As I mentioned in a previous post, we're going to be moving to either Jacksonville or Houston. We're looking for a master planned community with resort-style amenities - pool, playground, tennis courts, splashpad, etc, as we're very much looking forward to being able to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. We went neighborhood hunting in Jacksonville a couple weeks ago and visited several different developments, which I'll give you the Cliffs-Notes versions of below! Are Cliffs-Notes still a thing? Am I showing my age with that comment...?
Development 1 - we knew immediately that this neighborhood wasn't for us. The amenities weren't great, and this particular builder has very limited choices for finishes. I am WAY too picky for that!
Development 2 - this neighborhood had the most incredible amenities - three gorgeous pools, a giant waterslide, a state of the art gym, the list goes on... But the first thing I noticed about the houses was that they were all SO Mediterranean looking. I really tried to convince myself that I would be able to get past the Mediterranean-ness; alas, I am just not a Mediterranean kinda gal. The other thing that my husband and I both noticed in all the model and spec homes was that the space was used in a way that we thought was sub-optimal. Even in a 4,000 square foot model home, there were areas that felt cramped while others felt way too big, and some of the layouts just seemed bizarre. Sigh. Bye bye waterslide. Our time together was much too brief.
Development 3 - This is a brand new area in Jacksonville; the development, which will be huge, is barely more than a dirt patch at this point. There are several different builders building in here, but only one offers houses that are large enough for our family. After walking through one model, we knew this builder could be for us. The models were absolutely gorgeous, used space well, and were done in a coastal style, which I would prefer if we're going to be in Florida. However, the amenities were still under construction and looked like they could be aimed more for young professionals than families. It also isn't in the best school district, so this one went onto the back-burner.
Development 4 - This is a country club type-neighborhood within THE master planned community in Jacksonville, which is in the best school district in Florida. It was the same builder as development 3, so we already knew that was a bonus. We drove in and absolutely fell in love with the oak trees, coastal style houses, and private clubhouse and pool. These models were, again, beautiful (I mean...can you EVEN with that house below?!), so we excitedly ran-walked into the sales office. FULL. Every lot within this community has been sold. All that they have left are a couple Quick Delivery homes, which means we wouldn't get to choose the layout or the finishes, which is a deal-breaker for both of us. My husband loves tile and countertops and flooring (oh my!) almost as much as I do! So long, dream house...
Development 5 - Another community with incredible amenities - pools, tennis courts, beautiful gym, playgrounds, and A LAZY RIVER...there are few things I love more in life than a lazy river. This development is kind of out in the sticks, and it has a distinctly woods-y feel to it - I again found myself trying to look past those downsides because the amenities were THAT good. Then we went to go look at the houses, which were all vaguely Craftsman-looking. My husband turned to me and goes "this place just reminds me of home and of all the things that we're trying to get away from." We high-tailed it outta there. I'm sure there are other lazy rivers in Florida!
Development 6 - This development is AMAZING. It's like a country club minus the golf plus an enormous pool with a beach, waterslides, and swim up tiki bar. It's got a gym, organized social events, planned retail and restaurant space, and even a doggy splash pad, which Lucy will LOVE. And the houses. OMG the houses. We found a builder that we absolutely fell in love with - charming farmhouse and coastal-style houses. I could honestly see our family living in the model home; the layout was perfect for us. The builder is also semi-custom, so small tweaks can be made to any of their floorplans, and we're not limited whatsoever with finishes. Dream community + (hopefully) dream builder = heart-eye emoji!
So there you have it! The good, the bad, and the ugly of Jacksonville, FL! Except none were really bad or ugly, just not quite right for us. We saw a lot and learned a lot about ourselves - what we're looking for, what we're not looking for, and when it's time to take our two year old to a park.