Friday, April 16th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Only a few luxury homes left in this active lifestyle, 55-and-better community

by Rob Lauer

The spectacular pool at the Retreat’s clubhouse.

The spectacular pool at the Retreat’s clubhouse.

What a difference a year can make. Just ask Shirley Fremd.

“I was born and raised in Portsmouth," she says. “My husband, Skip, had served in the police department for over 30 years, and we had lived in the same home for decades. Last year, we decided it was time to downsize. At the time, we didn't know if we would buy a smaller house, build one, or move into a condo. We got to looking around Portsmouth, the Western Branch area and north Suffolk, but we couldn't find what we were looking for. When my sister's in-laws had moved into a Weldenfield and Rowe development, we were really impressed by it."

Shirley and Skip decided to visit one of Weldenfield and Rowe's newest communities—The Retreat at Kemps River. According to Shirley, when they visited this 55-and-better community in Chesapeake, they fell in love with it. “We had no ties anywhere else, so we decided to just go with it," Shirley declares with a smile. “We were going on an adventure, and this would be a new chapter in our lives."

Everett Sawyer and his wife also decided to start a new chapter in their life. “We had a large home in Great Bridge, and we enjoyed living there," he says. “But we were getting older, and my wife was sick. Looking to downsize, we visited developments all over Chesapeake and Virginia Beach before discovering the Retreat."
Everett was impressed by the Retreat's collection of beautifully crafted single-family attached homes in five distinct floor plans. All offer two to four bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and two-car garages. Many feature vaulted ceilings, open kitchens, fireplaces, and covered porches. Buyers can also customize many of the options on their homes, including preferences for additional upstairs guest suites and screened porches.

“When we visited the Retreat, we looked at several models before choosing the Shenandoah," Everett notes. “It's a nice open design, so I could sit in my office, look through the house and see what my wife was doing. We have a green area in the back, so I can go out there and walk my dog."
“We chose the Charleston model," Shirley says. “We like the fact that all living areas are on the first floor. The open concept floor plan was totally new for us, but we got used to it real fast. It is so bright and airy.  We were able to make adjustments to the model and personalize it. We decided not to have an office but to make that area part of the bedroom area. So instead of having a master bedroom, we have a master suite!"

Builder Brian Rowe, of WeldenField and Rowe, is proud of the care that has gone into The Retreat at Kemps River.

“A lot of planning went into the development of this community, so The Retreat at Kemp's River has many wonderful amenities," he explains. “We have put so much effort into making sure elements conducive to an active lifestyle are built into the fabric of this community. In speaking with many of our residents, they have noticed and appreciate these carefully-planned details."

“I was taking a couple
to the Retreat at Kemps River
to show them around—
and I ended up
falling in love with it myself!"
—Bridget Ashcraft

The Retreat at Kemps River’s resort-style clubhouse is the site of frequent community gatherings and social events.

The Retreat at Kemps River’s resort-style clubhouse is the site of frequent community gatherings and social events.

Cindy Godsell, sales manager for Weldenfield and Rowe, agrees with Brian. “The quality of the work and care that WeldenField and Rowe Custom Homes put into this development is remarkable," she says. “I've been selling new homes for many years, and one thing about working with WeldenField and Rowe is that I've just been extremely proud of every neighborhood they've built.

“The Retreat at Kemps River is no exception," Cindy continues. “Perspective homebuyers have been immediately impressed by what they've seen here. Over the last year, the number of home sales has been remarkable. As of now, we only have a handful of homes left.  Anyone who is intrigued by what the Retreat has to offer should give us a call immediately."

The beautiful craftsmanship certainly impressed Bridget Ashcraft and her husband, Larry.

“We had lived in Kempsville for 30 years," she explains. “We never thought we'd move. In fact, in recent years, we put on a new roof and new siding because we were prepared for it to be our forever home. But then something funny happened. I work for Rose and Womble, and I was taking a couple to the Retreat at Kemps River to show them around—and I ended up falling in love with it myself! The kitchen and master bath really impressed me. The decor, the colors—everything was just me. I knew there was a limited number of homes available, and, being new construction, I also knew that they'd go quickly. Even though Larry and I intended on staying in our old house, the lawn care and upkeep was getting to be too much for him. So, we decided to move here. If a year ago someone had told me that we would move, I'd have never believed it.

“Over the last year,
the number of home sales
has been remarkable.
As of now,
we only have a handful of homes left.  
Anyone who is intrigued
by what the Retreat has to offer
should give us a call immediately."
—Cindy Godsell

“This home is the perfect fit for us," Bridget continues. “It was awesome to be able to come in and pick out the elements that we liked. I love my personalized cabinets, quartz countertops, and master bath. As we get older, our tastes in decorating change. The way I decorated our old house thirty years ago is not how I would decorate a house now. So, it was wonderful to pick decorative elements that I like now. There's no outdoor upkeep for Larry, and there's lots of room for when we have our kids and grandkids over for dinner on Sundays."

One thing that Bridget, Everett, and Shirley love about The Retreat at Kemps River is that it is centrally located to stores, restaurants, movie theatres, and professional offices in the Greenbrier area. They also appreciate the fact that they are not responsible for landscaping and the upkeep of the outdoor areas.
“The one thing that Skip and I do not miss is yard work," Shirley laughs. “We had a big four-bedroom ranch on a large lot with trees. When we bought it, we were young, and yard work was no big deal. But at this point in life, we don't have the time or the inclination to do yard work."
“When we had our house, I used to enjoy doing yard work and the smell of fresh-cut grass," Everett remarks. “But I'm 83, so I needed to slow down a bit. It's nice to have those things taken care of."

These residents also have nothing but praise for the Retreat's amenities.
“I like the way that this entire development is laid out," Shirley remarks. “It's very conducive to walking. You can stroll around and talk to your neighbors. Before we moved in, we attended an event at the clubhouse. The people are so friendly. They look out for one another. There's such a wonderful feeling about this place."

“I love the clubhouse," Bridget declares. “It is absolutely beautiful. I come from a large family, so I instantly thought of how we could have gatherings there. We had a pool at our old home, but Larry had to take care of it. Here we have a pool to use, and we're not responsible for its upkeep."
“The clubhouse is beautiful," Everett agrees. “I go there and workout in the gym. And I've really enjoyed the social functions that we've had there."

The spacious clubhouse that is at the center of this 55-and-better adult community is often aglow with light and life. Residents can also relax around the clubhouse's spectacular pool or its stone fire pit. Frequent gatherings, with their celebratory atmosphere, are a part of life at The Retreat.

Cindy Godsell considers the clubhouse one of the Retreat's most impressive amenities. “I love watching people's expressions when they come into the community and see it for the first time," she says. “The clubhouse really is the social hub of life here. Our residents spend a lot of time there, getting to know each other and making new friends."

If the Retreat's beautiful homes, resort-style clubhouse, and other amenities are the cake, then the sense of community found here is the icing.

“The community here is pretty cool," Everett says with a laugh. “Because this is a 55-and-better community, there are a few people who still work, but most of them are retired. They've been through life, had careers, attended PTA meetings, and they're still active—still embracing life. They are really nice, caring people. My wife passed away this past December, and I miss her very much, but I'm very thankful that we moved here when we did. Now, when I go off to visit my children, it's always a pleasure to come back home. I feel like I truly belong here."

“This may be a 55-and-better community, but it is not by any means an old folk's home," Shirley declares with a laugh. “These are vibrant people who are ready to take it easy and enjoy life."

“The sense of community here has been awesome," Bridget asserts. “I absolutely, positively love my neighbors. I can't say enough good things about them. I drive down the street, and people wave at me, whether they know me or not. The feeling of living here is like being in a close-knit family. It's very social. In a way, it was hard to leave our old place, but I have never felt homesick—not once—because I love our life here so much!"

Rose & Womble - Retreat at Kemps River

4190 S. Plaza Trail
Virginia Beach, VA 23452