We decided to make a trip out to Spencer TN for the first time to see what it is like. According to our plans, Spencer is ideally located in the center of the Tennessee Triangle, approximately 2 hours drive from Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. (Whenever I think of the word Chattanooga, I wonder if the singer for the rock band Heart would replace the word "Barracuda" with "Ooooh, Chattanooga!" when they performed there.) Spencer is also conveniently located just minutes from Fall Creek Falls State Park.
The city of Spencer didn't have much in the way of commercial development, but the surrounding landscape is quite beautiful, and many sites we passed looked ideal for a farm-based bed-and-bistro. We visited the City Hall and were treated to a good deal of information about the area by the 2 friendly employees there. Lots of information about buying land with city water as a requirement - some wells have gone dry in the area, they say.
We left the City Hall office and headed in the direction of some potential commercial establishments. In the strip mall with the Family Dollar store there is a real estate office for H&H Real Estate. We entered and met Hugh Hale, a long-time resident of Spencer. The office was obviously "smoking-friendly", something that we had not encountered much until recently. With his gentle southern accent, Hugh asked what type of property we are looking for and then looked through a bunch of papers and plat diagrams on his desk. Why is it that we automatically feel a trust in a slow-speaking southern gentleman? After a few rejected recommendations, he convinced us to take a drive out to see a series of tracts that has yet to be developed. At one point, Hugh said "I don't care to go out with you to show you the property", - translating in our lingo to "I don't mind to go out with you..." It's funny getting to know local expressions. We followed him 8 miles east on twisty section of Hwy 30, eventually reaching the plot of land. The land had previously been a pine tree farm for lumber production, so the land was rough and not the rolling hills we are hoping to find. With time and a lot of work, I suppose the land could develop into something better, but without experience dealing with transforming land, we can't take any chances. So, after walking about the property, (JoAnna made me pull my socks out and over my pants legs to keep bugs from getting me, and - no surprise - I looked totally cool like that) we leash-released the dogs for a short walk and headed back home. We planned to check out another property that Hugh suggested, but we missed the street along the way and were running out of daylight anyway. We will definitely return to Spencer if any promising properties are presented. Meeting Hugh was yet another among many great Tennessee people meetings. I think the friendliness here is either contagious or a state requirement for residency.
Today I learned: I shouldn't expect a Dairy Queen to make good french fries. The chicken strips were OK, though.