When Joe and Sue Libralesso made the choice to retire in 2012, their next big decision was where to live. Thankfully, the choice was an easy one. Joe and Sue were happy to move back to a community where they’d lived before: Sandycove Acres in Innisfil, Ontario.
“We missed it; we missed all the fun,” says Sue. “A lot of our friends were here, so it made a lot of sense for us to come back.”
The two are active gardeners and having the opportunity to putter and plant was a key reason for their return to Sandycove. However, their creative talents aren’t limited to the garden. Joe loves to do wood-working and sing with the Glee Club. Meanwhile, Sue has volunteered her time and her decorating talents to the community’s three recreational facilities – The Hub, The Spoke, and The Wheel. Both Joe and Sue are involved in numerous social activities at these facilities, including sitting on committees.
Even their downtime is filled with community connections. They love to drive their golf cart around the community for some added socialization which, as Joe notes, “In a normal city, you can’t really do that.” Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe and Sue were able to take part in “walk-bys” to keep up their social circle from a safe distance.
In Joe and Sue’s own words, they value being a part of a close-knit small town that’s filled with camaraderie and spirit. They appreciate that Sandycove Acres is a managed community with year-round events (like summer BBQs, regular coffee chats, volunteer appreciation events, and Christmas tree lighting celebrations) that keep people connected. And as part-time “snowbirds” who spend three months in Florida each winter, they’re eager to launch themselves back into the many activities at Sandycove Acres upon their return each year without missing a beat.
The community offers year-round activities. The gorgeous shoreline of nearby Lake Simcoe is perfect for strolling, fishing, swimming, and splashing. In winter, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing abound. Surrounding Sandycove Acres are all the amenities of a cozy rural community, including an onsite mall with a drugstore, variety store, hair salon, restaurant and clothing store.
Moving back also made sense from a financial perspective. The Libralessos lived in Sandycove from 2000-2005. They left the community when work commitments took them elsewhere, and they became renters. Once it was time to retire, they were interested in investing in homeownership again, and found Sandycove to be an attractive and affordable option, says Joe. “It’s better to get away from renting and to purchase a home.”
It’s a choice that’s paid off in more ways than one. Both say that what surprised them most about Sandycove Acres – during their first stay and then when they returned – was the friendliness of the community. After living in a larger city where it’s harder to get to know your neighbours, Joe says, “it doesn’t take long to get to know a lot of people here.”
Sue adds that the small-town feel of Sandycove makes her feel at home: “The people are very kind, and if someone has a need, it’s always fulfilled.”