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Snowbirds choose Texas

Created date

March 31st, 2009

It s no secret that Texas climate is a haven for migratory fowl. And while southbound snowbirds typically take to the sky, a pair recently rolled in to the Lone Star State on Highway 75. Howard Hilving and his wife, Agnes Pesti-Crusoe, are the first residents of an Erickson community to leave their apartment home in the north to winter in a sister community. And this isn t their first adventure courtesy of Erickson. The couple met at Fox Run the Erickson campus in Novi, Mich. in 2004 and married a year later. Now they are embarking on a new adventure at Highland Springs, Erickson s community in Dallas.

Flying the coop

"When it snowed at Fox Run last Halloween, I knew I was ready for a break from winter weather," says Pesti-Crusoe. "I was a nurse anesthetist in Michigan for 30 years. At the time, I didn t mind getting up and going to work in the snow and ice. But it seems like the winters are longer now." The couple tossed around the idea of spending the winter in Texas, but it wasn t until they began corresponding with Highland Springs Retirement Counselor Christina Christie that they gave it serious consideration. "We were so delighted with everything we heard that we decided to go for it," says Pesti-Crusoe. With Erickson s solid financial reputation, they knew investing in a second apartment home was a sound decision. They also receive a credit at each community while they are away. The promise of milder weather and a welcoming community weren t the only attractions drawing them southward. Hilving s son and their family, including three great-grandchildren, live in McKinney. With such appealing opportunities a few states away, the couple decided Texas was too good to pass up. They packed a few suitcases, tossed them in the car, and headed out of town before a forecasted blizzard had a chance to foil their plans. They made the 1,200-mile trek in three days. "It snowed all the way to Kentucky," says Hilving. "But once we got to Texas, the sky was blue and the weather was balmy enough for us to roll down our windows."

Setting up shop

Within days of the couple s arrival at Highland Springs, Move-In Coordinator Gail Wrzesinski introduced them to Judy Martin of Timeless Touch Stagers in Dallas. Martin took Hilving and Pesti-Crusoe to her favorite furniture stores across the city, and soon they had everything they needed to make their apartment feel like home. "I enjoy shopping, so it was fun to outfit our new place," says Pesti-Crusoe. "Our Highland Springs apartment has a different style than our Fox Run apartment. It has more of a Texas feel to it." Pictures of wild horses atop rough-hewn wood tables testify to the local culture. The couple hasn t wasted any time settling into their new lifestyle. Eager to explore local attractions, they plan to take in a Texas Rangers game, visit the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field, and shop at the Galleria. They are also discovering the advantages of being Erickson snowbirds. "This is the best thing we have ever done," says Pesti-Crusoe. "It gives us something to look forward to each year. "All we had to do at Fox Run was lock the door and go," she says. "We ll do the same thing here when we return to Michigan in April. Our apartment homes are safer than any house I can think of." She adds: "There may be more snowbirds coming to Texas next winter because we are going to tell our friends at Fox Run what a great experience we ve had!"