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Festive celebrations always on the menu at Ann's Choice

Created date

February 26th, 2014
Order up!
Order up!

Neither rain nor snow nor sub-zero temperatures keep Choice neighbors from gathering together for special events, engaging activities, and genial conversation. 

That’s because at Erickson Living’s retirement community in Bucks County, Pa., the gathering places are just steps from their doors, in the living rooms of the community’s three clubhouses, all connected via climate-controlled walkways. 

A popular location in Village Clubhouse is the Fireside living room bar. As neighbors drift in before dinner, the air fills with lively banter.

Birthday baker

Former Pocono residents Tina and Henri Patoir are among an informal group of 8 to 15 regulars who gather there at 5:30 p.m. to socialize. Tina calls them her “5:30 fleet.” 

When the fleet breaks into small groups for dinner in Fireside Restaurant, she and Henri usually pick up their meals to go. After working full time at Home Depot, he’s often eager for a relaxing dinner at the Patoirs’ dining room table and the retreat of their spacious den in their Gibson-style apartment home.

But when the fleet holds its seasonal birthday parties, the Patoirs stay for dinner. The parties began when Jean Kahil learned they had no cake to celebrate fleet member Audrey Rheiner’s birthday.

“It was bad weather, and I couldn’t go out and buy one,” says Jean. “So I baked it myself.” 

But Jean didn’t keep her baking job. Several years ago, Tina became the birthday cake baker.

Working in her kitchen, she never fails to create a masterpiece whose luscious taste is rivaled only by its impressive appearance. 

“No one can top Tina’s cakes,” says Judy Wright. 

The Wrights are the newest members of the fleet. “This group of residents was special to us from the day we moved in because they’re so full of life and so friendly,” Judy says.

An evening with friends

The birthday celebrations are especially festive. The group dresses up, mingles at the bar, and then strolls to the adjacent private dining room to chitchat, exchange silly cards, and enjoy a meal prepared by the Fireside’s professional chefs. 

Like the three other restaurants at Ann’s Choice, the Fireside offers five different entrées nightly, ensuring that everyone can order a favorite dish.

And celebrating on campus eliminates hassles about driving responsibilities or restaurant choices.

 “These people have become my close friends,” says former Holland resident Doris Marx. “The parties let us eat at the same time at the same table, and that’s important.”

That they care about one another is obvious. For example, Joe Laskowski, who hails from the Somerton section of Philadelphia, follows a gluten-free diet. “Every celebration, Tina goes out of her way to make a gluten-free cake just for me,” he says. 

Such kindness is a hallmark of life at Ann’s Choice.