Hunterdon is the place to be for active seniors, and there’s lots of them
Reposted from NewJerseyHills.com
“A study shows there will be more senior citizens in Hunterdon County than kids below the age of 18 within 10 years,” said Councilman Al Rylak at a Clinton Town Council meeting last month.
Although considered a high-priced area in which to live, Hunterdon County can be a great place for retirees even if their pocketbooks aren’t as “flush” as some of their neighbors. In other words, you don’t have to be wealthy to find a lot to do with your spare time. The county has a wealth of senior citizen groups with a lot to offer. Some adhere strictly to age restrictions of 65 or more, but others generously welcome younger folks in their 50s.
In the northern part of the county, there are a number of cost-effective opportunities for seniors, mostly run by the seniors themselves. Some towns support their activities by providing places for them to meet or with other contributions, but in most cases today’s seniors are a generation that like to make their own rules and choices.
If you are now retired, consider reaching out to one or more of the following groups to meet old friends, make new friends, and add a bit of entertainment to your daily life. If you no longer drive, perhaps you can connect with a fellow senior citizen willing to bring you along.
The largest group in the area is the completely self-sustaining Clinton Township Seniors Club (CTSC) with a membership of 80 plus. They do not receive any support from local government, leaving them free to not only choose what activities they can pursue, but removing all age and residency requirements municipally-run senior programs often impose.
The CTSC meets at 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the Annandale Reformed Church on the corner of West Street and Beaver Avenue. Most meetings offer speakers or activities of a wide variety.
What has really drawn a large membership to the CTSC though, is that they are day-trippers. It is an opportunity to go places without having to drive great distances. Just sign up, drive to Annandale and hop on the bus. The club has no age or residency restrictions, but of course virtually everyone is over the age of 55 since anyone younger is probably at work on weekdays. It is a club of seniors living within a 15-20 mile radius of Annandale.
This year’s monthly trip itinerary included Broadway plays as well as performances at a variety of venues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, May 15, the bus is full for a trip to Lancaster, Pa. In July they’ll be taking the Spirit of New Jersey Cruise, luncheon included. To learn more about the club, call club president Sandy Pill at (908) 404-5448.
Although it is one of Hunterdon’s smallest towns, Lebanon Borough has a very active senior group. In addition to their monthly meetings at 10 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month with interesting programs and refreshments; fun bingo from 1-3 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month; and chair yoga exercises from 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The Lebanon group is independent of the Borough government, but enjoy the benefit of being allowed to hold all of their meetings and other activities in Borough Hall on High Street. They just held a luncheon to celebrate their 13th anniversary, complete with magician-comic Rick Vale.
Like virtually all of the senior groups in northern Hunterdon, the Lebanon group also enjoy day trips. They will be going to the Mt. Airy Casino in June and Manasquan’s Crystal Point Yacht Club in July. They are also planning a 3-day trip to the PA Amish country in late September.
One problem all the clubs have had to deal with when it comes to excursions is being able to fill a bus. No one could afford renting a bus for only a handful of travelers. In Lebanon, there are 15 resident members and 20 that live in surrounding communities. So, they cooperatively travel with another small senior group in Bound Brook, which has 40 to 50 members, to have enough travelers to fill a bus. For more information, call club president Maddie Nolan at (908) 287-7949.
Another club that had been somewhat dormant for a while but has now reactivated is the Senior Club of Oldwick, which meets at 10 a.m. on the second Monday of each month in the Oldwick Firehouse. For those 65 plus, the reorganized club already has 35 members and is still growing.
“We were previously called the Tewksbury Township Seniors, but not enough people were coming,” said organizer Jim Reed. “Tewksbury doesn’t contribute anything to the club and we welcome non-residents. Only members can play bingo, though.”
Reed said no day trips have been planned yet, as they just began activities a few months ago, but they are looking into what excursions may be available. For more information, call Reed at (908) 439-2329.
In Readington Township there is a township sponsored seniors group for residents only, 60 plus in age. They meet at 12 noon on the third Wednesday of each month at Polish American Club in Whitehouse Station. They do, however, work jointly with a senior group in Raritan Borough to be able to fill a bus for their day trips. For more information, call club president Diane Anthony at (908) 534-4724.
Once out and about you will find a lot of the seniors have joined multiple clubs in the area to take advantage of more opportunities. In Bethlehem Township for example 80 percent of the members live there while 20 percent do not. Their minimum age is 55, and they meet at 12:30 a.m. for lunch on the first Monday of each month at 405 Mine Street, to the right of township hall. There are monthly programs, “out to lunches” and some day trips. For more information, call club president Sandra Bailey at (908) 917-8206.
“We try to offer a program every month,” said Bailey. “Our day trips are mostly by car-pooling, and the township provides us with a stipend for each trip.”
Lebanon Township does not have a senior club, but support the YMCA senior center on County Route 513 in Bunnvale with an annual $4,000 donation. Others communities like High Bridge, Clinton Town and Califon do not sponsor or financially support senior clubs; but you will find their residents involved with the other area clubs.
As part of a community outreach program, the sister facilities of Rolling Hills Care Center in Clinton Township and Hunterdon Care Center in Raritan Township, are a source for local groups to find informative speakers as well as entertainers for their meetings. They also run some day trips, and you don’t have to be a care center resident to go along. Most travelers are 50 plus years of age, but there are no age restrictions. For more information call director of community services Joani Lauyer at (908) 783-0116.
Their most successful outreach has been Bingo, held at 12 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the VFW Hall on Main Street in Glen Gardner.
“It is a free program, but has become so popular we now need to have a head count beforehand,” said Lauyer. “We serve a full course luncheon, and last month 120 people came. We were worried we would run out of food.”
So don’t sit home bored, take advantage of all the fun times and new friends that are waiting for Hunterdon’s retired residents.
Keep an eye on the Hunterdon Review’s weekly “Things To Do” listing of upcoming events which will soon be adding more senior clubs in northern Hunterdon including speakers and upcoming excursions.