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Permanent vacation

Oak Crest travel expert fills the calendar with excursions far and wide

Created date

June 25th, 2013
Tournament of Roses Parade
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Susanne Howard has one of the best jobs on Earth. As special trips coordinator at Oak Crest, Howard plans trips to destinations all over the world along with the best travel companions one could ever meet. We ve been to so many places the Canadian Rockies; Alaska; the Panama Canal; the Caribbean; Bermuda; Nova Scotia; Memphis, Tenn.; the Hudson River Valley; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and dozens more, says Howard. You have not traveled until you go on the road with the men and women of Oak Crest and their friends and family.

Dream job

A former Baltimore County school bus driver for 23 years, Howard started as special trips coordinator at Oak Crest 13 years ago. I had a friend who worked weekends in the Oak Crest transportation department and asked if I would help out driving during the summer, says Howard. Four months later, they offered me a job as special trips coordinator. I ve been smiling ever since. Marge Hanley has been traveling with Howard since moving to Oak Crest five years ago. Susanne does a great job! says Marge. She puts out a monthly calendar that lists which trips are coming up. If you see something you are interested in, you just contact Susanne and say, Sign me up. She does all the planning and makes all the arrangements. All you have to do is pack your suitcase and show up. Marge says the variety of trips and the companionship she s found traveling with Oak Crest is second to none. Traveling with this group is like one big party, says Marge. Everyone is friendly. I probably wouldn t travel as much as I do if I hadn t moved here. You could go someplace different every day of the week if you wanted to.

One getaway after another

This January, Howard led a five-day excursion out west to the Tournament of Roses parade. One day we watched the parade, and the rest of the week we visited local sites like the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum where we toured Air Force One, the Santa Monica Pier, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and we had dinner on the Queen Mary, Howard says. In February, Howard accompanied 22 Oak Crest residents on a 12-night Royal Caribbean cruise to the islands of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Tortola, and Haiti. We had a blast and laughed a lot! she says. We went on a dune buggy tour of the island of Tortola. To our surprise, our tour guide turned out to be an island native who had visited Oak Crest the year prior and performed with a band from Haiti. That was a trip we ll never forget! Rose Jones went on the Parade of Roses trip and says she knows firsthand the time and energy spent making travel arrangements. Before moving to Oak Crest five years ago, she volunteered organizing and planning trips for her local senior center. I have a great appreciation for what Susanne does. A lot of work goes into it, says Rose. When you re planning a trip for a large group, a lot of things can go wrong. You really have to have experience and know all the ins and outs of the problems you may encounter.

Daycation

For those who prefer to stay close to home, Howard also offers plenty of day trips to area attractions like the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Sterling, Va. All trips are advertised within the community with flyers, as well as on the community s in-house TV channel. Howard is busy planning trips for the rest of the year, including a Mediterranean cruise on the Oceania; a visit to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; a trip to Branson and St. Louis, Mo.; a Western Maryland Fall Foliage Weekend in Rocky Gap; a trip to Foxwoods Resort and Casio in Connecticut; a Colonial Christmas in Williamsburg, Va.; and a Radio City Music Hall visit to see the Rockettes. Go, go, go! That s what we do here at Oak Crest, says Howard. We ve really had a lot of fun together. I have a great appreciation for the people who live here. They really are like family to me.

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