Tall Pines assisted living facility in Belfast turned 25 this year, and according to Executive Director Matt Griswold, that’s almost entirely a good thing.

On July 29, Griswold and his wife Charndra Michaud were cooking hot dogs and hamburgers for Tall Pines’ residents and around a hundred family members and friends who came to officially celebrate the silver anniversary with an outdoor barbecue, live music and other entertainment.

The cookout started at 11 a.m. and was expected to last two hours, but by 1 p.m. things showed no signs of slowing down, as staff members were kept busy serving food and guests picnicked in the shade of a large tent pitched amid Tall Pines’ arboreal namesakes.

Others brought out their own folding tables and found shade under some other, deciduous trees.

Staff members dressed as clowns circulated. Children, some with painted faces, trolled for magnetic fish in a kiddie pool. One band played, then another. A lot of hamburgers and hot dogs disappeared.

“I was not expecting as many people as we had,” said Griswold, who was wearing a white chef’s apron over a businesslike shirt and tie. Originally he had planned to advertise the party but sounded somewhat relieved to have opted for the smaller event.

Griswold started working at Tall Pines around 10 years ago in the building opened by his father and several business partners in 1986. Today that building is known as The Commons.

About five years ago, a 30-unit building called The Residence was added to what Griswold called Tall Pines’ “campus.” The Residence, with its apartment-style floor plan, was designed to accommodate seniors who wanted an independent living arrangement with some services. The new building upped the residential capacity of Tall Pines to just over 100.

In general, Griswold said, most of the beds and apartments are filled. Turnover is higher at The Commons, he said, because of the nature of services there, including nursing and rehabilitation, which often require shorter stays.

The Residence, by contrast, is typically full and has a waiting list, he said.

“We’re proud that we’ve been able to run a family-owned, private nursing home for 25 years. There’s not a lot of these [private, independent] nursing homes around,” he said, because many independently-owned, assisted living facilities like Tall Pines have been bought up by larger management organizations.

Griswold anticipated doing some much-needed renovations at Tall Pines in the coming year, including resurfacing the roadways, replacing flooring and interior work at The Commons, as well as some updates to the exterior of the original building.

“That’s about the only drawback here at Tall Pines, that building’s 25 years old,” he said. “It’s definitely due for some sprucing up.”