Maria Laterra and Kerry Butz began looking for a retirement community at the suggestion of their financial planner. “Go for the free lunch – if nothing else,” she told them.
But it was much more than a free lunch that inspired these retired IT professionals to make the move to their Bethany Village cottage at the age of 59 and 66. “We love it here,” chime Maria and Kerry. “And we moved in young enough to enjoy all that the community has to offer.”
The household also includes Baco, a 14-year-old Yorkie, named for the hybrid red wine grape (baco noir) that the couple grew and bottled at their winery – a labor of love they pursued while still working their full-time jobs.
“We do love our wine,” says Maria, who with Kerry, attended a library lecture on wine making and left with the inspiration to turn the once-amateur oenophiles into hobbyists. They planted 400 vines and purchased equipment to crush the grapes and bottle the wine. The finished product was given to friends and family for holidays, birthdays, and other milestones.
Redirecting their green thumbs
After 13 years, Kerry and Maria corked the winery. And they’ve redirected their green thumbs to a Bethany Village garden plot where they grow vegetables. At their cottage, Maria grows herbs and Kerry tends to the seven fig trees he’s planted there.
“We love everything…”
As a couple, Kerry and Maria take part in trivia nights twice a month and enjoy dinner in the Bistro with friends.
They can often be found cruising the campus on their golf cart – a relic from their winery days. Maria takes yoga classes, plays Bingo and teaches computer classes. But her favorite project so far was leading an effort that created a community time capsule scheduled to be unearthed in 2047.
Kerry works with others at the wood shop doing household repairs. And he led the committee responsible for the newly opened dog park.
“There are so many benefits to living here,” says Maria. “But the one thing we didn’t expect was the variety of interesting people that make up the fabric of the community. We love everything about it.”