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The world at their feet

Greenspring’s special trips program offers myriad adventures

Created date

September 1st, 2016
At a winery tasting and lunch, from front to back, are Mary Ann Perry, Robert Disque, Sally Pritchett, Anne McMasters, Bill Campbell, and Greenspring’s special trips coordinator Robin LeGrand.

At a winery tasting and lunch, from front to back, are Mary Ann Perry, Robert Disque, Sally Pritchett, Anne McMasters, Bill Campbell, and Greenspring’s special trips coordinator Robin LeGrand.

Scottish novelist and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson once remarked, “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” 

When it comes to traveling, community members at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., enjoy a wide range of options to satisfy any travel itch.

The special trips program led by Robin LeGrand, Greenspring’s special trips program coordinator, plans, organizes, and provides transportation to popular local destinations as well as exotic, faraway adventures.

“We offer something for everyone, with trips [available] almost every day of the week,” says LeGrand. “And the best part is that our residents request most of the trips we plan.” 

“I find Robin so easy to talk with and very receptive to the ideas of others,” says community member Nancy Jarvis. “The trips are wonderful and add so much to my life at Greenspring.”

Variety is the spice of life 

Located just minutes outside of the nation’s capital, Greenspring enjoys easy access to many sought-after destinations, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian museums, National Theater, Wolf Trap, and Washington Nationals Park. 

“These are some of our most visited destinations, but there are many other popular spots we make a point to visit regularly, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra,” says LeGrand. 

In addition to trips to museums and shows, the special trips program plans weekly outings to local shopping malls as well as lunches and dinners out at a variety of popular restaurants, including Riverside Dinner Theater.

“My wife Jan and I travel with the special trips program quite often,” says Fred Griffin. “Our favorite destinations include The Riverside Theater and the many historical sites around Washington, D.C.” 

Over the last few years, LeGrand has seen increased demand for trips to the numerous Virginia wineries.

“I’ve made a point to schedule one trip a month to a new winery in the hopes that we can eventually try them all,” says LeGrand. “When the weather is nice, I put together a picnic lunch for the residents to enjoy after their wine tasting.”

This past summer, Greenspring community members also took advantage of the beautiful weather and scheduled lunchtime cruises, including the Rivershore Cruise on the Occoquan and Nina’s Dandy Boat Ride. 

“I eagerly look forward to the monthly schedules so I can choose anywhere from one to seven trips,” says Nancy. “This past month, I attended a performance of the Capital Steps, enjoyed lunch at the Cracker Barrel where I find great stocking stuffers, and enjoyed an afternoon tea.”

Stress-free travel 

One of the biggest advantages of the special trips program is the use of professional transportation services. For most local trips, Greenspring provides transportation by bus, for a nominal fee.

“As a result, residents can enjoy themselves without worrying about the mechanics of getting there,” says LeGrand. “This is an especially great benefit for trips into D.C. where parking spots are often hard to find.” 

Community members appreciate the effort.

“I like to do lots of activities and keep doing all the things I did before moving to Greenspring, except now when I take part in the special trips, I don’t have to worry about driving or parking,” says Ellen Gale. “This is especially nice at night. With door-to-door service, it’s like having a personal chauffeur.” 

Far and away

In addition to the many nearby destinations, LeGrand plans overnight trips, foreign excursions, and cruises. Last month, a large group of Greenspring community members traveled to Lancaster, Pa., where they spent the night before traveling to Philadelphia for lunch on the Spirit of Philadelphia cruise ship. 

Earlier in the year, in March, LeGrand coordinated a trip with Collette Vacations, a national travel and tourism company, to Ireland and a tour of the Canadian Rockies by train last month. Plans are in the works for a trip to Cuba early next year. Previous destinations include Iceland, Italy, Holland, and Greece.

“We took the trip to Holland to see the tulips and had a wonderful time,” says Jan Griffin. 

For those whose vacation preferences include the wide-open sea, LeGrand plans at least one cruise a year with Grand American Tours. This year’s trip was a ten-day cruise to Panama. Past destinations include the Hawaiian Islands and the Mediterranean.

Friends and family welcome

Every special trip is open not only to Greenspring community members but also to their family members and friends.

“We’ve taken both our daughters on two different trips for tea,” says Jan. “And when we hosted a friend from England, we brought  them with us on a cherry blossom tour in Washington, D.C.”

LeGrand is currently busy planning a variety of trips for cooler weather and the upcoming holiday season, including wine tastings, holiday teas and concerts, and numerous shopping excursions. 

“Our goal is to add new and exciting destinations as well as to continue our most popular offerings,” says LeGrand. “More than anything else, we want our trips to be fun and to ensure that everyone has a good time.”