Despite its warm atmosphere as a community of interconnected neighbors, The Woodlands is still a relatively new town; established in 1974, it’s only now that we can describe residents as being multi-generational. Some are surprised at how much The Woodlands has grown in such a short time, but we all know why people want to move here.

In this special article, we will explore the lives of those who moved to The Woodlands in the middle of their careers, those who grew up here and are returning to raise their own families, and those who have just recently made this community their home. These unique individuals and families will describe their favorite parts of The Woodlands, how they have seen it change, how The Woodlands makes it possible for them to serve their neighbors and more.

Ross Flurry

Ross Flurry opened his own mortgage company after the economic crash of 2008. After a few years, he became interested in expanding his career, which meant a possible move in his future. In 2013 his friends invited him to visit their home in The Woodlands, and even though the Houston area was not on his radar, he knew his search was over. “It was a beautiful 75 degree Friday night in Market Street. I was in awe. . . . I looked at my buddy and said ‘Where are we?’ By Sunday of that weekend, I decided I was going to move my business to The Woodlands,” Flurry says.

Flurry took the leap of faith. Over five years later, he is not only the owner of a thriving, local mortgage company, but he also genuinely enjoys living in The Woodlands. As a resident within a luxury apartment building, Flurry is one of many young men and women who have made a home in pedestrian-friendly complexes where it feels more like a city than a suburb.

Favorite Hangout

Flurry: “Hughes Landing. . . . I fell in love with that, because for a mid-30s, single guy new to The Woodlands, it was the place to be. That’s what I do on a Friday night—frequent the restaurants I love, make connections, meet clients. I love that I can walk downstairs and walk back home.”

 

The Weekend

Flurry: “You can find me on Lake Woodlands. On a nice weekend, I am in a kayak for five hours getting some sun. I love to frequent basketball courts and jogging trails. I’ve never had amenities like that. . . . Another thing I love is that we are 45 minutes away from anything you could dream of in Houston. . . . Not every place has that.”

Giving Back

Flurry: “I am currently the VP on the Board of Interfaith Young Professionals which is approaching 130 members. I had always heard of Interfaith, but I didn’t know all that they offered. It wasn’t until Hurricane Harvey that I saw Interfaith—they blew me away with how much they did. I feel like it was a great opportunity to jump in. They all have servant hearts. I wish I had known about it years ago when I got here.”

Changes You’ve Seen Here

Flurry: “The Millennial movement in The Woodlands. The age range 25–44 has grown immensely. The idea used to be . . . you are young and single, what are you doing here in The Woodlands? It’s been a huge increase.”

Favorite Thing About The Woodlands

Flurry: “The opportunities are endless in this town. So many people want to see you succeed. If you continue to be involved, you have the leaders who brought this town up over the years—they are wanting to find the next generation of leaders. My favorite part of living here is how ambitious I have become, because there are so many opportunities.”

 

Parker & Michelle Kink

Parker and Michelle Kink grew up in The Woodlands, but they weren’t always sure they were going to end up here. After attending The University of Texas at Austin, Parker remained there to begin his career in real estate. Michelle attended Texas Tech University and became a teacher in Conroe ISD before also moving to Austin.

They were married in 2016 with no intention of moving back to The Woodlands. “We loved Austin and all it had to offer,” Parker says. But the couple decided the best option would be to move home to The Woodlands, where both families still reside, to follow an opportunity to work for the family business, The Kink Team.

The Kinks welcomed their first daughter, Abigail, into their family this April, and they are privileged to live near their parents and grandparents. “I was blessed to grow up around my grandparents and some extended family, and [I] know how special those relationships are,” Michelle says.

Favorite Hangout

Michelle: We’re foodies. We’re social people. Typically, date night is going to have a drink with friends. One thing we have enjoyed about The Woodlands is that there is so much more live music now.

Parker: We also love Sapporo, the Japanese restaurant. They have the best sushi. They take really good care of us. Corkscrew BBQ in Old Town Spring is another one we like, and there’s a couple great spots with live music.

The Weekend

Michelle: Parker is very athletic, and we both love to be active outside. It’s a good way to take a breather, to refresh.

Parker: I love going to the Sam Houston National Forest. Just to get out in nature. It’s only a 20-minute drive.

Michelle: The nature in [The] Woodlands is so gorgeous and established. Abby loves all the sounds and visual elements such as the birds chirping and trees canopying over the paths.

Giving Back

Parker: One of the reasons [we] got involved with Interfaith Young Professionals is getting plugged in with our age group. It’s a service group, not a networking group.

Michelle: Also, our family is close by. There is always something we need to do for family, whether it’s our grandmother or my sister.

Parker: Right. And for me, it’s my clients as well—[working] in their yard or helping them move something.

Changes You’ve Seen Here

Parker: It feels like less of a small suburb, and more like a bigger town. There’s much more diversity than there was 10 years ago.

Michelle: It’s an exciting time to be in The Woodlands. It’s transitioning to more of a city feel. . . . One thing that has stayed the same [is] the nature aspect—the trails everywhere, beautiful parks. It feels good to be outside.

Favorite Thing About The Woodlands

Michelle: My favorite thing about The Woodlands is that it’s a community tailor-made to raise a family! It has everything such as safety, nature, great schools, convenience, churches. . . . It’s a tight-knit community regardless of how fast the population is growing.

Parker: The best thing about The Woodlands is the people. It’s changed a lot since we were younger, but the original heart of working towards a society where everyone helps each other out really is the culture. It’s not perfect, like anywhere, but . . . you’ll find [people] looking to raise a God-centered, respectable family that’s open to helping where there’s need.

Amy & Randy Jones

When Randy and Amy Jones visited friends in a small suburb called The Woodlands, they were not intending on moving there. “When I grew up, this was just a place that had a golf tournament,” says Randy.

However, after they were married, Amy surprised Randy one day and told him she had put money towards a house in Alden Bridge. They only lived in The Woodlands two years before a job opportunity took them elsewhere, but Randy says, “We needed to find a way to get back to The Woodlands.” Amy has the same sentiment: “We loved it. We loved everything about it. We loved the church, our friends, the community.”

In order to move back to the community that they loved so much, Randy opened his own business in the north Houston area. Now, with four children ranging from 4th grade to college, they are a family thankful to raise kids in The Woodlands. As the Executive Assistant to Dr. Robb at the United Methodist Church since 2009, Amy considers it a joy to serve her church and the community of The Woodlands.

Favorite Hangout

Amy: My favorite thing to do is sit outside. So, if it has outdoor seating, I’ll go there every time. We love the Waterway, Market Street and Hughes Landing.

Randy: Yes, [we love] the fact that there are so many restaurants there. Hughes Landing—you can go and enjoy sitting outside.

The Weekend

Amy: Our weekends are centered around our kids and their activities and sports, lacrosse and football. And we go to church. We also try to get a few hours on the lake when it’s nice out. And then, back to the grocery store to prepare for the week!

Giving Back

Amy: [The] National Charity League and National Charity Round Table allow you to volunteer in many areas with your children. With Harvey, we were able to do a lot of volunteering as a family.

Randy: You can connect with others in your community for common good. That’s a lot of what this community is about. . . . The schools here encourage community service, so the kids are involved too.

Changes You’ve Seen Here

Randy: [It’s hard to believe that] all the development was planned in the beginning. . . . You just don’t have to leave The Woodlands. I look at it as a much more fun place to live now. I can’t think of a single negative.

Amy: The commercial development wasn’t there. Market street wasn’t even there. . . . Even though it’s grown, it’s still maintained the original plan that George Mitchell had. The trees are here, the bald eagle is flying around, the community is thriving, the schools are great, there is a religious place for everyone, there’s nightlife. The original intent of The Woodlands is still here.

Favorite Thing About The Woodlands

Randy and Amy: We love The Woodlands, because it is a loving and caring community. In our greatest highs and darkest lows, the people of The Woodlands are extraordinarily generous. . . . Whether it’s to celebrate a great accomplishment, mourn a family member or friend, band together for a great cause—the people of The Woodlands show up in an astounding way! . . . We go above and beyond to welcome others into our incredible community we call The Woodlands.

Barry & Fran Blanton

Barry and Fran Blanton have seen The Woodlands through much of its growth, having gone to Conroe High School when The Woodlands was simply land and trees. They remember The Last Bottom of the Lake Festival, a celebration of the upcoming filling up of Lake Woodlands, and the time when Greenspoint had the closest shopping mall.

“We lived here when there wasn’t a Woodlands at all,” Fran says. She has given back to the community for 20 years as a teacher in Conroe ISD, a school district that has seen continued expansion over the years. As for Barry, after having commuted to Houston for most of his career, he has now owned a local business in The Woodlands for several years. Barry and Fran feel blessed to have raised children, who are now grown, here in the Woodlands, and they have one granddaughter who lives nearby.

Favorite Hangout

Fran: We love to go to concerts at the Pavilion. We are five minutes away. We are home before most other people are out of traffic.

Barry: And dining out—we do a lot of that. Fran: You feel like Cheers around here. We know people at the restaurants, and even though it’s a pretty big place, it feels friendly.

The Weekend

Barry: We like to get up and run in the morning. We have been active in the running community and very active in a running club.

Fran: Our granddaughter plays soccer at Dynamo Dash, and we spend a lot of weekends either watching her play here or traveling to see her games. The park amenities are also great here, for kids and families.

Giving Back

Barry: We both volunteer a lot. . . . My primary charitable involvement is The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its Light the Night Walk. My dad died of leukemia, and I’m a non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor. We’ve had a family team since it’s been in The Woodlands.

Fran: [What makes The Woodlands great is] not only how many opportunities there are, but how many people are willing to help. . . . I work at a Title 1 school, and if a child or family has a need, I can make a few phone calls and teachers or friends will help.

Barry: We run an aid station for the IRONMAN, and it requires 120 people to staff it. People fight over volunteering for it. It’s not an easy job. We enjoy it.

Changes You’ve Seen Here

Barry: It’s way more diverse now than many years ago. And of course, the dining options are drastically different.

Fran: There are so many languages you will hear around The Woodlands. The growth—for instance, Conroe ISD has grown so much over the years. . . . There was nothing out there. . . . Now, I go back there, and it has exploded.

Barry: Hughes Landing is interesting. It’s brought a mix of residences with dining and shopping, as well as office buildings. The Glade Cultural Center is a neat museum and a nice cultural addition to the community.

Favorite Thing About The Woodlands

Fran: I don’t have to go far for anything. . . . It’s all 10 or 15 minutes away for me. But having Houston close by is fun.

Barry: My favorite thing is the sense of community. . . . I sit on some different boards; Leadership Montgomery County is one of my favorite organizations I have been involved with, and I was in the first one, which began in Conroe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *