Settling into Community at Scotch Hall Preserve

Settling into Community at Scotch Hall Preserve

Fishing and Catching at Scotch Hall Preserve.

An Ideal Confluence of Work and Play

Scotch Hall Preserve is a North Carolina waterfront community set on a prominent headland where Salmon Creek and the Chowan River flow into Albemarle Sound. Native Americans called the area “Avoca,” meaning “the meeting of the waters.”

Lois and Richard Gobbi are originally from California but moved to Maryland 20 years ago because of his engineering work. As they neared retirement age, the Gobbis began a search that eventually brought them to North Carolina.

“We were looking for a water view where we could build our dream retirement home,” Lois said. “We looked extensively in Maryland and Virginia and found places that just didn’t suit us at much higher prices. The value of the property here was a definite attraction.”

The Gobbis found that perfect view at a Scotch Hall Preserve homesite overlooking the sound and moved into their dream home in 2017. But, like many couples who move to warmer climes these days, they didn’t both retire right away. Lois had finished up her work in a high school counseling office in 2016, but Richard still consults for a government contractor from his home office.

“Working from home allows him to enjoy the beauty of Scotch Hall and continue his career,” Lois said. She also has a home art studio for a hobby that has become a new calling as she’s gotten more involved in community life. “I’m on the HOA Advisory Board and Architectural Review Committee,” she said, “and I’ve organized art classes for the residents. My love is for painting and helping others learn to paint is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

 Scotch Hall is such a special place, not just

because of its beautiful surroundings, but because

of the wonderful people in our community.

— Louis Gobbi

Scotch Hall’s Arnold Palmer Signature golf course also proved to be irresistible. “With the beautiful course right outside our door,” Lois said, “we have both taken up golf, which is new for us.” Other outdoor recreations have also become part of their lifestyle. “The swimming pool is a big attraction for us and our family and friends,” she continued. “During the summer, I do water aerobics classes three days a week. We also enjoy jet skiing and tried kayaking with the family recently. We’re going to buy our own kayaks and maybe build our own dock in the future.”

Scotch Hall water views are breathtaking.

And, the Gobbis have found a lot to like just beyond the Scotch Hall gates. “We really enjoy trips to Edenton, which is 20 minutes over the bridge from our home,” Richard said. “Edenton has become our local town where we attend church, shop at the farmers market, and frequent the local stores and restaurants.”

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“We also love to go to the Outer Banks, which is a little over an hour and a half away,” Lois added. “We always stop at Manteo, a quaint town on the water with shopping and restaurants.”

“And, we’re planning to explore more of North Carolina,” Richard said, “especially west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Asheville area.”

Closer to home, the Gobbis have made new friends and hosted holiday dinners for their neighbors. “Scotch Hall is such a special place,” Lois concluded, “not just because of its beautiful surroundings, but because of the wonderful people in our community.”

At “The Meeting of the Waters,” Lois and Richard Gobbi have found just the right balance for the ongoing adventure of their lives.

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In the Garden  |  River Bluffs in Wilmington, NC

In the Garden | River Bluffs in Wilmington, NC

River Bluffs Community

Life on the Farm at River Bluffs

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Farms are rarely spotted on planned community amenities lists, but when they are, they change the game completely.

River Bluffs, just outside of Wilmington, NC, is anything but a typical planned community. While many developments begin with clear-cutting, and acquiring as much property as possible to account for expansion, River Bluffs has meticulously built 100 homes in and around at least one third of the hardwoods that originally covered the Bluff’s 300 acres, 40 feet above the Cape Fear River. The land was acquired in 2006, and River Bluffs has since become an ideal model for conscious and slow, preservation-based development.

River Bluffs Garden Vegetables“This is a special piece of land,” said John Lennon, River Bluffs’ Director of Operations. “Working this development into its natural setting was the developer’s vision all along. And, the farm and weekly farmers market was a logical part of this plan.”

And, the development of the farm and market was as methodical and meticulous as every other aspect of this development. But, it would appear that the fourth time is the charm.

Stephan Douglass, a fifth generation farmer and owner of Turner Farms, is the fourth farmer to cultivate nearly three acres just across the bridge from River Bluffs. Douglass, his son Ian, and Ian’s girlfriend, Jessica Allison, work on the farm daily.

“This is exactly the situation we envisioned,” Lennon said. “With Stephen’s help, we’ve finally arrived at a good model.”

Turner Family Farms leases the land at River Bluffs in order to grow closer to town. Additional crops are grown at the Family Farm in Teachey. All produce grown at River Bluffs is used to fill CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes, tables at the weekly River Bluffs Farmers Market, and in the kitchen at Porches Café with Chef Erin Wiley.

And, it’s the method to Douglass’ agricultural madness that makes all of this possible.
“It’s an intensive crop rotation divided into 100×100 plots,” Douglass said. “Our goal is to farm as sustainably and organically as possible, and to have something producing year round.” And, indeed they do.

River Bluffs Community GardensWhile there are 20 sectioned garden plots on the back acre for residents to tend, community garden-style, a farming signup and schedule are in the works as well to afford residents more opportunities to get their hands dirty and be a part of what is produced here.

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Having access to your own private farm, Lennon said, is apparently a pretty popular amenity. “The fact that we have a working farm and community garden is a real head-turner for folks,” he said. “At Ideal-LIVING Shows, we get the biggest and best response when we tell them about the farm.”

Because, Lennon said, who doesn’t want to live in a place surrounded by trees, on the water, with all necessary amenities, and have access to a working, sustainable farm that produces the contents of a nifty little box delivered to their doorstep every week? His guess would be, not too many.

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In the Garden | Babcock Ranch

In the Garden | Babcock Ranch

All In: Sustainable Gardening (and Living) at Babcock Ranch

Sustainability is a way of life at Babcock Ranch and it’s planted firmly in the garden.

By: Jamie Penn

Babcock Ranch Sustainable

It’s not at all surprising that residents of America’s first solar-powered town care where their food comes from, or that they want to be a part of the process. The only surprising thing about living in the garden at Babcock Ranch (about an hour from Naples), says community garden consultant, Whitney Tucker, is that residents can make things grow this time of year.

“It’s not easy, but it can be done,” said Tucker. Southwest Florida is known to get a little too steamy early to mid-summer for most varieties of vegetables. But, cherry tomatoes, like the sweet and savory yellow “Everglade,” many types of peppers, and most herbs can hang with the Florida heat. While summer isn’t the optimal time to grow along the Gulf-side of the panhandle, every other time of the year is, says Tucker. And, an eight-month optimal growing season is pretty darn good. Year-round harvesting includes tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, microgreens, and herbs.

Running the Show

There is one varietal harvested on Babcock Ranch land, however, that is more plentiful during summer months (as well as every other month) than in any other planned community in the country. 440 acres of land at Babcock Ranch is covered in 343,000 glistening blue, sun-loving solar panels that serve to produce 74.5 megawatts of power, enough solar energy to power the entire town. And, those numbers will soon double on land adjacent to current solar fields.

While this staple crop requires very little water, the farmland that provides produce for two restaurants and a general store does. Because Babcock Ranch is a 100% sustainably-developed community, Tucker said zero percent of well-generated freshwater is used to irrigate crops. All irrigation is sourced from wastewater and reused water located on the Ranch.

Sustainable is as Sustainable Does

Sustainable development is all about minimizing your impact and footprint on the natural environment. Whitney Tucker and her previous employers at Herban Gardens (Kitson family-owned) have been all about sustainable development since the inception of Herban Gardens. Tucker, age 26, worked for the Kitson family for over 10 years, starting her learning of “everything she knows” about growing microgreens and sustainable and organic gardening in general. She’s now a full-time employee at Slaters Restaurant and works as a community gardens consultant for the Babcock Ranch H.O.A. Herban Gardens continues to farm a large plot of land on Babcock Ranch, accounting for produce provisions for both restaurants.  

Babcock Ranch Garden“It’s pretty perfect, because I’m always on call, but I never feel like I am,” Tucker said. Community gardeners often come in to dine so that they can get a few garden tips. “I love being a part of their enthusiasm,” she said.

It’s residents like the Graham family, Tucker says, that remind her how important this process is. The Grahams visited Tucker recently at Slaters just so their four-year-old daughter could tell her that she got to eat the very first cherry tomato that she helped to grow.

The Grahams are one of 16-20 families growing and harvesting in Babcock Ranch Community Gardens. Twelve 4 ft. x 5 ft. metal containers and eight 4.5 ft. x 16 ft. are available to all residents on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thyme trails over metal and rosemary, and tomato plants still hold strong in raised garden plots in the heat of the summer sun next to acres and acres of solar panels. And, a teaching garden, planted and tended by Tucker, is available for all to watch and learn.

“It’s important to residents that they know where their food comes from when they sit down to eat at Slaters or pick up a few things from the General Store,” Tucker said. But, it’s another thing altogether, she said, when they get to learn how it all works as a family, and to reap the benefits of their labor.

Pools Babcock“It feeds them in a different way,” Tucker said. “And, they constantly express how grateful they are to have access to it.”

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Full Circle

Along with Herban Gardens’ farm plot, there are several tenant farmer plots, as well. A bee farm and a large-scale tomato and watermelon farm are among them. The honey from the bee farm provides honey for the general store and replaces sugar in all recipes used at both Babcock Ranch Restaurants.

In a sustainable environment, renewal and repurposing are consistent. And, at Babcock Ranch, it’s in everything residents do. It’s at the base of every program that’s created and in the blueprint of every house built.

Babcock Ranch RestaurantTucker says there’s no better way to experience sustainability’s progressive cycle than to hover around the table at a monthly S.L.E.T. (Slaters Babcock Ranch Eat and Talk) meeting.

Residents buzz about new sustainable solutions on the horizon and what they can do better and more consciously as a community. They ask questions – i.e., how and where to recycle X.Y.Z., or when and where to find organic and sustainably-produced products. And, Tucker is always there to mediate.

“It’s a pretty inspiring thing to watch,” she said.


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Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyer Choice Awards

Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyer Choice Awards

Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards

Minto Community receives Home Buyers Award

Tampa, FL — Minto Communities USA President Mike Belmont announces that Minto was presented with eight 2019 Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards at Eliant’s 23rd annual awards banquet held in Newport Beach, California. Homebuyers’ Choice Awards are presented each year to homebuilders judged by their own homebuyers to have provided the best customer experience. Winning homebuilders are selected based on results from 125,000 surveys administered by Eliant to all recent homeowners of more than 150 major homebuilders throughout the U.S.

Minto’s Customer Excellence Manager Sabina Schleicher received the top individual honor — the Eliant Customer Experience Leader of the Year award. Design Representative Angela Rinaldi with Minto’s The Isles of Collier Preserve community in Naples, Florida received a First Place Design Representative of the Year award. Allan Cumston with Minto’s Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach received a Third Place Construction Representative of the Year award, and Diana Richard with Minto’s Westlake community received an honorable mention.

In the High Volume Builders category, Minto received a Second Place Design Experience award, Second Place First Year Quality award, and honorable mention in the First Year Customer Service award category. In the Single Division Builders category, Minto won Third Place Overall Purchase and Ownership award.

Eliant has long been recognized as the nation’s leading provider of customer experience management services for U.S., Canadian, and Middle East building firms. The firm’s customer experience monitoring, training and consulting services are considered to be the industry gold standard. Minto has received consistently high rankings from Eliant Customer Service Surveys.

For information on Minto Communities, visit Follow Minto on Facebook and Instagram at MintoCommunitiesUSA and on Twitter @MintoCommUSA.

About Minto Communities
Minto Communities USA, based in Florida since 1978, has represented integrity, financial strength and enduring value for over 40 years. Minto builds exceptional new homes and communities to meet every lifestyle, with more than 25,000 new homes built in 48 communities. Minto is dedicated to continuous improvement in design, quality and customer experience. These are just some of the elements that set Minto apart as an exceptional homebuilder and community developer and have earned the company national recognition that includes consistently high rankings from Eliant Customer Service Surveys. Minto has been recognized with multiple national awards from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for community and home design, including Best Mixed-Use Community and Best Clubhouse for The Isles of Collier Preserve in Naples, Florida; and Best Clubhouse for the Harbour Isle Beach Club in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida. Minto won several Southeast Building Conference 2018 Aurora Awards, including the Grand Award for Best Multi-Family Residential Community for One Particular Harbour Margaritaville in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida; and the Silver Award for Best Single-Family Residential Community for Westlake in the City of Westlake, Florida. Minto is recognized throughout the homebuilding industry as an expert in developing active-adult communities. The NAHB named Minto as 2019’s 55+ Builder of the Year and Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach as Best 55+ Community of the Year.

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Lakewood Is Here! WaterWays, GA Newest Neighborhood

Lakewood Is Here! WaterWays, GA Newest Neighborhood

WaterWays TownshipWaterways township lakewood

Lakewood at WaterWays Township

An intimate village within the WaterWays community, Lakewood offers stately wooded and waterfront homesites and a unique lifestyle centered around water and nature. Here, low country cottage-style homes exude southern character, and neighbors gather on front porches on Tuesday evenings. Rows of treelined streets give the neighborhood a timeless feel that harkens back to a simpler era, and a 3-block park provides a charming route for all its residents to access the banks of our Bill Dance Signature Lake. Our waterfront pavilion on these banks is the perfect place to relax, or even to launch a canoe or kayak. It’s a haven for those passionate about living.

Homesites are now available from the 50s and Homes will be available from the Low-300s.


Lakewood at Waterways Map

lakewood at waterways township

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