I took a drive the other day to do a bit of exploring. By the looks of the trees with their red, gold, and orange leaves, I could have been in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fenced-in pastures reminded me of the horse farms that have made Kentucky famous. I rounded a bend and was met with a stunning Mediterranean-style home complete with palm trees flanking the drive. But I wasn’t in Boone or Lexington or Naples.
Instead, I was exploring the Cheval Luxury Equestrian Community right here in Mint Hill. Cheval, French for “horse,” has 238 home sites with some of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. There are seven distinct villages within the community, and each area offers homeowners stunning views of the property as well as access to one of the three wooded walking trails that winds through the community.
Some of the lots allow enough space for the homeowner to have a barn and horse of his own, but homeowners are not required to own horses by any means. In fact, this is one of the best amenities of the community – Families can enjoy gazing at these majestic animals without the care, expense, and upkeep of owning one.
But Cheval is more than luxurious homes and lush grounds. It’s a story. The story begins with Keith Paris, a husband and father, trying to give his family a safe and charming place to grow. Like most parents, the Paris family encouraged their three daughters to try different activities. Their eldest showed an aptitude for horseback riding. Eventually, all three daughters took up riding, and Paris began looking for the perfect location that could accommodate fully operational equestrian facilities.
Paris wanted a place where his daughters could chase their dreams. He says, “While searching for a property for an equestrian center and a home site for my family’s home, I discovered some of the most uniquely beautiful land I had ever seen. I knew it would be a huge responsibility to create a community with an enhanced lifestyle that would change how the homeowners live.” He envisioned an exquisite marriage of large home sites together with horse stables, training fields, riding trails, and five private nature parks with a sixth to be added in 2017 exclusively for Cheval homeowners.
The story of Cheval continued when Paris contacted Diane Austin of Builder + Developer Advisor to help make his vision a reality. Austin agreed to visit the 400 acres of undeveloped farmland. When she saw two abandoned grain silos in need of repair, she just knew that with a little attention, the silos would become a showpiece for the property. It didn’t take much to get Paris on board with the restoration. Due to their efforts, the grain silos are indeed a beautiful reminder of country living. Austin says, “It’s a true honor to be part of creating this community.”
Cheval homeowners have continued their own family stories since moving to the community. Homeowner Christie Szymanski says of her neighbors, “You couldn’t ask for better people. We look out for one another, have social gatherings together, and are involved in each other lives deeper than I’ve ever been involved with a neighbor before. Keith Paris and Diane Austin have gone above and beyond to make this neighborhood what is it – a gorgeous, relaxed, well maintained place to call home.”
Aaron Buchanan says the first time he pulled into Cheval, he saw the natural beauty, meticulously manicured open spaces, and attention to detail that makes Cheval a truly special place. “Every time I turn into Cheval, I can feel my heart rate lower and each breath travel a bit deeper,” he says. “We feel so fortunate to have found this setting, this community, as a setting to build our dream in.”
Cheval seeks to preserve a lifestyle that’s hard to find these days. A slower pace that harkens back to a time when children could ride their bikes on the road and folks waved to them from their front porches. Austin says the thing she hears the most is, “This is how I grew up. This is how I want to raise my family.”
Even people who have never visited Cheval have become part of the story. Cheval’s emphasis on giving has impacted thousands of people. One year its “Toys for Tots” fundraiser resulted in thousands of toys being donated to the United States Marine Corps Reserve. These toys were given to children whose parents couldn’t afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
This year, Cheval held a Charity House, and all proceeds from admission and donations were donated to Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Charlotte. Furniture donated by New Old Custom Homes was auctioned, and the 100% of the proceeds from that sale were also donated to Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
The Levine Senior Center in Matthews also benefited in this way from a Charity Home. For two consecutive years, Cheval was chosen for by Home Builders Association of Charlotte for HomeArama, the only recipient of such an honor.
To make Cheval part of your story, visit www.chevalnc.com or call 704-573-2932.