Starting in 2014, Grand Avenue Club has made an annual trip every June to Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center. Blue Lotus is a beautiful place of 64 acres that offers non-profit organizations, work retreats, seniors, children with disabilities and their families, and organizations like ours, a hiatus from city life.

For GAC people, Blue Lotus has come to be known as our annual vacation with colleagues looking forward to our day trip months ahead. Our 2020 trip had to be cancelled due to pandemic precautions. Blue Lotus is a gorgeous place that offers many things, including a 4 acre pond, canoes, kayaks and paddle boats, swings, a meditation labyrinth, an inground pool, an indoor pavilion with kitchen facilities, and 2 miles of hiking trails.

This year's trip was last Saturday, September 18. It surpassed our expectations. We had a beautiful day in the country which was eagerly anticipated because our last trip there took place more than 2 years ago.

There were 45 of us. Some travelled in cars, but most of us were in 2 buses that left GAC at 8:30 am and returned at 6 p.m. Here are some reflections of the day from people who were there:

CLAUDINE JACKSON: "I loved it because I was with my family and friends. It was relaxing and peaceful. A beautiful atmosphere with a lot of positive energy."

ELLIE LARKEY: "It was beautiful to see everyone together outside the Clubhouse. Usually we work together; this time we saw that people genuinely like each other and want to spend time together outside of the workplace."

PHOENIX SUVAYAS: "It is very healing to be out of the city and to be in nature. Just having time to kayak and be near the pond is very soothing."

GRENESHA REED: "I will never forget our trip 7 years ago because I was pregnant and my son is now 7. This means a lot because I am still dealing with agoraphobia. I have not left my house except for Sunday morning grocery shopping at 6 am. It means to much to socialize in a peaceful and sate setting."

MATT WEAVER: "It is so fine to be here in these wide open spaces. This is allowing me to re-set my focus. I wish we could come here every month!"

JENNY TEUSCHER: "I loved the group activities--the volleyball, the basketball. Everyone was included and nobody felt self-conscious about joining the group activities. It felt as if this year things were better than ever. You could tell that many GAC'ers were hungry for socializing and playing and fun and laughter."
We are about to reserve a date for 2022. We could not be more enthusiastic about Blue Lotus as a "get away" place. If you think your group would benefit from a visit to Blue Lotus, please go to You may also visit their website to find out about other ways of being involved.

We are grateful to Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center for a wonderful day in the country where we could enjoy fresh air and strengthen our friendships!
Above: 2 busloads of eager GAC colleagues arriving to Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center early morning on Saturday, September 18, 2021.
Above: Shawndie Dauden swinging away with his good friend ChaCha Jackson by his side.
Above: Kayla Bockhop hanging out in one of the many relaxing spaces Blue Lotus has to offer.
Above: Colleagues enjoying a friendly game of volleyball, a GAC favorite pastime.
Above: Matt Weaver and Yari Colby enjoying the afternoon paddle boating.
Above: Happily exhausted GAC colleagues returning to the city after a well needed -- and deserved-- vacation.
Above: (l-r) GAC members Michael Anderson, Walter Heard, and Louis Poore proudly display one of the Art Projects they worked on with others at Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center. The letters are made of nails and yarn and are on wood. The pieces will be painted by the GAC Art Collective next week.

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club