Louise Marchello: “Life is good at The Chesapeake.

One could say it was meant to be. Louise Marchello had friends who were living at The Chesapeake, so she decided to take a look at the community for herself. She fell in love with one cottage in particular, though soon learned that someone else had “first dibs.” Louise decided to make a deposit anyway and was excited when she received the news that “her” cottage had become available.

 Upon moving in, Louise, who was widowed six years earlier, wasted no time in getting involved in life at The Chesapeake. Freed from all the chores of home maintenance that once consumed her time, Louise now enjoys having the time to do all the things she wants to do—including serving as a member of the Residents’ Council, the Wellness Committee, and the Dining Committee. She also volunteers her time at The Chesapeake’s concierge desk. “The carefree lifestyle really is important,” she says. “When there’s a problem, I just call maintenance. I have a very nice home here.”

 Louise also enjoys The Chesapeake’s great location in Newport News, and the convenience of having so much to do right on campus. She takes advantage of yoga classes and participates in water aerobics three times a week in The Chesapeake’s indoor saltwater pool. She’s also an avid reader and enjoys cooking in her cottage’s well-appointed kitchen. “I have eclectic taste,” she says of her culinary interests. “I will try making just about anything—especially savory dishes.”

 The Chesapeake offers a variety of meal plans that enable residents to take advantage of the community’s restaurant-style dining if they choose, and also cook in their own kitchens when they prefer. Louise notes that meals are an important time for socializing. “It’s a pleasure to socialize with other diners,” she says. “I was lonely before I came to The Chesapeake; but here, one can meet so many new people with new perspectives. And if you want solitude, you can find that, too. It’s nice to have the choice.”

When asked what advice she would give to those considering a move to The Chesapeake, Louise says to make the decision as young as you can. “I’m glad I came when I did,” she says. “I was 66 years of age. So many people come too late—waiting until their health is failing—and they can’t enjoy the community as fully as I have been able to. It has been a wonderful decision.”