People

Sense of Community Draws New Neighbors to Carnes Crossroads

Jeff and Kela Stelzig know a good thing when they find it. So when they had the urge to pull into the Carnes Crossroads community in search of a new home, they didn’t look back. The couple has lived in a variety of places over the years – from St. Augustine, Florida to Anacortes, Washington to Ford Island, Hawaii. When Jeff, who recently retired from the Navy after a 30-year career, came to the Charleston area in 2014 to take a job as a government contractor at SPAWAR, he and Kela already had ideas about the type of community they wanted to live in.

They spent close to a year living in their “Fifth Wheel” recreational camper in West Ashley while exploring their options. One day, while riding their motorcyle through the area on their way to check out some potential neighborhoods, Kela saw a sign for Carnes Crossroads and urged Jeff to turn in.

“He said ‘that’s not on our list!’ and I said I know, but let’s go there anyway,” recalls Kela.

They popped in to the Information Center and met real estate agent Rhonda Davis, whom they both describe as a Godsend.

“We hit it off with her,” said Kela. “We absolutely loved her, and we liked the homes and the community, and what she told us was going on here.”

“In Hawaii we lived right in the middle of Pearl Harbor, on Ford Island, so we had community,” added Jeff. “And we said that’s what we have to find here. So, all of the other places we drove into, we drove in and said ‘nope, I just don’t have that feeling.’ But as soon as we drove in here, you look at the houses – they’re cute, they’re quaint, and everything is just put together so well. We said, this is it. We just knew.”

Kela and Jeff soon learned about the Green Barn and the bounty of neighborhood activities that take place there, such as the Farmer’s Market, concerts, fitness classes and more.

“We saw that as a great way to meet our neighbors and build friendships and relationships and do things within our neighborhood,” said Kela, who is also a huge fan of the nearby 25-meter pool.

Stelzigs-Exterior

It wasn’t long before Kela suggested adding a new community function to the Carnes social calendar – Bunco, an activity that is now offered once a month.

“That was something that we did as spouses in the military,” she said. “It was just a way to get together and spend some time together.”

While they have discovered lots to love about their new community, including running and biking on neighborhood trails, they say the best part has simply been making new friends.

“Believe it or not, I think it’s our neighbors,” said Jeff, when asked what they enjoy most about living at Carnes Crossroads. “Everybody that we run across says ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ They walk out to the street or the curb, and we get talking for a long time!”

Social time is important, explains Kela, particularly given that she works from home as a independent distributor with AdvoCare, a world-class nutrition company. For that reason, they selected their David Weekly home for its open floor plan.

“When we entertain and have people over, everybody is in the same room,” she said. “That was one of the main reasons. And another one was that we wanted the master downstairs, because we are empty nesters!”

Stelzigs-Interior

In their spare time, they also have ventured out to other locales in the area – including Summerville, where they particularly enjoy the Annual Flowertown Festival. Downtown Charleston’s famous restaurant scene is another big draw.

“We went to Hall’s Chophouse for their Gospel Brunch and it was absolutely awesome!” said Kela. “The customer service is out of this world!”

But mostly they savor time spent at home, with their two west highland white terriers, Rascal and Pearl. After traveling all over the world, Carnes Crossroads has clearly captured their hearts.

“When we came here, we knew this is where we needed to be,” said Jeff.

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