News & Resources
Explore the Beauty of The Sequoias Portola Valley
Retirement is a chapter in life that offers ample opportunities to explore new passions, experiences, and interests and explore the beauty around you. After decades of working and building a career, retirement can offer a much-needed break and an opportunity to pursue enjoyable and meaningful activities. In retirement, you can slow down and “smell the roses.”
Once retired, you’ll have more time for the activities and experiences you’ve been holding off on, such as traveling, learning new skills, or pursuing creative endeavors.
A Budding Pursuit
For Cyrena Simons and her husband, retiring from a demanding career with the National Institute of Health led to new opportunities. “When my husband and I retired, I decided I wanted to study the environment,” said Cyrena.
As she dug deeper into studying the environment and coastal ecosystems (where the land meets the sea), Cyrena embraced the connection between gardens, watersheds, and large bodies of water — like the Chesapeake Bay, where she and her husband live for six months of the year.
Motivated to make a difference, “I started working with his Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland and became a Master Gardener.”
Two years ago, the Simons’ became residents of The Sequoias Portola Valley. Each Sequoia Living Life Plan Community offers a dedicated garden where residents can nurture their own plot of land to grow what they wish. Cyrena focuses primarily on her property in Maryland, where she tends to several gardens and plants native plants. Though, she is thrilled that she can continue gardening after transitioning to full-time community living.
Golden State of Mind
Toward the end of 2020, the Simons moved closer to a daughter and grandchildren in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not quite ready to call the West Coast their full-time home, the Simons reside half the year in Maryland and the other six months in California at The Sequoias.
Their active lifestyle at The Sequoias and her passion for the ever-evolving California ecosystem inspired Cyrena to explore native plants and insect habitats.
Go For a Hike
“We started doing even more hiking than before,” said Cyrena. “To be at The Sequoias and able to go out every morning on a two or three-mile hike before breakfast is just delightful.”
Recently, a group of residents hiked up Windy Hill and enjoyed lunch at Alice’s Restaurant. Cyrena led the nearly 10-mile round-trip hike. Living at The Sequoias has nurtured the Simons’ love for hiking and allowed them to cross paths with extraordinary individuals. “One of the highlights is the marvelous people we meet over meals.“
Never Stop Growing at Sequoia Living
Cyrena is excited to see the array of colorful wildflowers that will add to the natural beauty of the hills and trails this spring. Due to all the winter rainfall, she predicts wildflower “super blooms” will be even more spectacular than in past years. She adds, “The wildflowers in the spring are absolutely fabulous when hiking.”
Surrounded by 42 acres of bountiful landscape design, The Sequoias Portola Valley offers residents access to hiking trails at Windy Hill Preserve. The more than 1,400 acres of open space feature grassland ridges and forests of redwood, fir, and oak trees accessible through the community.