Chardon may be best knowN for its maple syrup and brutal winters, but for empty nesters looking to slow down and relax, this rural East Side suburb may be the perfect place to live out a small-town fantasy.
Kathy and Tom Lippert settled in Chardon 10 years ago with their two kids, long before they became empty nesters. Tom had spent 22 years in the Army as a helicopter pilot and acquisition officer, so the couple’s Chardon home is their ninth in 13 years of marriage.
A Nebraska native, Kathy felt at home in the city of 5,160.
“It reminded me of the small town I grew up in, with a town square and a courtyard in the middle,” she says. “The square really pulls you in and makes it feel like you’re part of a fun, quaint community.”
Tom, who now makes the 31-mile trek downtown each morning to the Albert M. Higley Co., where he’s vice president of safety and quality, calls it “the perfect bedroom community.” On weekends, it serves as a home base to explore Amish Country or the wineries of nearby Madison and Geneva.
But there’s plenty to do in town as well from the fine dining of Square Bistro and live productions at the Geauga Theater to a four-store mecca for antiques shoppers.
For a median home sale price of $194,500, Chardon gives empty nesters options, such as a Victorian century home within walking distance of the square, a cabin-style haunt in the hilly woodlands or a homestead with enough acreage for a hobby farm.
The Lipperts’ traditional-style home has huge two-story picture windows that look out on a 5-acre property. “It’s really pretty to watch from our living room as the snow falls in the winter and the trees turn colors in the fall.”
But scenery isn’t the only reason the pair plans to stay. When they first moved here, Tom was deployed to Iraq. Kathy feared growing lonely in her new home. “I thought it was going to be awful, because I was used to being around military people,” she says. “I was so wrong. The whole community embraced me and made me feel at home.”
2016 Total Home Sales: 71
2016 Median Home Sale Price: $194,500
Education Ranking: 29
Safety Ranking: 27