In 2011, when James and Gay made the move from LA to a golf community in Northern California called Portola, they had misgivings. After all, they were by their own description a “very social” couple with many good friends in Southern California. They worried they would lose contact and be lonely in their new home. Fortunately, nothing could be further from their actual experience—they not only kept their old friends, but made many new ones in Portola.

Fast forward to 2021 when it came time to find a second home in Arizona. Why here, you might ask? According to Gay, “Our two children studied at the University of Arizona and never left after graduation.” Today, they have a total of five grandchildren between the ages of 5 and 13 and both families settled in Anthem, a community north of Phoenix.

The pull of family drew them to the area numerous times over the years. But ultimately the realization that their oldest grandchild would be starting high school soon cemented their decision to buy a home here. The question was, where specifically? “We considered Prescott and even Anthem,” explained James, “but we really wanted to find somewhere close but not too close.”

When an email from Wickenburg Ranch arrived inviting Gay and James to the community’s Grand Opening Season for ‘Taco Tuesday’ or ‘Pizza Wednesday,’ their interest was piqued. They already knew a lot about the area. They’d golfed at Los Cabelleros in the nearby town of Wickenburg often. And since Gay had a friend from high school that lived at Wickenburg, they had visited many times for golf at Big Wick and dining at Jake’s Spoon. They liked what they saw, experienced and tasted.

“We weren’t looking for a community where the amenities were a promise at some point in the future after 5,000 residents move in,” said Gay. “Everything we wanted was already here.” That’s what ultimately sold them.

“Big Wick and Li’l Wick were a big draw for us,” added James. “Golf is #1 and wine is a close second.” They returned to Portola and realized their decision was already made.

Making the trip back to Wickenburg Ranch this past holiday season, they worked with a Shea Homes sales associate by the name of Margie. “She was so sweet and helpful,” explained Gay. “We ultimately purchased the Brasada house plan because Margie found us the perfect homesite.” In fact, they felt so comfortable, they bought it long-distance from Portola.

“We aren’t cowboys, but we liked the fun and ‘ranchiness’ of Wickenburg,” summed up James. “June 26 is our 50th wedding anniversary and we look forward to celebrating it here.”

Speaking on behalf of Wickenburg Ranch and all of their future friends in the community, we’re looking forward to it as well. To experience an equally happy homecoming here, contact our Member Ambassadors at 855-878-1703 today or just visit our Ranch House.