We sat down recently with Joan Shepard, who joined the Cartmel, one of our 50+ communities at Kendal-Crosslands Communities in October of 2018. 

Joan moved to Cartmel from Bethany Beach, Delaware. She bought what she thought would be her retirement home in Bethany and lived there for four years. “I got a big four bedroom house,expecting the kids and grandchildren would come and stay more often. But the grandchildren are in college now or have jobs, and the family is so busy, it didn’t really work out the way I expected. Bethany and the beach areas are also becoming so crowded and congested. I started talking about downsizing again and getting something more manageable, and my daughter said that the mother of a friend of hers lived in Crosslands, and maybe I should come up and take a look.”


On her visit to Crosslands, Joan was struck by how beautiful the area was and how calm and wonderful it all seemed in the friend’s cottage. It seemed so different from the other retirement communities she visited, and she said it felt like home from that first visit.

“I looked at Coniston and Cartmel, and liked the homes here at Cartmel. I was told the home I was interested in was under contract, and it might take up to two years for something to become available.  Then, surprisingly, the other contract fell through and they offered the home to me, so I took it!” Joan felt lucky that things just seemed to work out. “I was worried about what to do with a lot of my furniture, but the people who bought my home wanted it- even the piano! I knew it was meant to be!”

 Living in Cartmel puts Joan closer to her daughter in Yardley, PA, and her sons in Boston and New York. “I can just take Amtrak to see them, or hop a plane- it’s all easy from here.” Having lived for many years in Yardley where there are many older stone homes typical of the Main Line, Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and the surrounding area had the same feel. “It’s lovely here. And it’s so convenient, but not so congested, and I can do anything I like.”

Joan feels more independent at Cartmel. “I have no medical issues- I don’t even take any medicines, so I really enjoy the independence I have here at Cartmel. I also get to enjoy all the benefits of Crosslands- I’ m there every morning to use the fitness center and gym.  I also sing in the choir and volunteer in the Sunflower [gift] shop every week.”

Cartmel offers Joan many of the benefits of living at Kendal at Longwood or Crosslands, but without the added costs of the Life Plan contract, which works for her. “And I understand they are working to offer some assistance [through Home Care at Kendal] in the future if I need help, because I want to stay in my home as long as possible.” 

Joan feels as if she has the best of all worlds, because of the added amenities that come with a Coniston or Cartmel home. Not only are the homes maintenance free, but they also come with housekeeping. Joan said that “I didn’t think I really needed any housekeeping- I can take care of that myself. But they come each week, and it just frees up my time to do what I like- it’s really great! And right now, If I have any issues with home maintenance, I just make a quick call and someone is here to fix things right away.” That gives both Joan and her family peace of mind every day.

When Joan was getting ready to join the community, she was happy to learn about all the things she could do to customize her home. “We removed the white carpet and I added hardwood flooring throughout which worked well with my carpets. I also updated the kitchen, and I absolutely love my sun-room.” When we spoke, it was a lovely 60 degree spring day, and Joan’s cat found himself a perch right in the path of a sunbeam. “The sunroom really sold me on the place. I use it all the time, and on days like this, I just live out there. The views are incredible, and there are trails for walking right here.”

It’s clear that Cartmel was a perfect choice for Joan. She’s already become head of the social committee, organizing their four yearly events, including a Spring and Holiday luncheon, a New Year’s Eve celebration at Ellerslie on the Crosslands campus, and a 4th of July barbeque. And every other Friday, the Cartmel residents get together at one of their homes for a “No Frills Friday” event where people bring a bottle of wine, or maybe an hors d’oeuvre and Kendal’s food service helps with the whole set up. “It’s a great way to get together and really know your neighbors. I felt right at home, and the Welcoming Committee helped make my transition to my new home seamless.”

If you’d like to learn more about this special and welcoming community, you can download a copy of our digital brochure by clicking the button below!