Meet Woodlands Residents Jim and Brooke Adler

From the moment they moved in, Jim and Brooke Adler were impressed by The Woodlands, from the food, to our helpful maintenance staff, and welcoming residents – many who have since become friends. While communal living “is an adjustment after over 50 years living together on our own,” said Jim, “it was an easier one than I would have imagined.” The Woodlands is “first class,” adds Brooke. Watch the video to hear more about why the Adlers love living at The Woodlands!

Watch the Video Interview

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Gretchen Fairweather

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Gretchen Fairweather

After moving to Harvest Hill in July, independent living resident Gretchen Fairweather has only good things to say about it, from the community’s staff to the interesting residents, activity choices and delicious food, to her comfortable apartment.

“It’s a very friendly, warm environment, and there’s always a lot going on,” said Gretchen, 78. “The staff is terrific, and the food is unbelievable. I couldn’t get over it! I’ve made some good friends, and my apartment is the perfect size for me.”

According to Gretchen, she actually set her mind on moving to Harvest Hill years ago. Working in Lebanon, her daily drive by Mascoma Street took her past a large building site, which she assumed was an addition to Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.

“I’d just drive by it and wonder what it was,” she said. “It got bigger and prettier, and then one day I just drove into the driveway and found out it was going to be a retirement community. I decided right then and there that’s where I was going to live when the time came.”

Born in Rochester, New York, Gretchen grew up in Pennsylvania and attended The University of Vermont. She started her career at a Philadelphia publishing house, and later worked at Woman’s Day Magazine in New York City. It was there she met her husband, then a student at Columbia University.

After her husband secured a job teaching at the University of Connecticut, Gretchen took a job at the Willimantic Chronicle as a newspaper reporter. She spent her later career as a station manager for radio stations in Connecticut and New Hampshire and supported her husband and their two children while he attended medical school.

“I loved the people and the personalities I encountered working in radio! You get one announcer who wants to be the next Wolfman Jack, another who wants to be the next bigshot news reporter,” said Gretchen. “It was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends.”

After she retired from radio, she and her family opened a bed and breakfast in West Hartford, Vermont for six years. She went on to spend a lot of her time volunteering: as a trail guide at a local natural museum, in the cancer center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and at David’s House, a residence for families of children being treated there.

“It’s been a good life,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of wonderful experiences, and I have no regrets.”

Now, at Harvest Hill, Gretchen loves to remain active and involved, just as she always has. She loves that there is always something going on, whether it’s movies, van trips, live entertainment, lectures, classes, clubs or something else. She currently belongs to a book club, attends three exercise classes a week, and likes taking advantage of the nearby hiking and biking trails.

Most of all, though, Gretchen appreciates those parts of the community you can’t see from the outside: the people who work there. They’re the ones who make Harvest Hill truly special, she said.

“The staff here are just wonderful, from the nurses to the cleaning crew, to the maintenance men, to the people who work in the office,” said Gretchen. “And I think every resident here would say the exact same thing.”

Meet Woodlands Resident Couple Rich and Carol Lammert

Meet Woodlands Resident Couple Rich and Carol Lammert

From the beautiful New England location and welcoming residents, to the breadth of activity choices, and helpful, caring staff, Rich and Carol Lammert say they are very satisfied with their decision to move to The Woodlands.

The Lammerts have been married for 56 years and lived on New Hampshire’s Mascoma Lake for the last 20. In June, their son and his family helped Rich and Carol downsize their home before moving into their new one-bedroom apartment at The Woodlands.

Moving to a beautiful place like The Woodlands was an easy transition from a gorgeous location like Mascoma Lake, said Carol, but while their new view is lovely, the best part is that it also comes with a built-in community.

“Our previous home was in the country surrounded by woods, so I found it to be isolating and didn’t really develop strong friendships,” she said. “I don’t mind being solitary, but when we came here, I realized, indeed, how isolated I had been. So, it’s been a nice change.”

“The people here are very, very welcoming,” she added. “They’ll often invite newcomers to join them in the dinner hour and people will just sit and talk, so dinner can sometimes extend over two hours.”

Rich agreed making friends at The Woodlands is quite easy, especially with so many amicable and interesting residents to talk to, adding, “There are a lot of doctors and professors and other professional people here. We’re amazed every time we meet someone how interesting their backgrounds are.”

After retiring from nursing, Carol picked up costuming for local plays and later worked as a manager for the Enfield Farmers’ Market. For fun at The Woodlands, she likes following politics, enjoying nature and taking their 11-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Cookie, out for exercise.

“Having a patio apartment is wonderful because we can just walk out with our dog whenever she needs to go out and exercise,” said Carol. “I also really like that the residents are free to do what they wish with their gardens, so since we arrived, we’ve been able to see a whole season of flowers blooming!”

Rich started his career as a pastor with the United Church of Christ. He later got into social work, then became a service technician for office equipment and even worked briefly as a part-time school bus driver! For fun at The Woodlands, he loves to ride his e-bike and recently found a riding partner to take on the local roads and trails with him.

“I joined an exercise class which is two days a week. There’s also a weekly ping pong night I participate in, and I have more activities I plan to get involved in as winter comes on,” said Rich.

Thank you, Carol and Rich, for sharing your thoughts. We’re so happy you’re here — you’re both wonderful additions to The Woodlands family!

Meet Woodlands Resident Joanne Wise

Since moving to The Woodlands in December 2020, Joanne Wise has brought the magic of visual arts to her fellow residents in more ways than one.

“When I moved in, I saw there were opportunities to do more art-related things, so I decided to organize a four-week drawing class with charcoal and pencil, taught by artist Michael Kraatz, who teaches at AVA, one of our biggest visual arts centers around here. Once the COVID situation improves, we’re going to try and get as many local professional artists as we can to come in and teach workshops here.”

Until then, she has asked several Woodlands residents, including a talented calligrapher and a quilter, to teach their own classes. She has also gained another art job, after the resident who assembled the art on display around the community stepped down. “The walls recently had a new paint job, so now we’re rehanging all the artwork in different spots,” she said. “I’m also trying to get some outside artists to allow me to show their work here. Very soon we’re going to host a reception where the artists who lent us their pieces will come in and talk about their process. That will turn a lot of people on, I think.”

Meet Woodlands Resident Joanne Wise

Many of those new works have a more contemporary flavor, said Joanne, so while residents are really enjoying them, some aren’t as sure what they are all about. But that should soon change, she said.

“For a lot of people, art is like a blackhole,” she said. “There is a generation here that has grown up with less abstract art in their life, so they tend to prefer photographs and traditional landscapes. What I want to do is have these artists who donated their work come in and talk about how to look at contemporary art, to see what they’re trying to say in their painting or sculpture or whatever they’re doing.”

Earlier in life, Joanne worked at Woman’s Day magazine in New York, then moved to her hometown of Philadelphia for a job in advertising. In 1976, she moved to Atlanta to serve as national promotion director for President Carter’s campaign. There, she met her future husband, Doug, and later moved with him to Tokyo.

It was this relocation that stoked Joanne’s passion for collecting art. After several years, she brought home a dozen Japanese artists’ works and used them to start The Wise Collection, which she ran for about 25 years.

Since she couldn’t keep the collection going after moving to New Hampshire, where her late husband had attended Dartmouth, Joanne decided to start several art nonprofits in the area. Today, both the North Country Studio Workshops and the Upper Valley Arts Alliance are still running.

“Because I’ve been in art administration myself, I really enjoy talking to people about art,” said Joanne. “There is a lot of fabulous visual and performing arts in the Upper Valley — I’ve been involved in the Hood Museum and Northern Stage. I like trying to help organizations get out information about how good their work is. It’s a job and a love for me.”

In the meantime, Joanne is happy to continue pursuing her lifelong passion while living at The Woodlands: engaging with professional artists and sharing their art with others.

“I’m so lucky to be at The Woodlands,” said Joanne. “It’s a wonderful community, and I’m glad it’s small. Even in the few months I’ve been here I think I probably know everybody. I find this place to be just extremely giving and loving. I’m very fortunate.”

Daughter of Resident Discusses Harvest Hill’s Positive Impact on Her Mother

Daughter of Resident Discusses Harvest Hill’s Positive Impact on Her Mother

Since her mother moved to Harvest Hill’s independent living apartments in May, the improvements in her health and happiness have been a breath of fresh air, said Pam Franklin. Meanwhile, Harvest Hill’s thoughtful and caring staff have helped ease the transition process on her end as well.

“Harvest Hill has been wonderful for my mother so far, and I’ve really enjoyed working with the staff,” said Pam. “They’ve been very, very nice and supportive — [Sales and Marketing Manager Peggy Cooper] is wonderful and there are helpers who pop in all the time. They are always upbeat, trying to involve her in new activities and getting people together.”

While her mother, Joan Goodridge, is 92 years old, she is still very independent, said Pam, so she has really enjoyed having her own private apartment with a kitchen to cook in and small garden to tend.

“The sun comes into her apartment every morning, which looks out onto the center green,” she said. “She has her own little garden space outside of her patio that she gets to take care of, so she enjoys doing the planting and weeding and watering.”

Having lived in the Upper Valley for years, Pam was already aware of Harvest Hill’s stellar reputation, but the transition really began after Joan had a fall while living in her condo in Northampton, Massachusetts. Pam’s brother, who lived nearby, moved Joan to a local independent living community; then, once Pam retired as a high school science teacher, she brought her to Harvest Hill, 10 minutes from her home in Etna.

Joan had also recently been having a difficult time eating and was losing weight rapidly, so for Pam, another selling point was the dining hall’s reputation for healthy, delicious food.

“Since coming here, she has already gained a couple of pounds!” said Pam. “The dining team has been working with her to get more foods she likes and is able to eat.”

These days, Pam said her mother has been enjoying Harvest Hill’s exercise and yoga classes, and most recently, book club meetings. “She is especially loving those because she is a retired librarian, so reading is her thing,” she said.

Most of all, though, Joan enjoys socializing with the other residents.

“She really enjoys the social activities and chatting with people in the dining room,” said Pam. “The atmosphere here almost reminds me of going to school. She loves to get up in the morning and see her friends. That’s the feeling you get here — there are so many great people.”

While Pam still visits her mother every other day and keeps in touch by phone, she does feel relief knowing her mother has support nearby.

“I’m glad she can be in a community that meets her needs, where there are people around and lots of social activities and things she enjoys,” said Pam.

Having Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Harvest Hill’s affiliate hospital, right around the corner has also been very comforting to them both.

“One of my mother’s challenges is anxiety,” said Pam, “so to have a hospital within walking or wheelchair distance makes it more comfortable for her, so she knows that if there’s a problem, help is right next door.”

Daughter of Harvest Hill Residents Shares Her Parents’ Move-in Story

For Stephanie Berman, moving her independently minded parents Bob and Jeanne Trout to Harvest Hill was not an easy decision, but in the end, one that was entirely worth it. The difference in their health and happiness has been “night and day” since moving in in March, Steph said.

Bob, 92, is a former lumber worker, special education teacher, semi-truck driver and Korean War Navy vet, while Jeanne, 90, was a registered nurse who worked with OB-GYN patients. The fiercely independent couple, both native Michiganders, were initially reluctant to leave their home of 54 years but agreed to try Harvest Hill on a trial basis. In May, they decided they would stay on permanently.

Steph, who lives nearby and visits three or four times a week, has since noticed a marked positive change in her parents as they become increasingly engaged with other residents, the staff, and daily activities.

“The stimulation they are getting here is so worth it,” said Steph, a registered nurse at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital who works as certified diabetes care and education specialist. “They were sitting in their home thinking they were socializing, but they weren’t really. Now they see people a minimum of three to five times a day with meals and the nurses coming in.”

Steph first knew her parents were struggling to handle all their needs after her beloved big brother Dyrk’s sudden death 10 months ago from complications of spina bifida. It started with a red flag: Bob had a stroke two days before Christmas and Jeanne forgot to mention it. That led Steph to suspect her mom, who had spent many years taking care of Dyrk, might be developing the symptoms of cognitive impairment.

Upon visiting her parents in January, Steph was shocked to discover both had stopped eating due to grief and had lost an alarming amount of weight. She drove them back to New Hampshire where she and her husband could care for them, and eventually, they decided to consider Harvest Hill.

“In a very long, hard process, we knew they needed to feel independent again, but closer to me, their only family left to help them,” Steph said. “When she first got here, my mom was not understanding that she could not live alone safely anymore. She called almost nightly demanding her keys to her car so they could drive back to Michigan in the morning!”

But it turns out that Steph was right about her mother’s condition. Her mother’s new doctor at Dartmouth Hitchcock, a gerontologist, has since diagnosed Jeanne with cognitive impairment, and she now has the support of both hospital care and the attentive nursing team at Harvest Hill.

For her parents, now in assisted living, meeting other residents has proven to be just what the doctor ordered, as has being able to continue doing the activities they both love, like golfing. In fact, Jeanne has already gotten several holes-in-one on the Harvest Hill putting green!

“My parents are also people lovers, so they love to laugh and converse,” said Steph. “After finally meeting people and enjoying getting to know the staff, my mother started feeling more comfortable. They are also in a ground floor apartment with a patio now — that was another gamechanger.”

For his part, Bob continues to enjoy the food at Harvest Hill — for hers, Steph is just happy he is eating again.

“My parents are doing so much better than they were 10 months ago,” she said. “I can only thank the staff at Harvest Hill. They are so sweet, caring and accommodating, and you can tell they love the residents. They made our transition so easy, and they were super helpful to me as an adult child who had no idea what I was doing.”

Meet Woodlands Residents Rob and Doris Humphries

Residents of The Woodlands since February 2017, Rob and Doris Humphries agree that their community of four years offers them everything they need to live independently and comfortably. Originally from the New York metro area, the couple has lived in the Upper Valley since they were married 25 years ago. When it came time to downsize and simplify, they knew that they wanted to stay in the area. The Woodlands was appealing because of its reputation for fine dining and surrounding nature views.

It remains appealing for those reasons and for many others as well. Currently, they enjoy either the Fitness Center or the pool almost every day. They also enjoy the on-campus performances, the monthly speakers, and the daily opportunities for informal socialization.

During their careers Rob was a psychiatrist in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Doris worked as a cardiac recovery room nurse, and later as a homemaker. The two have five children and eight grandchildren between them.  They met later in life while attending the same church in Darien, Connecticut. “We were very blessed that the Lord brought us together after our late partners passed away,” Doris said.

Rob’s primary hobby is bird watching. He also likes to bike in the summer and snowshoe in winter. He especially enjoys being able to walk out the back door for a hike in the woods or a bike ride on the nearby rail trail. Doris enjoys gardening on the deck and studying family history. According to Rob, she is an illustrious genealogist with Mayflower roots. They share an interest in reading—mostly history with a lot of Dickens thrown in.

While Doris enjoys informal socialization, Rob prefers meeting up with residents for weekly games such as ping-pong, dominoes, and Wii bowling.

“There are a lot of activities you can join, but there’s no enforced socialization,” said Rob. “I do think the community aspect is nice. You’re surrounded by supportive friends all the time.”

Today, the Humphries remain happy with their decision to move to The Woodlands, and while they felt well cared for during the pandemic, they are thrilled the world is starting to open up again. “Our church is very important to us, but we couldn’t get out to church or to our Bible study group during COVID,” said Doris. “Now we are able to meet with our friends and groups off campus again. It is nice to see people we know in the community.”