Pine Run Retirement
40th anniversary Bucks County Herald July 28, 2016 Written by Connie Wrzesniewski Photographs by Allure West Studios
A capacity crowd toasted the history of Pine Run at the 40th Anniversary “Hollywood” themed Gala held on July 13, 2016. Always a celebrated event, this year’s party created considerable buzz compared to previous fetes. “We really shifted into high gear,” enthused Director of Life Enrichment Ceil Krajewski. “From the amazing hors d’oeuvres, to the glittering gowns and passionate speeches, the evening unfolded as one of the best on record.”
Pine Run Retirement Community has long been a familiar sight on Ferry Road at the rise of a winding hill across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.
The 43-acre facility, celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala event on Wednesday, July 13, “with champagne and all that glitters.”
Hors d’oeuvres of chicken liver pate, rack of lamb, shrimp tempura, beef tenderloin and Oysters Rockefeller slid noiselessly through the crowd on trays in the nimble hands of wait staff.
After cocktails, a Surf and Turf dinner was served, followed by live music, “Frank Sinatra’s Best of the Best.” A dessert of Cherries Jubilee topped off dinner.
Many changes have taken place over the years since King Charles II of England granted William Penn the land in 1681 as a debt settlement to his father.
Jump forward to 1955 and you will find that two conjoined farms, owned by Mary and William Nixon, were sold to the Pauline Fathers at the National Shrine.
The land changed hands once again when Frank Elliot purchased it and built Pine Run Community 40 years ago. Change is the only thing that is constant, and it continues today under the sure guidance of CEO Cathleen Stewart. She arrived in 2010 and soon learned of the “legacy of Pine Run and how the VIA works.”
The Village Improvement Association (VIA), the only women’s organization to own and operate a hospital, acquired Pine Run Community and Health Center in 1992 and continued its original goals, “to promote every proper means to improve and beautify Bucks County while improving health and welfare.”
“I hope for the legacy to continue,” said Stewart. “The campus is beautiful, but it is the people who move in combined with that beauty that make Pine Run so special.”
Stewart developed a master plan, which encompassed modernization of its Health Center, renovation of cottages, clusters, courtyards and a new Hub. To date the Health Center has been completed within a two-year time frame at a cost of $11 million. While these renovations were under way, the next phase of the master plan for cottages and apartments was begun. At present, the first two-story cottage is under construction.
With the facelift of gardens, residents are drawn to visit in the courtyards when not enjoying homey indoor living in upscale cottages where they can reminisce on their past, bringing along a sense of serenity and pleasant memories, which prompts a bit of physical, spiritual and emotional wellness.
Fringetree Court Apartments, which can be seen from Ferry Road, were the contribution of Ken Confalone, former executive director of Pine Run, who saw an opportunity to modernize and seized it in 2008.
With the current renaissance underway, a new dining plan has been developed and the new Hub is scheduled to be built adjacent to the old one, slated to become a parking lot.
All of this makes for a current, upbeat neighborhood not only for residents but also for the surrounding community.
Pine Run has long been an integral part of its environs inviting neighboring residents in to the community’s duplicate bridge club, and folks from outside to join in the annual art show and the fall festival held annually in October, which draws hundreds of people from Bucks County and beyond with the Boy Scouts’ inclusion of sailboat racing in the “rain gutter regatta.”
It’s a “quantum leap” from the conjoined farms of the Nixons and the two original buildings, the Jonathan Good House (c1791) now the Yellow Wood Inn, Pine Run’s Bed and Breakfast and the Callendar Hines House (c1766- 1802) now the Pine Run Inn, which serves as administrative offices. Legend reveals, resident ghost George walks those corridors at certain times, echoing footsteps of days past.