Lake location close to family

At a Glance

Dick and Gwen Aldridge’s new home, built by Stonecrest Homes in The Springs at Sterling on the Lake, has four bedrooms, three baths and about 2,900 square feet. They purchased it in April. Homes in The Springs start in the $230,000s.

Dick and Gwen Aldridge retired in Charlotte, N.C., where they lived for 20-plus years, but weren’t sure about taking the plunge into a retirement-only community when they moved to Georgia.

Ranch homes, wider doorways and lawn maintenance – common in 55-and-up communities – were offered at The Springs at Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch, but the neighborhood doesn’t have an age minimum. Dick, 71, who retired from the computer networking industry, chatted about their move and one-and-a-half story home in the multigenerational community on more than 1,000 acres near Lake Lanier.

Q: What brought you to Georgia?

A: We have a 5-year-old grandson. Our daughter lives in Cumming. I have an older brother who lives in Gainesville. Our primary reason for coming down here was to be near them.

Q: What did you want in terms of the neighborhood and style of home?

A: We hadn’t had any pre-drawn conclusions. However we had looked at several of the retirement communities around here. We just couldn’t see ourselves living that lifestyle. We liked seeing tricycles on the sidewalk and children playing. We liked the combination of The Springs, which doesn’t say you can’t move in here if you’re not over 55, but there are amenities of the home that are typical of senior homes.

Q: Which features appeared to be built for older adults?

A: The first thing that comes to mind is the width and size of the doorways. It’s not a handicapped bathroom by any means but the toilets are high.

Q: What’s interesting about the floor plan?

A: We have a beautiful breezeway between the front door and the man cave, which I’ve made my office. I call it the man cave but properly it would be called the mother-in-law suite. It’s a unique design. It has a three-car garage. I’m a woodworking hobbyist so I have a little workshop out in my garage.

Q: How do features in the home fit with your style?

A: Perfectly, in fact, it was improved upon. The granite is actually better than what we had in Charlotte. It’s prettier and done in a different style. All of our furniture fit in here perfectly.

Q: How far is the home from your family?

A: We’re about 22 minutes from (their daughter and grandson). I go to my brother’s house in Gainesville – it is 23 minutes.

Q: What other activities do you enjoy in your new community?

A: The activities that are planned by the social director here are incredible. Every week we get an email about some really neat function, several of which have been phenomenal like the Harvest Balloon Festival. There’s always a concert or a movie or a dinner or a get-together. We belong to an empty nesters group, which has dinners, outings and social functions. There’s a clubhouse, great pool, and activities for kids and grandchildren. Hall County built a beautiful library extension out here. It’s got lots of activities also, and a restaurant inside the library. Our access to marinas and waterfront restaurants is incredible. One of our favorite restaurants is Fish Tales Lakeside Grill.