The Seelings, like many Baby Boomers, are planners. Long before their actual retirement dates, Carolyn and Steve researched retirement locations and decided to buy a lot in a community near Wilmington, NC. They did not have to build right away and they could choose from several different builders.
Why North Carolina? Carolyn’s parents had retired to Holden Beach and they went to visit all the time. They loved it there, but Rt. 95, or as Carolyn called it “the highway of nightmares,” became old quickly as they schlepped back and forth to visit their kids living in the Philadelphia area.
New Jersey was ruled out for a variety of reasons including the high property taxes; then they read an article about Lewes, Delaware, and decided to check it out. While driving around, looking at different Active Adult communities, they spotted my sign on a house for sale in Independence and gave me a call. My husband, Bill Bell, and I had just sat down at FishOn! during Happy Hour, one of our favorites, and I suggested they just come meet us there. They did. We got acquainted and put a plan together.
On that first visit, the Seelings learned how to pronounce Lewes and discovered it had a really good vibe. Lewes, they found, has a lot going for it; it is not a ghost town! Living in Lewes would put them so much closer to their married son, his wife, and their 2-year-old grandson in Merchantville, NJ.
Choosing the right community
Steve and Carolyn are truly “active” adults. They value experiences more than things and they wanted a community with a lot of amenities and neighbors as active and engaged as they are. Although amenities were important, they decided they would prefer an all-ages community with families as well as fellow retirees.
We introduced them to Coastal Club just as it was beginning to take shape. The community would feature two builders and both were having a “Grand Opening” weekend, by reservation only. We signed them up for meetings with both and Bill went with them.
At their first meeting, the Seelings were presented with an opportunity to purchase the builder’s model and lease it back to them. In this case, the offer was extremely attractive and also gave the Seelings time to get their current home sold and prepare to relocate. With their flexible timing, this proved to be a great way to get a loaded-up model at an excellent price. Carolyn has often thanked us, saying that Steve would never have been able to select all of these options and upgrades any other way. Now, they pinch themselves every morning.
Since taking residence in Lewes, they have had a steady stream of visitors, including 75 just this past summer. Almost everyone says “Wow, I wish we could live here.” With multiple pools, fitness studio, walking trails, and lots of activites, they keep busy. Carolyn had been a Girl Scout Leader for 12 years, so she particularly loves the S’mores evenings by the fire pit.
They also travel weekly to Merchantville, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia to visit their son Justin and his wife, but mostly to see Henry their only grandchild—so far! Their daughter Sarah is also close by in Philadelphia where she has a wonderful career as a Clinical Therapist.
Prior to retirement, the Seelings raised their family in the Valley Forge area, and then lived for over 10 years just outside Philadelphia. Steve is an Attorney by Training. As he put it, “I went to law school and then was lucky to do many interesting things that were frankly, more interesting than the traditional practice of law.” Carolyn, the entrepreneur, was involved in the International Business world with a technology start-up before having kids and immediately after their birth. She transitioned to working with special needs elementary and middle school students. Carolyn retired in 2017; Steve in 2016, but they remain active in retirement. Carolyn’s background working with special needs children led them both to join a group of 20 volunteers tutoring 4th and 5th-grade students at HOB Brittingham School, in reading, math, and history.
In addition to their volunteer work, Steve started a Men’s Book Club at Coastal Club and the first book they read was “All the Light You Cannot See,” one of my absolute favorites. Carolyn also joined a book club; there are at least 3 book clubs in Coastal Club. They describe their community as a Happy Neighborhood, one that cares about each other. A devastating fire in one home quickly led to a fundraiser for the couple that raised $20,000 within 72 hours to help them recover.
As always, the subject of great restaurants came up and we all agreed that Raas, the new Indian/Asian restaurant, is a wonderful addition to the local dining scene. The people, the service, the food–all wonderful. They also mentioned the Henlopen Oyster House, which even had a wait on Martin Luther King Weekend!
And, by the way, FishOn! is still one of their favorite restaurants in Lewes!
We could not have better or happier ambassadors for the Lewes area than Carolyn and Steve Seeling!