Fly Away Home

10/01/2013 6:03 PM

10/07/2013 5:18 PM

When Tom and Anne-Mari Kelly moved from Germany to Huntersville, they loved being near the lake and the sunny weather, but they weren’t so thrilled with the blazing hot summer temperatures. In search of a little relief, the couple started looking at vacation homes in different North Carolina mountain communities. They wanted a place where they could beat the summer heat and that also provided plenty of activities to keep their two young daughters entertained. For nearly five years the couple searched, and they kept coming back to the very first community they toured—Mountain Air in Burnsville, only about two-and-a-half hours from Lake Norman. “We visited lots of other places, but none of them had the same combination of amenities, activities, and natural beauty,” says Tom Kelly. “This place really is something.” Indeed, Mountain Air is situated among 1,300 heavily wooded and landscaped acres some 5,000 feet above sea level overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. It boasts an award-winning golf course that plunges an astounding 900 feet in just 11 holes. At the heart of the community is a central village that features a full-service clubhouse, fitness center, spa, marketplace, two restaurants, small movie theater, and heated outdoor pool. Elsewhere on the property are tennis courts, a pavilion, community garden, and even a 2,875-foot paved runway—about one-third of the Mountain Air residents fly their own planes directly into the private community. And the Kellies especially liked all the kids’ activities, including guided nature hikes, special events and activities, and Camp Chautauqua, a clubhouse with arts and crafts, game room, and babysitting services. Moreover, by 2010, when the Kellies were finally ready to buy, home prices were more affordable. The couple purchased a 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom home, with sweeping mountain views. “It’s the perfect size for our family, but we like to have guests, and we accomplish that with air mattresses,” says Tom. While the Kellies purchased the home as a summer retreat, they’ve been coming up nearly every weekend, including during the winter. They say their daughters, Charlize, 8, and Keira, 5, really look forward to the weekend getaways now that they’re a little older and can enjoy activities like golf and tennis. While the peak season at Mountain Air runs from May to October, country club general manager Andy Singleton says there’s still a lot going on during the winter, during which about 100 residents visit on weekends. “We have dinner parties every Friday night, and there’s the heated swimming pool, hot tub, and hiking trails people can enjoy year-round,” he says. “There’s something for everybody.” And while there’s plenty at Mountain Air to keep people entertained, it’s also an ideal place to kick back and do absolutely nothing. Rick and Britt Ruby of Cornelius bought a 6,000-square-foot log cabin situated on the golf course and overlooking the mountains this summer. “It’s a spectacular place to be,” says Rick. “When we’re up here I golf a little and my wife is an avid tennis layer. But personally, I love to just sit on the deck, smoke cigars, and admire the view. It’s my favorite thing in the world.” Details:

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