Friday, April 06, 2007

New community offers plenty for the active retiree

Boomers' paradise

New community offers plenty for the active retiree

By John Ireland/Business Writer

Article Launched: 03/10/2007 06:38:14 AM PST

The Maplewood's outdoor pool shimmers a brilliant azure under a morning sun. The grass mantle of the bocce court is as immaculately buzzed as a Marine recruit. In the million-dollar clubhouse, a big-screen plasma TV nestles in an alcove mere steps away from where a herd of gleaming machines wait patiently in the cardio room.

Needless to say, this is not your father's retirement community.

But the Fairfield active adult community, built by Rivendale Homes and designated as 55+, is exactly what baby boomers - those 76.6 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 - are looking for as they continue to roll on down the highway.

In other words, stow those rocking chairs and bring on the aqua-fit classes and yoga instruction.

"The profile that we're marketing is that our buyers are still very active," said Sandra Harrison, Maplewood's community sales manager. "Some of them are still working. But those who are retired still want to be active."

The fourth Rivendale development in Vacaville - after the Vintage, Grand Cru and Villaggio - Maplewood is the company's first inroad into what is becoming a vibrant housing market, riding a wave that has already produced several such properties in the Sacramento area.

Located across from the Green Tree Golf Course, Maplewood is close to hospitals, shopping, restaurants, and access to Interstate-80.

The trio of floor plans are all based on the same concept: a single-story design, with enough square feet for a couple to feel comfortable without having to dedicate hours to cleaning. The yards are sized to be manageable, but with enough room for those of the green-thumb persuasion to still bring life to flowers beds or veggie gardens.

Harrison said the idea was to offer good value, quality workmanship and an attention to detail. The effort has been appreciated by the new owners.

"This is usually not their first home, but it's usually their last," Harrison said. "So they're going to be very particular about what they want."

When construction is completed by the end of the year, there will be 84 homes in all, making Maplewood small by comparison to, say, the Trilogy in Rio Vista, which numbers 1,300. And, while everything is shiny and new, and offers up the fresh smell of rugs that have never known a step, or beds that have never embraced a tired body, there is something else that is unique about the place.

It's so quiet.

Part of this is due to the fact that only 40 of the homes have been sold so far, and less than that number are currently occupied. But another reason for the peacefulness is the lack of those who have not yet learned to savor - or respect - the sounds of silence.

"People move to an active adult community because there are no kids," said Harrison. "You can come here anytime and you don't have the loud music. You don't have the fast cars."

What you do have is that small-town feeling that reminds the boomers of a simpler time, now lost in the industrial smog of time and "progress."

That was certainly the incentive for Jeri Davis and her husband, who, last fall, were the first owners to move into Maplewood.

"We're going back to the feel of the old neighborhoods where we grew up," Jeri Davis said. "You tend to get away from that in a lot of communities, where you don't know your neighbors or anything about them. But here there is a sense of caring; everybody is happy to see everybody."

The couple, who moved from the Trilogy, bought their new home sight unseen, when their future residence was little more than a dirt-filled lot.

"I liked the concept and I had a good feeling about it," said Davis.

As more home owners have moved in, Davis has become active in organizing various events. During a tour of the clubhouse, she pointed out that the decorations have already been purchased for the St. Patrick's Day celebration. And, as the weather improves, bocce tournaments with other adult communities are on the agenda.

"It's fun," Davis said. "We are making new friends and doing new things. We are creating our own neighborhood, our own support system. We value a close-knit neighborhood."

John Ireland can be contacted at

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