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Keeping active as a way of life

Amenities at Peabody community include 120 clubs and activities

Created date

June 28th, 2016
Clayton Small enjoys an active lifestyle at Brooksby Village.

Clayton Small enjoys an active lifestyle at Brooksby Village, which includes throwing horseshoes with other residents at the Peabody, Mass., community.

Larry and Naomi Rooney took a year to explore retirement communities once they decided the time was right to move from their home in Hampton Beach, N.H.

This on-the-go couple was looking for a place where they could maintain their active lifestyle.

“The choice of activities at Brooksby Village was one of the main reasons we chose the community,” says Larry, a retired civil engineer. “They have an abundance of activities for men as well as for women.”

Larry works out in the fitness center and enjoys horseshoes and bowling. Once a week, he meets 14 to 16 other residents in the Town Centre Clubhouse, and they carpool to a nearby bowling alley for candlepin bowling. 

Naomi, a retired nurse, swims in the on-site swimming pool and plays billiards.

“There’s plenty here to keep us busy,” says Larry.

Long list of things to do

Clayton Small is another Brooksby resident who likes to stay active.

“It’s not in my nature to do nothing,” says Clayton, who spent his career in steel fabrication as a design draftsman. 

Clayton began his hunt for a retirement community in 2014, six months after losing his wife. As a longtime resident of Beverly, Mass., Clayton was familiar with Brooksby in nearby Peabody.

“I looked at other options in the area, but Brooksby caught my attention because of the residents’ activity level and the list of things to do at the community,” he says.

Brooksby currently offers 120 resident-run clubs and activities, everything from a wood-carving class to a photography club.

“I play horseshoes, poker, cribbage, table tennis, bowling, bocce, and bingo,” says Clayton.

Prize-winning produce

When he’s not playing recreational sports or card games, chances are you’ll find Clayton in the garden. 

“The gardens for residents were a major attraction that drew me to Brooksby,” says Clayton. “I lived on two and a half acres in Beverly and grew a lot of produce in my garden there.”

Clayton continues to exercise his green thumb in his garden at Brooksby. Last year’s harvest included tomatoes, snow peas, Blue Hubbard squash, and cucumbers. One of Clayton’s squash plants yielded a 22-pound Blue Hubbard squash.

“I’m fortunate enough to have a son-in-law who owns a landscaping business,” says Clayton. “He gave me a load of compost, and that made the difference.”

Clayton entered his produce in the 2015 Topsfield Fair and took home first prize for his snow pea pods and cucumbers and third prize for his Blue Hubbard squash. He also won first prize for his 12-foot-tall sunflower boasting a 19-inch diameter.

“I’d like to take credit for the plants and produce, but I really do think it was the compost,” he says.

A lifestyle to suit his liking

With home maintenance chores in his rearview mirror, Clayton is free to fill his days with activities of his choosing.

“I moved to Brooksby on December 2, 2014,” says Clayton, who sold his Beverly home for full asking price to the first person who walked through the house. “That winter turned out to be especially tough, and I didn’t have to climb up on the roof to shovel snow. I was thankful I moved to Brooksby when I did.”

Now that he’s had a year and a half to reflect on his move to Brooksby, Clayton says his lifestyle is everything he hoped it would be.

“The people you meet here are fantastic,” he says. “My calendar has been full ever since I moved to Brooksby, and that’s just what I intended.”