Behind the Gates: Rose Dhu Creek Plantation
Author: Frank Dunne, Jr.
Your first images passing through the gate are a 17-acre equestrian center and its four-legged denizens quietly grazing in the pastures, and one of the more spectacular ancient live oaks you’ll ever see, standing guard over it all. Such a picture might lead one to presume that Rose Dhu Creek Plantation is conceived, designed and built for the equestrian set. While that was the original intent some 15 years ago, economic and market trends dictated a different path, ultimately benefiting a broader group of homebuyers. Today, Rose Dhu Creek offers affordable homes on spacious home sites with all the privacy of a gated community, and without high club fees. Yes, the equestrian center is there, but not at the expense of the average resident…and it does add a nice touch of Lowcountry character.
“I would hear people say, I don’t ride horses so it’s not for me. Well, most of the folks who are in here don’t,” said Nate Caron of Emerald Homes. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a family community first. With its location, you get that quiet feel like you’re out in the country, yet you’re only four miles from Old Town Bluffton, 20 minutes from Savannah, 30 minutes to the island [Hilton Head], and you can be in Beaufort in 35 to 40 minutes.”
The story behind the story of how present-day Rose Dhu Creek came about begins to explain to whom it appeals. The original vision was large country estate homes on two- to four-acre lots with gravel roads and riding trails throughout. “A lot of the people who were buying, though, didn’t have the horses,” Caron said, “and they wanted paved roads. There was more of a demand for a large home site without high club dues. They didn’t play golf; they didn’t need a fancy clubhouse; they just wanted a nice private place where they could have a little sanctuary with reasonable amenities.” That demand for larger homes eased as the market changed, prompting another shift in the business model toward smaller homes, which drove Rose Dhu Creek’s next phase.
About a year ago, Emerald Homes purchased the property and set out to create a more family-oriented residential community. Emerald has created the opportunity for buyers to purchase luxury custom homes at a more affordable price point within a prestigious community. “Now that the market’s shifted, it’s created a great atmosphere and opportunity for some families to move up from that starter home that they bought a few years ago, or downsize from a large home or community with expensive amenities that they don’t utilize. Now the price points start in the 400s, which is a lot more affordable than folks thought. You get 2,000 plus square feet and an acre of land. It’s a heck of a value” Caron said.
And people are taking notice. At the time of this writing, Emerald had 11 homes in some phase of construction in Rose Dhu Creek. Caron notes that a majority of these new owners are locals who recognize the value proposition, for example, people who bought a starter home somewhere in Bluffton expecting to be there two or three years, but the real estate market and economy stretched that out to five or six. Now they are finally able to sell the home, many of them find Rose Dhu Creek a suitable next step.
Ty Miller and his wife Dawn recently purchased in Rose Dhu Creek since outgrowing their home in another Bluffton community. “We’ve got two kids and one on the way,” he said. “We looked at several places in the area, but frankly we got more land for the money here, and we like that it’s wooded and quiet. It’s a very nice atmosphere. Plus, my wife owns the Bluffton School of Dance (in Sheridan Park) so the location is very good.”
A discussion of amenities is more a conversation about what the community is not than what it is. Rose Dhu Creek is a place that takes the old adage, “less is more,” to heart, and it is designed for those who want the quiet seclusion of private community without having to pay for amenities that they won’t necessarily use enough to justify the cost. “For the price (at other communities) we wouldn’t get our money’s worth, because we wouldn’t use them much,” Miller said.
What you will find is a community pool, The Gathering Place, which is a community pavilion with a wood burning fireplace and outdoor grills, 6.5 miles of nature trails, and a 3.5-acre stocked fishing pond. The equestrian center is independently owned and operated, for those who opt for membership to this amenity.
What you will not find is a golf course, although residents are eligible to join Hampton Hall Golf Club as full members, or a vast clubhouse with restaurants, fitness centers and all the other trappings found at club communities. The ultimate benefit? Dues for ownership at Rose Dhu Creek are only $1,723 per year.
Emerald Homes has done everything they can to make a home purchase in Rose Dhu Creek as simple as possible. “Instead of us selling the dirt and letting people come in and build their own custom home, we’re doing home/lot purchases,” Caron said.
There are numerous floor plans from which to choose, in both two-story single-family construction as well as a few ranch style options. In all, there are 97 home sites on the property’s 320 acres, a very low density that enhances its quiet, country feel.
Rose Dhu Creek’s main entrance is located on the westbound side of Highway 46 in Bluffton, about five miles west of Old Town Bluffton.
For information, contact Emerald Homes: 15 Redbud Way, Bluffton, SC 29910;
(843) 706-4032; NateCaron@EmeraldHomes.com or www.EmeraldHomes.com.