A Great Second Home – Ingredient #2

We started our Summer Blog series discussing the planning of your second home. We proposed what we believe are the three most important objectives for owning a second home. They are as follows:

1 – A place that renews you;
2 – A place that fosters the making of memories with your loved ones; and
3 – A place where you create a legacy of enjoying simple pleasures.

While these reasons do not seem earth shattering, we staked a big claim in the first article, asserting that a second home – one that actually meets these three goals – is far humbler, far less expensive, yet far more rewarding than the dream home you’ve been thinking that you need.

In the previous article, we shared our recipe and the ingredients we believe will help reach these three goals and ultimately create your most optimal second home experience. Ingredient #1 – A Natural Texture Inside Your Home – was the focus of the previous post. In this blog, we are going to discuss the amenities and conveniences you should consider having very close to your second home.

Gated vs. Not-Gated

Before we discuss the amenities you should consider having very close to your second home, let us take a minute and discuss the decision of buying into a gated vs. a non-gated community.  At Cloudland Station, we have seen significant benefits from offering a gated community, beyond just the added value of having so many amenities within walking distance. It boils down to the following things:

• You benefit from a sense of safety, especially if you have children or grandchildren. Not having this comfort and freedom when your children are with you, is a spoiler and defeats the purpose of having a second home. Plus, your home is much more secure when you are not there.

• Equally as important is the freedom your children have to explore and venture out. One of the most common remarks we hear from parents and grandparents alike is the joy in allowing their children to discover, roam, and explore on their own.

• Finally, with a gated community, you will typically be afforded more conveniences that require less travel time, whether it be a pool, a store, recreational activities, etc.

Key Amenities and Places Within Walking or Biking Distance

When selecting a homesite, we believe it is crucial to choose a location where you don’t have to get in the car in order to do certain key activities. For starters, determine the primary regional amenity you prefer, i.e. the beach, the mountain, the lake, etc. While you might not have to be right on top of the mountain or actually on the beach or even lakeside, you can still enjoy a wonderful experience if a short walk gets you there. The mountain is an exception. Not many people would opt to walk up a mountain. However, I personally prefer being in the shadow of a mountain and looking up. For me, it’s a similar – if not better – takeaway in the valley setting at Cloudland Station. This, of course, is just a matter of personal preference.
Whether you buy at the beach, the lake, or in the mountains, here are the amenities we suggest you have within walking distance:

General Store, Country Store or Ice Cream Shoppe

Why this? If you have any chance of having children around, this is huge. They will always remember and love the short strolls to get their favorite treats. These two amenities are our country store/farmstand and orchards sweet shoppe.

Swimming Pool

Even if you are at the beach, evenings at the pool are always a relaxing way to wind down the day.

Walking, Jogging or Biking Paths

There are miles of hiking and walking trails at Cloudland and many of them are marked and maintained. At a minimum, these paths should be such that you will not turn your ankle or throw you off your bike. More adventurous hiking trails are a plus, too.

A Playing Field, Green, or Park

At Cloudland, we have several open fields and green spaces around Lake Angela and a recreation field next to our saline pool. Again, if you have children around, not having to get in the car to throw a frisbee with the grandchildren or a football with the children is key.


If you can’t have a firepit at your home, then determine if there’s a place nearby where you can build one and enjoy sitting around the fire telling stories, singing songs and roasting marshmallows. This should be a tradition for any family at every second home.

A Coffee Shop or Breakfast Cafe

While this is a bit idyllic, having a coffee shop you can walk to in the morning is  awesome. At Cloudland Station, we have a self-serve beverage center in and a reading and relaxing room adjacent to it, in our one-room schoolhouse.

Community Gathering Places

If you plan to spend extended time at your home, a shared community space is a great way to get to know your neighbors.  You now look forward to getting back to your second home for a whole new reason –  friends.

Guest Accommodations

Some communities have guest homes for friends and extended family. This way you don’t have to create extra capacity within your home. Having these accommodations within walking or biking distance is a bonus. Our live-able tree homes and This Old House cottage provide this must-have amenity.

Lake or Pond

Finally, while this is not for everyone, there is usually always someone in the family who loves to fish. Having a pond or lake close by that allows minimally, catch and release, will be a dream come true for the anglers in the family. We are proud to have Lake Angela in our community where not only fishing is popular but other lake activities including kayak, canoe and paddle boarding.
In summary, this list contains just a few of the amenities we believe families should enjoy within a leisurely stroll or bike ride from your second home. What amenities would you enjoy in your second home community? Let us know what we have left off in a comment below!

In our next article, we will continue with a discussion about Ingredient #3 – A Place that Celebrates Simple Pleasures.
Thank you for following us and again, I hope you stay tuned!

John Tatum
And the Team at Cloudland Station