Shoal Creek homeowner Allison Cease and her family — husband Alan, 4-year-old daughter Caroline, and 3-year-old son John Collins – made the decision earlier this year that it was time to look for a new place to lay down roots. Serendipitously, an advertisement for a home in Shoal Creek popped up on Allison’s Facebook page, and she knew she had to go visit the luxury community to see if it was as beautiful in person as it came across online.
As she rounded the corner and saw the stunning four-bedroom home nestled on 1.9 manicured acres, happy tears filled her eyes.
“I thought ‘This is where I want to raise my kids,’” she shares. “No place had ever felt like home until this house. Shoal Creek is so inviting and family-oriented, and we feel safe and secure. It’s beautiful and peaceful and I don’t think we’ll ever leave.”
The Ceases moved into their new home just last month but are already creating family traditions there. The 4,675-square-foot home, built last year, features enviable outdoor living spaces like a sizable front porch – where there is a fireplace and comfortable furniture meant for spending time as a family – and the centerpiece of the home, a screened-in, oversized back porch with a fireplace, a porch swing that can fit the whole family, a dining room table, and a television where the Ceases can watch TV as a family on a Tuesday night or invite a big crowd over for a Saturday afternoon football game. The back porch has become the family’s favorite gathering spot, Allison shares.
“It’s so relaxing and serene,” she says. “It’s a peaceful, cozy spot to enjoy our kids, whether we’re eating breakfast or playing with toys. When we want to unwind, we come out here.”
Built by Ken Underwood with interiors by Ashley Byrd, the downstairs features a formal dining room with a butler’s pantry, a great room with wood beams and a limestone fireplace, a kitchen with quartz countertops, and a master suite with a soaking tub, double vanities, and two large walk-in closets. Both of the Cease children have their own room upstairs, with the fourth bedroom downstairs currently being used as an office for Alan, who is a physician at St. Vincent’s. Upstairs, Caroline and John Collins can play in an enormous playroom and outside enjoy a built-in playground that’s perfect for children their age.
“Shoal Creek really appeals to our young family,” Allison continues. “There’s so much space for our children and a big yard to play in and run around barefoot, and there’s a playground within two miles. We like to visit [nearby] Mt. Laurel to have ice cream or eat at La Paz. Then we can come home and have family time and soak in our kids without distractions and be a family at the end of the day.”
The Ceases recently bought a Polaris Ranger utility vehicle, and Caroline and John Collins — with pup Emme in tow — love to take rides with their parents through the Shoal Creek community, admiring the beautiful scenery, placed perfectly at the foothills of the Appalachians. On Sundays after church, the family drives the Ranger up to the Shoal Creek Club for lunch, where Alan’s parents are members. There they enjoy delicious cuisine, and Alan, a golfer, might enjoy a few holes on Shoal Creek’s internationally renowned golf course, designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus himself.
The idyllic scenery and golf are just two of Shoal Creek’s many amenities, though – the community is gated with armed security 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The club has a pool where Allison says she can’t wait to take her children swimming next summer. There are abundant lakes and streams to fish, kayak, and canoe, and there is a 30-stall equestrian facility with access to horse riding trails. Though when you’re at Shoal Creek it feels like you’ve stepped away from the city and into your own tree-lined paradise, Highway 280 is mere miles away, connecting Shoal Creek residents to the bustling Magic City.
“You get the best of both worlds here,” explains Kelley Norwood, marketing consultant for Shoal Creek Properties. “There is such a tradition about living at Shoal Creek. You get both privacy and a sense of community. It is the same as it has always been, and the community has always stuck to its original vision. It is timeless.”
Shoal Creek has been in existence since 1977 and offers a variety of homes that are ready to buy, as well as lots ready to be built on, customizable to any homeowner’s exact preferences. Carrie Lusk, a realtor at Shoal Creek Properties, says that while residents may come for the lush greenery, they stay for the second-to-none sense of community.
“Longtime residents here would tell you there is a strong sense of community with their neighbors,” she says. “People move here because of the beauty, privacy, and security, and even though it is not a densely populated community, you still feel like you know your neighbors. Shoal Creek is a hidden gem that more people should know about.”
Allison remains thankful for that chance Facebook advertisement that led her to her dream home, where she says she feels like she’s on vacation all the time.
“It’s fairytale-like,” she concludes. “I love it. We are so settled, happy, and at peace.”
To learn more about Shoal Creek, visit liveatshoalcreek.com.
This article is sponsored by Shoal Creek. All photography provided by Shoal Creek.