“Am I allowed to have this much fun?” asks Rachel Rau of her life at Hot Springs Village (HSV). “It’s life-extending! It’s a little hidden nirvana here.”
Hot Springs Arkansas
When Rachel (64) and her husband Danny (71) return to Columbia, MO, where they lived for 20 years, she says, “People seem so much older than they do in Hot Springs Village. I golf with a group of ladies where the average age is about 75, and I think, ‘I hope I’m still that young when I’m 80.'”
Rachel and Danny Rau Of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
The Raus had always wanted to live on a golf course. Rachel said, “When you come through the gates, it’s just so incredible to have nine golf courses for this amount of money. It’s just so affordable. We live in a resort — a hidden gem. It is so beautiful. There are hills, and it’s like you are living in the middle of the forest. There is so much wildlife that we see every day from our home on the Granada course. After seven years, my mouth is still hanging open. We’re just never going to leave.”
An avid golfer doesn’t even begin to describe Rachel’s passion for the game or her life. She and Danny each have their own golf cart and play four to five times a week. The HSV women’s golf association boasts over 200 women. And, Rachel regularly plays with 28 women who call themselves “the winers.” And, they do a lot more together than play golf. They bought 18 inflatable kayaks to paddle along the lakes and tied them all together to a friend’s pontoon boat. “I had no idea I would meet people like this here. The people are the icing on the cake. I just feel like I have extended my family,” says Rachel. Hot Springs Village, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, spans 26,000 acres of the Ouachita Mountains and has 12 lakes and two full-service marinas. In addition to 30 miles of walking trails and a fitness center, they have over 200 clubs, 25 churches, and tennis and pickleball facilities.
“It’s wonderful to get to that point in your life when you can make the decision to relocate and find a better alternative. We feel like kids again. The happiness factor adds 10 years to your life. Every day I look out my back window and think ‘we are the luckiest people in the whole world!'”
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“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.
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!”
“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…”
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.”
“Before retiring, we filled our days with working. Now we fill them by being active and making new friends … it’s wonderful.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began creating dams and lakes for hydro-electric power starting in 1933. Over the decades, the TVA has generated 11,000 miles of pristine shoreline framing nearly 300,000 acres of reservoir land, its newest coming in the early 80s with the creation of Lake Tellico in eastern Tennessee, wrapped by the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and just 30 minutes from the university town of Knoxville.
In 1986, the lake became the crown jewel of a 4,600-acre planned retirement community called Tellico Village, home to three golf courses, five marinas, a myriad of other amenities, plus an uncommon spirit of engagement embodied in its homeowners. With the original developer long gone, today Tellico Village is entirely managed, governed, and invigorated by its residents.
Originally from suburban Chicago, Jan and Dennis Dougherty never knew how active they could be when they completed construction on their 2,600-sq.-ft. age-in-place retirement home at Tellico Village just last April. Says Jan, “Before retiring, we filled our days with working. Now we fill them by being active and making new friends … it’s wonderful.”
The Doughertys are about to enter their second and final year as New Villagers, residents who may choose to be introduced to the community, and scores of activities and clubs, at monthly socials. There are specific New Villager activities, but there are also hundreds of Home Owners Association activities, 300 formal clubs, plus programs outside the community, and the freshmen couple from Chicago take advantage of all of them.
Jan is in three different hiking groups—one called Muddy Boots—and does water aerobics and a power walk every day. She also is an event coordinator for Dine Outs (which lure up to 40 folks out to different area restaurants), has joined a couple of book clubs, is a member of the Purdue Alumni club, and is a Litter Angel, residents who volunteer to pick up litter to keep the main parkway beautiful. And as a former teacher, she also tutors first-graders weekly at the local Boys & Girls Club.
Dennis, who has a degree in physics, helps organize Astronomy Club “sky parties” for the residents. He also raises funds for both the local library and the fire department. The couple are both in the Illinois club, the motorcycle club, and a couple of wine clubs. They play in the weekly golf scramble, kayak on the lake, play pickleball, and go to sporting and cultural events in Knoxville.