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What Wes and Ida Learned During Their Weekend Discovery Package

Category: Active adult communities

Editors Note: One of our Topretirements members was kind enough to write this travelogue of his and his wife’s recent “Stay and Play” or “Discovery” Package experience. We thought it was so interesting that it would make a good article. Wes and Ida used a weekend getaway package to explore Deaton Creek in Hoschton, Georgia (a small town northwest of Atlanta along I 85). Please note that we are not endorsing Deaton Creek, we are just passing along their experience. We applaud Wes and Ida’s decision to check out a community in this way; there is no better way to get an opinion about a community than to live in it for a few days. Most active adult communities offer various Discovery packages. You can use the Advanced Search at Topretirements to find many of them. But if you don’t see one, ask!

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend getaway at Del Webb’s Village at Deaton Creek (DC)
this 4th of July weekend (Sat/Sun). We specifically chose this weekend to offer us
the max opportunity to experience a community event–to provide us the most
exposure to speaking with residents about DC. We were able to experience
three different community events Sunday (Golf Cart parade, 4th of July BBQ and
a neighborhood get together to watch fireworks). Along with spending
Saturday looking at models we hit a Grand Slam with our visit to Deaton Creek.

In our weekend getaway package, (for just $89) for Sat and Sun night (DW comped
the second night as an incentive for us to take the getaway program). Along with
our buyer’s agent, we met our DW sales agent at the sales center early Sat AM.

Andy immediately gave us a $70 dinner coupon for Chateau Elan (an upscale
golf/restaurant complex–only 5 min from DC) and he gave us tickets ($8 ea)
for the 4th annual 4th of July BBQ Sunday at 4pm. Thus, the weekend really cost
us our time and expense for driving to/from metro Atlanta (our home is only 63 min
from our front gate to DC’s front gate).

For our weekend DC getaway, we got a beautiful1400 sg. ft. Villa to use. The Villa was exceptionally comfortable; stocked refrigerator (soda, water, juice), coffee provided, dish washer & soap, laundry detergent and machines. We also had the use of a golf cart for the weekend (what fun!) and when we pulled into the parade Sat pm (to our pleasant surprise( DW decorated our golf cart with the 4th of July theme as we elected to participate in the annual Golf Cart 4th of July parade.

The golf cart parade was the perfect way to experience the DC community (we traveled on every
DC street) waving to many, many DC residents. My wife decked out in 4th of July themed clothes
constantly yelled, “Yell, if you love it here” many did; and “Yell, if you love shopping” ugh.
The golf cart parade was a blast–we had 1000 watt smiles on our face for at least an hour.

Immediately after the golf cart parade, we were met by our Ambassador couple (DC residents who
have lived in DC for 3 1/2 yrs) and have similar interest (walking/jogging/gardening) to ours.

We hit it off instantly and were together from 4:30 to 11:30 pm. Bob and Judy picked us up
in their golf cart about 8:30 pm as we were invited to go one of the neighborhood parks (atop
a rolling hill) to watch the annual Chateau Elan fireworks show. Along with 50+ DC residents
we all brought lawn chairs and enjoyed wine/beer and snacks while watching breathtaking
fireworks display.

Ida and I thought we had stepped into a Stepford Wives community as (I learned in
almost 32 yrs of Army service to ask Soldiers what are their 3 up’s/3 down’s as a means
of encouraging open feedback) in almost two dozen resident conversations we got
this answer for 3 up’s (3 positive things):

People, Topography (Location, Location, Location) and Activities. DC is set
in rolling hills at foot of north GA mountains. Simply stunning–we pinched ourselves
during our early morning walks in DC. When I used the 35K amenities center
Monday am before returning to Atlanta, I spoke with two residents in the Locker
room. One older gentleman when I asked his 3up/3down questions he told me about 12 couples
he knew moved from Del Webb Hilton Head to DC…why? Location–and DC is probably the most
bug free over 55 community in the world. Plus, he enjoys the smaller size of DC
vs Hilton Head.

Ida and I we love the fact that there is 9 1/2 miles of wooded trails versus a Golf
Course (as the community center of gravity). We do not play golf and do not want our
HOA monthly ($189) going for capital improvements on a golf course.
Most residents we spoke too did not come up with a down..I prodded them further by
saying my one down is the wooden bridge (vs steel) that separates phase I from Phase II.
There will be three phases btw. I did learn from the our Ambassador couple (Bob & Judy)
that the HOA has spoken with Pulte and they have a permanent fix for the wooden bridge.

Was able to use the list of questionsTop Retirements suggests we ask (HOA health, political climate, etc.) and by the end of the 4th of July Q, Ida and I said, “this is where we want to spend our
retirement”. We now are waiting for Ida to retire (second time) next July and for our 18 year old dog
to go to rainbow bridge. We do not want to move until after he passes as he is almost
blind and deaf and new surroundings would not be easy on him. DC allows three pets
and aluminum fences (we have three other doxies). And DC has a Bark Park.

Can you tell we’re excited? Within 12-18 months we will buy our final retirement home in DC.

Thanks! We would like to thank Wes and Ida for sharing with their weekend with us. Have you been on a Discovery Weekend? Please post comments about your experience below.

Posted by John Brady on July 12th, 2010


  1. My husband and I spent a day at Deaton Creek last week, on our way to a “getaway package” at Sun City Peachtree, GA. We’ve now experienced three Del Web communities. Our main “down” is the lack of options in fixtures, hardware, countertops and such. All I can think of is the post-WWII cookie cutter homes. They have many options for activities, lovely home plans and great sized homes for active retirees, but no options within the “packages” for personalizing. We plan to continue our search.

    by Barbara — July 14, 2010

  2. how do you get a play and stay pkg? we are looking in to retirement in Delaware are there any there

    by pat — July 14, 2010

  3. You can search in Advanced Search for communities that offer Discovery or Stay and Play. Or if you don’t find any, call them up – they will probably offer.

    by Admin — July 14, 2010

  4. what are the 3 down or negative things you learned about dc? you mentioned 3 positive ones, but not the negative ones. there are always some.

    by nedra mcnamara — July 15, 2010

  5. did mention one down in the article above; the wooden bridge (vs a bridge made out of steele) about 1 mile down Deaton Creek Parkway that separates Phase I from Phase II. However, on reflection (not a deal breaker) that our second down (from perspective of my wife and I being retired military) is the closest military installation (therefore access to Commissary, Post Exchange, etc) is just about an hour (51 miles) away (Dobbins AFB) from DC. Finally, a third down (really an up) is there are less than a dozen resales (out of over 700 homes (less than 2%) available right now in DC…testament to DC being the top selling over 55 community in GA for 2008/2009.

    by Colonel(ret)wes — July 16, 2010

  6. […] How to Find a Stay & Play Package How to Find Active Communities Posted by John Brady on June 20th, 2011 Comments (5)  Email This Post Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS) […]

    by » Finding The Best Active Adult Communities Can Be Fun! Topretirements — August 4, 2011

  7. Don’t fall in love with any community until you check out the quality of construction and the developers responsiveness to correcting problems. Go on the web. Some people are happy with a nice looking poorly built house. Best
    suggestion- RENT BEFORE YOU BUY!

    by rob chaleff — August 5, 2011

  8. As Wes and Ida did, be sure to talk to residents. Also, read over the HOA master declaration if there is an HOA (be sure you can live with the rules), find out from he planning division of the county any plans for undeveloped nearby land (or if there might be a paper mill, turpentine plant, etc. close by), and be sure a critical mass of residents and amenties are in place. You might also want to put the address into and see what is within walking distance of a community you’re thinking about. And, be sure the builders are integrating universal design concepts into the housing.

    Jan Cullinane, The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — August 6, 2011

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