Folks in North and South Carolina may not agree on what constitutes proper barbecue (vinegar or mustard-based sauce), which university is the real “Carolina” (Tar Heels or Gamecocks) or politics (one’s red, one’s purple).
But from the mountains to the beach, residents of the Palmetto and Old North States can agree on one thing: both are retirement and relocation hotbeds that collectively attract more than 120,000 net new residents annually.
While many opt for coastal cities, like Wilmington, Myrtle Beach and Charleston, others are drawn to both states’ stunning sections of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
South Carolina’s Upstate borders the Blue Ridge escarpment, offering a “foothills” lifestyle at elevations ranging from 900 to 2,000 feet above sea level. North Carolina’s entire western section comprises a huge swath of the famed range, including the highest point east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell, at 6,6084 feet.
Here’s a closer look at two communities that embody the best of both of these lifestyles, Cherokee Valley in Travelers Rest, S.C. and Rumbling Bald Resort in Lake Lure, N.C.
New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin …
Carol Sherman, with Realtor One Group Freedom in Travelers Rest rattles off some of the states sending new residents this small town of just over 5,000 residents located 25 minutes north of Greenville.
However, there are also several “not so usual suspects,” such as Texas, California and even Idaho.
“The word has gotten out about Travelers Rest in Greenville County, and people love the beauty and setting of this area,” says Sherman, who specializes in all things Cherokee Valley real estate. “The cost of living is also well below the national average and significantly lower than the Northeast.”
Sherman, who lives, works and plays in Cherokee Valley, operates the onsite sales center across the street from Cherokee Valley Course and Club’s Event Center. She’s a South Carolina native who has traveled the world but chose to move back to the area to help others discover their new Cherokee Valley lifestyle.
And what a lifestyle it is …
Cherokee Valley, by standard definition, is a golf course community. But there’s really nothing standard about it. Golf Inc. Magazine recently named Cherokee Valley one of the “Most Innovative” golf courses in the U.S.
Over the past three years, it has evolved into the social and recreational hub of the four-neighborhood development. In fact, the residents are the community’s heartbeat, lifeblood and expert “word of mouth” real estate marketers, according to Sherman.
“New residents are welcomed here with open arms,” she says. “We have a Facebook page and as soon as they are introduced to the group, they’re going to make friends quickly. People here have friends visit and the next thing you know, they’re moving here, too.”
While they don’t all play golf, those relocating from points north are drawn to the other activities and amenities offered at Cherokee Valley. Group hikes, holiday parties, cornhole tournaments and community outreach are wildly popular with residents.
And then there’s simply lounging by the pool in the summer or walking around the community with friends amid the blooming trees and shrubs of spring. Cherokee Valley offers both golf and social memberships with no initiation fees or food and beverage minimums, and dues under $200 a month.
“My buyers appreciate the many different membership options, even for the non-golfer,” Sherman says. “There truly is a membership for everyone at Cherokee Valley.”
And there are also residential options for just about everyone, as well, at Cherokee Valley. The Summit and Woodlands enclaves have the majority of building sites offering golf course and mountain views.
The Woodlands, Valley, Summit and neighborhood immediately around the event center occasionally have resale homes for those on a tight moving schedule, whether due to relocation, retirement or moving from within the Greenville area.
Those who have the time and prefer to build can select from a stable of pre-approved builders or bring their own builder for approval. From groundbreaking to move-in, expect six months to a year depending on weather, home size and the builder’s schedule, according to Sherman.
As far as price points, they run the gamut from just over $300,000 up to $950,000. The wide range broadens Cherokee Valley’s appeal to a spectrum of buyers.
With the growth of neighboring North Greenville University, increased residential construction in the region and the quality of local schools, Cherokee Valley has become particularly attractive to families.
“In many ways, it is what attracted us to the area,” says Cherokee Valley Course and Club owner Matt Jennings. “You basically have everything you need up here, and for what we don’t have, downtown Travelers Rest and Greer are 10 minutes away, and downtown Greenville is under a half hour.”
Jennings and Executive Chef Todd Warden are opening Core 450 onsite later this year, a contemporary casual restaurant with outdoor patios overlooking the 9th and 18th greens.
A short walk or golf cart ride from surrounding residences, Core 450’s open kitchen concept will feature a diverse menu ranging from small plates and pizza to five course meals. Residents and golfers alike will have a place to relax, mingle and get to know each other.
Rumbling Bald Resort
The Blue Ridge Mountains region of western North Carolina is vast – spanning more than 170 miles east-to-west – and diverse, ranging from basins at 1,000 feet above sea level to towering mountains over 6,000 feet.
Legendary golf course architect Donald Ross was enamored with the dramatic terrain in the western half of the Old North State, designing numerous courses in the 20s and 30s including famed Linville Golf Club and the Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course.
His protégé Ellis Maples followed suit, crafting several highly regarded mountain tracks such as Grandfather Golf and Country Club and Boone Golf Club. And his son, Dan, made his mark in the mountains with the Apple Valley course at Rumbling Bald Resort.
Rumbling Bald Resort sits along the northern shore of Lake Lure, centrally located in the Eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville is just an hour west, and all the major metropolitan offerings of Charlotte are less than two hours east.
And while it has served guests from around the world for decades, Rumbling Bald is more than resort; it’s a thriving, 3,000-acre mountain golf community blessed with a comfortable climate year-round, stunning mountain views and full of friendly faces and kindred souls.
For years, there’s been a “rite of passage” at Rumbling Bald Resort: a weekend getaway one year becomes a week-long visit the next; a week turns into a month the following year; and month turns into a lifetime after that.
After all, Rumbling Bald is a highly amenitized “resort community,” and the property’s 36 holes of golf, lakefront amenities and activities, and cozy vacation rental homes attract visitors from points near and far.
For racquet sports enthusiasts, there are both tennis and pickleball courts. And while Rumbling Bald sprawls over 3,000 acres of lush mountain terrain, it is also the perfect base camp for exploring the region’s myriad hiking trails, vineyards and other tourist attractions.
But for many residents, it’s what’s missing that attracts them to Rumbling Bald Resort. No traffic, air pollution or crowded city streets. Long, languid evenings are spent on front porches and backyard decks as the stars emerge from the Western North Carolina night sky.
Rumbling Bald’s two 18-hole layouts, Bald Mountain and Apple Valley, are just minutes apart but decidedly different in their look, feel and playing characteristics.
Designed by W.B. Lewis, a protégé of George Cobb, Bald Mountain is just what the name suggests: a pure mountain course with a beguiling mix of uphill and downhill holes inviting golfers to use every club in the proverbial bag.
Apple Valley, in contrast, is a traditional design that Maples delicately routed through the hills and dales just south of Bald Mountain. Maples estimates that nearly three-fourths of all shots on Apple Valley are either level or downhill, a rarity for a course in these parts.
Rumbling Bald offers value-packed resident and non-resident golf memberships with no initiation fee required. Individual, family and weekday options are available, as is a six-month seasonal membership for residents spending part of the year elsewhere.
Golfers can also add a practice range plan with unlimited use of the facilities and range balls. Golf members receive 20% off in either golf shop and are treated to quarterly “Shopping Sprees” in which they can buy up $750 in merchandise at 10% above cost.
Everyone’s timeline for relocation is different. With remote work becoming not only acceptable but mandatory at many companies, and schools rolling out virtual classroom options, people’s timelines for moving have been dramatically altered.
Through Beverly Hanks onsite office at Rumbling Bald, buyers can select among resale homes, condos and townhomes, as well as building lots for custom homes and a limited number of existing new homes. A wide variety of price points are also available to suit almost any budget.
For prospective buyers who want a taste of the Rumbling Bald lifestyle, one- and two-night Discovery Packages are available year-round. The packages include lodging in an Apple Valley studio vacation rental, scenic lake cruise and guided tour of the property.