Blog

There are many wonderful opportunities at Garden Spot Village; people are living life to its fullest, seizing opportunties to serve, contribute and make a difference in the local community and around the world. Visit this page often for highlights of the action.


Honor to Meet & Privilege to Write About

June 13, 2019
As you know, one of the things that has kept me busy in my more than two years in residence at Garden Spot Village (Sycamore Springs) is writing for the local weekly papers owned by Lancaster Newspapers as well as photographing and writing too for Lancaster Farming. I had a...
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Aeroponic Experiment

May 7, 2019
In January 2019, Jordis Patterson, 8th grader at Hinkletown Mennonite School, reached out to Garden Spot Village resident Barbara Slothower for help on her academic fair project. The question? Would Barbara help her with an experiment with seeds? The experiment: Will lettuce seeds planted in aeroponic pods grow at the same...
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Sycamore Springs Expansion Officially Underway

April 30, 2019
The day finally arrived! Thursday, April 25—the official start of the Sycamore Springs Expansion! The site plan was complete, the floor plans assigned and the sales team was ready. Over the course of two hours 40 people stopped by the Sycamore Commons community building to learn more about the expansion,...
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Being Patient for Impatiens

April 25, 2019
If you have been or are a flower person, you’ll recognize the name Impatiens. The official name is Impatiens walleriana and it had been one of the top three colorful, reliable shade bedding plants for more than a half century until - here in the East - until...
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Back in the Day

April 4, 2019
I recently returned from a European river cruise with my wife Tina….that’s another story for another blog. But shortly after I returned, the editor of Lancaster Farming asked me to illustrate a story for their March 31st edition on tobacco.  The tobacco harvest is still...
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Experiencing Life in Community

April 1, 2019
Judy Rettew’s adventurous spirit leads her to amazing places. Judy, who has been blind since birth, accepts any challenge she thinks may have a hint of fun in it. She’s traveled all over the United States and the world. In the 1970s she traveled to Israel,...
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Cooking with Purpose

March 19, 2019
Every Tuesday afternoon about 1pm Linda Ebert hosts a cooking club in Laurel View, the memory support household at Garden Spot Village. Linda, who moved to Sycamore Springs in October 2017, brings a different, simple recipe each Tuesday for the club to make. One week the group bakes cookies. The next...
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It’s Spring (Well Almost)?

March 14, 2019
This is my third spring in New Holland since arriving at Sycamore Springs with Tina in late December 2016. It had been 40 years since I had lived in Lancaster when we returned and I had no idea of what spring would bring in 2017. Our first spring here, we were mud city...
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It’s More Than Just a Train

March 7, 2019
My work as a feature writer for the Lancaster Newspapers’ weeklies in Lititz, Ephrata and Elizabethtown as well as Lancaster Farming and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette bring me in contact with some interesting people and allow me to write about some cool stuff. And, in the process, I pick up...
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Understanding the Waste Stream

March 5, 2019
In July of 2018, recycling as we knew it changed for Lancaster County. Things that we used to recycle, like newspapers and take-out food containers, became no longer recyclable due to a new policy in China. But what caused this change in Lancaster? What happens to all the things that we...
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The Tooth Fairy, Unveiled

February 19, 2019
Several weeks ago we told the story of Gladys Ziegenfus and her visit from the Tooth Fairy. Today we tell the story from the perspective of the Tooth Fairy! On Saturday, December 29, about 9pm, Gladys Ziegenfus’s daughter, Jane Martin, called the Mountain View staff desk. Libbi Carcamo, licensed...
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Kready’s Store: A General Store Time Capsule

February 14, 2019
If you’ve lived in Lancaster County for a while—40 years or more—you’ll remember the Kready General Store in Manheim. It opened in 1865, and served Manheim area residents for nearly 100 years. For its last four decades (through 1999), the store was sealed tight and filled...
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Showing Hospitality with Trains

February 12, 2019
If you’ve been down to the GSV Train Room recently, you’ve probably seen some new engines chugging along the tracks or maybe some new buildings or scenery in the train room display. Where did these pieces come from? New Honorary Train Club member Shaun Seymour is...
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Are You a Discount Grocery Shopper?

February 7, 2019
For the past several weeks, I have been researching the discount grocery phenomenon in Lancaster County, which means visiting, talking to the owners, browsing and shopping. I visited national discount grocers like Aldi's as well as a neighbor-to-neighbor "barn" store that my Plain Community friend almost made me drive...
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Staycationing at Garden Spot Village

January 22, 2019
When Bonnie Brown’s husband Duane headed to El Salvador for a mission trip with Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) on Saturday, January 12, she had two options. First, she could stay at home and work on various cleaning and clearing out projects to prepare for their move to...
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Local FFA Teens Show Lambs and Goats At 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show

January 10, 2019
Garden Spot Village Resident Art Petrosemolo met Danielle Oberholtzer and Jeremiah Snyder through a series he wrote for the local newspaper about local Future Farmers’ of America (FFA) teens who raise lambs and goats to compete in the 103 annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. He wrote this article after their final...
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A Visit from the Tooth Fairy

January 8, 2019
At 7:35 one morning Gladys Ziegenfus was at the front desk talking with Megan. Gladys, who moved to Garden Spot Village in July 2010, gets up early every morning to start her day. She regularly stops by the computer station in Refresh to check her e-mails. If you’re in Village...
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The Week That Felt like a Month

December 20, 2018
Sycamore Springs Resident Art Petrosemolo is a Type A personality, always on the go. If he isn’t writing a story and photographing for one of the Lancaster area newspapers, he is photographing sailing regattas up and down the East Coast. Art and his wife, Tina, have traveled extensively...
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A Great Surprise

December 18, 2018
A great surprise arrived Wednesday, December 12. Senior Housing News announced the 2018 Architecture & Design Awards. Out of 98 submissions from 90 different communities across the United States, Garden Spot received two 1st Place Awards in the eight possible categories. First, Thistledown Co-Living House received first place in the Affordable Housing Category. (Of...
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Fulton Theatre and Garden Spot Village: A Natural Partnership

December 4, 2018
A little over two years ago Fran Rapp, a leader of the Garden Spot Village acting guild, suggested that we consider becoming a sponsor of the Fulton Theatre in downtown Lancaster. Garden Spot has always believed in the arts and supports a variety of local performing and musical groups. There...
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Enneagram Enlightenment

November 27, 2018
On a crisp Friday morning in mid-October I joined about 60 Garden Spot Communities team members and leaders as they gathered at Refreshing Mountain in Stevens, Pa. We immediately signed release forms and split into groups. One group headed to Refreshing Mountain’s adrenaline-inducing zip line course, a second group...
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What Can You Do for an Encore?

November 22, 2018
I have not been blogging lately as I am writing like crazy to finish up several stories for the Lititz Record, Ephrata Review and Lancaster Farming before Tina and I leave for Europe December 1, where we start in Rome and then cruise the Mediterranean and then go trans-Atlantic arriving home...
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Lancaster is the Best Place to Retire

November 20, 2018
Dave and Liz Givens moved to Garden Spot Village from Michigan in early-October 2018. A week later U.S. News & World Report named Lancaster the #1 place to retire. Their Michigan friends immediately reached out to say, “You made the right choice!” U.S. News & World Report simply...
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Garden Spot Village: A Vital Member of the New Holland Community

November 12, 2018
The people who live and work at Garden Spot Village continuously explore the abundant opportunities they have to live with purpose in community. At times, community centers around 433 S Kinzer Avenue. At other times, community extends to New Holland, Lancaster County and the world. Garden Spot Village partners with like-minded...
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Building a Community Christmas Card

November 6, 2018
Mid-afternoon on Saturday, December 9, 2017 Erma Nolt tied her horse Jewel to the hitching post in Parking Lot #1. The snow was just starting to fall as she and her nieces and nephews hurried into the Village Square. They quickly walked down to the Train Room to enjoy the holiday open house....
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My First Amish Wedding

November 1, 2018
For most of us, the closest we'll ever get to a Lancaster County Old Order Amish wedding is to see dozens of buggies parked at a country farm on a fall day or to taste an "Amish wedding meal" at a local tourist restaurant. After just 18 months as a...
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Receiving A National Award

October 29, 2018
The Journey Begins On Sunday, October 28 at 7am, Ruth Dunlap and I backed out of the driveway at the Thistledown Co-Living House, headed for the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Ruth is an integral pioneer in this new concept of living. Drawing upon a fairly recent trend among millennials who...
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Pumpkin Carving at Sycamore Springs

October 23, 2018
On an October Saturday at 4pm, on a gorgeous fall afternoon 20 plus people gathered at the Mulberry Commons Building to demonstrate their pumpkin carving skills. After all, it is that time of year. The air was fresh and crisp. The sun darted in-and-out from behind the clouds. It was a...
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Exploring the Aeroponic Greenhouse

October 9, 2018
If you had a peppery minty piece of fresh basil, what would you make with it? That’s what Mountain View residents asked among themselves in the aeroponic greenhouse one sunny morning. When the Mountain View Dining Committee wanted to know where their food was coming from and learn...
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Treasure Island at the Fulton Theatre

September 21, 2018
Thursday, September 20 featured a cool beautiful evening as a bustling crowd engulfed the sidewalk in front of the Fulton Theatre in downtown Lancaster City. From a Red Carpet rose a backdrop in front of which a photographer busily arranged guests for Red Carpet photos. Through the front doors on Prince...
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Garden Gala Engages the Community

September 18, 2018
Photo by Bob Morrison, Garden Spot Village resident. On Saturday, September 15, 2018 just after six o’clock in the evening, after days of tenuous weather forecasts, the New Holland Community began to arrive at the Garden Spot Village Legacy Garden for the 3rd Annual CrossNet Garden Gala. With perfect weather...
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Baking Pies for Smiles

September 11, 2018
Tyler Varnes, 17, pours his passion for cooking and baking into his work in the East Kitchen at Garden Spot Village. Through his work preparing food, helping with general kitchen duties and baking pies, he connects with residents and staff. He baked two lemon sponge pies for “Eat, Pie, Love,...
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September 2018 | Endeavor: Highlighting the Happenings at Garden Spot Village

September 5, 2018
  Hello and Welcome to Endeavor - Highlighting the Happenings of Garden Spot Village. Welcome to the Legacy Garden, where the third annual CrossNet Garden Gala will be held Saturday, September 15th. Imagine an evening meandering through the gardens under the stars, socializing and enjoying delicious tapas-style foods in a...
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Mountain View raises funds for Walk to End Alzheimer’s

August 28, 2018
In Mountain View, a small team of residents and staff are engaging the broader New Holland community as well as their neighbors in Mountain View and other residents here at Garden Spot Village to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Clinical Care Coordinator Janie Martin, with the help...
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Just Listen

August 16, 2018
It was mid-afternoon on a Tuesday in August and I was told a unique story about why a couple chose Garden Spot Village. We hear many incredible stories about how people discovered Garden Spot Village and why they decided it was their community of choice. Many involve word of mouth...
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Scott Weaver Named Design Champion

August 2, 2018
Scott Weaver, director of campus services, was named a Design Champion in July 2018 by Environments for Aging Magazine. He was recognized for the remarkable landscape and outdoor spaces he has created at Garden Spot Village over the past 22 years. The article that profiles Scott and the other winners in Environments...
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Finding A Tomato That Tastes Good and Looks Good

August 2, 2018
At this time of year, a day doesn’t go by that I am not finding a way to put a tomato on something. It’s either my ham and cheese sandwich, in a salad or maybe grilled with my chicken or steak. We live in a state...
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My Lancaster County Education Continues

July 19, 2018
Friends. I haven’t been on vacation the past few weeks. I just haven’t had anything interesting to write about. Well that changed fast recently. Just after Independence Day, Tina and I made the long trip (265 miles) to the Finger Lakes and Skaneateles. In my other life,...
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Grands and Kids Make Memories

July 3, 2018
“Will you take a picture of our family?” asked a grandfather at the opening reception and picnic. He was standing beside his wife and their two grand-daughters. Families at Grands & Kids Camp are excited to create lifelong memories with their loved-ones and want all moments to be...
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Jacquie and Frank Ingrassia: Veterans of Standardbred Racing

June 28, 2018
Age may indeed be a state of mind. At least it is for 71-year old Standardbred trainer and driver Jacquie Ingrassia and her 85-year old husband-trainer Frank. Hey, the couple admits they are a little bit slower than they were at age 60 with a few more bumps and bruises from...
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Thinking of Friends

June 21, 2018
It’s been hot this mid-June…unusually hot and muggy. I guess this is typical of farm country in the heat of summer. Well this is only my second year living here and I miss the breeze from the ocean and bays in New Jersey. I miss it...
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Restaurant Review: Amorette

June 19, 2018
Foodie Fay Strickler has traveled the world, tasting exotic cuisines. She recently started to use her training as a foods judge to review local restaurants and offer insight on the best entrees and offerings at local fine and casual dining establishments. In this story she shares a recent experience she...
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Hunchback of Notre Dame

June 8, 2018
Wow! Just wow! Wow! Just wow! You need to go see The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Fulton Theater in downtown Lancaster City.  This performance now ranks as one of my favorite top 2 shows that I’ve ever seen in my life! The other is Phantom of...
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Spring has Sprung

June 7, 2018
Well, spring has sprung, finally! This year, right up until leaving on a vacation to Iceland at the end of April, I really wondered if indeed we were even going to get spring or, for that matter, summer. Hey, just having turned 75 Memorial Day Weekend, I am not sure how...
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Food Explorer

June 7, 2018
Foodie Fay Strickler has traveled the world, tasting exotic cuisines. Through her career as a Penn State Extension Family and Consumer Science Educator she is a recognized source of practical, research-based educational information. As a member of national and international professional organizations, Fay visited every state in the U.S.,...
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Ten Thousand Villages

May 31, 2018
I literally back into good stories to write for the local newspapers in Lancaster County…literally fall into them. Let me explain. In January I bought a new Apple iPad mini. (I know, you are asking what does that have to do with a newspaper story?) Well, I had...
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Read Them While You Can - The Disappearing Newspaper

May 24, 2018
I was in Rhode Island last week photographing the Volvo Ocean Race boats in Newport. I have had a nautical photography business for several years and it is a labor of love. One of my photos from the race appears at the bottom of the blog. Anyway, this week was...
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Series of Fortunate Events

May 22, 2018
Last Tuesday a series of fortunate events came together. The annual Discover Lancaster member's coupon book included a BOGO at Refreshing Mountain so my daughter Jen and I decided to go ziplining. Lauren, the Garden Spot Village Wellness Director, mentioned she was organizing an Adventure Trip to Refreshing Mountain...
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Traveling with Purpose

May 15, 2018
Carina Sauder, wife of Gavin Sauder, Garden Spot Communities web designer, photographer and videographer, traveled with purpose with Garden Spot Village to Tarboro, North Carolina, April 28-May 5. The intergenerational team included participants in their 20s and their 80s! Carina, who is in her 20s, shares her perspective on the trip...
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Finishing Well

May 1, 2018
After a snowy and abnormally cold winter and spring, Saturday, April 14 dawned bright and clear, with a warm forecast. The incredible sunrise created an exquisite backdrop as Stan Hess and the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team flew balloons over Garden Spot Village, tethered the Garden Spot Village balloon just...
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Discover(ing) Lancaster

April 26, 2018
Several years ago, the Lancaster Tourist Bureau office changed its name to Discover Lancaster. How appropriate. There is so much to discover in this county whether you are a “newbie” or someone who grew up here. Tina and my association with Lancaster dates back to 1973 when, after a...
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Dawn Nolt Knows Her Way Around the Kitchen

April 19, 2018
I met Dawn Nolt by one of those freaky coincidences that happen to me all the time. Regardless of how I met her, I’m glad I did. This spring I discovered a conservative Christian group called Lyrica Sacra. They were founded by an immigrant from the Soviet Ukraine,...
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Embracing Tax Season

April 17, 2018
Most people dread tax season, but at Garden Spot Village a small group of volunteers looks forward to it. For them, tax season offers an opportunity to live with purpose and serve their community. They provide free tax return preparation through the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, supported...
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Spring is Coming! Just Ask any Gardener

April 12, 2018
T. S. Eliot, in the first stanza of The Waste Land (1922), a poem many consider one of the most important of the 20th century, wrote: “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land……” Considering our recent weather, maybe Eliot was onto something. ...
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Bible Quizzing - “Who’da known?”

April 5, 2018
For the past three weeks, I have been researching the Lancaster County tradition of Bible Quizzing and talking to coaches and quizzers. “Who’da known” how big a deal it is here. Hundreds of teenagers from some 21 churches in 53 teams learning the lessons from the Bible and...
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It’s Easter: Time For the Petrosemolo Italian Ham Pie

March 29, 2018
Easter is a special time for Christians and we all celebrate according to our religious and ethnic traditions. Family was always important to the Petrosemolos and most holidays we gathered together as an extended group right into adulthood. Sadly, my immediate family consists now only of a sister and brother-in-law...
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Tips to Downsizing

March 27, 2018
Pete Shaub, owner of A Life Transition Service, says, “When you have lived in the same home for 30, 40, or even 50 years, it can be very overwhelming and stressful for you and your family. Shendy and I have been helping people work through the downsizing and transition process for years....
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A Life of Service

March 27, 2018
Walking through Bill & Hilda Bradney’s home gives visitors a glimpse of their life experiences. A small cart decorated with inlaid wood representing the native woods of Costa Rica sits in the living room; a Paraguayan harp rests in the corner next to the piano, waiting to be...
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Anabaptists Embrace Marriage Encounter

March 22, 2018
Seventy years ago, the Catholic Church created Marriage Encounter to help couples promote an open and honest relationship and to rekindle the love that brought them together. Over the years, the program has been adopted by other Christian denominations and has been part of the Anabaptist community in Lancaster County...
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Renaissance in Conservative Anabaptist Musical Worship

March 15, 2018
If you are familiar with the Anabaptist Conservative Christian tradition, you’ll know that musical instruments are not part of their worship tradition. Conservative Christian children are taught to sing hymns at an early age and four-part harmony as teens. But if they play an instrument, it is only...
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Future Residents Learn Tips for Downsizing and Moving

March 13, 2018
On Tuesday, March 13 Garden Spot Village offered a Future Resident Conference that included seminars by Pete Shaub of A Life Transition Service and Carol Lehman and Greg Hostetter of Hostetter Realty. About 35 future residents attended the morning and afternoon sessions as well as lunch in the Indoor Park. During his...
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The Story of “Stuff”

March 8, 2018
All of us who have moved into Garden Spot Village faced the daunting challenge of getting rid of “Stuff” accumulated over decades, either in one or home or many. It’s called downsizing. Everyone has stories about that task as do I. But what no one talks...
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Who Needs to Cook?

March 2, 2018
It might have been the hope of Garden Spot Village administrators that the new Sycamore Springs Residents worked quickly to form a community on the other side of South Kinzer Avenue. And we did with get-togethers on the patio in early summer and events at our community building during the...
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New Holland Auto Shuttle Conversations

February 27, 2018
At 7:00 in the morning I dropped off our car at New Holland Auto for a free oil change and checkup. The “maintenance” light was on. New Holland Auto runs a shuttle to Garden Spot Village for its customers and the driver was a guy I knew. He retired...
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My Friend Mike

February 22, 2018
When I lived in Lancaster County in the early seventies, occasionally an Amish farmer would drive down Louise Avenue in Grandview Heights selling produce. Like most tourists, we interacted or saw members of Plain families only when we were east of Lancaster city in Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand and Paradise. When I...
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It’s a Good Time to Remember

February 15, 2018
Lent started on Valentine’s Day…. Isn’t that ironic? First time I can ever remember that…. And Easter, the most holy day in the Christian calendar, will be on April (Fool’s Day) 1. Well at least we won’t forget the “when...
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So, You Think It’s Cold

February 8, 2018
This 2017-2018 winter is a lot colder than last year. A year ago, during our first few months at “The Outpost” in Sycamore Springs, I was sitting in my garage rocker many afternoons enjoying the late, warm February sun and washing my little Audi TT sports car. All...
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The Metropolitan Opera

February 1, 2018
In late January, a group of 16 Garden Spot Village residents spent a Wednesday afternoon immersed in grand opera watching and listening to Giacomo Puccini’s opera classic Tosca. It was a much-anticipated new production by Sir David McVicar replacing a maligned production that had been playing for the past...
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Coaching: A New Way Forward

January 30, 2018
When I arrived at Garden Spot Village about a year ago I was relieved I would never have to do another performance review as long as I was employed by Garden Spot. I always faced employment reviews with the dread associated with report cards and parent-teacher conferences. Was I doing...
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Women’s College Basketball Has Come a Long Way, Baby!

January 25, 2018
I have always been a basketball fan. My dad played college basketball in the 1930s and actually played in one of the first games where they experimented with taking the ball out of bounds after each basket to replace the center jump ball after each score the way James Naismith...
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Christmas Services in Lancaster County

January 11, 2018
This past December I decided to write about the holiday traditions of the Plain families in Lancaster County for the Lititz Record, Ephrata Review and Elizabethtown Advocate. I thought it would be an easy story to write. I have met several Amish and Mennonite families since moving to Sycamore Springs...
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Compass Ironworks

December 28, 2017
This fall I did a story in Destination magazine on Amish artist-in-wood Mike Fisher from New Holland. Mike crafted the beautiful tables that grace the Harvest Table restaurant and the Village Square. It got me thinking about the majestic metal tree that also greets visitors to the Village Square lobby...
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Holiday Traditions and the Plain Communities

December 21, 2017
We’re all preparing for the Christmas season. For Christians, the holiday is the celebration of the birth of Jesus and is sacred. Among Anabaptist communities (Amish, Mennonite and Church of the Brethren), “Jesus Is The Reason For the Season” is more than a bumper sticker. For...
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Crafting a Legacy

December 19, 2017
When Creed Coulson was 10 years old his dad purchased a Montgomery Ward lathe. After trying it out, Coulson was immediately hooked and he began transforming pieces of wood into functional art. His first project involved a piece of walnut he made into a two-tiered center place dish. Looking back, he...
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One Year In

December 14, 2017
Late in 2016, Jennifer Lawrence starred in a movie called Passengers with Chris Pratt. They were a pair of twenty-something strangers on a 90-year journey in a luxury spacecraft to a new world. In suspended animation like all of the 2000 passengers, they, unfortunately, were awakened early because of a computer malfunction...
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Little Things Make all the Difference

December 12, 2017
You have to love Garden Spot. It’s sort of like you can’t help it. Things aren’t perfect. They never are, but a lot of attention gets paid to the “little” things like the music that plays overhead. It’s selected to...
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A New Community: Sycamore Springs Residents Connect

December 7, 2017
Last December when Tina and I took up residence in Sycamore Springs, it was a pretty bleak place. Contractors, trucks and mud everywhere. We actually told people we lived in the Outpost and it stuck. I still have the Outpost sign in the window. In early spring, Barbara and Dick...
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Overwhelming Generosity

December 5, 2017
If you’re a generous person you’d fit right in at Garden Spot Village. You’d be among a community of people that are generous, gracious and service minded. Not to mention all the opportunities for collaboration and teaming up to do not only the things...
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American Legion Motorcycle Riders

November 30, 2017
In early spring, I was scheduled to go to Lititz and photograph a fundraising, charity motorcycle ride out of the American Legion Post 56 on Route 501 just north of downtown. I missed it for some reason, not sure why, and just never had a chance to reconnect with the group&rsquo...
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Where Plain Families take Center Stage

November 24, 2017
Since I arrived back in Lancaster County in December and started writing feature stories for the Lititz, Ephrata and Elizabethtown newspapers, I have found myself, many times, deep into the culture of plain families and really learning their unique traditions from my mistakes along the way. Although many of us...
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Turkey Farming in Lancaster County

November 16, 2017
Bob Esbenshade, 89 years young, is the fourth generation Esbenshade to run the oldest turkey farm in the country. Established in 1858, in Ronks, Pennsylvania, Esbenshade’s is just a few miles away from Garden Spot Village. I met Bob and worked with him in late October as I was writing...
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Friendship Around the World

November 14, 2017
Eun Hee Jang has a goal for her year in North America: to try a different kind and flavor of potato chips each Friday. She’s already decided she doesn’t like salt and vinegar chips! But, she loves whoopie pies. And she’s been enjoying her...
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The Best Chicken Corn Soup

November 9, 2017
We all have favorites. You know, from past blogs, I love Lapp’s ice cream and maple walnut is my favorite flavor. You know from my corn blog that I favor bi-color over white or yellow. Today you will learn I have been on a hunt to find the...
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Retiree in Training

November 2, 2017
As you read this blog, Tina and I will be approaching out one year anniversary here at the OUTPOST in Sycamore Springs, Garden Spot Village. The first few weeks in the construction zone surrounded by carpenters, plumbers and roofers and a sea of mud was interesting - and so we...
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It’s Official: It’s a Great Place to Retire

October 31, 2017
When it comes to retirement havens, the Sunshine State has some serious competition. When U.S. News & World Report released its latest list of the 100 Best Places to Retire in the USA, it named Lancaster #2 in the nation. The magazine gives Lancaster high scores for housing affordability and health...
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The Angel Lady

October 26, 2017
I have said many times since I started my Garden Spot weekly blog that I truly believe that I have been led since I arrived here. I believe in coincidence but not at the rate that I have found myself in situations since January. When I started writing for the...
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Field Hockey: Like Watching Grass Grow

October 19, 2017
I worked in college athletics for several years in the 1970s-80s, including six-plus years at Dartmouth in the Ivy League. It was one of the highlights of my working career as after my high school academic career, going to Dartmouth was not in the cards! I did smarten up,...
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Delicious News From Thrillist

October 17, 2017
The harvest season is in full swing here in Lancaster County. On my way to Garden Spot Village each day, I love watching the Amish farmers working their field, bringing in the bounty that we enjoy on our tables. Lancaster County has long been known for its fresh produce, great...
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Amish Babies: I Was Way Over My Head

October 12, 2017
I met Garden Spot Village resident Gladys Z’s daughter in the pool earlier this summer and learned she was a retired Nurse/Midwife. My grandmother had been the first midwife in New Haven, CT in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and delivered babies until she was 80....
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Pumpkin Harvest in Lancaster County

October 5, 2017
They used to be just orange and came in two sizes: big and small. Today pumpkins, especially here in Lancaster County, come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors with names like Cotton Candy, Amish Splendor, Gray Ghost, Blue Lakota and Long Island Cheese. Designer white pumpkins, hot in 2016,...
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Give Yourself the Gift of Time — Starting Today

October 3, 2017
Time is a funny thing. On one hand, we never seem to have enough of it. On the other, it often seems like we have forever when we really don’t. Let me tell you what I mean. Think of all the things you love to do: being with...
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Tobacco Harvest in Lancaster County

September 28, 2017
It seems every week I happen on something new and interesting in the farms around our New Holland, Sycamore Springs, home. I have met Amish and Mennonite families who have become good friends and who I visit with every week. I have been the recipient of their largesse almost every...
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Photographing Sailing Regattas

September 21, 2017
I spent a great week mid-summer on Lake Champlain in Vermont as the chief photographer for the Lightning Atlantic Coast Championship sailing regatta and then for the Women’s, Junior and Master’s Championships on Barnegat Bay. A Lightning is a 20-foot, one-design class racing sailboat. It is...
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Books, Balloons and Animal Crackers

September 19, 2017
Every Wednesday morning, from early June through late August, Barbara Masho welcomed beaming neighborhood children into the little library she and volunteers created in the Cedar Grove Presbyterian Church on Division Highway in East Earl. As each child skipped, ran or walked through the church doors just before 10am, she...
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Finding Purpose in Community

September 14, 2017
Volunteering is described as an altruistic activity where an individual provides services for no financial gain to benefit another person, group or organization and is often intended to promote the quality of life.  The definition fits the volunteer community at Garden Spot Village perfectly. Here, nearly 600 people (including 500 residents)...
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Baseball Bats Get an Early Start in Pennsylvania

September 7, 2017
In mid-July while spending a rainy Friday morning talking to Ben Shirk at his sawmill in East Earl, I learned about Alderfer Lumber in Mt. Pleasant Mills, Pa., some 40 miles north of Harrisburg. Ben said, “Art, you’ve got to meet John Alderfer, he makes bat billets for...
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Everyone Is Welcome

September 5, 2017
It’s the Tuesday after Labor Day at 9:15 in the morning and the Refresh Coffee Bar at Garden Spot Village is hoppin’. I’d just stopped over for a fresh hot cup of Starbuck’s Veranda Blond Roast and another person at the counter says, &ldquo...
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A Yankee Fan for Life

August 31, 2017
As the 2017 MLB season winds down, I stay a huge baseball fan. My dad was a lifelong New York Yankees fan (sorry Phillies friends) and so am I…. There are lots of reasons. In WWII, my dad was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy stationed at the submarine...
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The Right Shot

August 24, 2017
I am a photographer. I have been one for the past 50+ years, ever since I got paid $5 extra for every photo I turned in with a feature or news story in my first post-college newspaper job. Back in the mid-1960s, that was nice extra money and I always had...
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Intergenerational Living

August 22, 2017
Sycamore Springs offers new construction homes with a variety of floor plans in a community-focused 55 and over neighborhood. Before launching the project, Garden Spot Village leadership explored a variety of housing models, determined to find best practices and adapt them for the unique culture of Garden Spot Village. The result...
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Parkinson’s Patients Fighting Back

August 17, 2017
It’s a hideous disease that can strike children to seniors but puts many adults and seniors at risk from age 60 on. It robs many of their dignity and independence with increasing physical issues including balance, strength, flexibility, range of motion and tremors. No cure in sight and patients...
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Sweet Corn - Yellow or White - It Makes a Difference

August 10, 2017
Yellow or white. It does make a difference. If you live in Idaho, it probably isn’t as important if your summer sweet corn is yellow or white. If it is fresh, cooked properly and not too starchy, it passes. But here in Lancaster County, in what might be...
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Grands & Kids Adventures

August 8, 2017
“Tubing was on my bucket list for a long time and yesterday I got to do it,” said Jim Boose. Boose, who recently moved to Gardens North with his wife Regina, marked tubing off his bucket list earlier this summer. The best part? His granddaughter Anna, 11, joined him...
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No Reason to Fear the Dentist

August 3, 2017
For the past several weeks I have been telling you about interesting people and places I have run into the past six months while I have been writing feature stories for the Ephrata and Lititz weekly newspapers. And as I continue to have new adventures in doing that research I...
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The Local Spots

July 27, 2017
I am a sucker for local spots - restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, auctions, mud sales, yard sales and the like. I have been since long before I moved here at the beginning of the year. I must say my wife Tina is not nearly as enthralled as I...
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Car Show and 1950s-Inspired Lunch Creates Memories for All Ages

July 25, 2017
In the weeks leading up to Thursday, June 15, Dining Services and Mountain View staff spent countless hours planning a menu, decorations and logistics, learning dance moves, finding antique cars and planning a party to delight participants from 17-97! The result? An outdoor, 1950s sock-hop inspired intergenerational lunch and car show,...
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An Adventure: Ben Shirk’s Sawmill

July 20, 2017
Bob Collins from Rose Court is a good friend. His wife Bernie was my wife Tina’s first friend here at Garden Spot Village and they remain close. We socialize together, go out to dinner and because Bob is a LOT handier than I am, when I am stuck...
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A New Community Takes Shape

July 13, 2017
The last days of the Outpost…..It took a while but as the weather heats up this 2017 summer, a new community has formed at Garden Spot’s Sycamore Springs.  Twelve homes (as I write this blog) in the community opposite Garden Spot Village’s main entrance...
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Planning For The Future

July 11, 2017
How are you creative? How are you innovative? These opening questions jump-started a day-long brainstorming session during the annual Garden Spot Communities Management Team Retreat in early June. Once a year, leaders of Garden Spot Communities, Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm take a break from the office and daily...
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Share The Road

July 5, 2017
I knew there were still buggies transporting Amish and Mennonite families in and around New Holland when I moved to Sycamore Springs in January. I just didn’t know there were so many. Early on, writing for the Ephrata and Lititz newspapers, I said I wanted to write a ...
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Visual Memories

June 29, 2017
Do you own a camera? Do you use it? If you are as old as I am (and I’m probably speaking to the choir here), you remember the small Kodak Brownie film cameras of our youth. You may even remember the Polaroid craze, when a camera developed its...
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Returning to Garden Spot Village

June 27, 2017
As a student at Garden Spot High School, Kimberly Doutrich worked for Garden Spot Village in the Central Kitchen after school. After a couple of years, and because she wanted to pursue nursing school, she picked up some extra hours as a resident assistant in Mountain View and began to...
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Renaissance Faires

June 22, 2017
On cool and drizzly mid-May morning, I found myself driving to a horse farm in Christiana, well south of Garden Spot Village and New Holland.  Rob Earhart (brother-in-law of Garden Spot Village’s Scott Miller) and his partner Kate Hopkins had invited me to watch as they put...
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I Scream for Ice Cream

June 15, 2017
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” is a novelty song written in 1927 that became a traditional jazz standard but the words and song remain part of popular culture even without the rest of the song… So, what gives Art? you say.  A...
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Community that Transcends Age

June 13, 2017
At Garden Spot Village relationships and community transcend age. Jen Miller, 22, began volunteering at Garden Spot Village in the summer of 2011 at age 17 when the Wellness Department needed some extra help at the pool. In January 2012 she began working nights and weekends at the pool. After graduating from Warwick High...
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Sweet Pickings

June 8, 2017
In the first several weeks on my blogging for the Garden Spot website, I have told you that I was a coffee nut and an ice cream fanatic and they were subjects of feature stories for the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.  But heck, this is June and...
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Family and Connections

June 1, 2017
Many of you know my wife, Tina, who has jumped into community activities with two feet. We moved to Sycamore Springs December 28. We lived through and continue to live with construction all around us. You actually get used to it and it certainly will be different when we don&rsquo...
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Volunteers Shine their Light

May 30, 2017
Garden Spot Village holds service as a core value and the theme of service flows through every facet of the community as residents volunteer in a variety of ways to keep Garden Spot Village running smoothly. Approximately 500 residents volunteer regularly on campus. In total, these volunteers served 59,674 hours in 2016. Since 1996...
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More Fun Than the Circus

May 25, 2017
In mid-January, I was in the midst of a search for a vehicle to replace my VW Jetta with something a little “sportier.” I was in Manheim on a cold, rainy day, test-driving an Audi TT (that I eventually purchased) with an XL rep from a small, family...
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Smell the Coffee

May 18, 2017
I am a coffee nut… I like good coffee. I am not a Starbucks fan as I think they over-roast their beans but my search for good coffee is ongoing. I recently finished a story for the Lititz Record on local coffee roasters and coffee shops which will be...
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Marathon Embodies of the Vitality of GSV

May 16, 2017
Don Aldrich completed his first half-marathon in April and took first place in his age category. The Garden Spot Village Marathon embodies the life and vitality of the community that hosts it with open arms. On the day of the marathon thousands of people, from across the country and around...
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Beginning Life at Garden Spot Village

May 11, 2017
My wife Tina and I are “newbies” at Garden Spot Village. We were the first residents (December 28) of Sycamore Springs and affectionately named our home “The Outpost” as we were the only residents for some 10 weeks. Tina jumped into the community with both feet and joined...
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A Day at the Ballpark

May 10, 2017
On Wednesday, May 10 baseball fans from Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm enjoyed a picture perfect sky and warm spring sunshine while watching America’s favorite pastime at Clipper Stadium. The Lancaster Barnstormers played the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, but the experience was more about enjoying the game of...
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Cultivating Life

May 5, 2017
On Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 11am, Jane Keene can be found in the greenhouse caring for the plants. “I’m the cucumber girl,” she says with a laugh. Her experience trimming cucumbers helps yield a bountiful harvest, even in the dead of winter. A nature lover...
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Creating a New Business

May 3, 2017
On Monday and Tuesday, April 10 and 11, a group of for-profit and non-profit business leaders from near and far joined the Garden Spot Communities executive leadership team at E4 Strategic Consultancy in Lancaster. In addition to warm spring breezes, a feeling of energy and expectation was in the air. E4 Strategic...
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Creating Meaningful Experiences

April 11, 2017
As Garden Spot Communities, Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm work together to create meaningful experiences for residents living at either location. Recently, Carl Depue, who lives at Maple Farm asked if members of the Maple Farm Men’s Club could visit the Garden Spot Village Woodshop. Before long,...
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Spirit of Adventure

April 7, 2017
“We’ve never been on this road,” say Rich and Anne Treadwell about their approach to road trips in Central Pennsylvania. They enjoy exploring new roads, state parks and anywhere they can launch their kayaks. The Treadwells have been kayaking for years. Anne’s sister-in-law introduced...
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Amazing Marathon Insights

April 7, 2017
A Real Marathon? When people first discover that Garden Spot Village organizes and hosts a marathon every year their first reaction is typically disbelief: “a real marathon?” A full 26.2 mile marathon is the last thing people expect from a retirement community, but then, Garden Spot Village isn&rsquo...
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Swipe Out Hunger

March 28, 2017
At Garden Spot Village, the core value of service flows through every aspect of life, including dining. Recently, Garden Spot Village residents began to donate unused meal dollars to fund a free community meal in New Holland through a Swipe Out Hunger campaign. When Colleen Musselman, director of life enrichment,...
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Intergenerational Learning

March 23, 2017
Each winter, Garden Spot Village partners with Hinkletown Mennonite School (HMS) to host Enrichment Clusters for their students. For the past 12 years students have learned to knit and crochet, with ladies who love the craft. For HMS, the partnership allows an out-of-the-classroom learning opportunity, which addresses their goal of educating...
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New Beginnings

March 17, 2017
I recently participated in new employee orientation. At the outset, I wondered why it would take three full days to learn about Garden Spot Village and the various Garden Spot Communities. As I walked in the very first morning and CEO Steve Lindsey greeted me, I realized that orientation was...
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Cooperative Living: A Recipe for the Future

March 6, 2017
Garden Spot Communities, in partnership with local businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations, broke ground on the Cooperative Living House in mid-December. Held at the site of the new home on Ranck Road, the event marked the transition of the project from vision to reality. The idea began with visionary Victor...
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Celebrating Fasnacht Day

February 28, 2017
Did you get your fasnacht? At Garden Spot Village this question was asked frequently today, as staff and residents embraced the local culture of south central Pennsylvania and celebrated Fasnacht Day. Traditionally, Pennsylvania Dutch housewives in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties made fasnachts on Shrove Tuesday to use up the...
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Dominican Republic – Go Team

February 24, 2017
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” -Isaiah 6:8 For the second February in a row, members of a Go Team from Garden Spot...
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Experiencing the World

February 23, 2017
A visit to the Garden Spot Village Chapel shares a glimpse of the international community living at 433 Kinzer Avenue. Flags from Ireland, Vietnam, Guatemala, South Korea, China and various other countries line the walls, representing the many countries and cultures where members of the community have lived and served. One...
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Influencing Health Care in Japan and around the World

February 17, 2017
Shortly after becoming CEO, Steve Lindsey had a conversation with Garden Spot Village Founder and then Board Chairman Dale Weaver regarding the vision of Garden Spot Village. At the time, the vision was to be the preferred retirement community in eastern Lancaster County. As the only retirement community in eastern...
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The Lucky Straw

February 13, 2017
Each weekend a designated member of the leadership team serves as manager on duty. In this shared responsibility we each serve two weekends a year. This is one of my weekends. As I was going from department to department to check-in, the common comment, as you might imagine was, &ldquo...
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A Morning in Refresh Cafe

January 25, 2017
Monday January 17, 2017, was a carpool day because the VW Beetle was incapacitated and in for repair. Approaching Garden Spot Village my wife, Cheryl, asked, “Is it okay if I hang out at Refresh and work for a while before going to the office?”  The answer was, &ldquo...
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Special Sauce

January 20, 2017
We’ve all heard of the “special sauce” —those secret ingredients, in specific proportions, lovingly combined in a unique way to create something special, something mouthwatering that makes us want to come back for more. The interesting thing about the special sauce is that you can...
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“I Remember” with Lena Lansinger

August 1, 2016
In the summer of 1996 Lena Lansinger moved to Garden Spot Village, settling into a cottage on Holly Drive. Things were so new then, the landscaping had not even been completed. “There was red clay everywhere – no grass – and the trees were so small, they were shorter than...
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Journey To The Dominican Republic

February 19, 2016
R: Resident, E: Employee. From left to right back row: Gavin Sauder (E. since Nov. 2015), Kristy Deibert (E. since 2007), Marvin Harnish (E. since 2009), Marian Harnish E. since 2009), Amy Gallagher (E. since 2011). Left to right front row: Vivian Hertzler (R. since 1998), Ginger Miles (E. since 2008), Velma Hershey (R. since July 2015), Kelly...
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Employees Review Garden Spot Village

October 15, 2015
You may have noticed something about Garden Spot Village: our focus is on people. They’re front and center, and with good reason. This extends over to a lot of the stories we share – after all, they’re the mainstay of GSV. They’re vital to...
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The Aeroponic Greenhouse at GSV

August 10, 2015
How do you serve farm-to-table freshness all year round? If you’re Garden Spot Village, you take steps to make fresh, locally grown food available regardless of the season. A high-tech aeroponic greenhouse, planned to be constructed, will grow produce year-round, support sustainability, and potentially create jobs. “The...
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Aging in Place or Not!

June 13, 2015
When you think of someone in their 90s, what images come to mind? Do you think old, feeble, wheel chairs, and walkers? I think active, vital, wise, volunteering, contributing, making a difference, more-to-do. On his 90th birthday, Bernie Marshal invited me to review his 5 year goals. That was 10 years ago...
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The Harvest Table Enhances the Community Experience

January 12, 2015
New Holland, Pennsylvania, is known as “the Garden Spot.” Recent renovations at Garden Spot Village in New Holland celebrate the community’s blessings while raising the dining experience to new culinary heights. Inspired by Lancaster County’s rural heritage, natural materials and a palette of earth...
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Runners Review the Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon

May 19, 2014
Some call us crazy, but as runners we understand the drive and addiction that makes us sign up for races. If you have run the Garden Spot Village Marathon in the past, you understand the challenges that come with it (The Hill), but also the gorgeous scenery and unique experience...
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A Community Committed to Social Accountability

March 3, 2014
We—all of us—live in community. From the other members of our household to the neighbors of our municipality to our fellow citizens of the world, we interact with and impact others. Steve Lindsey, chief executive officer at Garden Spot Village, examines the concept of social accountability...
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7 Aspects of Active Aging

September 8, 2013
The concept of active aging is a fairly new one throughout many cultures. Typically old age was seen as a time to take it easy and relax after years of hard work. Older adults were encouraged to take up more sedentary hobbies such as sewing, model building, or card and...
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