Sanctuary Communities Newsletter

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.

Our family is entering the last quarter of 2009 with a good feeling about the future. Despite all the gloomy news about the economy, we're confident in our dreams for Sanctuary Village because so many of the trends continue to point in our direction. There's the welcome movement towards smaller scale, lower-maintenance homes.

There's the growing interest in green building and energy-efficient design. There's the gap between many buyers' preferences for living in real neighborhoods in real towns and the under-supply of comfortable options in such places. And then there's the continuing lure of life in the North Carolina mountains. Sanctuary Village was conceived with all of those trends in mind.

Lately, we've enjoyed an even more personal affirmation of what we see as the Village's advantages. We moved my mom to Franklin from her home in Montana, where the strain of aging in a car-dependent suburb had worn her down both physically and mentally. In Montana, she had good medical attention and help of my sister, who lives in the same town. But when she could no longer drive, she found herself isolated from friends and all the other supporting networks we take for granted when we commute by car from work to home to church and to other activities.

When my mother got off the plane, I hardly recognized her. She looked in terrible shape and needed assistance walking. I worried that she might not be able to live independently again. But after only a few weeks in Franklin, she had plugged into a group of new friends about her same age. She took to walking the paths on the Village property and quickly mastered the convenient senior transit service options that took her to places she couldn't walk to. She's rarely needs to see a doctor now and looks years younger. We couldn't be happier.

All the theories of aging in a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood predict exactly those kinds of outcomes. We talked about some of those studies in a recent newsletter on studies by AARP and EPA. But the message really comes home when you watch the phenomenon unfold in your own family.

Seeing my mom's new lease on life has reconfirmed for me the values of creating a neighborhood where it's not only safe and convenient to age in place, but also pleasureful. The great thing about that kind of goal is that when you use good design to make a community more welcoming and engaging for older folks, you also make it a great place for everybody. Who doesn't want to spend less time in cars? Regardless of their age, who doesn't want to feel connected to a supportive community in which they are needed and to which they can contribute?

What do you think of these ideas? We're talking with lots of folks these days about ways to make Sanctuary Village even more conducive to happy, productive living as we grow older. We'll tell you more as we move along. But in the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. So shoot me an email or give me a call. And if you're coming up for the leaf season, by all means, drop by and see us.

Tim and Iva Ryan
Town Founders

energy star logo nchbh logo
October 2009

Fall in the mountains!


Fun for all ages


Farmer's market video at YouTube
Fall means Football


The Rabun Gap Eagles


Mom playing bingo

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