WHAT OUR RESIDENTS ARE SAYING
After spending 40 years as an investment banker in Manhattan, Grant Werner and his wife Maria–a Special Education teacher and Assistant Principal in the city school system decided it was time to retire and move out to the country. They liked The Vineyards at Brookfield because of the great location, the quiet atmosphere, easy proximity to their cottage in the Hamptons, the fantastic clubhouse preview and the overall craftsmanship of the entire property. But what closed them was the people.
“We came out here a number of weekends in a row just to get a feel for the place and we met 8 or 9 couples who were just fantastic. That’s what clinched it for us–we knew we’d found our home. And we look forward to meeting everyone and spending a great summer at the Vineyards Club!”
Eddie and Chris Morrell
After retiring from corporate jobs in Westchester, Eddie and Chris Morrell were looking for two things: peace & quiet and to be closer to their children and grandchildren on the South Shore. The plan was to buy a small place on L.I. and snowbird in Arizona. Those plans were derailed by the pandemic yet actually birthed an even better plan. Instead, the Morrells thought that a bigger place where they could place their roots and make new friends was the ticket and after extensively looking around, they chose the Vineyards at Brookfield.
“It checked all the boxes: a new build on the South Shore, a clubhouse with a big pool, the open, peaceful setting and close proximity to major highways so we could travel to Oceanside and Malverne where the kids are” says Chris. Eddie added, “But what closed it for us were the models that were absolutely gorgeous, and the people we met when we walked around the community. So friendly and welcoming. They seemed truly excited that we were going to be their neighbors… and maybe their friends. We love it here.”
Al and Mary Salsano
Al and Mary Salsano lived in Old Bethpage for over 36 years. They loved the location and renovated it several times to meet their changing needs. That’s a long time to plant roots. So when it was time to downsize, they wanted to be careful to pick a place that gave them the same level of comfort and made life easier. They were tired of caring for the lawn, painting, repairing older equipment, and shoveling snow. And of course, they were very wary of paying high taxes.
Mary says, “It was our friends who opened our eyes to 55+ living. We began looking in Nassau but many of the communities were older and needed work, plus the taxes were as high if not more. In Suffolk, there was more value for the money. So we were looking on the North Shore but our close friends were at The Vineyards in Center Moriches. We loved the many features of their home and we always liked the South Shore and ease of getting around.”
So when the Salsanos found out that The Vineyards were building a community next door, they decided to wait. “We finally made it out on a Sunday late afternoon after seeing new communities on the North Shore. Diane came out from her office and showed us all the models, even though they were closed. She did not rush us was very helpful and made a great impression”.
They were back to see her the next weekend, and the rest is history. “Living in a new community of course is just that… new. But we met very outgoing people who want to make it work. Lots of get-togethers and once the pool opened, it gave us the opportunity to meet and enjoy the many amenities and make more friends. I have to say, we made a great move coming to The Vineyards at Brookfield!”
Nancy McCrary and John D. Herz
Nancy McCrary and John D. Herz have been together for over 20 years. For the last two they were trying to move out of their condominium in Woodbury. Nancy and John were “ready to put a new face on their surroundings”. That’s because both Nancy and John are in the “face” business–John is a fine artist who draws meticulous realistic portraits in pencil and Nancy has been making faces beautiful through Nu Skin products for over a decade. They both wanted to make a move out east because of the overcrowded feeling in Nassau County, and because while they did not have children who were taking advantage of the Syosset school district they were still paying for it with outrageous taxes… in a condo.
John and Nancy looked at several communities in Suffolk. They felt Yaphank was too big. Medford was a resale and they wanted new. Then they saw the Vineyards at Brookfield and fell in love for two reasons. First there was the bucolic setting. As John says, “We wanted someplace more low key, and while we initially thought there was nothing out here we immediately saw there is EVERYTHING out here. Center Moriches is such a quiet country setting but we are also just 15 minutes away from every store known to man”. Nancy adds, “We are reintroducing ourselves to nature here… wild turkeys, seagulls, deer, and the air is fresher and cleaner.” John has found that the atmosphere has also re-energized his art.
The other reason is the community. John reflects, “Everyone’s looking to make friends and there is such camaraderie here, it’s easy.” Nancy says, “The atmosphere is why we moved here and we’ve invited our friends from Woodbury to come and check it out because we love it so much.” They are both very social and love the Friday Happy Hours. “There are so many social activities to choose from”. It’s obvious that both John and Nancy feel strongly about the community. “We don’t want to sound too sentimental but it feels like family at the Vineyards.”
Rick and Kelly Backofen
Rick and Kelly Backofen have been residents of Manorville for 28 years. When Rick says that right now they are homeless, he says it with a smile because the couple actually sold their house to their daughter and her fiance. The Backofen’s are living there while waiting for their dream home at the Vineyards at Brookfield to be completed.
Both Kelly and Rick worked at Brookhaven Lab… Rick for over four decades and Kelly for almost 30 years. Rick is now retired and Kelly actually works as the Office Manager at Tire City around two miles from The Vineyards, and she loves it. The plan is to both be fully retired in the next two years and then it’s Bucket List time! National Park Tour, Italy, Ireland… it’s all on the table. But to do that they needed an easy maintenance-free lifestyle.
“Originally we wanted a condo up here and be snowbirds someplace warm. But we both love Long Island so much that we just felt that it was better to get a bigger and better place here and rent in the winter if we wanted to” Rick said. “Actually we weren’t initially looking for 55+, but the one thing that attracted us to The Vineyards in addition to it being a brand new development, was that we felt the people would be on the younger side of 55+ and more active. So we got the tour of the models and the clubhouse and immediately fell in love with the community… so luxurious. After that, we really weren’t interested in looking elsewhere.” He adds, “And in terms of the people we were spot on. We went on the Facebook pages and our kids’ principal recognized us. She lives here and made us feel so welcome. We also met a bunch of people at the Coffee Klatch event at the Clubhouse–many of whom are just about to move in, and based on what we saw, heard and experienced, we can’t wait to all get together as neighbors. It’s going to be a fantastic life!”
Bill and Gloria Wachholder
107 years old. That was the age of Bill and Gloria Wachholder’s big old house in Patchogue. And for the 25 years that they lived there, the Wachholders renovated it top to bottom. “When it appeared that we were going to have to start project number one all over again, Gloria looked at me and said, that’s it,” Bill says. “And frankly, I wanted to enjoy my retirement after 35 years as an Operating Engineer with Local 138.” Gloria remembers, “We were going to stay in Patchogue. But snow… landscaping… our long and narrow property, made us think hard, plus the fact that Patchogue was turning into a hot place for young people, and we were not young anymore”.
So, they began looking for a home that was the right size for themselves and would handle any guests that they would want to host, and a community that fit Gloria and Bill’s lifestyle. They didn’t have to look far. Bill: “First we looked at over 30 small homes, but we didn’t want to go back on the maintenance merry-go-round.” Then friends invited them to their home at the Vineyards at Moriches. And when they found out that a brand new Vineyards community was going up next door with homes that they could customize to their exact specs, it was a no-brainer. Gloria: “We never had the chance to specify exactly what we wanted in a home… and frankly, it was a little scary to make some of the choices we had to make, but Jeannie and the staff there made it so simple and so satisfying. Fireplace or not. Cabinet colors. Basement finishes. Even where we wanted the kitchen was exactly to our tastes”. Bill smiles, “Jeannie promised that she wouldn’t let me pick anything ugly!”
And now? They both chime in, “We love living here–we were wowed by everything: the location, the community, the events, the clubhouse and our new friends and neighbors are perfect. In fact, some Vineyards people we know better than our neighbors in Patchogue for 25 years. And to be honest the most surprising thing is that we could afford something as beautiful as this… a lifestyle like this. Not only the purchase price, but the taxes and maintenance are so reasonable. The bottom line is that we couldn’t be be happier.”
You could say that Stephanie Albano’s life is a little like a sunrise. “I grew up on the South Shore, and with each move I made, I found myself moving more East… towards the sun. This is the final move, though… when I moved into the Vineyards at Brookfield six months ago with my fiancé Tim Ingrao, we both knew that we were home”. They both previously had very full lives with grown children and grandchildren, but sadly Stephanie lost her dear spouse, and Tim’s girlfriend passed. Ironically, they met 14 years ago at a bereavement group, first as friends and as the relationship grew, more than friends.
Stephanie originally lived in Eastport with her family but moved to Southampton with Tim. “We had a big, beautiful waterfront home, but it was on the main road. Now we have a large corner home in the back of the Vineyards property, so it is very private and quiet. And having a waterfront home demanded a lot of upkeep.
Now? “No more maintenance, no more painting the deck, no more snow blower, no more trimming the shrubs. And expenses and taxes are much lower.”
“What’s really interesting is that although we do love to travel, our new community and friends at the Vineyards make it hard to leave! It’s such an easy life–the pool is beautiful, and as a tennis player, pickleball is so much fun. The happy hours, events, and clubs–the social life here is phenomenal… and one of the big reasons we bought here. After we bought we kept coming to social events, so even before we moved in, we had tons of new friends. Everyone is so warm and welcoming. When we moved in, we got a bouquet of flowers from one neighbor and a bottle of wine from another. Who does that? Especially people who just moved into the neighborhood themselves? Where else would that happen?”
“And the area is fantastic, central to everything. Beaches are so close, as are hiking trails, and beautiful ponds, and for shopping, I can zoom right up to the outlets n Riverhead. We looked at many communities but the design, the staff, the area, and the people just made sense to us. Even our kids say that they actually like it better than our house on the water. How about that?”