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Breathe easier this spring

Ditch spring chores, enjoy outdoors

Created date

March 22nd, 2011

As the weather warms, buds bloom, and the sun begins to shine brighter, Mother Nature calls us to head outside and enjoy her glory with nature hikes, gardening, and outdoor recreation like tennis or golf. Many people, like you, perhaps, remain trapped under a list of spring-time chores cleaning gutters, trimming shrubs, and fixing winter s wear and tear. Still others stay indoors for spring cleaning washing windows, replacing air filters, and dusting off the winter build-up. However, according to a study by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside your house can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Now s the time to breathe easier, rid yourself of household maintenance, and enjoy nature s bounty.

Uninhibited hikes

That s what Richard (Dick) Warner did when he moved toCedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, five years ago from Bergen County. Warner built his house of 50 years and worked for Ford Motor Company. A true handyman, he cared for his house and hiked with his three sons when he had time. Now, however, he doesn t have to worry about home or lawn maintenance, and he can hike whenever the mood strikes and the weather agrees. Cedar Crest provides 24/7 maintenance on his two-bedroom apartment home, and he has the pleasure of beautiful, serene surroundings without the hassle. I can walk outside, walk a couple hundred yards, and get to [Mountainside Park] for a hike, he says. A member of the Amblers and Scramblers, a two-part community hiking group that explores local parkland, Warner enjoys walking at a mindful pace with the Amblers, noticing native birds, animals, and plants. Warner says others who enjoy a faster pace hike with the Scramblers. When he s not hiking, he plays table tennis in Cedar Crest s rec room, swims in the pool in the on-site aquatics center, and travels with Road Scholar (formerly called Elderhostel), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for older adults. Bill Sperry, who leads the Amblers and Scramblers, says they hike March through December. It s a great break from being inside all winter; it s good exercise and it s good conversation, he says. Originally from Wilmington, Del., Sperry belonged to the Wilmington Trail Club and hiked weekly before moving to Cedar Crest. He says he s as active now as he was before moving, but what he likes about Cedar Crest is that Northern Jersey has a lot of places to hike, he says, adding that they don t travel more than a half hour away, though they have yet to conquer all the area s trails.

Green recreation

Of course, hiking isn t the only way to get fresh air and exercise this season. Many people choose to dig in the dirt rather than walk on it. Edith Dombal, president of Cedar Crest s garden club, uses her green thumb as the source of her outdoor recreation. Dombal and her husband, Victor, moved to Cedar Crest in December 2008 from nearby Pompton Lakes. They owned a house with a large yard, where Mrs. Dombal cared for an English garden. Though she loved her garden, she didn t love caring for their house. It s hard being older and having to maintain a house, because when you have a house there s always something wrong with it. You re always worrying and fixing something, she says. Cedar Crest is a blessing; the only thing you have to worry about here is being late for dinner. The spring after they moved into their Cedar Crest apartment home, Mrs. Dombal joined the garden club, which maintains 110 ten-foot garden squares. Last April, she took over as club president and now looks forward to planting again this spring. Especially after this terrible winter, we re all anxious to get out and garden, she says of her fellow gardeners. Last year, club members claimed nearly 90% of the garden squares, and each year they pitch in to help care for those untended. This year we have new people moving in who have already requested a square, Mrs. Dombal says, expecting a sizable turnout for 2011. As the new president, Mrs. Dombal plans to start a garden photo album and is taking a Master Gardener course at a nearby Rutgers University satellite campus to brighten her green thumb even more. Another perk of the course: she ll be able to invite credentialed speakers to club meetings. The club meets for the first time this year on April 15. They meet the third Friday of the month to listen to speakers and discuss any issues or questions regarding the gardens. Planting won t begin until at least after Mother s Day, May 8, to avoid frost.