Most buyers – and even people who aren’t – have heard the old real estate adage about the best thing a property can have: Location, location, location. That primary factor – times three – is often the main feature that draws buyers to a given community. But “location” doesn’t mean the same to everyone. In the case of two homeowners at Windsong’s Heron Pond in Cherokee County, the dot-on-the-map concept wasn’t about location in the conventional sense.

    For these two couples, buying a home in the active-adult community was less about proximity to interstates, shopping and services, and all about getting close to family.

    “For the last two years, our daughter has wanted us to move closer,” said Teresa Etherton, who settled into Heron Pond with her husband, Larry, last summer. “Now, she lives right across the way with her 6- and 9-year-olds. We absolutely love being so close to them.”

    At first, Etherton wasn’t sure buying a house at Heron Pond was a possibility because of the high demand for its lock-and-leave, low maintenance lifestyle.

    “When we first looked, they had 800 people interested in these homes, so they held a lottery, and we were number 45,” Etherton recalled. “We thought there was no way we’d get the house we wanted. But as it turned out, we got the lot on the corner and the house we wanted, and were the second people to move in.”

    After downsizing from a 5,600-square-foot house, Etherton also had some concerns about the floor plan. “I felt we were taking a risk going from three finished levels to a one-floor plan,” she said. “But Windsong is full of delightful people who really take care of you. We knocked down the covered courtyard area and made another room for our pool table. We also added an upstairs. They were so nice to work with.”

    Doreen Marshall and Bob Rittle had a similar experience with their home that need tweaking to make it work for their lifestyle. Rittle, who runs an investment management company, needed a private, secluded zone for his home office, but none of the Heron Pond plans incorporated that feature. After learning about the situation, Windsong’s Managing Partner Steve Romeyn presented Rittle with a floor plan that was still in the works but that suited his request.

    “I was impressed that Steve would choose to finalize this plan and even bring me into this project to refine the design based on our input and how we planned to live in the house,” said Rittle. “I have built six homes, and while I am not an expert, I had some experience with this sort of project. Since we were the first to build this new plan, we ran into little things here and there that needed all of us to collaborate. I really enjoyed how responsive and proactive the Windsong team was.”

    Like their neighbors, Marshall and Rittle selected Windsong for its location to family. “We wanted to be in this area as Doreen’s granddaughters attend Kennesaw State University,” said Rittle. “We also love heading north to go hiking. We enjoy that we can lock up and leave for an adventure at the drop of a hat; that is a big priority for us. Having the lawn maintenance taken care of is a huge piece of this freedom.”

    Heron Pond offers a traditional concept of location as well. The historic downtown district of Woodstock, with its shops and restaurants, is just a few minutes away. Interstates, health services and recreational areas are also nearby. In addition, the gate community of 75 homes boasts a park, pond, walking trail, clubhouse and sidewalks throughout.

    Inside, floor plans feature main-level living with additional bonus areas. Designs range from 1,908 to 4,170 square feet centered around a great room, kitchen and dining area. The master suites include a tray ceiling, walk-in closets, a tiled shower with a bench seat, ceramic tile flooring and marble vanities. Kitchens are finished with granite counters, tile backsplashes and islands. Hardwood floors and gas fireplaces are included. And because all Windsong houses are designed for aging in place, the plans incorporate easy-living features such as step-free access and wide doorways.

    Geared toward the 55-and-older buyer, Heron Pond provides that secure setting that allows owners to leave their homes without worry. With exterior maintenance handled for them, owners have no worries about keeping up their individual properties.

    “We probably weren’t quite ready for the ‘55-and-older’ concept, but we are gone so much, this is perfect,” said Etherton. “We don’t have to take care of anything, and everything’s on the ground level. We just love it.”

    About Heron Pond

    Location: Woodstock, Cherokee County

    Price range: $low $300,000s to the high $400,000s

    Number of homes when completed:
    75

    Styles: Craftsman -style ranch and courtyard homes

    Square footage: 1,908 to 4,170 square feet

    Getting there: From downtown Atlanta, take I-75 north to I-575 north toward Canton; take Exit 7, Hwy. 92/Woodstock; turn right on Hwy. 92, and travel 5.1 miles. Heron Pond is on the left.

    Contacts: 770-516-3678770-516-3678 , www.windsonglife.com

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