APD’s Harvest Hill Residents Compete in Puzzle Contest

APD’s Harvest Hill Residents Compete in Puzzle Contest

When you think of doing a puzzle, you might picture someone relaxing, sipping tea pulled up to a card or coffee table, pondering the pieces and where they fit. 

Recently, a group of Harvest Hill residents engaged in a whole different approach during a “Puzzle Competition” activity. Three teams, of three residents each, were given the same 300-piece puzzle, a timed start and their own space to put it together as quickly as possible with a goal to be the first to complete their puzzle.

The idea came to the activities team via Martha Doolittle, a Harvest Hill resident. Martha had tried a contest at a church competition, an event with six tables of teams. Martha also mentioned that her sister’s brother in law, Bob Armstrong, is a Puzzle Master so she has been doing puzzles for a long time. She saw a documentary called “Wicker Kittens” about teams of people who do puzzle contests. She knew Anne Williams, who was in the film. Martha reached out to Anne for guidance about how to set up contests and where to get puzzles and other ways to host a successful event.  Anne was a great help providing guidance and resources.

The winning team at the Harvest Hill competition completed their puzzle in about two hours. Teams had to work together (which can be a challenge) but Martha said you figure out a strategy. For example, on her team they had a “border” person and one to sort and organize prominent colors. The winners went home with boxes of chocolate truffles, and all the teams got to keep their puzzles. Congratulations to Martha and the activities team for “putting it all together.”

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 Woodlands Resident Jack DeGange

Jack DeGange built a successful 50-year career as a writer and editor before moving to The Woodlands in 2016.

A graduate of Bates College and an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jack started his professional career with newspapers in Stamford and New Haven, Conn. In 1968, he became the sports information director at Dartmouth College where, over nine years, many of his publications won national awards. He then worked in printing sales and marketing before spending a decade in the corporate communications field. A return to Dartmouth in the 1990s to work in fund-raising communications preceded nearly two decades as a freelance writer and editor.

For several years Jack was board president and campaign chair for United Way of the Upper Valley and also volunteered at David’s House in Lebanon where his wife, Jane, was executive director for about 20 years.

Jack became familiar with The Woodlands in 2010 while doing a freelance article for Trumbull-Nelson Construction, the company that built The Woodlands (and several other buildings on the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital campus). His research included interviews over dinner he and Jane shared with three couples who were longtime friends and among the earliest residents at The Woodlands.

“After dinner, Jane and I agreed that one day The Woodlands would be a good option for us,” Jack said.

For 25 years, before moving to The Woodlands, their home was a large farmhouse on four acres about three miles from The Woodlands. When they decided the time was right to leave lawn mowing, snow blowing and splitting firewood behind, they didn’t look beyond The Woodlands.

“When making a decision about downsizing, I encourage people to plan early, while it’s still a choice, not a necessity,” Jack said. “The Woodlands was the right size for us. It’s easy to get to know everybody. We’ve acquired many new friends, there’s a great social atmosphere, the people are interesting, and conversations can go in any direction.”

He now applies his experience as a contributor to the residents’ monthly newsletter and, as president of The Woodlands Board of Directors, encouraging residents to get involved in community life.

Unlike many other independent living retirement communities, the residents, with the support of The Woodlands staff, organize clubs, outings, and other activities for everyone to participate in and enjoy.

“This is our home and residents find it easy to get involved. In a sense, interests and initiatives energize the community,” Jack said.

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 Woodlands Resident Carol Kelley

Carol was one of the first residents to move into The Woodlands almost 13 years ago. After a visit to a friend living at Harvest Hill, she decided this was the retirement community for her on a beautiful, wooded campus with large apartments, great views, and a lot of activities to choose from. The Woodlands was still under construction at the time, but as soon as it was open, Carol moved in.

“Everyone is very friendly and I feel safe living here. If you need help someone is always available and the food is really good,” Carol said.

Carol grew up in Little Falls, New York. She earned an associate’s degree in science from the  Suny School in Alfred, New York and worked in a laboratory at the University of Rochester Medical School. Carol’s husband was a physician and his career brought them to Hanover, New Hampshire where they lived for 43 years and raised two daughters.

Carol is very active in the community serving as the Social Team Leader, the group that organizes events like the monthly social gathering open to all residents on the first Wednesday of every month, the Ladies Lunch-Out monthly outing, and Pub Night every Friday. Carol enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction, especially history, and is also on the Library Committee. The Woodlands has a substantial library for residents with a room dedicated to hardcover books and one for paperbacks and magazines. Carol and the other library volunteers make sure books are checked back in and shelved properly.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here, most of them from working on various committees,” Carol said.

When she is not arranging social gatherings or helping to keep the library ship-shape, Carol enjoys going to the many exercise classes offered at The Woodland taught by professional instructors. She also likes to travel to visit her daughters and grandchildren. Her daughter in Maryland is a judge for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington D.C. and when she is visiting they take in the many museums near the Capitol. She also loves visiting her daughter, a doctor like her father, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, spending time on the beach, and enjoying the many fun restaurants and shops in the area.

“The Woodlands is such a friendly place and the staff takes such good care of us. There are a lot of activities to choose from, a great menu with a lot of variety, and regular guest speakers,” Carol said.

Meet Woodlands Resident Robert Sands

Robert moved to The Woodlands four years ago drawn to the natural beauty surrounding the community and in his words, “all the well-educated, well-traveled, interesting, and nice people living here.”

Robert is one of those well-educated, well-traveled, interesting, and nice people whose family once owned the famous King Arthur Flour Company. He grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and earned an economics and geography degree from Dartmouth College.

“I chose my professors rather than my courses and I took the classes offered by the ones I liked the best,” Robert said.

He entered graduate school but was called to serve his country during the Vietnam War, becoming a member of the Army Infantry and stationed in Berlin for two years. After that he spent six years in the Army Reserve, traveling throughout Europe, Turkey, Finland, and as far as Morocco.

“My travels helped me realize this simple truth; people are people no matter what color, what religion, or beliefs they have. People do things differently and have their own reasons for doing those things. Never judge people from what you see only from your point of view,” Robert said.

When he left the Army Reserve Robert joined the family business for a few years before moving to Washington D.C. to work for the United States government focusing on U.S. and Canada relations. His work with Canada expanded Robert’s worldview even more and he says the Canadian people were good to work with. While in Washington D.C. he also attended the National War College and worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a few years.

When it came time to retire, The Woodlands was his first choice. He enjoys his first-floor apartment overlooking the courtyard, often inviting friends over for a glass of wine while they enjoy one of the many live music events held there. 

In nearby Lebanon, Robert enjoys taking classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth which offers educational programs year-round for residents in the greater Upper Valley. He also likes going to the Dartmouth College rugby team games.

Meet Woodlands Residents Al and Jo Horvath

Meet Woodlands Residents Al and Jo Horvath

Al and Jo Horvath were high school sweethearts and married after graduating from college. They are still going strong 58 years later and are now looking forward to celebrating their next anniversary in August at The Woodlands.

“Peggy Cooper gave us a tour and was just wonderful,” Al said.

“The minute we walked on campus we knew this was the place,” Jo said.

Al was born in Schenectady, NY, but has lived in many places in the country and travelled the world with his career as an engineer with General Electric. When he was just starting out Al was involved with the Apollo space program to help put the first man on the moon and throughout his career he worked on radar, sonar and satellite systems for the military and several commercial satellite projects.

Jo is from New Hartford, New York and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New York before obtaining a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Most of her career was dedicated to working with non-profits, primarily hospice and a nursing home in Syracuse, NY that took in indigent people.

Al and Jo have two sons and four grandchildren that they visit a lot. Before moving to The Woodlands 10 months ago, they enjoyed spending time at their home near Oneida Lake boating and fishing for bass and wall-eyed pike with their sons and grandchildren. Now they stay busy with community activities. Jo uses the gym several days a week and plays in a Mahjong group.

“Mahjong is complicated but good for the brain,” Jo says.

Al’s hobby for 30 years was woodworking, making gifts for friends and family and now he enjoys the community woodworking shop. Both he and Jo are on the Wii Bowling team, which he describes as, “a lot of laughs.”

Al and Jo says what they like most about living at The Woodlands is everyone is welcoming and friendly. They also like that the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital is nearby on the campus and the great food served in the dining room where they enjoy socializing with the many new friends they have made since moving in.

“We knew right away we made the right decision coming here,” Jo said.

Meet Woodlands Residents Bill Sullivan and Lois Lorimer

Meet Woodlands Residents Bill Sullivan and Lois Lorimer

Bill and Lois first met as students at Tufts University and fell in love, but their lives would take them on very different paths. Their alma mater brought them together again over four decades later and now they are enjoying an active retirement at The Woodlands.

Bill was a chemistry major at Tufts University but was unsure of his career path. With the draft looming, he decided to leave college and enlist in the Army to have some say in the line of duty he was to perform.  He served with an army intelligence unit known as the Army Security Agency and after basic training, he was sent to a military language school and served in West Germany as a German linguist. After serving his three years of active duty, Bill returned to Tufts to major in German language and literature with a minor in European History. That is when he met Lois.

Lois and Bill dated in college but took separate life paths, married other people, and had families.

 Lois got an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and worked for the Kennedy Administration finding volunteers for the Peace Corps. She later worked for the United States Information Agency and met her first husband, Matt Lorimer, in a State Department class. She was assigned to Berlin, Germany and he to Kampala, Uganda, where they married a year later. They had two daughters and a life of travel with assignments in Germany, Zambia, Finland, and Copenhagen, Denmark where Lois was a photo researcher for Time/Life Books. They also worked in Jamaica, Boston, and Washington, D.C. before retiring to Woodstock, Vermont.

After Matt passed away Lois decided to simplify life by saying “yes” to any suggestion, and as a result, she ended up working in both the clinic and the gift store of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, helping a childhood friend drive a moving van across Canada, and writing short stories, a few of which have been published.  She also said “yes” when Bill called to ask her out to lunch, after not having heard a word from him in 43 years.

Bill’s professional career was in the field of U.S. intelligence, principally with the National Security Agency, rising to the level of a senior executive. He and his first wife Barbara had four children. The family lived in Munich, West Germany for four years then returned to the U.S.  and settled in Laurel, Maryland where after a long illness, Barbara succumbed to a brain tumor.

Following retirement, Bill was recruited to serve on the professional staff of a congressional commission focusing on the role of US intelligence after the end of the cold war. He eventually started his own consulting firm, Strategies for Intelligence, working with AT&T, Raytheon, and the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

When Bill saw Lois’s phone number in a Tufts University alumni catalog. He decided to call her and the rest, as they say, is history.

When it came time to downsize their home of 17 years in Woodstock, VT, the search brought them to The Woodlands.

“The Woodlands attracted us because of its reputation and moderate size. Most of the other communities we visited were much larger and felt more institutional than comfortable. The community is very professionally run too, so we knew this is where we wanted to be. We have a beautiful apartment with wonderful views of the mountains and sunsets every evening,” Bill said.

Lois and Bill enjoy an active retirement with Lois attending exercise classes several times a week while Bill enjoys the treadmill and weights in the fitness room. He also anticipates working in the community woodshop. The couple has always enjoyed the outdoors and often hike the many wooded trails near The Woodlands.

“There are more activities here than anyone has time for and we are always discovering new ones. The Woodlands offers wonderful independent adult living where we have met so many friendly, interesting people that we enjoy spending time with,” Bill said.

When they are not engaged in community activities both Lois and Bill are involved with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lebanon. Lois has taken several courses there and Bill lends his years of experience and expertise as a teacher at Osher with classes like, “Understanding the Middle East, “ “The Road to Iraq” and “The History of US intelligence from George Washington to the Present Day.”

Bill and Lois are able to enjoy a carefree retirement without household maintenance worries, and access to amenities like the fitness center and woodshop while spending time with other retired adults also pursuing their passions in a safe and supported community. The Woodlands team is thrilled to be a part of Bill and Lois’s happily-ever-after love story.

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.