Charles Stromfeld

smiling man with large orange cat
Long Islander Charles Stromfeld made the move to Applewood nearly seven years ago at the request of his daughter who lives in Middlesex County, NJ. “Traveling between New Jersey and Nesconsit can be really difficult and she wanted me closer,” Charles explains. He looked at a number of retirement communities, but after visiting Applewood, he knew he had found his new home.”


“I chose the 1B/1BA Walnut floor plan and have enjoyed decorating and re-decorating it over the years,” the former New York City teacher of children with special needs says.

His decorating skill earned him a spot on the Applewood Public Space Decorating Committee and he played a key role in making décor, furnishing and accessories recommendations for the dining rooms, entrance and promenade areas.

Living the Dream Retirement

Charles has designed his retirement the way many of us plan to, but few actually execute. He is busy from dawn to dusk—about the time he heads out to central New Jersey for an evening of cultural entertainment.

The Brooklyn native starts most days in the lap pool at the CentraState Fitness & Wellness Center, located about five minutes from Applewood. After completing 20 to 30 laps, he heads back to the community for a quick lunch followed by a card game.

“I play duplicate bridge, 3-handed or 4-handed canasta in the card room most afternoons, which is a nice way to keep my brain sharp and socialize with friends and neighbors.”

Minutes from Applewood – The Opera, Ballet and Symphony

Making good use of Applewood’s private transportation, Charles and other resident cultural aficionados head out to the nearby Pollack Theatre at Monmouth University in Long Branch, where they watch simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera or Bolshoi Ballet on a 30-foot screen.

He and 20 other residents also have subscriptions to the NJ Symphony who performs 5X/year at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, an artsy haven with great shopping and restaurants, located about 35 minutes from Applewood.

Broadway Beckons – Monthly Matinees & Museums

But the call of the Big Apple still beckons. With a good friend who still lives in New York, Charles takes the NJ Transit bus to midtown Manhattan monthly to catch a Wednesday afternoon matinee on Broadway.

“We visit different museums in the morning, have lunch and head to Broadway in the afternoon,” Charles says. “I hop back on the bus and am back at Applewood in time for dinner.”

New York Culture Close to Home

Charles says Applewood offers him the best of both worlds—a plethora of on-campus activities but easy access to the cultural entertainment that brings joy and inspiration to his life.

“New York will forever have a place in my heart and it’s very important that I still have easy access to everything the city has to offer.”

He also says he doesn’t miss having to cooking his own meals and maintain a large household, inside and out.

“Living alone in my big house on Long Island, I was somewhat isolated, but here at Applewood, I can walk out my door and find someone to chat with day or night.”