By: Mary Sheys

I recently met with new AP residents, Hollie McGillicuddy and Jeff Dunn, in their lovely new home on Albemarle Boulevard. We sat in their remodeled kitchen overlooking a serene back yard and lush landscaping while they told me a little about themselves and what brought them to Albemarle Plantation. Hollie and Jeff are newcomers, but they are certainly no strangers to Albemarle Plantation. They began traveling from their home in Portland, Maine, to visit friends and former neighbors, Karen and Joe McGonigle, when the McGonigles relocated here in 2014. Hollie recalls driving through remote eastern North Carolina during their first visit and wondering why anyone would choose to move way out here. We can all relate to the impression Jeff had when they drove through the Plantation gates. He describes the elegant homes and natural beauty as “stunning.”

The active lifestyle and friendly community continued drawing Hollie and Jeff back year after year. It was during one of their annual visits that they discovered AP resident Dana Spaulding who is Jeff’s cousin—what a small world! Each time the couple visited the area, Hollie convinced Jeff to view a few homes—just for kicks. So, imagine Hollie’s surprise when Jeff phoned her when he was here for the Member/Guest tournament and announced that while she was in Nevada visiting friends, he’d found the perfect house. Hollie loved the home as much as Jeff did when she saw it. They closed on it in January of this year, and Albemarle Plantation became their permanent residence this May.

Hollie and Jeff are fortunate to have careers that allow them to work from home while enjoying the Plantation lifestyle. Hollie, a freelance court reporter in Maine for 14 years, now works from home editing other court reporters’ transcripts. Jeff is with GE, working primarily from home with some work-related travel. While his commute to the airport is longer than his five-minute commute in Maine, returning to his home within walking distance to the golf course is a nice consolation—which he has taken full advantage of.

Both Hollie and Jeff are native to Maine. Hollie grew up in picturesque Houlton, situated along the Canadian border, while Jeff spent his childhood in Dover-Foxcroft, also known as “The Heart of Maine.” The couple met while both were attending college, Hollie studying court reporting at Husson College in Bangor and Jeff attending the nearby University of Maine. They married in 1982 and raised three children: Kendall, Sudhanya and Kai. Kendall is now 33 years old and lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her adorable one-year old son, Nolan. Kendall and Nolan lived with Hollie and Jeff for nine months after his birth, so the grandparents have an extra-special bond with little Nolan. 24-year old Sudhanya, or “Sudie,” adopted from India, is now a registered nurse living in Ohio. Their youngest son, 22-year old Kai, originally from Korea, is currently a student at the University of Maine and an avid golfer. Kendall and Kai competed in ice hockey, which kept the family busy with practices and hockey matches.

Hollie enjoys the warmer southern weather here, but Jeff prefers the colder climate in the north. Fortunately, they still own a lakeside cottage in Maine which is located by East Grand Lake, in northern Maine and hugs the Canadian border. The area provides their family with opportunities for ice fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, and water sports, including jet skiing and wake-boarding. Hollie recalls jet skiing around the lake with the entire family aboard their four-seater jet ski when the children were little.

Hollie and Jeff both lead an active and healthy lifestyle and they’ve wasted no time getting involved in all the activities the Plantation has to offer. Hollie loves the Barre class at the AP fitness center and attends Zumba classes at the Perqumans County Recreation Center. She also enjoys walking the golf course in the evening. Jeff also walks and rides his bike, and they are both avid golfers, often choosing to walk the course rather than driving a golf cart. Jeff can frequently be found playing nine holes after 4 p.m. when the laptop gets shut down. They both love to read and have already taken advantage of the new library in Hertford.

I was most impressed to learn that for two years in a row Hollie has completed a 500-mile walk along the Camino De Santiago, a thousand-year old network of pilgrimage routes ending in Northern Spain. The Camino De Santiago, also known as The St. James Way, historically served as spiritual pilgrimage for Christians traveling to Santiago De Compostela, home of the Shrine of St. James. The Camino is popular today with hikers and cyclists seeking to immerse themselves in the history, culture, and beauty of the Spanish country-side. While Hollie trained and completed the challenging trek in September 2015, and again in 2016 alone, she’s made friendships with adventure seekers and pilgrims from all walks of life. She looks forward to her upcoming Camino hike next year, starting in beautiful Porto, Portugal.

Hollie and Jeff are friendly, kind, and adventurous. I had a hard time finding anything that they aren’t interested in. I think we will all have great fun getting to know this pair. So, next time you see them on the golf course, at the pool, or in the clubhouse, give them a warm welcome.