Sara Besche
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Get to Know River Mill’s Amenities

By Guest, in All Communities

Imagine this scenario: it’s a brisk Saturday morning in autumn. The leaves have all turned different shades of red, gold, and yellow, and the sky is a clear blue. It’s the perfect morning for a brisk nature walk, so you walk outside of your new home and hop directly onto the trails. You walk to your heart’s content throughout the neighborhood and along the Chickahominy River. You take in all of the fall smells and sights, maybe listen to your favorite music, wave to your neighbors who are also out walking or riding their bikes on the trails– maybe you get to pet a few dogs while you’re at it!

Later the same evening, you and your family take your golf cart over to the neighborhood clubhouse to grab a meal together. Maybe you bump into your friends who are also there, and you get to catch up with one another and discuss holiday plans over a pint or glass of wine. After dinner, you cruise over to the pavilion for s’mores over the fire and some star-gazing.

I mean, does that not sound like the perfect fall day? That’s River Mill – our lovely and quaint little neighborhood tucked away by the old azalea farm in Glen Allen. It’s Virginia’s first ever Active RVA Certified Community, and we are so excited about it. Say goodbye to that new gym membership you were planning to get on January 1st (and then only use three times… cough cough). We’ll have miles worth of dedicated walking and biking trails that weave throughout the community and along the river.

In addition to the active lifestyle our neighborhood offers, we have plenty of other fun and leisure-focused amenities as well. Whether you want to swim laps, or just read a book and have a cocktail by the pool, you’ll be able to do so at the main amenity center. We’ll have a large swimming pool, a pool house to go with it, plus the clubhouse. We’ll even have an outdoor amphitheater dedicated for summer concerts for our residents. Of course if you’re more interested in something like a good book and a nap, we even have a hammock park in the neighborhood. Yes really, a hammock park!

While some of the amenities are still in development, Mill Square Park is now complete & our homeowners are already taking advantage. Our Schellies hosted their own potluck in the outdoor kitchen area of the pavilion last month! There’s a large fire pit where adults can sit and drink wine, and the kids can make s’mores. Even though we’re a stone’s throw away from major shopping & dining, the neighborhood itself is quietly tucked away – just enough that you can stargaze and truly enjoy the serenity of it all. So my only question is: what are you waiting for?

Annual Arts & Crafts Fair at Independence this Saturday

By Guest, in Independence

Indy's Annual Arts and Crafts Fair

Come on out to the Independence Clubhouse this Saturday, September 13 from 9am until 2 pm for our annual Arts & Crafts Show.

Even bigger than last year, this year’s show at Independence will include artists and crafters selling everything from jewelry, pottery, fused glass, stained glass, photography, greeting cards, garden stakes, knitted, crocheted, embroidered and quilted items, and so much more! This is a great time to start your holiday shopping or to check off items from your gift list with handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces.

The event is entirely indoors and will take place rain or shine. Enjoy food, refreshments, and baked goods for sale at the show. Be sure to visit the Schell team at the Whimbrel model. This is your chance to walk through the beautifully decorated model and find out why the Whimbrel is quickly becoming the most popular floor plan at Independence. We hope to see you at the Arts and Craft Fair.

Paradise on the Water – What a Life at Sunset Harbour!

By Guest, in Sunset Harbour

Sunset Harbour - Docks

“Living at Sunset Harbour is paradise! Rich with all kinds of activities at our fingertips, we are able to create the lifestyle that is just right for us.

We may enjoy a quiet relaxing day at home, take a walk and talk with our neighbors, take a dip in the pool, watch the boaters, the kayakers and paddle boarders, or be more active and enjoy the waters. Our days are easily filled with any combination of fun activities that we love to share with family and friends:

Spot great white egrets and blue herons on an early morning kayak trip or during lazy afternoon paddle boarding.

Take a cruise down the Assawoman Canal into the Salt Pond and then down to Fenwick Island. Extend your cruise into the Assawoman Bay down to Ocean City, to enjoy dockside restaurants.

Take a boating trip north out to the Indian River Bay to enjoy a dockside restaurant for lunch, dinner or just afternoon drinks. Our favorites on Indian River are Paradise Grill, Serendipity in Oak Orchard, and Hammerheads at the Indian River Marina.

Take a slow and lazy boat ride north from Rehoboth Bay into the Rehoboth-Lewes Canal and reach the Delaware Bay at the other end.

Drop a crab pot at the end of the dock. The next night we’ve had up to 30 Maryland Blue Crabs for dinner while sitting back and enjoying the incredible sunsets.

What a life at Sunset Harbour!

– Jacqueline Martini

 

Create the lifestyle that’s just right for you at Sunset Harbour. Start now to be in by next summer.

 

Extreme Employee Makeover

By Guest, in All Communities
Guest post by Chris Antonio from Antonio’s Training.

I’ve always been a sucker for feel-good movies. You know that kind of story that pits the underdog against impossible odds only to have them shock the world and accomplish the impossible.  After all, there’s something incredible about watching someone or something change for the better that strikes a chord in all our hearts and inspires us to be better than we ever thought possible.

I remember seeing the movie Rocky in my early teens and almost jumping out of my seat when the unknown fighter from Philadelphia nearly dethroned the heavyweight champion of the world.

I almost cried watching the movie Rudy when a less than average boy with no size, strength or athletic ability refused to be deprived a chance to play for the mighty Notre Dame Football team.

I’ve recently watched the Blind Side – the story of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher – so many times that I could probably recite the entire movie.

As a trainer, my passion for feel-good movies has always been linked to my business. My goal with each and every client I train is always to create a before and after picture so dramatic that people just can’t help being inspired. I guess you could say it’s like doing an extreme makeover but for bodies instead of houses.

2011 Corporate Fitness Challenge

2010 Corporate Fitness Challenge

For the past 4 years I have had the privilege to offer my 12 week body transformation to members of Schell Brothers Companies. During this time I’ve trained over 38 employees and seen some amazing results.

I witnessed Jeff Anemone get into the best shape of his life at the youthful age of 50. I saw Mark Moore chisel his abs so tight you could wash a basket of clothes on his stomach. I watched Megan Spangler go from a gym newbie to outperforming 90% of the men at the gym with 40 chest-touching pushups. I was there when Kevin Stevenson got ripped while experiencing the birth of his 4th child at the age 30 and I helped Sue Raueber become the first female winner of the Schell Brothers biggest loser contest.

But more than being part of these great transformations was getting to know the kind of people that work for Schell Brothers. They are a special group that take pride in their work, and are motivated to be the best at whatever they put their minds to. So it was only fitting that they would achieve great results with my 12 week Body Transformation program and it’s no wonder they receive countless annual awards for the homes they build.

So yeah, I admit it. I’m a sucker for feel-good movies and I will definitely be glued to the TV on Friday November 18th at 8:00pm to watch a small builder from Sussex County Delaware mobilize an entire town on national TV to build a soup kitchen for people in need in the worst economy this country’s experienced in the past 50 years.

A Selfless Gift for the Dunnings

By Guest, in Extreme
This guest post is actually a letter written by Mr. Alan Tuttle to the Schell Brothers, their Employees, and their subcontractors participating in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

In spite of the list before me, writing this note takes priority this morning. Over the past couple days of recovery I have had time to contemplate the experience that I just had the opportunity to participate in. It is an experience and a memory that will surely stay with me for years to come.  Those moments are few in life so it is worthy to stop, ponder, and take notice.

The thought that recurs over and over is of a selfless gift that was given to the Dunnings.  The credit for that surely goes to the Schell Brothers.  It is truly a noble act when one seeks out individuals that have the capacity and history of selfless giving to others and then enables them to do even more.  It goes beyond the good PR for the company and it goes beyond the basic charitable giving expected by a company of this caliber.  It shows real leadership.  It also illustrates the power of having a team and not just employees.  I have not met a Schell Employee that is not empowered with a Can Do attitude, a smile, and a great deal of professionalism (not to mention a love for the company they work for).  I take my hat off to each and every one of you for all that you have done with this community, the Extreme Makeover, and with our home.  You have set an excellent example in the community in which you do business and, with the coming show, nationally… and that will create even more ripples that could turn into waves as you inspire others to do the same.

You have also given me pause to adjust my attitude a bit.  Over the years one becomes a bit hardened after dealing with the majority of businesses out there that fall short of expectations.  When I first encountered Schell your reputation was great.  I on the other hand am not one to give much credit to reputation freely.  I have to see it for myself.  During the early months of planning our new home, there were a few bumps in the road, I jumped to conclusions and my defenses were solid.  I have learned a few things…where I looked at bumps as ominous signs…you all looked at them as opportunities.  And I then watched as you truly have stepped up to the plate.  Our home is not yet finished, but I don’t worry about my builder anymore… you have Earned my respect.

Though, like you, I gave it my all for 8 days without complaint, I have also noted how easily ego rears its head as I have made note to a few people in the last two days of how tired I was or how many hours I worked…  that too is a flaw on my part.  I didn’t hear a single complaint from a Schell employee or a need for them to note their individual contributions though surely I witnessed their exhaustion after countless hours on site.  It shows that as a team and as individuals there is real moral fiber in the Schell Brothers choice of employees.  I even sense that is prerequisite for employment side by side with skills.  This too reflects on your leadership.

Additionally noteworthy was to watch what happened to and within the community.  I have always believed that, given the opportunity, people will set aside their own needs and desires to help others.  With all of the troubles in the world we need occasional reminders of our humanity.  Many lessons have been learned this week by many people about the strength and power of giving.  It is a lesson that for many will spark a whole new facet of their lives that will continue for years to come.  That is the ancillary benefit often overlooked but equally as important as the past week.  Perhaps a few more people will join the volunteers at Juust Sooup, perhaps they will seek out others in need in the community, perhaps the young people that attended will open new dialogues about their purpose and value in a community.  This would not have happened without all of you.

I am but one person sharing my thoughts but you should know that I am not alone.  I am very grateful for what you have done, I am proud of all of you as individuals and as a company, I am pleased to know I chose the right builder and the right community.

Thank YOU

Alan B. Tuttle
Reserves at Lewes Landing

Behind the Scenes Perspective of the Pep Rally + Benefit Concert

By Guest, in Extreme
Guest post by Leafo Photo.

When Jeremy contacted us to talk about Schell Brothers sponsoring the build for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show, we couldn’t believe it! When he asked us to shoot the events surrounding the build, we were honored. And when we walked in to start shooting for the pep rally, we were AMAZED. It looked as though our entire community had volunteered to pitch in — what a fantastic turnout!!

Check out the behind the scenes photoset below.

The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Pep Rally was an absolutely phenomenal event. The entire building buzzed with excitement! Schell Brothers employees & volunteers rushed around making sure everything was in place before the doors opened, and the line to get in actually wrapped around the side of the building!

While drummers played & crowds cheered in the pep rally, I took a few moments to check out the behind-the-scenes action in the concert area. The auditorium was off-limits to the public before the concert, but I was able to sneak a peek as performers rehearsed.

You would never guess that the chaos backstage would evolve into something so beautiful once the show started. When those house lights turn down, the magic begins 🙂 Such a beautiful show!

We can’t wait to see & share all of the fantastic events this week during the build! Thanks again for inviting us to be part of such a wonderful community effort!

EXPOsure Experience

By Guest, in All Communities
Dustin Oldfather provided this guest post. Dustin is an innovative thinking Rehoboth Beach real estate expert with Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty.

As local real estate professionals, we really enjoyed being able to attend the EXPOsure trade show event. It was a rare opportunity for us to see actual demonstrations of the cutting edge technology that is being incorporated into each new Schell Brothers home. We talked to Lou about the new innovations to improve air quality and reduce illness. We spent time with Kim analyzing and understanding the theory behind heat transfer and energy preservation while being able to see the new 4tress framing improvements. It is clear why Schell Brothers is so well respected in our industry, as every detail of the building process is analyzed and inspected.

Throughout the event, we wandered from interesting conversation to interesting conversation talking shop with the talented group of hosts and many of the area’s brightest professionals. With the positive energy and excitement, the hours went by in a blink. Independence Hall was the perfect setting for the amazing array of displays and demonstrations. It was like a science fair for building!

Please thank Bethany Blues for the tender and delicious Bar-B-Que, and the group that made the event happen. We have come to expect first class from Schell Brothers, but this event was truly extraordinary.

Cruising on Pontoons, As It Should Be

By Guest, in Independence
Guest post by happy Independence homeowner Bob Scannell.

The 3rd annual Independence pontoon cruise took place this past Friday, June 18th, and 30 of Indy’s finest were on board! This year’s cruise left from the Rusty Rudder and pontooned up the Rehoboth Bay and through the Indian River to the west. The weather was fantastic, the beverages ice cold, and the music featured the “oldies but goodies” that are so near and dear to our 55+ hearts! Who says you can’t be in your sixties and live life as it should be! After the cruise, many of us stayed at the Rudder for drinks and dinner outside on the deck while listening to the music of the steel band. Everyone had such a great time and we are already looking forward to a return trip again next year.

2nd Annual Indy Yard Sale

By Guest, in Independence
Guest post by happy Independence homeowner Bob Scannell.

2nd Annual Indy Yard Sale

We had picture-perfect weather for Indy’s second annual community yard sale on Saturday June 4th! Over 450 cars came through the community to barter and haggle over the quality merchandise that Indy residents had to offer.

Thirty residents participated and it paid off with lots of extra cash at the end of the day. Bikes, artwork, planter pots, old televisions, dog paraphernalia, dishes, jewelry, and clothing were just some of the items being sold.

Last year, we held it on the clubhouse parking lot. However, since Independence has grown so much, we needed to spread out over the entire community. You should have seen the traffic jams – we met lots of new friends!  This event was not only a time for residents to clean out their closets, but also a time to showcase this wonderful Schell Brothers community! I’ve never heard so many wonderful comments from the general public about our houses, clubhouse, and amenities!

I guess it’s now time to start accumulating more “stuff” for next year’s sale. I’ll bet we even helped to sell a few new homes along with our other prized possessions here at Indy!

Indy Easter Egg Hunt

By Guest, in Independence
Guest post by happy Independence homeowner Bob Scannell.

What if you had an Easter Egg Hunt and no one came? Well, that certainly wasn’t the case at the 2nd annual Easter Egg Hunt at the community of Independence!

Sixty people showed up (40 adults/20 kids) scouring both the interior and exterior of the clubhouse to find 200 plastic eggs. Although it was an event mainly for grandchildren of the residents, there were homeowners who joined the hunt! Half of the eggs contained money–so the kids knew to look very carefully behind every bush and piece of furniture.

After the Hunt was over, the child who collected the most eggs was declared the winner and everyone who took part received a Beanie Baby as a prize for participating. Pictures were taken and refreshments were served inside the clubhouse.

This activity provided a great time for grandchildren of residents to have fun and gave homeowners yet another opportunity to get together and socialize!

VA Loans for Delaware Service Members

By Guest, in All Communities
This is a guest post written by Matt Polsky. Matt is a mortgage commentator for VA Mortgage Center, the nation’s leading provider of VA home loans.

Since Congress created it in 1944, the VA Home Loan Guaranty program has abetted more than 19 million men and women who served in the military become homeowners. Designed as a reward for their service to our country, the VA loan program allows service members and veterans to purchase the home of their dreams without emptying their wallets.

Compared to conventional loans, Delaware VA loans provide borrowers with several ways to save. VA loans require little out of pocket expense, with down payments below 5 percent and can even be zero percent for well-qualified buyers. Even without spending a penny on a down payment, homebuyers can still fully finance their home in Sussex County, Delaware, where the VA loan limit is $417,000. Traditional loans’ down payments get as high as 20 percent, meaning borrowers may not be able to purchase a home that meets their needs.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a monthly cost found in traditional mortgages; however, VA loans do not have PMI, which lowers monthly payments in comparison. VA loans also have negotiable interest rates and interest rate caps for active-duty borrowers. Subprime mortgages are sure to include prepayment penalties, whereas VA loans in Delaware have no prepayment penalties.

Due to the credit crunch, banks and lenders expect stellar credit when issuing a traditional loan. VA-approved lenders do not look for immaculate credit though. They assume less risk because the VA guarantees up to one-quarter of every loan. According to VA Mortgage Center.com, lenders look for credit scores of 620 or higher. In some cases, loans can be issued to borrowers who have a bankruptcy or foreclosure in their past.

Other perks to Delaware VA loans include:

  • Lower closing and concession costs
  • Paying the VA funding fee in monthly installments
  • Refinancing options to lower interest rates
  • Assistance to borrowers facing default

Those who may be eligible must be on active duty or received a discharge that was not dishonorable. Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or because of a service-related injury may be eligible for VA loans in Delaware. Service members who were on active duty for 181 days or 90 days during peacetime or wartime, respectively, may be able to get a VA loan, as may Reservists and National Guard members who served for at least six years.

Contact a VA-approved lender today to complete a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and to receive answers to any questions you may have about Delaware VA loans.

Shockingly Good Results for Health Fair at Indy

By Guest, in Independence
Guest post by happy Independence homeowner Bob Scannell.

If you weren’t at the Health Fair at Independence this past Saturday, you really missed out! Free screening for bone density, cholesterol, BMI, and blood sugar were available for residents and guests–and I had it all done!

The volunteers from Beebe were spectacular! A CPR class was held at 10 a.m. and 30 of Indy’s finest were in attendance and practiced what they had been taught. Doing 100 compressions in 60 seconds on someone’s chest is no easy feat!  We all had dummies on which to practice and before you jump to conclusions, let me clarify that I’m talking about the training dummies brought by the paramedics.  The big surprise at the beginning of the class was the donation of a defibrillator for our very own community! Everyone was shocked, pleased, and extremely grateful.

After the CPR presentation in the Yoga room, it was off to the Ballroom for lunch where 9 different outside caterers were serving their best vittles to win a spot on the Indy preferred caterer list. One caterer even brought its own photo booth with them! I bet you can’t guess who had his picture taken first! Everyone’s food was scrumptious and the residents actually voted for the best of the 9. Wow, was that hard to do! All of the votes had not been tallied as of this blog, but the winner or winners will be announced soon. The Ballroom was filled with 75 residents of this great community and 50 people outside of the community! It’s a good thing that most people had their screenings before lunch and the wine tasting took place. Guess who didn’t? UGH!

Hats off to Wendy Baker for putting this great event together for us! She’s become an integral figure in the community as Director of Activities in just 6 short months. Her efforts enabled everyone here at Indy, and those outside of this community, to experience an educationally healthy morning and afternoon–and the free lunch wasn’t bad either!