When it comes to vacation homes, babyboomer physicians are looking forsomething more than just attractivereal estate. They're looking for a comfortable homein a community where they can take advantage ofeducational, recreational, and ecological activities,that's located in a beautiful natural setting,where privacy and simplicity areeveryday realities. And, fortunately,they're finding what they seek.
THE PERFECT COMMUNITY
One baby-boomer physician who canattest to that fact is Dr. Bill Marshall, anorthopedic surgeon from Fort WaltonBeach, Fla. Back in 1993, Dr. Marshallvisited the Mountain Air Country Club(800-247-7791; www.mountainaircc.com) in Burnsville, NC. "I was justlooking to spend a weekend away fromFlorida in the mountains of NorthCarolina," Marshall said. "But thatweekend, I was so enamored by the communityand the natural beauty and the airport, webought in then and there."
Located in North Carolina's Blue RidgeMountains, Mountain Air Country Club is hometo 470 residents who live in pedestal homesperched on the hillsides, or Adirondack-stylecondominiums tucked in thick forests of sugarmaples, hickories, and yellow birch. At 4910 feet,Mountain Air Country Club's average summertimehigh temperature is 78 degrees, and itsports the highest landing strip east of theMississippi—a feature that Dr. Marshall appreciates,since he is also a pilot.
"I can take off close to my home in Florida, fly2 hours nonstop, and be in the mountains," Dr.Marshall says. "I like being able to fly directly tomy second home." Dr. Marshall isn't the onlyMountain Air Country Club resident who takesadvantage of the landing strip. In fact, 20% of hisneighbors are also pilots.
But that's not the only thing that Dr. Marshalllikes about Mountain Air Country Club; he alsolikes the family atmosphere. "Everyone is very personable,"Marshall says. "We also like the quaintnessof the downtown community andthe friendliness of the local people." Heand his wife fly to Mountain Air withtheir birds and dog, although in the pasttheir 3 sons would accompany them ontheir trips north.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Another reason Dr. Marshall continuesto live in Burnsville's Mountain AirCountry Club is the developers, theBanks and Young families "Over theyears, I have been able to see the visionof the developer come to real life,"Marshall says. "The Banks and Youngshave done an excellent job in providingamenities for the many families that reside there."
Randy Banks built Mountain Air CountryClub on more than 2500 acres of land that hadbeen in the Banks and Young families for 8 generations.He envisioned an atmosphere as friendlyto families as it was to the environment. "WhatI was looking for," Banks says, "was a communitythat was down home, high up." He also wantedthe development to fit in with its spectacular,thickly wooden, and mountainous setting. "Thismountain is God's creation—we don't want tomess up what's here."
Dr. Marshall thinks Banks has succeeded."What they have created is a beautiful place," hesays. "They have created a calming, relaxingcommunity with a family environment." A quickglance at the Mountain Air Country Club'smonthly calendar also reveals that they have createdan active community.
Activities range from lectures on raptors to dinnertheater, from golf tournaments to organic gardeningworkshops, and from tennis clinics to wild-flower walks. The center of activity is MountainAir's Slickrock Village Green, which houses theClubhouse, the activity and fitness center (whichincludes a spa, pool, theater, and arcade), themembers' lodge, a business center, 2 restaurants,and a pro shop for the 18-hole golf course. There's something for everyone here.
Locations to Consider
Laurel Creek Community, Fort Mill, SC
This 275-acre development is close to downtownCharlotte, SC, and features a walking trail through thethick forests surrounding the area, as well as a swimmingpool, a 109-foot water slide, and clay tenniscourts. Laurel Creek Community was designed withplenty of green space to preserve the natural setting.
Lighthouse Bay, Naples, Fla
Nestled between Fort Myers and Naples, LighthouseBay is surrounded by beaches on the Gulf ofMexico. Indoor attractions include a 7500-foot fitnesscenter with a heated pool, spa, boathouse, computercenter, and videoconference facility. For residentsinterested in enhancing their knowledge, there areceramics, woodworking, theater, and music classes.
New Territory, Houston, Tex
This planned community, southwest of Houston,features churches, schools, and 4600 homes. The Texastradition of "doing things big" didn't escape this community'sdevelopers: There are 4 swimming pools, 10tennis courts, and baseball, softball, and soccer fields.Residents can also sign up for a variety of classes,which include cooking, music, dancing, and quilting.
freelance writer, who has written for magazines
including Horizon, Home & Away, Montana
Magazine, Sunset, and Seventeen. She lives in Missoula, Mont,
with her husband and 2 children.