Polar Plunge 2022/23

It’s Polar Plunge time! Every year we make a big party of our getting outside of our comfort zone. It started with just a few friends in our pool in Arizona. Everyone came over and we just jumped in the pool. Of course it wasn’t ice but the water was extremely cold. If you remember you’re geography lessons, the dessert gets frigid at night. The low temperatures dramatically drop the temperature of pool water.

Now we live in Augusta GA and whenever I mention Polar Plunge we get an eye roll and a “is the water really that cold?”. Yes!! We had frost on the grass and windows starting in November. It does indeed get cold enough to freeze the water at the edges of ponds and lakes in the early morning hours.

A few years ago we decided to start including our friends and clients in this event, and add a part that we’ve always just kept to our selves. The goal

setting/vision board aspect. You see what started this whole thing was goal setting. Our family always has a big goals setting party, and the Polar Plunge was a way that we could encourage the kids to commit to their goals, and to doing uncomfortable and even hard things. I’ve never been comfortable with the little ones swimming across the pool, or from the dock to the shore, so we always dip the little ones in the water and pull them right out. We never force the kids to participate in the swim, but we do encourage them. One daughter was upset at the end of one party and as we were getting in the car she got pretty emotional. She knew the window of oppurtunity was closing and wanted us to dip her into the water. So we did! She was so proud of herself. Often they get excited and energized and ask to be dipped a few more times.

SO! We’re inviting the community to join us. If you want to try something like this, I think it’s a great low risk opportunity to challenge yourself and doing something outside of your normal routine. The event is free, and we always provide soup and hot chocolate. We need a head count though so registration is required if you want to eat soup.

Now we live in Augusta GA and whenever I mention Polar Plunge we get an eye roll and a “is the water really that cold?”. Yes!! We had frost on the grass and windows starting in November. It does indeed get cold enough to freeze the water at the edges of ponds and lakes in the early morning hours.

You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/polar-plunge-2023-tickets-432154143677

VA Loans Explained, and the Assumptions we make

VA loans are such a great resource for military members. The VA funding fee is low, closing costs are low, and no down payment required? It a win! In the following video I have guest Daniel Yonchak explain the process of getting the eligibility certificate, how a surviving spouse can use the VA loan, and we also talk about assuming a sellers VA loan. Assuming a loan allows you to capture a lower interest rate, which is a big deal in the current market. When you’ve finished watching, download this free VA Buyers Guide.

Post Script- When I was making the thumbnail for the video I was having a hard time choosing an image. I found this picture of my mom and dad headed to military ball, and then remembered this picture from Jayson’s DLI graduation. I actually remember shopping with my mom for that dress when I was about 5, and thinking it was so pretty, and that she was the most beautiful mommy in the whole world.

So many mixed emotions here, but such a sense of connection to my parents and to generations of military service.

staircase area

Magnolia Valley Plantation

What’s up in Magnolia Valley Plantation? This is a small neighborhood off of William Few in Evans GA. It’s zoned for Parkway Elementary School, and Greenbrier Middle and Highschool. There’s a grocery store no more than 15 minutes away in any direction, but Publix is the closest at less than a 5 minute drive. While MVP doesn’t have walking trails, there is a connected neighborhood being developed which will have walking trails, a fishing pond, and a even a dog park!

MVP has a Jr. Olympic pool with a kiddie area, in addition to a playground in the works. Neighbors enjoy getting together during holidays for a trunk or treat, Christmas caroling, Independence day, at Easter Egg hunts. They also have community yard sales several times per year. Neighbors also volunteer for HOA committee needs such as pool and activity planning.

Watch the short video below to get an idea of the real estate values in MVP.


Jayson Stonehocker 706.726.088

Jacquelyn Stonehocker 520.891.7291

Dutch Creek Animal Farm

A few months ago I saw an ad for a new petting farm in Appling. It looked cute but I really didn’t not expect it to be so serene! A few days ago a friend invited us out so we we made the short drive to Appling, turned right off the main road onto a dirt road. We passed the first split, drove on a little further, then saw the beautiful stone gate on the left. The dirt road almost runs right into a pond and then you see the most picturesque farm scene. Wind around the large pond in view of the beautiful farm house and barn set upon a hill.

We spent two and half hours at the small farm. This kids were able to brush the horses, spend time loving on the cow, sitting with the goats, (attempting to ) pet the pigs, take a 20 minute tractor ride, pet the rabbits, and do a craft. Everything was at our own pace. We didn’t feel rushed to get to the next animal or give another child a turn at all. There are also picnic tables and a play house for the kids play in while you each your lunch.

If you want to visit Dutch Creek you’ll need to make an appointment ahead of time. They are open from 10-1 then take a break and open again in the afternoon. They only allow a certain number of visitors at any given time, and you’ll have to sign a waiver. Masks are at your discretion and there a multiple sanitizing stations around the property.

Mistletoe State Park

One of our favorite places to go lately has been Mistletoe State Park. It allows us get the kids out of the house, into nature, and still practice our “social distancing”. It has several hiking trails of varying difficulty, boat ramps, and camp grounds. The park rangers have a short tour they can take you on, as well as a small education center for field trips.

Most of the time we hike the white trail circled in yellow. It’s very easy, and we usually end up playing in the creek for a while with the dogs and kids, then return on the same path. Sometimes we go on a little further to the blue line and race up the side of of the “mountain”. We made it all the way around the white loop a few weeks ago and found it a really lovely way to show the kids a widely changing landscape in a short distance.

Just a few days ago we decided to venture further on the blue trail. Circled again in yellow is the trail we took. With 4 kids and 2 dogs it took us about 3 hours with stops to play in the water and walk across fallen logs. It was such a blast!

We stopped and played at the spot marked with a star for a bit. It has a small waterfall and a sandy area perfect for kids. The spot marked with a diamond is where there is a small “canyon” that the kids thought was really cool. You might think you are walking off the trail but just follow the blue diamonds and you’ll make your way around the loop.

I would say this was trail was easy but longish. I’m guessing we hiked about 6 miles. It wouldn’t be ideal for someone who gets winded easily, or struggles to walk on uneven terrain. One child was in sandals and hiked just fine. There are no porta potties on the trail and it’s pretty muddy in some areas. You have to go through the mud to stay on the trail in some areas during rainy months. Along the creek we went off the marked trail because, as you can see, the blue path can be quite a bit longer. Even though we were off the marked path, it was still a somewhat worn and was easy to see trail.

We made one mistake on this hike. In all the times we’ve been here we’ve never come back with a tick. That was not the case this time and I would definitely make sure you pack some good insect repellent and take care of your pets. Our dogs had their first ticks on this trip. We have never seen snakes on our adventures here, but I am sure they are there somewhere. Be sure to hike with snacks, and water, and take some time to just sit and enjoy the park! If you live in the Augusta Georgia area, this is a great staycation day.

Doesn’t this sound soothing?

Moving to the Augusta Georgia Area?

Augusta is the second biggest city in Georgia behind Atlanta and just 2 and half hours from it. It’s the home of the Augusta National Golf Club and The Master’s, which brings over 200,000 visitors each year! It’s also the home of Fort Gordon, the new location for the National Cyber Security Headquarters.

Our family moved to Augusta Georgia just over 4 years ago, after a unique situation allowed us to choose anywhere in the US to live. We wrote down our priorities and Augusta Georgia met nearly all of them. Excellent family town, job stability, great schools, and incredible cost of living. We were amazed at the size of home we could purchase in our price range, verses where we were already living.

An already strong economy has been made even stronger by an influx of jobs brought in by Cyber Command. Over 10,000 cyber security specialists, plus their families, the trickle down effect adding more demand for restaurants, shopping, and housing. Augusta also houses the states only “public health sciences graduate university”, making it another major employer of over 7,000 people. According to Wikipedia, along with University Hospital, the medical district employs over 25,000 people and has an economic impact of over $1.8 billion.

The schools in the area are fantastic, several incredible magnet schools in Richmond County are rated among the top in the state, and Columbia County schools always score high on the state standards tests.

The CSRA (Central Savannah Rapids Area) is family friendly with plenty of outdoor parks and activities to keep families active in whatever way they enjoy. North Georgia mountains, waterfalls, and the Atlantic Ocean are all just a few hours away. If you get adventurous North and South Carolina and Tennessee all broaden the possibilities. Flights to New York for last minute trips are cheap, and Disney is just a half day drive.

You’re going to love it here!

Have questions? Looking for a group? Give me a call or leave a comment! I’d be glad to help you get acquainted with the area. 706-251-7315

Augusta and Evans Market Conditions- February 2020

Click the link above to download current market conditions for Evans and Augusta. Here’s a short summary:

Evans Augusta
Median Value $261 K$136 K
Estimated 12 month change +3.6%+5.1%
% Own 82%53%
% Rent 18%47%
Don’t see the stats your looking for? Send me a message and let me know what you’re your seeking. jacquelyn.stonehocker@kw.com

Tips For Moving With Pets

Moving with pets can be super stressful, not just for the human but also the fur baby. With a little planning ahead the experience doesn’t have to be horrible!

We had our first dog Buster, and Australian Shephard, for 13 years. My husband was in the Air Force, and that meant a lot of moves, and trips home. We always took Buster dog with us, and we rarely had any problems. He was such a good and obedient dog. In 13 years and with dozens of trips, he only got sick in the car 1 time. It happened to be the same time our toddler got sick. We were an hour down the road from visiting family. Buster vomited and had diarrhea at the same time our toddler had a blow out. Needless to say it was a horrid experience, but we really do laugh about it now.

My moms dogs always had travel anxiety though, shedding half their coat on a trip. Their vet came them an anti-anxiety to use on trips and it really helped immensely.

Our pet friendly rooms have always been surprisingly clean and not stinky, and the hotels were always very accommodating. We even lived in a hotel for 2 months one summer with Buster Dog.

We’d love to hear about your pet traveling experiences! Did you have an extraordinarily wonderful or horrible pet event?