Approximately 27 miles north of Houston and 375 miles south of Dallas/Fort Worth on Interstate 45, (I-45, or 'the 45' for those from California) you will find The Woodlands, Texas. The 28,000 acre master planned community was founded by George Mitchell, a man who believed that 'development of The Woodlands Community should conform to the natural world around it.' The Woodlands has evolved around that premise and has grown to become the perfect combination of nature and today's modern conveniences.
At 9:30 am on Saturday, October 19, 1974, a flag was raised at The Woodlands' Information Center, located near The Woodlands Inn and Conference Center in the Village of Grogan's Mill. This marked the first official act of The Woodlands' introduction to the world. Fewer than 40 people lived in Settler's Corner, the community's original neighborhood in the Village of Grogan's Mill, on South Millbend, just east of Grogan's Mill road. These were truly pioneers – investors and believers in a new lifestyle, a planned community that was once only a dream of Mr. George P. Mitchell, founder of The Woodlands. As of 2011, only 1,372 acres of unsold residential land, representing 4,532 lots, and 936 acres of commercial land remained, according to the recent owner & publicly traded Howard Hughes Corp.
Mitchell's vision of homes, parks, shopping centers and pathways began in 1974 and has continued to follow that purposeful planning to include entertainment, living, commercial and retail properties. The Woodlands offers a seamless blend of designer homes, shopping, dining, world-class health-care facilities, championship golf courses, parks and more all shrouded by the thousands of trees and natural landscaping.
The Woodlands has been featured in a variety of magazines and online publications including: Travel+Leisure, August, 2010 - Coolest Suburbs Worth A Visit; Money Magazine, July, 2010, Top-Earning Towns (#11); Continental Magazine, July, 2010 - A City Among The Trees (The second feature article in a year's time); EzineMark.com, July 2010 - Why Residents are Moving to The Woodlands, TX; Forbes.com, July 2009 – The Woodlands is one of America's 25 Best Places to Move; Continental Magazine, June 2009 – Wooded Wonderland; Southern Living, January 2009 – America's Best Shopping Destinations; Houston Chronicle, 2008 – The Woodlands is Worth the Trip!; Texas Highways Magazine, May 2008 – In The Woodlands, The Zooms and Fumes of Houston's I-45 Eventually Give Way to the Peaceful, Pine-lined Streets in This Master-planned Community; Lake Charles American Press, 2008 – Get Back to Nature, Enjoy the High Life or Whatever Your Heart Desires in The Woodlands. Kingwood Tribune, 2008 – If it is Fun You Are Looking for This Summer, Look no Further Than The Woodlands Resort. Chere Coen The Times of Acadiana, 2008 – The Woodlands Was Created With Families in Mind.
Resembling the Piney Woods of east Texas, you won't see any billboards or other types of aerial commercial advertising as you travel the winding roadways throughout The Woodlands. One could almost miss the commercial signage at the various shopping centers and amenities as they are limited to small size and height. The entrances to the Villages (neighborhoods) typically dwarf any signs you would see for restaurants or other commercial enterprises. This community-wide consistency allows for just about the only other landmarks visible from a distance to be The Woodlands water towers as they are among the few things which are taller than the many trees. According to Tim Welbes, co-president of The Woodlands Development Company, "You almost have to live here for a while before you (can) discover all the homes, restaurants, shops, area parks and schools behind the trees." But it is those very woods that make The Woodlands so unique from many master-planned communities in surrounding areas as well as our neighbors to the south in Houston. The Woodlands offers a wide variety of entertainment venues including two Cinemark Theaters, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, bowling alleys, billiards halls, various annual outdoor festivals, the Waterway Square Fountains, a winter ice skating rink and much, much more.
Teens and tweens can enjoy The Gorilla Hole at The Woodlands Recreation Center, several skateboard and bike parks, frisbee golf, online gaming at Fat Ogre Games & Comics game center as well as a video arcade at the Main Event nearby. With more than 114 acres dedicated to shopping and entertainment, there exists an evergrowing list of places to shop, eat, meet, and be entertained.
Among the many perks of living in The Woodlands, Texas is the fact that residents don't have to go far in order to find something to enjoy.
A typical night out might include a walk through Market Street in Town Center, a ride on the Town Center Trolley or Waterway Cruiser, dinner at one of the more than 150 restaurants, followed by a performance at The Woodlands Pavilion, or the Town Center Theater. The choreographed fountains at Waterway Square Park feature a nightly dance of colorful waters cascading along a 120-foot span ending with jets that shoot water upwards of 75 feet in the air.
The Woodlands also has something for art lovers featuring over 50 outdoor sculptures throughout the community. The Woodlands public art collection began with "The Family," a towering, freestanding sculpture at the main entrance to the community which was acquired for the 1974 opening.
The Woodlands continues to be committed to extending the collection of outdoor public art and most recently added the piece "The Woodlands Passage", a series of five limestone scultpures located along Grogan's Mill Road near The Woodlands Parkway just inside Town Center and close to East Shore.
Approximately 7,840 acres of land in The Woodlands is dedicated to protected green spaces, a much larger percentage than you would find in most major U.S. cities.
In addition to a multitude of doctor's offices and emergency medical centers, two of the world-famous Texas Medical Center hospitals, Memorial Hermann and St. Luke's Episcopal, have a large presence in The Woodlands. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands is the only Level IV trauma center in Montgomery County, and has undergone four expansions in response to the growing population.
The area also features a lifetime's worth of education; The Woodlands is home to top-ranking public and private schools, as well as graduate-level university campuses; Lone Star College - University Center Campus (formerly North Harris-Montgomery Community College, or, NHMCC) and the University of Phoenix - Woodlands Learning Center.
There are also plenty of green spaces available to the general public. The Woodlands features over 100 parks in a variety of shapes and sizes. These parks include tot lots in the residential villages, neighborhood parks, as well as larger parks like Town Green in Town Center. The four-acre park is bordered by Market Street, The Waterway, the Pavilion, and the South Montgomery County Library. This park includes a kid-sized literary labyrinth with giant books depicting modern versions of Aesop's fables as well as a mini amphitheater. Terramont park has a frisbee golf course, Windvale park features a butterfly garden and three other parks are dog friendly. The most recent addition to the evergrowing collection of parks is the George Mitchell Nature Preserve, a 1,700 acre park named for the community's founder. When completed, the preserve will offer a more rugged experience for those who prefer an extreme outdoor sports environment. The park will offer a scenic and challenging setting for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping and kayaking. A more liesurely kayaking experience can be had at the Riva Row Boat House where the lower section of The Waterway meets the upper section.
In fact, ask any resident and the most popular reason given for living in The Woodlands is the thousands of trees and natural environment. Some residents frequently see deer from their breakfast room windows as well as squirrels, assorted birds, raccoons, and other wildlife. The Woodlands Waterway is even rumored to be home to several beavers. The Woodlands Golf Courses are considered to be world class and include those designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Fazio. The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center features two championship courses on it's own property. The Woodlands is home to more than eight beautiful golf courses, both public and private. In addition there are two or more driving ranges, The Woodlands Golf Center at the Sam Moon Complex which features a large golf accessory shop, and the Montgomery County driving range which borders the north edge of College Park. There are several golf pro accessory shops in and around The Woodlands as well.
When it comes to overnight accomodations, there are several hotels, inns and resorts in The Woodlands including various Marriott Hotels, the largest being The Woodlands Waterway Marriott and Convention Center. The Avia Hotel in Market Street opened in December, 2009. Additional accomodations include a La Quinta, Fairfield Inn, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Drury Inn and many others. The Woodlands is becoming a weekend getaway paradise as well as a vacation destination for both regional and international travelers. Easy access is available to and from Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH); a short 20 minutes via the Hardy Toll Road and no more than two traffic lights. The Woodlands is a great place to live, learn, work, and play.
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