TOWNSEND -- "I came here. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It's so beautiful," Mary Norton said.
The new residents at Townsend Woods are settling into their new homes quite nicely.
Norton lived at Atwood Acres 14 years before moving into her new apartment. That was very nice too, she said, but moving into a brand new place was even better.
A weekly coffee hour gave people a chance to chat and even visit with Sharon Fata, the community nurse from the Nashoba Associated Board of Health. She was taking blood pressures and doing weigh-ins in a corner of the room May 9.
One of the most popular guests at the gathering was Zorro, Nancy Frasca's assistance dog, a Scotch Border Collie. Zorro welcomed the pats and attention from staff and other residents.
"When we're out, no one touches him," Frasca said. But because everyone at Townsend Woods is just like family, they can pat the dog.
There are some blood relatives living in the new building too. Mary Smit and Glenda Profit, sisters, sat with their cousin Nellie Minor.
Evidence of people's interests were everywhere. Garlands and teapots decorated the top of the mailboxes in the entryway and the mantelpiece in the coffee room.
The decorations are the work of Lucille Boucher, who changes the theme monthly. "I love doing it," she said.
A Mother's Day tea/luncheon was in the works. Boucher's granddaughter was scheduled to stay over and help get a special meal ready for women
Not all activities are carefully planned in advance, there is room for spontaneity too. One resident stood in the front of the room and amused people with a singing lobster during the coffee hour.
Townsend Woods is not just about the seniors who live there; the greater Townsend community is involved..
"What I can't get over is how the town treats the elderly," resident Elaine Kelley said.
The King Farm delivers a truckload of poinsettias at Christmas and the hardware store brought goodie packages.
Retired Police Chief Bill May comes to the complex regularly with his bluegrass band, but not to Townsend Woods, he goes next door to Atwood Acres.
Townsend Woods and Atwood Acres are senior living facilities run by RCAP Solutions. Residents' gardens dot the landscape and a path leads from one building to the other.
Both buildings offer entertainment and activities and residents are encouraged to attend events at both buildings, said Maribeth Conrad, Assisted Housing Manager.
The apartments are as well-thought out and livable as the public spaces. All of the apartments Townsend Woods are one bedroom and can be made handicap accessible, Conrad said.
The easy conversion allows seniors to remain at home in their apartment as needs change.
"I think it's important to age in place," she said, "Most people like to stay put."
The apartments at Atwood Acres also include studios and are not designed to easily become handicap accessible, she said.
The new building has been open nearly seven months and has been full since it opened. The waiting list is probably about two years, she said.
Residents are in no hurry to move.
"We really are spoiled," Norton said.