When it comes to choosing a retirement community, you want to find a place that fits your lifestyle. A house on a golf course or an apartment in the city near good restaurants? What about amenities? Would you rather spend an afternoon walking nature trails, relaxing in a spa, or reading in the library?
“This is a different type of real-estate transaction—probably closer to choosing a college than buying a house,” says Steve Gurney, publisher of the Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook. “Ask if you can spend a few nights in a community to get a feel for it.”
A number of new retirement communities around Washington offer spacious floorplans and nice amenities. Here are five that are either new or newly renovated.
Luxury in the Suburbs
A senior community set on 16 acres next to the Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Fox Hill Senior Condominiums features Craftsman-style architecture, contemporary interiors, and lots of unusual amenities.
At the heart of the complex is a tree-lined atrium that serves as a “town center.” From there, you have access to five restaurants, an art studio, a wine cellar, a salon and spa, a recording studio—even an indoor golf driving range.
Residents can choose from one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos, many of which come with a den or study. Interiors feature fireplaces and crown molding. Fox Hill’s 240 units range in price from $550,000 to $1.5 million.
An events director keeps a calendar filled with both in-house activities—a Super Bowl party, performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra—and group outings, from touring the Supreme Court to catching a movie at Bethesda Row.
Housekeeping, shuttle services, and a concierge are also offered. Should you need any of them, a separate area offers assisted living, memory care, nursing, and rehabilitation.
8300 Burdette Rd., Bethesda; 301-469-8005.
Golf in a Historic Setting
Celebrate—a resort-style community that opened almost two years ago—is just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Fredericksburg, near George Washington’s boyhood home and 6,000 acres of Civil War battlefields.
Adjacent to the community is the 200-acre Cannon Ridge Golf Course—on the grounds of the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg—where replica cannons and historical markers line the fairways. Golf Digest ranked the course as one of the best in the country.
“Everything is accessible by golf cart,” says sales associate Devon Talbott. “You can drive your cart from your house and tee off.”
Buyers can choose from a variety of single-family homes—ranging from 1,300 to 4,300 square feet and priced from $215,000 to $320,000 for two bedrooms to $275,000 to $360,000 for three. The community will have 1,100 homes, but only 115 have been sold so far.
“We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere,” says Robert Bobbitt, a retired teacher and avid golfer who moved into a new two-bedroom home with his wife last fall. “The residents have already formed such a wonderful bond. There’s a true sense of community.”
A clubhouse scheduled to open in 12 to 14 months will feature a swimming pool and spa, an indoor track, a fitness center, a ballroom, and a fireside lounge. Outdoors will be community gardens, tennis courts, bocce courts, a putting green, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater for live entertainment plus access to more than 20 miles of hiking, biking, and walking trails.
201 Castle Hill Dr., Fredericksburg; 540-374-8700.
Ingleside at Rock Creek, an estate that dates to the 18th century, sits on 14 acres of woodland and gardens just west of Rock Creek Park in Chevy Chase DC.
The facility’s McCracken Building, built in 1976, is being overhauled to include 15 modern apartments with balconies that overlook the grounds. Construction should be finished by the end of the year, with prices ranging from $850,000 to $1.3 million.
Five years ago, Pamela Wedd Brown, a painter and printmaker, moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Ingleside with her husband, who has since passed away. The Browns had lived and worked in DC most of their lives. “Other communities were just too far out,” says Brown. “What’s nice about Ingleside is that it marries the outdoors with the city.”
Every morning, Brown laces her shoes and takes her dog, Maggie, for an hourlong walk around the park: “She gives me a certain amount of exercise whether I like it or not.”
If needed, additional care—assisted living, nursing, and rehabilitation—are available. The community’s amenities include an indoor swimming pool, a billiards room, a theater, an art studio, and a community garden. Says Brown: “I have a little patch where I have my own tomatoes and peppers. It’s wonderful.”
3050 Military Rd., NW; 202-596-3083.
On-Site Medical Care
Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads—set on eight acres in the heart of Falls Church—unveiled the Pointe, a new 15-story apartment building, in January. It houses 106 contemporary apartments, many with balconies and views of the Washington Monument.
The community’s amenities include an art studio, a woodworking shop, a salon, a library, several dining options, and a chapel. Perhaps most impressive is the health-and-wellness center, which houses fitness equipment, a swimming pool, and exercise classes as well as a clinic with internists, psychiatrists, podiatrists, optometrists, and a dentist. Assisted-living, rehabilitation, and nursing care are available for residents who need them, as are housekeeping and concierge service.
One-bedrooms in the Pointe at Goodwin House range from $342,000 to $356,000, two-bedrooms from $389,000 to $540,000, two-bedrooms with dens from $431,000 to $726,000.
3440 S. Jefferson St., Falls Church; 703-578-7201.
Newly renovated and reopened in 2006, the Residences at Thomas Circle is surrounded by new condos, hotels, and trendy restaurants.
The community offers studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences—most with walk-in closets and in-unit laundry facilities. Amenities include a rooftop pool and patio, a theater, a library, a private dining room, and a nondenominational chapel.
Bill Wooby, a former restaurateur and arts advocate as well as a longtime DC resident, loves the proximity to the city’s cultural attractions—the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center, and the Verizon Center are minutes away. An hourly shuttle and chauffeur-driven car take residents where they need to go.
Other services include a 24-hour medical-alert system, daily status checks, and, if needed, assisted living, nursing and rehabilitation, hospice, and dementia care.
Condo prices range from $275,000 to $690,000. Rental units start at $2,500 for a studio, $3,250 for one bedroom, and $4,600 for two bedrooms.
1330 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-628-3844.