Sometimes people deliberate about life-changing decisions. Other times, they make them quickly. For the first residents of Sycamore Springs, it took just one visit to Garden Spot Village to make the decision — and they could not be happier.
Like many others who have moved to Garden Spot Village, Art and Tina Petrosemolo were at the end of their full-time working careers. Tina had retired from teaching high school science in 2015, and Art was poised to end his career as a college administrator in June 2016. They had lived near the shore in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, since 1996, and their lives were filled with sailing and other nautical pursuits. They had no plans to move.
Something To Do on a Rainy Day
The couple wasn’t sailing all the time. Two or three weekends a year, they would visit Lancaster County, where Art worked at Franklin & Marshall College early in his career. They explored farmers’ markets like Green Dragon, made pretzel runs to Hammond’s in Lancaster’s West End and dined at the Victor Emmanuel Club in Reading. On one of those trips, waking to a cold and rainy day, they called a real estate agent specializing in active 55-plus communities “on a whim to take a look around.” They saw several such communities and also had time to visit a former colleague of Art’s who lived in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
Retiring to Pennsylvania made sense. Where they lived in New Jersey, they might rub shoulders in the supermarket with celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart or Connie Chung, but real estate taxes and the cost of living were high — not conducive to retirement.
They also liked the concept of continuing care. “We got a taste of both active 55 and CCRC living,” Art says. “It was obvious that a CCRC made the most sense for us.”
After some swift and serious research on East Coast CCRCs, they came across Garden Spot Village and added it to their “go-see” travel plans. They soon found that immediate openings for apartments or cottages at the best communities are few and far between. Most have long waiting lists.
“Garden Spot was our last visit on a trip that took us as far as Chestertown, Maryland and Lewes, Delaware,” says Art. “Although we could see ourselves at a few spots, their openings were two or three years away. We learned that many retirees plan for this type of move well in advance and come to the top of the list as they approach their retirement date.”
On their visit, the Petrosemolos met with Megan Bennett, sales manager at Garden Spot Village, and Bonnie Gerig, the community’s former marketing director. No units were available immediately, but Sycamore Springs was in the final planning stages, with construction scheduled to start soon.
“That just about sold us,” says Tina, “especially the ability to have a stand-alone cottage that would actually be larger than our New Jersey home.” For Art, who swims a mile a day, the community’s heated indoor pool made an impression. The couple returned to Garden Spot Village in early May 2016 to review floorplans and pricing with Megan. The day after they returned home, they sent a deposit check.
Home for the Holidays
“The Petrosemolos were eager to move in,” Megan says. She told them there was an excellent chance to move in, as Sycamore Springs’ first residents, before the end of December. The couple was excited and, as they put it, “rolled the dice.”
“We put our house up for sale in mid-May,” Art says. “It sold at the asking price in two days, and our first-time homebuyers worked with us, so we did not have to close until the end of October. It was a blessing.”
The Petrosemolos took the summer months to downsize and plan. In July they visited with Danette Betancourt, design studio director at CCS Building Group, to choose their flooring, counters, tile, lights and cabinets. They watched—sometimes daily via the live construction cam—the dramatic site progress during a construction-friendly summer and fall.
With a late-December move-in looking like a reality, the Petrosemolos watched Groff Movers of Mt. Joy pack their furniture in late October and move it into storage in Lancaster County. After closing their New Jersey home, Art and Tina relocated to an old fishing and clamming community called Highlands on Sandy Hook Bay. In November, they visited Sycamore Springs for their first walk-through of the cottage.
“From that date, it really was just a countdown to the move,” Art says.
On December 27, Art, Tina and their rescue cat, Wayne, drove to New Holland for the settlement and an overnight stay, so they were ready when the movers arrived the next day.
“We knew that for the first few months we would be in the midst of a pretty busy construction zone and would be the only residents of the new community, but that didn’t bother us in the least,” the couple says. “We were just so happy that, with the help of everyone at Garden Spot, we went from not planning to move anywhere in retirement to joining the Garden Spot community in less than a year. It couldn’t have been better.”
If you are interested in exploring an active lifestyle in a 55 and over continuing care retirement community, contact us today. We have new construction retirement homes available, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have and schedule a tour of our Sycamore Springs retirement community neighborhood.
Article previously published in Destination Garden Spot Village, Spring 2017