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Executive Chef Mathew Plank Honored by Sodexo

November 5, 2019 | Executive Chef Mathew Plank loves to create delightful surprises for diners who frequent The Harvest Table. His creativity and innovation will be recognized by Sodexo through the month of November. Specifically, Chef Mathew’s Nashville Style Hot Chicken Sandwich will be featured through Sodexo’s Love of Food...

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A Real Eye-Opener

October 31, 2019 | It has been several weeks since I have had something to blog about. Tina and I were on vacation in Canada for a few weeks and I have been busy catching up on stories and photos for the local newspapers including a piece for Lancaster Farming on the corn maze ...

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The Many Benefits of Living in an Active Retirement Community

October 29, 2019 | As you approach the age of retirement, many different considerations will pop up. When should I start researching different options? Will I want to work? What will I do with my free time? Should I stay in my family home or move into something a bit more manageable? More and...

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Purpose-Filled Work in a Life-Giving Community

October 22, 2019 | What It’s Really Like to Live Here If you’ve visited Garden Spot, you know we connect you with residents who will show you around the community because we think you should have the opportunity to freely ask questions and get authentic answers. While the sales team...

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Garden Spot Village – A Community Where People Connect and Care for Each Other

October 15, 2019 | Community is a word that has lost its meaning in our world of self-interest. There’s nothing wrong with self-interest unless, like anything else, it’s taken to the extreme. Unfortunately, the use of the word community has become so common place that few stop to think what...

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Learning How to Can Peaches

September 11, 2019 | A few weeks ago, I spent several days researching a story on food preservation and canning, which is a huge tradition here in farm country for Lancaster Farming. I was fascinated by how many English, Amish and Mennonite moms can fruits and vegetables for their family to enjoy all year. ...

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Finding Joy in Work and Community

August 13, 2019 | The "Lucky Straw" Today was one of the two days a year when I say I "drew the lucky straw" and worked the weekend at Garden Spot Village as Manager on Duty (MOD). Talking with my wife last night I commented that I was off to Garden Spot again tomorrow,...

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We’re All In The Marketing Business - The Video Day

August 6, 2019 | All of us who are fortunate to live here at Garden Spot Village (and in Tina and my case, the Sycamore Springs neighborhood) can remember one or two instances when we began researching retirement communities and suddenly were attracted to this community. It might be as simple as friendly greetings...

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In the Wood Shop: Building the Connell Mansion

August 1, 2019 | How do we build community? By serving in ways that enhance our connections and showcase our talents. Larry Knepper and Bill George, members of the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop, recently worked together to create a replica of the Connell Mansion, the home of the Historical Society of the Cocalico...

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Loneliness

July 23, 2019 | Last week a woman named Brenda bought my 2005 Toyota Corolla. We met at the local notary office to transfer the title. Her son, Jim, who is in his mid-to-late 30s was with her. Jim had recently bought a house in the same development where I live. He offered to give...

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Let’s Talk Basketball

July 18, 2019 | I am a college basketball fan. I have been since grammar school in the late 1950s when my dad took me to Boston to watch the New England High School Championships and then a year later to the old Madison Square Garden in New York City to see the prestigious...

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A Prediction

July 9, 2019 | I’ve got a prediction. This is a bit unusual for me because, as a classic boomer, I tend to look over my own personal horizon, a mindset that rarely translates into attempts to predict future trends. I study trends but don’t predict them. This prediction has...

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Creating Art With Purpose

June 25, 2019 | When Bonnie Lord, Garden Spot Village resident since December 2008, received a phone call from Bill Offutt, she was intrigued. In their conversation Bill shared that he and his wife, Ruth Anne, were preparing to move from their home in Lancaster to Wheaton, Illinois. They were downsizing and looking for someone...

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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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The Emergence of the Wisdom GenerationTM: Baby Boomers, we’re just getting started.

April 15, 2019 | How old were you when the Beatles came to America on February 7, 1964?  I was seven. As if it happened yesterday I remember grabbing a black, mop top wig from a bin at the Silco store next door to our apartment in Manheim, PA. putting it on my head and...

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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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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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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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