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posted: 2/17/2012 5:00 PM

Neighborhood profile: Spring Beach

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  • Spring Beach Way is a street in Cary that runs along the Fox River.

       Spring Beach Way is a street in Cary that runs along the Fox River.
    Photos By Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Residents of Spring Beach can enjoy Ray Schaffer Park along the river.

       Residents of Spring Beach can enjoy Ray Schaffer Park along the river.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Spring Beach homes come in a wide range of sizes and types.

       Spring Beach homes come in a wide range of sizes and types.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Some of the houses in Spring Beach are former weekend cottages that have been expanded through the years.

       Some of the houses in Spring Beach are former weekend cottages that have been expanded through the years.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
By Sherry Giewald
Daily Herald Correspondent

When Shirley Rochford came out to Cary's Spring Beach area from Chicago to attend a family picnic, she noticed a little house on the market that she liked. She and her husband Bill Boetsch bought it in 1962.

Jack Schaffer moved from Mount Prospect to Spring Beach with his parents when he was 10 years old. Later, as an adult, he bought their neighbor's house when it came up for sale.

The attraction? The Fox River.

Spring Beach Way is a private road that runs along the Fox River where people love living. And they enjoy all the water recreation -- swimming, boating, skiing and snowmobiling, said Rochford, a Realtor with Century 21 Sketch Book.

"We have 100 homes in Spring Beach, each unique in its own way and never two alike," Rochford said. "Residents have a private boat ramp that's just for homeowners. And those who live across the road and not on the water still have river rights."

Homes range from a charming bungalow with knotty pine floors to a luxury residence with all the latest amenities. Lots are generally 50-by-299 feet with a few double lots.

"I've lived here 50 years," Rochford said. "Our kids were born and raised here, and they loved it so much that they stayed here."

Situated off Route 14 just across the river from Fox River Grove, Spring Beach is comprised of Spring Beach Way, which dead ends, and a few other streets, so there's no through traffic, which is nice for families with small children, Rochford said.

When Schaffer came out to Spring Beach, a third of the houses were summer cottages, including his. Most of these small cottages have either been torn down or completely renovated and expanded. People have built some beautiful new homes along the river, he said.

"Our home is much larger now after four additions, and it's a very comfortable house although probably bigger than we really need. I've raised three sons here and am in the process of raising twin daughters. We'll be here until they throw dirt in my face."

Schaffer and Rochford are enthused when they talk about how friendly people are and all the activities going on in the community.

"In July we have a big fireworks, and we have front row seats," Rochford said. "All the neighbors have big parties outside. It's our big event of the year. We donate money to Fox River Grove to help offset some of the fireworks because we all enjoy it so much."

This has always been a friendly community, said Schaffer, who followed in his father's footsteps as president of the residents' association.

"Last night when my wife said our neighbors, Karen and Mike, had made a big pot of chili and invited us over, I immediately said, 'I'll get my shoes on.'

"This is not unusual for Spring Beach. People barbecue outside all the time and invite neighbors over. We have a neighborhood hangout called Spring Beach Inn, which is a gathering spot. People get there from the road by foot, car or golf cart," Schaffer said.

Other neighborhood activities include a chili night where everyone brings chili and they pour it into a big pot. They host a Halloween party, have hayrides for the kids and always have a lot of participation.

For those who yearn for even more adventure, the nearby community of Cary offers rock climbing, quarry scuba diving, cliff diving and gravel pit tours. More conventional recreation includes the town's many parks, golf courses and museum.

Schools here are very good and an important consideration for homebuyers. They have always been a good selling tool for the area, Rochford said.

"We have a nice mix of residents, older and younger people, and we all get along," Schaffer said. "It reminds me of the 1950s. It's a nice friendly community and a great place to grow up."

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