Retirement can be a time of newfound freedom and leisure, where individuals finally focus on the things they passionately care about. At Friends House Retirement Community, we believe in the numerous benefits and joys of a life lived in accord with what nature offers. In this article, we will delve into the significance of exploring our natural environment, the many outdoor activities available in Sandy Spring, and the Friends House community’s wholehearted embrace of green spaces.


Connecting with Nature:

All humans have an inherent connection with their natural environment. Spending time outdoors has been proven to reduce stress, enhance overall well-being, and promote a sense of calm and tranquility. At Friends House, our residents have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, without even leaving the campus.


The Benefits of Green Spaces:

Green spaces like gardens, parks, woods, and walking trails are especially advantageous for older adults. Research suggests that exposure to green environments can improve cognitive function, boost mood, and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. These benefits are particularly important for seniors, as they contribute to a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle in retirement.


Walking and Exercise:

One of the simplest and most accessible outdoor activities for residents at Friends House is walking. Our well-maintained pathways and trails, beautifully mapped by an independent living resident, offer the perfect setting for seniors to engage in physical exercise while enjoying their natural surroundings. Forest pathways, maintained by volunteers and provided with directional signs, lead across the northwest branch of the Anacostia River and through a public park to connect to the village of Sandy Spring and the adjacent school campus. Exploring these woods on foot is a favorite hobby of many residents.  As they walk, they not only improve cardiovascular health and strength but also take this opportunity to socialize outdoors with fellow residents.


Gardening and Horticulture:

Many retirees like to devote their new-found free time to gardening.  The Friends House community garden allows residents to get their hands dirty, cultivate flowers and vegetables, and reconnect with the earth. Produce and flowers are shared with residents less able to get outside, and everyone is encouraged to harvest berries, flowers, tomatoes, asparagus, rhubarb, squash, and more from the collective gardens. Some independent living residents maintain their own allotment with mixtures of vegetables and native plants. Gardening is therapeutic in the widest sense: it promotes physical activity, encourages a sense of purpose, imposes a relaxing schedule, and fosters a connection to the natural cycles of life.


Birdwatching and Wildlife Observation:

A surprising number of Friends House residents are expert birdwatchers, and one cottage resident maintains a wildlife camera in her backyard. Many of her videos are posted on the Friends House Facebook page (@FHRCinc) and on the Friends House website. The garden committee also sustains beehives, and the campus is full of pollinator-friendly plants. Leading bird walks and sending videos of deer and raccoons feeding at night, our experts help everyone to appreciate the thriving life of both local and migratory species of birds, wild animals, butterflies and bees.


Picnics and Outdoor Social Gatherings:

What better way to enjoy the outdoors than by organizing picnics and outdoor social gatherings? At Friends House, residents are encouraged to make use of our beautiful outdoor gathering spaces, complete with benches and tables, in both sun and shade.  There are many charming outdoor spots where we can connect with friends, neighbors, and family, share potluck meals, and savor being outside in the fresh air and the rural quiet.


Environmental Education and Conservation Efforts:

We understand that exploring nature goes beyond personal enjoyment – it extends outward into a collective effort to care for our shared planet. Friends House administration’s facilities and landscaping leaders collaborate closely with a committee of environmental activists among the residents. This concerned group has diverse expertise in environmental stewardship and it takes pride in organizing environmental education programs and conservation efforts. Friends House protects the old trees and new bio-ponds dotting our campus, and actively plans for a future in which everyone living here can enjoy a wholesome outdoor life.

At Friends House, we recognize the value of outdoor activities and the benefits of green spaces for our residents’ well-being. By embracing the beauty of nature, engaging in various outdoor pursuits, and fostering a sense of environmental stewardship, our retirement community provides a fulfilling and enriching experience for all.

We invite you to experience the joy and benefits of exploring nature firsthand at Friends House Retirement Community. Take the next step towards a vibrant and fulfilling retirement by scheduling a tour today. Contact Anthony Cinotti at


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