14 April . 2022
The Marlands’ “where to retire?” tour ends happily ever after at Sweetwater
From their home atop one of the highest elevations in Sweetwater and Travis County, Bill and Yolanda Marland enjoy what they call a “40-mile view,” watching red hawks soar above a rolling landscape of canyons and hills that extends all the way to Marble Falls and Packsaddle Mountain.
With their west-facing view from over 1,200 feet up, they enjoy nightly sunsets tinged with purple and orange, sitting around their infinity swimming pool that appears to extend into the green canyon.
“The minute we saw that endless view, we knew we would build our retirement home in Sweetwater,” recalls Yolanda.
The Marlands discovered Sweetwater after a cross-country “where do we want to retire tour?” that began about seven years ago, when they were living in the Tidewater area of Virginia.
Bill, a dentist, had retired from a 32-year career with the Navy, working at the Naval Base in Norfolk and the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, as well as overseas and aboard ships. He also had a private practice in Chesapeake.
Yolanda, who had arrived in Virginia Beach from the Philippines at the age of 17, co-owned a dental laboratory before becoming a successful travel agent. She founded L’Escape Travel in 1999, the year she and Bill met. Both had been previously married, and after falling in love, they spent the next 15 years enjoying their new married life in coastal Virginia.
In 2015, the Marlands began their retirement exploration tour in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia and North Carolina. They thought the region was beautiful, but it didn’t quite check all their boxes.
“Yolanda likes the hustle and bustle of a city, whereas I am a true mountain man who really likes his space – the more the better,” Bill says. “Though spectacularly beautiful, that area is void of larger urban areas. One has to really be into nature and country life to appreciate its gifts.”
They next turned to Texas, where they had visited in 2000, after Bill completed a joint military/civilian humanitarian mission in the Rio Grande Valley. After the mission was completed, they vacationed in South Padre Island.
Bill and Yolanda were touched by the warmth and friendliness shown by Texans, and they liked that Texas was a veteran-friendly state. “We vowed to return to someday,” says Bill.
They did return, about 15 years later, starting their Texas tour in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, working their way to The Woodlands and Lake Conroe before heading west to Austin.
“We didn’t know what to expect from Austin, but as we drove closer to the Hill Country along Highway 71, we got really excited,” says Yolanda. “We immediately fell in love with the rolling hills and lakes. We knew right then that this would be the place for our retirement home.”
Bill felt the same. “We knew the area was very special,” he says. “It had the large city vibe of Austin and the peacefulness and solitude of the mountains, all rolled into one.”
After finishing their Texas tour, the Marlands returned to Virginia to consider their options, and revisited Austin several times over the next two years. In 2017, their real estate agent, Micheall Blatt with Keller-Williams, introduced them to Sweetwater, where The Summit custom home enclave had just opened.
“The views were breathtaking. It was immediately a done deal, no-brainer,” Bill recalls.
They were also impressed by the friendliness of the Sweetwater community and its master-planned environment.
“We wanted to live in a master-planned community because of all the protections they provide, and we also wanted to be in a gated community,” Yolanda says. “We were also impressed by how friendly everyone was at Sweetwater, and how many activities there were to enjoy.”
The couple closed on their homesite in The Summit on St. Patrick’s Day of 2017, becoming the first individual private owners to buy in the enclave. (Several homesites had already been sold to a custom builder.)
Bill and Yolanda spent a year carefully designing their home, looking at hundreds of plans and making hundreds of modifications to create a Mediterranean-style dream home with approximately 5,000 square feet. They made sure that indoor and outdoor living areas took full advantage of the breathtaking views, adding a covered balcony off the upstairs gameroom. As a final touch, they designed the infinity pool to look out over the Hill Country.
Today, both are actively involved in Sweetwater’s community life.
“We have made closer friendships in a year at Sweetwater than in 17 years in our last community,” says Bill.
Yolanda enjoys Zumba classes at the Sweetwater Club, day trips to local wineries and other activities with her many new friends in the community. Bill, who is more of a homebody, enjoys gardening and serves as a neighborhood representative on the Sweetwater Homeowners Association. Both enjoy hiking the community’s extensive trail system.
“Choosing Sweetwater was the best decision we have ever made,” says Yolanda.
Read more resident stories from Sweetwater.
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