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Over the hills and through the woods…

Charlestown’s resort-like amenities offer tons of fun for grandkids

Created date

July 24th, 2012

When Donald and Jo Ann Brodeur began searching for the perfect apartment home at Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md., they knew they needed at least two bedrooms: one for them and one for their five-year-old granddaughter Johanna. We began babysitting Johanna when she was just six months old, says Jo Ann. She had her own room at our last house, and we knew we wanted her to have her own space here for all of her books and play things. We even had it painted pink. Like all of the lucky grandkids whose grandparents live at Charlestown, Johanna enjoys the many kid-friendly amenities that make a trip to the Catonsville community feel like a vacation, Jo Ann says. She likes to take walks and explore around the campus, swim in the pool, fish at the lake, and play on the putting green, says Jo Ann, who keeps the kitchen stocked with kid-friendly foods on the off-chance Johanna doesn t want what s on the menu in the community s on-site restaurants. She has so much fun when she visits, says Jo Ann. She just loves it here. She usually tells us she doesn t want to go home.

Bridging generations

Experts agree grandparents play a unique role in a child s life, and both can reap important benefits from the relationship. The grandparent-grandchild bond is second in emotional importance only to the bond between parents and children, says Arthur Kornhaber, author ofThe Grandparent Guideand founder and president of the Foundation for Grandparenting (, in aParentLifearticle. It s the only relationship in which people are crazy about each other simply because they re breathing, says Kornhaber. Grandparents and grandchildren are hard-wired to connect in ways different from parents and children. They have this adoration and unconditional love and joy in one another s existence. Grandmother of four Julia Hershfield shares those sentiments. When she moved to Charlestown from Montgomery County in early 2011, she says it wasn t a question of wanting to move to any community, it was a question of moving to one that was close enough to her family and two of her four grandchildren. I m just a short drive from my son and his family, says Julia, who also has nine-year-old twin grandsons in Florida. My grandkids [the ones who live locally] visit me pretty regularly. They love to walk around the campus and down by the lake. Before Charlestown began renovating the pool, they would come on Sunday afternoons and swim. They just love to splash around in the water. My little six-year-old grandson still can t figure out why Grandmom lives in a hotel and has her own swimming pool, she jokes. When Julia s not hosting them at her home, she visits them at school. I m very close to where they attend school so I go when they have different functions like Grandparents Day or just to have lunch with the kids, she says.

Grand time

Whether swimming, fishing, or playing in Charlestown s games room, kids of all ages can find something fun at the community, including family-oriented special events like trick-or-treating, visits from Santa, and the kite flying competition held this May. The kite fly, a collaboration between Charlestown and the Catonsville Rotary Club, was the brainchild of resident and grandmother Pat Kasuda. The residents here at Charlestown love having kids on campus, and we thought a kite fly would be a great opportunity to invite kids from area schools to the community to learn a little something about aerodynamics, says Pat. It was a great day! The residents enjoyed watching the kids run around trying to get their kites airborne. Pat says the kite flying event was such a hit that they are already planning on doing it again next year. As for Julia, she says she can t wait for the renovations on the new pool at Charlestown to be completed so she can get her grandkids back in the water. When you re a parent, you re so busy tending to your children s needs it s hard to spend time just enjoying them, says Julia. That s what s so great about being a grandparent someone else is taking care of all the nitty gritty stuff, and you just get to have fun together.