Seniors Enjoy Alexandria


Alexandria lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state on Interstate Hwy 49.  If senior travelers have ever seen the Red River, you well know why it is called “Red.” My son lived in Shreveport for a number of years and we crossed the river upon entering town.

The city was originally home to a community which supported activities of the adjacent Spanish outpost, Post du Rapides. Alexandria was incorporated as a town in 1819 and received a city charter later in 1832. The population today runs just under 50,000.

Alexander Fulton, a businessman near Pittsburgh, received a land grant from Spain in 1785, and the first organized settlement was made at some point in the 1790s. In 1805, Fulton and business partner Thomas Harris Maddox laid out the town plan and named the town in Fulton’s honor.


Because of its location, which still holds true today, it was the center of transportation, trading and agriculture. How the town was named ‘Alexandria’ is still something historians debate. Some say it was named after Fulton himself. Still others insist that Fulton named the town after his infant daughter who died about the time the town was platted.

Seniors Enjoy Fine Arts Hub

Both the cities of Alexandria and Pineville straddle the Red River and form a hub for fine arts. Nearby, senior visitors can delve into the Louisiana History Museum or visit Kent Plantation House, a 200-year-old French colonial structure and outbuildings.


The east-central part of the state is a must for exploring Native American heritage, from Marksville and Simmesport to Vidalia. The oldest complete sawmill complex in the South is located nearby. And in Ferriday, the Delta Music Museum pays tribute to legendary rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues performers.

The Alexandria Museum of Art is the centerpiece of Alexandria’s river front, the number one family attraction in the area. Its exhibition program has an ever-changing array of collections on loan from around the world, an extensive permanent collection of contemporary Louisiana art and the state’s largest collection of North Louisiana Folk Art.

Located in the historic downtown district, Arna Bontemps African American Museum & Cultural Arts Center gives the history of the life and times of noted author/poet, scholar, and librarian Arna Wendell Bontemps.

Seniors Find Great Cajun and Creole Food


The Kent Plantation House, built prior to the Louisiana Purchase, is a classic example of French colonial architecture and authentic creole. The House is one of the oldest standing structures in the state of Louisiana.

Senior visitors will find a host of attractions in Alexandria. If you are into hiking, biking and horseback explore the Alexandria/Pineville area. The Wild Azalea Trail is Louisiana’s longest hiking trail at 31 miles. Camping, picnicking, swimming and fishing can be found at Indian Creek Recreational Area in the Alexander Forest.

Enjoy wonderful Cajun and Creole food. Everything from the Crawfish Barn to Crispy Cajun await your palate at 21 Alexandria restaurants. jeb


Seniors Stop In Palestine

Dogwood Bloom Watch

This senior had never known that there was a Palestine, Texas in East Texas until I visited relatives who lived in rural Anderson County. Palestine is tucked deep in the Piney Woods, 100 miles southeast of Dallas and 150 miles north of Houston.

The population runs right at 20,000 happy Palestinians in this county seat and was named after Palestine, Illinois, by Daniel Parker, a settler who was originally from Illinois. Palestine is a designated Texas Main Street City and exhibits historic architecture from the early 1800′s through the 1950′s. Main Street District covers 44 blocks and is filled with eclectic boutiques, antique stores, cafes, bakeries, and diverse restaurants.

Davey Dogwood Park: A Senior Favorite


On my first visit to Palestine, I became acquainted with Davey Dogwood Park. As a master gardener, I had never seen so many beautiful dogwood trees in one spot. Texas Monthly added Davey Dogwood Park to their travel bucket list. In the article, “The Bucket List: 63 Things All Texans Should Do Before They Die,” Davey Dogwood came in at #56.

The annual Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration began in 1938. Davey Dogwood Park became the main location of the annual event in 1944, when Mr. M. A. Davey, a local oil man, bought the land and donated it to the county to be used as a park. The festival occurs each spring over the last two weekends of March and the first weekend in April.


The “official” city site has a train on it and for good reason. The arrival of the International-Great Northern Railroad in 1872 led to the demise of local river shipping, as the railroad opened year-round travel to the east, to Houston, and to Laredo.

The railroad also changed the face of the town and senior visitors will note several tracks that run right through its center. The Union Pacific Railroad maintains a strong presence today. The historic Texas State Railroad offers both steam and diesel excursions that travel between Palestine and the nearby town of Rusk.  Special events throughout the year include The Polar Express, The Lone Ranger, and the Dinosaur Train rides.

Seniors Take In East Texas Culture


If you wish to really take in the culture of East Texas, visit The Museum for East Texas Culture, a major attraction for many senior tourists. More culture is exhibited at the Howard House Museum that showcases elegant Greek Revival architecture of the late-19th-century.

The Museum is an official Texas Historical Landmark. Senior visitors will find period furnishings, artworks, and other memorabilia evocative of a familial residence in the 1880s. It lies right in the heart of town.

A wide variety of attractions welcome visitors of all ages to Palestine, including the Anderson County Courthouse, the Texas State Railroad, the Palestine Community Forest, and Elmwood Gardens. Today Palestine relies heavily on tourism, with history and nature being the biggest draws.  jeb


Seniors Descend Into Cajun Country

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Lafayette is a city located along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana. The city of Lafayette, right in the center of Louisiana’s “Cajun Country”, is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population just over 120,000. Lafayette is good food, good Zydeco music and good times for senior visitors.

It’s boudin for breakfast, shrimp poboys for lunch and seafood gumbo for dinner. It’s the “Tastiest Town of the South” and home of the best world music festival. I came across the Ragin Cajuns of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette softball team today playing in a national tournament.  They were ranked #6 in the country.  They play very well.

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Lafayette lies 15 miles west of the Atchafalaya Basin and 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and exhibits the subtropical climate typical of south Louisiana. The city is situated in a geographical area of forests and prairies interlaced with bayous, swamps and marshes.

The first known inhabitants, the Attakapas Indians, were known to have populated the Lafayette area in the 1700s. Today senior visitors will discover a rich French heritage blended with Spanish, American, Indian and African influences. The city represents a colorful combination of lifestyles.

 Cajun and Creole Attract Senior Visitors

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Lafayette was originally founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by a French-speaking Acadian named Jean Mouton. It was renamed in 1884 after the Marquis de Lafayette for his assistance to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War.

The economy of Lafayette Louisiana depended upon agriculture up to the 1940s. After that time, Lafayette  became a center for the petroleum and natural gas industry. Lafayette has a strong tourism industry, attracted by the Cajun and Creole cultures of the surrounding region.

Lafayette calls itself the heart of Acadiana because the French Canadian Acadians settled in this area after escaping the oppression of the British in the early 1700’s. It’s also referred to as the unofficial capital of Cajun Country. One of the best things to do in Lafayette is to eat. The food is a mixture of spicy southern with French influence.

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 Heart of Acadiana

Wikipedia will tell you all about the city and its fascinating history. The quasi-Romanesque brick Cathedral of St. John is a major attraction in town. The Acadian Cultural Center is not to be missed telling stories of the origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture of the Acadians (Cajuns) and other area groups.

Then step back in time at Acadian Village, a small 19th-century Cajun bayou community, which includes genuine Cajun homes relocated and combined with recreated period buildings and a Native American museum. In downtown Lafayette the Festival International de Louisiane is the largest Francophone (French speaking) festival in the United States.

The motto of Lafayette is “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Let the good times roll! jeb


Missoula and Montana Go Well Together

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Missoula, The Garden City, in state of Montana, is located along the Clark Fork River near its confluence with the Bitterroot River in western Montana. At the convergence of five mountain ranges, Missoula is often described as the “Hub of Five Valleys“.

Missoula was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post while still a part of Washington Territory. By 1866, the settlement had moved five miles upstream and renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula. Today, Missoula is said to be the most culturally active town in the state.

The city boasts a plethora of choices for the culturally minded local or senior tourist. Whether it is art or music being created in the street or a gala event at a local museum, Missoula has what it takes to satisfy even the most avant-garde individual. It is known as the “Garden City” for its dense trees and lush green landscape with three major rivers running through it.

 Three Rivers Run Through It

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The first inhabitants of the Missoula area were American Indians from the Salish tribe. They called the area “Nemissoolatakoo,” from which “Missoula” is derived. The word translates roughly to “river of ambush/surprise,” a reflection of the inter-tribal fighting common to the area.

Peacefully tucked away in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains, Missoula (pop. 85,000+) is the perfect spot for a weekend of history, culture and outdoor fun. Home to the University of Montana, one of the most architecturally distinguished academic institutions in the country, the city offers a number of intellectually stimulating attractions.

A Carousel for Missoula is a major draw in the city. It was completed in 1995 and was the brainchild and vision of a local Missoula cabinet-maker, who carved much of the structure himself and also trained an enthusiastic team of volunteers to assist in the project.

 Art, Fly Fishing And Hunting Draw Senior Visitors

Image 88For those of you seniors who have an interest in art, you will find art spread throughout downtown. Missoula offers many  galleries to explore for every art enthusiast. For others, Missoula is located within the fly fishing Golden Triangle and is a popular area for hunting deer, elk, bear and moose.

On the site of a fort used from 1877-1947, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula is a sanctuary for western Montana’s cultural and logging history. Spread out over 32 acres, senior visitors will find 13 historic structures housing upwards of 25,000 objects associated with Montana’s vibrant history.

The city sits on an old, glacial lake bed, which is now cut by Clark Fork River. The Bitterroot River feeds into the Clark Fork on the Southwest edge of town; the famed Big Blackfoot River meets the Clark Fork just east of town.

Senior travelers will find lots of fun things to see and do all year long.  jeb


Seniors Take In Gullfoss

UnknownGrab your coffee senior traveling friends and let’s go to Iceland today. Gullfoss, located in southwest Iceland, is a succession of two water falls located on Iceland’s wide Hvítá river. Its name comes from the rainbow sky that can often be seen above.

At a height of 32 meters and a width of 70 meters, Gullfoss waterfall, together with neighboring Pingvellir and geysers of Haukadalur are some of the most visited touristic destinations in Iceland. Glacial water is brownish, since it carries lots of sediments that the glacial ice has carved off the earth.


To stand at Gullfoss and wallow in the beauty and the wonder of nature is an uplifting experience. Senior visitors feel more energetic when leaving Gullfoss than when arriving. That’s the impact these unique nature sites such as Gullfoss and Geysir have on us.

The “official falls site” shows some awesome pictures. The water plummets down 32 meters in two stages into a rugged canyon whose walls reach up to 70 meters in height. On a sunny day a shimmering rainbow can be seen over the falls.

 Story and Rainbows Await Senior Visitors


Gullfoss is more than just a pretty waterfall, it has a story to tell. In the early 20th century foreign investors wanted to harness the power of Gullfoss to produce electricity. Gullfoss is by far Europe’s most powerful waterfall.

For the adventuresome senior traveler, check into one of several tours that can be made on site.  Many travel agencies and bus companies offer daily tours to the Golden Waterfalls and the Geysir Area. On a sunlit day, the mist clouds surrounding the hammering falls are filled with not just one big one, but dozens of rainbows, providing an unparalleled spectacle of color and motion.


The old nearby Geysir has been in retirement for decades, but when it was active its eruptions reached the height of at least 80 m. All around the old Geysir are more spouting hot springs, such as the ever lively Strokkur (the butter Churn), which erupts every 3-5 minutes.

Just east of the Geysir Area is one of the many centers of the Forestry Service and its forest, which has been expanding for decades.


Iceland is unique for its many natural wonders. If you make the circuit of Iceland in a clockwise direction, by the time you arrive at Gullfoss, you might be tempted to skip what might seem like the 1000th waterfall you’ve seen. The South of Iceland is unique and is that part of the country to which the greatest numbers of foreign visitors come.

There everything that makes Iceland interesting to visit can be found the year around. And history follows at every footstep, both ancient and recent. Iceland has many spectacular falls, but the power and majesty of this one is truly impressive. Enjoy the experience and be sure to bring along plenty of space on your camera. jeb


Seniors Are Drawn to Woonsocket

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How many cities can you name that have a name like Woonsocket? I’ll bet not one, unless you are from South Dakota or Rhode Island. I have been enthralled with that name and I read in USA Today about the town. I figured it was time to learn what’s happening there that draws senior visitors and how it got that unique name.

I learned that Woonsocket in the north of Rhode Island has a population around 42,000, that it ranks sixth largest city in the state and that it lies directly south of the Massachusetts state line and straight north of Providence, the capital.

There are actually two Woonsocket’s.  Woonsocket, RI was the first, established in 1888. The other, Woonsocket, South Dakota, pop. 700, was named by its superintendent of railroads who had originally come from Woonsocket, RI., and therein lies the connection.

Interesting Name Derivation

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Now for that name: Woonsocket. In 1661, the English theologian Roger Williams purchased the area from the “Coweset and Nipmucks”, and in a letter referred to modern day Woonsocket as “Niswosakit”. Other possible derivations to the name include several Nipmuc geographic names from nearby Massachusetts.

A sleepy farming community until the 1800′s, Woonsocket later became one of the nineteenth century’s great industrial centers. Main Street has been restored and is a great place to start a visit. The heart of Woonsocket has always been this line of commercial buildings all along Main Street. Today, it is the gateway to a new and revitalized Main Street.

Stadium Theatre is a must for you senior travelers who enjoy performing arts centers, and check your timing for Autumn Fest, another fun time in town. Market Square was a dense warren of factories from the 1820′s to the middle of the present century.

For Seniors Who Like National Historic Sites

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As you well know by now, I am very much into National Historic Sites as well as World Heritage Sites.  Woonsocket may top the list for its size… I counted 36 properties and districts in Woonsocket listed on National Register of Historic Places. That will keep senior history buffs strolling around the town for quite some time just taking in all the historical sites.

River Island Park provides an attractive environment in which to appreciate Woonsocket’s unique combination of urban atmosphere and natural beauty. Within steps of the city’s Main Street, Allen Street and Island Place Historic Districts, senior visitors can enjoy peaceful strolls, memorable views from the scenic overlook, or launch a canoe to more closely experience the power and majesty of the nearby mighty Blackstone River.

Many folks have settled in Woonsocket due to the fact that it is home to the CVS Caremark Corporation, a fortune 500 company that is headquartered in town. Plus it is centrally located in the Boston/Worcester/Providence Triangle.  You will well remember your visit to Woonsocket.  jeb


Seniors Travel Northeast To Historic Wilder

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Many of us seniors cherish the fact that we grew up in a small town.  I come from a town in Iowa called Monmouth (pop. today maybe 150).  My wife comes from New Hartford (pop. maybe 500). Wilder, Vermont fits into that category with a population of 777.  Wilder is an unincorporated village within the town of Hartford. It is the location of the Wilder Dam on the Connecticut River.

The village, originally known as Olcott Falls, is unique as an early planned community developed in part by Charles T. Wilder, owner of a local paper mill in the 1880s. Wilder is located on Hwy 5 just south of Hanover off of Interstate 91. The village is part of the “Eastern Vermont Gateway” region.

Seniors Attracted to Interesting History

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The Wilder Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. If you enjoy historic quarters like the Beckers, you too will be drawn to this district that covers over 40 acres and with over 200 examples of life in the late 19th century. These include examples of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival style architecture and many homes dating back to this early era.

Wilder history dwells on the fact that in 1807 Miles Olcott, who already had a grist mill and sawmill at Olcott village, was granted the right to build a dam, canal and locks to assist boats in navigating the Connecticut River.

After the railroad came through the area in 1850, the canal was used less and less, and in 1880 the Wilder brothers of Boston acquired the water rights at the village of Olcott and built a large paper mill. One of the brothers, Charles T. Wilder, lived in the village and was particularly interested in its growth.

Wilder Mill, Bridge, Dam and Center

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When he died, his will stated that, if the village would change its name to Wilder, his estate would pay for a much-needed bridge over the Connecticut River. At an 1898 town meeting the vote was unanimously in favor of the change, and the bridge, and that same year the postal name was changed to Wilder. Mr. Wilder’s bridge stood until the 1950′s, when it was removed to make way for the Wilder Dam.

The Wilder Center is a mainstay of the village. The former Wilder Congregational Church underwent a full restoration in 2010 and has been transformed into the Charles T. Wilder Center, the Upper Valley’s premier event space for music events, weddings, classes, and private parties. It is a stunning combination of 19th century architecture and 21st century technology.

Seniors, it might be worth a stop in Wilder, especially when those Vermont leaves are in their glory.  The folks in Wilder will enjoy your company. jeb


Seniors Stake Out On Devils Lake

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Devils Lake, named after the nearby body of water, Devils Lake, is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota, making it a premier vacation and living destination for all four seasons of the year. Devils Lake offers senior outdoorsmen some of the best fishing and hunting in North America.

You’ll find Devils Lake halfway between Minot and Grand Forks on Hwy 2. The Lake  has hundreds of miles of shoreline enhanced by thick, wooded foliage and rolling hills. The lake grows large numbers of walleye, northern pike, white bass and it has earned the reputation of being the “Perch Capital of the World.”

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Perch weighing more than two pounds are caught quite frequently. Being an “expert walleye fisherman myself” having spent lots of time in northern Minnesota, I’d bring along my best tackle and go for an even larger perch.

The Devils Lake Chamber Fishing Tournament is much more than a long-running community event.  It highlights the lake’s bounty with special cash awards for the largest walleye, northern pike, white bass and perch daily. This year marks the 38th year of the tournament. Recreation in the form of open water and ice fishing is estimated to have generated more than $20 million annually.

History and Outdoors Envite Seniors

There are no fewer than fourteen buildings in downtown Devils Lake listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and area museums like the Maritime Museum and the Old Post Office Museum do well to keep senior visitors busy. Over 500 businesses offer senior visitors outstanding shopping and great service.

The town has been around for quite some time; the very first house in Devils Lake dates back to 1882. The present site of Devils Lake was historically territory of the Sioux and Lakota Indians. The name “Devils Lake” is from a Sioux phrase mni wak’áŋ (literally: spirit water). Early translators mistakenly interpreted the name as “bad spirit” until the name eventually evolved into “devils.”

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Senior travelers enjoy Devils Lake State Park, one of the more uniquely beautiful state parks with over 1,000 acres of natural environment. Grahams Island State Park is another worthwhile tourist attraction along with the Black Tiger Bay State Recreation Area.

The Devils Lake attractions revolve largely around the great outdoors, but you can also check out the historic structures and artifacts at the Fort Totten Historic Site, then  head to Sullys Hill National Game Reserve to enjoy some quality time outdoors.

Visitors enjoy the fresh air and the hospitality of the locals.  jeb


Seniors Visit Historic Trenton

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Trenton (pop. 85,000) is the capital city of the State of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. Being on the east coast, New Jersey has a long and distinguished history that dates back far before the American Revolution in which the state played a pivotal role. Trenton became the state capital in 1790.

Also known as the Garden State, New Jersey has been a center for high-tech industry and invention throughout its existence. Originally settled by Native Americans, New Jersey has welcomed waves of immigrants, from the Dutch and English in the 1600s to Asians and Latin Americans today.  Trenton played a huge role in inviting early settlers to the state and has lots of attractions that draw in senior visitors from all across the county.

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The first settlement which would become Trenton was established by Quakers in 1679, in the region then called the Falls of the Delaware. By 1719, the town adopted the name “Trent-towne“, after William Trent, one of its leading landholders.

Trent-towne later was shortened to “Trenton.” Also notable is William Trent’s historic home, the city’s oldest dwelling. Open for touring, the house is a national historic landmark.

NJ’s Most Historic Public Building Invites Seniors

Old Barracks Museum rates up near the top for visitors. In 1758, the Old Barracks was constructed to house British troops during the French and Indian War. During the Revolutionary War, the barracks was one of Washington’s military hospitals.

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The building is home to an interpretive museum, galleries, gift shop, and meeting space. Waterfront Park and the Statehouse are also major attractions. The capitol since 1792, the State House is New Jersey’s most historic public building.

Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day 1776 in icy cold conditions, north-west of Trenton in what is now Washington Crossing State Park, a name that recalls the famous painting “Washington Crosses the Delaware”, an icon of American art.

With affordable sports and entertainment venues, historic sites, and epic  restaurants, Trenton offers a wide variety of choices for senior visitors. You will find Trenton to be a fascinating and interesting city. jeb


Seniors Find Lake Village Chic

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 Nestled on the banks of beautiful Lake Chicot, Lake Village is a natural for the senior outdoor enthusiast or the amateur historian. Life in Lake Village, population 2500+, for both the young and the “young at heart”, epitomizes the hometown hospitality of southeast Arkansas and the Delta.

Lake Village is named for its location on Lake Chicot.  Apparently the lake formed in 1350 when the Mississippi River changed its route, leaving a thin horseshoe shaped lake that was part of the old river route.

According to a popular legend, the remains of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto might be buried under Lake Chicot back in the 1500′s. He was given a water burial in Lake Chicot on his way back to the Gulf of Mexico after his discovery of the State of Arkansas. It is said that Charles Lindbergh made his first nighttime flight over Lake Chicot and Lake Village in April 1923.

 Senior Historians Drawn to Lake Village

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Lake Village has nine properties listed on the National Register of  Historic Places. The nearby Lakeport Plantation is also on that listing.

The Lake Village Commercial Historic District, with 38 buildings, reflects the growth of Lake Village as a nucleus of commerce and trade in southeast Arkansas,” the National Register nomination says.

Nationally known for its ability to produce record large mouth bass, Lake Chicot also offers an abundance of crappie, bream and catfish for the avid senior angler. With over 20 miles of waterfront and four public launching ramps, even the novice fisherman can be assured the “Catch of the Day.”

Lake Village is the county seat of Chicot County.  The economy is agricultural based. The crops grown are mainly cotton, soybeans and wheat. There is also a large aquacultural base consisting mainly of catfish farmers. The Mississippi Delta’s captivating beauty and recreational opportunities come together at Lake Chicot.

 Seniors Enjoy Fishing, Boating And Birdwatching

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Cut off centuries ago from the main channel when the Mississippi River changed course, this 20-mile long oxbow lake is a peaceful setting for fishing, boating, and bird watching. Lake Chicot State Park offers cabins, campgrounds, a marina and other recreational opportunities.

The park’s visitor center contains exhibits on area history and natural resources and has free brochures detailing self-guided Mississippi River levee and Civil War tours.

The lake was discovered by the French explorer LaSalle in 1686 and was given the name “Isle de Chicot” which means island of stumps. He gave it this name because of the many cypress knees he mistakenly thought were stumps.

In late summer, small cypresses across from the park sometimes appear as if covered with snow as hundreds of wading birds, including great and snowy egrets, fly in to roost. Warm-season, evening barge tours of a swampy area at the lake’s north end reveal alligators, owls, raccoons and other wildlife. I think that senior travelers will really enjoy a visit to Lake Village.

Come and take it all in for yourself.  jeb

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