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Excursions near, far, and vicarious

Traveling in style and comfort is at the top of the checklist

Created date

October 13th, 2016
The Essence of Africa drum and dance group entertained at Casual Evening in Africa, a spectacular summer event held in Devonshire’s Stratford Performing Arts Center.

The Essence of Africa drum and dance group entertained at Casual Evening in Africa, a spectacular summer event held in Devonshire’s Stratford Performing Arts Center.

The Community Resources Department at Devonshire at PGA National, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens, provides the people who live there with opportunities for excursions near, far, and vicarious.

This spring Lori Klein, Devonshire’s fitness center manager, accompanied a dozen residents to an aviary/nature preserve and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, both in Delray Beach. 

When a destination includes walking trails, it qualifies as a fitness activity, so Klein goes along and rides with residents in Devonshire’s smaller bus.

“These are popular trips,” Klein says. “We go to places where people haven’t been and to places they enjoy returning to.” 

Mounts Botanical Gardens in West Palm Beach is a favorite location. Earlier this year, Klein accompanied a group there to view a traveling Lego exhibit. 

“Residents love these small-group opportunities,” she says. “If there’s a guide, they get more personal attention, more time, and more information.”

Director Irene Malanga regularly schedules trips to area museums and other local attractions. If Devonshire residents aren’t attending a club meeting, taking a class, or playing cards, they’re likely out exploring the sites. 

And because members also patronize the arts and are knowledgeable about music and ballet, Community Resources operates as a mini box office. Residents can purchase individual or season tickets to venues like Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach or Maltz Theater in Jupiter.

Trips on the wilder side 

While some excursions focus on culture, others are more primal. Devonshire’s activities roster includes annual outings to the Palm Beach Zoo, the Loggerhead Museum in Juno Beach, and Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee. 

In April, residents cruised Jupiter Sound on the Island Princess, one of at least two cruises offered each year.

In September, they went to St. Augustine and toured its historic sites. In November, they’ll fly to Biloxi, Miss., for a gambling getaway. 

Next March, they’ll leave for a fabulous ten-day cruise to the Dutch Caribbean on board the new Holland America Line Koningsdam. 

“Everyone at Devonshire has traveled all over the world,” says Malanga, “so the destination isn’t necessarily what excites them. It’s the camaraderie and traveling in style and comfort.” 

Her constant goal is to provide Devonshire community members with meaningful experiences that give them the same fulfillment and quality of life they’ve always enjoyed. 

Interesting twist on travel

She certainly hit the mark this summer with a vicarious trip to Africa. “Not every resident can actually go to Africa,” she says, “so we brought Africa to them.”

Malanga had never held an event quite like this one, “but I knew residents would love it,” she says. And she was right.

Tickets sold out for the event in Devonshire’s Stratford Performing Arts Theater. “We served 140 for a sit-down dinner,” Malanga says. 

The meal was only the beginning. Diners could purchase African artwork, jewelry, collectibles, clothing, and even African wines and liqueurs. They watched a video about African tribes and enjoyed breath-taking demonstrations of African dances and drumming. They could even don tribal garb and have their photo taken. 

The evening was such a hit that Malanga’s brain has started working on ideas for similar programs, how she might put together an event highlighting one or two different countries each year. 

“Programs to make you feel like you’re in that country for one night,” she says. “Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

At Devonshire, dull moments come few and far between.