Where to Retire Magazine July 2017

TheShortList: 50BestMaster-Planned Communities inthe United States

BY BRENT STOLLER with an introduction by Annette Fuller

See PDF of article here.

JANE SUNDERLAND has a ritual that brightens her days in the Brunswick Forest master-planned community in Leland, NC. “My neighbor and I sing, ‘It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood’ when we see each other, because that’s how it is,” she says.
She and her husband, Gerry, both 60, moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina in 2015. Their retirement relocation inspires Jane to sing the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” theme song on a routine basis, bringing a recurring smile to both her and her friend.
Isn’t it nice when everyday living leads to breaking out in song?
A superb transplantation, like the one Jane and Gerry made, requires a move to an advantageous and nurturing spot, so here is our list of the 50 best master-planned communities across America. Every other year in the July-August issue, we bring our readers a comprehensive look at the best of the best. This time around, the developments are in 18 states, in towns that are stunning in the viewfinder. Check out locations on the coast, in the mountains, near low-humidity deserts, by rivers and lakes and in proximity to major cities.
Our staff has been working on this issue for nearly a year. It is our 10th listing; our first such feature was in 1999. We evaluated hundreds of communities, but chose only established neighborhoods with enough acreage to build at least a year’s supply of homes.
With every 50 best issue, we see trends, such as an emphasis on fitness through pools, trails and exercise equipment. Other enticements are dog parks, communal gardens and green home options. Of course, many have golf courses and tennis courts.
For years, people choosing a master-planned community had to decide whether they preferred an active-adult or all-ages neighborhood. A new trend combines the two, with a 55-plus section inside an all-ages development, so that your inner circle is people of your own age, and your outer circle includes families, teenagers and tykes. (See our story on page 44 that gives the pros and cons of all three options.)
Retirement relocation means the logistics of selling and then buying a home. But a year after uprooting yourself, your thoughts about the success of the move most likely will be based on more than paint colors, kitchen countertops and closet space.
“We will never ever leave, because it’s so wonderful,” says Kris Close, 59, who moved from Minnesota in 2015 with husband Kerry, 62, to the Sugar Mill Pond community in Youngsville, LA. “We came for the house, but we’re staying for the people.”

A quick preface to this feature: The 50 communities are listed alphabetically, by state and then by development name. This is not a ranking, so they are not numbered. Each has a short description, including interviews with residents. A databox shows home prices, websites and more. Note that costs fluctuate; use them as a guide. Lastly, the chart on pages 98 and 99 lists all 50 as well as a rundown of amenities, making comparisons easy.

THE LURE Temperate weather, mountain vistas and a welcoming atmosphere foster a sense of tranquility in Cummings Cove. This gated development features a 6,415-yard golf course framed by verdant forests, a fitness center and multiple athletic courts, including two for bocce that were added in 2016. A former farmhouse is the social center, complete with a library, sitting porch with rocking chairs, picnic area and outdoor space for volleyball and horseshoes. Locals attend Broadway-style musicals at Hendersonville’s Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown and enjoy rafting and tubing along the French Broad River, which runs adjacent to the community.

WHAT RESIDENTS SAY “We are sitting at our dining room table and we can see out to the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains,” says Charlie Faure, who retired here with wife Annette Dubrouillet. “It is another beautiful day without a cloud in the sky.” Since they relocated from New Jersey in 2016, Charlie has enjoyed
hiking and playing pickleball, while Annette has joined a book club and hopes to start a knitting group. Though they were not looking to move to a master-planned community, the couple, both 69, are thrilled they landed in this one. “It’s a balance of beautiful scenery, a wonderful climate, happy people and great activities,” Annette says. “It has far exceeded our expectations.”

DEVELOPER Cummings Cove Co. LLC PRICES $320,000s to $1 million for condos, villas and single-family homes

MONTHLY HOMEOWNER FEE $84 STATUS 330 homes built of 650 planned on 675 acres

AGE-RESTRICTED No, but the development is targeted toward retirees INFORMATION Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club, 20 Cummings Cove Parkway, Hendersonville, NC 28739, CummingsCove.com or (800) 958-2905

“It’s a balance of beautiful scenery, a wonderful climate, happy people and great activities, it has far exceeded our expectations.”
— Annette Dubrouillet, who moved to Cummings Cove in 2016

Breaking Spring

Daffodils are blooming and birds are announcing the arrival of spring in the mountains. It’s a wonderful time to be here when the flowering trees accent the fresh new greenery and the hills seem to sing with new life. If you’re not lucky enough to already be living here, come see us! Let us show you what it’s like to live at Cummings Cove with an endless list of things to see and do. Be sure to bring your golf clubs. You can book a tee time on our website.

June in January?

No, not quite June in January, but while 2/3 of the country is snow-covered, Hendersonville has been enjoying sweater weather on winter afternoons. This weekend anticipates a record-breaking 70 degree high temperature–ideal golf weather. Enjoy the mild weather and low winter golf rates:

18 hole rate for all players – $34

  9 hole rate for all players – $20

Call 828-891-9412 for tee time or book online through this website.

Steve Romaine Wins Match Play Tournament

The Match Play Tournament capped a busy summer golf season. Cummings Cove golf member Steve Romaine won four matches over the course of the tournament. He is shown in photo (on left)  receiving congratulations and cash award from Don Larimore, coordinator of the Match Play Golf Event. 

Cummings Cove league play continues into October with the Club Championship scheduled for September 25 and 26. The members’ closing event is October 17 with an 18-hole Ryder Cup format. Although the league season ends in October, golf continues to be played year round at Cummings Cove. Visiting golfers are welcome and can book a tee time on our website.

Cummings Cove Gets High Tech Golf Carts

At Cummings Cove, a new fleet of golf carts equipped with “Visage” has put the “go” in golf with a combination of cellular, wireless and global positioning technology. Cummings Cove is one of only a few clubs open to public play in Western North Carolina to provide this advanced equipment in its battery-powered golf carts. Club Car and GPS Industries of Sarasota, Florida, have joined forces to produce a game-changing experience. The notebook-size electronic device mounted in the golf cart features intuitive touch-screen technology. The user-friendly system shows each player’s positioning in real time. By touching the screen, the player can see: a 3D fly-over of each hole, tee shot and distance-to-pin measurement and hole descriptions that eliminate blind spots. An electronic scorecard simplifies scorekeeping and provides for emailing—if it’s a game you want to remember.


The “Visage” system has many automatic safety features and conveniences. It can stop the cart to prevent a loss of control on a steep hill. There is a two-way communication system between the golf shop and each cart so that the golf shop can advise golfers of an approaching storm or other emergency announcements. Ordering lunch is easier than a fast food drive-through window. When the cart reaches the 8th hole, a menu pops up on the screen so that golfers can order their lunch and have it ready to pick up at the 9th hole.

Hendersonville resident and occasional golfer for over twenty years, Nathan Billingsley said: “I enjoyed the new golf cart very much. The single most important and valuable feature of the Visage system is that you always know exactly how far you are from the pin. Instead of looking for the markers on the cart path or checking sprinkler heads for yardage indicators, you just pull up to your ball and check your distance. That’s very efficient. And strangely enough, my friend and I played 18 holes in less than three hours. Now if you could just add a feature to take 20 strokes off my score, I will be thoroughly impressed.” To book a tee time, call 828-891-9412 or visit www.cummingscove.com

Golf–on the Upswing in June!

June is a busy golfing month at Cummings Cove. The 9 Hole Invitational hosted by the Women’s League will include women golfers from three local clubs. On June 10, the annual Bristol Shootout is an unique 9 hole Elimination Tournament. The Member-Guest Tournament is the premier two-day event on June 15 and 16 with fabulous prizes and a special awards dinner. The final golf event of the month  is a 9 hole Scramble for teams of four players. The course is in excellent condition for the busy month ahead. For more information, contact the Golf Shop at 828-891-9412.

Pool Party & Picnic

Games galore, from water volleyball to pickleball (a cross between ping pong, tennis and badminton) and a grand all American Picnic start the summer season at the Cummings Cove pool on Saturday, June 11.The popular Sports Complex will be jumping with activity. For the less athletic, a Sand Sculpture competition will provide a contemplative creative outlet. Hamburgers and hot dogs off the grill, sweet tea and tropical cocktails will remind you of those "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer." Come join the fun!

Fabulous Fourth of July at Cummings Cove

The 4th of July is a multi-generational event at Cummings Cove with games for everyone from toddlers to grandparents. There will be  Pitch ‘n Putt for kids and a Flag Tournament for more mature golfers. Bean bag and water balloon toss, marshmallow game, face painting and more will delight the youngsters. A traditional 4th of July feast will follow the games at the clubhouse.


After dinner, an evening cart parade tests everyone’s creativity as they compete for "Best Decorated Cart" awards. This year’s theme is "Patriotic Songs." Last year, the winners transformed their golf cart into a giant cake topped with "25" in big silver numbers to honor the community’s 25th anniversary celebration. As dusk descends after the cart parade, favorite spots will be found around the lake to watch the fireworks mirrored in the water, the finale to a fabulous fourth of July at Cummings Cove in celebration of our nation’s 235th birthday.

July is Summer Bursting at the Seams

July is the month when summer works overtime promoting all sorts of activities. At Cummings Cove, golf is in high gear with numerous tournaments. The Sports Center is focused on pool volleyball and water aerobics, and the mornings are cool enough for a game of tennis. Outside the gates, "Cove Hikers" head to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a cool mountain hike to Sam’s Knob (rated medium). Less strenuous exploring includes a float down the Green River and a visit to one of dozens of local waterfalls. For the less "outdoorsy" folks, the Lunch Bunch  always finds a good place for a gustatory adventure while the book clubs and card clubs exercise the little gray cells. And if none of that works for you, try sitting on a porch rocker at the Social Center for  some zen meditation on the lake and mountain views.

Werewolf Open August 13

Under the light of a full moon, golf members will venture into the night with lanterns, glow necklaces and glow golf balls for this special event after a special "Ghoulash" dinner. The format is 4 person scramble net best ball playing holes 1-6 and 9 with holes shortened to accommodate glow balls (75% distance of regular balls), yardage from 90 (#2) to 200 (#9). Only golf carts with lights allowed.
Players must carry flashlights or lanterns. Glow sticks will be at teeing areas, 100 yard marker and either side of green. Flags will be topped with glow globes and golfers will wear glow necklaces. Prizes will be awarded including closest to pin on #5. Tall tales, dessert and prizes will end the evening. It should be a howling success!