Spend Time with Your Grandchildren at Festival in the Park

Looking to have fun with your grandchildren while exposing them to some of the Charlotte area’s best local artists? Look no further than Festival in the Park. This free, annual outdoor arts and crafts festival brings together hundreds of artists and entertainers in a family-friendly atmosphere for three days in late September. Held at Charlotte’s Freedom Park, this year’s 53rd Annual Festival in the Park will take place Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24. From thrilling magic acts to exciting rides, Festival in the Park provides the perfect setting for spending time with your grandchildren. Here are the festival’s must-do activities for children and adults alike.

Explore Local Artists and Craftspeople

Festival in the Park’s main draw is its almost 200 craftspeople, traditional, and fine artists. Split into two sections – the Lake Walk for traditional arts and crafts and the Artist’s Walk for fine arts and crafts – the festival’s array of artists and exhibits offer something interesting for spectators of all ages. Older grandchildren may enjoy meeting the artists and discussing their techniques and methods, while younger visitors are often drawn to the caricature artists. Want to take home a souvenir? All the artists and craftspeople have their work for sale.

Visit the Festival’s Family Fun Zone and Take a Spin on an Amusement Ride

Even if your grandchildren are too young to appreciate the artistic side of Festival in the Park, this gathering still has plenty to entertain the littlest visitors. The Family Fun Zone is always a huge hit with the youngest festival-goers. A wide variety of carnival-style rides are available, including an old-fashioned merry-go-round and thrilling Ferris wheel. Older children have the options to race each other through an inflatable obstacle course, challenge one another to climb the miniature Mt. Everest, or slide together down the festival’s tall dual slide. Cap off your visit to the Family Fun Zone with a ride on the Freedom Park Locomotive, and be sure to take a turn ringing the bell!

Enjoy the Festival’s Many Live Entertainment Options

The festival’s live entertainment acts are almost as plentiful as its artists. The festival’s Main Stage hosts musical acts in genres ranging from blues and jazz to Americana and zydeco. The Caroline Calouche & Co.’s Dance & Cirque Stage is also likely to thrill, showcasing the aerial artistry of Charlotte’s only aerial dance company. Young children will be delighted by the shows on the Clown Stage; besides highlighting clown hijinks and magic acts, this stage will offer fun games and face painting for the crowd. Youngsters particularly entranced by magic will want to check out the Magician Stage, home to a special magical artist throughout the festival weekend. Lastly, be sure to stop by the Youth Variety Stage with your grandchildren and take in the varied talents of some of the Charlotte area’s talented youth dance groups and musical youngsters.

Let Your Grandchild Tap Into Their Own Creative Side

If viewing the festival’s many artist displays has inspired your grandchildren, take them to the Children’s Art Area, located near the festival’s Clown Stage. An array of wooden easels will be set up, complete with large sheets of artist paper and thick crayons; even the smallest artists will have the chance to create a masterpiece of their own to take home (or send home with you!). In addition, the Master’s Academy Classical Club (MACC) is hosting a project aimed at teaching children about ancient art methods. This year, young festival attendees will have the opportunity to craft a mosaic bookmark using paper tesserae. Best of all: all activities in the Children’s Art Area are completely free.

Savor a Yummy Treat

With all of the festival’s many activities and entertainment options, you and your grandchildren are certain to work up an appetite. Luckily, the list of the festival’s food vendors is almost as long as it is enticing. The treats offered by past year concessionaires have included Auntie Ruth’s famous fresh-made doughnuts, Sugar n’ Spice’s funnel cakes, Formerly McFudge’s range of homemade fudge, and Dippin’ Dots unique ice cream treats. If you’re in the mood for something slightly less sugary, don’t worry; vendors will be on hand offering everything from pizza, chicken wings, and hot dogs to gyros, egg rolls, and crab cakes.

The Cypress of Charlotte

Staying active during one’s golden years is the goal of many retirees. At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to foster a fun, country club lifestyle for our residents to allow them to enjoy all that these years have to offer. To learn more about our NC continuing care retirement community or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.

The Benefits of Watermelons and 5 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Them


Is there any food that goes with summer better than watermelon? Maybe it’s the fun of slicing that great green orb — outside on a picnic table, of course — or the pink, syrupy juice getting your fingers delightfully sticky. However you slice it, watermelon is a summer staple.

In celebration of National Watermelon Day on Aug. 3, we want to share some of the health benefits of this sweet fruit, along with our favorite ways to prepare it. Enjoy!

The Benefits of Watermelon

Did you know that watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable? You probably knew about the fruit side, since watermelon is so sweet. But it also has cousins in the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers, squash and pumpkins.

In addition to traditional watermelon with pink flesh, there’s also a variety that’s yellow inside. The nutritional value of the yellow type is unclear, but we know that pink watermelon offers multiple health benefits.

With only 46 calories in a cup, watermelon is a great weight-loss food, and it provides a fifth of the daily recommendation for vitamin C and 17 percent of vitamin A. It also includes potassium — which can help keep blood pressure in the healthy range — along with digestion-boosting fiber.

You may have heard that tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, but guess what? Watermelon has even more: 6 milligrams versus 4 milligrams in a cup of tomatoes. To preserve as many antioxidants as possible, store your watermelon at normal room temperature before cutting into it.

Research has found that drinking watermelon juice following a workout can help soothe sore muscles and lower heart rate. The effect may be attributable to a substance called citrulline, which scientists believe can reduce blood pressure and improve the function of arteries. Most of the citrulline is in the rind rather than in the flesh; when you cut your melon, consider saving the rind and pickling it for later.

As the name suggests, watermelon also contains plenty of water — more than 91 percent, to be precise. It’s the perfect food for staying hydrated in the summer heat.

Delightful Watermelon Dishes

We think the very best way to eat watermelon is to simply slice it up and dig in. But if you want to get a little more creative, the sky’s the limit for delicious recipes featuring watermelon. Here are a few of our favorites:

This summer spinach salad features watermelon along with avocado for a dose of healthy fat, and it includes balsamic vinegar to complement the sweetness.

If you’re headed to a picnic, a fresh watermelon and fruit salad is the perfect take-along to keep cool. This one features a colorful assortment of fruits including berries, melon and pineapple.

Few beverages can quench your thirst on a steamy day better than a watermelon smoothie. Lemon sherbet gives this one a tart kick.


Whether you prefer including it in a recipe or eating it by the slab, watermelon is a versatile, healthy and delicious summer food. For more delectable dining options and an active retirement lifestyle, consider The Cypress of Charlotte. To schedule your visit, please contact us.

7 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Eyes as You Age


As we age, it’s normal to experience some changes to our vision. But by taking proactive steps to care for your eyes, you can ward off many of the eye problems associated with aging — and the negative impact they have on your daily life.

To help you protect your eyesight, we’ve put together some tips for avoiding the most common vision problems associated with aging.

Recognize Potential Problems

Some common vision-related disorders in seniors include:

  • Low vision. This form of vision loss results from injuries or diseases of the eye and can make it tough to read, drive, shop and recognize people.
  • Presbyopia. You may have this condition if you have trouble focusing on close objects; symptoms can include eye strain, headaches and difficulty reading small type.
  • Dry eyes are more common in people over age 65; symptoms include blurred vision, burning and a feeling of grittiness.
  • Cataracts. Half of Americans develop this lens-clouding condition by the age of 80; symptoms can include dim or blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, sensitivity to light, halos surrounding lights, and yellow or faded colors.

If you notice any symptoms related to your vision, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Maintaining Healthy Eyes as You Age

Focus on Nutrition

Good nutrition can help keep your eyes healthy as you age. Choose foods that are rich in vitamins — particularly A and C — including fish and green, leafy vegetables. Maintaining the health of your macula, the part of your eye that controls your central vision, means getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Stop Smoking

If you smoke, you’re exposing your eyes to too much oxidative stress, medical experts say. Smoking can negatively impact the chances that you’ll develop any number of conditions that affect your eye health.

  1. Get Some Exercise

Regular physical activity can help boost your circulation, which provides more oxygen to your eyes and aids in removing toxins. By getting some exercise, you’ll also increase the chances of keeping your weight in the healthy range, which lowers the risk of developing diabetes and its associated eye problems.

  1. Catch Plenty of Winks

Sleep is critical for keeping eye problems at bay; it gives your eyes a chance for uninterrupted lubrication, and it cleans out dust and other irritants. It’s important to protect your eyes from the sun, but research indicates that we also need some exposure to natural light to keep our sleep-wake cycles regular.

  1. Protect Your Eyes

When you do go out in the sun, shield your eyes with ultraviolet-blocking sunglasses. In addition, wearing a hat with a brim will help lower the dose of UV radiation that seeps around your sunglasses and gets into your eyes.

  1. See Your Doctor Regularly

Are you taking steps to protect your vision? To stay safe and keep your eyes at their best as you age, be sure to see your doctor for regular vision checks. To learn more about healthy living at The Cypress of Charlotte, please contact us.

Things to Do in Charlotte in the Spring with Grandkids

Spring in Charlotte

Charlotte is a great place to live or visit year-round, but springtime in Charlotte is particularly magical. The multitude of blooming flowers and trees in the Queen City are reason enough to visit, but you’ll also find ample opportunities for fun activities you can do with your grandkids. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Charlotte in the spring.

Take in a Charlotte Knights Game

What says spring like baseball and hot dogs? Enjoy the national pastime and root for the hometown Knights at beautiful BB&T Ballpark. While you’re there, be sure to take some photos with Charlotte’s beloved mascot, Homer the Dragon. And save some calories for a frozen goodie from The Fuzzy Peach, a North Carolina-based treats shop that offers waffle cones, frozen yogurt and more. You’ll find The Fuzzy Peach behind right field.

Check out the U.S. National Whitewater Center

At the U.S. National Whitewater Center, you and the grandchildren can participate in a variety of outdoor spring activities for people of all ages. If you’re looking for an adventure, try kayaking or whitewater rafting, rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, a ropes course or the zip line. If taking it easy is more your speed, you’ll find plenty of great people-watching as well.

Enjoy the Farmers Market

At the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, you’ll find an array of delectable produce you can buy — as you chat with the farmer who grew it! In this friendly atmosphere, peruse delicacies like goat’s milk cheese, grass-fed beef, jams and jellies, and baked goods, along with fresh flowers and handmade crafts.

Take a Stroll in a Botanical Garden

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, located just outside Charlotte in nearby Belmont, features 110 acres of woods and meadows and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful gardens. Enjoy the half-mile woodland trail along with a variety of kids’ activities and nine themed gardens — including the tropical-themed Canal Garden.

Head for the Lake

If a day at the lake is right up your alley, you’ll love the Charlotte area. Located just 15 miles from Uptown, Lake Norman is the state’s largest man-made body of fresh water. The lake offers a number of public access areas where you can fish, hike, picnic and enjoy the spring sunshine.

Visit Carowinds

If you’re looking for an activity your grandkids will adore, head to Carowinds, a 398-acre amusement park that also includes the 20-acre water park Carolina Harbor. You’ll find plenty of rides for thrill-seekers young and old along with shows, dining, special events and many other attractions. If you plan to visit frequently, consider a season pass.

Take Advantage of Spring Time in Charlotte

If you love beautiful weather and having fun with your grandchildren, you’ll find a multitude of things to do in Charlotte in the spring. While you’re here, we’d love to have you visit The Cypress of Charlotte. Please contact us to schedule your personal tour.

5 Reasons Retirees Should Volunteer Their Time

At The Cypress of Charlotte, our residents stay incredibly busy. With the ample availability of stimulating activities — including trips, lectures, fitness pursuits, hobbies, classes and more — you’d think they wouldn’t have time for anything else. But many of our residents also recognize the advantages of making room in their packed calendars for one very important activity: volunteering.

Research has found many benefits of volunteering, both for senior volunteers and for the recipients of their kindness. When you choose to volunteer, you benefit physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. Let’s take a look at the top five reasons you should consider volunteering your time.

  1. It May Boost Your Mental Health

Volunteering may reduce the risk of a number of health problems — including dementia — in seniors, research has found. In addition, it can positively affect your sense of well-being through greater satisfaction in life, better resistance to stress, and a sense of accomplishment and meaning. By fostering regular interaction with others, volunteering also can reduce the risk of depression.

  1. It Supports Your Physical Health

Participating in volunteer pursuits is a great way to stay active, which can reduce the risk of injuries and many chronic diseases. Some types of volunteer activities, such as cleaning up and beautifying parks and other natural areas, can really get your blood pumping. But even if a chronic health problem or disability prevents you from taking part in highly active forms of volunteerism, you can still reap the benefits. Many organizations need help with projects you can do by phone or from your computer. And research has shown that such activities may help improve many health conditions — including vision and hearing loss, diabetes and heart disease.

  1. It Gets You Involved in the Greater Community

When you volunteer, you gain the opportunity to get to know people of all ages and from all walks of life. Your volunteer efforts also help change society’s mindset about what older adults are capable of doing — whatever they want, in our opinion! In your life, you’ve developed significant talent, knowledge and skills. Your community needs your expertise.

  1. It Fosters Relationships

You can never have too many friends, and you’ll most certainly make more when you volunteer. By volunteering, you get to connect with kindred spirits who enjoy the same types of activities that you do. You might meet your new best friend or even your soul mate through your volunteer activities.

  1. It Helps You Maintain Your Zest for Life

By volunteering, you’ll continue to build the self-confidence you need to maintain your joie de vivre — your passion for and enjoyment of life. You’ll take your mind off any personal worries as you focus on helping others. And you’ll rightly feel pride in your accomplishments and in the fact that you’ve helped make the world a better place.

Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity

If volunteering sounds right up your alley, the next step is finding a great fit for your talents and interests. As you’re evaluating Charlotte independent living communities, consider the many volunteer opportunities available to residents through The Cypress’s full-time Activities Coordinator. To learn more, please contact us.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening


For many hobbyists, gardening provides a way of reconnecting to a simpler time and enjoying the great outdoors. But research has shown that gardening also offers some real health benefits for seniors. At The Cypress of Charlotte, we’re huge believers in the power of gardening to heal body, mind and spirit. The evidence backs us up!

Higher Satisfaction with Life

A study from Texas A&M and Texas State universities looked at satisfaction with life among seniors who garden versus those who don’t. Researchers found that older adults who engaged in gardening showed much higher rates of satisfaction with their lives.

In fact, 84 percent of gardeners noted that they had made plans for activities to occur a month or a year later. Of the non-gardeners, only 68 percent had made such plans. In addition, gardeners reported having higher energy levels than those who don’t engage in gardening.

Boosting Physical Activity

We can attest that seniors who participate in gardening get more physical activity each day compared to seniors who aren’t into gardening. We see it here at The Cypress on a daily basis — especially in the spring, summer and fall, when our raised bed garden is in full bloom. After evaluating Charlotte senior living communities, seniors who love gardening choose The Cypress, which provides all the planting resources residents need to grow flowers or delicious vegetables.

Cypress raised garden

Researchers report that seniors who garden report a significantly higher amount of physical exercise each day. In one study, more than three times as many non-gardeners as gardeners classified themselves as “quite inactive.” At the same time, nearly twice as many gardeners viewed themselves as “very active.”

More than three-quarters of the gardeners surveyed said their health was “excellent” or “very good,” and they reported consuming more fruits and vegetables as the result of their gardening hobby. At The Cypress, our gardeners certainly enjoy the bounty of their efforts and share them with others.

Fighting Dementia

The increased physical activity that’s strongly associated with gardening also may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, some research has found. In two studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s over a number of years, researchers found that subjects who participated in gardening on a regular basis had a risk of dementia up to 47-percent lower than in subjects who didn’t garden. The numbers held even when other health factors were considered, researchers reported.

The findings suggest that, taken together, the physical and mental efforts involved in gardening might positively influence mind health. For seniors who are already seeing declines in cognition, even walking in a garden may provide therapeutic benefits. For everyone, spending time in a garden — with its enticing fragrances and feasts for the eyes — can help lower stress and encourage relaxation.

If you’re looking for senior living communities in Charlotte, NC, where you’ll be able to show off your green thumb, consider a visit to The Cypress of Charlotte! To schedule a tour or for more information, please contact us.

The Governor Visits The Cypress!

We had a great time at our Alzheimer’s Awareness Kick Off event! In case you haven’t heard, The Cypress of Charlotte has been fundraising and raising awareness and support for the Alzheimer’s Association in preparation for the big Charlotte charity walk THIS Saturday the 26th!

At our Kick Off event, we were pleased to welcome Governor Pat McCrory, who was our special guest and speaker. We were touched by his personal story of his mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s.


The Governor was happy to cut the purple ribbon to begin our Golf Cart Parade while World Record Holder Harriette Thompson lead the charge!

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Our members and staff did a great job decorating their golf carts, they were all so colorful and original, it’s impossible to choose a favorite!


cart collage

It’s not too late to sign up and join Team Cypress in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s charity walk THIS Saturday at Symphony Park. To sign up and walk with us, or donate to this amazing cause, please click here!

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See you tomorrow!

The Cypress Supports the Alzheimer’s Association


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Throughout the coming months, you may begin to notice a little more purple around campus than what you’re used to. That’s because The Cypress of Charlotte is proud to announce our support for the Alzheimer’s Association in their Walk to End Alzheimer’s! Since purple is the official color of this great national organization, we plan to have a passion for purple all the way up to the day of the Charlotte area walk September 26th.

These are some photos taken on Purple Day, June 26th.

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To build the anticipation for this great charity walk, we plan on having a variety of fun activities for members and staff as we raise funds, awareness and excitement for the Alzheimer’s Association. Some upcoming notable events to remember are: our jewelry sale for employees in the Stewart Health Center, our Talbots Shopping day (10% of all Charlotte location sales will go to The Alzheimer’s Association) July 23rd, our Night to Remember dinner on August 5th and our Team Cypress Kick Off event and Purple Parade September 3rd!

Our goal is to have the largest team participating in the walk AND to raise the most funds for this great cause. You can help us with both by visiting our team page and signing up to join Team Cypress! Don’t forget your purple!

Fire in The Cypress!

Don’t panic, there is no literal fire in our community; however, we are all “on fire” for the Fire in the City competition and our competing Executive Chef Brady Lutz!


If you are not familiar, the Fire in the City competition is a very prestigious chefs’ competition pitting the top chefs from the finest restaurants in The Queen City against one another in head-to-head battles to see who is the last chef standing. The competition’s main focus is utilizing local, North Carolina ingredients, centered around a “mystery ingredient” that is revealed to the competing chefs just hours before the competition! The attendees, along with a select panel of professional judges, blindly taste each course and vote on a variety of factors to determine which course is their favorite, which ultimately determines which chef reigns supreme. The winner of each evening competes again in a bracket of chefs until there is only one winner.

Competition Dining Series
And of course we know that one winner is Chef Brady Lutz! We are eager to prove that not only is the dining at The Cypress of Charlotte the best food in any Continuing Care Retirement Community, but the best food in Charlotte! With his years of training and flair for creativity, we are confident that our chef will wow the taste buds of everyone in attendance.

If you want to be a part of the fun, you can purchase a ticket to Chef Brady’s competition night, April 6th, right here.

If you want to read more about the dining at The Cypress of Charlotte, see images of both of our dining rooms, (The Cypress Club or The Copper Grille) view menus and more, please visit the dining section on our website. Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest Cypress news daily.

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The Spirit of ’45 Tour comes to The Cypress of Charlotte!

On Friday July 25th we were so excited to host The Spirit of ’45 Tour as they rolled up to our campus in their huge, decorative RV! The Spirit of ’45 Tour is traveling the country to raise awareness and generate excitement for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII next August 2015. Their goal is to Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive and carry on the character traits of our Greatest Generation to future generations.


We welcomed the tour by pulling out all the stops to celebrate our favorite generation. We opened the day with a beautiful ceremony by our lake complete with a Navy Corps Color Guard and reenactors!


We were also awarded with the honor of being the first Purple Heart Community in the country, (along with our sister communities at Raleigh and Hilton Head) recognizing our dedication to go above and beyond to recognize our veterans.


We were also able to honor and remember our WWII veterans by the playing of taps and a flyover by a C-46 WWII plane, one of two in the country!


The festivities continued inside community hall with a live swing band, professional swing dancers, a delicious buffet lunch, WWII memorabilia and a photo gallery! We were even treated with a speech from Colonel Quincy Collins.


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It truly was a special day in the hearts of all generations who were present!



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