SENIORS ENJOY RHODE ISLAND



Seniors Find Plenty To Watch In Watch Hill

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Watch Hill is an affluent coastal village in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, sitting at the most-southwestern point in all of Rhode Island halfway between NYC and Boston. Watch Hill is characterized by the New York Times as a community “with a strong sense of privacy and of discreetly used wealth”, in contrast with “the overpowering castles of the very rich” in nearby Newport.

Today, it is best known as the backdrop for the Ocean House, the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel in Rhode Island. The current population of Watch Hill is 140 with the median age of 63.

I came across Ocean House in my recent Condé Nast Traveler magazine (July – 2014). They called it the “Queen on the Hill” and indeed it is. Once destined for demolition, now it is a point of civic pride in Watch Hill that required a three-year-ground-up rebuild.

Seniors Delight In Visiting Ocean House

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Ocean House was built in 1868 for “well-heeled” summer visitors from all along the Atlantic Coast. It is the last remaining of seven such properties in Watch Hill. Today there is a lot of life that revolves around this “enchanted bluff.”  Ocean House is ranked high in many categories like: #7 for their spa; #10 as a Top Resort in the US; #11 as a Best Coastal Hotel, #10 for Top Beach Resorts.

Watch Hill is famed as a honeymoon destination. The city includes the westernmost point in the state known as Napatree Point. Together they have formed Little Narragansett Bay which has made Watch Hill a popular harbor around which a business district has grown.

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The awesome waterfront was once lined with huge Victorian hotels but fire and hurricanes destroyed most of them during the 1900s. The Ocean House and the Watch Hill Inn are the only two that remain in operation.

Situated in the heart of downtown Watch Hill Village, the historic Watch Hill Inn is an iconic seaside villa property overlooking the waters of Little Narragansett Bay.

More For Seniors To See in Watch Hill

There is more to Watch Hill than hotels. The Flying Horse Carousel, a National Historic Landmark, is the oldest continuously-operated carousel in the United States. Senior visitors will find some great beaches, bird-watching, fishing and an interesting history.

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If senior travelers enjoy old lighthouses, like my oldest daughter, take in the one at Watch Hill. One of the oldest lighthouse sites in America, it remains an active aid to navigation today, serving as a nautical beacon for ships since 1745.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge consists of 409 acres of diverse upland and wetland habitats including grasslands, shrub lands, wooded swamps and freshwater ponds.

Occupied by Niantic Indians in the 1600s, European colonists used the area as an important lookout point during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, hence the town’s name. If you enjoy staying in B&Bs or vacation rentals, Watch Hill has plenty of those awaiting your visit. jeb

SENIORS JOURNEY THROUGH INDIANA



Seniors Stop By Fishers

Junk-Removal-FishersI have written several blogs on communities called “the best…”  Fishers, Indiana with a population of just over 77,000 rates right up there with the best on a host of subjects. Let’s explore a little deeper to see why folks enjoy living in upscale and vivacious Fishers, 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

Fishers was named one of America’s Friendliest and Top 15 Suburbs For Retirement by Forbes. Forbes says that Fishers enjoys the lowest crime rate on their list and homes average a tad above $200,000 with the cost of living 10% below the national average. The “official city website provides an overview of the things you want to know about the city.

Seniors Find a Town That Offers Lots

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The town offers several classes and summer day camps for all ages and it also offers free community events that require no registration or proof of residency, so senior visitors can take these in.

The Fishers Freedom Festival is a two-day event for folks of all ages, held annually, to celebrate the Fourth of July. There are parades, fireworks, games, sports, food vendors, and other entertainment.

Senior visitors as well as the locals flock to Rita’s Backyard that features flowers, planters, vegetables, gifts, and café options. It’s easy to forget about one’s troubles as you walk through the assortment of colorful and well-tended plants.

Conner Prairie, the Symphony on the Prairie, the Fishers Renaissance Faire and much more await your visit. Holland Park is the town of Fishers oldest park, and it remains one of its most popular.  Every year hundreds of new residents start calling Fishers home thus keeping it among the fastest growing areas in the country. The town’s welcoming atmosphere makes transitions easy.

 Trading Post Beginnings

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Fishers was was first settled by William Conner back in 1802 as a trading post along the White River. Seventy years later, in 1872, Salathiel Fisher divided his land into town lots.

The area was known as Fishers Station and originally as Fishers Switch. New communities in this time period would spring up along railroads and Fishers was no exception, hence the early reference to a train station or switch.

Fishers rated #8 by CNN Money Magazine as a great place to live and raise a family. That is just another notch in the belt for Fishers which is constantly being recognized as one of the premier places to live, work, and raise a family in the US.

These are just a few of the many reasons why it’s easy to get hooked on Fishers, Indiana. So pull on in and enjoy the city as you work your way through the great state of Indiana.  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO SOUTH DAKOTA



Seniors Warm Up In Hot Springs

photo_4287 Hot Springs. There seem to be hot springs all over the country. One of my favorites is Hot Springs, Arkansas.  I’m confident that I would love this one as well. One of this senior’s all-time dreams was to own property with a hot springs stream flowing right through the front yard so that I could jump in whenever I wanted.

Well, Hot Springs, South Dakota is known as the Southern Gateway to the Black Hills. It has great water, small population, just under 4,000 and is the county seat of Fall River County.

Called Minnekahta (warm waters) by the original white settlers in 1879, the town’s name was changed to Hot Springs in 1886. Earlier, the Lakota and the Cheyenne Indian tribes fought for control of the natural warm waters. Wouldn’t you? Of course you already knew that Minne meant waters like Minnesota.

Hot Springs, Black Hills and Wooly Mommoths

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The Springs is nestled in the southern Black Hills, surrounded with charm, scenic beauty and tons of friendly people. Hot Springs is home to soothing natural warm water springs, great year-round weather, fantastic outdoor activities, beautiful sandstone architecture, and the most inviting and friendly people you’ll find anywhere.

The Fall River County Courthouse, a unique red sandstone courthouse, was built in 1891 and is a major landmark in town. In 1890, Fred Evans established Evans Plunge and made the natural springs available to the public and today many senior visitors choose to take a plunge into the hot waters. The Plunge has been used to treat chronic diseases, arthritis, rheumatism, gout and other frailties.

The Springs is world famous for Mammoth Site.  More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of town.  The Mammoth Site, as it is called, is a unique museum and paleontological site.

It houses the remains of fauna and flora preserved by the entrapment in a sinkhole where Mammoth bones were found in 1974. The world’s largest mammoth research facility, is open year round and features Ice Age geology and paleontology. It has the world’s largest and most  extensive collection of mammoth remains.

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Seniors Discover Wild Horse Sanctuary

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary was established to give undesirable and un-adoptable horses a quality environment in which to live. Seniors can pay a visit to the Pioneer Museum where the past comes alive in a beautiful 19th century four-story sandstone building that was used as a schoolhouse until 1961.

If you are into spelunking, visit Wind Cave National Park established in 1903. It is the fifth longest cave in the world at 137 miles in length. Oh my, I almost bypassed Angostura Reservoir, a water-lover’s haven with breathtaking, scenic views, offering crystal clear waters, 36 miles of shoreline, and some of the finest sandy beaches in the state.  So swing on by Hot Springs for some assured fun and great warm waters.  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO SAN FRANCISCO



Seniors Enjoy Strolling Through Chinatown

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Yes, Chinatown, but which one.  There are Chinatowns in several major cities, San Francisco, New York City and London, the list goes on and on. Chinatown of San Francisco is the largest Chinese community on the West Coast. These seniors had the good fortune to just stroll through Chinatown and to take in the wonderful environment of Hong Kong personified.

We picked up some neat “cooking tools” and we dined in an authentic restaurant high on the second floor right in the heart of the quarter. As we were just walking along, I noticed many Chinese going up a wide stairway. I said to my wife, “let’s see where they are going.”

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It was around noon and we soon learned that it was a restaurant. A young man greeted us and asked how we happened upon this restaurant. I told him that “curious Jim” just followed folks up the stairs. I think that we were the only non natives in a large room that was packed with hundreds of Chinese enjoying their noon meal. What a memorable experience.

Largest and Oldest Chinatown

Chinatown became established in the mid 1800’s when there was a large boom in Chinese immigration to the United States. Many came to escape China’s uncertain economic conditions, attracted by the Gold Rush and later by the opportunity to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.

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Chinatown can  be found in any guidebook. When checking out this unique and bustling part of the city, why not step off the main streets, dip into the alleyways and get a real view of its residents? That’s the best means for senior visitors to get to know this famed quarter.

San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco.

Seniors Walk Through Dragon’s Gate

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The entrance to Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is called the “Dragon’s Gate.” By just strolling senior visitors will soon discover that Chinatown is about eight blocks long and has two long main streets, Grant Avenue and Stockton Street.

We recall the air that permeates of Chinese BBQ’d meats, the decoration of brightly colored lanterns, the collective sound of Cantonese chatter, the wide open markets filled with the plethora of unfamiliar roots, herbs, and vegetables. Chinatown offers a bounty of shops, including restaurants, Chinese grocery stores and delis, bakeries, tea and herbal shops, clothing stores, galleries and souvenir haunts. It’s just plain fun.

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Three annual festivals honor the city’s Chinese heritage. Chinese New Year and the Autumn Moon Festival draw  crowds to Chinatown. It’s one of the most exotic-feeling parts of San Francisco along with Fisherman’s Wharf and at times, you may hear more Chinese spoken on Stockton Street than on the streets of Hong Kong.

Enjoy it all. jeb

SENIORS ENJOY MASSACHUSETTS



History Is Alive In Lexington

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Lexington, 35,000 population, is called the “Birthplace of American Liberty”. The town has a proud tradition of hosting visitors from throughout the nation and around the world interested in the historical picture of our nation’s first patriots.

Few towns that I have visited in Massachusetts typify the New England spirit like Lexington. It is an affluent community that prides itself on the scenic beauty of town, land and of its glorious history.

It was on Battle Green, on the morning of April 19, 1775, that “the first blood was spilt in the dispute with Great Britain,” as George Washington wrote in his diary. In this first skirmish, 77 Minutemen (local colonists who had volunteered to be first responders to military and other threats) faced British Regulars.

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Today there is an annual reenactment of the First Shots Fired. They still are not sure who did fire the first shot, but that’s not important anymore. It takes place on Lexington Green, the triangular common area in the center of old Lexington center, where they say the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.

 Seniors Find History, History, History

Lexington is probably most well known for its history and is home to many historical buildings, parks, and monuments, most dating from Colonial and Revolutionary times. Just 11 miles northwest of Boston, Lexington is only a 2 to 3 hour drive from Cape Cod.

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Senior visitors, you can board a classic trolley to ride along the historic Battle Road while your costumed guide recounts the exciting events of April 19, 1775. The gravestones on The Old Burying Ground dating from 1690 are the oldest in Lexington. Senior citizens can walk in the footsteps of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and George Washington.

Lexington was first settled in 1642 as part of Cambridge, Mass. What is now Lexington was incorporated as a parish, called Cambridge Farms, in 1691. How it received its name is the subject of some controversy. Some people believe that it was named in honor of a fellow named Lord Lexington, an English peer. A few, on the other hand, think that the town was named after Lexington, which was pronounced and today spelled Laxton in England.

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Seniors Visit Old Houses, Old Taverns, Old Bridges

Senior visitors enjoy the old houses like the Hancock-Clarke House (1698) , The Buckman Tavern (1704-10), the MunroeTavern (1690). Old Hartwell Tavern on Battle Road has to fit in as well. I remember Old North Bridge that is equally as famous as this video shows. Paul Revere rode 16 miles from Olde North Church in Boston to Lexington.

The Minute Man National Historical Park with over 900 acres, is operated by the National Park Service and located within the Massachusetts towns of Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord. The Park preserves and protects the significant historic sites, structures, properties, and landscapes associated with the opening battles of the American Revolution.

So come and feel the excitement that still reigns in Lexington.  jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Galveston, Texas-A Senior Weekend Escape

Welcome-to-Galveston-Island

USA Today recommends Galveston as a great place for senior citizens to plant your feet for an excellent summer weekend escape. More than 30 miles of beaches plus a wealth of cultural and historic institutions make this island a Gulf of Mexico vacation hot spot.

Galveston, located on Galveston Island, with a population that runs right at 60,000, is 2 1/2 miles wide and has several old Victorian buildings. In the late 1700s the bay, and later the city, was named for Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Louisiana, later viceroy of Mexico. I found it of interest that modern Galveston dates from a settlement established on site in 1817 by the famed pirate Jean Laffite.

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The town is linked with the mainland by causeways and a bridge. As a major seaport, Galveston Bay is the state’s chief cotton port; sulfur, grain, and petroleum are also shipped. The city is a commercial fishing center and a popular vacation spot, with many Victorian buildings and long stretches of beach nearby.

Many senior tourists enjoy nature at the Galveston Island State Park, a 2,000-acre site that features fishing, hiking, mountain bike riding and swimming. Former senior servicemen enjoy the Lone Star Flight Museum that preserves Texas aviation history and includes many historic aircraft.

When you come for a visit, don’t forget your walking shoes. With 14 museums and 20 art galleries, plus several historic homes and mansions, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Don’t care to walk? Bicycles are available for rent for those who want to leisurely tour the area. The four wheel bikes are highly popular for getting around and get some exercise at the same time.

Senior Birders Attracted to Galveston

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Attention senior birders: The FeatherFest is big in Galveston. An attendance record-setting 651 birders and photographers of all ages attended Galveston’s FeatherFest Birding and Nature Photography Festival held April 10-13, 2014. As many as 224 species of resident, seasonal and migrating birds were spotted over the four-day festival.

Summer shows abound at The Grand 1894 Opera House that features top notch entertainment. Programs range from William Shatner one-man show to the Hank Williams story to Three Texas Tenors.

The Historic Pleasure Pier is a $60 million dollar attraction offering 16 rides, a 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel and a 200-foot-tall swing tower offering panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston is famed as well for the hurricane that struck the city in 1900 and an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives. Ike also did lots of damage in September of 2008.

It’s all fixed now, so come on down… enjoy Glen Campbell and enjoy the entire area. jeb

SENIORS JOURNEY TO NORTH CAROLINA



Asheville: A Senior Summer Weekend Escape

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USA Today selected Asheville a great place to enjoy a long weekend. Any why not?  Seniors, experience the Spirit of Asheville, the largest city in western North Carolina, with a population of just over 85,000.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Indian Nation. The history of Asheville, as a town, began in 1784.

Nicknamed, “The Land of the Sky,” Asheville is noted for its inviting climate and sheer natural beauty. Thousands of acres of national park land are swept with color in the fall. Winters sparkle with snow-capped mountains.

Some of the attractions and recreational activities include: Biltmore Estate and Winery, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, North Carolina Arboretum, Blue Ridge Parkway, WNC Nature Center, Asheville Community Theatre, art galleries, snow skiing, and professional baseball.

 Seniors Discover Art, Healing And Home

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Asheville is a great place for a senior summer weekend visit, whether you’re seeking beautiful mountain scenery, contemporary art galleries, fine organic cuisine, outdoor adventures or a romantic getaway.

Known as an art colony, a healing resort and a home to notable statesmen and luminaries, Asheville is one of the most welcoming, vibrant cities in the country.

Asheville is a major hub of whitewater recreation, particularly whitewater kayaking, in the eastern US. And then there is Asheville Drum Circle. Don’t miss this favorite Asheville tradition. Anyone can participate by drumming, dancing or watching. It’s every Friday night (warm weather months) in Pritchard Park. Join folks of every age and description.

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Bele Chere Festival is a free street festival held each summer. With 32 years under it’s belt, Bele Chere Festival has grown to become the largest and most rockin’ free street festival in the southeast.

 Seniors Enjoy Architectural Mix

The city’s rich architectural legacy, with its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles, is the perfect backdrop to the energy that emanates from the locally owned-shops and galleries, distinctive restaurants and exciting entertainment venues.

The official North Carolina site focusing on Asheville will fill your itinerary with lots of cool things to see and do. Asheville is also home to the US National Climatic Data Center, the world’s largest active archive of weather data

Lexington-Ave-in-Asheville.Your activity choices include strolling through downtown Asheville’s many art galleries, whitewater rafting on a clear mountain river, visiting craftspeople in their studios, hiking on one of 75 trails in the area, exploring some of the 100 antique shops, or just relaxing over a refreshing drink at one of many local coffeehouses or sidewalk cafés.

Grove Arcade in Downtown Asheville is one of North Carolina’s most historic buildings and features dozens of specialty shops, galleries and restaurants.

Asheville will fill any itinerary with many fun things to see and to experience. Put the city on your travel bucket list and enjoy it all.  jeb

SENIORS JOURNEY DOWN THE EAST COAST OF FLORIDA



Seniors Discover Gold in Hollywood

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Hollywood is a city in Broward County, Florida with a population of 140,000+. Founded in 1925, the city grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, and is now the twelfth largest city in Florida. Down the east coast of Florida nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, this classic Florida beach town has attracted senior visitors since the early 1920s.

Hollywood Beach features a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade called the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk that stretches nearly two and a half miles along the Atlantic. Named one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks by Travel & Leisure Magazine, this brick-paved thoroughfare is a haven for joggers, bicyclists, roller-bladers and senior visitors who would prefer to take in the action from the comfort of one of the countless eateries and cafés along the way.Boardwalk

Hollywood highlights include this 2.5 mile paved walking, jogging and biking path with eco-friendly lighting, 7 miles of beach and 10 consecutive years as a Blue Wave Certified Clean Beach by the Clean Beaches Council. That award means a lot of those of us who enjoy spending quality time on a sandy and clean beach.

Seniors Take In Hollywood’s Downtown District

And senior foodies: Hollywood is a gourmet delight with dining and entertainment spots from city to shore. Waterfront views from seaside cafes and restaurants in Hollywood’s Beach District make dining special and it’s in this area that you will discover a veritable cultural feast in what is known as Hollywood’s Downtown District.

Downtown Hollywood Classic Car Show

Art Walks, Dream Car Classic Shows, Artspark Movie Nights, Exhibitions and Glassblowers take place all year long in Hollywood. Senior travelers, make it a point to drive down the Atlantic Coast for a visit to what is called the “Diamond of the Gold Coast.” You will find Hollywood to be a true gem.

Hollywood is also home to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Anne Kolb Nature Center, which provide the perfect recipe for eco-adventures and nature lovers. Visitors will always find something to see and do in Hollywood, where the pace can be as energetic or as leisurely as the occasion inspires.

Take the Hollywood Trolley to discover fun places from the beach Broadwalk to the quaint and vibrant Downtown. Located close to the airport and between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, senior travelers will love what you find in Hollywood. jeb

SENIORS WELCOMED IN TEXAS



USA Today likes Granbury

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 Seniors will find this small town of 8,000 welcoming to all visitors. Granbury lies thirty-five miles southwest of Fort Worth on the shore of Lake Granbury on U.S. Highway 377. USA Today recently selected Granbury as a Great Summer Weekend Escape choice.

The city namesake comes from Brigadier General Hiram B. Granbury who led Confederate troops from this area into battle during the Civil War.

Founded in 1887, Granbury started as a square and log cabin courthouse. Many of the buildings on the city square are registered historic landmarks, including the Granbury Opera House, which still hosts Broadway productions.

Granbury’s most fascinating wild west folk legend says that Jesse James, the notorious outlaw, is buried here and not in Missouri. The local cemetery even has a nice grey tombstone with his name on it. Crockett Street in Granbury is named in honor of the Davy Crockett family and their contributions to Hood County History.  And add this to the local lore, John Wilkes Booth once slept here. Impressed?

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 Seniors Enjoy Granbury’s History

The Granbury Historic DistrictWhere Texas History Lives,” is home to over 50 shops that specialize in art galleries, wineries, antiques, gifts, collectibles, specialty merchandise and clothing.  Many of the older buildings have been restored and proudly display Historical Markers.

Senior visitors can enjoy a Ghost and Legends Tour around the square, Drive-In movie theater (wow!), 7 golf courses, some great fishing and varied water sports. And ladies, if you are “into dolls”, Over 800 dolls from all over the world are in the Granbury Dollhouse Museum.

Seniors will find plenty to do. Check out the Visitor’s Guide on this site to fill you in on all the amenities. I just love those guides that let you flip through the pages to get to know the town better.  This one is glitzy, well done and in full-color.

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The Downtown Square is the first town square in Texas to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Granbury Opera  House dates back to 1886 and has been well restored.

For you hikers and bikers, The Moments in Time Hike/Bike Trail was newly built in 2006. It is an 8 foot wide concrete trail traversing 2.17 miles from the Granbury Regional Airport to Shanley Park just north of the Historic Downtown Square.

The Granbury Courthouse is impressive and worth a visit. For its size, Granbury seems to have something going on all year long. From King County “Agape Fest” featuring Christian Country Music, to musicals, theatre productions, Cemetery Tours and to top it all off, D’Vine Wine on the Square presents “Music, Massage and Merlot”.

While “Everything is BIG in Texas”, Granbury is evidence that even in a small town, “Everything is FUN.” jeb

SENIORS VACATION IN MICHIGAN



Saugatuck: Senior Weekend Escape

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Saugatuck, Michigan made some major news when it was selected by USA Today as a great place for a summer weekend escape.  It’s small, 1,000 folks, but there must be something that draws attention for senior visitors.

Originally a lumber town and port, Saugatuck, along with the adjacent city of Douglas, became a noted art colony and tourist destination in the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Saugatuck was home to the famous Big Pavilion, a large dance hall that attracted bands and visitors from across the Midwest.

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Today, senior tourists find the art galleries, harbor, marinas, scenery, unusual stores, the view from atop Mount Baldhead, and Oval Beach on Lake Michigan, a great spot to visit. And that name…William C. Butler was an original founder of Kalamazoo village, as Saugatuk was at first known.

He bought land and had a village plat laid out in 1833. The first postmaster suggested the name of Saugatuck for the post office, and this name was taken when Saugatuck was incorporated as a village in 1868. The name derives from an Indian term meaning “river’s mouth”.

Seniors Discover Artistic Town

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The primary source of revenue comes from tourism. About 1,000 individuals call Saugatuck their year-round home, while the population of the town grows to nearly 3,000 in the summer months.

Saugatuck is a prime summer weekend getaway destination for folks from Chicago, Grand Rapids and Detroit areas. I discovered that there are just over 300 vacation rentals available for senior visitors to choose from plus five hotels.

Seniors will find over a dozen quality art galleries in town, and that’s a bunch with such a small population. I’d suggest that you look into taking the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, a hand-cranked vessel, that departs from Wick’s Park and takes visitors from the city side of the river to the other shore for a walk to the beach, an historical museum or a climb up the stairs at Mt. Baldhead.

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Settler’s House is a fun place for a visit. The one-time cottage of Irish Canadian immigrant Thomas Morrissey and family, the house is decorated with contemporary pieces from the mid- to late-19th century. The house shows that settlers lived lives with many hardships.

Spend some time in Saugatuck. You’ll be glad you did. The many neat photos I saw of Saugatuck makes me want to put it on my travel bucket list and soon. jeb

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