Embracing Community with Janet Bantly

Embracing Community with Janet Bantly

Born in Garwood, New Jersey, and raised in Union, Janet Bantly, a 90-year-old resident at Harvest Hill, lives with a commitment to community involvement.

Janet grew up attending a private all-girls school before earning her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from Simmons College in Boston. After completing her MS degree at RPI, she spent 24 fulfilling years as a nutrition consultant for the Connecticut State Dept. of Education, overseeing school programs and ensuring students received nutritious meals, reflecting on it as “the best job she’s ever had.” It was also the state of Connecticut where she met and married her husband, Neil.

Her career took her far beyond the United States though. Traveling internationally, she led groups of school nutrition professionals to countries that had or wanted to begin feeding children at school. The organization, called People to People, was started by President Eisenhower while he was in office.

Literature, Quilting and Community Spirit

Influenced by her daughter, Amy, and grandchildren living in the area, Janet came to Harvest Hill and was instantly drawn to a courtyard apartment on the first floor, which offered convenience and proximity to everything she needed. With a grandson and great grandson nearby, Janet found comfort in the community immediately.  

Not only is Janet deeply involved in the community at Harvest Hill, but she is an advocate for her fellow residents. From serving on the board to contributing to the newsletter with stories, event coverage, and book reviews, Janet’s passion shines through. She is active in Harvest Hill’s book clubs and volunteers at the library, where she’s spearheading efforts to revitalize their collection. With Nikki’s (Executive Director at Harvest Hill) support, Janet successfully secured a budget for the library, allowing for upgrades. Janet excitedly shares some of the most influential books she’s read, including “1984” and the works of Alexander McCall Smith. She shares, “I read 1984 in high school, and it still feels so relevant, especially today.”

Additionally, Janet is a dedicated crafter, working with a group for knitting and crafts. This is natural for her given her entrepreneurial experience of owning a fabric store for ten years. “I’m very busy. I have a packed schedule,” she admits. It’s this energy and enthusiasm for her community that inspires fellow residents.

From Nutrition Consulting to Community Engagement

As a registered dietician, Janet’s feedback of Harvest Hill’s meals warrants a level of respect. She shares, “The meals are extremely tasty,” reflecting the community’s commitment to providing nutritious and delicious food options. She notes that discussions about food are actively encouraged, as demonstrated by the upcoming food meeting where residents can provide feedback and ask questions.

Exploring what the community “stands for,” Janet describes a range of community members from independent living to those with more specialized needs. No matter one’s background or circumstances, she’s forged many meaningful connections and has numerous friends. She admires the diverse backgrounds of her fellow residents, many of whom have excelled in business or education.

So, what makes this community exceptional beyond its diversity? “The attentive care provided by the staff, who have been responsive and supportive throughout my time at Harvest Hill,” states Janet. It’s this supportive, yet autonomous, environment that makes Harvest Hill a place you can call home.

Finding Joy: A Conversation with Harvest Hill Resident Becky Lynn

Finding Joy: A Conversation with Harvest Hill Resident Becky Lynn

For Becky Lynn, Harvest Hill is more than just a residence; it’s an active community where she is known by her first name, participated in staff hiring, welcomes new residents, and engages wholeheartedly in activities that challenge and inspire her. Having spent 1.5 years at Harvest Hill, Becky’s journey here is woven with threads of familiarity. 

Upon moving from Middlebury, Connecticut, a place intertwined with her family’s history, Becky’s roots run deep. Her decision to choose Harvest Hill was influenced not only by the fact that she found it superior in the region but also because of the support and proximity it offered to her son and his wife. 

Her story unfolds from Amherst, Massachusetts, where she attended high school and reflects on being the ‘facility brat.’ College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, opened doors to explore her enthusiasm for education.

Continuing her greatest purpose, she pursued educational classes at the University of Vermont, Burlington, eventually culminating in a fulfilling career teaching 3rd grade in Connecticut for several years. 

In 1960, she married her first husband. Reminiscing about cherished moments, she fondly recalls incentivizing her children with 50 cents each for looking after one another, offering her a break, while marveling at their inherent goodness. “They were always such good kids,” she reflects.

Life, however, presented its share of challenges. Becky overcame the loss of her first husband due to cancer, spending a decade alone until she met John. Sharing a love for plants, their time centered around traveling the country attending conferences where Becky was introduced to botanists and horticulturalists. When John passed away in January 2022, Becky made the decision to seek a sense of community.

Empowerment, Unity, Collective Engagement 

Becky has discovered many unexpected joys, activities like Bingo—an entirely new experience that is a source of laughter and camaraderie.  As a member of the hospitality group, she welcomes in new residents, sharing insights that only insiders would know—further creating a sense of comfort and belonging in the community. Now she is also an integral reporting team for Hillwinds, a publication put out every two months.

Activities are diverse; she shares a stimulating brain fitness class where the entire group was challenged to spell out Fahrenheit–a word she’ll never forget how to spell again. The show-and-tell session offers a time to bring out cherished family artifacts. For Becky, it was a Civil War water bottle and Velvet box, in her possession since she was just 5-months old. 

When it comes to meals, Becky cites the seafood options including scallops, East Coast fish, and the occasional lobster tail with drawn butter; a cherished New Year treat this year. 

Above all, she shares how the warmth among residents and staff makes the community unique. The acknowledgment of her by name in the hall, while once being a part of the hiring decision-making process give Harvest Hill its ‘resident-first’ appeal, sharing how residents came together to interview and select their current Executive Director, Nikki Fortier.

Becky’s time at Harvest Hill has shown her what the community’s spirit is all about. Shared stories, strong bonds, activities and beyond give residents a renewed sense of belonging, community, and home.

Meet Faye: One Heart Behind Harvest Hill’s Life Enrichment

Meet Faye: One Heart Behind Harvest Hill’s Life Enrichment

In the Harvest Hill community, Faye, a Life Enrichment assistant, helps to plan activities aimed at fostering not only fun and engagement but also the growth of mind, body, and spirit. But what makes Faye unique isn’t just her role; it’s her journey, motivation, and the heartwarming stories she has inspired. 

A Journey from California to the Heart of Harvest Hill

Originally from California, Faye ventured to New England for college, where she pursued linguistics at Brown University. However, her professional journey took an unexpected turn toward campus ministry, marking the beginning of a career that would eventually lead her to Harvest Hill. It was during her college years that Faye recognized the aging of her grandparents and the lack of dignity and respect given to the elderly. This realization compelled her to make a difference in the lives of seniors.

Faye’s Mission to Cultivate Connection

Working in Life Enrichment, Faye wears many hats. From planning exciting activities to facilitating one-on-one meetings, her focus extends beyond organizing events; she strives to build connections and relationships among the residents at Harvest Hill. For example, discussion groups, like the ‘Current Events Group,’ provide a platform for residents to engage in meaningful conversations. 

Faye emphasizes inclusivity, ensuring individuals with varied capacities interact and serve each other. Whether it’s a resident with dementia participating in Bingo or a one-on-one session with someone experiencing anxiety, Faye’s patience and kindness creates a warm environment. 

A Community Centered on Residents

Harvest Hill’s uniqueness lies in its resident-centered approach. Every staff member, from housekeeping to administration, is intimately acquainted with each resident’s preferences and needs. This attention to detail ensures residents are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Harvest Hill has become a place where individuals, regardless of their cognitive or physical abilities, feel honored and valued.

Faye’s Driving Force

Faye draws motivation from her faith, seeking to make each individual feel seen. She believes small acts of kindness are the meaningful differences that create a positive impact. She strives to nurture well-being, create connections, and uphold the dignity of all the residents of Harvest Hill. 

Lessons of Kindness and Respect

Harvest Hill isn’t just a place where seniors live; it’s a community that teaches valuable lessons. Faye reflects on the innate kindness and humility exhibited by the residents. The atmosphere of respect within Harvest Hill reflects how one should treat people with different values and life experiences.

At the heart of Harvest Hill, Faye and her team are creating more than just a living space for seniors; they are bringing together a community that celebrates life, growth, and connection.

The Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments: Your New Haven at Harvest Hill

We are thrilled to introduce our newest addition – the Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments. This cozy, newly renovated “neighborhood” within our community is designed to offer an exceptional living experience for those who cherish independence while relishing the benefits of a supportive and spirited community.

Discover Your New Space

The Neighborhood at Hughes boasts seven studio apartments, each thoughtfully designed for comfort and functionality. With a spacious shared kitchen and living area, you’ll have ample room to entertain friends or enjoy conversation with your fellow neighbors.

The Best of Both Worlds

While you savor the peace of your new home, you’ll still have access to all the activities, events, and dining options available in the main building at Harvest Hill. It’s like having the best of both worlds – a serene retreat and a lively community, all within arm’s reach. And, say goodbye to shoveling snow and home upkeep – we’ve got you covered.

Nature’s Serenade

Situated on the ground floor, the Neighborhood at Hughes offers garden views that create a sense of calm and connection with the outdoors. It’s the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll or for unwinding in a beautiful setting.

Your Private Oasis

This unique living space is a sanctuary for those who value a quiet and private environment. It’s an intimate space within the larger Harvest Hill community, where you can relish your surroundings while staying engaged in activities that pique your interest.

Your Next Chapter Begins Here

Whether you’re looking to simplify your life or seeking something new, the Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments could be the perfect fit for you. To learn more about this unique living option, contact us today. Your next chapter of comfortable and carefree living awaits.

Call to learn more about the Neighborhood at Hughes.


Peggy Cooper
Marketing & Sales Manager
APD Lifecare
(603) 308-0475

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Dr. James (Jim) Hughes

Dr. James (Jim) Hughes has lived and worked all over the United States as a physician specializing in pediatrics. He and his wife Gillian are enjoying retirement at Harvest Hill where he can be found walking the beautiful trails surrounding the community every morning at dawn.

Dr. Hughes graduated from high school in Exeter, New Hampshire and earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford before joining the United States Navy. After primarily serving on an aircraft carrier in the Far East for three years he was discharged and attended Harvard Medical School, graduating “cum laude.”

After graduating Dr. Hughes joined a Johns Hopkins University project as an assistant professor in the medical school and school of public health while studying pneumonia in children in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), India. He returned to the United States, spending two years with Dartmouth Health before leaving to run a private clinic. He also helped develop a new HMO in East Lansing, Michigan and joined the Georgetown University HMO in Maryland which Kaiser Permanente bought. He spent 18 years with Kaiser Permanente in Washington D.C. and found time to earn a Master’s of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Dr. Hughes and his first wife of 56 years had four children, a daughter, and three sons. Together he and his wife Gillian are the parents of five children including her daughter. After retiring from medicine he and Gillian moved to Vermont and built a house on Lake Fairlee where they lived for 25 years before making the move to Harvest Hill in 2022.

Dr. Hughes and his wife have always been interested in the arts and Gillian is an original founder of the Parish Players theater group in Vermont. He has been in over a dozen performances with Opera North and did a reading of the play “Copenhagen” with other Harvest Hill residents at the First Congregational Church in Vermont where he is a member.

Dr. Hughes combined his love of pediatrics, theater and the arts into entertaining children reading from the “Harry Potter” book series, over Zoom to an elementary school in Vermont.

“My greatest pleasure is reading to children. I have been reading aloud to school kids for over 20 years,” Dr. Hughes said. “When I put the offer out to read books aloud at Harvest Hill the residents who said they were interested chose ‘Harry Potter,’ too. I have a pretty faithful following here, “ Dr. Hughes said.

If you are considering a new retirement lifestyle Dr. Hughes says there is so much to love about Harvest Hill from the beautiful natural surroundings to the great dining options, numerous activities, and all the live musical performances.

Meet APD Lifecare Facilities Manager Jesse Thomas

Jesse left a 20-year career in facilities and maintenance management in the manufacturing industry for the opportunity to work with people instead of machines at the Harvest Hill and The Woodlands communities. As the Facilities Manager he focuses on building personal relationships with the residents and team members he works with and supports.

“This has been a super positive change for me. I enjoy working in a more caring environment because everything is more personal. I am taking care of people and their homes. I really appreciate the residents and the team I work with. Every day is a great experience,” Jesse says.

Originally from Newport, New Hampshire, Jesse earned an associate degree in applied technologies from the Universal Technical Institute of Arizona, his OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) certification and has completed PIT (Powered Industrial Truck) Health and Safety training. After several years working in the manufacturing industry he was ready for something where he could use his skills to help people and have a direct positive affect on their lives. He had always heard positive things about the Alice Peck Day senior living communities and when he saw an opportunity to use his skills and experience there he took it.

Jesse’s areas of expertise are far-ranging including project management, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) repair and maintenance, plumbing, electrical work, and safety in the workplace. He is also skilled at building and programming computers and game consoles. For Harvest Hill and The Woodlands, he is using his technical knowledge to further streamline operations for maintenance requests, repairs, and installation of new equipment. He also oversees long-term planning and budgeting for equipment to ensure residents always have, for example, reliable appliances and a comfortable environment.

Jesse and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters at home and enjoy “escaping technology” to spend time in the White Mountains. He also likes to go hiking and mountain biking, run in local 5k races with Sarah, and visit his two adult sons whenever possible. Jesse is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Marylin Babineau

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Marylin Babineau

Marylin has deep ties to the Lebanon community where she has lived most of her life, raised her four children, and owned and operated the oldest business in town with her husband of 60 years. When it came time to move to a retirement community she never considered anywhere else but Harvest Hill.

“This is a very comfortable place and the food is really good,” Marylin says.

Marylin and her husband Leo owned Lebanon’s oldest business, Hildreth’s Hardware, which was established in 1856. The original store was destroyed in a fire in 1903 and rebuilt. Marylin and Leo began managing the store for her father and assumed ownership of it in 1965. The building narrowly escaped being destroyed by fire again when a blaze swept down the street it was on. Several businesses burned but the fire stopped just short of the hardware store. After Marylin and her husband retired their son followed in their footsteps and took over managing the store.

Several of Marylin’s friends at Harvest Hill remember Hildreth’s Hardware.

“It was a huge hardware store and very well known. If you were doing any kind of home repair, Hildreth’s is where you went first,” Marylin says.

Marylin chose Harvest Hill because she always knew, “it was the place to be.” Centrally located in the town she has always called home, Harvest Hill offered her the services and activities she was looking for in a retirement community. She moved in two years ago, stays active going to exercise classes three days a week, and enjoys playing board games and doing arts and crafts.

“I don’t sit around. I like to stay busy,” Marylin says.

Marylin is looking forward to spending time with her four children and their families who live nearby for the holidays.

Meet Harvest Hill Fitness Instructor Joanna Graber

Meet Harvest Hill Fitness Instructor Joanna Graber

Joanna Graber is one of Harvest Hill’s fitness instructors who enjoys spending time with residents socializing, having fun, and getting fit. She likes working with seniors, learning from them, hearing their stories from a lifetime of experiences, and can always count on some words of wisdom whenever she asks them about life or parenting situations.

“Everyone here is so welcoming to me, to new residents, to everyone. They are also fun to be around and remind me to slow down and be mindful of my own form and enjoy our time together,” Joanna says.

Joanna moved to Lebanon 17 years ago where she shares a home with her husband, three daughters, and their cats. She has been teaching fitness for 24 years and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition science and psychology, is a registered dietician, and is certified by the National Exercise Training Association. She oversees a team of instructors that teach everything from strength and cardio classes to yoga and swimming at the Carter Community Building Association (CCBA) near Harvest Hill, which offers residents and Alice Peck Day campus employees discounted memberships.

The residents at Harvest Hill have widely varying degrees of ability so Joanna structures the 45-minute classes with 30 minutes of chair exercises and 15 minutes of standing exercises. For residents who prefer to sit longer, or for the entire class, all the workouts can be adapted to suit the participants’ individual preferences and abilities.

“When I am their age, some of them in their 90s, I hope I am still showing up like they do, staying active, socializing, and making new friends,” Joanna says.

Harvest Hill supports our residents’ health and well-being by bringing in highly qualified fitness instructors like Joanna several times a week. Beyond maintaining their cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength for increased mobility and better balance, the classes offer residents an easy way to get together and have fun. Social engagement and peer bonding through physical activities have been shown to decrease the chances of older adults becoming isolated and depressed and helps them maintain mental and physical health. It also encourages better quality sleep and dietary choices.

If you would like to learn more about Harvest Hill and the fun activities we schedule for residents to enhance their health and well-being please schedule a personalized tour call 603-308-0024 or contact us via our website.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Mary Harrington

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Mary Harrington

Mary and her husband came to Harvest Hill 15 years ago, having lived in the Upper Valley for over five decades. The community offered the services and amenities they were looking for in the place they had called home for so long.

Originally from Somersworth, New Hampshire, Mary graduated from the MacIntosh Business College in nearby Dover with a secretarial degree and worked as a secretary in the human resources department for the Internal Revenue Service. After she and her husband got married in 1963, they moved to Worcester, Massachusetts where she worked for another IRS office until they started a family.

Mary is actively involved with her church and has served on several committees over the years. She is part of a group that makes mission quilts for the underserved and has personally sewed 50 backpacks every year that are filled with school supplies donated by the congregation and shipped to children in some of the poorest nations around the world.

Mary has always liked to travel and every September she and daughter Judy go to Maine to volunteer for the annual New England Parkinson’s Ride, which raises money for the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Research Foundation. They staff one of the rest stops for bicyclists participating in the ride.

Right after moving to Harvest Hill Mary became involved with the resident newsletter and served as the editor for 12 years. She enjoyed working on the computer and overseeing article assignments, layout and design. Mary has since handed off her newsletter editorial duties to someone else but still contributes by attending community events and taking photos for it.

Mary enjoys being involved in community life. She is the president of the Residents’ Association and is currently serving the last of a 3-year term on the APD Lifecare Board of Trustees. She also oversees the Trading Post, a community swap shop of sorts where residents can trade items and she donates unwanted items to local area thrift stores every couple of months.

When she is not volunteering in the community Mary is a regular for exercise class four days a week and Scattergories on Sundays. To relax she enjoys quilting, listening to music and reading. Her favorite genres are thrillers and mysteries but says she has “too many favorite authors to list.”

“What I like best about living at Harvest Hill is the food and activities. No shopping, cooking or cleanup and with all the activities you can stay as busy as you want to be,” Mary says.

Meet APD Nurse, Lisa Carpenter

Lisa has been a nurse for over 20 years and holds an associate degree in nursing. She previously worked in skilled nursing homes, but Harvest Hill is her first assisted living community.

Lisa came to Harvest Hill four years ago. She has always enjoyed working with older adults and was drawn to the way Harvest Hill residents and staff work together. She assists residents with their medication management, performs daily health checks and communicates with their doctors as needed to ensure they get the best care. She appreciates that many of the residents’ primary care doctors are on campus at the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital and their multi-specialty team regularly makes house calls to Harvest Hill for the residents’ convenience.

“The residence and staff are really a great team. Everyone works together and the residents are so appreciative. This is such a great place to work and everyone has always been so welcoming,” Lisa says.

Lisa was born and raised in New Hampshire but now makes her home with her husband in nearby Tunbridge, Vermont. They are currently busy planning their daughter’s wedding. They are dedicated  animal lovers, as proven by the care they provide them. They have four dogs; one is 18 years old and completely blind and deaf. They also have three cats, one that needs IV fluids every day. Their menagerie also includes two pet rescue goats.

“We have a nursing home for pets,” Lisa said with a smile.

Whenever possible she and her husband enjoy trips to the mountains and the beach.