When I started this series about where families live and why they chose that specific place, I knew I had to find a family who lived in Sun Valley, Idaho. This is a special town for me and my husband – he is the third generation in his family to make Sun Valley their destination vacation land. His grandfather first planted the seed and his Dad ran with it – he was the quintessential dirtbag skier, sleeping in his car just for the chance to explore Mt. Baldy. His Dad ended up buying property and thus Nick grew up driving the 12-hour trek from Seattle about a hundred times to enjoy summers and winters in the land of sun and snow. When Nick and I started dating, one of our first trips was to the local ski hill to test out my skiing ability. His Dad’s first question about me was if I was “Sun Valley worthy”…which apparently I was as we got married in Ketchum four years later.
So I was very excited to find Suzanne and her family living in Hailey (Sun Valley is officially the name of the resort, Ketchum is the town surrounding the resort and Hailey is the next door…all connected and all equally as awesome). Here she gave me a glimpse of how it is like to live in the valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains and tons of outdoor activities for her family to enjoy. If you would like to follow Suzanne and her adventures, please find her at her blog Team Buchanan. Here we go…
Q: Tell us about your family.
My husband and I have been married for 12 years and that includes 7 moves and 4 different states. We have 3 kids (ages 4, 6, and 8) that match us perfectly, plus 2 dogs and 1 kitty. Our most favorite day would include being all together biking, hiking or exploring a new town. I am most content and at peace when I am with my family.
Q: Where do you live? Will you tell us the story of how your home came to be yours?
We live in Hailey, ID, which is just 15 minutes from Sun Valley. After being in the Army for 5 years, my husband and I were living in Austin, Texas and didn’t feel like it was our ideal town. We had a 1 1/2 year old and I was 8 months pregnant when we decided to move to Sun Valley and start a new life. Best decision ever! We flew in at night and I was shocked and amazed at all the mountains that surrounded us. I was home.
Q: Why Hailey, ID?
My husband and I met at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. During the summers, he would go to Sun Valley to work in the bike shop. When we started dating, he brought me here once and I wrote my parents a post card that said someday I would live here. We knew that we wanted to live in an active town, surrounded by mountains and had four seasons, so after my husband got out of the Army, we moved to our dream, forever town.
Q: What’s your favorite feature in your home/neighborhood? What makes you the happiest about it? Also, what are you dying to change?
I love how we have elk, deer, fox and who knows what else that like to roam our neighborhood. I love how we can walk out our back door and go hiking, mountain biking and or just play in the creek. We live surrounded by nature and exploration. I would be even happier if my family (all in Arizona) lived closer. Having a Target closer than 66 miles would be a bonus as well.
Q: Now that you have children, has it changed your outlook on living in a small community and this one in particular? What are the main pluses and minuses in your opinion?
Growing up in a big city, it was an adjustment moving to such a small town. Yet, having kids makes it so much sweeter. It’s a super safe town and everyone looks out for each other. We can’t go to the grocery story or the post office without knowing a handful of people. Having children here makes me really appreciate the small town feel and how safe it is. I am more relaxed and feel that my kids get to experience so much more while developing strong relationships within our community. Halloween is the big difference. We walk down the street chatting with everyone, eating homemade chili from one house while the kids run a block ahead trick or treating. Kind of reminds me of Mayberry. Christmas is also like a story book fantasy. The only negative would be that sometimes I just want to go to the grocery story or post office in my sweats!
Q: What are some of your hobbies/free-time activities? Does living where you do shape these activities?
Hiking, biking, gardening, and community events—everything that I enjoy doing with my family. Our community is overwhelmed with folks with similiar interests, so making friends or feeling a part of the community is quite easy. I feel like we have only scratched the surface of what we can do here, but once the kids are older, we will dig deeper.
Q: What are your family’s values – what is important to teach your children?
It is very important to teach my family about empathy, respect, a sense of family/community, confidence and independence.
Q: Any favorite products so far when it comes to home life or baby rearing?
My iphone so I can capture many moments on my phone camera! A few items that were oh-so-important in the baby/toddler phase that I could never, ever life without: Chariot Stroller that also converts to a bike trailer, a hiking backpack, and a Strider bike (genius invention!).
Q: Any future dreams/goals for your home or family?
To explore more of the US and the World with my family. When living in a small town, even one with lots of culture and experiences, it is important to teach them about and show them the world.
Thank you so much to Suzanne for sharing her home town with us! Sounds like I need to pack our bags and head east.
(all images are from Suzanne – please see her blog for more!)