Sarah Giddings and her husband, Donald, first moved to Kendal at Lexington from Raleigh, North Carolina, in October of 2000, just months after the first residents moved in. Sarah and Donald moved here when they were 63 and 69, and Sarah still says that it was one of the best decisions they ever made, especially because community life was perfectly suited for this couple, one an extrovert and the other an introvert. They first lived in a 1,600-square-foot “cluster” cottage and then relocated to a 2,000-square-foot freestanding cottage on Sycamore Lane when it was constructed in 2008.
Fifteen years later, extrovert Sarah continues to participate in many committees and activities on the Kendal campus. Before he passed away in February 2016, introvert Donald loved being in his beautiful cottage with all of his treasured books.
What does a typical day look like for Sarah?
6 a.m.: Wakes up and lets her new puppy, Mahler, out to do his business. Mahler has a doggy door and an electric fence and just loves that freedom. But he quickly comes back in for breakfast!
7 a.m.: Sarah and Mahler tour campus. Sarah gets some exercise, and Mahler gets to check out the birds and the squirrels.
Mornings: Sarah has a different activity scheduled most days of the week. Two mornings a week she takes an Aqua Zumba class at the Fitness Center. Two other mornings she plays tennis (usually at the Washington & Lee University outdoor courts and in their indoor facility in the winter) with groups of friends, both Kendal residents and other Lexington friends. She also audits classes at Washington & Lee; these typically meet three mornings a week. In her 15 years at Kendal, Sarah has audited one class per term (or two classes per year). Of her 30 classes, many have been art or history classes, and her latest is “Medieval Art of Northern Europe.”
Noon: Sarah lunches with friends in the Dining Room. She doesn’t always eat with the same group every day, but does have many good friends. As a recent widow, she has been very touched by the emotional support supplied by her Kendal friends. The transition has been hard, but she credits the community here at Kendal for helping her through it — both the residents and the staff.
Afternoons: Sarah’s time isn’t usually as structured as in the mornings, and she takes time to play with Mahler. She also reads, works in the Kendal library and plays with the Recorder group one afternoon each week. In the early days of her life at Kendal at Lexington, there were fewer residents and more committee responsibilities, but now she picks and chooses her activities. She also makes a point to attend Wine & Conversation hour every Tuesday.
Evenings: Sarah enjoys her evenings in her cottage with Mahler, eating a cheese sandwich and watching HGTV and PBS. Sometimes she joins friends for dinner in the fine dining Restaurant at Kendal at Lexington. She particularly enjoys hosting Try-It visitors in the Restaurant! Sarah also appreciates classical music (hence the puppy name, Mahler) and frequently attends concerts at Garth Newel, a year-round chamber music venue situated in the heart of Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. She also organizes performances by Garth Newel musicians at Kendal and often attends concerts at Washington & Lee University and local churches.