Oak Crest voted ‘Best Active Adult Community’ by Baltimore Sun readers

Parkville community offers 200-plus clubs, activities, and social opportunities

Created date

May 24th, 2019
Three community members from Oak Crest, voted Baltimore's Best Active Adult Community by the Baltimore Sun, exercise together.

Being active is easy and fun when you have a wealth of activities that engage you physically, mentally, and socially right on campus.

Every year, the Baltimore’s Best Readers’ Choice Contest, presented by The Baltimore Sun, recognizes the best people, places, and businesses throughout Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County in more than 200 categories. With more than 43,000 participants responding, the 2019 results are in, and Oak Crest was officially named the “Best Active Adult Community.” 

“Being recognized as the best active adult community is a testament to the engaged lifestyle that our residents enjoy,” says Mark Roussey, executive director at Oak Crest. “We strive to create a community that embraces a culture of caring with a host of convenient amenities and services.”

The sky is the limit

As residents of Oak Crest, Mary Lou and Diego Merida experience that engaging lifestyle every day. Between the two, they volunteer; sing in a chorus; play water volleyball, softball, and pickleball; serve on the Resident Advisory Council; and frequent the on-site fitness center. And they still manage to find time to go dancing and enjoy dinner with friends.

“In addition to the things we are involved in on a regular basis, there is also an activities calendar that comes out every month. I look at it and plan my month and all the things I want to do,” says Mary Lou.   

The active couple moved from Towson two years ago.

“We’re happy we moved when we did,” says Mary Lou. “We’re still young enough to enjoy all there is here. It’s so convenient to have everything right outside your door.”

“I play on the softball team now. That’s something I haven’t done in 30 years,” says Diego.  “I never played pickleball before. Now I play almost every day.”

Although Mary Lou and Diego have always considered themselves active, it’s now clear that before they moved, much of their time was spent doing things they had to do, not the things they wanted to do.

“We were active in our church and had lifelong friends who we would go out to dinner with, but it’s different here,” says Mary Lou. “You gain back all the time you used to spend doing things like yard work and home maintenance. You don’t realize how much time all that stuff takes up until you don’t have to do it anymore.”

Robin Keeler wasn’t surprised to learn Oak Crest was named the “best of” anything, especially when it revolves around an active lifestyle. As director of resident life at Oak Crest, Keeler provides oversight and support to areas that directly impact the daily lives of more than 2,100 residents.

“There are so many things to do and so many different ways to engage in the community. You can do as little or as much as you want,” says Keeler. “We have about 200 resident-run groups and about 1,000 calendar opportunities each month. We also have over 900 residents who volunteer.”

‘Something for everyone’

Sally McNelis Bowerman voted for Oak Crest in the Sun’s Reader’s Choice contest. She has lived in the community for the last 12 years, the first three years with her late husband. Now a widow, she says the community has enabled her to remain active.

“It’s so perfect for me, I thank God every day that I am here,” says Sally, a retired educator. “My husband and I visited five communities before we chose Oak Crest. As soon as we saw it, I knew our search was over!”

Sally is involved in the Catholic community at Oak Crest. She serves on the program-planning committee, which helps plan and coordinate on-site concerts held every Sunday. She is a member of ABLE, a support group that partners with residents and staff to foster maximum independence for individuals with disabilities.

She also serves on the WOCV-TV advisory committee and is part of the Pen Pal program, which allows Oak Crest community members to exchange letters with local students throughout the school year.

She says Oak Crest’s large size is one of its biggest assets.

“It’s like a small city. There is something for everyone,” says Sally. “Although it’s big, it’s still very easy to meet people here. One of the things that really attracted me to Oak Crest was how friendly and welcoming everyone was.”

Initially, Mary Lou and Diego considered moving to a condo and then quickly discovered it was lacking one key ingredient.

“When you went outside your condo, there’s nothing—no restaurants, no community. Here, everything we need is right outside your door, which, aside from the people, is the best part of living here,” says Mary Lou.

If you have ever considered Oak Crest and are on the fence about when is the right time to move, Mary Lou and Diego offer this advice:

“There is a window of opportunity when you move to a community like Oak Crest,” says Mary Lou. “Don’t wait too long to move. I would rather come too early than too late. Come while you can still enjoy all the things this place has to offer.”