It’s Lovely, But What’s in it for my Dog?

It’s Lovely, But What’s in it for my Dog?

Dog parks are a top amenity on the ideal lifestyle list for many dog families.

A quick scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed will prove that 21st century dogs are officially in the limelight, right where they belong. Many who are looking to relocate consider an area or community as much for the sake of their dog(s) as they do for themselves. Dog-friendly hiking or walking trails – check. Dog-friendly beaches – check. Leash-free dog parks? More and more checks guaranteed. As people become aware of the benefits of having a pet, they’re also coming to the realization that, in essence, “pets are people too”. Roaming outdoors, getting plenty of exercise and staying social are all as important to a dog’s health as they are to our own.

Master-planned communities across the country are heeding the healthier living calls of canines and their humans by creating spaces for dogs and their owners to mingle with other dogs…and their owners.

Here are a few communities that have gone above and beyond for their canine residents:

Keowee Key, a lake community just outside of Clemson, SC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is full of parks. But, its latest addition may be one of the busiest. Residents are thrilled to have a place where they can plan doggie dates or schedule daily or weekly visits to so that dogs can play off-leash both on and off the “agility equipment” with new and old canine companions. Owners can also sign up for dog training sessions held at the park.

At Lakewood Ranch, the three acres of fenced-in, leash-free space at the Paw Park is every dog’s preferred stomping ground. Also a resident favorite, the Paw Park is a popular spot for neighbors to mingle. A doggie drinking fountain, a separate small dog and puppy area, benches and a bag dispenser are on site.

The folks at Hampton Lake in Blufton, SC are convinced that pet companionship can be vital to health and well being at all ages. So, they went all out for resident canines and their families. Sand pits, earth mounds, and grass fields allow dogs to do more than just stretch their legs. And, the six ft. fire hydrant and handheld shower is a hit with dog owners not so fond of mud-covered paws. The picnic shelter with tables and benches is a great space for neighbors to become friends and for good friends to spend time together.

The Villages at Citrus Hills on The Nature’s Coast in Florida has decided to integrate two and four-legged exercise spaces. At Rockwood Park, you can play basketball, bocce ball, run with your dog(s) on the fitness trail, or let them run free at the Rockwood dog park. Aside from the standard dog park amenities, bone-shaped sand traps and water-play features like the spraying fire hydrant keep dogs digging and diving, providing the ultimate in doggie aerobics.

At St. James Plantation near Southport, NC dogs are everywhere – hanging their heads out of golf carts, running with their owners, and paddling alongside swimmers in the surf. But running leash-free, socializing and relaxing at one of St. James two dog parks – Woodlands Park and St. James Drive Park – are dog and owner favorites. If access to a restroom is essential, then Woodlands Park is your best bet.

Master-planned communities are integrating parks and ample spaces for dogs to roam because a dog’s life is the good life. And, given the benefits of having them in our lives, communities and their residents want to do whatever they can to make a dog’s life even better.

Visit the Carolina Lowcountry at Callawassie Island

Visit the Carolina Lowcountry at Callawassie Island

“Plan Your Visit to Our Island Sanctuary”
[ Callawassie Island, SC ]

On Callawassie Island, active living unfolds in classic Lowcountry style. What better way to truly experience the lifestyle and community of Callawassie Island than to visit? Drive across our private, 1/4-mile causeway, and leave the hectic world behind as you enter paradise.

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Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyer Choice Awards

Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyer Choice Awards

Minto Communities receives 2019 Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards

Minto Community receives Home Buyers Award

Tampa, FL — Minto Communities USA President Mike Belmont announces that Minto was presented with eight 2019 Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards at Eliant’s 23rd annual awards banquet held in Newport Beach, California. Homebuyers’ Choice Awards are presented each year to homebuilders judged by their own homebuyers to have provided the best customer experience. Winning homebuilders are selected based on results from 125,000 surveys administered by Eliant to all recent homeowners of more than 150 major homebuilders throughout the U.S.

Minto’s Customer Excellence Manager Sabina Schleicher received the top individual honor — the Eliant Customer Experience Leader of the Year award. Design Representative Angela Rinaldi with Minto’s The Isles of Collier Preserve community in Naples, Florida received a First Place Design Representative of the Year award. Allan Cumston with Minto’s Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach received a Third Place Construction Representative of the Year award, and Diana Richard with Minto’s Westlake community received an honorable mention.

In the High Volume Builders category, Minto received a Second Place Design Experience award, Second Place First Year Quality award, and honorable mention in the First Year Customer Service award category. In the Single Division Builders category, Minto won Third Place Overall Purchase and Ownership award.

Eliant has long been recognized as the nation’s leading provider of customer experience management services for U.S., Canadian, and Middle East building firms. The firm’s customer experience monitoring, training and consulting services are considered to be the industry gold standard. Minto has received consistently high rankings from Eliant Customer Service Surveys.

For information on Minto Communities, visit Follow Minto on Facebook and Instagram at MintoCommunitiesUSA and on Twitter @MintoCommUSA.

About Minto Communities
Minto Communities USA, based in Florida since 1978, has represented integrity, financial strength and enduring value for over 40 years. Minto builds exceptional new homes and communities to meet every lifestyle, with more than 25,000 new homes built in 48 communities. Minto is dedicated to continuous improvement in design, quality and customer experience. These are just some of the elements that set Minto apart as an exceptional homebuilder and community developer and have earned the company national recognition that includes consistently high rankings from Eliant Customer Service Surveys. Minto has been recognized with multiple national awards from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for community and home design, including Best Mixed-Use Community and Best Clubhouse for The Isles of Collier Preserve in Naples, Florida; and Best Clubhouse for the Harbour Isle Beach Club in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida. Minto won several Southeast Building Conference 2018 Aurora Awards, including the Grand Award for Best Multi-Family Residential Community for One Particular Harbour Margaritaville in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida; and the Silver Award for Best Single-Family Residential Community for Westlake in the City of Westlake, Florida. Minto is recognized throughout the homebuilding industry as an expert in developing active-adult communities. The NAHB named Minto as 2019’s 55+ Builder of the Year and Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach as Best 55+ Community of the Year.

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In the Garden  |  River Bluffs in Wilmington, NC

In the Garden | River Bluffs in Wilmington, NC

River Bluffs Community

Life on the Farm at River Bluffs

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Farms are rarely spotted on planned community amenities lists, but when they are, they change the game completely.

River Bluffs, just outside of Wilmington, NC, is anything but a typical planned community. While many developments begin with clear-cutting, and acquiring as much property as possible to account for expansion, River Bluffs has meticulously built 100 homes in and around at least one third of the hardwoods that originally covered the Bluff’s 300 acres, 40 feet above the Cape Fear River. The land was acquired in 2006, and River Bluffs has since become an ideal model for conscious and slow, preservation-based development.

River Bluffs Garden Vegetables“This is a special piece of land,” said John Lennon, River Bluffs’ Director of Operations. “Working this development into its natural setting was the developer’s vision all along. And, the farm and weekly farmers market was a logical part of this plan.”

And, the development of the farm and market was as methodical and meticulous as every other aspect of this development. But, it would appear that the fourth time is the charm.

Stephan Douglass, a fifth generation farmer and owner of Turner Farms, is the fourth farmer to cultivate nearly three acres just across the bridge from River Bluffs. Douglass, his son Ian, and Ian’s girlfriend, Jessica Allison, work on the farm daily.

“This is exactly the situation we envisioned,” Lennon said. “With Stephen’s help, we’ve finally arrived at a good model.”

Turner Family Farms leases the land at River Bluffs in order to grow closer to town. Additional crops are grown at the Family Farm in Teachey. All produce grown at River Bluffs is used to fill CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes, tables at the weekly River Bluffs Farmers Market, and in the kitchen at Porches Café with Chef Erin Wiley.

And, it’s the method to Douglass’ agricultural madness that makes all of this possible.
“It’s an intensive crop rotation divided into 100×100 plots,” Douglass said. “Our goal is to farm as sustainably and organically as possible, and to have something producing year round.” And, indeed they do.

River Bluffs Community GardensWhile there are 20 sectioned garden plots on the back acre for residents to tend, community garden-style, a farming signup and schedule are in the works as well to afford residents more opportunities to get their hands dirty and be a part of what is produced here.

“There’s just something about playing an intimate role in producing the food you eat,” Douglass said. “Crop rotation and farming in general is a much more intricate process than you might think. And, I think it changes the way you look at food when you get to experience it.”

Having access to your own private farm, Lennon said, is apparently a pretty popular amenity. “The fact that we have a working farm and community garden is a real head-turner for folks,” he said. “At Ideal-LIVING Shows, we get the biggest and best response when we tell them about the farm.”

Because, Lennon said, who doesn’t want to live in a place surrounded by trees, on the water, with all necessary amenities, and have access to a working, sustainable farm that produces the contents of a nifty little box delivered to their doorstep every week? His guess would be, not too many.

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River Bluffs

River Bluffs

Located just 10 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington, NC (by boat or car) sits River Bluffs, overlooking the North East Cape Fear River. Residents enjoy a serene community where they live and play. Together, residents and the neighborhood's developers have established over 30 clubs. The clubs include boating, kayaking, dancing & more! Read More...

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Passions Passed On

Passions Passed On

The Lake and Hills Garden Club Celebrates 30 Years

Keowee Key’s Lake and Hills Garden Club celebrated their 30-year anniversary this year, and it’s stories like this one that have helped hold it together.

Laura Havran has roots at Keowee Key; a fairly rare phenomenon for residents living in 20th century-born master-planned communities. Havran’s mother, Jeanette Dodge (known as “Parky”), and her father, J.T. Dodge, settled in at Keowee Key in 1989, 14 years after the community formed. Laura and Dick Havran and their three children spent summers on the Lake and fell in love with the lifestyle there. So much so, that when they started exploring retirement options, they consistently compared communities they visited to Keowee Key. And, nothing measured up.

“Finally, my husband said to me, ‘Remind me again why we’re not considering Keowee Key?'” Havran said with a chuckle. “It was then that we realized that this was where we really wanted to be.”

Not long after they moved to Keowee Key, Havran followed in her mother’s footsteps again when she joined the Lake and Hills Garden Club.

“My mother was a 27-year member and a former garden club president, so when I moved here it was sort of expected,” Havran said. Not to mention, Havran, one of eight children, grew up with vegetable gardens, freshly cut flowers from front yard gardens in vases on every table, and good weeding and harvesting skills.

“Gardening is sort of in our blood,” Havran said. “Both of my parents grew up on farms, so growing things was just a way of life for them.”

The Lake and Hills Garden Club, of which Havran is now president, was formed by seven women residents at Lake Keowee in 1988 and has since made a name for itself in the region. 2018 marks the club’s 30th anniversary.

“People come from all over the region to attend our annual October auction. We have several that come from Clemson every year,” Havran said. “The garden club is kind of known in the region for the work we do. So, supporting it at the auction has become a tradition that people really look forward to. Everyone gets all dressed up. It’s quite an affair.”

Due to the auction’s success, the Garden Club is able to host community programs and initiatives, such as seminars presented by Clemson professors and area authors, planting 100 dogwoods near the clubhouse, the nursing home project, and the National Wildlife Federation Certification program. The Club’s goal is for the entire community, including the clubhouse gardens, to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.

Members like Alice Guzick (head of the National Wildlife Federation project), Barbara Shaver, Irene Feber, and Edna Mallamed have been with the club since its inception.

“They’ve done what it takes through the years to rejuvenate membership and to keep the club alive and vibrant,” added Havran

Garden Club members take their skills and big hearts into nursing homes to work with residents. They allocate funds raised to support relative local and national initiatives. And, they spend time together at floral arranging and planning workshops, and working on planting and preservation projects.

Havran says that while she loves all the work that they do together, she loves the fellowship almost as much.

“We have such a great mix of ladies with so many different skills and backgrounds. It’s just a whole lot of fun, and we’re able to do a lot of good and learn so much in the process.”

And, as for her mother’s legacy, Havran carries it with her.

“I’ll just be going on about something, and one of the club members will say, ‘oh, that’s so something Parky would say,'” Havran said with a laugh. “And then, 
I realize that they’re right.’

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