Though we can't invite you in yet, we're still supporting each other and having fun together. Please join us for an online Meet & Greet via Zoom. You'll meet some of our neighbors, and we'll answer your questions about cohousing and Village Hearth.
Tuesday, December 15, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Two parking spaces / electric car charging station / 450sf workshop
Given the need to limit visitors to Village Hearth, we can chat by telephone, email and on Zoom. If you have reviewed the available information and wish to investigate further, a safe on-site visit can be arranged. Contact Margaret Roesch at 561-714-8009 or email Pat McAulay.
Not quite ready?
Find out how to join our waitlist!
Talk to Margaret at 561-714-8009 or email Pat to learn more!
The rain stopped, and our Thanksgiving plan was saved!
Hailey, Dona & Tony wait for their turn to fill those plates, and later, Kim works on the pickins.
Our First Thanksgiving (Barbara)
The day was not promising. Thanksgiving dawned grey, rainy and potentially not the sort of day to gather on the patio or sit at tables set up on the common. But rain-date plans kept everyone on track. Kim popped a 19-pound turkey into the oven at the Common House kitchen—the big oven’s inaugural roast in a fantastic kitchen we’d not yet been able to use. Barbara put bread to rise; Gail prepared her green beans almandine; Patricia mixed up a corn pudding; and Brigitte sliced hearts of palm, avocados and mushrooms for her salad bar. In Tom’s oven, brussels sprouts were caramelizing with garlic and pecans. Dona stirred a cranberry sauce while Tony whipped up a batch of skillet cornbread which he would serve with homemade pepper relish on the side. Nancy’s sweet potatoes were bubbling away.
Thirty minutes before our noon meal, the sun came out. Hurrah! The turkey was carved, the gravy ladled into pitchers, and all the specialties mentioned were laid upon two tables placed at the entry to the Common House, so that our gloved hands could serve onto plates brought from home. We sat together, distanced by six feet. What a feast it was! At the conclusion, Dona had set up a microphone to capture the spontaneous heartfelt thanks we felt for having come safely to this place. No pilgrims could possibly have had it any better than did we. Dona, Tony and Haley sang “Lean On Me,” a song expressing the sense of friendship and support we feel here at the Hearth.
Could it get sweeter? It did. Two hours later, a porch crawl commenced, and we visited neighbors’ porches to discover pecan, cherry, lemon meringue, key lime and cranberry-pear pies. There were delicious brownies, pumpkin bread and rum cake, too. It was impossible to taste everything, even with tiny servings.
So many people this year were forced to stay home alone, cancel plans to visit family and friends, or even Zoom Thanksgiving—and yet we were able to be together safely. It was a remarkable day and a great testament to the advantages of cohousing.
Savory sides and sweet endings
Weiby and Tom
A Whirlwind Decision to Join Village Hearth (Tom)
The last twelve months have been a voyage of discovery for me. It began with the sale of my wonderful Philadelphia home in December 2019 and a move into a loft apartment two miles away. But in July, I faced the fact that apartment living was not for me—especially during a pandemic, when I couldn’t even step out on my front porch with my dog and a cup of coffee.
I had spotted Village Hearth’s ads a few years earlier in the Gay and Lesbian Review. I visited the website, and that prompted me to write to Margaret in August. To make a long story shorter, three trips to Durham ensued and within five weeks of the first, I came back for my closing. I am often prone to debilitating indecision, so this manifestation of change was amazing. It was the reception I had received that spoke to me most keenly at Village Hearth. It seemed that Community with a capital “C” was up and running here. Individuals bonding through shared priorities, while maintaining their own distinctly different personalities. Coupled with cohousing’s clever balancing act of private homes and a shared common house, it all made a lot of sense.
Three months after that first visit to Durham, the concept of “living in Community” still propels me forward. Perhaps I have always wanted to live interdependently with others. Maybe this was going to be my monastery. Whatever, I was ready to embrace it. And, so was my beloved dog, Weibchen. I can see, now, how neither of us was happy in that Philadelphia apartment. Happily, I already feel quite at home here at Village Hearth. And "Weiby" is tickled to be sniffing out all the scents of her birth state. I'm making friends. She's making friends. We have a porch again. And plentiful good neighbors, rather than just names on a group mailbox. What's not to like?
Tom & Patricia chat on the commons while Daisy & Weiby meet & greet.
Margaret heads out to see who's doing what. Rain? No problem!
Cohousing During the Pandemic (Margaret)
I’m sure we all had imagined what our first few days, weeks and months might look like as we began arriving and settling into our new homes at Village Hearth. I suspect each of us had a little bit different “image” in our heads.
However, I never imagined we’d be moving into Village Hearth homes while a pandemic was raging around the world. We never imagined we would be greeting our new neighbors daily with face masks and “social distancing.” We never imagined that we would not be able to use our stunning Common House as a place to gather indoors in large groups. We never imagined that we would still be using Zoom as the format for many of our meetings even though we are living next door or down the sidewalk from everyone on the call!
I am grateful every day that I AM living in Village Hearth Cohousing. The closeness of our homes makes it easy to catch up with folks just a short walk away. We are reaping the benefits of those casual, accidental interactions which are so important for our mental health. Even using masks and practicing social distancing, we are finding it’s not an impediment to our continuing to learn more about each other and being able to share experiences. We even figured out that having progressive meals from one porch to the next; a daytime outdoor dance party spread out on the sidewalks with music playing from a central porch; soirees and ceremonies outside on our common house patio—all are among the many inventive ways we’ve devised to be together while staying safe.
So, what is different about living in an intentional community vs living alone when a pandemic hits? For me, the ease of being able to interact with our neighbors in the 27 other households while staying within the COVID-19 standards has been amazing.
We have a whole community of neighbors who are available day and night for anything from sharing a morning cup of coffee to stargazing on the crisp, cool nights.
Enjoying the Dance Party...
...while watching the moon rise between the porch posts.