Heaven’s Landing, a unique residential airpark community, is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northeast Georgia, about three miles from the city of Clayton. The 635-acre gated development is surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest.
“My wife, Jan, and I have a 1.5-acre lot at Heaven’s Landing,” says Tom Nasser, “but it came with a million dollar view.” Owners of a Cirrus SR22 airplane, the couple met Mike Ciochetti, developer of Heaven’s Landing, during the annual Cirrus Migration in Duluth, Minnesota, back in June 2009. “Mike had a display set up in the Duluth Convention Center,” says Jan, “with all kinds of pictures and brochures about Heaven’s Landing. Tom and I found the place intriguing. Mike invited us to fly down that same year, and the next thing we knew, we had fallen in love with the community and the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
“It was only about a two-hour flight there in our airplane from Indianapolis,” adds Tom, “where our primary residence is. The 5,069-foot paved concrete runway is a pilot’s dream, with controlled lighting and a GPS approach. It’s designed to accommodate most any private plane, but is exclusively used by community members and their guests.”
When the Nassers decided to purchase one of the 300 estate-sized lots, with a magnificent view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they anticipated building a mountain getaway home perhaps three, four, or even five years down the road. Jan says, “Tom and I started our research on what type of house to build and concluded that the natural surroundings would be ideal for a log home. We became so excited that we decided to bite the bullet and build right away, because you only live once, so why not do it now, while we can fully enjoy the place and all it has to offer us in the way of recreation, before we get too old?”
“Jan has really always wanted a log home,” reveals Tom, “but not the traditional Abe Lincoln type. She was after more of a ‘rustic elegance style,’ like the ones we’ve seen in Montana and Colorado. We searched the Web and looked at log home magazines for ideas, but it was our Clayton builder, Shaun Greer of SnK Specialties, who found Montana Log Homes on the Internet. When I saw their website’s home page photo I was hooked.” Beginning in April 2010, Tom and Jan spent six months looking at the company’s different floorplans and corresponding with Montana Log Homes’ owner, Brad Neu. At last they came up with a hybrid plan that worked well for them. “After several hundred emails and phone calls,” says Jan, “we pulled the trigger and got the ball rolling.”
“The Nassers’ home is handcrafted in the Scandinavian full-scribe style of log construction with +14-inch base diameter lodgepole pine logs,” describes Brad Neu. “Our packages always include design and engineering (if needed), preconstruction of the log package in our Montana log yard, including second-floor joists, optional full-log gable ends (which the Nasser home has), and roof support logs throughout. We also provide delivery to the home site and reassembly services. Additionally, the Nasser home has decorative valley logs trimming all 16 valleys in their roof system, as well as two custom log staircases and railings to match.”
Montana Log Homes spent approximately five months constructing the log shell. They then carefully disassembled the home and transported all the logs on four flatbed semi trucks, toward the end of March 2011. “Three lumberjacks flew down from Montana to Georgia to put the log package together,” recalls Jan. “With the help of Shaun and some of his crew it was up in less than five days!” Shaun Greer then took over and hired subcontractors to do the plumbing, electrical, windows, roof, HVAC, and finish carpentry. The home was completed in December 2011, not including landscaping.
A seven-minute drive from Heaven’s Landing to downtown Clayton provides the Nassers with a multitude of amenities in a hometown atmosphere. “Restaurants are plentiful,” reports Jan, “and shopping is abundant, yet big city traffic is never an issue. I can see Tom and I retiring here some day.”
“I’m currently employed as an endodontist [root canal specialist],” Tom chimes in, “and plan on working as long as I can. Heaven’s Landing is a special vacation home for now, but you never know, we may want to retire down there eventually. I need to keep working to support my expensive aviation hobby and pay off the mortgage! Since it’s a quick two-hour flight in my Cirrus we manage to get down there about twice a month, weather permitting.”
“We’ve found the climate at Heaven’s Landing to be a perfect balance of all four seasons,” says Jan. “Rabun County enjoys mild, spring-like temperatures right through September. Fall colors are breathtaking, and winters are almost always mild. Snowfall is rare, just two to five inches on average annually, and before you know it spring comes back around, bringing beautiful dogwood blossoms and a rolling mountain landscape of emerald green. In our opinion, it’s Heaven on Earth.”