Friday, January 28th, 2022

Shopper Client Stories


Offering those 55-and-better an active lifestyle in the heart of Hampton Roads

by Rob Lauer

When the time came for Skip and Shirley Fremd to downsize, they decided to make an adventure of it. "We had no ties anywhere else, so we decided to just go with it," Shirley recalls with a smile.

"We were going on an adventure, and this would be a new chapter in our lives."

That is the attitude of many people, age 55 and better. Long gone are the days when empty-nesters and retirees thought of life's next chapter as being "put out to pasture." Nowadays, that chapter means lightening one's load and eliminating the demands of keeping up a house and yard in order to pursue an active, personally fulfilling lifestyle of freedom, friends, and fun.

Skip and Shirley found such a lifestyle at The Retreat at Kemps River, a 55-and-better community built by Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes in the Kempsville area of Chesapeake. "This may be a 55-and-better community, but it is by no 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. We love our life here!"

In recent years, Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes have become one of the region's premier builders of 55-and-better communities. Their successes include The Retreat at Greenbrier, The Retreat at Kemps River, Riverview at The Preserve and The Retreat at Bennett's Creek.

Cindy Godsell, Realtor® with Rose and Womble Realty, LLC, notes that each of these communities, since opening, has been extremely popular with buyers. She credits these brisk home sales not only to Weldenfield and Rowe's superior construction of the homes themselves or to the lifestyle and strong sense of community found in each neighborhood but also to the locations themselves. All were carefully chosen to give residents easy access to the best that life in Hampton Roads has to offer-from restaurants, entertainment and shopping to the natural beauties of the region's waterways.
With it comes to accessing Hampton Roads' best, the adjacent areas of Western Branch in Chesapeake and Harbour View in Suffolk are two of the most desirable locations in the region. It is here that Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes will soon be opening its newest community, The Retreat at Western Branch, while breaking ground for another, The Retreat at Harbour View.

"The Retreat at Western Branch will be our fifth neighborhood in Hampton Roads and our third active adult community for those age 55 and better," Cindy says with a proud smile. "It will feature our most popular floor plans: the Shenandoah, the Lafayette, and the Nansemond. All are spacious, maintenance-free home designs with first-floor master suites and two-car garages. The grand opening is set for December 9, but if anyone wants to see models now, they can drive just a few minutes down Bridge Road to The Retreat at Bennett's Creek, which has models of the same floor plans. Anyone interested in viewing these models can get more information by calling Doreen Giuliano with Rose & Womble Realty at (757) 676-3787. These models have so impressed people that 80 percent of the Bennett's Creek units have been sold. We are convinced that people will respond the same way to The Retreat at Western Branch."

"I fell in love with the models
that we looked at!
 ÃƒÂ¢Ã‚€Â¦Our home at the Retreat
is the perfect fit for us."
                                                        - Bridget Ashcraft

"As a Realtor, I've been selling homes for many years," Cindy continues. "We always hope that what we're selling will turn out really nice, and that's one thing about working with Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes: they always exceed the highest expectations. I've just been so proud of every neighborhood I've been able to sell for them. The quality of work and care that WeldenField & Rowe Custom Homes put into developing each community is truly remarkable. It's not about building as many homes as they can on a piece of property. They genuinely care about the home buyers and are very in tune with what they want and need. They sincerely want to help buyers make their new home something they can be proud of. Everything is so beautifully done, and their customer service after the closing occurs is outstanding. "

The beautiful craftsmanship offered by Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes certainly impressed Bridget Ashcraft and her husband, Larry.

"I fell in love with the models that we looked at!" Bridget exclaims. "The kitchen and master bath really impressed me.  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. The decor, the colors-everything was just me. Our home at the Retreat is the perfect fit for us."

Cindy smiles when she hears residents say such things. "WeldenField and Rowe Custom Homes genuinely care about home buyers," she notes. "They are very in tune with what they want and need, offering options to help buyers make their new space something they can be proud of."

"The quality of work and care
that WeldenField & Rowe
Custom Homes
put into developing each community
 is truly remarkable…
They sincerely want to help buyers
make their new home
something they can be proud of.
Everything is so beautifully done."
                           -Cindy Godsell

Everett Sawyer is proud of his Retreat home. He and his late wife owned a large house in Great Bridge before deciding to downsize and start an exciting new chapter in life. After visiting developments across Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, they discovered the Retreat and its collection of beautifully crafted single-family attached homes. "When we visited the Retreat, we looked at several models before choosing the Shenandoah," Everett says. "It's a nice open design, so I can sit in my office and feel connected to the rest of the house. There's a nice green space in the backyard, so I can go out there and walk my dog."

When it comes to green spaces, another thing that Everett, Shirley, Skip, and other residents love about The Retreat is that they are not responsible for landscaping and the upkeep of the outdoor areas.
"What 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. "Now I'm at the age when it's nice to have someone else take care of those things."

Having professionals take care of the landscaping does more than simply ensure that Retreat residents enjoy a more carefree lifestyle. "Residents often tell me about the sense of pride that they feel whenever they drive into their neighborhood because it looks so good," Cindy points out. "But Retreat homebuyers are not only getting a finely-crafted new ‘forever home' in a beautifully maintained neighborhood: they are also getting an incredible lifestyle."

Weldenfield and Rowe Custom Homes include the most desirable amenities when building their communities so that residents have everything they need to enjoy an active lifestyle.

"As in all of our communities, the Retreat at Western Branch will have a fabulous resort-style clubhouse complete with a pool, a gym, a party kitchen and party rooms, an outdoor fire pit, and outdoor kitchen," Cindy explains. "I love watching people's expressions when they come into any of our clubhouses for the first time. They are always blown away by them. When people see the Retreat at Western Branch's clubhouse, I think they will be very impressed. The Retreat will also feature community gardens for those with a green thumb and a fenced-in dog park where furry, four-legged residents can socialize. All of the Retreat's outdoor living features are being carefully planned to give residents and their guests a comfortable, worry-free environment in which they can enjoy life. Still, I'm convinced that most of them will spend a lot of time at the clubhouse. I think it will be the social hub of the community."

That is certainly the case in other Retreat locations.

"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."

Linda Hammond, another Retreat resident, agrees. "My husband and I love the clubhouse!" she says. "It's the perfect spot for having activities and entertaining friends and family.
Hearing residents sing the praises of all that the Retreat offers is deeply satisfying for Builder Brian Rowe of WeldenField and Rowe Custom Homes.

"We took a ton of time with pre-planning to ensure that The Retreat has many wonderful amenities," he explains. "We have put a lot of effort into making sure elements conducive to an active lifestyle are built into the fabric of this community. Sometimes when we develop these ideas and dream up the different details, we wonder if those things will help people make a buying decision. What I've realized in talking to many of our residents is that they notice these fine details. They appreciate the unique things that we've added-things that we thought were important but that we weren't sure would necessarily catch people's eyes. My hope for residents is that they'll be able to experience all the different things we've put into this community-things aimed at promoting an active lifestyle."

When it comes to accessing the best that Hampton Roads has to offer, the location of The Retreat at Western Branch makes it especially desirable. Restaurants, grocery stores, shopping, the Taylor Bend Family YMCA, and even a bowling alley are all within walking distance. The community's close proximity to Harbour View and Highway 664 means that the Retreat at Western Branch is located in the very heart of Hampton Roads. The downtown areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News, Suffolk's fabulous new Bridgeport Town Center, Olde Towne Portsmouth, Smithfield, and the rural beauty of Bennetts Creek are just minutes away.

Finely crafted homes in a beautifully maintained neighborhood, fabulous resort-style amenities, and "Location, location, location" will combine to offer the good life to residents at The Retreat at Western Branch. But, as in other Retreat locations, the icing on the cake will be the sense of community found there.

"When I go off to visit my children, it's always a pleasure to come back home," Everett says. "Because the Retreat 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 fine, caring people. I feel like I truly belong here."
"The way the neighborhood is laid out makes it very conducive to walking," Shirley points out. "You can stroll around and talk to your neighbors. The people are so friendly. They look out for one another. There's such a wonderful feeling here."

"The sense of community here is awesome," Bridget agrees. "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 life at The Retreat is like being in a close-knit family."

Rose & Womble - The Retreat at Western Branch

Weldenfield & Rowe
Chesapeake, Va, VA 23321