Published September/October 2004 issue
Harkening back to an easier way of life, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation reminds you of lazy summer afternoons spent rocking on Grandmother’s front porch, shaded by grand live oaks, their branches draped with lacy Spanish moss gently swaying in the warm breeze. Photography: Ted Borg and Jay Vaughan.
For many Lowcountry areas, the building boom of the 90’s has begun a shift from clear cutting large land tracts and building homes within mere feet of one another, to a more environmentally responsible plan of development. And nowhere along the South Carolina coast is that more evident than at Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.
Located only four miles from historical downtown Bluffton, Rose Dhu Creek, a saltwater tidal creek, is home to egrets, wood storks, wild deer and the occasional alligator. Named by early Scottish settlers, “dhu” is Gaelic for black, and refers to the color of the brackish currents that flow from the May River.
Originally part of the 6,000 acre Buckwalter tract, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation was initially envisioned as a golf course. Stephen Anthony, president of the Legacy Group, developer of the tract, upon realizing the number of moss draped grand oaks, towering pines and other indigenous trees and planting which would be destroyed in the process, decided to shelve that plan. Desiring the community’s input on what potential homeowners were seeking in a development, he placed an ad in the local Bluffton newspaper. Overwhelmingly the responses included large wooded home sites secure within a gated community along with an equestrian center. And thus the 264 acre Rose Dhu Creek Plantation was conceived. But David Lively, sales executive with the Southern Lifestyle Group, exclusive listing agents for Rose Dhu Creek, is quick to assure the golfing homeowner, “There are 44 golf courses in the Bluffton-Hilton Head area; all within an easy drive from Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.”
Sensitivity to nature began with the initial infrastructure. Roads are eight inches of crushed granite and all utilities are located underground, eliminating unsightly wires and poles. Wherever possible, as roadways, home sites and the Equestrian Center were being cleared, grand oaks, wild crepe myrtles and native marsh grasses were protected. The end result is 73 estates, ranging in size from one acre to almost five acres, skillfully planned around the natural elements.
While each home has to be approved by the Rose Dhu Creek Architectural Review Board, the community allows a great of flexibility when it comes to personal preferences. In fact, on estates two acres and up, private paddocks are allowed and dogs aren’t required to be leashed while on your property. Rose Dhu Creek believes in many more freedoms than restrictions. Tree houses and front porches; vegetable gardens and horses; these are just a few of the differences found at Rose Dhu Creek Plantation.
Rose Dhu Creek is a refreshing departure from the developments that have been popping up everywhere in the last ten years. Here, there are no houses that sit right on top of each other. Plenty of room to breathe-and play- is available.
Complementing Rose Dhu Creek, two man-made, freshwater lagoons were created and will be stocked with bass, bream and catfish. These small lakes are the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon of fishing or picnicking.
Rose Dhu Plantation is a wonderful community for families. It offers more than horses and room to run. The creeks and lagoons offer an excellent opportunity for fishing, crabbing or exploring in a kayak. The community pool-complete with bath house-and outdoor pavilion also draws families outdoors for active fun.
Handy with a cast net? Rose Dhu Creek is ideal for shrimping and crabbing. Plus, it also offers homeowners a place to try their hand at kayaking and canoeing. No individual or community docks will be allowed in order to preserve the natural setting around the creek.
Centrally located and convenient to all homeowners is the community pool and outdoor pavilion. Complete with a bathhouse and barbecue area, this is destined to become a great neighborhood gathering spot for oyster roasts and pool parties.
During the planning stage of Rose Dhu Creek, the Legacy Group placed an ad in the local Bluffton paper seeking input from the community on what potential homeowners were seeking in a development. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of large wooded home sites as well as an equestrian center.
Horses are a big part of the Lowcountry, and Rose Dhu Creek was designed so that horses feel as much at homes as their owners. The 20 acre Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is state of the art! Professionally managed by Tracey Martino, the equestrian center offers riding arenas, paddocks, and one of the best constructed and equipped barns of its size on the South Carolina coast.
The plans for this property originally involved putting in a golf course. The large number of moss-draped oaks and other indigenous flora convinced Legacy Group president Stephen Anthony otherwise.
Tracey hails from California and has been a part of Rose Dhu Creek since February 2004. Her furniture wasn’t the only thing Tracey moved to the Lowcountry. Over a dozen of her own horses, an Australian sheep dog and several “barn” cats, came with Tracey and her mother and co-manager, Dee Dee Martino. This mother and daughter team created and managed a successful training barn before moving South.
Tracey’s philosophy is “you never stop learning,” and on a regular basis continues her own education so she can manage and teach to the best of her ability. Tracey also plans on offering on-site dressage clinics with Amy McElroy and a Downunder Horsemanship Clinic with renowned horseman, Clint Anderson.
Designed and constructed by Legacy Construction, the barn has over 14,500 square feet and includes over thirty-two 11′ x 12′ stalls, four tack rooms, two grooming and wash bays, a lounge and restroom with shower for patrons, and a convenient manager’s office. Upstairs there is a spacious apartment for the on-site manager along with an educational center adjoining a covered porch overlooking the arenas and paddocks. Each of the 32 stalls was designed with the latest equipment insuring each horse’s comfort, including individual cooling misters for those hot and humid Lowcountry days.
The Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center offers riding arenas, paddocks and one of the best equipped barns on the South Carolina coast. The barn has over 14,500 square-feet and includes four tack rooms, two grooming bays and a lounge and restroom with a shower for patrons.
Presently the Equestrian Center includes run-in sheds with cooling misters, an all-weather round pen, farrier shed, an all-weather dressage area and an all-weather jumping area. Tracey says, “The Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is not only beautiful but very function. Mr. Anthony had the facility designed and makes all decisions pertaining to the center based on what’s best for the horses.”
Construction recently began on the 20,000 square-foot indoor arena. When complete, this area will be used for judged horse shoes, night-time riding, and events scheduled during inclement weather.
Rose Dhu Creek also offers over six miles of eight foot wide nature trails. Riders can spend the day exploring the surrounding woods and creeks without ever leaving the Rose Dhu Creek boundaries.
Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center is not reserved strictly for plantation homeowners. Area residents have the opportunity to use the facilities for boarding, lessons and training. Summer riding camps are offered and open to the public as well as vaulting classes and membership into the local chapter of the United States Pony Club.
Californian Tracey Martino was imported to South Carolina to manage the 20 acre equestrian center. Along with her expertise, Tracey also brought along her mother, Dee Dee Martino, as her co-manager.
Presenting large lots at reasonable prices, Rose Dhu Creek is quickly on its way to being completely sold out. An additional 60 acres have recently been optioned and will be marketed in the near future. Owners also have the flexibility of purchasing their home sites now with no time limit on building. Rose Dhu Creek Plantation is not a second-home or investment community. Appealing to a diverse group of local Lowcountry residents, Rose Dhu Creek Plantation is home to growing families and working professionals. And with full-time homeowners comes a sense of community not found in many Lowcountry neighborhoods with a large percentage of out-of-state owners.
Homes in Rose Dhu Creek Plantation are reminiscent of days gone by with wide covered front porches, river rock fireplaces and upstairs balconies designed to capture the late afternoon summer breezes. While the Architectural Review Board is quite lenient, contemporary and futurist building plans need not apply. “Rose Dhu Creek is all about a more relaxed way of life and we want the home to reflect that by having a gracious southern Lowcountry traditional design,” says Lively.
Legacy Construction, a subsidiary of the Legacy Group, constructed the first home, appropriately named Seven Oaks, on over two acres directly across from the Equestrian Center. Built for the discriminating buyer, this 3, 780 square-foot home, reminiscent of a turn of the century farmhouse, can be purchased along with the adjoining property for a total of almost 6.5 acres. Complete with a full-length covered front porch, second floor exterior balcony, rear screened porch accessed from both the kitchen and great room, large rear deck off the master suite and great room, this custom home also offers a formal dining room, study, spacious kitchen with breakfast nook and separate laundry/mud room.
A great room fireplace, heart of pine flooring, custom cabinetry, granite and marble countertops and custom mouldings throughout, make this home special.
The three car garage is connected to the main house by a covered walkway. Topping the garage is a 720 square-foot guest suite complete with full bath and coffee bar.
Professionally decorated by Kay Buck, owner of Interiors by Kay Buck, Seven Oaks in very much a country gentlemen’s estate. “The captive charm of the development inspired the interior,” Buck says. “Along with the obvious equestrian touches there are also many subtle references to the overall aspect of gracious country living.”
Legacy is now in the planning stages with two additional homes for sale.
Each home built in Rose Dhu Creek is a custom home and while Legacy is the preferred building, as long as plans meet ARB approval, any builder may be used. Square footage requirements start at a minimum of 2,000 square-feet and increase depending on lot size. Each home is specifically tailored to the site allowing for maximum retention of trees and shrubs.
Whether it’s fine dining, a gourmet grocery store, cutting edge medical care or places of worship, new homeowners are always concerned about local services and amenities. Residents of Rose Dhu Creek Plantation have the added advantage of Bluffton, a quintessential riverfront village, only minutes away. The larger more sophisticated Hilton Head Island with its numerous golf courses is less than half an hour and the big city of Savannah is a relaxing forty-five minute drive. For those with growing families, the community of Rose Dhu Creek is only two miles from the new Bluffton educational campus.
Rose Dhu Creek Plantation offers privacy, peace and serenity at an affordable price. What could be better than experiencing the soul of the Lowcountry surrounded by love oaks, a stunning marsh view, sleek horse and the knowledge that Rose Dhu Creek has been carefully developed with long-range preservation goals incorporating sensible land development, care and concern for the environment and promoting a simpler, gentler way of life.
For more information on Rose Dhu Creek Plantation please call David Lively or Steve Anthony at (843) 815-2500. To find out more about the Equestrian Center, Tracey or Dee Dee Martino can be reached at (843) 757-2927.