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


Carolina Bistro at the Cove – Open Daily 11am – 9pm

Steven Bivens_Carolina Bistro at the Cove

The Cummings Cove Golf Club Food & Beverage Operations will resume on 1 March 2016 with a new proprietor and manager, Steven Bivens, and a new name, Carolina Bistro at the Cove.

Steven graduated with honors with a BS Degree in Digital Art & Design from the distinguished Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.  His unique view and artistic overtures toward culinary excellence have made him a celebrity in the kitchens of Asheville and Western North Carolina, having trained extensively in both quick service and full service restaurant environments over the past 10 years.

Steven uses prose and poetry in the kitchen as key ingredients to his favorite recipes.  Most notable are his two favorites:  “My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” -Orson Welles, and the following:  “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt.

The management and staff of Carolina Bistro at the Cove look forward to serving the Cummings Cove members, the local community, and  the golfing public with award winning  food and beverage, while establishing the restaurant and bar as the venue of choice for all those seeking a new destination in life.

Hendersonville and Cummings Cove Featured in Where to Retire Magazine

IMAGE_1_29062010152144Where to Retire Magazine’s May-June, 2010, issue has an in-depth story about Hendersonville, North Carolina. Writer Jim kerr describes the city as a town that “combines scenic beauty, historic Main Street and rich culture.” Kerr describes several developments in the Hendersonville area including Cummings Cove where he interviewed two couples who tell their stories of discovering Hendersonville and choosing to live at Cummings Cove. Read the story online, or contact us by phone or e-mail for a print copy. To hear what other residents have to say about Cummings Cove, click on Video Testimonials.

Read the full story online or download the Pdf.

Best for Convenience to City Life

IMAGE_1_03122009130158LINKS Magazine Premier Properties Guide 2009 – In these busy times, sometimes it is difficult to find the time to appreciate life in premier golf communities, which traditionally have been second homes or retirement addresses. These 32 communities are located near jobs, culture, sporting events and other advantages of the city, so residents can enjoy the amenities of golf course living without having to take time away from their busy lives.

Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club
Hendersonville, NC

The owners at Cummings Cove have the best of both worlds: tranquil seclusion in the Blue Ridge Mountains and proximity to the thriving shops, restaurants, galleries and attractions of nearby Asheville.

Learn more about Cummings Cove and the North Carolina Mountain Golf Communities found at this pristine location in the Western North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.  Click to see great North Carolina Mountain Golf Real Estate Lots and Real Estate Hendersonville NC.

100 Best Master-Planned Communities

IMAGE_1_07122009101223 Where to Retire Magazine – July/August 2009 – As baby boomers retire and relocate, they are discovering homes and lifestyles they previously associated with exclusive vacation properties. As we prepared our biennial list of 100 Best Master-Planned Communities, we can across retiree after retiree who was surprised and delighted to find their dreams came at prices they could afford. A common refried: “It’s more like a resort. Our friends can’t believe it.”

Bill and Honey Wilcox discovered that at Albemarle Plantation in North Carolina, they could get almost four times the water frontage they had at their beach house in Connecticut for the money, and at a tax rate that saved them thousands of dollars a year. “It’s incredible,” Bill says of their new home. And as they economy recovers, he believes their purchase will be a prudent investment.

Almost everyone we contacted had a special reason for the choices they made. “We were going to be snowbirds,” laughs Jane McCabe, who moved to On Top of the World Communities in Florida with husband Jim. When they left for their summer home, they missed the amenities and activities. So they decided to live at On Top of the World full time, building a larger house that was more conducive to a permanent lifestyle. In their neighborhood, a 10-minute walk can turn into an hour as they stop to chat with new friends. “They keep you young here because there is so much to do,” she says.

As we talked to retirees and pre-retirees about their relocation decisions in moving to the 100 master-planned communities, these were among trends we noticed.

More pre-retirees are moving to mater-planned communities to get a jump on the retirement lifestyle while working. Some found they could telecommute for the last few years of their careers. Others were eligible in terms of age to move into active-adult communities and discovered opportunities close to home, with the proliferation of such communities outside traditional retirement states. Thus, they could live where they wanted to retire eventually and still drive to work.

Moving near children and grandchildren remains a major temptation. Many retirees said that they would like to be in the same general area but far enough away to maintain separate lives. Mike and pat Sabo, for example, moved to Robson Ranch in Texas about 25 minutes from their town daughters and four grandchildren. “We’re close enough to see them all the time but not next door,” Mike says.

Some retirees commented that prices of homes in their neighborhoods had dropped significantly in the declining economy, but none expressed regret that they moved when home prices were higher. Some said that while they paid more for their homes than they would if buying now, they also sold previous homes for more than they would if they were selling now. In fact, many said they wished they had moved sooner rather than later. A few did indicate, however, that they economy had somewhat affected retirement plans. Some had put off buying a second home, gone back to work to pad nest eggs or delayed full retirement.

Most communities now recognize that many potential buyers are interested in the environment and want greener homes. It is up to buyers, of course, to determine how green they want their homes. But most developments now at least tout energy-saving features of homes and eco-friendly attributes of neighborhoods, if not outright adherence to strict guidelines of green-building standards. For example, John and Pat Greanias feel good about “doing something for the ecology,” he says. They moved into the first solar home at Trilogy central coast in California, and John checks daily to see if his home is taking from or giving back to the power grid. They save significantly on utility bills, too.

Almost to a person, residents we interview said fabulous neighbors and contributed immeasurably to their happiness at the communities they chose. All said it had been easy to make friends, and that indicates retirees and pre-retirees are doing a good job of matching themselves with the right community. Many noted that by moving to a new community, it was more likely their neighbors also were looking to make friends. “We’re all in the same boat,” retirees said.

Our 200- list has many repeat communities, but there are also new ones, as some previous 100 best designees have sold out. We do have a few caveats. Home prices are subject to constant change, especially in these economic times. We give the range of base housing prices; but these may rise as the economy improves, and some lots command premiums. In considering any community, it’s a good idea to check the financial status of the developer and confirm that common-area amenities such as clubhouse have been completed.

nc master planned communitiesThe Lure: Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains just east of the Great Smoky Mountains, Cummings Cove is a tranquil hideaway, yet close to cultural attractions, restaurants and other amenities. Residents enjoy stunning views from a hilltop clubhouse with restaurant and lounge, an 18-hole golf course and a sports complex, which includes fitness facilities and classes, tennis courts, and outdoor pool and space for massage therapy. A social center adds a setting for activities.

What residents say: “We wanted nice surroundings that were well-maintained, someplace that was serene, and Cummings Cove fits that,” says Lynn Johnson. He and his wife, Erika, both 61, have lived in Hendersonville for three decades but for his retirement this year, they wanted a change in lifestyle and moved last December. “We love it. It’s an extremely friendly community, and we like the location – it’s convenient to Hendersonville, Asheville, Brevard and the (Asheville) airport.”

Price: High $300,000s-$1.2 million for single-family villas and homes.
Status: 300 Homes sold of 700 planned on 650 acres.
Age-restricted: No
Information: Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club, 20 Cummings Cove Parkway, Hendersonville, NC 28739, (800) 958-2905 or www.cummingscove.com.

Best of the Mountains Award

IMAGE_1_07122009103805Pinnacle Living Mountain Homes Magazine – Spring 2009 – With moderate temperatures during all four season and plenty of amenities to keep residents active, this gated community is ideal as a permanent home. In addition to the golf course and a new sports complex with tennis courts, a swimming pool and fitness center, numerous clubs and organizations created by homeowners target a variety of hobbies and interests.

Learn more by clicking to our Real Estate Hendersonville NC for sale in the North Carolina Mountain Golf Communities at Cummings Cove.

Top 100 Communities

ideal2Ideal Living Magazine – Summer 2008 – ideal1Stories about Cummings Cove’s residents share a common theme of people coming from all over the country and abroad and immediately feeling the community’s welcoming and friendly atmosphere. All the amenities you expect to find in a gated golf course community are there and so much more. Hiking groups explore abundant forest trails. “Lunch bunches” sample gourmet fare at area restaurants. Books clubs and card clubs enjoy lively discussions and friendly competition.

From Cummings Cove’s central location a 15–minute drive takes you to Asheville Airport, medical facilities, shopping and top-notch entertainment. Nearby Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina’s state theater, and Hendersonville has its own symphony orchestra. The renowned Brevard Music center stars Boston Pops’ Keith Lockhart as Principal Conductor. Although you may go there to get away form it all, it’s nice to know a 15-minute drive opens a world of possibilities.

top 100 golf communitiesWith over 650 acres, Cummings Cove translates dreams into reality, from getaway condos to golf course villas and mountaintop estates. Amazing Blue Ridge Mountain views, towering trees, streams and waterfalls create a magical landscape for golfers and residents. A stone and timber clubhouse is the bud of activity with complete golf shop, Lake Ridge Restaurant for fine dining and Golfhouse Grill & Lounge serving lunch daily. The sports complex provides state-of-the-art fitness center, aerobics, heated pool, large hot-tub spa and three joint-friendly tennis courts. At Cummings Cove, you can get away from it all without giving anything up.

Check out information on Real Estate Hendersonville NC and other tracts of Western NC Land for Sale currently in the gated North Carolina Mountain Golf communities at Cummings Cove.

Southern Living Magazine’s – Readers Choice Awards

IMAGE_1_11122009102038In their annual “2008 Readers’ Choice Awards,” Southern Living’s readers from all over the United States voted and ranked the following on their TOP TEN LIST of southern places:

BEST SMALL TOWN:    Hendersonville–#10

BEST CITY:    Asheville–#8

BEST HOTEL:  Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa–#1

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY:    Asheville–#2

Hendersonville and Asheville regularly appear on “Top Ten” lists in many publications. With a multitude of attractions in addition to its natural beauty, the area continues to draw new residents as well as vacationers. With its covenient location near Hendersonville and just 15 minutes from Asheville Airport, Cummings Cove enjoys the small-town charm of nearby Hendersonville as well as easy access to the larger city of Asheville.

Cummings Cove Named "One of 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in U.S."

Where to Retire Magazine has announced its 2013 honor roll of America’s “50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States,” naming Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club to the prestigious biennial list in its July/August, 2013 issue. One of only two communities selected in Western North Carolina, Cummings Cove meets the standard of a dynamic lifestyle community sought by the magazine’s editors.

Karen Northridge, publisher of the national magazine, said in her congratulatory letter to Garry Sherrill, Executive Director of Operations at Cummings Cove: “During a nine-month selection process, our editors reviewed several hundred candidates across the country. Your community is among an elite group of developments that offer today’s retirees a well-rounded, active lifestyle. The fifty selected developments represent seventeen states. The communities are not ranked, but profiled in alphabetical order by state, from Arizona to Wyoming. A two-page chart gives a snapshot of the developments and lists their amenities.”

Interviewed by Where to Retire for the report, Bob and Sandy Denekamp moved to Cummings Cove last year from Massachusetts. Bob said: “If you’re lucky like we are, you’ll be looking at the mountains every night and watching the sunset—preferably with a cocktail in hand.”

In another recent national news story, Rodney Brooks, writing for USA TODAY, named five cities to consider in his article: “Best Places to Retire.” Brooks interviewed Annette Fuller, managing editor of Where to Retire magazine. Fuller acknowledged that while big cities attract, many retirees delight in finding an “off-the-beaten-path location with relatively low cost of living and housing, favorable tax situation, low crime rate, an active downtown, good medical facilities and, more than ever, a range of activities that can keep them fit and healthy.”

Hendersonville topped the list of Brooks’ five recommended cities. In addition to the remarkable natural scenery of parks and forests with mountain views and over 200 waterfalls, a mild four-season climate makes it enjoyable year round. Other attractions cited are the Hendersonville Symphony and the Flat Rock Playhouse, North Carolina’s state theater. In addition to Hendersonville’s two local hospitals, nearby Asheville has Mission Hospital, a regional trauma center, ranked among the nation’s top 15 healthcare systems in 2013 by Thomson Reuters.

How to Find Your Perfect Home

 

Pinnacle Living Mountain Homes Magazine – Late Fall 2008 – On the 650-plus acres of Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club, colorful plants and stately trees create a welcoming landscape at this flawless Hendersonville, N.C. Location.

But dig deeper than the pristine scenery. The towering mountain ridges. The pleasant year-round climate. What you’ll find as the defining quality of this amenity-rich community is one element: The people.

Here, an eclectic group of residents – from Florida natives to Europeans, retirees and second-home owners – form an almost instant bond. Not only as acquaintances with the same hobbies, but as caring comrades who rally around when fellow residents hit hard times.

And with a decidedly family touch.

For instance, when her husband passed away recently, a community wife found that, without saying a word, the men of Cummings Cove pitched in to keep her lawn fresh and mowed. Without ever identifying themselves to collect a thank-you.

The women are equally compassionate. As a comforting gesture, members of the community sewing club turn their talents to creating quilts for neighbors who are ill or lost a loved one.

“The people here certainly are our biggest strength,” says Shannon Ginn, managing partner of Cummings Cove. “There’s a sense of family here that makes me very proud of this community.”

Joining the Club
In addition to the sewing club, neighbors have organized other groups for residents with special organized interests, such as golf, bridge and books, while others have formed civic-based organizations that take on charity projects or hold fundraisers. One such successful band is the Women Build for Habitat, which recently gathered to build a home for a Hendersonville family.
Civic or social, each group makes the most of its time together.

A member of the Nine, Wine and Dine Club which plays a round of golf, enjoys a glass of wine, then dinner at the clubhouse, homeowner John Stocker praises Cummings Cove for great amenities that encourage such camaraderie.

His wife Linda echoes the sentiment.

“It’s a really inclusive community,” she says. “There’s a nice blend of older, younger and middle-aged people. But no one seems to pay much attention to age.”

After finding this winning combination of great people, location and amenities, the former Alexandria, Va. Residents never looked back.

The Place To Be
Like the Stockers, the four partners, including Ginn, who purchased Cummings Cove in 2005 knew the community was nestled in an ideal setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“North Carolina is a step back from the pressures of the big cities,” says Ginn. “When you retire, you want a place to get away from the stress. The best place is Western North Carolina.”

Additionally, the community’s slogan rings true: “Far from ordinary, but close to everything else.”

Cummings Cove sits just 15 minutes from the Asheville Regional Airport, eight miles from Hendersonville’s quaint downtown and 12 miles from Brevard.

According to Ginn, the community and its surrounding area provided plenty of activity – such as shopping, dining, theater and historic locations to tour – to satisfy full time-needs. Even more, Cummings Cove’s moderate elevation, which reaches nearly 3,000 feet, created mild temperatures and beautiful seasons conducive to year-round living. Currently, Cummings Voce boasts 300 residents, two-thirds of whom are full-time residents. Ultimately, Ginn says the community will top out with about 600 homeowners.

Layer by Layer
In its first stages of development, this gated community focused on just a 300-acre area surrounding the fold course and clubhouse. But, according to Lorraine Nash, director of marketing and advertising, Ginn and his partners opened the remaining acreage in the higher elevations for the development of more neighborhoods.

“Because of the topography,” Nash says, “each neighborhood and home takes on its own character. Almost any level of what someone wants in a home can be found here.” So today, the community consists of a variety of architectural styles and types, including craftsman, contemporary and homes with a blend of structural elements.

One of the newest neighborhoods, Valley View Golf Villas, is surrounded by three golf course fairways and will feature 29 villas. Farther up the mountain lies Mountain crest, a neighborhood of custom-built homes tucked into a woodsy landscape. The area contains a mixture of single-family homes and villas with maintenance programs.

New residents Thomas and Jane Dupont, who moved from Kinnelon, N.J., found this area melded with their love for the outdoors.

“We chose our lot because it was lower (in elevation), had trees and privacy,” Jane explains. “We have winter views of the mountains, but we love the trees during the other seasons, the seclusion they provide and the fact that he house faces west for sunsets.”

Another major development, Mountain Top, will encompass half of the entire community. A 275-acre village, it is Cummings Cove’s highest elevation neighborhood and has four phases remaining open.

The first residents of Mountain Top, Marshall and Nancy Howard of West Palm Beach, Fla., were attracted to the neighborhood for its mountain view, and plan the spend the majority of their summers there.

Building a Dream
The Howards heard of Cummings Cove through friends and found the lots were offered at reasonable prices. According to Nash, home site prices range from 175,000 to $300,000.

Like other residents, the Howards used one of the three preferred builders that Cummings Cove recommends, and has a pleasant building experience. The knowledgeable builders helped them plan a home that not only fits their needs, but also maximized the view they enjoy on their back porch.

“It’s just a great community,” Nancy says. “You notice immediately that the feel of the community is so friendly.”

Like the Howards, the Stockers happened upon Cummings Cove through friends as well. Research added to the positive reviews.

“We found,” says John, “that this always ranked in the top 10 best places to retire.” They were hooked. The couple retired here seven years ago and enjoy participating in community clubs, as well as activities at nearby DuPont State Forest.

Just as others at the community, Jane and Thomas Dupont look forward to joining the fun at Cummings Cove, which Jane says exudes a warm supportive atmosphere.

After searching for a community for seven years, the pair visited Cummings Cove and “just knew it was right.”

“It’s like falling in love,” Jane says. “You find the man of your dreams. Well, we found the community of our dreams.” After working with their building to design their mountain home, they are set to spend their later year in surroundings that are perfect for them and the lifestyle they treasure.

Amenities and More
Cummings Cove Golf and Country Club offers residents plenty of ways to stay active:

  • The 18-hole, par-71 golf course in the centerpiece of the community. Initially designed by Bob Cupp, Jack Nicklaus’ chief designer for 16 years, the course was renovated in 2005 to incorporate 1,000 more yards. It features five sets of tees to accommodate players of all skill levels and three comfort stations with ice and water machines along the course. The back nine is positioned to give players spectacular mountain views.
  • Overlooking the golf course, the clubhouse offers a casual dining experience for lunch or dinner, as well as bar and golf shop facilities.
  • A new sports complex combines the best equipment and amenities for staying in shape. A rustic building of bark siding, the facility contains an exercise room complete with cardio and weigh lifting apparatus, a massage room and space for Pilates and other fitness classes. Outside, residents can enjoy a swimming pool, hot tub and three tennis courts – two of which are hydro-courts specifically designed to offer a lower-impact playing surface for healthy joints.
  • The Social Center, housed in a renovated farmhouse, is idea for special parties, meetings and club activities. It has a full kitchen, dining room and library.
  • Other events, such as holiday parties, mystery nights and trivia nights mystery dinners are held on the grounds. Entertainment also is provided on weekends during summer months.Check out Hendersonville NC Homes for Sale and Western NC Land by visiting the North Carolina Mountain Golf Communities in Cummings Cove.