May 14, 2015 // 4:53 PM

A Walk Around the Garden

Written by Scott Miller

I was on my way to West Chester University last Friday to pick up my daughter who just completed her junior year. I had breakfast with my wife followed by another meeting which ended a bit sooner than anticipated so I had some time to kill. Because I was driving past Garden Spot Village I thought I’d stop by my office. I didn’t have anything particular in mind, just a cup of Starbucks coffee from the Refresh Coffee Bar.

It was a gorgeous morning and as I stepped out of my car I had another thought, “I rarely walk around the campus. What if I just go for a walk?” So I headed off to the Garden Apartments court yard. If you’ve never walked the walking paths of Garden Spot Village you should stop by and do it sometime. If you have, come back and do it again! The courtyard was alive with beauty and the sounds of spring. The bushes and plants were bursting with color. A variety of aromas and fragrances from the flowers lingered in the air. The plush grass was a deep vibrant green. There was a clean crispness to the morning. The grounds team, as always, was on top of their game.

Gardens at the Garden Spot Village Retirement Community

I stopped at the pond, leaned on the railing of the bridge and absorbed the inspiration of the fountain. After a few moments I headed for the Legacy Garden. As I emerged from between the cottages, there were others out for a morning run or walk. I exchanged a bunch of hellos, good mornings and waved to people in the distance.

Approaching the Legacy Garden, I noticed a future resident, someone who doesn't live here yet, swinging on one of the swings. As I said, “Hello" she replied, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you.” I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, flip flops, sun glasses and a hat; not my usual attire for Garden Spot Village. We started talking and it turns out she was waiting for the Eastern Lancaster County library, which is on our campus, to open. We talked for a while before I wound my way down the path to the meditation labyrinth. I walked the labyrinth... something I had never done before. You should try it. It was amazing. Thinking back my thoughts had wondered to the magnificence of creation and the pulse of the moment I was in. I never expected a stroll through a labyrinth to be so rejuvenating. From there I walked passed the gardens where several people were planting vegetables and flowers before making my way back to my car to get on the road to West Chester.

Gardens in Lancaster PA

Several things that I think are uniquely Garden Spot Village struck me. The first was simply the beauty and magnificence of this place. It’s not pretentious. It’s just what it is, if that makes any sense. Second, the outgoing personalities of the people; people said, “Hello” and “Good morning” without realizing who I was because of the way I was dressed (until I started talking). My voice always gives me away. People here are welcoming and engaging in ways that are very encouraging. Finally, people from the community at large are comfortable on our campus, such as the person I met in the Legacy Garden. It reminded me that after school we get high school kids hanging out in our coffee bar sipping Starbucks at Refresh. Where else do you find high school kids hanging out at a “retirement community”? The reality is even though we’re officially a retirement community people don’t see Garden Spot Village as a retirement community, they see us as part of the greater community at large and they are comfortable coming and going. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: “Come for the Lifesytle, Stay for the Friends.”

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