Tribune Print Share Text

Shore thing

Ocean Pines residents trade sea and sand for families inland

Created date

August 23rd, 2010

When Charlestown neighbors Anne Corbett and Jean Agnello met two months ago, they discovered they had something in common: a love for Maryland s Eastern Shore. Former residents of Ocean Pines, a private bayfront community seven miles outside Ocean City, the two say Charlestown s active and worryfree lifestyle is what lured them away from the coast they adored. In some ways, Agnello says, living at Charlestown is like being on vacation. There s always something to do. And I sleep better now because I don t have the house to worry about. In fact, when I moved here, I even got rid of my car because I didn t want the responsibility anymore. Now I don t feel like I have anything to worry about. Family values Being close to her family was another important factor in Agnello s decision to move. I just reached a point in my life where if something happened to me, I didn t want to have to rely on friends, says Agnello. Being far away from family is difficult, and that bothered me. Now my daughter only lives about 15 minutes away. Corbett s reasons for leaving the beach behind were similar. She had planned to spend the rest of her retirement years near the shore where in summers past she and her family had made the annual summer trek all the way from Plymouth, Mass. There were lots of things to do in Ocean Pines, says Corbett. I had a group of friends who would walk the boardwalk together. In the winter, we would go to the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City and use the pool. One of my favorite things to do was to go to the beach early in the morning and watch the sun rise and sparkle on the bay like diamonds. But after Corbett had a health scare that left her temporarily dependent on her brother and sister-in-law, she decided six years on the coast was enough. And so began her search for a place where she could remain independent whatever the future held. I decided when I fully recovered that I never again wanted to put my family in a situation where they needed to take care of me, says Corbett. I wanted to be independent. So she returned to her roots inland. I grew up in Irvington; I knew the area and loved it, says Corbett. When I lived there, Charlestown was a seminary, and my two brothers used to go and swim in the pool and play basketball with the seminarians, so I already had positive memories about it. Then when my brother told me how the seminary had transformed into Charlestown, I decided to visit and tour the community. Corbett patiently waited for the terrace-level apartment home she wanted to become available. I didn t want to give up my previous home unless I had a ground-level apartment where I could go outdoors and have a garden, she explains. Even though I m involved in lots of things, I like a quiet life. I have always had a big garden and beautiful flowers everywhere we lived. Now I live right by the courtyard. Everybody who walks by says what a beautiful garden I have, which is wonderful. Everything under the sun Since moving to Charlestown two years ago, Corbett has reconnected with elementary school friends from her Irvington neighborhood and is only ten minutes from her brother. It was a positive move coming to Charlestown and a blessing being so close to my family, she says. I ve taken some history classes here at Charlestown offered through the Community College of Baltimore and a creative writing course taught through the Elderhostel program. I belong to the Harmonizers choral group; I volunteer at Renaissance Gardens; I started doing aerobics, walking, and I swim a lot too. Both ladies say living inland still hasn t kept them from the beach. Since moving to Charlestown, Corbett has traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Ocean City; and her son s winter home in Naples, Fla. As for Agnello, she says whenever she gets a chance to go back to the Eastern Shore, she takes it. I still miss living near the beach, says Agnello, but I love my apartment here at Charlestown and wouldn t change it for anything.