Seven and a half years ago, we moved to the Landings from Charlottesville, VA. Unlike many other Landings residents, we never planned to retire to the South. We came to the Landings because longtime friends had purchased property and kept inviting us to the annual Couples Member – Guest golf tournament. My husband fell in love with the place immediately when he learned that there were six golf courses and 40 miles of bicycling trails. I kept asking him why we would move when we lived in a physically beautiful location — a college town with plenty of intellectual, athletic and entertainment options — and we already belonged to a country club. He kept saying it was the lifestyle. It took me five years to understand what he meant.
It’s hard to explain lifestyle, but it involves living on an island, in harmony with exotic wildlife; having easy access to a quirky, artsy, historic city on the water; and living in proximity to a group of people with stimulating intellectual and personal lives. (When we lived in Charlottesville, our close friends lived 45 minutes away through traffic. Now we have close friends within four minutes. Consequently, we get together far more often now than previously.) The lifestyle means we can go travel by golf cart to go to the grocery store or to vote or to eat at a restaurant. It means when we go somewhere, we are likely to run into people we know. It means having more activities with likeminded people than you have time to attend. It means watching a Christmas parade of boats. And it means living in a community which cares enough about the environment to have all their golf courses Audubon certified.
My typical week has something of a routine, but one day is hardly typical of another. For example, on Mondays, I volunteer for five hours at a downtown agency which serves the homeless, disadvantaged and at risk. On Monday afternoons, I attend an art history class and, once a month, a book club meeting. On Tuesdays, I golf with the Landings Women’s Golf Association, the largest women’s amateur golf group in the country. Last year, I chaired their primary fundraiser which supports cancer research and treatment and am currently on the board, so after some golf matches, I grab lunch and attend a meeting. The one thing most Landings residents have in common is that their lives are so active that they literally schedule time to be at home to do nothing! I’ve wanted to learn to play Mah Jongg and to kayak, but I just haven’t been able to find the time yet.
The thing that surprised me most about our move is how quickly and easily we made very, very close friends. Not acquaintances, friends. It all happened through an organization called New Neighbors, which sponsors activities of ALL kinds. All I had to do was to show up. I was so pleasantly surprised by the ease of making friends that at the first New Neighbors luncheon, I promised my time in thanks for making my entry into the Landings so easy. I kept that promise: I became the Membership Chair the next year and President the year after that.
I’ve never looked back, but I do marvel that my husband and I, not known for taking crazy chances, moved to a new location when we already had everything. I didn’t think my life could get better, but it did.
Marianne M. Kosiewicz