Buy Your Retirement Dream Home & Increase Your Cash Flow
If you dream about a new home in a warmer climate with modern design, amenities, and low maintenance, then you owe it to yourself to learn about a powerful alternative to using traditional financing or paying cash to purchase your next home and doing all of this while retaining a large portion of your life savings with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
Ken and Karol Iberg had this dream and their dream became a reality. “At the time, we were living in a small townhome with a single car garage. Our loan officer explained how the HECM would allow us to move into a wonderful new home community that we are thrilled with. We supplied some of the equity from the sale of our townhome and used the HECM loan for the rest of the purchase price. The best part is we do not have a mortgage payment, didn’t touch our retirement funds, and now have additional funds to do all the traveling that we have always wanted to do,” said the Ibergs.
You are probably asking yourself “What the heck is a HECM?” This is a little-known strategy that middle income and affluent Boomers, like you, have been using since 2009 to purchase their dream homes. This is a federally insured loan program for buyers 62 years of age or better that requires a one-time down payment of 40-60%, and then the buyers are never required to make another mortgage payment.*
Why should you consider the HECM for Purchase option instead of paying cash or taking out a traditional mortgage? Perhaps you would like to have a bigger slice of the P.I.E. A buyer using all cash to buy a home has created a negative impact on their liquidity, while a buyer with a mortgage sees a negative impact on their monthly cash flow. Either option can shorten their financial horizon and create financial instability and sleepless nights for the retiree in their new home. The HECM for Purchase option gives the buyer a way to:
This is an especially good year to consider upgrading with a residential solar-power system for two reasons: the cost has never been lower and the 30% federal tax credit starts to disappear in 2020. Understanding how solar systems function will help you to determine the desirability of that investment.
How Solar Works
Every rooftop solar system has four essential components and an optional fifth.
Solar panels have photovoltaic (PV) cells that turn radiant energy from the sun into direct-current (DC) electricity. Each standard-size panel is 65 by 39 inches (5.4 x 3.25 feet), weighs around 40 pounds, and is typically rated for output at 300 watts. To install an average-size residential system that produces six kilowatts (kW) of electricity, you’ll need 20 panels covering an area of 500 square feet and weighing about 1,000 pounds with mounting hardware. All-weather panels are durable for at least 25 years. Rain removes most grime, but annual inspections may include professional cleaning.
A mounting system secures that half-ton array to the rooftop. Most roofs can handle the weight, while older ones may need reinforcement, but this is definitely not a DIY job. Ideally, the roof has a pitch of around 30 degrees, is unobstructed by trees, and faces south because east-west orientations can be about 15% less productive.
An inverter converts that DC electricity into the standard alternating-current (AC) that powers electrical devices. A performance monitor tracks how much electricity is being produced and used. Data is displayed on a wall unit and can be transmitted to an off-site service accessible online or with an app.
The performance monitor also keeps tabs on excess electricity being fed back to your local utility because you’re not off the grid yet, nor do you really want to be. Instead, it’s a two-way street: you’re both a producer and consumer as part of a net-metering system. For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you generate but don’t immediately use (typically during the afternoon), you get a credit for sending it out on the wires for redistribution where it’s needed. Those credits are cashed in when you’re producing less than you’re using (morning/evening peaks, all night long and during inclement weather). There’s also an annual cycle of summer production versus winter usage. This ebb and flow results in either a credit surplus that can be carried forward according to utility policy or a deficit requiring a small power bill that’s far less than what you’re paying now on the one-way street of consumption only.
So why can’t you just keep all the power you create, use it as needed, and get entirely off the grid? With current technology, electricity is much cheaper to produce and distribute than it is to store. Hence, the optional component of your system: solar batteries. Until there are major breakthroughs in storage capacity, current batteries serve as little more than emergency back-ups and can add 50% to your total price.
HOW MUCH SOLAR COSTS
The good news is that the declining price of solar panels plus a growing number of competing installers have combined to make residential solar-power systems more affordable than ever. As an example using nationwide averages, the 20-panel/6-kW system described above has a gross cost today of around $20,000, including all equipment, permit, and installation charges. Deduct $2,000 for the rebates offered in many states, subtract the 30% federal tax credit from that subtotal and another $1,000 for state credits where applicable, and you’ve got a bottom-line cost of just $11,600.
OK, that’s a big chunk of change, but consider this: you’re paying $100 or more a month for electricity now, which is $1,200+ a year or more than $30,000 over 25 years. But, if your system hits the sweet spot of producing roughly the same amount of power that you consume annually in a net-metering system, your monthly bill will be $0—a total savings of about $18,400. And, several recent studies have shown that a residential solar system can raise a home’s market value by up to 4%; for a $300,000 property, that’s an increase of $12,000 on day one. If you can’t afford the entire up-front cost, there are financing options and even leasing plans. But, under current law, the 30% federal tax credit available in 2019 will decline by 4% each year in 2020 and 2021, expiring altogether for residential solar in 2022 unless the program is renewed, which is ironic because rooftop solar systems are renewable-power sources that enhance American energy independence, create skilled jobs, and may help to save the planet.
Last year we took a peek into the daily lives of the executive chefs pulling the strings in the kitchens of some of the coast’s most celebrated country clubs. I chatted with Chef Robert L. Daugherty—at the time, a newcomer to the country club world after retiring from the hotel business—who expressed his excitement and anticipation for relocating to the heartland of America. A chef with a strong draw toward the Portuguese-influenced ingredients of his New England roots (not to mention the righteous lobsters and clams), Robert was ready to take on the warm climate, beach weather, and all the edible bounty Millsboro, DE, had to offer. His first full season watching the fields grow was 2017, so I decided to check in and see how he’s grown into his role at The Peninsula Golf & Country Club in Millsboro, DE. From the innovative American regional cuisine he serves daily at the club to his poolside Cabana Bar dishing out oysters and garden fresh mint mojitos to smoking a whole pig in La Caja China (an enormous roasting box that results in crispy skin), there’s nothing this imaginative chef won’t do to keep his guests happy.
How has your culinary skillset grown over the last year?
We’re growing all of our own herbs—exotic varieties like pineapple sage and opal basil—and doing containers around the club house. We’re running out quickly and harvesting them every day on the porch and patio. We also have a huge bin of mint that we’re using in cocktails like mojitos, as well as for desserts. We’re really having fun trying to involve our team in the dining room with members.
Did this past year bring about any new food trends that you’ve incorporated into your style?
I’m still very passionate about New England cuisine and, of course, fish. I’m a fanatic about fish and that’s continued to evolve. I sent my executive sous chef up to Foley Fish School (the oldest fish house in Boston). She did a three-and-a-half-day intensive training on the fishing boats, went to the fish auctions, and got to see what really fresh fish is. I also found a way to bring a truck down here once a week, so on Thursdays we get a truck full of oysters and fish from Georges Bank where the Labrador current meets the gulf. The water current is so rough, the fish actually have the most developed muscle structure. The halibut, cod, and scallops that come from there are amazing.
Over the warmer months, what did your kitchen team do to keep things interesting?
The pool area is new for our chefs. We didn’t pay much attention to it last year, but this year we built an outdoor lower cooking area. This “Cabana Bar” is part of our raw bar and poolside burger bar which we do on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We’re bringing in Wellfleet oysters and local ones from Moonstone Bay and Rhode Island. We share them with members (along with specialties like my New England clam chowder). We also do Angus burgers right off the grill and when people smell that charcoal, they start to crave it. We do portobellos and chicken on the grill, but the burgers are the hit. We served over 220 burgers around July 4th.
Speaking of July 4th, what other special events did your team put on for the members this past year?
For July 4th, the club was filled with extended family and friends and we had everything from bouncy houses to live music to the poolside burger bar. Everybody enjoyed themselves! Another special event is the sunset celebration we do every Thursday. We do a special raw bar by the Cabana Bar and folks get to enjoy the sunset on the horizon with a complimentary champagne toast. It’s our salute to the sunset and we also have a yachting cannon we fire off. This sunset celebration has grown to about 80 to 90 people.
People also still love our Wednesday night Iron Chef Battles where two of our chefs go head-to-head with one ingredient and everyone in the dining rooms gets to taste the dishes. Recently, one chef made salmon cakes over quinoa salad with a roasted red pepper coulis, and the other did a 28-hour brined and marinated roasted chicken with a cider vinegar reduction. It’s our way of developing the younger culinary talent, and it’s proven to be a busy night.
Are you still preparing wine and beer dinners, and how do you put your own spin on them?
We have a fantastic wine room (pictured in the photo) and we just finished an event for homeowners there. The room seats 34 people and it’s where we do our Chef’s Table events among other special celebrations. We recently hosted one themed as “foods from Greece” and the menu was filled with items like grilled octopus, a “Mezze Table” with stuffed grape leaves, falafel, spanakopita, etc. We have a lot of fun beer dinners, and we’re gearing up to do one with Heady Seas Brewing soon. They’re bringing their beer master in and instead of just one meal, we’re having an entire festival with tastings. It will be an outdoor event and we’ll definitely roast a whole pig there too and get a pirate to fire the cannon!
We also feature great themed wine dinners. We have 190 members who are part of a wine club and there is an event every month for them. Last month, our executive chef helped put together the “Rosé by the Pool” menu that was three courses all paired with rosé. This month is BBQ and wine by the pool.
I know you’re focused on healthier cooking techniques for members who are more conscious of their nutrition. I’m sure that’s easier to do in the summer. How do you incorporate that into the winter months when folks want hearty comfort food but still want to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle?
I have to get very creative. We have a strong following of a low carb club who dines with us every two months. It’s about 30 to 35 people and they challenge our staff to come up with a carb-free menu. The last challenge was an Italian dinner, and we prepared items like Carpaccio, roasted vegetables, aiolis, and different appetizers. We actually made risotto out of cauliflower rice and did a brunoise (fine dice) of root vegetables—similar to how you would prepare risotto with whine wine, cheese, and onions. It was a hit. We also made zucchini noodles and squash and carrot bundles that resembled pasta. There was veal braised with prosciutto, sage, and mozzarella in a pan sauce. They thought they were in Italy! Our next one is a luau and we’ll be preparing Kalua pig and a number of different things from Hawaii. I have a great chef from Spain who worked for seven years on The Big Island. For this event, we just bought a La Caja China box and plan to go whole hog. What aromatics do you suggest folks to use at home to incorporate flavors, sauces, etc.?
I’m a big fan of toasted seeds like cardamom and coriander and I love to crush them to make rubs and marinades. I also enjoy using fruitier oils (like grapeseed) that bring out the flavors in proteins. For lighter proteins like fish, I go light and mild with ingredients like dill, lemon zest, or other types of citrus rubs. For meats or heavier items, I like robust herbs and flavors like rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
When we spoke a year ago, you mentioned this was your first country club experience and was all new to you. What have been your biggest learning curves that have helped you to grow in this position?
It’s all about continuing to learn what our members want and what style of cuisine they’re enjoying. I want to feel like I’m taking them on my path of my experience with cooking. I want to introduce them to things from my past and my history of food. Learning our membership and getting them to trust us and have confidence in us and our events is important to me. It’s certainly blossomed because many of our events now sell out regularly!
The personal preferences of members is also very important to us. There are quite a number of people who are gluten-free and conscious of what they’re eating so for us—yes is always the answer. If they want something off of the menu, we never say no. That’s our attitude. Our biggest learning curve right now is managing reservations and the dining room. We need to make sure we’re maximizing our numbers, but also making sure that the flow into the kitchen is executed properly. It’s all about restaurant 101 and making sure the dining room floor is managed effectively. If you’re doing 220 to 230 covers on a weekend night, you gotta be on point!
How do you get feedback from your members on what’s working for them and what they’d like to see improve?
We have a notes section called 4 Ts (which is the Open Table of the club house world) and customers can comment on what they like or want. We’re doing an in-house baking program now because we’ve had so many requests for celebration cakes. Folks also put down their dietary needs and table requests, so all of this helps us customize members’ experiences in the dining room.
You were in a New England setting for three decades and used to lobsters, clams, and a Portuguese influence on the food. Last year was your first full season watching the fields grow. What regional ingredients have you really grown to love?
Crab season is coming around so I’m definitely enjoying working with the local crabs. I also have a guy working with us whose dad has a farm, and this year we’re buying his tomatoes and corn. We’ve developed this menu item called “3-hour Corn” where the idea is that the corn is picked and on your table in just three hours. Its will be in the form of a fresh corn salad, street corn, etc. The tomatoes are also coming in and they’re just simple, beautiful, vine-ripened tomatoes that are sweet and deep red in color. Nothing compares to them!
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Photo of a multi-generation family having dinner outdoors in their back yard
Gone are the days of dropping off a casserole to get a good peek at your new neighbors. Nothing brings strangers together like a nosh sesh—and I’ve got plenty of culinary tricks up my sleeve to charm your surrounding community. If you’ve just landed in a fresh neighborhood, throwing a laidback shindig featuring funky cocktails and munchable goodies is your ticket to mingle-town. Thanks to the majority of these drinks and dishes involving make-ahead components, you’ll be able to chat and chomp instead of being bound to the kitchen.
If you’re planning on more of a sit-down gathering, I’d suggest offering one of the cocktails below when your guests arrive, pairing each course with wine, and throwing in an easy dessert. For a more casual crowd, I’d tack on a charcuterie board, keep the full boozy lineup, and skip the pasta so the spread is made for picking.
Let’s take a walk through the menu.
Nothing says summer lovin’ like a cocktail in a coconut. All recipes are tailed to about a dozen, but if your headcount happens to grow—feel free to skip the tropical vehicle and go for highball glasses instead. The St-Germain gives the exotic libation a bright, fragrant hint of elderflower.
Though brown coconuts, pictured here, are pretty—opt for young coconuts instead. They’re easier to open, boast more water than brown ones, and are a deeper vessel (more alcohol—yay!). If brown coconuts are all you can find, use high-quality canned or bottled coconut water to make up for the difference in liquid. Never broken into a young coconut before? Take the heel of a large knife and, carefully, strike down several times on the top—making a circle that cracks through the shell. Wedge your knife into one of the deep slices, twist the blade, and peel back your newly-made coconut lid.
To keep the beach theme going strong, pair these with the poke below.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 fresh young coconut
Several fresh torn mint leaves, plus more whole leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. St-Germain
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
Lime slices and cocktail umbrellas for garnish
Cut an opening into the top of the young coconut (as described above) and reserve the coconut water—straining if necessary, to get out any solid bits.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the torn mint leaves, coconut water (about 1/4 cup per cocktail), agave, gin, St-Germain, lime juice, and pineapple juice with a handful of ice. Cover and shake vigorously until chilled and lightly frothy. Add crushed ice to the inside of the empty coconut and strain the contents of the shaker over top. Garnish with lime slices, a generous sprig of mint, and cocktail umbrellas.
Dirty Chai White Russian
Instead of switching on the coffee when the yawn monster surfaces, try whipping up this spiked, homemade dirty chai (technically made “filthy” by the addition of booze). Brew the sweetened tea and toss together the spice mix the day before, so when it’s game time—all you’ve got to do is shake, froth, and garnish
In a small saucepot over medium-low heat, simmer the Chai tea leaves, honey, and vanilla with 2 tablespoons water. Steep for 10-15 minutes and then strain the mixture through a fine meshed sieve.
In a cocktail shaker, mix the Chai-spiced simple syrup, vodka, Kahula, and espresso with ice and shake vigorously. Fill a glass with ice and strain in the cocktail. Top with the frothed milk and garnish with the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and Quick Chai Spice Mix.
Punch is a party-thrower’s best friend. While rattling around a cocktail shaker is an excellent form of entertainment, a vat of alcohol and a ladle provides just as much pleasure to the partygoers (and gives the host a brea
Instead of just emptying rum into a deep bowl—here’s the secret for taking this concoction to the next level. When guests ask why your punch has such a punch—get ready for the conversation-starter-of-the-evening when you answer with the words: oleo-saccharum. A complicated name for a wildly simple concept—oleo-saccharum is nothing but a homemade sweetener made from citrus peels and sugar. As the two dry ingredients interact in a plastic bag, the sugar extracts the citrus skin’s essential oils. The result? A super concentrated citrus simple syrup (blood orange, in this case) with extraordinary depth of flavor. The jasmine tea (prepared in advance along with the syrup) adds floral notes to the fruity rum bomb.
Serves 10 – 12
Blood orange oleo-saccharum (citrus oil simple syrup—see below)
1/2-liter silver rum (about 2 cups)
1/2-liter dark rum (about 2 cups)
3 cups jasmine green tea, chilled
1 1/2 cups fresh blood orange juice (about 4 oranges)
1 cup fresh lime juice
Blood orange and lime wheels for garnish
Using a vegetable peeler or a pairing knife, peel the skin from two blood oranges (avoiding the white bitter pith as much as possible). Place the peels in a large plastic bag with about 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Rub it together with your hands so that the peels are coasted in sugar, and then allow this to sit for several hours. Add warm water to the bag until the sugar begins to dissolve. Snip a hole in the corner of the bag and strain the syrup into a bowl. Keep some of the peels for garnish.
In a large punchbowl, mix together a few tablespoons of the oleo-saccharum with both rums, jasmine tea, blood orange juice, and lime juice. Taste for sweetness, and add additional oleo-saccharum if necessary. Chill before serving, and then add the blood orange and lime slices. To serve, pour over ice-filled glasses—garnishing with the citrus wheels and peels.
Ahi Poke Lettuce Wraps with Peanut-Ginger Sauce
As I mentioned earlier, skip the tuna casserole.
Instead, platter up these ahi poke wraps for an interactive Hawaii-ish small plate that your new friends will be raving about for weeks. The marinated tuna—laced with salty soy, nutty sesame oil, and garlicky spring onions—gets loaded into tender lettuce cups and topped with fresh herbs and a zig-zag of creamy coconut-peanut sauce. Though ahi can be pricey, the cucumbers and avocadoes bulk up the poke, so you’re not buying entrée-size portions. For an additional zip, quick-pickle some julienned veggies like carrots and daikon radishes
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer
1 1/2 pounds sushi-grade ahi or yellowfin tuna, diced into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sriracha (or chili paste)
Juice of 2 limes (plus lime wedges for serving)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 avocados, diced
1 seedless cucumber, diced
Small bunch scallions or spring onions, light and green parts only finely sliced
2 – 3 heads butter or Bibb lettuce, rinsed and leaves separated
Small bunch fresh mint leaves, gently torn (for garnish)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)
Pickled Veggies (optional garnish)
Peanut-Ginger Sauce (recipe follows)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, lime juice, and brown sugar. Add the tuna to the marinade along with the cucumber, avocado and scallions and gently toss. Allow mixture to marinate for 15 minutes.
Fill each lettuce cup with a small mound of the tuna mixture, and then garnish with the mint leaves and sesame seeds. Serve with the peanut-ginger sauce and pickled veggies.
Coconut Peanut-Ginger Sauce
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, thinned with a few tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 1 medium clove garlic, grated
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and garlic until smooth and season to taste with salt.
Lemony Roasted Garlic Kale Caesar with Sesame Croutons
Bright acidic lemon, mellow roasted garlic, and tangy Worcestershire fuse to create a dressing that your guests will want to eat with a spoon. Countering the cocktails with a bowl of greens is always a good idea, and kale’s sturdy texture is fantastic for sopping up every last drop. The unexpected crunch of homemade sesame croutons adds some substance to this salad
Serves 10-12 as a side
4 cups torn crusty Italian bread (crouton size)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
12 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed (about 2 bunches)
Lemony Roasted Garlic Dressing (recipe follows)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Spread the torn bread on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, melted butter, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper and pour over the bread, tossing with your hands to combine. Bake until the croutons are golden and toasted, 12 to 14 minutes. Reserve the sesame seeds remaining on the bottom of the baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix the kale and croutons with several tablespoons of the dressing at a time, tossing to combine, until the salad is coated to your liking. Garnish with the shaved parmesan, cracked black pepper, and reserved sesame seeds.
Lemony Roasted Garlic Caesar Dressing
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 head roasted garlic (see instructions below) 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Juice of 2 lemons
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for the roasted garlic)
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
For the roasted garlic:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Slice off the very top of the garlic head so that the cloves are exposed. Drizzle the cloves with oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the entire head in foil and bake until golden and tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Allow the garlic head to cool and then pop out the cloves by gently squeezing them out of their shells.
Using the flat side of your knife, mash the roasted garlic until it becomes a paste.
In a deep bowl, combine the roasted garlic paste, mustard, Worcestershire, parmesan, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil and, using a whisk or a blender, blend well until the dressing is emulsified and thick. Whisk in the yogurt and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Linguine with Clam Sauce
Pasta is a no-brainer for a bigger group, and this summery linguine requires nothing more than a handful of fresh ingredients and a good ear for when the clams pop open. With a savory broth of white wine, lemon juice, fresh clams, and garlic, this light, buttery dish will leave you with a round of applause—and everyone feeling like they just took a dip in the ocean.
Serves 10 – 12
2 pounds linguine 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
4 pounds fresh clams (such as Manila or littleneck), scrubbed
1 cup dry white wine Juice of 4 lemons
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
12 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Cook the pasta according to package directions, and reserve about 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water before you drain it.
In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of the oil. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until lightly golden, about 45 seconds. Add the clams, and stir until coated with the garlic oil, about 1 minute. Turn the heat to medium high, add the wine and lemon juice, and cover the pan. Simmer until the clams open, about 8-10 minutes, making sure to discard any that don’t open.
Remove the clams from the pan, and set them aside to cool slightly. Remove about 3/4 of the clams from their shells and set the meat aside. If your clams are big, rough chop the meat into smaller, bite-size pieces.
Reduce the cooking liquid by about half its volume, and then whisk in the butter. Add in the pasta, starchy cooking water, salt, pepper, shelled clams, parsley, and 8 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Toss to coat, and season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
Divide the pasta, clams, and sauce among bowls and top with even amounts of the remaining clams in their shells, olive oil, and Parmesan. Serve immediately.
On their way into Fawn Lake, a gated lakeside community in Spotsylvania, VA, discerning visitors might notice some interesting indentations along the side of the road, accompanied by a sign: “Protected Area.” Residents have ample opportunities to stay active at Fawn Lake through access to fantastic amenities. Hiking trails, a beautiful lakeside beach, and a deep water marina are among them. But, every day, they also drive by a well-preserved piece of the past: The Civil War Wilderness Battlefield. Those indentations on the side of the road? They’re earthwork trench lines.
Given Marsha and Bob Stumpf’s history as a military family, perhaps it’s fitting that for the past 20 years, they’ve called the community of Fawn Lake home.“My career took two simultaneous paths for the most part. I served 10 years on active duty with the United States Air Force, and then 25 years in the Air Force Reserve,” Bob says. “While serving in the Reserves, I worked for MCI Telecommunications for 18 years. Marsha spent her time raising our three children, but did work as a legal secretary after college, and as an office manager in a physical therapy office when the kids were in college.”
The Stumpfs were living in Northern Virginia in a community that they liked—but it didn’t have the resort-style amenities that interested them. “An advertisement in the Washington Post led us one Saturday in early 1991 to Fawn Lake where Coach Joe Gibbs had an interest in the development company in which he planned to build a home. In the absence of a salesperson, we spoke with the secretary who provided us a map with numbers for lots on the golf course and lake. There were no homes, just lots,” Bob says of that initial visit to Fawn Lake. “After a brief tour, we returned to the sales trailer and stated that we wanted to purchase the lot on the lake in which we live today. Incidentally, it is the lot next to the lot in which Coach Gibbs built the home in which he lived for a very brief period of time. This is our 20th year at Fawn Lake and we have loved every minute.”
Not only have the Stumpfs loved every minute, they’ve made the most of their time there. Both Marsha and Bob are physically active, and take advantage of Fawn Lake’s extensive athletic activities. “We have been and continue to be involved with sports normally played with a ball.This includes tennis, golf, and pickleball on a regular basis,” Bob says. “Fawn Lake is fortunate enough to have a world-class Arnold Palmer golf course, four Har-Tru tennis courts and six pickle ball courts. We rotate between sports, but normally play something each day. Marsha’s activities also include Mahjong, exercise classes, walking group, and working in the yard.”
Bob also plays on Fawn Lake’s Senior League golf team, which competes with other golf clubs in the mid-Virginia area, and serves on the Board of Directors of Fawn Lake Country Club. “We are members of a local church and support its activities,” he says.
With all that the Stumpfs have on their plate, it’s hard to imagine them taking on anything else, but in their full and fulfilling life at Fawn Lake, there’s always room for a little more. “This will be the 10th year for the Fawn Lake Triathlon for which I have been the race director for the last five years,” Bob says. “It takes the whole community to host the event and over 100 athletes participate each year.”
Spanning over 2,350 acres of gently rolling countryside just nine miles west of the historic city of Fredericksburg VA, Fawn Lake offers the unique opportunity to live in the relaxed resort atmosphere of a gated community and carefully preserved trees with a 288-acre deepwater lake with over seven miles of shoreline plus and an Arnold Palmer...
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The drive across the Lowcountry marsh in Beaufort, SC, to Lady’s Island to the 400-acre riverfront community of Coosaw Point is both breathtaking and serene. An unrestricted community, residents enjoy vibrancy with a slower pace as told by the stories of two couples in slightly different phases of life.
Dave and Pam Rimer have lived in many places, but found their favorite place in Beaufort, SC, when they moved into their home at Coosaw Point in 2006. They decided to relocate after their son graduated from high school. They toured the Charleston area and spent several days driving around the Lowcountry until they came upon Coosaw Point, and they knew they had found their place. They downsized from a 4,500 square-foot home and now have more time to have fun than maintaining a large home, though Pam added that you can have as large of a home as you’d like at Coosaw.
“The community was small at that time and really just getting started. It was just a sense of what it was going to be,” said Pam. She organizes the community directory and has seen the community’s growth first-hand. Pam says, “We enjoy the mix of ages and people, from newborns to 90. It’s a vibrant community, full of caring neighbors.”
While Dave is “semi-retired,” they find time to enjoy boating as often as they can. With the warmer climate, they have even been boating on New Year’s Eve. Pam and Dave enjoy the people and Pam says, “You can participate as much or as little as you want.” The Rimers particularly enjoy “High Tide Fridays,” where neighbors meet for happy hour.
Next, meet Dee (48) and Marc (47) Robinson who relocated from Colorado just a year ago with their 16-year-old son. They had vacationed to the coast and knew they wanted to retire by the coast one day. Dee said, “We thought why wait until we retire? Let’s see if we can make this work now.” She found a job in Beaufort, and they couldn’t be happier that they made the move.
They are enjoying the outdoors. “Marc likes to stand-up paddle board, while my son and I like to kayak. So, we kayak to Hunting Island State Park. We’ve seen all kinds of wildlife from deer to dolphin. We are hoping to see the sea turtles hatch.”
“It’s a totally different life than in Colorado. Each are beautiful in their own way. It’s particularly wonderful to see the water so much living here. When you go over the bridges, the views are so amazing with the vibrant greens of the saltwater marsh. It’s breathtaking,” says Dee.
The Robinsons enjoy walking along the waterfront in the quaint town of Beaufort and sitting on the swings in waterfront park. They’ve been finding some good restaurants including Plums, Breakwater, and the Foolish Frog, just to name a few.
Dee says, “We made a good decision to take the plunge. We love the style of houses and walking trails. Coosaw Point has a great mix of people. Everyone is here because they love it.”