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Easing into independence

World travelers set up home base at Wind Crest

Created date

June 8th, 2015
Wind Crest residents
Wind Crest residents

Since the mid-1980s, Karen and Ken Pinkham have visited at least 67 countries, some several times. They hiked the Grand Tetons, swam in the Pacific, and sipped ouzo in Santorini.

Ken and Karen have the same philosophy about moving to Wind Crest, an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., as they do about traveling: “Do it while you’re younger so you can appreciate all the amenities and activities that are available,” Ken says. “Believe me, I guarantee you’ll realize you really don’t miss your big house.”

Active couple

The active couple moved to one of Wind Crest’s newest residence buildings, McHenry’s Crossing, last November. By shedding homeowner responsibilities like lawn mowing, shoveling snow, and even cooking dinner, in just a few short months they’ve gotten involved in myriad activities. 

Ken, a drummer, started a band—the Wind Crest Windys. So far, the band includes a mandolin, clarinet, trombone, baritone horn, two keyboards, a guitar, a banjo, and a singer. They plan to play everything from jazz and swing to country western and Broadway tunes.

While it’s still new, Ken says band members are excited about picking up their instruments again. “It’s going to get going with a little bit of practice,” he says.

For her part, Karen joined Helping Hands and attends weekly yoga and aerobics classes. 

Together, they walk the neighboring High Line Canal Trail daily, weather permitting, and attend Sunday worship services on-site. 

Then there’s the Lifelong Learning courses, the fitness center, and the Resident Advisory Council committees—Ken’s on communications; Karen, resident life. 

Regardless of the weather, they can participate. “I don’t care what it’s doing outside anymore,” Ken says. All buildings connect via climate-controlled walkways.

“We’re very active, so [Wind Crest] appealed to us right away,” Karen says. 

“We truthfully didn’t think we’d like it as much as we do. With all the activities and maintenance-free living, we have the luxury of choosing what’s really important to us. And the opportunities are widespread, so there’s something that appeals to everybody,” adds Ken.

Checks and balances

Before they joined Wind Crest’s priority list, Ken and Karen created a spreadsheet to compare similar communities. 

“Wind Crest came out on top. It’s a nice location, the price is right, and the property is beautiful, so we joined the priority list,” Ken says.

The priority list is a waiting list to reserve a home at Wind Crest. To join, one pays a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a $150 per-person nonrefundable application fee. 

When prospective residents submit their deposit, that date is noted as their priority list date. As apartment homes become available, the sales team gives first right of refusal to priority list members based on the date they joined. Once they’ve joined the priority list, they can reserve a home when it’s their turn.

Because they joined in 2008, when McHenry’s Crossing opened last November, the Pinkhams were able to reserve their brand-new apartment home right away—a two-bedroom, two-bath Stanley floor plan with a sunroom and balcony where they have a stunning view of the Rockies and neighboring golf course. 

“At our old house (also in Highlands Ranch), we had this beautiful view of the mountains, and we basically have the same view here,” Karen says.

Another similarity, Ken says, is the friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. “One of the hardest things about moving was leaving our neighbors, but once we moved in, we could not believe the friendliness of the people. It’s like we’ve been neighbors for years,” he says. “There’s not a time you walk down the hallway that somebody doesn’t give you a smile, and that’s a powerful thing.”

Travel ease

While they’re content in their new home, Ken and Karen look forward to continuing their world travels, especially now since they no longer have to worry about their house while they’re gone for weeks at a time.

“When we do travel, we just lock the door and don’t have to worry. We used to worry about pipes freezing and bursting in winter or a hailstorm. Here we don’t have any of those worries and know everything is going to be safe and secure,” says Karen.

Whether they’re sightseeing at the Taj Mahal, socializing with neighbors over a meal at one of Wind Crest’s many restaurants, or simply enjoying the view from their balcony, Ken says, “We’re just enjoying what we’re doing. We make our own choices here.”