TheShortList: 50BestMaster-Planned Communities in the United States
BY BRENT STOLLER with an introduction by Annette Fuller
See PDF of article here.
NEW NEIGHBOR WAS UNPACKING a moving van near Katrina and Chuck Hans in the Arlington Ridge active-adult community in Leesburg, FL. “He needed to use a dolly, and I was like, ‘We have one,’” Katrina says. “Then he needed a ladder and another neighbor said, ‘I have one.’ We look after each other. It’s like another family.”
The Hanses are two of the 92 people you are about to meet who have relocated to one of our 50 best master-planned communities across America. Their kind spirit is representative of the folks we interviewed. They clearly speak the same retirement relocation language.
Every other year in the July-August issue, Where to Retire provides a comprehensive look at the best of the best in master-planned living. Our office staff has been working on this issue for more than six months. This is our 11th 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.
The developments are in 17 states, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in towns beautified by beaches, mountains, clear skies, lakes, rivers, rolling hills and other earthly assets. (See the Letter From the Editor on page 10 for more detailed data on the compilation.)
Some of our 50 are active-adult neighborhoods; others are all-ages. And some are a mix of the two, meaning an enclave of active-adult housing within a larger all-ages development.
A few logistics: The 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; we provide here the latest figures available at press time.) The chart on pages 78 and 79 lists all 50 as well as a rundown of amenities, making comparisons easy.
When senior writer Brent Stoller interviewed the residents for this story, two people — one in North Carolina and another in Colorado — mentioned the same phenomenon, with no prompting from him. Both recounted how the development they were considering somehow resonated with them on a deeper level.
“It just spoke to me when we drove through the entrance,” says Michelle Schuller, of the first time she and husband Charles drove onto the grounds of Compass Pointe in Leland, NC. “It met all our needs.” The same thing happened to Scott and Diann Edwards when they were introduced to Toll Brothers at Inspiration in Aurora, CO. “We came out to Inspiration one day and toured, talked to people and looked at the home sites and the models, and it really kind of spoke to us,” Scott says. We hope our research and our story speak to you, too.
THE LURE Blue Ridge Mountain views inspire a blissful atmosphere in this development. The golf course makes the most of its beautiful setting, as elevated tee boxes give way to rolling fairways that ramble past waterfalls. Following workouts in the fitness center, matches on the tennis and pickleball courts or time in the community garden, residents retreat to the on-site restaurant for a meal among friends. Broadway-style musicals and a symphony are staged in Hendersonville, while the nearby French Broad River allows additional outdoor recreation.
WHAT RESIDENTS SAY “You never get tired of watching the sunsets and sunrises,” says Gary Elam, 59. He and wife Tamera, 57, purchased their lot here in 2008 but didn’t relocate from Fishers, IN, until 2016. Avid golfers, they play in the development and compete in tournaments around the state. They also exercise in the fitness facility and are members of multiple hiking clubs. “We did not realize the importance of moving to a planned community of other retired people who are active,” Tamera admits. This September, they’ll join some Cummings Cove friends on an Alaskan cruise. “We have four kids, and they laugh at us, because we are much more socially involved than we were when we worked and certainly more social than they are,” Tamera says.
DEVELOPER Cummings Cove Co. LLC
PRICES $350,000s to $1 million for condos, villas, townhomes and singlefamily homes
MONTHLY HOMEOWNER FEE $84
STATUS 347 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