Mike and Gretchen Prepare to Grow Roots in Our Community

Excitement surrounding the Vibrancy! expansion at Westminster Canterbury Richmond has peaked just in time for spring. The energy is palpable as the façades of our luxurious new apartment buildings are being finished and our Vital Living Center is coming to life. Residents are eager to take advantage of every gracious amenity as our incomparable retirement community expands.

They’re also looking forward to welcoming their new neighbors, many of whom are expected to arrive as early as June. Recently, we caught up with a warm, energetic couple who will soon become familiar faces throughout our haven of culture and creativity. And like everyone in our community, Mike Mayberry and Gretchen Kirk have an inspiring story to share.

Trading Their High-Maintenance House for Greater Freedom and Flexibility

For the past 21 years, Mike and Gretchen have made their home in Richmond’s Fan District, a charming urban neighborhood dotted with Queen Anne-style abodes and Tudor Revival mansions. And while life in The Fan has been engaging and fulfilling, Mike and Gretchen became big “fans” of Westminster Canterbury Richmond over the past couple of years.

“We were ready to make the move to senior living,” Mike, a retired chemical engineer at DuPont, says. “When you’re living in a house built in 1904, there’s a lot of challenges to contend with. We had tons of maintenance to do every year. And going up and down flights of stairs was becoming a bit hard on the knees.”

So, what first attracted them to Westminster Canterbury Richmond? Gretchen, a retired financial services advisor for the Veterans Administration, explains. “I was actually helping a friend look at retirement communities, and Westminster Canterbury Richmond just stood out. Mike and I loved the huge campus, amazing restaurants and diverse styles of living. By the way … my friend moved here as well.”

While they may be saying “farewell” to The Fan, Mike and Gretchen are glad that their new Vibrancy! home is close to everything that downtown Richmond has to offer, particularly the Symphony. (Side note: The Richmond Symphony regularly graces the stage of our Sara Belle November Theatre. In fact, the symphony’s next performance will be on April 18.)

Ready to Cultivate Their Passions

One of the best parts of living in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) like Westminster Canterbury Richmond is that we take care of things big and small, so residents can spend time learning, growing, contributing and having a blast. And Mike and Gretchen are ready to jump right in.

“I’m not one to sit still, so I’m eager to try some of the exercise and walking programs here,” Mike says. “The huge swimming pool that the Vital Living Center will offer also appeals to me, because I’ll be able to work out without putting pressure on my knees.” For her part, Gretchen can’t wait to get her hands dirty volunteering with the Flowers Committee and helping to maintain the stunning floral displays across campus.

Courtney Clements, a future neighbor of Gretchen and Mike, is also looking forward to expanding on her passions. “I can’t wait to try the swimming pool and gym, not to mention the walking paths since I love being outdoors,” she says. “I’m also a fiber arts expert, and can spend hours knitting or sewing. Meeting others with the same interests will be great.”

More Than an Apartment, a Canvas for Their Masterpiece

Like everything at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, our Vibrancy! apartments are designed to inspire people to Live Life Well. Creating a living space that fits your style and feels like home includes customized options like paint color, carpeting, tile and even light remodeling. Naturally, Mike and Gretchen are taking the opportunity to make their new apartment their own.

“Before we move in, we’re having bookcases built into our den, as well as a desk for our computer,” Mike says. “Our open-concept kitchen and dining room are also well appointed, so I can continue doing the lion’s share of the cooking,” he laughs.

They also have big plans for the artwork they’ve accumulated during their travels around the world. “We’ve been to Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South America and so many other places,” Gretchen explains. “And we always return home with unique paintings and drawings by local artists. So, one of the signature features of our new apartment will be an art wall, where we can display all of these beautiful pieces.”

“We’ll have to leave part of that wall blank, though, because we have two river cruises booked for 2025,” Mike adds.

Feeling at Home Even Before Their Big Move

Although they haven’t “officially” changed their mailing address just yet, Gretchen and Mike have already started enjoying the abundance of amenities and services in our active senior living community. Gretchen has already treated herself to some pampering in our salon, and they’ve both enjoyed sampling the healthy, delicious cuisine at restaurants like our Promenade and Canterbury Room. “The wine list really stands out,” Gretchen exclaims, “and the chocolate brownie sundae is simply to die for!”

They’ve also had a lovely time meeting their future neighbors at garden parties, holiday soirées and other events for Westminster Canterbury Richmond residents, both current and future. “Everyone keeps asking us when we’re moving in,” Mike says. “Plus, I’m really excited that one of my old friends from my days at DuPont will be moving here later this year as well.”

And while our dedicated staff is helping to organize all of the details of their move, Mike and Gretchen were able to offer our retirement community a little help of their own. “We’re working with a downsizing expert who’s been great at helping us decide which items best fit our vision for our new home,” Gretchen says. “We recommended her to Westminster Canterbury Richmond, and now she’s on their list of trusted moving experts. So, other people moving here can benefit from her knowledge.”

Let’s Talk About Your Vision of Retirement Living … and Make it Happen!

Our 60-acre campus is bustling with fascinating people like Mike and Gretchen who share a common retirement goal: Live Life Well. We’d love for you to join them and take advantage of maintenance-free retirement living complete with impressive amenities and endless opportunities for enrichment. Plus, you’ll get a full spectrum of healthcare, should the need arise. To learn more or to schedule a tour, call 877-277-9908.

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