Giving Thanks By Giving Back

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
-Mother Teresa

The best way to experience gratitude is to give the gift of gratitude. As we gather together with loved ones this season, why not lend a hand, and give someone else a reason to be thankful? Whether it’s a charitable donation, volunteer work, or just buying the car behind you a cup of coffee, there are big rewards in even the smallest deeds. While you plan your Thanksgiving feast with family, and friends, consider these ideas to brighten someone’s day or perhaps change their life.

Extend an invitation to your Thanksgiving table. If you know someone spending the holiday alone, or maybe a single parent with children, bake an extra pumpkin pie, and welcome them into your home. If you’re someone that normally spends the holidays solo, what better way to make new friends, and memories than to create a family atmosphere for your guest. Food is the common denominator for most of us, and is such an organic way to connect with others.

The Courtyards at Cramerton

NewStyle Communities opening new community,
The Courtyards at Cramerton in Belmont

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (September 11, 2017) — NewStyle Communities, an EPCON Communities franchise, is opening its newest Charlotte-area community, The Courtyards at Cramerton in Belmont. The Courtyards is an age-restricted, maintenance-free community of 71 home sites, featuring EPCON’s award-winning courtyard homes. Homes are priced in the $300’s. Sales began on September 15th. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the NewStyle Communities website, NewStyleCommunities.com.

Home designs will feature single-story architecture with all-brick exteriors, 30-year, architectural shingles, cozy front porches, and private, outdoor courtyard spaces. Interior features include open floor plans with lots of natural light, gourmet kitchens, 10-foot ceilings, 2-car front- or rear-load garages and smart, age-in-place features like wide doorways, zero-entry showers, lever door handles, comfort-height toilets, and adult-height vanities, just to name a few. Buyers can choose from an array of personalized, structural features including second-story bonus suites, screened porches and enlarged garages.

Pickleball Scores Big With Baby Boomers

If you thought pickleball was just another retirement sport think again. This popular game has an edge, it’s addicting, and it has people of all ages wanting in on the action. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), and NBC News call it “one of America’s fastest-growing sports, and according to its devoted fanatics, there aren’t enough hours in the day to indulge in the fun. Melding together ping-pong, tennis, and a hint of badminton, Pickleball merges everything people love about racket sports and makes it a game everyone can get in on.

Since the invention of the sport in 1965, Pickleball’s popularity, and signature “pop” has created an ageless following of devotees and is one of the main events at hundreds of active adult communities throughout the country. At the Villages Florida, pickleball is no spectator sport. This expansive 55+ community is the site of over 100 pickleball courts, and learning the game is practically non-negotiable. Playing pickleball is a way of life amongst residents, and even grandkids are stepping up to the net thanks to its age-friendly accessibility.

senior on a bike with friends in the background

3 Cities Going Green One Bike Share at a Time

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the concept of city bike shares has taken the country by a storm. The idea of renting a bike to get where you need to go is brilliant considering most bus systems operate on a limited schedule making leaving the office late or commuting on a Sunday a challenge. Not only is biking a cost-effective alternative to filling the gas tank, but cities who’ve implemented the program are finding it gets more cars off the road and encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles. While European cycling meccas like Amsterdam have led the bike share pack for years, these U.S cities are just a few of the places adding this option to their public transit repertoire.

Ashland, Oregon is a hip college town known for its bike and pedestrian-friendly downtown. The Rogue Bike Share program was newly introduced just this year as yet another step towards an eco-friendly city. Conveniently located alongside the bus stop, folks can now skip waiting for the next transfer, and cycle to their next stop. No stranger to alternative transit, Ashland’s “car-free” day event encourages residents to leave their cars at home and take advantage of incentives like free refreshments, and complimentary bike tune-ups.

Nashville, Tennessee’s welcoming southern spirit is best enjoyed on two wheels, and the city’s B-Cyle program is the perfect way to explore. With convenient membership options ranging from 24-hour rentals up to annual passes, getting into the rhythm downtown, or enjoying a scenic ride along a 180-mile greenway is as easy as picking up your bike of choice, and returning it when the adventure is over. Nashville’s walkable city center is easily accessible for commuters, and tourists or anyone who agrees fresh air, and a myriad of bike routes is the only way to travel.

Washington, DC is home to iconic attractions and the Capital Bikeshare system where 440 stations throughout the city give active adults the chance to immerse themselves in rich history, without sitting in traffic. For a modest rate, cyclists can rent a bike for a quick 30-minute trip, up to the yearly membership, with a mobile app feature to check availability. DC is notoriously affluent, and abundantly monumental with a lively urban atmosphere, and boasts a network of beautiful trails.

Across North America, and all over the world, bike share programs have proven to be a great way to improve the health and environmental sustainability of participating cities. Both functional, and economical, this growing trend is definitely worth the ride.

Population Ghost Town

Eclectic, ghostly, and wildly refined, Jerome Arizona is a quaint mining town with a big personality. Like a scene from a movie set, this once thriving copper mining town has the rough and tumble appeal of the old west, with a polished, cultural alter ego. If you happen to be traveling between Flagstaff, and Prescott, this unique little town is definitely worth the stop. Sitting atop Cleopatra Hill, Jerome was the largest copper mine in Arizona, and despite it’s current population of about 456, it’s now a favorite for local artisans, musicians, diverse shopping, and great food. From it’s infamous haunted landmarks, and well preserved historic buildings, to the views that photographers will be mesmerized by, it’s no wonder Jerome earned the namesake, “The Wickedest Town In the West.”

Founded in 1876, Jerome was home to a booming copper industry where hard labor, and investment moguls turned the city’s underground riches into a prosperous community. After the closure of the mines in 1953, Jerome State Historic Park has since become an extraordinary, hilltop destination still set in the past, but with a modern twist. Remnants of old mines, and much of the original architecture mingles with contemporary art galleries, and shops. The Jerome Historical Society’s Mine Museum brings the town’s past to life displaying original mining equipment, and what remains of its gambling, and multicultural history. Back in the day, the city was both unorthodox, and civilized with brothels, and churches operating within the same vicinity to cater to wealthy, and working class citizens.

Downtown Brentwood California

This Bay Area City Is Keeping it Local

Brentwood California is one of those towns that thrives on homegrown values, and a strong sense of community. The motto “everything’s better in Brentwood” is pretty accurate considering its highly desirable NorCal location, and commitment to sustainable, locally sourced products. Just an hour from San Francisco, and the Napa Valley, Brentwood is a cultural treasure far removed from big city congestion, yet has that irresistible Bay Area vibe. This city has quickly flourished from its agricultural beginnings into the prosperous economic community it is today and is an idyllic place to put down roots.

From the hiking haven of Mt. Diablo where the vista points are spectacular to the grasslands of Round Valley Regional Preserve, outdoor recreation is the heartbeat of Brentwood. The opportunities to get out and play are endless with everything from water skiing to horseback riding, for a chance to explore nature one adventure at a time. Orwood Resort is a one-of-a-kind experience for water recreation whether it’s fishing, boating, or getting out on a paddle board, and offers RV campsites, and an on-site bar and grill. For a twist on a morning stroll, tech-savvy active adults will love the innovative QR Fit program designed to offer a quick workout by simply scanning their smartphones over QR codes posted on signs throughout the park and trail area.

Experience the Heart of Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is home to many charming towns, but Georgetown’s nostalgic setting seems frozen in time. It’s one of those places that captures a bygone era of neighborliness and an old-fashioned sense of community. Located just 26 miles north of Austin, Georgetown is a treasure trove of Lone Star history with three historic districts, beautifully preserved the Victorian architecture, and the oldest college institution in Texas, Southwestern University. Named one of the top 25 retirement destinations by CNN Money, and where the state’s largest 55+ community opened its doors, baby boomers continue to flock to Georgetown for the affordable lifestyle, and picturesque small town appeal.

From the fiery display of iconic red poppies, and pastoral farmland, to the San Gabriel River that flows through over thirty miles of scenic trails, and waterfront parks, Georgetown’s infinite charms need no introduction. Sunrise to sunset, fantastic weather attracts snowbirds, and locals to enjoy an abundance of outdoor recreation whether it’s hiking, exploring on two wheels, or taking a boat out onto Lake Georgetown. For active adults that like to mix it up a little, activities like disc golf, rock climbing, or an adrenaline pumping zip lining adventure could be just the ticket.

Cold Weather Fit-Spiration

With a chill in the air, and darker days ahead, we’re spending less time outdoors, and more time cozied up inside. Freezing morning temperatures don’t exactly inspire a 6 a.m jog, and finding the motivation to exercise this time of year can be more than a little challenging. Staying active is one of the most important ways to boost immunity, improve cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy weight. Studies have also shown exercise to enhance mood during the darkness of winter when the seasonal blues start to kick in. While cycling and water skiing season may be over, there are still plenty of heart-pumping ways to move your body that doesn’t require a membership.

Walking is one of the best ways to incorporate movement into your day. Unless the weather outside gets frightful, recruiting a friend or canine companion for a brisk 30-minute walk is a refreshing way to get in your weekly cardio without hitting the gym. Bundle up, and head outdoors, or do some power laps around a shopping mall during in-climate weather. Keep your walking shoes by the door as a reminder to get moving, and if you’re a tech lover, fitness trackers can help you set a goal, and monitor your progress.