The Seeds of a New Community

The Ouellettes are taking steps to make a home in Phoebe’s newest option for retirement living, Chestnut Ridge at Rodale in Emmaus—and they can’t wait to get started. Emile and Martha Ouellette are pioneers. They are among the first people to become depositors and future residents of Chestnut Ridge at Rodale, Phoebe’s burgeoning retirement community in the heart of Emmaus, Pennsylvania. For them, everything about Chestnut Ridge fits perfectly; it’s the answer to a question they’ve been asking themselves for five years.

In 2014, the Ouellettes began exploring options for long term care retirement communities in the Lehigh Valley. They were living—as they do now— in a 55-plus community in Lower Macungie
Township, but they knew it wouldn’t be home forever. Martha says it was important to them to live in a place that could provide a very socially active lifestyle in beautiful surroundings, but would also offer care services as they aged, removing the burden of care from their younger daughter, who lives nearby.

They tried on several places, but nothing seemed to fit. After two years, they came across the Terrace at Phoebe Allentown, where they started attending luncheons and open house events, and making friends. They even made a deposit. But as one apartment became available, and then another, they realized they still weren’t ready to go. “We were close to doing it,” says Martha. “But after a month of worrying about it we said, we don’t want to go now.”

Last fall, The Phoebe Messenger arrived in the Ouellettes’ mailbox, and with it the news that Phoebe would be opening a brand new independent living community in Emmaus. Everything about it
immediately piqued their interest: the location—close to their friends, surrounded by trees, with the faint sound of the train nearby (Emile loves trains)—the open floorplans, the perks, and amenities…Martha picked up the phone and called for more information. Since then, both Martha and Emile have felt they’re on the right track. And by coming in at the beginning stages of the project, the Ouellettes enjoy the advantages of the Chestnut Club, not least of which is the ability to choose their own apartment.

The Ouellettes even drove to the property and walked around to see how the sunlight fell at different times of day (Martha wanted a balcony where she could sit in the afternoon without direct sun) and where the best views of the beautiful South Mountain were. The Chestnut Ridge sales team works closely with the Ouellettes and the other depositors to make sure all their questions are answered, but more importantly to bring them together into the first seeds of what will be their community in the near future.

“Socialization is very important to us,” says Martha. Not only are the Ouellettes meeting their soon-to-be neighbors, they’re even inviting current neighbors to join them at Chestnut Ridge. “Two of our neighbors are ready. One put down a deposit shortly after we did; the other couple had already been looking. They want to take the burden off their kids.”

The Ouellettes are very active in their current community, and plan to remain so. Martha and Emile are looking forward to the new options afforded by life at Chestnut Ridge: wine tasting with neighbors, smart technology in the apartments, guest speakers and lifelong learning courses on campus, access to nature trails, clubs, and activities—not to mention proximity to everything going on in Emmaus and surrounding areas.

“Having a community is really important, I think” says Martha. They’ve grown fond of Emmaus itself, too. “We love this area because everything is very convenient, there are lots of places to eat, and our doctors are nearby.” They also attend church in Emmaus. Most of all, the timing is what works for Martha and Emile. Chestnut Ridge is slated to open apartments in late 2021, and by then, the Ouellettes will be ready to move into the apartment that they helped build from the ground up.

Printed in the Fall 2019 issue of the Messenger. For the full magazine, please visit