Happy (Jones) Trail to you, for just $199,000 and up

          You could make an argument that the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was way ahead of its time.  It was the first major golf project funded by a state pension program, in this case Alabama's Retirement Systems.  It was also the first collection of golf courses slapped with the designation

It would reasonably take two weeks to play all 468 holes on the Jones Trail.

"trail," something that has been copied in places as diverse as Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, Idaho and even North Dakota, although none are as long as the Jones Trail, which spans more than 370 miles from Muscle Shoals to Mobile.  It would reasonably take two weeks of 36 holes most days, and some impressive driving -- on Interstate 65 -- to play all 468 holes.

         Those who consider a home along the trail and the incredibly reasonable state resident golf membership plan can take their time playing the entire collection of wonderful courses; and there is probably no better location to put down stakes than adjacent to one of the best clusters of courses on the entire trail, at Grand National Golf Club near Opelika and Auburn.  Not only that, but a new selection of golf cottages at National Village, right next door to the golf courses and to a large Marriott Hotel, are priced quite reasonably and seem well appointed base on the community's web site. 

         I visited National Village and played the Grand National Lake Course 20 months ago, and while I thought the more traditional family homes in the community were a little too close to each other to warrant the $600,000 and up price tags, these new cottages seem like a terrific bargain starting at $199,000.  The recession in the housing market has clearly had an effect on real estate in the Opelika/Auburn area, but with a major university nearby (Auburn), a grand buffet of golf course choices, and all those baby boomers poised to move south, National Village could be singing "Happy Trail" soon enough.

         I combined reviews of both the golf course and National Village in one article back in March 2008.  You can read it by clicking here.  If you would like to get a taste of what is available at National Village, visit their web site at NationalVillage.com.  If you would like more information or would like me to get in touch in your behalf with the National Village folks, just send me a note by clicking here.

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Some of the attractive cottages at National Village, beside the Robert Trent Jones Trail's Grand National Golf Club in Opelika, AL.