Seniors Who Love Rainforests

That would be my wife, she’s wild about rainforestsShe could not wait to walk through one on Maui and she enjoyed every step as we walked along a trail with overhanging vines, mud puddles and huge exotic trees. Rainforests exist throughout the world but many seniors never have an opportunity to experience one firsthand.  

The word rainforest was first used at the end of the 19th Century to describe forests that grow in constantly wet conditions. Although they cover less than 2 percent of the Earth’s total surface area, the world’s rainforests are estimated to be home to half of the Earth’s plants and animals.

Today, scientists define rainforests as forests that receive more than 2,000 mm of rain evenly spread throughout the year. Some prefer to just call it a “Jungle” as often there is a thick tangle of vegetation, through which people have to force and cut their way.

USA Today has a terrific Travel Section with a listing of the major rainforests. This one is worth reading if you, like my wife, are enthralled with rainforests.

I’m confident that in addition to the amazing beauty associated with rainforests, the fact that more than half of the world’s species of plants and animals are found in the rainforest also weighs in on my wife’s adoration of them.

The wide array of flora and fauna attracts many seniors to areas that are often hidden and not easily accessible. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 70 percent of the anti-cancer plants identified so far are rain forest plants.

The Amazon Rainforest Calls to Senior Travelers

The amazing Amazon Rainforest is an area under exploration. It covers about 3 million square miles – that’s about 60 times bigger than the whole of England. Wow! It is a fact that this natural rainforest emits and absorbs vast quantities of CO2 and the globe is dependent upon this undisturbed area to monitor atmospheric CO2 levels.

Rainforests are the “lungs of our planet”. It is estimated that more than 20 percent of Earth’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Unfortunately, many rainforests are being raped for their timber and ores. Native people are being pushed out of their homeland. Deforestation is a main culprit, especially in Brazil.

National Geographic Joins In

In Brazil, which houses 30 percent of the remaining tropical rain forest on Earth, more than 50,000 square miles of rain forests were lost to deforestation between 2000 and 2005.

Biologists worry about the long-term consequences. Drought may be one. Some rainforests, including the Amazon, began experiencing drought in the 1990s, possibly due to deforestation and global warming.

Efforts to discourage deforestation, mainly through sustainable-logging initiatives, are underway on a very limited basis but have had a negligible impact so far. So pack up your umbrella and enjoy a rainforest as soon as you can.  And thanks for coffee this morning. jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Spend Time on Coronado

Coronado, also known as Coronado Island, is an affluent resort city located across San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego. Coronado Island is technically not an island, it’s a peninsula, but let’s just call is an island anyway, okay?  The Island is a must see destination for senior visitors to San Diego.

Coronado is connected to the mainland by a 10-mile long isthmus called the Silver Strand and the locals just call it The Strand. You can easily see the Naval Air Station on the Island. The beach ranks as one of the best in the country and the fine white sand sparkles in the sun thanks to the mineral mica.

It’s size makes for a “small town feel” and this small-town quaintness, with elegant gardens, old-world mansions, unique shopping experiences, and dining options are further enhanced with spectacular Pacific Ocean views. Coronado Island is an amazing place for seniors to explore for the first time or even the 100th time.

Seniors Visit National Historic Landmark


An essential component of Coronado’s economy is its visitors with over 2 million each year. Home to three major resorts, the famed Hotel Del Coronado or “The Del” is a National Historic Landmark. It will cost you $15 for a tour of this hotel, but well worth it. A little like the famed Mackinac Island Hotel in Michigan.

The downtown district along Orange Avenue has many theaters, shops and 71 acclaimed restaurants. So you won’t go hungry in Coronado.

There are many options to tour the Island: on foot, on a bike, from a boat, and even a Segway. I read somewhere that folks just like to run across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge (2.1 miles one way) and back. The Naval Base Coronado is also a major installation on the island that dates to 1997. Myself, I always enjoy tours and there is a walking tour of Coronado that is highly recommended.

Seniors Fond of History

The history of Coronado begins in the early seventeenth century when the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino caught sight of a group of islands seventeen miles off the coast of southern California and named them Las Yslas Coronadas.

These men surveyed the territories now known as San Diego and Coronado yet failed to settle in the area. For almost 200 years the peninsula remained bare.

Swim, surf, sail, fish or stand-up paddle. Bike, skate, jog, golf or play tennis. Coronado is the place to be for seniors who love the outdoors, whether on land or in the water. There are 15 miles of relatively flat paths perfect for jogging, biking or rollerblading and even more miles of bike routes along city streets.

Senior visitors will enjoy the beautiful views of the downtown San Diego skyline viewed from the Island. Folks who have visited Coronado Island report that it is the “best kept secret in San Diego.”If you want to stay at The Del, better get in your reservation early, it’s a highly popular destination.   jeb




Seniors Say Howdy in Sherman/Denison

AARP has selected Sherman/Denison as one of the Best Places to Live cities in the country. Denison has a population of around 25,000 and Sherman is a little larger with 40,000 happy Texans. Senior travelers will find them 70 miles north of Dallas in Grayson County along the Red River which separates Texas and Oklahoma… home to beautiful Lake Texoma and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

Denison has its own city website that will provide a nice overview including the city government, the community and things senior visitors might want to do while in town. Located in the heart of Denison, Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site showcases the home where the 34th U.S. President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was born in 1890.

Denison has been around since 1872 and was named after Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT) Vice-President George Denison. Today, the MKT, better known as Katy Railroad, has merged with the Union Pacific. From its beginning, the railroad has been an important part of the city.

Seniors Count the Firsts

Throughout Denison’s existence, it has been known as the city of “Firsts” as well as a trend setter. Some of these include the “First Ice Cream Soda”, “First Ice Factory in North Texas”, “First Free Public Graded School in Texas”, “First Women’s Club in Texas”, “First interurban line in Texas”, “First with the tallest building in Texas” and where the Marx Brothers “First got their start at the Denison Opera House”. Plus Downtown Denison is a viable market for affordable fine art. Denison is home to Grayson College. How about that Partner?

Seniors Drive Over to Sherman

Same thing for Sherman with links to its multiple festivals and events as well as its principal attractions that includes the Sherman Museum. The Museum has a wealth of information, exhibits, and photos that chronicle Sherman’s history beginning in the mid-19th century. Senior visitors will discover that the arts and entertainment options are plentiful, especially for Sherman’s size.

Downtown is considered the arts district, which is home to theaters, Kidd-Key Auditorium and Austin College. Year-round, the beautifully restored Kidd-Key Auditorium is host to the Community Series, a concert series including opera arias.

And Austin College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas. It was founded by the Presbyterian Church in 1849 and continues its relationship with the church and its commitment to a heritage that values personal growth, justice, community, and service.

If you’re an enthusiast of outdoors and recreation, then Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge has plenty for senior visitors to enjoy. Not only is it the perfect backdrop for activities including hiking, birding and boating, they include monthly seminars and auto tours to better educate all the visitors. Enjoy your visit to North Texas.  jeb




Seniors Descend To The Los Rios Region

My wife and I love Chile having spent time with students in Temuco, a short distance south of Santiago. These seniors hope one day to drive the entire length of the country from the Atacama Desert all the way to Los Rios.

The Los Ríos Region‘s capital is Valdivia, pop. 356,396. Valdivia, one of the most beautiful cities in Chile, was founded in 1552, rediscovered in 1645 and strongly fortified in the 18th century. The German immigration transformed it to one of the most important industrial centers in Chile with factories of beer, mills and tanneries.

Oh Those Rivers (rios)

The Futaleufú river, at the top of Chile’s Patagonia, is one of the most captivating in the world. The valley it runs through is stunning and majestic, a special, sacred place, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, dense forests, glaciated lakes and other roaring rivers.

However, as is so often the case in pristine areas such as this, the watershed faces many threats, from hydroelectric interests wanting to dam the wild rivers to the potential construction of contaminating mines, as well as unsustainable development and the entrance of invasive species.

The original Los Lagos Region was one of the largest, most diverse regions in the country. Los Rios is properly named with many tributaries that promote some of the best fishing in the world. Chile is like a long spinal cord extending along the Pacific Ocean.

Senior Travelers Like Valdivia and Fly Fishing

Valdivia seems to be the place senior visitors want to be, located near hot springs, lakes and a plethora of fly fishing hot spots.  With many miles of premium trout water, you can fly fish all day without seeing another soul. The city is recognized nationally for having outstanding human resources, with one of the biggest concentrations of masters and PhD’s per capita in Chile and one of the most important centers for scientific studies in the world.

 Valdivia is located 520 miles south of Santiago, near the Valdivia River’s mouth and the port of Corral, on the Pacific Ocean. The economy is oriented to forestry, while the other provinces are more active in fishing and cattle farming.

La Cruces Forest, also known as Valdivia Rainforest Valdiviana or temperate rainforest is an evergreen forest. It is considered a good representative of the oldest forests in the world, with an unusual diversity of tree species, many of which are unique in the world.

We recall that the family we were staying with in rural Temuco took us to a forest with trees that looked like they belonged to a prehistoric era. The trees are called Araucaria or monkey trees or Chilean Pine. Because of the great age of this species it is sometimes described as a living fossil.

Seniors, make plans now to visit the Los Rios Region, bring along your fly fishing gear and a good South American appetite.   jeb




Seniors Head Far North

Land of the Midnight Sun

Years ago this retired senior former teacher had a student in my French class that lived north of the Arctic Circle in Denmark. I was always impressed that he would come this far to Minnesota (Shattuck School in Faribault) for an education. He lived with reindeer all around him as well as lack of sunshine and cold nights one after another.

Lapland is a region in northern Scandinavia called Fennoscandia, largely within the Arctic Circle. It stretches across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lapland is the largest and northernmost of the regions of Finland. Summer in Lapland means the Land of the Midnight Sun.

There Aren’t Many Folks That Far North

Lapland is the home of about 3.4% of Finland’s population, the least densely populated area in the country and is called “Above Ordinary,” And indeed it is.

So why go there at all, seniors?  Because it’s there.  Kind of like mountain climbers climb mountains because they are there and divers dive deep because the ocean is deep.

Meaningful experiences that stimulate all the senses and feelings, leaving permanent memories for seniors to enjoy are very easy to find in Lapland.

Pull up those mukluks, put on a sturdy furry parka and brave the elements with the locals. Temperatures can plunge as low as -50°C in the winter. The sun is not seen for days on end during the polar night (kaamos). By contrast, summer brings out the Midnight Sun and temperatures can occasionally rise to 30°C, although summer temperatures in the 10-20°C are mostly the norm. July is the warmest month.

Finland is a mostly flat land, with more than 70% of it covered by thick forest. In the southern areas, water seems a more common sight than land with countless clear water lakes everywhere.

Aurora Borealis Attracts Seniors Attention

I found it interesting that most of the gold used to mint Finnish gold coins comes from Lapland. Here’s what the local language would look like to you: De ERUF-uppgifter som tidigare sköttes vid länsstyrelsernas bildningsavdelningar har överförts till landskapsförbunden, so you might want to hire a good guide. Of course Sweden, too, would welcome your visit to Swedish Lapland, a perfect spot for catching the Aurora Borealis.

Lapland is home to a flourishing indigenous people called the Sami, as well as a magnificent parade of scenic treats that truly come alive in the summer. Due to its location north of the Arctic Circle, Lapland is bathed in sunlight around the clock, non-stop for two precious months a year.

Seniors Investigate The Last Wilderness

Lapland is often called Europe’s “Last Wilderness”, a region of endless forests, fells (a high and barren landscape feature), and great silences. Settlers in Finnish Lapland walked gently and left the landscape almost unspoiled.

Senior explorers and adventurers will love Lapland. Now easily accessible by plane, train, or bus, this arctic outpost offers comfortable hotels and modern amenities. Enjoy your time in Lapland.  jeb



Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Litchfield County’s Beauty Draws Seniors

Litchfield, a former county seat of Litchfield County, Connecticut, is known as an affluent summer resort. Litchfield county, located in the Northwestern corner of Connecticut, is known for its rolling hills and New England charm. attracting senior travelers.

The Appalachian trail crosses through Litchfield County’s beautiful forested hills and over the Housatonic River, famous for some of the best trout fishing in the East. Litchfield County residents include New York City weekenders along with a variety of wildlife.

The population of Litchfield was 8,466 at the 2010 census with a history that goes back to 1721 when it was first settled. Unlike many Connecticut towns, Litchfield prospered during the Revolution. While Connecticut’s coastal and river towns were under constant attack by British forces, and while New York City was occupied by the British, Litchfield became a major “safe town” of the Continental forces.

Centrally located in the scenic northwestern hills of Connecticut, the historic New England town offers abundant opportunity for sightseeing, recreation, shopping, dining, and cultural activities for senior visitors. There are ten National Register of Historic Places that includes the Historic District.

Litchfield has its “Fall Appeal”, set amid the rolling Litchfield Hills, foothills of the Berkshire Mountains that provide a vibrantly colorful backdrop for autumn activities.

Litchfield Has Much to Offer Senior Travelers

As a Master Gardener myself, I know of the famed White Flower Farm that ranks #2 for senior visitors right behind the White Memorial Conservation Center. It is is the ultimate stop for lovers of horticulture. Ten manicured acres of gardens include shopping for Perennials, Annuals, Shrubs, Roses, Houseplants And Unique Gifts.

Birthplace of: Henry Ward Beecher – Abolitionist, Abraham Bradley, Jr. – Assistant Postmaster General, Ethan Allen (1738-1789) – patriot leader, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) -author, Isabella Beecher Hooker – activist, John Pierpont – poet, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. – Federal judge, Chuck Aleksinas – basketball player, Horatio Seymour (Vermont) – Politician, Jack Jones – baseball player. Seven colleges and universities are found in Litchfield including Trinity College and Central Connecticut State.

Senior visitors will find lots of fun things to take in on your visit to Litchfield that includes some great Pumpkin Picking. You can also include some top notch apple orchard picking as well. Hiking trails abound as well as some great live music and Farmers Markets.

Sightseeing opportunities in Litchfield are plentiful and diverse. Top attractions include museums and art galleries, amusement parks, National and State Parks, historical places, sporting events and festivals. If attractions aren’t what you’re looking for you can spend a day taking a scenic drive on one of the Litchfield area’s beautiful byways, back-ways, or historical routes exploring the diverse wildlife and scenery. has some of the most complete travel information on hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, camping, and golf courses available in Litchfield. Enjoy your stay and plan on spending at least a few days enjoying friendly and exciting Litchfield. jeb




Seniors Enjoy Best Climate in the World

The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago located just off the NW coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara.  There are seven different and unique islands, ideal for disconnecting from routine, recharging your senior batteries and going back home with a revitalized body and mind.

Visitors will find all kinds of open-air activities together with a wide range of accommodations and leisure activities that make most visitors wanting to return again and again. The Islands are volcanic and they are very Spanish, so that’s the language there.

Senior visitors can enjoy exciting city life in the island, especially in its capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is said that this city has one of the best climates in the world, a cosmopolitan and dynamic center, where you will find everything you can imagine. And senior visitors will enjoy a certain calm and peaceful atmosphere on the archipelago’s beaches.

Seniors Enjoy Natural Attractions

Climate and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor), make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors each year.

Gran Canaria is large with nearly  850,000 inhabitants. The capital, Las Palmas (375,000+ inhabitants), is the most populous city and shares the status of capital of the Canaries with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The attractive archipelago offers unique landscape with the green hills, wild cliffs, sandy beaches, desert, and lots of palm and olive trees.

Canines? We know what they are. The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning “Island of the Dogs”, a name applied originally only to Gran Canaria. So it has nothing to do with those little yellow birds. Another speculation is that the so-called dogs were actually a species of Monk Seals (canis marinus or “sea dog” was a Latin term for ‘sea.’ So take your pick. I’m always interested in how sites got their names and there are very interesting stories behind most.

 Seniors Enjoy Year-Round Fresh Air

 Among the cities, along the beach, or off the beaten path, senior travelers will find many choices for Canary Island lodging. Grand hotels, luxury resorts, international hotels, charming bungalows, spacious villas, apartment rentals, and bed-and-breakfast inns providing overnight accommodations and island hospitality to visitors from around the world.

For generations, seniors  have flocked to enjoy Canary Island for relaxing vacations. Thanks to the mild year-round climate, fresh air, mineral-rich waters, and abundance of sunshine, the islands are an ideal setting to relax your cares away, no matter what the forecast is at home. And senior hikers, bring along a good pair of boots because walking in the Canaries is about discovering super scenery around every corner.

What’s not to enjoy about the Canaries!  jeb




Seniors, Time To Rate Your State


If this senior was to select the top state for quality of life I just might start off with my birth state of Iowa.  Great place to raise a family and its very low key. CNBC did not even chose Iowa in their top picks. Guess they have not spent much time there yet!

Of course I must admit my bias, my wife and I raised three super children in Iowa. We just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and the first 45 were in the Hawkeye State.

Seniors, Let Me Challenge You To Pick Five

Can you write down five top states for quality of life right now as we speak… five. Only five. How did you do?  Did you choose your own state like I did?  I have a trivia question, this “triviaholic” enjoys small facts. Which of the 50 states is the most visited? It’s Hawaii. Among the most visited of the 50 states, there is no shortage of attractions way out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.


CNBC writes that “The Aloha State offers nearly every type of climate known to man, so unless you crave polar conditions, you’re in luck. This is a healthy state, with low instances of cancer and heart disease and few residents without health insurance.

Hawaii’s top-ranked quality of life for a second straight year makes it easy to forget about the state’s dismal overall ranking.” So guess where my wife and I went for our 50th. Right on and Aloha and Mahalo too.

#2 Vermont – #3 Minnesota (or as I call it Minnsnowda). I can say that since I lived there for three years and even had a cabin way up north.  #4 Nebraska – #5 Maine that tied with North Dakota. I don’t know why but from here CNBC with from #10 on down to #6. #10 was Washington State followed by #9 New Hampshire and #8 Oregon.  Great choices. #7 – Guess.  It’s was South Dakota the “Mount Rushmore State”.


Seniors Always Enjoy Photos

The Evergreen State, The Granite State, The Beaver State. Insidently (I misspelled that word) S. Dakota was rated as America’s Top State for Business overall and is also no slouch when it comes to Quality of Life.

Now we’re taking a jeb ‘rabbit trail’. Don’t make fun of me on that word, ‘insidently, just check these all out for yourself… they are a little tough at times. Here you’ll find the 100 words most commonly misspelled (‘misspell’ is one of them).

I’d suggest that you Google…incidently ‘to GOOGLE’ is a verb… each of the states above.  Type in: STATE tourism or STATE Best Sites and seniors, you’ll have fun reading about each.  

I’ve  enjoyed coffee with you this morning…see you tomorrow.   jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice, United States


Seniors Enjoy Tiny Vaduz in Tiny Liechtenstein

Ever heard of Vaduz? Perhaps like me, if senior citizens read the name Vaduz, would you have any idea where it was or what it was? Unless perhaps you visited Liechtenstein. Do you know how to get to Lichtenstein… where it is located? Vaduz is the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the world.

Sitting in-between Switzerland and Austria, the Prince of Liechtenstein calls it home in his big old castle. If senior travelers happen to be visiting Switzerland, save a portion of your itinerary to check out Liechtenstein. This beautiful German-speaking country of breathtaking mountain scenery is often ignored by travelers. However, discerning senior travelers will find it a worthwhile trip, perfect for those looking for a quaint getaway amidst spectacular natural landscape.

Vaduz, the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein, with its modern buildings,  seems to “lack the old-world feel” of nearby countries. That’s probably due to the fact that banking is so important and the town bulges with glass-plated banks. Vaduz is called the “center of culture” and within the space of just a few hundred meters, visitors to Vaduz will discover impressive modern and traditional architecture as well as fine works of art and fascinating museums.

Liechtenstein’s capital is a treasure trove of culture – there really is no other place offering so many highlights in such a small space. The “official” tourism site has some great photos as well as information for senior visitors on accommodations, activities, culture & cuisine.

Seniors Discover Little Town in a Little Country

The people of Liechtenstein call their main town “Staedtle” or “LIttle Town” and their country “Laendle” or “Little Country”. Unlike Texas, the country will take you only a little more than half an hour to drive from one end to the other. Considering the geographic size of the country, these diminutives are apt, but not at all so if one thinks of the history and importance of Vaduz as a financial center.

The Liechtenstein National Museum is rated the #1 tourist attraction in town and senior visitors will not want to miss it. A structural highlight is the imposing Schloss Vaduz Castle that stands sentry from above the hill. That’s where visitors will find Prince Alois of Liechtenstein. The Postage Stamp Museum is also popular with visitors as is the Kunst Museum where senior art lovers will find works of the old masters.

Virtual Tourist will fill your basket with 206 handsome photos of Vaduz and the surrounding area. Enjoy your visit to this little city in this little country and if you see the Prince, greet him for me. Danke.  jeb




Senior Divers Find a “Stunning Jewel”

Senior travelers, ever heard of the Great Blue Hole? I discovered that it ranked #31 among the Top World Attractions. One of the world’s greatest hidden wonders, it lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 60 miles from the mainland of Belize.

The hole is circular in shape, over 1000 feet across and 400 feet deep. It formed as a limestone cave system during the last ice age when sea levels were lower, and the caves flooded as the planet warmed and sea levels rose.

A feature attraction of diving in Belize, especially for senior divers with an appreciation of geographical phenomena, is the opportunity to explore the famed Blue Hole. It is one of the most astounding dive sites to be found anywhere on earth. They say that it is like a giant pupil in a sea of turquoise.

Geologists say that The Great Blue Hole is essentially a collapsed underwater limestone cavern, where you can find the surreal combination of stalactites and sharks. Yup, the sharks enjoy the Hole too.

Most experienced divers count this as part of their “to-dive” list. Many will attest that the effort and the expense are well worth it. Dive excursions to the Great Blue Hole are full-day trips, that usually consist of one dive in the Blue Hole and two additional dives in nearby reefs. Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites.

Seniors Awed By the Blue Hole

Believed to be the world’s largest feature of its kind, the Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System and a World Heritage Site. Divers discover that the hole itself is the opening to a system of caves and passageways that penetrate this undersea mountain. For those of us seniors who enjoy snorkeling, Blackbird Caye & Lighthouse Reef await us as well. 

It is to the world-renowned diver, Jacques Cousteau, that Belize owes much of its fame. His expeditions to the Blue Hole has brought it to the attention of the world when he said that it is one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. Jacques Cousteau took the Calypso and his one-man submarines into the hole in 1972 to examine stalactites suspended from overhanging walls. He described Belize as “one of the four must-dive locations on this blue planet”.

The analysis of stalactites found in Great Blue Hole shows that formation has taken place 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago. How did they ascertain those facts?  I just don’t know. 

Nearby Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, a bird sanctuary whose dense vegetation provides habitat for thousands of red-footed boobies and frigate birds, is a senior naturalist’s dream. So pack up that gear and make plans for a great dive into the Great Blue Hole.   jeb



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