Max & Cec

These busy professionals from Balmain wanted to give up their fast paced lifestyle in favour of something a little more suitable for retirees. The Arbour was everything they wanted and more.

“BERRY BEAUTIFUL”

As featured in the Villages.com.au magazine on 2nd December, 2010.  Interview by Laura Earl

Max and Cecilie Lewis moved from Sydney to The Arbour, Berry, in March this year. Loving their new life on the south coast of NSW, they discovered that they don’t need to head to the city because Berry has everything they need and more.

The Arbour, Berry’s Over 55’s community is located 2 hours south of Sydney on the South Coast of NSW . With a population of less than 2000, the township of Berry delivers the country appeal whilst still being close enough to metropolitan areas to make them accessible.

“We had been looking for 5 years for a place to move to and then 3 years ago we saw an advert for The Arbour, Berry; it was actually being built at the time. We were very impressed that it was eco-friendly. We phoned John Leo, one of the Directors and he invited us down here to have a look. Max and I arranged a visit to The Arbour and the village next door but when we saw the display home here we looked at each other and knew it was the place for us.

The Treechange:

“Max is a city bloke and I grew up in the country but we had lived in East Balmain in Sydney for the past 14 years so were used to having lots to do. We were looking forward to moving out of the city but Max wasn’t so sure but now he loves the country life, there is so much to do both here at the village and in town.”

The Arbour, Berry offers a range of activities for its residents including an indoor pool, cinema, gymnasium, billiards room, library, dining room for special occasions which also converts to the village bridge club on Wednesday afternoon (Max is now a participant); lounge room, wine cellar and cupboards crammed full of DVD’s and games for the grandchildren when they come to stay.

“The grandchildren are queuing up for school holiday visits.”

“We are all set up for when the grandkids come, we have a Wii and the second bedroom has a TV that plays DVD’s. It’s fantastic because they are completely self contained; there are 2 bedrooms, bathroom and laundry in one wing of the house which is split from our room by the entertainment space- dining room, lounge room and kitchen.

Deciding for Life

“We wanted to pick where we would spend the rest of our lives, we want to have plenty of time to enjoy it and we didn’t want to leave it for the kids to decide after one of us had had a fall or something. The house we lived in in Balmain was 3 levels and traffic was terrible – it could take us 30 minutes just to get out of Balmain. Now we don’t pay for parking, no traffic jams, no traffic lights and we can get a spot right outside the shop we are going
to.

“It’s an easy place to live and our home is designed around a courtyard which gives us that indoor/outdoor living feeling.”

“All the houses are single level and look out on parks, never into another home and there is room for family and friends to visit without being under foot.

“Not only that but there is a nursing home next to the village, we went over the other day to have a look and said to our kids we don’t mind if we end up there. The next move will just be a wheel chair ride over.

“We knew some friends of friends in Berry but the only people we knew at The Arbour were people we had met at functions before we moved in. We have made so many friends here; in fact, we haven’t met one person we didn’t like”

Village Life

“We have our own veggie patch at the village, everyone can have one and there is a chook run. If we have too many tomatoes and another resident has too many of something else we do an exchange. On the weekend the population can double or triple as Berry always has something on like the Locovore market. It’s a wine region as well, I used to be the Administrator for the Wine Communicators of Australia and in the New Year I am going to
help organise some wine tastings at the village.

“You can be flatchat in the village if you want to be; we play tennis and golf, Max plays bridge, there is Tai Chi, water aerobics, classes in the gym, yoga and a workshop-where anyone who likes woodwork can tinker about.

‘‘I’m helping with the computers. Most people brought their own but there are 2 village computers and I am helping people get set up with email addresses and talking to their kids and grandkids here and overseas.

“Max is a Gold ambassador at the International Airport so on Mondays he takes the 7am train to Sydney and works there for the day. There is a train station in Berry which is easy and at Senior’s rates it only costs $2.50 return to the city.

“People moving from the city won’t know what hit them – they will be so busy.”

“There is Men’s Shed in Berry, Rotary, CWA, Probus, Apex, Garden Club, VIEW Club, Musicale Society, Playgroup, Berry Silver Band, Spinners and Weavers, Zonta Club, St Vincent de Paul Society, lawn bowls, tennis, golf and many more activities. Also, we are only 15 minutes from Kangaroo Valley and 10 minutes from the beaches.

“Recently they had a Probus group from Kiama in for morning tea and at the beginning someone said ‘you’ll never get me into a retirement place’ but by the end they could all see how brilliant village life is.”