The first thing for retirees to learn about downsizing is that everyone perceives it differently. While some folks want to move into condos or attached homes, others still want the feel of a single-family residence, albeit smaller and more manageable. Price is also a factor, so finding an affordable option should be prioritized. Also, active adult home seekers want to do away with mowing the lawn or shoveling snow, which can be taken care of by the homeowners’ association. The retirement communities of Gloucester County, New Jersey excel in these areas, and there are 16 to choose from.
Gloucester County (Glouco) is in the southern part of the Garden State, and its western border meets the Delaware River, where you can cross over into Philadelphia and Delaware. This makes the county a good choice for commuters as well as anyone who likes to travel, as both have interstate highways and international airports. Glouco also has pristine parks and recreation areas like Raccoon Creek Wildlife Management Area and the Glassboro Wildlife Management Area for those who relish their time spent outdoors.
Other advantages of living here include a prevalence of historic sites like Red Bank Battlefield, the site of a Revolutionary War battle. Public golf facilities like Scotland Run and Pitman Golf Course offer challenging courses and reasonable fees, and shopping outlets like the Deptford Mall and the Gloucester Premium Outlets have a variety of department stores, discount shops, and restaurants.
This is just of taste of what Gloucester County has to offer, and the following is a sample of its 55+ neighborhoods. The ones we’ve picked are mid-sized and cater to active adult lifestyles.
1. Villages at Aberdeen - Clayton, NJ
The J.S. Hovnanian-built retirement community of Villages at Aberdeen was completed in 2016 with 160 resale single-family homes. It's located just outside of Glassboro Wildlife Management area and Scotland Run. It's also five miles from Rowan University, which offers continuing education courses. The four thoughtfully-designed floor plans range from 1,558 to 1,756 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage.
Some of these stylish homes offer upgrades like nine-foot ceilings, back patios, and 42-inch kitchen cabinets. The homeowners’ association (HOA) fee covers custodial services and common area maintenance. Villages at Aberdeen is known for having reasonable HOA fees and low property taxes, which can save you quite a bit of money. It's also just minutes from Route 47, where you can find coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, churches, pharmacies, and anything else you might need.
2. Heatherwood - Sewell, NJ
Also built by J.S. Hovnanian, Heatherwood was completed in 2007 with 160 resale single-family homes. It's about 17 miles outside of Philadelphia, and it's also close to landmarks like the 66-acre James G. Atkinson Park and the popular Wedgwood Golf Course.
Heatherwood’s 10 floor plans range from 1,400 to 2,447 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages. Homebuyers can expect upgrades like sunrooms, patios, granite countertops, and fireplaces in some of these graceful homes, and the reasonable HOA fee covers certain community services.
3. Spicer Estates - Mullica Hill, NJ
Homeowners at Spicer Estates enjoy low-maintenance lifestyles in a quiet community that's within walking distance of a Shoprite, coffee shop, dentist, bank, and Kennedy Fitness. The latter has exercise equipment, group classes, pools, saunas, and steam rooms.
The 225 resale single-family homes here are sized from1,300 to 1,600 square feet with two bedrooms, two to three baths, first-floor master suites, and attached two-car garages. Some include basements, sunrooms, and cathedral ceilings, and the annual HOA fee provides for lawn care and snow removal.
Other local spots worth visiting near Spicer Estates include the Harrison Township Historical Society building, Wagonhouse Winery, and the Olde Mill Antique Center. Downtown Mullica Hill has restaurants, houses of worship, specialty shops, and an Amish market.
4. Lakebridge - Deptford, NJ
Our final entry here is Lakebridge, another J.S. Hovnanian 55+ community built from 1986 through 1992 with 375 resale single-family homes. Its excellent location places it a few miles from the NJ Turnpike, beautiful Stewart Park (there’s also a nice lake here), a Walmart Supercenter, and historic Downtown Woodbury.
This active adult community was built with four models sized from 1,175 to 1,510 square feet with two or three bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, spacious patios, eat-in kitchens, and attached one-car garages. The monthly HOA provides for community services including a private clubhouse. Inside, you'll find a ballroom, a community room, and a library; outside, there are bocce ball courts, tennis courts, horseshoes, and a sparkling outdoor pool and patio area. Homeowners who enjoy group activities and events can participate in casino trips, game nights, movie outings, and line dancing.
The drive to Center City Philadelphia can take just 30 minutes depending on traffic, and the Philly airport is even closer. Also, the Riverwinds Golf & Tennis Club, the Deptford Free Library, and local favorite restaurant Adelphia are all close to Lakebridge.