Reverse Snowbird Residents at The Merion Evanston

They are reverse snowbirds. Edie and Bill Strater wisely spend the winter months in their condominium in a 55+ community in Florida. Wishing however, to be closer to family, they travel back to Evanston each year and stay in an apartment at The Merion.
The Straters, who formerly lived in Southern Illinois, bought a condo in Florida and were snowbirds for ten years. “We found that it was too hard going back and forth, so we became full-time Floridians in 2010. We spend two months in Evanston each summer. We’re able to stay at The Merion for that amount of time, which is wonderful,” said Edie. “We drove in for the first two years, but that became too difficult so now we fly. And look! We don’t need a car. We can walk to everything. There’s a Chase Bank around the corner, a CVS, and 37 restaurants within walking distance.”
Formerly the North Shore Retirement Hotel, The Merion has undergone a major renovation and the Straters are delighted with the metamorphous. “The North Shore Hotel was a little old and tired and needed upgrading. It’s miraculous what’s happened here. It’s gorgeous. And there are so many wonderful amenities,” said Edie.
Bill works out regularly in the fitness room. Edie has joined the yoga class and in the short time that she’s been here, has noticed a dramatic improvement in her balance. “We exercise more here than we do in Florida,” said Edie. “It’s more convenient. Everything is right here. ”
They also eat much better when they’re here, with dining provided with their stay. “Bill had surgery this winter and had lost a lot of weight. He’s sure gaining it back. The food is wonderful. And I don’t have to do any cooking. Chef Oscar does a wonderful job,” said Edie. The couple often hosts their family for meals in the dining room or bistro at The Merion. “We had the entire family in the dining room a week ago. There were ten of us,” Bill said. “Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson come two or three times a week to eat with us.”
The couple is thrilled with the many musical programs brought to The Merion, and on occasion, their extended family will provide the entertainment. “Our granddaughter has performed in the ballroom and will be back next month. She plays classic oboe,” said Edie.”
The Strater’s spacious two-bedroom apartment at The Merion has a private deck, and ample room for company. “Our granddaughter who lives in Chicago will often stay overnight and when our son visited from Dallas, he stayed here,” said Edie. “I love the ambiance of the renovated building. The apartment we live in is gorgeous. We could easily move into it.”
The Straters most appreciate the convenience of staying at The Merion for their summer visit. “All we had to do was pack our clothes. One 28 inch and one 21 inch suitcase got us here. That makes it very convenient,” said Bill.
“We love the fact that we can be a destination for individuals who enjoy the Evanston area, regardless of what season they’re here,” said Margaret Gergen, director of leasing for The Merion. “Snowbirds, reverse snowbirds, and year round residents. Everyone is welcome here.”
The Merion is a luxury senior apartment community for active, independent retirees seeking a hassle-free rental home in Evanston. Formerly known as The North Shore Hotel, The Merion has been totally renovated with upscale finishes and amenities. For additional information, visit
As seen inĀ TribLocal.