Greenbriar at Whittingham Active Relaxation

Greenbriar at Whittingham

For many people, finding a place to call home as they enter their retirement years can be a daunting task to say the least. For many, the ideal arrangement strikes a balance between staying active and vital while scaling back the tasks they can't or don't necessarily like to do; like shoveling snow, bagging leaves, or mowing acres of lawn every other week. Those jobs can be a drag at any age, but can become more difficult for seniors, depending on their overall health and vigor.

Communities that assist their residents with these types of tasks are becoming more and more common across the nation. One community association that's helping its older members with those not-so-fun tasks is Greenbriar at Whittingham, located in Middlesex County's Monroe Township.

Active Adults

Situated on 500 acres and comprised of over 1,600 units, Greenbriar at Whittingham is one of the newest communities to be built by parent company U.S. Home (, and is an extension of the larger Whittingham community. What sets Greenbriar at Whittingham apart is that it is an "active adult community," home to some 3,000 residents, most of whom are retired or approaching retirement.

According to April C. Schauer, the community's operations manager, "In order to purchase a home in Greenbriar at Whittingham, the primary homeowner must be at least 55 years of age, and a spouse or partner must be at least 48 years old."

This is in essence what makes Greenbriar the active adult community that it has become. "Many of the residents own second homes in warmer climates," says Schauer, "but they consider Greenbriar their primary residence. Greenbriar homeowners generally spend better than six months of the year here." As to what makes Greenbriar so attractive to residents, Schauer feels that "when adults enter that next phase of their lives, they are looking for people to take care of duties for them."

Less Work, More Play

While most of the denizens of Greenbriar at Whittingham are independent, able-bodied older adults, they're attracted to the idea of not having to do so much of the grunt work that goes along with being a homeowner. Things like snow removal and exterior maintenance are things they're more than happy to leave to the Greenbriar at Whittingham Housing Association.

According to Laurence Lane, the association's president, "Greenbriar doesn't operate its residences as cooperatives—rather as condominiums and single-family homes," meaning that while association members do own both the inside and the outside of their residences, the board and management deal with the maintenance of the grounds and common areas. Snow removal, lawn care, asphalt care and so forth are all taken care of by the community association staff and paid for with the dues residents pay to the association each month.

"The management office at Greenbriar at Whittingham and the Greenbriar at Whittingham Housing Association have interaction almost daily," says Lane, "and with the recent snowfall, it's been several times a day!"

Essentially, says Lane, the board looks to the management office for direction and managerial input on projects, answers to any big administrative questions that may arise during the course of business, and—most importantly—for feedback on any comments or concerns the managing office receives from association members. It's through this feedback that the board and management team can refine their programming, address any issues that members may be having, and improve their performance.

The community association also maintains a public website (, where association members can ask questions, post announcements, make maintenance requests, check activity and event schedules, or make suggestions to the board or management team. The website also has maps of the community and important contact information for both residents and visitors, and includes a log-in section for residents where they can view association documents and get information on elections, board issues, and so forth.

What Shall We Do Today?

In keeping with its active adult population, Greenbriar at Whittinham offers residents (both old and young) an array of activities ranging from outdoor sports to studio art courses.

For the athletes or those committed to staying in tip-top shape, the association offers tennis, bocce, water volleyball and aquacise in either indoor or outdoor pools, ping pong, and indoor and outdoor shuffleboard. Greenbriar at Whittingham is also home to a 9-hole golf course intertwined among the homes in the community.

For those less interested in sports, the epicenter of the community—and home base for its more than 25 activity groups—is the 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, otherwise known as Towne Centre. Here, residents can shoot pool in the billiard room, take a dance class or host an event in the ballroom, work out in the exercise room, or use the community rooms and lounges to meet and socialize. Residents can learn to converse in Yiddish, take bridge, yoga or tap dancing lessons, or explore the art of tai chi.

The Towne Centre offers community programming for residents involved in the arts, like painting, sculpting, woodworking, and crafts. There's even a restaurant on-site for residents who aren't in the mood to cook, and it serves as the departure point for most of the association's off-site activities, which include outings to Atlantic City, trips to Broadway shows, museums and galleries, and bus tours to out-of-state destinations like Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada.

The Lay of the Land

To accommodate varying levels of activity and independence, residential units at Greenbriar at Whittingham are built in an array of floor plans. According to Schauer, single-family homes with two-car garages come in about six different models. Prospective buyers can choose from several one- or two-story detached models, or go with a semi-attached home, which shares a common driveway with its neighbor. Along with the stand-alone homes, the association includes several four- to 18-unit apartment buildings as well.

"The apartment units were among the first to be built in Whittingham," says Lane. "But the first contractor went bankrupt, and the project was taken over by U.S Home. The single-family and semi-attached homes were completed within the last year-and-a-half."

"Homes in the older Whittingham section of the community range from about $150,000 to $300,000," Lane continues, "whereas units in the newer Greenbriar at Whittingham section go for between $250,000 to $450,000 and up. The homes are appreciating."

For many older adults looking to get the most out of their retirement years while being freed from some of the drudgery of home ownership, the price is right. According to Schauer, many residents feel that the community offers them everything they want, all in one place and easily accessible.

"Our recreational facilities are phenomenal and people are amazed when they see them," says Schauer. "The groups and activities the residents do together are extremely well organized and are taken seriously—they do it for the common interest of the community. We're also fortunate to have neighboring communities as well. Oftentimes, they will intermingle with our homeowners, and it really becomes its own form of social networking."

David Garry is a freelance writer based in New York City.



  • on Monday, July 6, 2015 6:13 PM
    Could you send me the HOA requirement rules over the internet? I visited Greenbriar today and yesterday but don't wish to commit until I see all rules and regulatiuons.
  • Question: What happen when you get a letter stating that you have missed three payment from 2 and half years and ago. Mind you this is the first time hearing that I missed any payments?