The Best of Both Worlds: Living at The Hill and on Martha’s Vineyard

When Alec and Marnie Kerr started to seriously consider the prospect of leaving their home in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, they explored the option of moving to their family summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. After all, they have deep roots on the island; Alec, who grew up in New York City, spent summers on the Vineyard as a kid with his father’s family. As he grew up, he continued to go back to the Vineyard each summer, finally purchasing a home there in 1981 with his wife, Marnie.

Although the couple had settled in Mt. Airy, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, to raise their three children, they still made the trip up to their family house on Martha’s Vineyard each summer. All three of their adult children have settled down in New England, and despite having moved to a home in Chestnut Hill nearly 35 years ago, the Kerrs love making the drive up to the Vineyard to spend time with their kids and grandchildren. So when it came time to make a decision about where to downsize, the thought of Martha’s Vineyard was appealing.

“We love being outdoors–fishing, sailing, the beaches, the nature preserves–and our house on the Vineyard is winterized, so we strongly considered moving there. But it was a bit impractical in the long run. The majority of our friends are here in Philadelphia, and we wanted to be in a community where healthcare would be easily accessible for us,” said Alec.

That made purchasing a home at The Terrace Apartments at The Hill at Whitemarsh an easy choice for the couple.

Aside from the desire to settle down in a place that embraced nature and enabled the Kerrs to maintain their outdoorsy lifestyle, it was important to them to move to a continuing care retirement community that provided them with enough room for their black Labrador retriever, Tash, and access to exceptional healthcare.

“The Lifecare Guarantee was a primary consideration in our decision,” Marnie said. “In fact, when we moved, I changed my primary care physician to Dr. Linda Tomko, who is with Jefferson Health but on-site at The Hill. As soon as I met her I liked her more than any other doctor I’ve had in the past and decided to make the switch immediately, even though it certainly isn’t required.”

After nearly four decades in their large house in Chestnut Hill, the maintenance and upkeep required was more than the Kerrs wanted to deal with, and they knew it was time to downsize.

“Our kids have been really enthusiastic and supportive of the move to The Hill,” Marnie said. “Everyone was on board with it; it was definitely time.”

“Downsizing was probably the hardest part. I have a lot of books that I had to pare down,” said Alec. “It’s certainly been a process, but it’s been a very healthy process for us, I think.”

Despite making the move into a more contemporary space than their previous home, Marnie is pleased that they have not had to redecorate as a result of the move, and she loves how much everything they brought over with them fits into their new home.

“We’re in a corner unit on the second floor of our Terrace Apartment. There’s beautiful light, and we overlook the swimming pool; it’s just so lovely,” said Marnie. “And as an added bonus, people have been so warm and welcoming–it’s been wonderful.”

With the process of downsizing behind them, the Kerrs can enjoy spending more time on Martha’s Vineyard with their children and grandchildren and also focus on building a new life at The Hill. They’ve been looking forward to settling into their new home at The Hill and taking part in all the community and surrounding areas have to offer.

“Since we moved from Chestnut Hill, which is just minutes away from The Hill, there are still so many aspects of our life that won’t really change very much. The best and most surprising part of moving has been reconnecting with old friends from our past. Some couples that we knew when our daughters were in preschool are also at The Hill, and it’s been wonderful getting to know them again,” Alec said.

Marnie paused before adding: “We have so much to look forward to!”