If you live above the Mason Dixon line, chances are probably good that you do not live in a community that has a master association. Rather, you live in a town and on a street.
One of the big lures for people to retire to the south is the opportunity to make new friends and lead an active lifestyle. Therefore, for decades now developers have been cutting down trees, paving roads, building golf courses and constructing lovely homes in hopes that you will migrate in their direction. The old adage of “if you build it they will come’, is rather appropriate here.
But just what is this thing called a Plantation? Is this where slaves still are employed to bring in the crops and tend to the fields?? Hardly. So just why do some of these so called communities call themselves Plantations? Simple. Marketing.
The premise is to have the customers believe that they are moving to a place back in time where folks sit on their rocking chairs on expansive front porches sipping ice cold Ice Tea (sweet of course) and cajoling with their neighbors. Hey, this sure beats the image of living in a crowded and noisy neighborhood with tons of young children riding Big Bikes around doesn’t?
So, just what is a Plantation if it really doesn’t have slaves, barns and crops? First of all, let’s work on better understanding the difference between a plantation and a community, ok?
Community – perhaps a better more familiar term is a Subdivision
v Generally, you will find a 50 – 300 home in a community
v There will be a Property Owners Association
v Amenities will typically include an Outdoor Pool, 2 Tennis Courts and a small Residents Clubhouse that might have a few pieces of work out equipment
v A Community will not be gated
v Depending upon the residents, there might be monthly parties, tennis clubs/teams and periodic pool parties
v Often a golf course or two are the anchor of a Plantation
v Many are gated
v All have Property Owners Associations and some Homeowners Associations
v Virtually all have an Outdoor Pool, Tennis Courts and a Fitness Center
v The construction of homes is supervised by an Architectural Review Board
v The golf courses have clubhouses that serve lunch and cocktails
v Some clubhouses serve weekly dinners and or are open 6-7 nights/week
v Each homeowner has restrictions on what they can plant and or cut down in their yards
v Some have Indoor Pools, Libraries, Fishing Ponds and Private Beach Clubs
v Walking Trails and or Sidewalks are often prevalent
v Community Gardens are becoming more popular
v Activities are numerous and include:
- Women’s and Men’s Golf Leagues
- Bridge Club
- Tennis Teams
- Garden Club
- Fine Dining Club
- Travel Club
- Poker Nights
- Seasonal Parties and Dances
- Cooking Demonstrations
- Pool Parties
- Fundraising Events
- And more
v The Fitness Centers, depending upon the size of the Plantation, can offer:
- Water Aerobics
- Spin classes
- Tai Chi
- Body Sculpting
- Step Aerobics
- And more
All these activities are aimed at bringing together great people who have moved to their retirement destination but, probably don’t have a full set of friends yet. And, once you do make your friends, you will have plenty of activities to keep you busy seven days a week.
With regards to your budget, Communities are often more affordable however, even though one may not have a golf course and indoor pool, many Communities can offer a wonderful lifestyle with lots of planned and unplanned activities.
Something else to keep in mind is that if you consider moving to a warmer climate, that a good portion of the south is really very rural. That means the traditional neighborhoods that you grew up in are not nearly as plentiful down south. In fact, many of the areas along the coast or in the mountains that might be attractive to folks are not idyllic to live because of the lack of zoning laws. Probably the last thing you’d want to do is build a nice home on a private acre spread to find out that a Walmart or race track are planning to build next door to your Dream Home!
So, as you search for a place to retire, be sure you really investigate the Community or Plantation that you give serious consideration to moving to as the quality of your lifestyle should be your most important consideration.
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