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At Home in Southern Brunswick County

Compiled By Kate Wolford & Molly Harrison
Photography By Jason Hudson, Ethan Sigmon & Megan Fogel

Meet 10 homeowners who like calling Southern Brunswick County home.

South Brunswick County is a great place to live. Ask anyone who lives here and they’ll give you a long list of reasons why they love this area. Whether they escaped the frigid winters of the north in retirement, moved to the area for work or grew up here and decided to stay, there are thousands of people who are willing to sing the praises of Southern Brunswick County. We tracked down a few them and asked them about where they came from and why they chose to live here. We enjoyed reading our neighbors’ stories and we think you will too.

Marie & John Best
Where did you move from?
Gaithersburg, Maryland (suburb of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area)

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
Having both lived in the Washington, D.C., metro area our whole lives, we were ready to make the move to a location that offered a more laid-back, easy-going pace. While growing up in Maryland, we did have access to the beaches in Maryland and Delaware and spent many a summer there. Later, in our adult years, we discovered the beautiful beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and returned there for our annual vacation for 25+ years. As we both love being in close proximity to the ocean, southeastern North Carolina was an easy decision for us. In addition, the weather is great, with much milder winters than we were used to living in Maryland (on moving day, we “donated” our snow shovel to a neighbor). The reduced traffic volume and ease of traveling by car is refreshing when compared to what we were used to, and it was important to us that we relocated to an area that allowed us to visit family back in Maryland with relative ease (either via car or air travel).

Which community did you decide to move to?
The Retreat at Ocean Isle in Ocean Isle Beach

How long have you lived here?
Just over two years (as of June 2012)

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with them?
Bill Clark Homes. We visited the southeastern N.C. area on two separate occasions spanning the course of two years, and, with the help of a local Realtor, were taken to a number of local homes and developments that were on the market at that time. Both of us were impressed by the architectural details (both inside and out) of Bill Clark Homes and the ability to make changes to the existing floor plans, as well as the length of time that Bill Clark Homes had been in the homebuilding business. Our experience with all level of staff at Bill Clark Homes has been very pleasant, from the building process through to the warranty period.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
Driving over the causeway to the beach.

Maryann & Frank Hohman
Where did you move from?
Huntington, Long Island, N.Y.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
After looking up and down the East Coast as far as St. Augustine, Fla., it seemed like a great place to retire to and we were right.

What community did you decide to move to?
St. James Plantation

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with them?
Logan Homes. The models were of great quality for the price, and Logan also has an excellent reputation.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
Easy access to the beaches of Oak Island and the charm of downtown Southport.

Brandon Jolley & Lauren Jolley
Where did you move from?
Brandon is originally from Sparta, Tenn., where he lived prior to attending pharmacy school at Campbell University in North Carolina. Lauren is from Sanford, N.C., and also attended pharmacy school at Campbell, which is where we met.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
Lauren grew up vacationing at the N.C. beaches with her family; and Brandon, upon moving to North Carolina, quickly came to enjoy the activities available at the coast. After Brandon’s graduation from pharmacy school in 2010, he began looking for jobs in the area and was hired by New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, prompting our move to southeastern North Carolina.

Which community did you decide to move to and why?
We moved to Turtlewood because we loved the small-town atmosphere of Southport and its proximity to the beach. Our neighborhood is in a quiet area only a couple miles from downtown.

How long have you lived here?
We have lived in our home nearly four years, since November 2010.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
North Carolina’s coast is a beautiful area in which to live. We both enjoy spending time at the beach and eating at local seafood restaurants. Brandon loves fishing on his days off. Another unexpected favorite for us has been learning about our local film industry. We have both had the opportunity to be extras in various television shows and movies filmed here.

Gene & Karen Columbo
Where did you move from?
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
We were looking for an established golf club community near the beach in a state that would be warmer in the winter yet still give us three seasons. Lower North Carolina had all that we were looking for. We then discovered that the Wilmington-Southport area would give us that small-town feel with amenities of a larger city. The fact that we would be in a lovely town like Southport made the move even more appealing.

What community did you decide to move to and why?
We wanted a community that had an established lifestyle and finished amenities and was either in a small town and the beach or close to a town and beach. St. James Plantation seemed the best fit. It had a variety of golf clubs and outdoor facilities and it was not restricted to the over-55 crowd. Since it is on the Intracoastal Waterway with a marina, St. James also provides a beach-style approach to living. There were already more than 2,000 homes here when we bought land in 2005, and the community continued to grow and expand in a controlled way. For us, it was by far the best location in southeastern North Carolina.

How long have you lived here?
Since December 2013.

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with that company?
Our builder was Trusst, an established builder that has constructed hundreds of homes in Brunswick Forest and other developments in southeastern North Carolina. We wanted to use a semi-custom builder that had existing home plans with an established pricing model. Trusst’s plans were very complete with few add-ons. Everything was included, from special ceilings, quality light fixtures, full tile bathrooms, tiled front and rear porches to sound systems, lovely floor layouts and upscale kitchen appliances. We knew up front what our final construction costs would be. They had many sample homes to visit, and our model, the Mason, had the ideal layout. It is very open with window-walls on the back that take in the full view of our pond.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
The people, the lifestyle and Southport. We love the friendly atmosphere, the slower lifestyle and the warmer weather. Southport is also a historical town that respects its past. Southport reminds us of a New England oceanfront village. Since the population in Southport is becoming more diverse, with residents moving in from all over the country, we find that this just adds to the richness of the existing culture here, a culture that is warm and inviting.

Darci R. Griffith
Where did you move from?
Lillington, N.C.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
My husband and I traveled extensively due to his military service. We always dreamed of retiring near family and the beautiful beaches in southeastern North Carolina. Unfortunately, he lost a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer in May, and we decided prior to his passing that it was the perfect place for me to raise our children.

Which community did you decide to move to and why?
I chose the Rourk Woods Community because, quite frankly, it felt like home. It is a peaceful, family-oriented neighborhood with fantastic amenities and only a short drive to any number of beaches and entertainment. Also, I was very pleased to find that my dream home was in a great school district.

How long have you lived here?
I am a brand-new resident. We just moved in this week!

Who built your home?
Bill Clark Homes. From the moment I viewed the home, I was impressed with the superior quality of the house and the unique attention to detail in every home I toured within the community. The home consultant for Bill Clark Homes was helpful, knowledgeable and caring, which made for a superior, personalized home-buying experience.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
My favorite thing is the close proximity of beaches and entertainment. Being a military spouse was difficult at times, but one great advantage was the constant travel. Living here still provides me with the feeling that you can take off in any direction and find something unique and fun to do.

Royal & JoAnne Philpott
Where did you move from?
Newport, R.I.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
It was a spur of the moment decision. We liked the area.

Which community did you decide to move to and why?
We chose Crow Creek because it is a golf course community, and the grounds are very well maintained and attractive. Plus, the housing prices are affordable, as are the taxes. Crow Creek is a great place to live and is a very active community. Some of the activities are a men’s and women’s golf league, a book club and a monthly activity at the amenity centers. We also have a golf tournament fundraiser every Labor Day that benefits CIS (Communities in Schools).

How long have you lived here?
We have been here 8 years.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
The availability of golf and the weather. The location is great, too — a country feel but close to shopping, airports and restaurants.

David & Rose Tester
Where did you move from?
We moved here from Fletcher, N.C.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
We visited Southport on mini vacations and couldn’t find a reason to leave.

Which community did you decide to move to and why?
We chose Cambridge Crossings. We found the residents of Cambridge Crossings to be extremely nice. We were treated like friends even while looking at the housing that was available. We love the small community and the closeness of all the neighbors.

How long have you lived here?
We have lived here two years.

Who built your home?
The builder was Cambridge Southport LLC.

What is your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
It is very difficult to identify one favorite thing about southeastern North Carolina. We love the small-town feel of Southport and Oak Island, the uncrowded beaches and the calmness that abounds when the tourist season is over. The location is just perfect. We are within an hour or less drive from either Wilmington or Myrtle Beach. The positives for living here are endless.

Vince & Lexie DiBattista
Where did you move from?
Jefferson Hills, Pa. (Pittsburgh)

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
To semi-retire and escape the stress of our former jobs … and, of course, for the weather!

What community did you decide to move to and why?
Sunset Ridge in Ocean Isle Beach. While vacationing here, we came across the development on our way to visit my sister and brother-in-law who had just retired to Holden Beach.

How long have you lived here?
We have lived here for four and a half years.

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with them?
Bill Clark Homes. We first bought a new, existing townhome in Sunset Ridge and after three years we decided to build a single-family home. Because of the friendships we had developed and the affordability of a Bill Clark Home, we wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. And, of course, our salesperson, Eric Lank, who we now consider our friend, made our experience throughout the building process an enjoyable one!

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
Too many to mention, but the top three are the weather, the beach and the laid-back style of living.
Jack & Jill Kenley
Where did you move from?
While we have a Chapel Hill address, we live in North Chatham County very close to Jordan Lake. We are in the process of relocating to our new home in Ocean Isle Beach over the next several months.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
We have vacationed between Sunset and Ocean Isle beaches for over 30 years and with so many friends and relatives in the area, we always knew that we would be here.

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with them?
Our home was built by Scott Quaintance and his team at Carolina Bluewater Construction. We selected Scott based upon his work on several homes of friends and associates. He did not disappoint! We had no vision or plans for our home and only provided Scott with a list of preferences from which he did the design. We didn’t change anything. The high quality workmanship of the Carolina Bluewater team coupled with Scott’s attention to detail made this build a terrific experience for us.
Rich & Kathy Thomas
Where did you move from?
We were born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to the Columbus area in 1990. We moved to North Carolina from Dublin, Ohio, in February of 2013.

Why did you move to southeastern N.C.?
We had vacationed along the southeastern coast of North Carolina with our children for several years. We absolutely loved the area. Upon our retirement, we couldn’t really come up with a reason not to relocate to our very favorite place to be.

What community did you decide to move to and why?
We settled into Cade’s Cove in Southport. The beautiful cottage-style homes Cardinal Builders was offering were exactly what we were looking for. Along with our beautiful home we have a neighborhood designed for riding bikes, walking, running, swimming or simply visiting friends on their front porches.

Who built your home and why did you decide to build with them?
We found Cardinal Builders to produce excellent homes. Their structurally sound product, attention to detail and willingness to work with us made the building process comfortable and easy. Not a small feat considering we lived in Ohio at the time.

What’s your favorite thing about southeastern N.C.?
The Intracoastal Waterway is 1 mile away and the beach is a short 10-minute drive. Southport is home. It is a small, old fishing village where everyone knows everyone else. Beautiful live oaks canopy the streets. People care about each other and help each other. If someone asks how you’re doing, they really care to know. Southport settles into your heart and makes you a better person.

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