I mentioned in a previous entry that it was this extensive network of
paved multi-use paths that was the clincher when we were trying to
decide whether to buy a house in the Roanoke, VA area again or settle
down in this far-flung exurb of metro Atlanta.
Both small cities have our most important criteria like a reasonable
cost of living, good medical facilities, convenient shopping, nice
scenery, and lots of recreational opportunities.
Heavily-used part of Peachtree
City's path system near the Lake Peachtree pier and parking area
Fountain in front of the Peachtree City library at
the north end of Lake Peachtree
Gazebo between the Braelinn Ponds
However, Roanoke fell short on at least three things:
longer (and snowy) winters, very few houses for sale when we were
looking, and no comparison re: its path system.
Although Roanoke does have a decent multi-use path along the river,
it's much shorter, some of its segments are still disconnected, and we
didn't find any suitable homes for sale there that would give us access
to the path from or near our residence.
Early morning streams of light
(above) and deer (below)
on the path near our house in
In Peachtree City (PTC), no one has to walk, bike, or drive their
golf cart more than a quarter mile to reach the network of paths. Many
yards back directly onto a main path or one of many neighborhood spurs.
We are five houses up a quiet street from our nearest spur path. That
proximity is important to us as we get older -- we're more likely
to use the paths every day if we don't have to drive somewhere to access
them. We initially thought it would be nice to back up to a path but our
location gives us a lot more privacy in our back yard.
Peachtree City is one of a kind, at least in Georgia. It's a planned
city of about 35,000 residents that was initially incorporated in 1959
and developed in the following years. It was originally designed to
house 75,000-80,000 residents but planners in the 1970s were wise enough
to limit development to accommodate only half that number.
Most of the houses were built from the 1960s through the end of the
1990s, when land was more reasonably priced than it is now. Since the
early 2000s, lots for median-priced houses have shrunk because the value
of the land has risen so high.
Houses in the only subdivisions being built right now are either
three stories high (i.e., a small "footprint") or practically sitting on
top of each other because the lots are so expensive. Worse, developers
are clear-cutting dozens of acres of land in the only remaining
undeveloped area -- in a city renowned
for all of its beautiful trees -- to build these houses:
What an atrocity! This is poor
"planning," in my opinion.
more space around us so we bought a recently updated house built in 1991
that's on one-half acre of land.
Unfortunately, the previous owners took out most of the mature trees
in the back yard several years ago and we're trying to landscape it more
attractively now. Maybe they're related to the people who are clear-cutting the new
Fortunately, the neighbors surrounding our fence left plenty of other
mature trees so we can enjoy them and the shade they provide. (I realize
we may not appreciate them so much, however, if they crunch our fence or
house in a storm.)
There are five "villages" in PTC, each with its own elementary
schools, shopping areas, and recreational facilities to give the city
more of a small-town feel. A quarter of the land is devoted to green
spaces -- lots of parks, many small ponds, three large lakes, big
and little streams, four golf courses, two nature areas, and plenty of
Path by Braelinn Golf Course in
mid-February before the leaves came out
New leaves in early April at one
of the Kedron Ponds
Summer greenery at Flat Creek
Wooden footpath over wet area in
Flat Creek Nature Area
Public access to Lake Kedron
Fishing pier at Huddleston Pond
The terrain is hilly and wooded. Most houses built before 2000 are
surrounded by mature deciduous and/or pine trees.
I've never seen a community with so many tree and landscaping
companies doing business, continually working to keep the trees and
yards maintained beautifully. When residents want to remove any trees,
the tree companies must obtain permission from the city first because it
affects the aesthetics and storm water runoff if there is too much
pavement and not enough ground for water to soak in.
Most of the paths are heavily shaded
in summer, which makes
using them comfortable even on
We knew before purchasing a house here that the city has lots of
other rules and regulations, too.
link has a quick list of the most
important ones; the whole detailed code of ordinances is a
lengthy online pdf. file. I read every word of it before we bought our
house so there would be fewer surprises later on.
The regulations are designed to protect the health and safety of
residents, the beauty of the neighborhoods and business areas, and
values of properties. Apparently that has worked well, because during
the Great Recession (approx. 2007-2013), houses in Peachtree City
maintained their values better than just about anywhere else in the USA.
The biggest downside for us of buying a house here rather than in
Roanoke was the cost of a house. Comparable houses are about 30% more
expensive in PTC than Roanoke. Property taxes are also higher here but
since we are over 65, we pay less than half of what we'd pay if we were
One of my favorite yards belongs
to a large house above Lake Kedron. It has lots of
pretty roses and other flowers, a
swimming pool, and a waterfall feature.
Otherwise, the cost of living in Peachtree City is comparable to or
less than Roanoke for things like utilities, food, medical services,
fuel, and other necessities.
Although it's one of the more upscale places to live in Georgia, with
a high percentage of professionals calling PTC home, housing options
vary from less expensive houses under $200,000 to multi-million dollar
mansions with lakefront acreage. There are also some houses and
apartments to rent.
It's not just an enclave of wealthy people. Because of all the green
spaces and well-maintained yards, most neighborhoods look more expensive
than they really are. In addition, with all the convenient local shopping, medical
facilities, and recreational opportunities, we're happy residents so far.
Almost said "happy campers," but we aren't camping any more!
MORE SCENES ALONG THE PATHWAYS
This entry gives me a chance to show more pictures from the network
of paved paths that link the whole city together.
Handsome wooden cart bridge over
wetlands in the Flat Creek Nature Area
Flat Creek at the north end of the Flat Creek Golf
A very flooded Flat Creek (and golf course) farther
downstream a month later
Most people here refer to the paved paths as "cart" paths because of the large
number of golf carts that use them -- about 35,000 residents and
over 10,000 registered golf carts! That's a cart for every 3½ people.
It's one thing that really sets this city apart.
Not everyone golfs, including us. Most people use their carts for
work, school, and just tooling around town. All of our Labs love riding
Cody, Casey, and Jim by one of
the Kedron Ponds near our house
Now little Holly gets the front
seat for her safety and Casey is relegated to the back;
she still enjoys it.
Here we're parked by Lake Peachtree.
After living here for six months it's still amusing to see all the
golf carts at Krogers, Walmart, Home Depot, and other stores on the path
system; there are designated parking spots for the carts, just
like those for cars but smaller.
It's also comical to drive by the high
school when it's in session -- there are more golf carts in the
parking area than cars! I bet those kids have fun telling their new
friends at college about that.
It's a fun and economical way to get around town.
We've had only a few problems with carts while walking or cycling.
It's been more of an irritation for us when we've been driving our cart
to maneuver around clueless pedestrians.
Jim and I use the cart paths every day to walk the dogs, ride our
bikes, and/or take the cart out to shop or just ride around.
Jim and Casey round a curve near
one of the Kedron Ponds.
Casey takes Jim for a walk past a
pretty flowering tree
on the spur path at the end of
our cul de sac.
We've been on at least
three-fourths of the
path system, if not more.
The paths are in a constant state
of repair one place or another; a good portion of local tax money
goes toward maintaining the paths, bridges, and tunnels on the network.
Under construction: section
of path near Huddleston Pond torn up to be repaved
New section of asphalt several
miles away in the large Flat Creek Nature Area
Cart bridge over part of Lake Kedron
Tunnel near Huddleston Pond
It's fun to look for something new each time we go out on foot, bike,
or cart -- saying hi to other path users and their dogs, watching
the flowers and leaves come and go, spotting little natural objects,
Interesting mushrooms always pop
up in the summer after it rains.
dodging hundreds of deer and a gazillion squirrels, watching other
critters who live here or are just visiting for a while,
Blue heron at one of the Kedron
Turtles straddling logs in
watching ducklings and goslings in all the lakes and ponds grow from
fuzzy babies to adulthood,
Above and below: This
family with five "teenage" geese lived near us at the Kedron
Ponds. We saw them almost daily
in the spring and summer until they left in early fall.
seeing the changes people make to their houses and yards, smiling at
fun yard art,
Pot Man (inspiration for my
"Susie Pot Woman" in the last journal entry)
and watching the water in Peachtree Lake go down while the old spillway
is being replaced with a more modern, efficient one:
"Full pond" (north end of lake)
in the summer
Going . . . (starting to
drain in early Sept.)
Going . . . (north end of lake on
Oct. 1 from bridge over Flat Creek, the stream that feeds the lake)
The north end of the lake is almost GONE as it drains slowly to the
south. After the old spillway is replaced by a new weir-style spillway
at the other end of the lake it will gradually fill up again, hopefully
by next summer.
Here's a picture from the south end of the lake one day in June when
Casey was sending Jim off on a kayak ride. The dam is to his left and
the spillway to the right (can't see them in this photo):
Everyone in the area will be relieved when the lake is
full again. It's another "signature piece" of Peachtree City, like the
network of multi-use paths.
Being out on these fabulous paths is a fun and convenient way for us to stay fit and
to reflect on how fortunate we are to have found such a great place to call home.
Next entry: exploring Line Creek Nature Area
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup
© 2017 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil