Write Side Up – by Kathie Boyd
August 2016 will mark our thirteenth year of living here at Heritage Point. This is longer than we resided in our first house where we watched our toddler children grow into their teens. As much as I love to write about my early childhood in Pennsylvania and my middle-age years in Monmouth County, I realize that Barnegat in Southern Ocean County, and Heritage Point in particular, are now part of my story.
Like many of us, Bob and I began our “retirement house hunt” years before we actually moved. Although we had stated that we would “move back” to Pennsylvania after retirement, that idea dimmed as years passed and we became acclimated to living “down the shore.” We checked out many adult communities in New Jersey but found none to our liking. In addition, because real estate taxes were so high in Jersey, we decided to check out Delaware. We soon found a retirement community that we felt would fit our needs and pocketbook with yearly taxes of $1,500.00. Hello!
In 2002, on what we thought was our final trip back from Delaware before putting down a deposit, Bob decided to turn off the Parkway to visit one last New Jersey adult community called Heritage Point. We were greeted enthusiastically by the sales manager who showed us the floor plans of the models. We were advised that since the models had not yet been built, we would have to go to Bucks County in Pennsylvania where another Mignatti community had built the same models. We liked the Hatteras floor plan so much we made the trip. It was love at first sight and the next day we picked out our lot, put down a deposit and decided high New Jersey taxes would continue to be part of our budget.
I wonder now what came over us to do such a spontaneous thing. We never checked into zoning, the credentials of the builder, or the environmental impact of building in the Pine Barrens. In addition, we never had a home built before and being a real estate paralegal, I knew the nightmares of new construction. In retrospect, I realize now some of the best decisions in our marriage were ones where we just closed our eyes and leaped!
In August 2003, we proudly called Heritage Point home. Even though we had no street lights, clubhouses, pools, or committees, we were a community in the finest sense of the word. Our “meet and greets” took place on street corners, where we formed lasting friendships as we swatted at blood thirsty Ocean County mosquitoes.
We had our growing pains but managed to stay focused as we worked with the builder and municipality. In time, we formed committees and groups, and elected our first trustees. Though we were small in number, we were a force to be reckoned with. We seemed to sense that we were building something much larger and finer than our individual homes.
I know that not everyone is a champion of adult community living. Like everything, it has its pros and cons. I can only speak for myself when I say that Heritage Point has given us a quality of life in our older years that far exceeds anything we could have found anywhere else (including Delaware). Yes, declining health and death are issues we deal with on a daily basis but there is an understated, quiet acceptance that this, too, is part of life. How fortunate we are to share our joys and sorrows together as a community.
So, as we blow out our 13th HP anniversary candle, we wish all of you happiness and health.