Being Bruce -: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Using Blogs to Market Leland NC New Home Developments

This morning Marge and I met with Angie Batchelor of Pointe South Realty at the Port City Java on N. Front Street in Wilmington (there is a reason to mention the address, see below).

Angie is a good friend and our conversation covered many topics, but we primarily focused on issues about and around marketing new home communities, particularly in the Wilmington and Leland, NC region. Pointe South Realty is the marketing and sales group for Waterford of the Carolinas, Compass Pointe, and Palmetto Pointe.

A topic of mutual interest was how to most effectively use blogs with real estate. Good stuff and we're going to explore it much more aggressively in 2009. My personal interest is creating and maintaining an updated database of all new home communities in and around Leland for easy comparison by folks interested in moving to southeastern North Carolina.

The reason I mentioned the particular PCJ we went to is that I got a parking ticket. I was in a legal spot, and the time had NOT run out when I went to my car, but I was parked in the wrong direction. I never knew that was not allowed. So if you, too, are used to Front Street being a one way street (it's now two-way) and think that just because the meters are all placed at the northern end of the parking spaces that you can park facing north even on the left side of the street - that would be a big NO. It cost me $15 to learn that lesson, so I hope you don't have to pay for the same lesson.

My Last Blog Post . . . of 2008

Wow, what a year it has been! I'm filled with gratitude and appreciation for our family, our friends, our co-workers, and for all the new folks Marge and I have met during the year. A lot of great stuff happened this year and I'm looking forward to 2009, perhaps more than any other year in recent memory.

I've not posted for a few days because we made a marathon (16 hour) drive back from New England on Saturday (amid fog, rain, a few minor accidents, and post-Christmas shopping traffic). The stretch from mid New Jersey through Fredericksburg, Virginia was, as usual, super practice for video game players.

After we got back to North Carolina we spent Sunday doing approximately nothing at all and then both Monday and Tuesday I was worked with real estate clients from out of state - appropriately, I guess, one couple from New Jersey and a family from Virginia. It's great to have buyers actively looking for new homes in Leland, where we live and where I work as an active residential Realtor helping people buy and sell homes.

I do have a few more photos to post of our trip to New England for the Christmas holiday. On Friday Marge and I spent a great afternoon visiting my sister Nancy Duetzmann and her husband Karl. Our niece Katie was working so we didn't see her, but we did get to hang out with our nephew Michael, our other nephew Stephen, who, along with his wife Jenna and son Evan introduced us to the newest edition to their family, 7-week old Jacob, and we also met Katie's boyfriend Eric.

That's Jacob in the photo below. As you can see, he wasn't overly caught up in the moment.

Nancy and Karl have two grandchildren now. Jacob's older brother Evan is in Nancy's lap in the photo below. Pastor Karl, who was doing the cooking, also stood still for just a second for this picture.

When we all sat down together (Jacob was chilling in his seat elsewhere), we had a great meal. As you can see in the background, there certainly was snow around. That white stuff you can see through the windows was NOT PhotoShop'd in.

After visiting the Duetzmann's in Ansonia we scooted back up to West Hartford to meet with our oldest friends, Irene and Ray Smith. Well, it's not really that they're old (actually Ray is pretty old), but we've been friends with them for 39 years. In the photo below Ray was leaning against Irene for balance and support after rapid ingestion of waay too much pizza.

Tonight we're going to a New Year's Eve party in Brunswick Forest and I'm looking forward to some serious dancing. Tomorrow, I believe, I'm meeting with another Brunswick Forest resident to interview him and his wife about their car (a 2006 Corvette) and to take some photos. The story will be in Forest View, the new community magazine for Brunswick Forest.

So, all in all, 2008 was another great year for us. I hope it was a good one for you, too. See you next year. Lots of plans and ideas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day 2008 - At the Lake

Christmas day in New England was very special for Marge and I. We saw or spoke on the phone with many family members and friends with more to come over the next two days. We stayed at a wonderful lake house in southern New Hampshire. The view on the clear Christmas Day was beautiful.

Christmas Day started with Seamus running to see if Santa had come during the night. The time-worn test was to check the cookie plate and milk glass. It was obvious that Saint Nick had come by.

The evidence!

With that question answered the adults settled with cups of coffeee and tea. Not the kids, however. Annabel really wasn't into coffee; she saw the tree and gifts and wanted to get started.

When she couldn't get us moving, Annabel decided not to wait any longer.

The gifts were fun and appreciated by all, but we had more family celebrations in store. Annabel's Christmas outfit was super-cute!

We were all excited when Richard and Megan arrived mid-afternoon. Megan skillfully ducked out of the shot (almost!).

We had another great meal, this one with Richard and Megan joining us, too. We are truly blessed and this was a special time.

Just before bedtime we had a special moment - family kareoke, conducted by Seamus!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

On Christmas Eve we drove from Connecticut through Massachusetts and southern Vermont, ending up at a family lakefront home in New Hampshire.

I had some time with Annabel, too, but without antler I wasn't half the fun.

The last event before the kids went to bed was putting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus.

Our daughter Liz and her husband Conor at dinner time.

The adults enjoyed a stupendous meal prepared by Susan, far right, with a passle of helping hands.

The best gift of all is being with family during the holidays. Happy days of joy everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

OK the Vote Is In, ABBA over Bee Gees!

OK, so Marge and I drove to Connecticut Saturday to hang out with family during the Christmas holiday. We're going to see lots of people and do lots of things, so you can kind of count on my blog being about our visit for the next few days.

Today, however, an important determination was reached and I can't wait to share. Our granddaughter Annabel is definitely an inside kind of kid. As the photo below shows, when you suit her up to go outside, she's not a happy kid.

Our Grandson Seamus, on the other hand, digs being outside. He even enjoys cleaning snow off cars with a lacrosse stick.

When she's inside, however, Annabel is in her element.

She's quickly becoming a boater, but I think she'll prefer to boat in North Carolina, or at least when it's summertime in New England.

When he's inside Seamus is big on furniture gymnastics.

Annabel, however, starts laughing and swaying whenever she hears music. So, being a music fan myself, I decided to check out her preferences. I started with the Bee Gees and she was OK with that. BUT, when I started playing ABBA, the girl got down! She jumped and rocked her head to Waterloo, Honey Honey, and several other cuts. Now I'm really looking forward to family weddings because there's another natural dancer in the family!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What? A burger in an Italian restaurant??

OK, so anyone around here who knows me knows I like to eat at Antonio's Pizza and Pasta Restaurants , especially the one at Cross Creek Commons in Leland, across from Magnolia Greens. Steve hosts our Wednesday 8AM BNI meetings at no charge, and he often hosts North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce luncheon meetings. Marge and I have had meetings and seminars at Antonios for Fat City Cards, our SendOutCards distributorship and it's my favorite place to take real estate agents I'm recruiting for the Leland office of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty. [OK - end of links and company plugs.]

I also often go to Steve Pagley's place with friends, clients, and co-workers. Antonios features authentic Italian cooking in a friendly atmosphere for good prices. Duh, what's not to like? Steve, the owner, or at least the principal of Antonio's, got his start learning to cook from his grandmother in his native Sicily and it seems like he, or someone anyway, never forgot a single one of her lessons.

[Time out - Steve introduced us to "breakfast pizza". How's that for a concept? He told me his grandmother used to serve him breakfast pizza every day with a glass of fresh milk with ice. Just to hang out for a few minutes with a guy who gives a good reason (or at least a story) for having pizza for breakfast is a big win in my book.]

Ok, so yesterday Marge and I were having lunch at Antonios with our buddy Klif Kinnamon and Steve came over to tell us about being interviewed that morning for WWAY. The TV station is doing month-long feature on Leland as a developing area and they wanted to interview Steve. Well the cool thing is, he wore his LA hat for the interview.

Our office had a bunch of LA hats made up to celebrate what some folks used to refer to as the "Leland Area" (hence L.A.) to what we now refer to as the "Land of Abundance". In fact on the back of the hat it reads, "Welcome to the Land of Abundance."

So anyway, Steve was telling us about his interview when the waitperson came to take our order. I asked about the Designer Slice of the Day, which is what I usually order because it's usually different and always good. When she mentioned the specials, however, I quickly changed my mind, because among the other specials she mentioned they had cheeseburgers.

What is up with that?

Once before I had been at Antonio's when burgers were on the specials lists and had reflexively ordered one. I was knocked out. I don't know what kind of beef they use exactly, but I don't care, because they are amazing.

I ordered one again and once again it was outtasight. Klif was swayed by my enthusiasm and he had one, too. The photo below shows his vote.

Marge didn't order a burger, she had Italian Wedding Soup (always good) and Caesar salad, but I cut her a small wedge of my burger and she concurred. Heartily.

Steve, I don't what your grandmother would say if she knew you were serving burgers. But please don't stop.

Here's one more photo of Steve in his LA hat. I'm not much of a photographer I'll be the first to admit, but once in a while I get some shots I like and I really like this one. (Of course it could be the burger.)

Sea Coast and the North Brunswick Chamber Threw a Party and Santa AND Elvis Came!

Thursday night's North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce Christmas party was a lot of fun. Sponsored by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty, State Farm Insurance, and Bugsy's Cigars, for the benefit of the attendees and for Manna Ministries.

Approximately 90 people attended the event, but Santa and Mrs. Claus came early and stayed till the end, which was a real treat, even for Santa who soon doffed his cap and coat and chilled with the peeps.

At one point Santa helped NBCC President Peggy O'Leary hush the crowd, which was only partly successful, given the energy and excitment in the room. Santa had already taken off his coat.

Santa also conferred and posed with NBCC Board Member and Social Committee Chair Laura Patterson. Laura's committee planned the party (note: Ms. Claus was second-in-charge).

Sponsor Franklin Rouse and Kate Lucas from State Farm had a strong showing at the party.

As did Sharon and Frank Bullard of Bugsy's Cigars, another sponsoring company.

Board member and NBCC VP Victor Pearsall and his enthusiastic wife had a great time.

As did Erin Alderman of Nationwide Insurance and Daztech's Jon Spetrino,

jingle-writer, illustrator, and livewire Dean Powell,

and a whole passle of other folks. In the photo below I recognize Dan Cameron and his wife Sharon, and Michael Wright.

Entertainer J.R. Therrien kept the music playing and the entertainment level high. He appeared as a 50s bebop musician, Roy Orbison, and as Elvis:

J.R. and fellow entertainer Madonna played for the crowd and serenaded many individuals. Here he's singing to CBSCR agent Brenda Freckleton's husband George

Sea Coast Realty had a good contingent in attendance and we partied. As Platinium Sponsors of the event we are strong supporters of the Chamber and its mission. We also like to dance. Below are Joan and Peter David and Brenda and George Freckleton. And they weren't just hugging, they were dancing! Joan David never stopped moving all evening. I hadn't met Peter's wife before, but she loves to dance!

Sea Coast Leads Manager Denise Kinney talked with Broker Jean Costello and her husband Jim Costello, a commercial real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Sun Coast.

Jean and Jim also hit the dance floor.
During the whole event, in the back of the room, Ava Grace Williams just snoozed. Newly born daughter of NBM Magazine publishers Kristy and Justin Williams, Ava Grace was dressed for the occaision but is saving her energy for when she can hit the dance floor herself.

Santa, sans coat and hat, watched the whole thing with a twinkle in his eye, saving HIS energy for next week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sea Brooke by Signature Homes of Wilmington

Yesterday the Leland office of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty had their monthly community meeting at a brand new neighborhood off Old Lanvale Road in Leland. Sea Brooke is a Signature Homes community (meaning its being developed AND built by Signature Homes of Wilmington). A guiding feature of Signature Homes is that they build all-green homes.

It's expected that this neighborhood will be several years in development and will include approximately 500 homes total, including townhomes, patio homes, village homes (like the model below), and custom homes.

A good number of the Leland office staff and agents were at the Sea Brooke meeting, where we had a fine lunch and a short meeting before focusing on the Sea Brooke community and two existing model homes.

As you can see in the photo below, the village home model is nicely decorated and appointed.

One of my personal favorite features for this model was a multi-area loft on the second floor. The photo below doesn' t do it justice, but this loft, located between three bedrooms and a full bath (the master bedrooom and bath are on the first floor), is a great place for kids and family to play, do homework, and hang out.

Robin Hackney and her husband Deans own Signature Homes. Other current neighborhoods include FieldStone near Jacksonville and Stones Edge and Henderson Parke in Wilmington.
In the photo below on-site agent Laura Heal, Robin Hackney, and on-site agent Jamie Kline discuss Sea Brooke's plans with our Leland office.

A short walk from the village home area, the first patio homes at Sea Brooke are now up.

To see the featured models, for more information about Sea Brooke or other Leland neighborhooods, please call me at (910) 297-8753 or e-mail me at I'd be honored to assist you.