Hill Country Transplants & Why They Move Here: 8 Families Share Their Stories
I first moved to Texas for work, at the age of 23 (it is crazy how young that sounds now). I am from Oklahoma originally, so imagine my surprise when I absolutely fell in love with Texas. It went against everything I’d ever been taught as a child! But there was no denying that there was something really special about this state and the Hill Country, in particular. Work eventually pushed me back out of state but that 13 months I spent as a Texan left its mark. My husband is from this area so when we became engaged and eventually got married, getting back to the Hill Country was at the top of our priority list. We did everything we could for the next four years to make it happen and when our oldest was 18 months old, we came home.
What was it that drew us back? Well, it was the lifestyle offered to those lucky enough to live right smack in the middle of these beautiful hills and rivers. It was the weather and the ability to sit out on a truck-bed at night and count endless shooting stars. It was the music, the beer and margaritas, the food, the festivals, the people. In short, it was the lifestyle, climate, and culture…all of which go hand-in-hand. We’d always joked that we missed our “Chicken Fried” kind of life (any Zac Brown Band fans out there?) and we knew that getting back to Texas was how we would find it again.
After starting this blog and becoming more active on Instagram, I started to connect with other locals. It wasn’t long before I met someone who had just moved her family here from out of state as well. Then another and another; it was crazy! So naturally, I started to wonder why all these people were moving to Texas and why the Hill Country? Were their stories similar to ours? Or was it something else?
So, I asked. I put feelers out through random Facebook groups and with people I had noticed on Instagram and ultimately ended up with eight families (including ours) who were willing to share their stories. Is that a statistically significant sample size? Ummm..NO. Is it enough for a simple blog post such as this one? Sure! I asked these ladies to rank which of five factors were the most important for them when it came to choosing the Hill Country as their new home (based off of the four factors that statistics tell us are usually why people move, PLUS the addition of “Culture/Community” as a factor). Here’s what I found:
If someone didn't rank a factor at all in their list, it was assigned a response of N/A. The results of this tiny little survey tell us that Family was the number one reason that most of these families moved here, with Culture/Community coming in a close second. These stats are really just for fun though, considering the sample size is so small that even just one changed response could skew the results entirely!
I also asked the respondents why they chose the Hill Country over any other region of Texas and to provide a bit of their story. Here's what they each had to say:
Rebecca F.: "We chose the Hill Country partly for an easier commute for my husband to Dallas, Odessa etc. We also really liked the school systems in Kendall County and the small towns are all so cute. And we were leaving behind an adorable mountain home and this just seemed like the closest thing we would find to the Rocky Mountains in Texas."
Rebecca's family moved here from Colorado. Rebecca is a registered nurse by trade but now stays home with her four children. She says she and her husband "always wanted to be somewhere warmer" and that they "love it here in Texas and have found so many things to do and explore. There’s never a dull moment and rarely a quiet weekend at home. Moving to the San Antonio area has been a great adventure for us". She shares her family's experiences through her locally-focused blog, Adventures in San Antonio.
Jaime: "We opted to live in the Hill Country after my husband got a job in downtown San Antonio (after also applying in Houston, Dallas, Austin). The schools in Boerne are what sealed our decision to live here."
Jaime's family moved here from Louisiana. The first big trip she and her husband ever took together was to San Antonio. They fell in love with the city, were married on Marriage Island on the Riverwalk, and kept coming back for vacations over the years. Just a year after spending their 10th anniversary in San Antonio, her husband was offered a job here, to which she said, "It seems like this area just keeps calling us back!"
Rebecca P.: "We moved for many reasons: to be near family (my in-laws are here), Boerne is more affordable than California, schools are better, and for our jobs. I love the fact that Texas seems to be more protective of personal choices; vaccines, big families, and natural living."
Rebecca's family moved here from California. She is a birth Doula and a natural childbirth teacher. She says, "Texas has the highest cesarean rate in America and the highest postnatal mortality rates. My husband is a Bowen Therapist, which is rare in Texas, and we often work together since he treats children and pregnant women for free. It's important to us to work where we can do the most good. We really look forward to living and working in the Hill Country."
Jennilee: "We chose the Hill Country over other areas because we liked the views the Hill Country offered, and also the breeze. We didn’t want the heat in the west, the tornados to the north, the humidity of the east, or the hurricanes to the south. The Hill Country really seemed like the perfect spot."
Jennilee and her family moved here from Maine. She had spent time in San Antonio while in the ARMY and fell in love with Texas, the people, the culture, and the food. She says, "Many years later, my husband and I grew tired of the winters in New England. We wanted more than just three or four months out of the year to enjoy our favorite activities. He had never been to Texas, so I brought him here and he too fell in love with the Hill Country. We listed our house, sold it within days, and off to Texas we went! I love my home state, but I’ve lived there for the first half of my life and really wanted to experience a different life. I wanted to show my children there is a world outside of what they’d been used to; that you can leave the familiar, and it will be okay. You can love other areas of the country, enjoy a new school/new job, and you can make new friends. We love it here and my in-laws are just days away from selling their house and joining us; they’re building on our land!"
Annmarie: "It took us two years to find 'the spot' we wanted to build our forever home. We looked in Leander, Bastrop, Kerrville, and Fredericksburg. We knew our home as soon as we found it. We had the city life already, so our Texas goal was to be everything that was not. This country spot is priceless."
Annemarie and her husband are in the process of moving here from New York. She says, "We knew New York was not our forever home. We both live in the 'rat race' as we call it, and our hearts and souls call to other things. Things of more value that you can't buy; peaceful lives, pleasantries with neighbors and acquaintances... extra time to appreciate the little things. Once we started looking in Texas, we knew there was a world out there that was calling our names. We knew this is what we had to do. It took four years to find the land and build the house. We are both goal-oriented so this was something we knew we could do together. We believed in our love and determination to build our dream in Texas."
Rosie: "This is our favorite part of Texas. We love the scenery and it’s close enough to family in San Antonio."
Rosie and her family moved here from Wisconsin. She and her husband, David, have been married for 17 years and in that time have lived in four different states, as the pursuit of higher education, job opportunities, and adventurous spirits have kept them on the move. The most recent move brought them to Boerne, where they have decided to put down some roots and raise their two boys. Rosie is a professor and researcher at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and David is a fiction writer and jazz musician. Rosie says her family is "enjoying calling Boerne home" and lists Casa Amaya, Cypress Grill, the Patrick Heath Public Library, and the many trails along the Cíbolo Creek Nature Preserve as a few of their favorite local spots.
Theresa: "We chose the Hill Country for the beauty and sweeping views, weather (still hot but always a lovely breeze!), people (incredibly friendly in my opinion), small-town feel, and schools. It is an added bonus that my husband's parents reside in Bandera. Although San Antonio is in fact, huge, it feels like a small town - especially where we live. We loved the location of our neighborhood and the easy access to shopping, restaurants, and the small town feel of Boerne. Houston and Dallas seem MUCH more metropolitan in my opinion and having left a city with a very 'city-vibe' we wanted to feel like we were living in the country, but not give up our access to these things."
Theresa's family moved here from Boston. Employment changes and a need for more space for their growing family were the primary reasons they began looking for a new home and having family in the Hill Country is what encouraged them to consider the area for their move. Upon moving here, Theresa says they experienced an "old school feel", with neighbors ringing her doorbell to introduce themselves, kids playing outside and riding bikes together after school, and no shortage of outdoor activities on any given day. She says, "The culture here is one of kindness - we have met so many lovely people even in line at the grocery store - and have had no shortage of conversations with strangers sharing tips or helping one another. These are the reasons I have grown to love Texas and have become incredibly proud to call the Hill Country our home."
While this may not be anything near large enough of a sample size to determine scientific results for why people actually move here, I think it's plain to see that I'm not the only one who thinks there truly is something special about the Hill Country. It has been so much fun learning the stories of these wonderful families and I'd love to hear more. Has your family recently moved to the area? Were your reasons for moving here similar to what you've read in this post? Tell us about it in the comments!
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NOTE: I did not discriminate when it came to collecting and using responses for this post. I asked everyone I knew who had recently moved to the area if they would participate and I put out a blind call for volunteers from total strangers. If a family offered a response, it was included. As far as sources used to determine the most popular reasons people move, I used a variety of reports such as this, this, this, and this from recent years.