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On island time

Oak Crest resident says goodbye to Hawaii, aloha to worry-free living

Created date

December 17th, 2014
woman sitting on couch in her apartment

Towson native Betty Hearst never cared for winters in Maryland. So when she and her late husband Jim moved to the island of Oahu, Hawaii, more than three decades ago and opened a bed and breakfast, she vowed never to return to the Free State. 

“I loved living in Hawaii. It was a dream come true,” says Betty. “I got to meet so many interesting people having the bed and breakfast. We had guests stay with us from 48 states and 26 foreign countries. The climate was wonderful, the lifestyle was relaxed, and I’ll never forget the beautiful blue ocean.” 

Family ties

But after her husband passed away in early 2013, Betty began having second thoughts about staying in Hawaii.

“Living in Hawaii was expensive. And since my husband passed away, being there alone just wasn’t the same,” says Betty. “Although I had never planned to move back to Maryland, life changes and you have to adjust to what’s right for you. So I decided I needed to get serious about where I wanted to spend the rest of my life.”

While researching retirement options in the mid-Atlantic, Betty landed on Crest, an Erickson Living community centrally located in northern Baltimore County.

“My mom and dad lived at Oak Crest for 16 years, and they loved it,” says Betty. “And since I’m from Maryland, I was familiar with the area. I think I looked at about 22 other communities, but I couldn’t help but compare every one of them to an Erickson property.” 

Ultimately, Betty decided to trade her tropical paradise for a worry-free lifestyle nearly 5,000 miles away in Maryland. Although she wasn’t thrilled about facing cold weather and snow, she knew living at Oak Crest was the best option to escape the perils of winter weather.  

“The fact that Oak Crest is connected with indoor walkways so I don’t have to go outside when the weather is bad really appealed to me,” says Betty.

A new survey conducted by Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate suggests Betty is not alone. A majority of Baby Boomers say they plan to forgo typical retirement destinations like Arizona, Florida, and Las Vegas and instead retire closer to home. Of those surveyed, 72% who are not yet retired say they have planted roots in their communities and want to remain in a familiar place. 

Another day in paradise

Oak Crest has been catering to retirees like Betty for nearly two decades, providing residents with amenities like a heated indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, on-site restaurants, a game room, art studio, bocce courts, as well as travel opportunities, on-site college classes, theater groups, and dozens of volunteer options. 

Once Betty took the first step and contacted Oak Crest, her plans were quickly set in motion.  

“I joined the priority list, and they sent me information in the mail,” says Betty. “Within three months, I had sold my house and moved back to Maryland.” 

Betty selected Oak Crest’s two-bedroom Jackson floor plan, but because her house in Hawaii sold faster than she anticipated, she ended up moving temporarily into a one-bedroom apartment until the floor plan she wanted became available. 

“It was worth the wait,” says Betty, who opted to upgrade her new home with a custom kitchen. “I love my apartment! I chose cherry wood cabinets in the kitchen and had a few of the solid cabinet doors replaced with glass, which I love.”

Betty had plantation shutters and retrofitted shelving installed where she displays collectables she brought with her from Hawaii.

“I was able to bring most of my furniture with me, so my whole apartment feels a lot like my house did in Hawaii.”

Now in the midst of her second winter at Oak Crest, Betty says she will always hold Hawaii dear in her heart, but at the end of the day she knows she made the right decision. 

“I have nothing but good things to say about Oak Crest,” says Betty. “Aside from my apartment, the thing I love most is there is such a wide variety of things to do here. Plus, I now have the added peace of mind in knowing that I have a home for life no matter what the future holds.”