In the Ideal Living Spring 2019 issue, we included postcards from homeowners in the Travel Guide from various locations so you can get an idea of what it is like to live there. Below you can link to the full stories from the homeowners who shared their lives and experiences with our readers. We hope you will enjoy their tales of finding their ideal lives.
Rock Barn is not a community.., it’s a family. We’ve been here 12 years and it just seems like yesterday that we retired. We have new people who come and re-energize the community and make it so vibrant. I always say that Rock Barn is the place where FUN is always shining. Click here to read the entire story.
Mary Ann and Bill Knox, Rock Barn, Conover, NC
We bought here three years ago in August. We started off working and traveling to the Bluffs on the weekends. Then we decided the wanted to live this life all the time. We didn’t know how we would adjust to retirement. We haven’t gotten bored once. We have never known as many people as we do here. Click here to read the entire story.
The Clodfelters, The Bluffs on the Cape Fear, Wilmington, NC
“It’s like being in a resort at Medley at Southshore. The homeowners association does their best to keep us occupied with all kinds of activities on the calendar. It’s an active adult community that will have a 5-acre lagoon. This was a leap of faith for us. We knew this is where we wanted to live and that this was meant to be. Click here to read the entire story.
Earle Copes, Lennar Medley at Southshore, Tampa, Florida
Wait until a place speaks to you… I know the moment it happened for me and we have never regretted our move and never looked back. We lived in New Jersey about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan, and we went to an Ideal-LIVING Real Estate Show when we started looking. Click here to read the entire story.
Janet and Bob Gould, Callawassie Island, SC
West of the Mississippi
Bill and I bought at Glacier Club in 2010 for the summers. There is so mach to do there in the summer – we go hiking, and bicycling. We fish, swim, kayak and go horseback riding. Bill and I hike, play pickle ball and golf. The list goes on… Glacier is not only a community with amenities, it’s all about the people. Our life is very social. Click here to read the entire story.
Bill and Marina Siepiela, The Glacier Club, Durango, CO
Bill & Lisa Clodfelter
“Three years ago in August of 2016 we sold our home just north of Greensboro, NC and moved to The Bluffs on the Cape Fear in Wilmington, North Carolina. At first we kept working and would just come down on the weekends. But then Bill (64) retired in April of 2018 and I recently retired,” said Lisa Clodfelter (62).
“I didn’t know how I would adjust. We haven’t gotten bored once. We have lived in neighborhoods before, but we have never known as many people as we do here. We enjoy meeting people. They all have their story…they are just great people,” coninued Lisa.
“We fell in love with pickleball and we now have a golf cart. It’s so easy to just text some friends to play pickleball or to play golf,” said Bill.
Lisa said,”We also love to go to the clubhouse on nearby Oak Island. You can even kayak in the lake in the neighborhood. We love to take our bikes to Southport and ride around to the great little restaurants.”
Some of their favorite restaurants are Fish Bites, the Pilot House, and Elijah’s in Wilmington, and the Chesapeake House in Myrtle Beach. In fact Bill loves the local oysters so much, they buy oysters by the bushel and cook them in a firepit in the backyard that backs up to the woods behind them.
Their family loves to come visit and stay for long weekends. It’s a good base camp for their two daughters who live in Raleigh and their nieces and nephews. They love their new home and plan for it to be the last home they own.
It’s like being at a resort at Medley at Southshore Bay by Lennar. Just outside of Tampa, Florida, you find a new active adult 55+ gated community that will have a five-acre lagoon by Crystal Lagoons®. The community will also offer a private clubhouse, tiki bar, and pickleball and bocce ball courts. If you’re ready to enjoy acres of a crystal blue waters, this might just be the place for you, just as it was for Earle Copes, and his life partner June.
“ My partner June and I have been together for about 20 years. She and I had houses across the street from each other. After her husband died, we eventually started seeing each other and have been together ever since. We thought we wanted to be in the mountains, but all of our children were in Florida. So, we knew we wanted to be somewhere in this general area.
“We saw a TV commercial about The Lagoon in Wesley Chapel by Lennar, and we saw the Southshore Bay project in June of 2018. But, at that time we had five houses between the two of us (two houses in Plant City and three cabins in the North Carolina mountains). I put my house in Plant City and a cabin in the North Carolina mountains on the market and put a $5,000 deposit on the Southshore Bay. Fortunately, we closed on both houses in October 2018. And, we only have one cabin left to sell.
We chose a home model directly across the road from the lagoon. The homes have a mediterranean look with clay tile roofs. Our new 2,350 sq.ft. smart, energy-efficient house came with all the appliances, an Alexa to turn the lights and televisions on and off, and WI-FI is part of the homeowners association. I can’t believe our electricity bill is only $85 a month. All of the landscaping was done with the house. And, all of the exterior maintenance is taken care of by the HOA.
“June and I are in our 70s. We like the idea of having all of these amenities and to be able to socialize with our neighbors. We are big fans of the neighborhood and fans of Lennar. It will be like living in a resort. It was a big leap of faith for us,” says EarleCopes.
Earle and June moved in October and couldn’t be happier watching the community grow up around them and enjoying the area. They are self-professed foodies and go to Tampa once or twice a week.
“This has a great quality of life… it’s a good place to be,” Earle concludes.
Vero Beach, Florida
Located near Vero Beach on the Indian River, the gated community of Oak Harbor welcomes residents aged 55 and better to live in this wellness-focused oasis. We had the pleasure to speak with one of their oldest residents who has truly lived the Oak Harbor lifestyle for 20 plus years. Emily Yawn, a lovely 95-year-old lady originally moved to Oak Harbor with her husband in 1998, where they built a home. Both New Orleans natives, they moved to Miami about 40 years ago, and when it came time to retire, they decided that Oak Harbor was the place for them.
After her husband passed, Emily moved into a condo for about 15 years, then just recently moved into the assisted-living housing at Oak Harbor. It’s perfect for her as she has been able to maintain all of her friends. As part of their concierge services, every night Oak Harbor sends a car for her and drives her to dinner at the club where Emily dines with friends. Emily insists that the 42,000 square foot clubhouse has the best food in Vero Beach. And, it’s no wonder. Their executive chef, Dean Evans, has who Vero Beach’s Top Chef Award twice.
“I’m just as busy as I ever was. It’s just nice now to have someone look after me if I need it.” Emily plays bridge almost daily and is very involved in procuring speaker for various organizations and clubs within Oak Harbor.
The Oak Harbor Wellness Program recently expanded to include concierge-like services. They provide varying levels of membership where your quality of life is enhanced with customized physical fitness programs including strength and flexibility training. They also have golf clinics to improve your game on the Joe Lee-deisgned executive golf course. This members only golf course is a golfer’s paradise.
You can enjoy a life where you are surrounded by beautiful landscaping and maintenance-free living. Oak Harbor even offers daily housekeeping services. Their concierge services handle on-site business services, and even offer chauffeur-driven sedans to make everything easy and convenient.
Emily says, “Oak Harbor is a special place. I feel very much at home. We have people here from around the world. You can be as busy as you want. I’ve never seen anyone here who wasn’t happy!”
In 2010, Marina and Jim Siepiela purchased a villa at the Glacier Club in Durango, Colorado. Two years later they built a vacation home there. “Although our primary home is in Dallas, TX, we generally spend from Memorial Day through September in Durango, as the fall color is breathtaking. And, we spend more than a month in the winter to enjoy all of the winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing,” says Marina.
“There is so much to do there in the summer — we go biking, and bicycling. We fish, swim, kayak, and we go horseback riding. Bill and I hike, play pickleball and golf, and the list goes on and on.”
“Glacier is not only a community with amenities, it’s all about the people. Our life is very social. We actually have more friends in Colorado than we do in Dallas. We like to travel and take 10-day-vacations with a group of people from Glacier Club.”
Both Marina and Jim are avid golfers and enjoy the award-winning Valley and Mountain golf courses at Glacier. They also travel to play in destinations like Ireland, Cabo San Lucas, and Pebble Beach.
With fabulous views from their 5,000 sq. ft. environmentally-friendly modern mountain home with floor to ceiling windows and telescoping doors at Glacier Club, the Siepielas enjoy their lives to the fullest.
“If someone is looking for a nice social life or to live outdoors, Glacier Club is the place to be.”
Janet and Bob Gould
“Choosing a place to retire to is a lot like choosing a college. I knew the moment it happened for me and we have never looked back. Wait until a place speaks to you. If you are lucky it does, and it doesn’t take long,” shares Janet Gould.
The Gould’s first bought their home in South Carolina’s Lowcountry in 2004. They were living in Morristown, NJ just outside of Manhattan. As they were still both working, they travelled between their home in Callawassie and the one in New Jersey. The more time they spent on Callawassie Island, they wanted more time there. Eventually when they retired, they moved to Callawassie permanently.
“Although I enjoyed life in New Jersey immensely, I knew I never wanted to scrape another windshield again,” said Janet. “When Bob was commuting to work every day, his friends were the spouses of my friends. Now he has more friends than he ever imagined possible. We are busy from 6:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night.”
Janet continues, “It’s just so much fun!! Our golf course is amazing and so is the tennis facility. We’ll put our amenities up anyone’s, but the best part is the people. The people are so generous with their time and their money.”
The Gould’s both serve on several boards including the “Friends of Callawassie” helping with fundraising and Bob serves on the finance committee. Both of them have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. Janet says you get more out of it that you put into it. They are also members of the Beaufort Shag Club, which enables the Gould’s to get to know some of the people who grew up in Beaufort, SC. Callawassie is equidistant from Beaufort and Bluffton, SC, so once or twice a week the Gould’s venture out to dinner in the area’s wonderful restaurants.
The Gould’s even travel a couple of times a year with friends from Callawassie Island. Just to name a couple, they have been on a river cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona and travelled from Istanbul to Athens. “We learn so much about history. It just blew us away.”
Janet says, “We love to play golf and tennis, and travel with our friends. In my golf group, have three rules: You have to laugh at yourself, laugh at someone else, and stop dead in tracks and say how lucky we are…”
Where the “fun” is Always Shining
Mary Ann & Bill Knox
Rock Barn Golf & Country Club
Conover, North Carolina
“Rock Barn is so wonderful. We feel so blessed. Everyday we sit on the patio and we say aren’t we the luckiest people in the whole world,” said Mary Ann Knox.
Over 12 years ago, Mary Ann and her husband Bill retired to Rock Barn Golf & Country Club from the Washington, DC area. The wanted to retire on a golf course and found the perfect place just outside the Charlotte, NC metro. Rock Barn Country Club & Spa is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Conover, NC, and features 36 holes of award-winning golf. The community boasts two challenging, picturesque, championship golf courses, a The Robert Trent Jones and a Tom Jackson course.
Mary Ann says, “We couldn’t have afforded this house in the DC area, it would have been $2 million plus in that area. I feel like the biggest cheerleader for Rock Barn. This community and the club are such an incredible value. We have more money to live the life we’ve always dreamed of. Rock Barn has vitality. We’ve lived in Rock Barn 12 years. The time goes so fast, it feels like we retired just the other day. It’s not a community, it’s a family.”
“I remember it was a culture shock to move from the DC area. But, at Rock Barn, it is living in a resort. They have everything we need here. We usually eat at the club. And, we have a world class spa that is currently being renovated to include a salt cave in addition already spectacular spa deck with jacuzzi, pools, and even a waterfall.”
The Spa at Rock Barn, is a European day spa featuring a mineral pool, a therapeutic waterfall, indoor and outdoor jacuzzis, saunas, essential oil infused steam rooms, and a bracing cold water pool. The spa also offers health and beauty treatments as well as poolside dining.
Mary Ann is the chairman of the membership committee. She says the whole culture of the club has changed. “New people move in and re-energize the community. That’s what makes the community so vibrant. Some old members have rejoined the club. It’s kind of an evolution. People are taking on new roles. We value our members. Since May 2018 we have added 72 new members and we offer a junior membership to encourage younger people to join. The staff at the club is excellent. They learn everyone’s name. They really get to know the people and the staff gets to know everyones’ name and drink.”
“When we lived in the DC area we didn’t have time to socialize like we do now. We have a club, “The Prime Timers” with over 100 people over the age of 55. Once a month we meet and even we went line dancing one time.”
The resort life, however, hasn’t been the only thing that Mary Ann has found at Rock Barn. she has now found her passion in helping others. Mary Ann volunteers in the local soup kitchen. She says “I didn’t have time when I was working. I have found my passion working with nursing homes. Just seeing the smiles on their faces is so rewarding. It’s good to give back to the community at large.”
Mary says, “Family and friends is what matters. My sister and her husband live down the cul de sac. We have created a family legacy— a tradition to pass on. My teenage grandkids want to visit. There are so many things to do. All of my grandkids and sister’s grandkids live to golf.”
“I stay so active. I never envisioned it would be so wonderful.”