Smooth Sailing–BayWoods of Annapolis
By Christy Brudin
A first ascent of a mountain with two kids in tow. Three days anchored off a reef after losing a mast. An epic sail across the Atlantic. Herb and Ruth Weiss have shared quite a few adventures over the years.
After recently moving to BayWoods of Annapolis, a continuing care retirement community in the heart of Annapolis, Md., Herb and Ruth are now planning their exciting future—and sailing is certainly on the itinerary. In addition to offering life-long care and a variety of amenities, BayWoods also provides the couple with easy access to the water; their 42-foot sailboat is docked just a few hundred feet from their new home.
Herb and Ruth’s adventures started in Cambridge, Mass., while she was a student at Harvard Medical School and he was working at a research lab at MIT. “We met at a party, and I asked Ruth out for a date, but she was too busy,” Herb recalled with a laugh. “He was too busy too,” Ruth added with a smile.
Once they found time for a date, their relationship progressed quickly. “We finally went to her friend’s wedding together, and at the wedding I said, ‘This seems like a good idea. Let’s get married,’” Herb remembered. Ruth accepted, and the couple was married a mere two weeks after they met. They went on to have three children and now have six grandchildren.
After graduating from MIT, Herb continued to work for the university. During World War II, MIT sent him overseas to work in a new laboratory developing radar equipment. Later, Herb returned to the laboratory on campus and was involved in developing the world’s largest radar, as well as the modern air traffic control system that is still in use today.
In the late 70s following the Arab Oil Embargo, Herb became interested in domestic energy sources. “I quit the laboratory at MIT and got involved in developing windmills because I decided 30 years ago that windmills were an important way to make new energy,” he recalled.
However, despite an initially strong start, Herb’s new company became unsustainable after energy prices plummeted. “Thirty years ago, there just was no interest in windmills. I tried everything I could, but eventually it wasn’t going anywhere, so I retired,” he said.
One of the first women to graduate from Harvard Medical School, Ruth became a pediatrician. Later in her career, she became a child psychiatrist and was in practice for decades. She retired right before Herb, giving them time to pursue a new passion.
“We went off to Europe, bought a sailboat and got lost in the Mediterranean for six years—just floating around,” Herb said. “We had such busy careers, and when we were together as a family, the focus was always on the kids, so it was nice for just the two of us to be together on the boat,” added Ruth.
It was no surprise that Herb and Ruth took up sailing upon retiring. The couple has always been the adventurous sort. In fact, they were mountain climbers in their younger years—often climbing with their children. “We got a first ascent with two of our kids,” Ruth noted. “These were expeditions up in the snow, using roping and crampons and everything,” Herb added. The couple climbed with and without their children throughout Europe and in Canada, Costa Rica and Peru.
The couple’s adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors has become something of a family tradition. “All of our children enjoy spending time outside, and all of our grandchildren do as well,” Herb said.
Herb and Ruth started thinking about moving to a retirement community when their three sons broached the subject with them. “They gathered us together and wanted to talk to us about moving,” Herb recalled. “So many of their peers had one parent or another who started experiencing problems as they aged. They wanted us to make a move now, while we were still healthy.”
After looking at retirement communities near each of their sons in Massachusetts, Colorado and Maryland, the couple easily decided that BayWoods of Annapolis was the place for them. “We came by here, and it was boating season, and it was clear pretty quickly that this was the place,” Herb said.
Now, the couple enjoys hosting all their sailing friends. “We tell all our friends with boats to come by, and we always have people over for dinner,” said Ruth. “The marina is full of sailors who go to Florida or the Bahamas every day. We used to make that trek, so as they come through, we tell them to bring their laundry and have a meal,” Herb explained.
Even though they only moved six weeks ago, the couple is thrilled with the choice they made. “We absolutely made the right decision. I see this as another great adventure,” said Ruth.
One of the many pleasures of life at BayWoods has been the delicious dining options—and the fact that they no longer have to cook. “I had no problem giving up cooking, and the food and the variety here is great,” noted Ruth. “She’s even been giving away all her pots and pans,” Herb said with a laugh.
Beyond the community amenities, the peace of mind that comes with lifelong care has been one of the biggest benefits of moving. The couple openly admits that they wanted to avoid burdening their children with their future care decisions and costs. “We’ve always done our own thing,” said Ruth. “Now that we’re here at BayWoods, we don’t have to depend on anybody but the staff members to provide for us.”
Still independent and adventurous, Herb and Ruth Weiss continue to sail almost daily from their new homeport at BayWoods. After enjoying successful—but demanding— careers, the couple is thrilled to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with planning ahead. With no worries about their future, Herb and Ruth are ready for some smooth sailing.
Published: March 2014