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The weather outside is frightful, but life is so delightful

Worry-free living at its best in wintertime

Created date

December 23rd, 2013
snow plow

According to the latest edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a decline in solar activity combined with ocean-atmosphere patterns will result in below-normal temperatures and above-normal snowfall during most of the winter across much of the United States this year.

“This winter is shaping up to be a rough one,” says Janice Stillman, editor of the almanac. “Sweaters and snow shovels should be unpacked early and kept close by throughout the season.” 

Fortunately for those living at and Ashby Ponds, Erickson Living communities in Northern Virginia, neither weather predictions nor Jack Frost will stand in their way when it comes to enjoying a safe and relaxing winter.

“We don’t have winters at Greenspring,” says community member Eileen Long. “We remain unaffected by the weather outside, moving freely around our entire campus. For those who choose to venture out, there’s no problem either. Our general services staff removes the snow instantly from the sidewalks and parking lots. Truly, life on our ‘inland cruise’ could not be better, as all 200-plus things to do are always available.”

Hard at work

“Winter is a season that is both beautiful and dangerous,” says Joe Marek, Greenspring’s director of general services. “We strive to reduce or minimize winter dangers and make the season an enjoyable one for our community members.”

“Safety is always our number-one focus,” says Tom Channon, Marek’s counterpart at Ashby Ponds. “We also work diligently to provide our residents with a warm, comforting environment despite the weather forecast.”

Community members are thankful for the diligent efforts of the general services team. 

“In the five years I’ve lived at Ashby Ponds, the winters have been cozy and comfortable,” says Margaretta Smith. “In addition to having our needs met, there are so many activities that bring our community closer together.”

Up and running

Community members also rest assured knowing that no matter what Mother Nature throws their way, all of the Erickson Living services they enjoy continue unaffected. 

“We have never once closed an Erickson Living campus because of the weather,” says Marek. “We have snow equipment and a committed hard-working team that help keep our campuses open 24 hours a day. We work all winter to keep the sidewalks, parking lots, and streets as free from snow and ice as possible. And that makes them safer.”

Ashby Ponds community members John and Dottie Kraft experienced this firsthand after 2010’s infamous “Snowmaggedon.”

“Each time it snowed, the campus roads were cleared by 6 a.m. the next morning,” says John. “It really is remarkable.”

Greenspring community member Carolyn Pledger also credits general services for their hard work. 

“Winters at Greenspring are both safe and beautiful,” she says. “From the first appearance of ice or snow, the general services staff is at work clearing sidewalks, shoveling snow, and placing warning signs on the doors. They even request that parked cars leave room so that sidewalk curbs and road areas near parking spaces can be adequately cleared.”  

“Snow removal is important not only to allow our residents free mobility, but also to ensure that EMS responders in fire trucks and ambulances can reach us should the need arise,” says Channon.

Busy calendars

With the snow cleared and safety assured, Erickson Living community members enjoy as active a lifestyle as they choose during the winter months. 

“Our usual high-quality activities such as classes, lectures, and concert groups run both by staff and residents continue throughout the winter,” says Carolyn.  “Holiday activities also flourish.”  

With the exception of some outdoor activities like the yacht club and archery, all Erickson Living resident-run activities continue throughout the year. In addition, staff members continue to schedule special trips to popular local destinations. 

“This winter, we have a full schedule of fun activities,” says Elisabeth Longworth, special trips coordinator at Ashby Ponds. “We will visit the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a Loudoun Symphony Orchestra holiday concert, and a performance of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the National Theater in downtown D.C., and that’s just the beginning.”

Safe travels

Greenspring and Ashby Ponds transportation services enable their community members to travel in safety and comfort throughout winter.

“Winter driving can be hazardous, especially in Northern Virginia, where we get both snow and ice,” says Marek. “We educate all our residents on ways to make their trips safer, such as filling their gas tank, carrying extra blankets in the trunk, and keeping a cell phone charged at all times.”

“We also encourage our residents to take advantage of our highly trained transportation team who can do the driving for them,” says Channon. “Whether it’s a ride to a doctor’s appointment or lunch with friends, we are here to help.”

Promising year ahead

Now that the holidays are over, the Ashby Ponds and Greenspring communities are settling in to a winter filled with fun activities and life-long memories.

“Greenspring is a winter wonderland, alive with the magic, music, and memories of worry-free, maintenance-free, independent living,” says Elisabeth Burnett. “I am delighted and blessed to call it home.”