Overhead view of the surrounding countryside

Returning to Their Apple Orchards Roots: The Applegates’ Journey

Nov 17, 2023


The founders of Battleview Orchards, Betty Lou and Norman Applegate, find joy in their decision to become “reverse snowbirds”

The New York Times recently reported that retirees are increasingly forgoing traditional warm weather climates to live closer to children, grandchildren and the familiarity of ‘home.’ Betty Lou and Norman Applegate, third-generation proprietors of Freehold’s Battleview Orchards & Country Store, can attest to this trend.


When they retired in 2001, their son Scott became the fourth generation managing the family business, and the couple sailed south along the eastern seaboard, looking for a destination to start their next chapter. They discovered St. Simons Island, Georgia, where they lived for over two decades.

Applegates market

But over time, missing their three grandchildren, New Jersey friends, health issues and disappointment in their Georgia CCRC, inspired the Applegates to move back to Monmouth County.

There is no place like home

“Many of our lifelong friends, dating back to elementary school in Freehold, have lived at Applewood for several years and were always telling us about the fun events and activities happening all the time,” Norman notes. “Equally important to us, they all agreed the community was very well managed.”

Norman and Betty Lou toured available apartments and discovered a 2-bedroom, 2-bath Maplewood floor plan flooded with light and a deck off the living room for watching the beauty of the four seasons again. Having already downsized from their Georgia CCRC, the move was quick and seamless, aided by their son and his family’s help settling in.


The former Southerner misses snow

“I really can’t wait to experience good old-fashioned snow again,” says Betty Lou, a former kindergarten teacher, with a laugh. The couple maintain social connections outside Applewood as avid golfers. Norman has reinstated his membership to the Battleground Country Club and looks forward to reconnecting with old friends. Betty Lou loves to play tennis and the couple have already joined Applewood’s Aquacize classes in the heated indoor pool.

Best of all, the Applegates will be close-by when their first great-grandchild is born in 2024.

With holidays and birthdays on the horizon, the couple looks forward to celebrating with family without the hassle of long-distance travel. Norman sums up their decision, stating, “Making this move back home felt right for us from the beginning. Betty Lou and I are excited to discover all that Applewood has to offer for many years to come.”