Living just six miles from the heart of Washington, D.C., residents at Riderwood, an Erickson Senior Living community in Silver Spring, Md., are well-positioned to enjoy of a wide range of local and regional cultural opportunities.
And thanks to the community's Special Trips Committee, it's easy for them to take advantage of this exciting benefit.
"The special trips offered at Riderwood are one of the main reasons why I moved here," says Elaine Hauptman, who serves on the committee. "Not only do we have convenient access to all the culture and art in Washington, D.C., but we are also close to Baltimore and all the wonderful art and theater available there. I consider myself very lucky."
Variety of trips
The seven-member Special Trips Committee, comprising both residents and staff, meets twice a month to create a calendar that provides a variety of museum trips, shows, and restaurant outings.
"We work together to plan and provide a variety of programs to meet the tastes of our community," says Elaine. "So many of our residents come from the D.C. and Baltimore area, and our location allows us to indulge in all that the area has to offer. What's more, the unique tastes of our residents give us incentive to be creative in our planning."
In the last few months, residents traveled to D.C. to enjoy August Wilson's Seven Guitars at Arena Stage, Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience at the Rhode Island Center, and a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Kennedy Center. The committee also plans events in nearby Columbia and Annapolis, Md., as well as locations in Northern Virginia.
"The special trips give residents an opportunity to go out in the community, often to the types of events they attended before their move," says Judith Johnson, a resident and committee member. "They are very popular. Personally, I love to go to the art museums, plays, and concerts. I find them stimulating."
With world-class venues located just miles from Riderwood, the Special Trips Committee also dedicates itself to planning trips to smaller venues, such as the Katzen Arts Center at American University and the newly opened National Museum of the United States Army.
Food for thought
In addition to museums and live performances, the Special Trips Committee plans weekly trips to local restaurants.
"You can enjoy a varied restaurant dinner at Riderwood every day," notes Elaine. "However, our community is filled with many 'foodies' who love to explore."
Recently, Riderwood residents enjoyed the opportunity to dine at Millie's Spring Valley Restaurant in D.C.; G&M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, Md.; Hudson Coastal Grill in Fulton, Md.; and L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, Va.
"We often tie in a restaurant with a planned museum visit," says Elaine. "The African Museum of American History offers wonderful, authentic African food. And Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art is a favorite destination, often in competition with the exhibitions throughout the museum. Our committee also celebrates special holidays by indulging in food. Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day are favorites."
With so many options available, the hardest work for the committee is deciding on a schedule. In an effort to reflect the unique tastes and preferences of residents, members work with a range of resident groups to plan events reflective of their goals.
"It's really important to us to work together with our neighbors," says Elaine. "We try to plan at least two events around each month's special designation. For instance, in November, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, we worked with Riderwood's Native American group to plan a trip to the Baltimore American Indian Center. There, we enjoyed a docent-led tour on the history, culture, experience, and accomplishments of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina."
In February, the committee worked with Riderwood's African American club to host a trip to the Slave Museum in Sandy Springs, Md., and in April, Riderwood's Earth Day Committee requested trips to a recycling plant and a vegan restaurant.
"One of the most wonderful things about Riderwood is our diversity and our committees, who work with our resident groups to plan so many interesting and exciting events to choose from," says Elaine.
Whether listening to the symphony, experiencing a gourmet meal, or contemplating a work of art, Riderwood's dedicated transportation team provides door-to-door service to and from all the special trips.
"Our team works to ensure that residents enjoy a safe and comfortable trip," says Riderwood transportation manager Bob Porterfield. "Almost everyone comments on how nice it is to no longer have to worry about traffic and parking."
This summer, Bob and his team look forward to providing transportation to some of the hottest tickets in town - Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and To Kill a Mockingbird at the Kennedy Center. Residents are also excited for the upcoming high tea at the Mansion at Strathmore, shopping at a variety of craft fairs, and eating their way through the Amish Market.
"There really is something for everyone," says Elaine. "And if you can't find what you're looking for - just ask!"
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Riderwood, request your free brochure or schedule a visit to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.