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Ready to hit the road

Catonsville community can satisfy your appetite for adventure

Created date

July 28th, 2015
Charlestown residents
Charlestown residents

Pack your bags and leave your worries on the doorstep. Many have discovered traveling is easier and more fun than ever when you live at

“We take between eight and ten trips each year,” says Butler. “We’ve been to Venice, Ireland, the Greek Islands, Mexico, Bermuda, and, next, we are going on a Mediterranean cruise.” 

Betty Burns and Ray Graves, a couple who met at Charlestown, are frequent fliers on Butler’s trips.   

“We have been to Alaska, the western Caribbean, Bermuda, and we just returned from Hawaii. I’ll go anywhere. I just enjoy traveling. It’s a lot of fun, there’s lots to see and lots to do, and Ellie makes it easy. All the arrangements are done for you,” says Betty.

Off the beaten tracks

All trips are advertised within the community and average anywhere from 15 to 25 people. Butler encourages feedback and travel ideas from Charlestown community members. Notable past trips include Ocean City, Md.; New Orleans, La.; and a Hawaiian Islands cruise. Butler is planning on an upcoming trip to the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a unique resort poised along the banks of Lake Mohonk in the Hudson Valley in New Paltz, N.Y.

Of course if you prefer to stay close to home, Butler also offers plenty of day trips to area attractions like the Baltimore Museum of Art, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Delaware Park races and slots. 

Seasoned traveler Katy Houghton took her first trip with Charlestown soon after moving in three years ago. 

“We saw a trip to the Panama Canal advertised on one of the bulletin boards. We had never been on a cruise before, so we signed up,” says Katy. 

Before moving to Charlestown from Sacramento, Calif., Katy and her late husband Tom traveled extensively to all 50 states as well as internationally to England, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. She says traveling with Charlestown is both affordable and safe. 

“When you sign up for a trip, you pay, and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about airfare, tips, or any of the other costs associated with traveling,” says Katy. “Ellie takes care of every last detail and is there for any problems you may encounter.” 

Katy looks forward to her next trip, a cruise to New England this October, as well as a cruise up the Rhine River next summer. 

Footloose and fancy free

Residents Dorothy and Gen Sen Chu prefer to plan their own trips but still reap the benefits of living at a gated and maintenance-free community like Charlestown. 

Since moving to Charlestown in 2013, they no longer worry about their home while they’re away, and the community’s location makes it easy to get to the Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) airport.

Avid travelers, Dorothy and Gen Sen have been to 76 countries, including China, India, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Egypt, The Netherlands, and France. 

“Before we moved to Charlestown, we would contact our neighbors and ask them to keep an eye on the house when we traveled,” says Gen Sen. “But even then, you are not quite sure your house is secure. You never know what you are going to come home to. Here, we just lock the door and go, and I’m confident everything is safe and secure.” 

The Chus usually take two to three trips each year. This May, they went on a ten-day trip to Greece and Turkey with their daughter and son-in-law.

“We don’t get a lot of time to spend with them, so we try to grab every opportunity,” says Gen Sen. 

In July, they boarded a Princess Cruise to the British Isles where they visited Glasgow, Dublin, and Belfast. This month, they’re off to France’s wine country. 

“We do the planning and research ourselves,” says Gen Sen. “We look at travel brochures and catalogs all the time. Once we determine where we want to go, we research all of the things we would like to see and do while we are there.”

As for Butler, she is busy planning trips for 2016. 

“I love what I do. It’s not a job to me,” says Butler. “I enjoy planning trips, but most of all, I just enjoy being with the residents. They are all like family to me.”