“After all of those years of working, this is what life is all about. We feel like we are on vacation the whole time,” says Debbie.
Debbie and John Lane relocated to Brunswick Forest, just 10 minutes outside of historic Wilmington, NC, in September 2015. Set on 4,500 acres of heavily-wooded land only 30 minutes from area beaches, Brunswick Forest is one of the nation’s top master planned communities with abundant amenities including golf, kayaking, fitness center, and a town center with retail, dining, medical, and professional establishments.
In 2011, the Lanes embarked on a five-year plan to retire and relocate. They had lived in Herndon, VA, for 22 years, where John commuted to his job at the FDIC in downtown Washington, D.C. Tired of the traffic, they knew they wanted something different for retirement.
“We attended two trade shows [Ideal-LIVING Resort & Retirement Shows] held in Tyson’s Corner, VA, and met with the representatives from several East Coast communities from Georgia to Tennessee. We also talked to the various builders that were there, and it really got us thinking about retirement. The information was very helpful. Ideal-LIVING gave us the opportunity to narrow our choices. We had vacationed to Duck, NC, for 15 to 20 years, and knew we liked North Carolina area beaches. We knew we wanted to be off of the beach, but still beach accessible. Brunswick Forest checked off a lot of the things we wanted—golf and a riverwalk close by in downtown Wilmington with lots of restaurants. We moved into our new home built by Kent Homes in September 2015, a year ahead of schedule!!” said John.
“We really like the 100 or so miles of hiking and biking trails at Brunswick Forest. We love to ride our bikes around the neighborhoods and still love to tour through model homes in the community. Sundays are our day to tour through model homes and we even met friends from Chicago doing the same thing. Now we go to dinner with them and play golf with them.”
The Lanes take advantage of Brunswick Forest’s Cape Fear National Golf Course. John has been on the board of the men’s golf association and plays two to three times a week and Debbie also plays a couple of times a week. Debbie said, “Little did we know we were going to need a budget for golf.”
Extremely active in their retirement, they also love to kayak and now own two kayaks. They play cards a lot, are involved in a wine tasting club, frequent area beaches, and enjoy attending cultural events in Wilmington. The Lanes are also avid travelers. Along with friends they have made at Brunswick Forest, they have taken a river tour from Switzerland to Amsterdam, a cruise from Rome to Barcelona, just returned from Banff, Canada, and will be going on a cruise from New Zealand to Australia this year. John even went to Scotland with three golf buddies for a golf trip.
“We never thought retirement could be so busy. The people all came here for the same reasons. We tell people it’s not a question of being busy, it’s more difficult just to learn when to say NO. We sometimes need just a day to relax.”
Brunswick Forest, the Coastal South's fastest growing community, is located on North Carolina's Cape Fear coast, just minutes from historic Wilmington. This 4,500-acre retreat features a wide array of neighborhoods and lifestyles, 18 holes of golf at Cape Fear National, a Clubhouse, River Club, Fitness & Wellness Center, parks and more than 100 miles of walking, biking and nature trails linking residences and amenities.
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“I think everyone wants the same things. We all want to have a good time and enjoy life. That’s easy when you love where you are living, and you enjoy the people and what you are doing,” says Jayne Barruch. It was this desire that inspired Barruch and her husband to venture out and find a new life in Wilmington.
Larry and Jayne Barruch both grew up on Long Island. They were living in Westchester, NY, when in 2008, Larry decided to make a list of all of the places he thought they might want to retire to. He attended an Ideal-LIVING Resort & Retirement Show, stared researching, then brought his wife Jayne to a Show in Greenwich, CT, in 2010. They first took a tour of the Lowcountry from Charleston to Savannah. The next trip in 2010, they flew into Myrtle Beach and explored Brunswick County to Wilmington, NC. While in Wilmington, they visited seven or eight communities.
Larry says, “It’s like when you are taking your kids to look at colleges, you have to look at a lot of them, and see what fits. You do yourself a disservice if you don’t look at multiple communities.”
Goal #1: Find a New Life in Wilmington
“Back in 2010, we just had a feeling. We loved the vision for Compass Pointe and what it would become. There was something about it – we felt at home and comfortable. We didn’t have that feeling at other places. We took a leap of faith and are so happy with what Compass Pointe has become,” said Jayne.
And, the Barruch’s are more than overjoyed that their annual property taxes are now what they used to pay in a month.
“We knew we wanted to live near the beach and being here in Compass Pointe, we are close to so many beaches – Wrightsville Beach, Brunswick County beaches, Kure Beach, and Carolina Beach. The weather is so warm, we can even go to the beach in October and November,” she continued. The Barruch’s are such avid ambassadors that many of their friends decided to move to Compass Pointe.
When the Barruch’s aren’t helping others find their ideal retirement, their lives are full of activity. In addition to golfing at Compass Pointe and nearby courses, Jayne spends her time woodworking, making jewelry, sewing, playing cards, going for walks, seeing friends, and just having some down time to enjoy life. She’s a member of many clubs, including the Benevolence Club that helps people in need.
Jayne says, “Compass Pointe is a very caring community that comes together when people are in need. You just put it on the community blog and people will respond. We really look out for one another.”
And, yes, Larry is just as busy as his wife. He plays golf, bowls, and is on the traffic/safety and the communications committees. He is a monthly contributor to The Pointe magazine (the community’s monthly magazine), and writes a column on the legends and lore of the Carolinas. Larry is also an investigator for the Port City Paranormal, where he researches the local lore and ghost stories. When he was a child, his father called him “Dr. Spook,” and his fascination continues today. He can regale you with many a tale of the local area, including the Legend of the Maco Light.
While their two children still live in the Northeast, Jayne and Larry don’t feel they are missing out as they either fly or drive back to see their children whenever they want. Jayne says, “The children are busy with their own lives and we have weekly FaceTime sessions with the grandkids. Although when we return to New York, within 15 minutes we remember why we left.”
The Barruch’s encourage others to “seize the moment.” They advise others who are thinking about relocating to, “Do your homework. Find your area or city, then visit multiple communities. Talk to the people who live there. Find out why people came, what they like, and what they don’t. Nothing is perfect. But, this is as close as you can get.”
“We took a leap of faith and are so happy with what https://www.ideal-living.com/north-carolina/compass-pointe/ has become.”
The alliterative town of Weeki Wachee, FL, is home to the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, who perform 365 days a year—even eating and drinking underwater.
Billing itself as ‘the only city with live mermaids,’ Weeki Wachee is an hour north of Tampa. Mermaids aside, it’s also the idyllic location of the gated golf community of GlenLakes.
A former executive at 3M, Jerry Maybrey was drawn to all that GlenLakes had to offer—including the weather. “We were from Minnesota,” he says. “We found GlenLakes online as one of the top 100 places to retire to, visited, and loved the situation there, loved how well-kept it was.”
The Retirement Two-Step
Jerry’s wife, Jean, was also an executive—the Director of Marketing for the National Sports Center in Minnesota. When the couple moved down to GlenLakes, Jerry hadn’t yet retired; he commuted back and forth from Florida to Minnesota for the first two years of their residency. Despite her husband’s travel schedule, Jean was far from lonely.
“There are a lot of different business people that reside there. People who worked for General Motors and Ford, plus entrepreneurs who had their own businesses,” Jerry says. “We made friends immediately. To be quite honest, we have more friends in the GlenLakes area than we do in Minnesota, and we spent 20 years in Minnesota. Everyone’s in retirement mode. Most are there without family, so therefore it’s a much more social situation.
Now that Jerry is retired, he can take full advantage of one of his favorite aspects of living at GlenLakes. “I’m a golfer. I love the golf course. My wife enjoys other things—pickleball, tennis, riding bikes, and walking. I fish as well. GlenLakes hit all the hot buttons we had from a retirement perspective,” he says.
Jerry and Jean were also drawn to the area for practical reasons. “It’s not as crowded as further south in Florida, and the traffic isn’t as bad,” he says.
The couple has explored their new home state, driving up to the Emerald Coast and down to Key West. They’ve also visited Charleston. There’s so much to do in GlenLakes, though, that they don’t feel the need to venture that far from home. “We go to the club quite often. The food is so unbelievably good. There’s a wonderful chef,” Jerry says. “There’s a nice clubhouse with various things to do. There are exercise courses, and a heated pool, if you don’t have one at your house. It’s just a well-run and well-designed facility.”
The Maybreys have also found their way to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park—not necessarily to see the mermaids, but to kayak down the Weeki Wachee River. “It’s like going through a jungle. My wife and I do it at least twice a year,” says Jerry, who had never kayaked before the couple moved to Florida. “There’s a nice beach, about 4-5 miles away. It’s just well situated.”
A fishing enthusiast, Jerry now casts a line from his kayak. “I fish right on the lake in GlenLakes,” he says. “There’s wonderful fishing—big bass.”
When it’s time for family to visit, GlenLakes is also ideally located. “Tampa is one of the best airports to fly into in the nation,” says Jerry, who traveled extensively during his career at 3M. “There’s long-term parking right in the building. It’s unbelievable.”
Living the Florida Dream
The Maybreys have lived in GlenLakes since 2010, and life just keeps getting better.
“I never get sick of the golf course. It’s such a unique golf course. My wife never gets sick of playing pickleball and tennis,” Jerry says. “The biggest thing is how well-kept it is and how people do so much due diligence to make sure it’s top-notch all the time. The property is kept up, the golf course is kept up—I think it’s very well run.”
What is multigenerational living? This community is a great case study.
Located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Lake Naomi Club is the only Platinum Club of America, 5-star rated, private family resort destination in the Northeast. With all that it has to offer—Pennsylvania’s top-rated tennis complex, two Olympic-sized outdoor pools, boating and fishing on one of the largest private lakes in the Poconos, a sailing program, a multifaceted community center, and a wide range of planned activities for kids and teens—it’s easy to see why.
But Lake Naomi’s allure goes beyond its phenomenal amenities. It is that rarest of Shangri-Las—a place where multiple generations come together to build memories, sharing experiences that they will pass along to their children… who, in turn, will return to Lake Naomi Club when they have little ones of their own.
“My family first brought me up there as a young child in 1984,” says Lake Naomi Club homeowner and member Andrew (Andy) Bacon. “When I was in second grade, that was my first year there. From my perspective, what’s great about it is a number of folks we’ve known for a lifetime, much like family. It’s very much a community where the kids know the grandparents, the parents, and each other.”
A competitive person by nature, Andy is very much into the sailing program. His son is now six, and has begun sailing at Lake Naomi Club as well. “When I was a kid, up until when I was in high school, we went up there every summer. We’d pack the car and leave New York City,” Andy says. He attended college at Old Dominion University in Virginia Beach, a further distance from Lake Naomi, and so didn’t have much of a chance to visit until his mid-twenties—though his sister went to a local Pennsylvania university and spent a lot of time at the Club. “When I came back after having been away for years, it was like I never left from a friends and family perspective.”
Andy’s parents own a house at Lake Naomi Club, and five years ago, Andy and his wife purchased one as well. “I do the same thing I did as a kid. We leave July 1 and return home September 1, spending two months up there,” Andy says. Luckily for Andy, his job is flexible. He works for a technology integrator, so all he needs is Internet access to get his work done—giving him the freedom to spend time with his son, Jake. Andy’s daughter, Mary, is just nine months old, so she hasn’t had the opportunity to experience many aspects of the Club yet—but Jake definitely has favorite activities.
“He really likes the camp program they have there. It’s fantastic,” Andy says, referring to Lake Naomi’s Kids Klub. “He likes the golf course they installed a few years back, a little driving range where you hit balls into floating islands in the pond. He loves going to the lake and the pool, likes the freedom, loves taking the bus to camp, loves seeing his friends. The group of friends that my wife and I are friends with have kids as well, so we all come together.”
Another benefit of homeownership at Lake Naomi Club is the shared sense of responsibility. “It takes a village to raise the kids. If I’m sailing and they’re hanging out—if there’s 10-12 kids, as long as there’s one adult, everyone keeps an eye out for what’s going on. There’s definitely a feeling of family with the folks that are there.”
The active lifestyle at Lake Naomi Club exists in sharp contrast to the way many children spend their summers—glued in front of a screen. A friend of Andy’s at the Club has two daughters. After eight o’clock one summer evening, the girls came inside after a long day of having fun. They wanted to do something different, and one of the two suggested they play video games. “They said, ‘We haven’t played video games all summer,’” Andy says.
For Andy, the multigenerational element of Lake Naomi Club is deeply connected to the sports activities that the Club offers. “I can very vividly remember playing golf with my grandfather, with my father, now with my son. It’s the same with sailing, the same with swimming. The sharing of that sport activity, whether it be sailing, golf, tennis, whatever it happens to be—the life sports and community sports aspect is really what makes the multigenerational piece stick. It’s not like you’re just sitting around the house on the weekends. You’re integrating your life with your parents and with your kids.”
Lake Naomi Club is located in the pristine Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our Members have continued to bring their families to Lake Naomi-Timber Trails since 1963. The charm of the individual homes and properties in Lake Naomi and Timber Trails, the country club quality of the sporting and social facilities, the planned activities for all interests and ages and the great variety of ways to live the seasons' pleasures with friends and family are some of the reasons that Lake Naomi-Timber Trails is a Five Star Platinum Club Community.
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When Mary Lou Shannon decided to move to the Traditions of America community of Saucon Valley near Bethlehem, PA, she had three things in mind: being closer to family, pursuing her passion for gardening, and finding a vibrant group of friends. “I was a real estate agent for 32 years in the Washington, D.C. area, and I decided that I wanted to live closer to my son and daughter-in-law in Bethlehem,” Mary Lou says. “I loved the concept of customizing my home and moving into a community when it was new. I knew from my real estate work that that first group of homeowners was pretty tight, and I wanted to be a part of that closeness wherever I ended up.”
Mary Lou’s search initially led her to Traditions of America at Bridle Path. The community was almost sold out, but construction on Saucon Valley was just beginning, and Mary Lou already knew she loved the area. “I’d driven through Saucon Valley when I was visiting my son. I loved the farmland and yet it was close to a great shopping center and the highway. I surprised my family, and came up for Mother’s Day weekend … I’ve never looked back.”
From the very beginning, Mary Lou knew that connecting with her new neighbors mattered to her—so she volunteered to host a friends-giving event for her first Thanksgiving in her new community. “I got to know a lot of people doing that. Our clubhouse was finished by then, and we had a lovely candlelight sit-down dinner for 70 people,” Mary Lou says. “Then I got on the social committee. I got to know people and know what was going on in the neighborhood. That was important to me and has a lot to do with my happiness here.”
Mary Lou began playing bridge and joined a book club. “You have to put yourself out there in a community to get the full benefit of it,” she says. Then, she started getting her hands dirty. “I have a lovely garden already. It’s my second summer gardening here, since I moved in two years ago … I have a variety of plants. The lettuces are in now … I’m planting things that are low-maintenance, hostas and native plants.”
Her life at Saucon Valley has been everything she hoped for, but Mary Lou wanted to expand her horizons beyond its boundaries as well. “I told myself when I retired that I wanted to do hospice volunteer work and take a master gardener program. I signed up for both of those before I even moved up here. They’re an important part of my life, because I’m meeting people outside of my area but I’m also giving something back to the community,” she says.
Mary Lou has always loved to garden, and the master gardener program has given her new insight into one of her favorite hobbies. “It surprised me how much I didn’t know. There’s an emphasis on native plants, protecting the environment, the connection in the natural environment of plants, insects, birds, and woodlands. I’m finding that fascinating.”
She was eager to share what she’d learned with her neighbors. “I wanted to encourage more people to garden with a perspective to the natural environment, so I arranged a lecture from a naturalist on attracting birds to our gardens, and then I asked for a shelf in our community library,” she says. “I’m trying to encourage people to use less pesticides and grow some native plants.”
As much as Mary Lou has given to her new home, she’s gotten a great deal from it as well. “Downsizing and establishing yourself in a new community are easier to do sooner rather than later,” she says. “What this community offered is way beyond my wildest expectations for friendships and support.”
“Downsizing and establishing yourself in a new community are easier to do sooner rather than later,” says Mary Lou Shannon.
Longtime Miami residents Stuart and Nancy Iliffe wound up at the Florida community of the Villages of Citrus Hills through a slip of fate—and now they’re living the dream.
“It was an accident, believe it or not,” Nancy says, laughing. “We never expected to retire. We lived in Miami—we’ve been married for 37 years—and we never even thought about retiring. It’s so hectic there, we were so busy … then we took a trip with another couple to Disney World. Our kids were gone—we thought, let’s go and enjoy it ourselves.”
Close to Home But Worlds Apart
While they were at Disney, the other couple suggested that the Iliffes join them for lunch at a nearby community, where the husband’s sister was planning to move. The Iliffes agreed. “When we looked at the numbers, and what the difference was going to be in our living expenses, we thought—wow, we could retire right now.”
Back home, the Iliffes were doing some online research, and came upon the Villages of Citrus Hills. “We decided to come and have a look. As we were driving in, we said, ‘We’re not buying, we’re not buying, we’re not buying. It’s just a look-see,” Nancy says. “Well, we drove out with a lot.”
Nancy knew her way around Florida real estate—she’d been a real estate agent for over 40 years. She wasn’t easy to impress, but the Villages of Citrus Hills managed to do just that. “The minute we drove in, those big magnolia trees and the hills … it’s a beautifully designed property,” she says. “I’ve worked with developers for years, and I’m very familiar with construction and property sales. We were able to get exactly what we wanted. We went to a model, liked it very much, took the design home to our own architect, and made little tweaks and changes. For a price, we able to retire comfortably.”
Must Have Golf
Nancy’s husband, Stuart, was in the golf business, and it had become a hobby as well as a profession. “He was the distributor for Titleist for South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico for many years,” Nancy says. “He’s a good golfer, and it’s important to him.” The two wanted to retire in a place where they weren’t going to have to sacrifice their lifestyle, and knew that they couldn’t afford to do that in Miami. At Citrus Hills, however, they could live the retirement of their dreams.
“We just joined the club here, with a full membership. My husband is playing golf three days a week. He’s played everywhere, even in the U.S. Senior Amateur twice, and he says this is a really nice facility,” Nancy says. “We can’t be happier with what we’ve done.”
The Pace at Citrus Hills
Retirement definitely hasn’t slowed the Iliffes down. “We’re always busy with something. Tonight we have Trivial Pursuit with friends,” Nancy says. “I’m playing golf, which I haven’t done in years—I’m playing nine holes with three girls in our neighborhood, which I love. I’m picking up bridge again, which I really like. And I just joined the Newcomers Club—in June, I’m going on a beginners’ kayaking trip on the Rainbow River.”
Citrus Hills‘ sense of community has also made a big impression on the couple.
“We’re all transplanted from somewhere else, and everyone on our street is so welcoming. We’re like family already, and we’ve only been here permanently for six months,” says Nancy, who loves to entertain and recently hosted a dinner party for 16 at the couple’s Citrus Hills home. “We’re really overwhelmed with it — it’s so enjoyable.”