Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains a few miles southeast of Birmingham, Shoal Creek blends scenic living with modern-day luxury.
Where untouched nature meets genteel living, you’ll find Shoal Creek — a tucked-away gem just a few miles southeast of Birmingham. The community began blossoming into what it is today about four decades ago when the late Hall Thompson decided to build a top-of-the-line golf course buffered by lush woods. A thriving golf club, gorgeous homes, trails, lakes, stables and other amenities quickly followed. Today, a new generation of Thompsons are bringing cutting-edge additions to the idyllic enclave while honoring their father’s legacy.
Caroline Little, Thompson’s granddaughter and third-generation president of Shoal Creek Properties, says the area has grown from a prestigious golf getaway to a comfortable community worth calling home. “I think there is a sense of tranquility when people drive through the gate,” Caroline says. “That sense of privacy and community, it makes a real difference.”
Surrounded by natural waterways and hardwood forest, Shoal Creek blends classic architecture with modern-day luxuries to create a community that seems to exist outside of reality — untouched by time and cookie-cutter construction. The only hustle and bustle here is produced by fish that swarm lakes and birds that flock high in the sky. “Residents can look across the street and see forests, lakes, babbling creeks or pastures with roaming horses,” Caroline says. “You really do feel like you’re transported somewhere else.”
Some say Shoal Creek was populated long before its official establishment in 1977, as early Native Americans once thrived near the banks of the namesake creek that runs the length of its 1,500-plus acres. Driving through the neighborhood, stopping only to greet passersby on foot or in golf carts, Caroline says the community offers something for folks of all ages and stages of life.
Large estate homes and smaller hamlets dot the area, creating natural neighborhoods where residents can find an authentic sense of community without sacrificing privacy. In addition, there is much buzz surrounding the exciting, new home developments underway, making this once well-kept secret a highly sought-after residential destination.
Along with premium homes built to last, Shoal Creek offers a number of recreational areas with boundless possibilities. Trails weave through woods into well-stocked waters and fresh waterways ideal for a morning kayak or canoe adventure.
Inanda Stables, the community’s premier horse boarding and training facility, provides the perfect outlet for equestrians who crave the respite of riding a horse through the countryside. With 34 stalls and indoor and outdoor arenas surrounded by lush trails and miles of pasture, the stables are well known for their first-class amenities.
Because Shoal Creek boasts a pastoral aesthetic reminiscent of a preserved countryside or European village, its homes are designed in a classical style that complements their surroundings. Jason Dunham of Nequette Architecture & Design said the inspiration for the latest phase of construction at Shoal Creek came from turn-of-the-century Irish and Scottish communities. That inspiration, says Jason, is reflected through the neighborhood’s distinct layout of small hamlets clustered together. “By doing that, we’re creating a little bit of urbanity in a rural area,” he says.
Most design plans, says Jason, are given a distinctive name native to their inspiration. The Crosbie and Turnberry, both European villages and golf courses, are just a few models that reflect their unmistakable period-inspired architecture. “What’s interesting is back when those villages were created, a lot of them were built by the community, and they tended to be simple in form and used a lot of local materials,” says Jason. “So that informed a consistency in the palette of materials and colors.”
Francis Bryant Construction, the general contractor overseeing the latest phase of development, has played a key role in ensuring that Shoal Creek’s expansion stays true to its idyllic setting. Kevin Gann, Principal of Francis Bryant Construction, says coming on board for the project was something of a privilege. “It is a great honor for Francis Bryant to be selected by Shoal Creek Properties to serve as the general contractor for such a vibrant new addition to its community,” says Kevin.
With gradual expansion taking place in the Shoal Creek community, Jason says his team is well aware of the mystique that was established there decades ago. “It’s an atmosphere that will be preserved in every detail of the community,” he says.
“I think a big part of it is building a product that’s reflective of our brand,” says Caroline, who frequently brings her young children to Shoal Creek, so they can enjoy the natural scenery and meandering trails. “It’s a custom, quality product that feels like home — a home I would want to live in.”
Because Shoal Creek is a legacy property in the sense that it is largely family-owned and operated, Caroline says she takes great pride in carrying the proverbial torch — ensuring her grandfather’s initial vision that the natural beauty of the community tucked into the Alabama forest is preserved.
“Because so many homes are hidden by the landscape, you might not even realize there’s a community out here,” she says. “That feeling of being connected with nature and also having a strong sense of community, that’s Shoal Creek.”
Thank you to Rebecca Wise of Rebecca Wise Photography for these lovely images of Shoal Creek!
This article is sponsored by Shoal Creek Properties.