Hurrah for Ukiah

Maybe you have never heard of Ukiah, California, but it’s a spot senior travelers will want to put on your map as you head either up or down Highway 101.  Protected by the encircling coastal ranges, the City of Ukiah is nestled in the Yokayo valley in southern Mendocino County.Within the city limits are approximately 16,000+ residents.

The Greater Ukiah area, including adjacent valleys and connecting communities, is home to more than 40,000. Situated on the busy Highway 101 corridor, Ukiah has managed to preserve its small-town feel while acting as a focal point for business and culture throughout northern California.

Wikipedia notes that Ukiah was ranked #1 best small town to live in California and the sixth best place to live in the entire USA.  How about that?  Impressed yet? Hang on. Ukiah has lots of 19th-century architecture, charming tree-lined neighborhoods, and a laid-back vibe. Bing brings you a plethora of videos on Ukiah that you can chose from. Check out the Festivals in Ukiah and download a free guide on the area.

Wine, Fruit and Buddhism Abound in Ukiah

Ukiah is known for wine production and the Ukiah vicinity is now home to some of the most prestigious wine labels in the nation, including Brutocao, Fife, Parducci, Frey, and Bonterra. Ukiah vintners are known for innovating with organic and sustainable practices. Ukiah is also a major producer of Bartlett pears.

Ukiah is known as the “The Sagely City of 10,000 Buddhas.” Those buddhas are just two miles east of Ukiah  and senior travelers will want to see them up close for yourself.  Purchased in 1974, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is the hub of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.

Ukiah is said to be “Far Out and Nearby” so take a closer look at your opportunities in and around Ukiah. Visit downtown Ukiah for shopping, wine or microbrew tasting, art galleries and more. TripAdvisor lists 13 major attractions that senior visitors will want to check out including the Orr Hot Springs and several wineries.

For you senior hikers, try Lake Medocino or Low Gap Park, both which have scenic, well maintained trails, disc golf courses and picnic areas. has recommended links on Ukiah for visitors to check out including their Pumpkin Fest, the Taste of Downtown, Lake Mendocino and the Grace Hudson Museum. The museum has spectacular hand-woven baskets made by the local Pomo Indians. And Montgomery Woods is not to be missed with one of the most impressive redwood groves in the entire world.

Yes, Ukiah looks like a real deal to me.  jeb


Where the Heck is Lompoc?

Lompoc (lom-poke) is a small city that is hidden in a peaceful valley and removed from the main highways in California.  While it is not large (42,000+), Lompoc has many attractions that draw in senior visitors from all across the country. It’s called a “city of arts and flowers” and is very famous for the wide variety of flowers that are grown in and around Lompoc.

The city is 50 miles NW of Santa Barbara and 60 miles south of San Luis Obispo. Originally settled by the Chumash Indians, they recognized the majesty of this region, made it the heart of their society and gave the city its name. Known today as the Valley of Flowers, this rich valley is the nation’s most prolific flower seed producing region. Cool ocean breezes give Lompoc a wonderful year-round climate, producing a lush environment for the production of vegetables as well as flowers.

It’s in Lompoc that senior visitors will experience a “step back in time” as you visit La Purisima Mission dating back to the 1880s. The Mission is a California State Historic Park with highly accurate restored grounds.  The Old Town Heritage Walk is enjoyable. The local historical society is a must for senior history aficionados. If you enjoy visiting older homes, the Fabing-McKay-Spanne House is a beauty. Lompoc has over 40 murals painted on building exteriors by several of the nation’s most famous muralists.

Lompoc Flower Festival and Vandenberg Invite Senior Travelers

Each last full weekend in June features a carnival, arts and crafts fair, food booths and family entertainment. The local chamber  invites tourists to take a self-guided tour through “Valley of Flowers” where senior visitors will see many patches and long rows of colors, varieties of cut flowers and those grown for seed. Also notice the vegetable farms and the famous Central Coast Pinquito Bean. Located just seven miles west of Lompoc is Vandenberg Air Force Base that is among the nation’s most important military and aerospace installation.

Lompoc’s Wine Ghetto is an assemblage of small wine production and tasting facilities. At first glance, you might miss it, as it is simply a collection of steel industrial buildings – nothing fancy. Once you enter however, over one dozen tasting rooms are at your disposal, offering some of the finest wines the California Central Coast has to offer.

Don’t miss those wineries and the host of other attractions offered in Lompoc. TripAdvisor lists the major attractions, activities not to be missed.  Enjoy your visit to Lompoc. jeb


To Market to Market…

Let’s enjoy a cup of coffee together this morning talking about Farmer’s Markets…all around the world.  What’s the largest outdoor market you have ever been to?  Does it compare to any of these?  Do you stop and enjoy wandering through Farmer’s Markets when you come across one? My wife and I lived in Paris for a year, many years ago…and our apartment was around the corner of a local, weekly market.  We have shopped many markets in France…loved them all.

I have personally experienced a few very memorable markets that include the world famous fish market in Tokyo (Tsukiji Fish Market), the largest fish and seafood market in the world. The Chichicastenango Market is an enormous open-air market in Guatemala where the streets overflow with highland fruits, like mamey sapote, jacote, and granadia fruit. I remember the incense pouring from in front of the local church steps. For me after Chichi, an all time memorable favorite has to be Otavalo in Ecuador up on the equator. Otavalo is one of the most colorful markets and largest that any visitor will find.

The UK has several fine markets. Paris has it’s share of fascinating open air markets generally twice a week.  The top markets in Paris include several that we have wandered through. There are however three areas where there is a daily market where the locals can shop for fresh produce. Having spent a year in Paris one that remains in my mind is called the “Mouff” or Mouffetard Street Market.

Senior Citizens Enjoy Farmer’s Markets

I plan to take in the Hilo Farmer’s Market, an indoor market on Hawaii’s Big Island. This market sells the world’s best selection of Hawaiian produce, from passion fruits to mangosteens to aquacultured seaweed. My wife and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on the Big Island and we plan to enjoy some of that high quality Hawaiian produce.

Travel & Leisure rates 12 of America’s Best Farmer’s Markets. Have you happened across any in America during your travels?  AskMen has their Top 10 with photos and a short description of each. US News lists eleven of  America’s best Farmer’s Markets, starting with the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco.

As you can see, there can be no consensus on the very best. You choose and I encourage you to stop whenever you find a Farmer’s Market and enjoy the local and fresh produce.  jeb


It’s Ashland, Seniors

Ashland has become a hot spot for senior tourists and the local chamber is one good reason for it’s popularity.  And why not? Senior visitors will find all kinds of delights that include culinary, cultural, outdoor, wellness, travel, media and even a really good visitor guide. Ashland is “just down the road” (Hwy 5) from Salem and Eugene.

Ashland is home of Southern Oregon University and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They are both pretty big around Ashland. While is it is not a large city, it’s 20,000+ inhabitants enjoy everything about the area… its history, geography, climate, demographics, economy, parks, and arts and culture. It’s a beautiful setting, Ashland Oregon, that visitors find thrilling, especially first-time senior visitors.

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, majestic mountains, rushing rivers, rolling foothills and dramatic landscapes, Ashland is a gorgeous little city with an arts scene as vibrant as its setting. Ashland hosts festivals for all seasons, with Christmas celebrations and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in winter, a film festival in the spring, classical music festival in summer and wine tasting celebrations in the autumn. Things to do in Ashland include Lithia Park, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Cabaret Theater among so many other attractions. Some say “Easy to Miss, Hard to Forget”!

Good Wine and Good Food Calls Seniors

Southern Oregon wine country is truly a premier world-class wine destination, as well as the oldest wine region in the state.  The rugged mountain valleys and diverse climates throughout the Southern Oregon wine region allow for a wide variety of intensely flavored wine grapes to be grown –  more kinds of grapes thrive here than any other wine region in the world!

Nature and wildlife abound here as well. If Southern Oregon’s gorgeous and breathtaking scenery is not enough, the Cascade Siskiyou region supports an extraordinary number of flora and fauna. The convergence of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges brings together three major eco-regions: Great Basin, Cascades and Siskiyou, creating a globally recognized hot spot for bio-diversity. The NY Times lauds Ashland as a great place to check out.

Before Shakespeare reinvented Ashland, this southern Oregon town of 20,000 was known for its naturally carbonated water, dubbed Lithia Water because it contains lithium. Thought to be salubrious for bathing and drinking, it is still piped into drinking fountains in Lithia Park and the Plaza, Ashland’s town square.

 I sure do remember my short time spent along the Oregon Coast… there are a myriad of things to do that includes so many natural attractions. Enjoy it all. jeb




Wilkes-Barre Rates High With Senior Visitors

Ever been to north east Pennsylvania?  Not yet? Wilkes-Barre, located 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, was founded way back in 1770. In Wilkes-Barre, senior travelers will find around 42,000 happy folks enjoying the surrounding Wyoming Valley, framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east and the Susquehanna River that flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.

The city is strengthened by its quality educational programs. Two of Wilkes-Barre Area’s three high schools are featured on US News and World Report’s Best High Schools list. Over 5,000 college students are within walking distance to the downtown and the city’s administration has made great strides to connect their colleges with the greater community.  The locals have learned to enjoy peanuts as Wilkes-Barre is the birthplace of the Planters Peanuts Company. They say that the name of the city is actually what is called a “King’s Error.” I looked that error up and got all tangled in the story, so I leave it to you senior history buffs who are interested to look it up yourselves.

Senior Travelers Love Scenic Luzerne County

Plan to visit Luzerne County in scenic Northeast Pennsylvania when looking to take a short getaway or just get out and do something. Whether senior citizens plan to visit Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton or points- in-between there is always something going on. Outdoor recreation is bountiful and offers a great variety of scenery and activities.  History abounds in Luzerne County.  In the 1800s, hundreds of thousands of immigrants flocked to the region to work the mines. Wilkes-Barre was located in the heart of the anthracite fields, and thus smack in the middle of development.

The accompanying growth this triggered, coupled with inevitable economic and cultural changes, transformed the rural farming region into a thriving urban center. Wilkes-Barre soon became the region’s financial center, and home to rich and powerful entrepreneurs whose business ventures affected the railroad-and-canal system that stretched 165 miles southward to Bristol.

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne’s county seat, has revitalized its downtown with restaurants, pubs and a new urban park. The River Common offers 12 miles of trails for senior bikers, joggers, walkers and roller bladers along the Susquehanna River. It is not uncommon to see kayakers paddling by the city. The River Common is host to many local events including Riverfest in June.

The city is home to more than 30 high rise buildings, a host of beautiful old Victorian homes and a unique court house. Visitors are always welcome to Penn State Wilkes-Barre, a “Big Ten University” – located on a scenic estate in northeastern Pennsylvania just thirteen miles from Wilkes-Barre.

TripAdvisor always has a listing of Things to Do, so does Yahoo Local and the local Night Out.  Enjoy all of  beautiful, scenic north east Pennsylvania.  jeb




L’Anse aux Meadows is a National Historic Site

The remains of the 1,000-year-old Viking colony in the New World at L’Anse aux Meadows mark the site of the first known European settlement in North America. Senior travelers discover that it is located on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. It was here that the Vikings built three timber-and-sod longhouses and five smaller buildings — and here that the first iron working in the New World began.

Discovered recently, 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America outside of Greenland.  Perhaps senior citizens have already heard of the site and the discovery. The remains of a Norse village were discovered in Newfoundland by the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad. Based on the root of Vinland being “Vine”, historians speculated that the region contained grapes that grew naturally and became a part of the Viking culture. The site includes several houses made from sod put over a wooden framework. One building was identified as a smithy, and another as a carpenter’s workshop. Several distinctively Viking artifacts were found, proving they really did make it there.

L’Anse-aux-Meadows National Historic Site is the first (and so far only) authenticated Viking site in North America. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the very first year such designations were made, which gives you an idea of its significance in human history. Your visit starts with a tour of the interesting interpretation center, which shows a 30-minute movie about the history of the site. Senior visitors can then check out the many artifacts and reconstructions from the time of the Vikings and, of course, the small souvenir shop.

Senior History Buffs…

Today, a visit to the site can transport senior history buffs back to where Vikings once stood. Perched on the tip of the Viking Trail, it’s a place where mystery still mingles with the light and washes over the strange, captivating landscape. Visit the interpretive center, join a guide on a tour of the Viking ruins, and visit the longhouse to discover what life was like for the Viking encampment in 1000 AD.  This settlement is thought to be the fabled Vinland, a place immortalized in Viking sagas as a distant outpost. L’anse aux Meadows would have been used as a stopping-over point to restock food and provisions before exploring further west or traveling east back to Greenland. Some believe that the Vikings may have made it as far into North America as the Great Lakes, though evidence of this is scant.

Read what TripAdvisor has to say about the site, including several personal blogs by folks who have been onsite. Join some local folks who work there and greet visitors.  Labrador and Newfoundland have plenty to see and do in addition to L’Anse aux Meadows. You’ll find the entire area one unforgettable experience.  jeb




Seniors Discover Point Reyes

Wikipedia notes that Point Reyes  is a prominent cape and popular northern California senior tourist destination on the Pacific Coast. It’s about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco and the headland is protected as part of the Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s a Natural Sanctuary, a human haven.

From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers senior visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Have fun in the Point Reyes National Seashore or the among the towering redwoods of Muir Woods. Enjoy the wealth of events that take place year-round in West Marin/Point Reyes National Seashore.

Point Reyes’ first inhabitants, the Coast Miwok, have left evidence of well over a hundred encampments on the peninsula, with a population estimated to have been nearly 3,000. Seasonal hunters and gatherers, rather than cultivators, they were nourished by fish, clams, mussels, and crab, in addition to the deer, elk, bear, mud hen, geese, and small game they hunted with spears and bows.

ABC says YES to Point Reyes

ABC News cited Point Reyes as being one of the “Most Beautiful Places in America.” They called it a “Slice of Heaven on Earth,” so senior travelers, plan on spending some quality time in and around Point Reyes. Point Reyes’ beauty today lies in the sensory overload senior visitors experience as soon as you step outdoors. “The panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean fill your eyes; the smell of sea air mixed with the area’s fir, pine and eucalyptus trees consumes your nose; the sand of the sea touches your feet; and, for your ears, there’s a virtual cacophony considering half of all North American birdlife can be found at Point Reyes.”

TripAdvisor advises a visit to the Point Reyes Station. Not only will you discover a neat lighthouse, but hiking trails, Heart’s Desire Beach and a plethora of other attractions that will keep you glued to the area. The Point Reyes Station Travel Guide will continue to fill in your itinerary with a visit to Alamere Falls and Tomales Point. A host of recreational areas as well as state and federal parks will keep you busy viewing abundant wildlife, exploring miles of beaches and tide pools and gathering wildflowers.

So let’s go to Point Reyes and enjoy some of the wonderful natural scenery. You’ll love cruising the Point Reyes National Seashore. Plan on spending at least a full day just exploring along the coast. jeb


Eagle River Is Another Cool Town

Budget Travel continues to find “cool” towns throughout the country for senior adventurers to enjoy…and Eagle River fits in well. The Annual Eagle River Cranberry Fest kicks off the fall season each October, while the World Championship Snowmobile Derby, Annual Labatt Blue USA Adult Pond Hockey Championships and Klondike Days occur at the beginning of the new year in January and February.  For a small community, Eagle River is loaded with businesses.

What makes a Coolest Small Town?

The coolest towns must be small with a population under 10,000. They also need that indescribable something: independent shops, a sense of energy, an epic backyard, culture, delicious coffee. In other words, cool doesn’t necessarily mean quaint: Budget Travel is looking for towns with an edge and a heart.

Seniors Enjoy Eagle River: Where Great Times Come With the Territory

It’s called the Snowmobile Capital of the World and is home to “The Eagle River 500.” This “cool town” is the heart of Northwoods fishing. The lakes are known for their trophy-sized musky, but senior fisherpeople are also bound to catch walleye and bass. When the leaves begin to turn and the fall foliage is brilliant, it is an excellent time to catch musky. You can send for your Free Guidebook on Eagle River online.

Eagle River is way up north in Wisconsin not too far from Lake Superior. And lakes! Eagle River is situated within the greatest concentration of freshwater lakes in the world. Additionally, Eagle River is home to the world’s largest chain of lakes, the famous 28 Lake Eagle River Chain.

ER has been on this senior’s bucket list for a few years now and I WILL get there one day to check out the great fishing and super clean air. The tourism industry continues to lead the way in Eagle River commerce with many popular attractions. The Best of Eagle River Guide will help fill in your itinerary during your visit. Don’t miss the Cranberryfest on October 5th.

Senior visitors can experience the community’s history at numerous historical structures as well as at the Eagle River Historical Society Museum, located in the restored Railroad Depot in the downtown area. Bring a strong fish pole and lots of bait as you’ll need it in Eagle River.  jeb




Senior Discovers “World Reviewer”

It has been said that…”Every now and then a blind pig finds an acorn.”  That’s me.  This senior stumbled upon a neat website but don’t ask me how I found it. It just suddenly “appeared.”  Serendipity personified.   Serendipity is the word that has been voted as one of the ten words in the English language that was most difficult to translate. It is simply a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

Anyway…World Reviewer is a treasure trove and provides many helpful travel links for all ages. They feature the latest holiday ideas, the best the world has to offer, travel experiences recommended by their experts, latest holiday ideas, latest experiences and selected categories. Senior travelers may choose a holiday idea, a location, and a theme all in one.

The folks who produced the site have traveled to the far corners of the globe, from Afghanistan to Argentina, from Tahiti to Baku. They believe the experience of finding ideas and planning your holiday online should be fun, which is why they are using the latest technology – thousands of stunning flickr images, the latest google mapping, videos imported from YouTube and Geobeats, and fun tools like a weather map, or their “experience of the day.”

Senior Travelers Find Inspiration for Next Trip

World Reviewer is all about finding inspiration for the senior traveler’s next holiday. They’ve gathered together hundreds of the world’s top travel experts to recommend the best holiday ideas and travel experiences all over the world; and to help you get to them, they’ve made a comprehensive list of all the best travel companies and specialists too. From trekking in the Himalaya to a cooking course in Tuscany, from whale watching in the Azores to ballooning in Namibia. World Reviewer is creating the best range of experiential travel on the web.

Their search site lets seniors find whatever you might be interested in for your next trip. They describe the Dominican Republic’s northern coast where I have spent some quality time. The Dominican is best known for its beautiful beaches, tasty rum and quality cigars. I liked the part about the quality cigars.

The best Christmas markets are said to be in Germany and Austria.  They offer Christmas Markets and Christmas Holidays all over the world.

I leave you with a “find” on train travel from  Traveling by train in Provence offers many advantages; not least because the journey actually feels like part of the vacation. Provence is a region in southern France, immortalized in countless films and books, conjuring up images of sleepy villages, boules, rustic cuisine and robust wines, plus it’s one of my most favorite places in the world.

Here are the latest other videos and offers including Maui, Verona, Malta and Santa Lucia. What a find!  Enjoy your search. jeb




Le Claire… Another Cool Town

Budget Travel continues to amaze readers by selecting small towns under 10,000 population and highlighting each one.  Le Claire is another Budget Travel Choice and for good reason. Being from Iowa myself, I found this one particularly attractive. I had a fraternity brother in college from Le Claire.  There is long history along the Mississippi River towns and along with the Buffalo Bill Museum, the city has much to offer senior visitors. There are only 3,800+ inhabitants in Le Claire and it is one of the fastest growing communities in the Quad Cities.

I grew up in eastern Iowa not all that far from the Mississippi River. I knew some river rats personally. That’s not much of a complement, but they themselves use the term.  When you cross the Mighty Miss into Iowa from Illinois on Interstate 80 you will pass by Le Claire just to the north on the Great River Road.  As one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America, the Great River Road offers respite to millions of senior travelers seeking a getaway – from a leisurely day’s drive to an extended vacation.

And there’s plenty of Great River Road to see. Through its charming river towns and metropolitan cities, historic sites and cultural artifacts, today’s Great River Road still links resources, people, and history. Nearly 3,000 miles long and running through 10 states along the Mississippi River, the Great River Road offers a gateway to the river valley’s great history, the blending of cultures and a host of recreational options to all senior travelers who journey it.

The O’l Mississippi Beacons Senior Travelers

Le Claire has always had a close relationship with the Mississippi River. In the 19th century, the town was home to the river pilots who navigated through the dangerous Upper Rapids. Nowadays, the pilots are commemorated by the Mississippi River Distilling Company, which crafts concoctions such as River Baron Artisan Spirit and Cody Road Bourbon, named for the city’s most famous native son, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

Senior visitors can best explore the waterway with an overnight cruise on the elegant Riverboat Twilight. While onboard, make sure to keep an eye out for the river’s most celebrated residents, bald eagles and white pelicans. The Mighty Mississippi even plays a starring role in the town’s coolest annual celebration: Tugfest, a cross-river tug-of-war with Port Byron, IL.

Small as it is, LeClaire seems to always have something going on all year long and plenty of antiques to look over.  Le Claire offers some of the best Bald Eagle Photography opportunities in the continental US from December to March each year at Lock and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River. You’ll enjoy your time in Le Claire.  jeb



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