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Seniors on the go

Day trips prove popular

June 8, 2012
By NANCILYNN GATTA Tribune Chronicle correspondent , Tribune Chronicle |
Growing older doesn’t mean that senior citizens need to curtail their travel plans. Today’s seniors are more likely to plan their day trips around socializing with their friends and, perhaps, trying their luck at some games of chance. Day trips for seniors are popular and can go anywhere from a scenic destination to a casino jaunt without the hassle of packing a suitcase, and then return home to sleep in their own beds. Judy Fabian, co-manager of Niles SCOPE Senior Center, plans day trips and some overnight stays for Trumbull County senior citizens. Raymond Novotny, her co-manager, plans the casino trips. “We went to Das Dutch Haus Dinner Theater, the ‘Doo Wops and Beauty Shops’ last month,” Fabian said. “We’re going to Sugarcreek on June 21.” That trip includes dinner at an Amish farm, shopping at Baltic Mills and a winery, among other stops. “We do casino trips about once a month except for the bad winter months,” Fabian said. “They probably would fill in January and February if we sold them, but we just don’t do that.You just never know about the weather, and you don’t want to put them at risk. “ Most trips run 45 minutes to two hours in drive time to reach a destination. A frequent traveler on the Niles SCOPE bus trips, Josephine Marrara’s participation has changed over the years. “We used to go to all of them when my husband was living,” she said. Despite some health problems, she still partakes of the SCOPE day trips but just the monthly casino excursions. “I like the company of all our friends,” Marrara said. “It’s like a big family. We have mostly all the same people that go.” Her friend Theresa Lorenzetti also enjoys the day trips. “I do strictly the casinos,” Lorenzetti said. “I prefer Mountaineer, even if I don’t win. Some of the others are such long trips.” Lisa Wire, office manager for Fidelity Carnation U.S. Coach Tour’s location in Boardman, said that her senior clientele is very loyal. “My Mountaineer trip fills up every Wednesday at least two weeks in advance,” she said. “I have 22 people that go to Mountaineer Casino every week, the whole entire year. Ninety-nine percent of my people for casino day trips are seniors.” Travel agencies and bus coach tours have realized the profitability of these day trips and the ever-growing senior citizen market willing to fill the seats. Some of the trips offered by AAA Travel and Anderson Coach and Travel include visits to Niagara Falls and Ontario, covered bridge tours, a Three Rivers cruise in Pittsburgh and Amish Ohio tours. Getting to a destination by motor coach offers the best of both worlds — seniors can hang out with their friends, enjoy a trip to someplace fun and leave the driving to someone else. With the opening of the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland, Niles SCOPE already has an August day trip booked there. “They get food and play,” Fabian said, explaining the popularity of the casino day trips. “They usually get between $20 and $25 of free gaming and food. We only charge $20. So they are pretty much going for free, if you look at it that way. We just have to cover our costs.” If seniors are not gambling, the sites often offer good food, scenic areas or an opportunity to just people-watch. “It’s relaxing and you don’t have to drive,” Lorenzetti said. “It’s a fun day out. I love to eat at the restaurants. Also, the Rivers (Casino in Pittsburgh) has a good buffet.” “It’s better than staying home,” Marrara said. “We play bingo (on the bus), and before you know it, we’re there. When you get my age — I’m going to be 86 — I try to keep going. I’m on a walker. You have to keep going because if you let yourself stay in the house all day, it’s bad.” “It’s a safe day for them,” Fabian said. “They can count on us to get them there and get them back safely. It’s a nice outing for them.”

Article Photos

Nick Milkovich and Pat Griffin are shown on a past Niles SCOPE trip aboard the Nautica Queen. A group of seniors from the Niles SCOPE center went to see the tall ships in Cleveland.



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