Legacy Bay – Bean Station, Tenn.
Enveloped by the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee and overlooking Cherokee Lake, Legacy Bay offers an uncommon combination of high ridge and deep water.
More than half of the Cherokee National Forest’s 640,000 acres is in the region while the National Park is less than an hour’s drive away. Cherokee Lake is one of the most unspoiled of the Tennessee Valley’s reservoirs. Also, Berry Island Ecological Area, a 16-acre island located just off shore of beautiful Legacy Bay, has been designated as a Society of America Foresters Research Nature Area.
It’s a wonderful place to commune with nature amid its rolling hills and abundant wildlife. But if you’re looking for some action or you are entertaining your grandkids there’s boating, water-skiing and swimming. More activities for all ages can be found a 10-minute drive away in the closest city, Morris- town, where restaurants, museums, libraries, shopping malls and theater wait. The 360-acre community is well-hidden but easily accessible. Consider this fact: Half of the U.S. population lives within a 500-mile radius of Legacy Bay.
Not coincidentally, the word has gotten out about Legacy Bay, which is now in its ninth and final phase. An elaborate electronic gated entrance and curved roadways lead to water-view and waterfront lots that are priced from $39,900 to $169,900 and $249,900 to $399,900, respectively. The waterfront sites are approved for private docks, and private covered boat slips are available for non-water-front residences. www.legacybay.com, 877-505-1871.
Mountain Meadows – Ashland, Ore.
Not all mountain living is rated G for grandkids. Mountain Meadows defines the essence of a small niche community in a splendidly quaint town. A true “active-adult” community for residents who are age 55 and up, Mountain Meadows consists of only 65 single-family homes and 161 condominiums. Yet, its tight-knit neighborhood setting, along with its cozy setting inAshland, Ore., offers special appeal.
Ashland, home to roughly 21,000 people and nestled in the Rogue Valley, is consistently cited in the media as a top-10 retirement town by virtue of its natural beauty, high culture and small-town atmosphere. Also, the valley’s temperate climate allows four seasons of activity: gardening, walking and hiking, bird watching, skiing and reading good books by the fire.
Meanwhile, Mountain Meadows earned 1999′s “Best Active Adult Retirement Community in America,” as named by the National Council on Seniors Housing and remains at the forefront of the industry. The neighborhood bond is evidenced by a community garden, containing more than 75 individual raised beds; herb, flower and vegetable areas; and berry bushes.
Established in 1994 in view of the Cascades and Siskiyou mountains, the 31-acre community features craftsman-style home designs—shady porches, touches of masonry and lots of interior woodwork to create classic early 20th-century looks—in a resort-like setting with abundant recreational amenities. Three-bedroom/two-bath single-family homes are priced from $479,000. 800-337-1301, www.mtmeadows.com.
The Reserve at Lake Peewee, Sunset, S.C.
Located in the foothills of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a two hours’ drive from Atlanta or Charlotte, The Reserve covers 30 miles of Lake Keowee shoreline. As such, the 3,900-acre community, which was first, developed in 1999, is tucked into one of the most untouched regions of the Southeast.
The heart of the community is the Village, where the theme is recreation. On one end, there is a clubhouse and Golf course, along with tennis courts, fitness center and croquet lawn. The lake, measuring 18,500 acres, is the focal point of the other end, complemented by a pool pavilion and upcoming Village center, which began construction earlier this year.
In between is the Great Lawn, a popular outdoor gathering spot. The amenities are decidedly grandkid-friendly with features such as picnic areas, softball field, horseshoe pits and courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton. There are also 5.5 miles of marked hiking trails.
The Reserve’s 1,500 home sites offer views of Lake Keowee, the golf course, foothills and the secluded woodlands. Mountain vista home sites range from $175,000 to $600,000; waterfront home sites are priced from $350,000 to $1.5 million, and golf- course home sites range $175,000 to $350,000. 888-217-8884, www.reserveatlakekeowee.com
Mountain Creek Resort – Vernon, N.J.
Mountain Creek Resort touts itself as a “village-centered destination resort” and a “city escape.” With several stages of development complete, plans are taking shape—less than 50 miles from Manhattan.
Situated in the Hamburg Mountains of Vernon, N.J., the community is positioned as a haven for vacation homeowners. In fact, there are no full-time residents. Instead, owners can enroll their condominiums in a lodging program when they aren’t occupying them; approximately 60 percent of the condos are in the program.
Resort amenities are plentiful and provide four-season appeal. And if you’re looking for something to appeal to the grandkids, consider this: New Jersey’s largest water-park is there along with hiking and biking trails and golf courses. While the Village at Mountain Creek is still under construction, it offers the promise of other resort amenities, including 65,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, aqua club and spa, and conference campus, along with more condominiums. Additionally, Mountain Creek’s ski slopes have under gone $60 million in upgrades during the past four years.
During initial offerings, 112 condos—ranging from one bedroom to three bedrooms and clustered in building were quickly sold. The village will contain another 177 condos, which will be situated above the commercial space. Prices start in the mid $400,000s and go to the high $600,000s. 866-858-3399, www.mountaincreekrealty.com
Bella Vista Village – Bella Vista, Ark.
Bella Vista Village opened 41 year ago and has 25,000 residents, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about it. A testament to its enduring popularity, more than 950 permits for new-home construction was recorded in 2005.
The reasons for the sustained allure are simple as its Ozark Mountain lifestyle: Situated in the hills of north-west Arkansas, Bella Vista Village features extensive hardwood forests (primarily Oak/Hickory) that weave through the neighborhoods as “common ground,” providing space and privacy to homeowners, as well as shelter to large populations of wild: deer, turkey, squirrels, birds and other native animal species.
In all, there are more than 36,000 acres, with more than a quarter of the Bella Vista’s acreage is set aside as green space. As a result, each home site adjoins the common areas, creating a distinct living-in-the-country ambiance.
Additionally, recreational amenities abound, from community and fitness centers to eight golf courses, and four country clubs. You and your grandkids will love exploring Bella Vista’s eight lakes and paved hiking trails. The nearby towns of Bentonville (home of Wal-Mart), Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville complement the setting by providing larger city conveniences.
Single-family homes are predominant, although town-homes dot the landscape. The average price of all homes sold in 2005 was $161,000, while the average price of new homes was $184,000. For more info: 479-855-3036, www.bellavistapoa.com
Originally Published in July-August 2006