Fairfield County is filled with active, engaged senior citizens who love to go places: the theater, art galleries, museums and historical sites.
But they may not want — or be able — to navigate Grand Central or the streets of New York. And trains don’t go to places like Goodspeed Opera House.
So what can older folks do when they want to go away for the day?
They contact Away for the Day.
For the past 17 years, Jill Meyer has owned the company. She — well, buses she hires (and vans she drives) — takes area residents to New York, New Haven, Hartford, Boston and other interesting spots. They see Broadway shows, tour the Cloisters, enjoy boat rides, and do much, much more.
All they have to do is get to one of 5 pickup spots, from Stratford to Greenwich. The Westport meet-up is the I-95 Sherwood Island commuter lot.
Meyer brings a varied background to her service. After moving to Westport in 1965 she taught English at Staples High School. She was mentored by “wonderful” instructors like Tony Arciola and Karl Decker.
Raising 3 children — Ben, Alexandra and Nicholas — brought her out of the classroom. She tutored for many years, then returned to the school system working with the gifted program (and its very gifted teacher, Annette Fournier).
Meyer also worked as an accountant for Nancy Strong’s fitness business; in children’s literature, and then for an eye care communications company.
When that firm moved out of the area, Meyer bought Away from the Day from its founder.
She was attracted by the opportunity to help seniors enjoy activities at a reasonable price. What she did not realize at the time was how important it was as a way for them to make new friends.
Away for the Day attracts “intelligent, curious, well-educated, well-traveled and well-read” people, Meyer says. “They’re still curious about life and the world. They want to keep living. They don’t want to drive. But they love telling their grandchildren they’ve seen a show, or been to Hartford or Boston.”
Many are former teachers. Most are women.
“Occasionally we get men with their wives,” Meyer notes. “But my own husband finds it difficult to get on a bus with 50 women.”
(He did love “Jersey Boys.” And he just got back from what Meyer calls “a fantastic production of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.'”)
Away for the Day sponsors 2 or 3 trips a month. There are fewer in winter, due to weather.
Among the highlights starting in late February: “Sleeping Beauty” at Lincoln Center; the New Britain Museum of American Art; “Kiss Me, Kate” with Westport’s own Kelli O’Hara, and a historical tour of Providence.
Away for the Day occasionally goes away for 2 or 3 days — like an upcoming trip to Philadelphia and the Brandywine Valley.
For seniors who want to explore the world, the sky’s the limit.
Or at least anyplace Away for the Day can drive to.
(For more information, call 203-226-4310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)