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Local travelers take advantage of capital hometown

Created date

April 30th, 2009
When it comes to traveling and visiting historic sights or museums, people here in the Washington, D.C. area don t have to go far. But to make it even easier, the special trips programs at two local communities owned and opporated by Erickson Riderwood and Greenspring plan, organize, and provide transportation to popular D.C. destinations such as the Smithsonian museums and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Variety is the spice of life We schedule a wide variety of trips, says Debbie Gantert, Riderwood s special trips program coordinator. Our most popular trips include visits to many of the museums in Washington, D.C., including the National Gallery of Art, Strathmore, The Phillips Gallery, and the American Indian Museum. In addition to trips to local museums and shows, the special trips program plans popular nights-out at a variety of local restaurants including Timbuktu, Outback Steakhouse, and Cantler s Riverside Inn. Our most popular trips include visits to the Kennedy Center, Wolftrap, and the National ' ' Theater, says Robin LeGrand, special trips program coordinator at Greenspring. The best part is that the residents request most of the trips we plan. This year, Greenspring has scheduled two vacations in coordination with Collette Vacations, a national travel and tourism company. In September, community members will travel to Iceland, and in October, they will tour the Italian lakes and Greek islands. We are also partnering with our sister campuses to offer those big vacations to Erickson residents in this area, LeGrand adds. Stress-free travel One of the biggest advantages of the special trips program is that professional staff take over the responsibilities of driving and parking. Door-to-door service takes away the stress of doing everything yourself. Residents can use their energy enjoying themselves and not on the mechanics of getting there, says Greenspring Facilities Manager Pamela Rieser. For trips to Smithsonian museums and other free attractions, both communities provide transportation by bus for a nominal fee. For Kennedy Center performances and shows at other venues, tickets are typically purchased ahead of time and distributed at the final destination. My wife and I take quite a few of the special trips, says Riderwood community member Ed Herndon. Going with the group really takes the burden off . We don t have to worry about driving, parking, or the rising price of gasoline. I like to do lots of activities and keep doing all the things I did before moving to Greenspring, says Ellen Gale, except now when I take part in the special trips, I don t have to worry about driving or parking. ' This is especially nice at night. With door-todoor service, it s like having a personal chauffeur. Expanding the program Due to the success and popularity of the special trips program, plans are already underway for a similar program at Erickson s newest community, Ashby Ponds, in Ashburn, Va. In addition, the special trips programs and transportation staff at both Greenspring and Riderwood continue to seek out new destinations. Our goal is to continually add new services and more options for our community members, says Gantert. The biggest benefit of our special trips program is that it gives our residents the opportunity to get out and experience new things and stay connected.