The Joy of Travel from the Covington

Independent Senior Living Community in Aliso Viejo

Peggy Baker-Ryan and her husband Mike Ryan love to travel, and The Covington, an ECS independent senior living community in Aliso Viejo, makes it easy for them.

Peggy first moved to The Covington four and a half years ago and describes the community as “a hidden gem”. She had been living in Laguna Niguel but knew it was time to move. She was sure The Covington was the right place for her the first time she visited. “People were just so nice and welcoming,” she says. “They were asking me, ‘What can I do to help?’ It’s a great place to live and I’ve never looked back.”

Peggy says the residents have everything at The Covington. “There’s a focus on staying healthy, with fitness and nutritious food and good people to socialize with. I think people just live longer here,” she says.

Peggy married Mike Ryan, another resident of The Covington in February 2023, after both had lost their spouses. “We invited everyone to our wedding reception,” she says. “It was a great celebration.”

Peggy with her husband Mike Ryan on a recent trip to the British Isles

One of the interests Mike and Peggy share is a love of travel. The couple have been on four overseas trips, as well as a cruise to Alaska and have another planned for September. Mike has children in Boston and Colorado, and they have friends in Santa Barbara, so traveling locally, within the country or internationally is a large part of their lifestyle. “I tell people that we’re playing the back 9 and we need to play all the holes,” she laughs.

One of their recent trips was to the British Isles. Starting in London, they visited Belfast, Dublin, Scotland and the Shetland Islands. “I have friends in Belfast and Dublin, so we were able to catch up with them,” she says. But perhaps her most memorable experience was in Alaska, holding puppies that might grow up to be part of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

As they plan their next trip, Peggy cannot say enough about the peace and tranquility she feels living at The Covington. “A big factor in our travel is that there is no stress at home,” she says. “There’s no garden to worry about while we’re away and there’s someone taking care of your home. If there’s anything we want done while we’re gone, like having a room painted, they help with that too, so you come back to your home exactly how you want it,” she says.

It’s not just Peggy and her husband who love to travel at The Covington. “Others are traveling as well. One woman just went to Spain for a month with her son,” she says.

“Another woman put up a note asking if someone wanted to join her on a cruise.”

Peggy has seen, firsthand, how important it is to be able to take advantage of all that is offered at The Covington. “You don’t need to travel around the world. There are day trips from the community, such as visiting Temecula Wine Country,” she says. “And The Covington plans excursions to local playhouses and other cultural centers.”

“Living here elevates your spirit. And when you are filled with spirit, you want to get up and go,” Peggy says.

Another resident enjoying the peace of mind of living at The Covington and traveling is Rosemary Zettler. This past spring, Rosemary flew to Italy to attend the wedding of her granddaughter. She is no stranger to travel, as she and her husband saw a lot of the world through his career opening up various international markets to airfreight service. She had visited Italy before, but never Tuscany, where the wedding took place.

Her flights had been booked for six months, but the one stressful area of trip planning was waiting for her passport to arrive. She started the passport renewal process months in advance, but time passed, and she had not received her passport. “I think everyone at The Covington was worried that my passport wouldn’t arrive on time,” she says. A few determined calls by her daughter seemed to shake loose any delays and her passport arrived just two weeks before her departure. “Everyone was so pleased for me.”

She stayed in Trequanda, a town about 45 miles southeast of Florence. “Tuscany in the spring is a green paradise,” she says. Beyond the beautiful landscape, the town is home to a Michelin-rated restaurant. “I experienced a dinner that lasted two and a half hours,” she laughs. She also attended a lecture on olive oil, learning about the distinct differences in flavor. Rosemary traveled with her family to Florence as well, visiting the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, an important landmark in the city.

Living here elevates your spirit, and when you are filled with spirit, you want to get up and go.

– Resident Peggy Baker-Ryan

It was the wedding that brought her to Italy, so it was the wedding that captured her memories. A clothing and textile major in college, Rosemary has always sewn garments, but more recently has turned her talents to quilting. “I embroidered a blue heart on the hem of my granddaughter’s wedding dress,” she says, making the special day even more special.

Peggy in Alaska with one of the puppies who may grow up to participate in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Rosemary also engineered the construction of a queen-size wedding quilt in which she asked 12 different family households to help her with the sewing together of the 195 blocks she had made. Thus, the newlyweds were wrapped up in the entire family’s love and support. In addition, she has crafted a wall hanging of silver champagne glasses to commemorate the wedding day. Both quilts will be on display at The Covington. With her talent, it’s no surprise that she made the beautiful blue dress she wore to the wedding in Italy. In addition, the guestbook sat atop a white tablecloth, which she also made. This tablecloth has been part of eight weddings in her family, so her sewing has inspired many family traditions.

Rosemary signing the guestbook at her granddaughter’s wedding. She made the quilt on which the guest book sits, as well as the dress she is wearing

Calling The Covington home means you’re free to travel as often as you’d like, knowing that when you walk through your front door, your well-maintained home and nearby friends are waiting for you.

Her time in Italy was a deeply memorable experience. “When I walked in the door of my home at The Covington and everything was there, waiting for me, well, it was a wonderful moment.”

Rosemary moved from Redondo Beach to the active retirement community in 2018. “Hands down, The Covington was the best choice,” she says. “Once we moved into The Covington, I knew it was the right decision,” she says, because she was surrounded by so many people going through the same experiences. And she was delighted by the wealth of activities. “Immediately I joined the landscape committee,” she says, which she later chaired. Rosemary is now part of the welcome committee, reaching out to those who are new to The Covington and helping them with the transition.

Rosemary and her family in Florence during their visit to Italy

There’s so much to discover through travel, whether it’s to a nearby town, a neighboring state or a country waiting to be explored. Calling The Covington home means you’re free to travel as often as you’d like, knowing that when you walk through your front door, your well-maintained home and nearby friends are waiting for you.

The Covington
3 Pursuit | Aliso Viejo
(949) 389-8508 | thecovington.org

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