Mainstream"
By Ruth Walker
Town Paper

"The Sanctuary Village, a successful model for planned development"
Asheville Citizen Times

"Charrette ends with plan  for The Sanctuary Village"
By Melissa Maracle
The Franklin Press

"Charrette gives rare chance to shape Town's Development"
By Melissa Maracle
The Franklin Press

"Stop Sprawl - Smart Choices or Sprawling Growth"
The Sierra Club


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