SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH FLORIDA



Seniors Discover “Cowboy Town” Davie

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This senior editor admits upfront that he knows very little about Florida.  My wife, however, spent time with her sister in the Tampa area. Her comment, being from Iowa, was…“we hung out the towels and they never dried.”

Anyway, back to Davie, a city of 92,000+ in Broward County known as “Cowboy Town” thanks to all the ranches and horses in the area.

Davie is the home of the Miami Dolphins who practice daily at Nova Southeastern University. Ideally located among major thoroughfares like the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, I-595, I-75, Davie is within a few minutes travel to the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and Florida’s deepest port, Port Everglades.

An interesting fact I discovered is that Davie is the most populous municipality labelled  a “town” in Florida, and the third most populous such community in the United States. Davie trails our neighbor to the south, Gilbert, Arizona and Cary in North Carolina.

 Seniors Can Enjoy Rodeos Monthly

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Davie was originally named Zona. In 1909 R.P. Davie assisted then Governor Broward by draining the swamplands. Davie bought 27,000 acres in the area. He had a school built in Zona and in 1916, the people of the town were so grateful they renamed the town after him.

Davie has always carried a reputation as a “Western” town. It boasts a significant horse-owning population and once was home to many herds of cattle. Today, Davie still maintains a “Western” touch.

For more than 40 years, the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds, located in the historical western theme downtown district, has served as a major tourist attraction and hosts Five Star Rodeos once a month. This indoor/outdoor facility has been building and establishing itself as one of the up and coming multi-cultural locales in South Florida.

Everglades, Wildlife and Golf Draw Seniors

So what brings in tourists to Davie beside the local rodeo? For starters, Flamingo Gardens rates #1. The Gardens is 60 acres of Tropical Paradise. The Wray Botanical Collection features over 3000 rare and exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees.

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Nearby, the Everglades Sanctuary is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife including alligators, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacock, and of course, flamingos. Senior gardeners and birders, come and see for yourself.

Senior golfers, the Davie Golf and Country Club, the former Arrowhead Golf Club, is a new public golf course located in Davie. Since opening in 2011, visitors have discovered that the completely re-designed course has what the locals say is South Florida’s Most Fun Greens.

A host of other attractions include the Bar-B-Ranch for riding horses and the Young at Art Museum. The Buehler Planetarium & Observatory on Broward College campus in Davie is a modern, state-of-the-art facility that brings in tourists from all over the country.

Seniors, as you travel along the eastern coast of Florida, plan to stop by Davie and enjoy the fun.  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THE HUDSON VALLEY



Seniors Enjoy A Top World Destination

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The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan. National Geographic Traveler has proclaimed the region as ONE OF THE TOP 20 DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD.  Designated as a National Heritage Area, seniors find the Valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture and a burgeoning food and farmer’s market scene.

Among many attributes, it’s the oldest wine producing area in the country. The magnificent scenery inspired artists whose works became the Hudson River School of Painters. Start planning your visit today. Senior visitors will find lots to see and do in the Valley.

Covering 800 square miles, there’s an abundance of natural scenic beauty,  outdoor recreation, historic landmarks, restaurants and festivals. And yes, wine and lots of vineyards to discover. The Hudson Valley is famous for being the first wine producing region in the country, while the bountiful farms have been there for centuries.

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Seniors Meet Home of Environmental Movement

The scenery is remarkable and inspired the first arts movement in the U.S, the Hudson River School. These 1800′s artists/naturalists-on-canvas would not be surprised to learn that 20th century residents were crusaders in saving the Hudson Valley landscape at Storm King Mountain where the country’s environmental movement was born.

TripAdvisor has a list of places to not miss. And color. Only Mother Nature could improve on this region’s beauty, and autumn beckons. As fall blankets the landscape in reds, yellows and golds, the valley warms up the season with farmers’ markets, fall festivals, scenic tours, and lots of outdoor recreation.

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A great way to beat the summertime heat is to take a tour of the Old Croton Aqueduct Weir in Ossining.  Descend into the original 1842 brick water tunnel and learn its history in a tour led by the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct.  No reservations are necessary, and its free.

Senior visitors are amazed by this great feat of 19th century American engineering and ingenuity, designed to bring fresh drinking water to New York City… and that’s a whole lot of aqua.

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 Seniors Take The Drive Of A Lifetime

The Valley abounds in history and senior travelers will discover one scenic site after another starting with Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate. The Estate is a major Valley landmark featuring remarkable architecture and gardens, world-class art, enthralling history, and spectacular scenery.

National Geographic makes suggestions for senior travelers with its “Drive of a Lifetime. The suggested drive runs from the town of Nyack, on the Hudson’s western bank, northward to Kingston and Rhinebeck, then south along the Hudson to Tarrytown. Highlights include museums, grand estates, West Point, and an aerodrome.

Senior friends, Hudson Valley sounds like a great destination. My wife has it on her list.  jeb

SENIORS VISIT SOUTH BASS ISLAND IN LAKE ERIE



Seniors Check Out Put-in-Bay

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Put-in-Bay, a small village of 140 people, is located on South Bass Island off the coast of Ohio in Lake Erie. The village of Put-in-Bay is a popular senior tourist stop during the summer.

The name “Put-in-Bay” originally only referred to the bay, itself. In the latter-1700s, the schooners sailing on Lake Erie, would “put in” to this bay, to wait out bad weather on the Lake. Many sailors used the slang phonetic term, ‘puddin’ bay.

 Small as it is, the village is a popular summer resort and recreational destination for many senior tourists. Ferry and airline services connect the community generally from Port Clinton or Sandusky.

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South Bass is only about 4 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. South Bass Island Light, lit up for the first time in 1897, is on the southern end, and a popular site. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, it is believed to be the only lighthouse in the United States that is owned by a university, one of my Alma Maters… the Ohio State University.

Increasing tourist traffic to the island in the late 1800s prompted the Lighthouse Board to approve construction of a light in 1893. The light was to help to mark the southern passage from Sandusky to Toledo, along with several other lights in the vicinity.

 Senior Visitors Enjoy The State Park

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South Bass Island State Park is perched atop the white cliffs of South Bass Island. This unique 33-acre park is a scenic landmark when viewed from the water, and in turn affords senior visitors great views and access to Lake Erie. The wooded campground and serene lakeside picnic area offer a quiet retreat from Put-In-Bay.

South Bass Island’s Oak Point, offers facilities for boaters and picnickers close to the heart of town. Pinterest has a listing of the major landmarks on Put-in-Bay that includes Crystal Cave.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on the island commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie that took place near South Bass Island, in which Commodore Perry led a fleet to victory in one of the most significant naval battles to occur in the War of 1812. The very tall circular memorial celebrates the lasting peace between Britain, Canada, and the United States that followed the war.

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Fishing opportunities can’t be beat, especially if you’re fishing for Walleye and Perch. The Butterfly House brings in lots of tourists as does The Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum. If you know very little about Lake Erie, like yours truly, it’s at the Aquatic Visitors Center where you can learn its rich history.

So hook up your wagon, circle Ohio on your map, put a nice check mark over Put-in Bay and see for yourself all that South Bass Island has to offer. jeb

SENIORS ENJOY COLORADO



Seniors Are Wild About Crested Butte

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The Colorado General Assembly has designated Crested Butte the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. So senior visitors, if you love flowers, skiing, biking, eating well and breathing good high country air, Crested Butte is there just for you.

The town hosts a number of unique festivals and parades throughout the year: Big Air on Elk, Butte Bash College Ski Week and Mardi Gras during the winter months; Slush Huck/Pond Skim Competition and Flauschink during spring; the Crested Butte Bike Week, A Music Festival, the 4th of July Celebration and the famed Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. In addition the town hosts Alpenglow Concert Series, Crested Butte Arts Festival and Ball Bash during summer, and Fall Fest and Vinitok and Paragon Peoples’ Fair later in the year.

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Visitors, photographers and artists from all over the US and abroad head for Crested Butte to witness nature’s explosion of color during the flower festival and the weeks after and well into the month of August.

Senior visitors will find more than 200 events showcasing the lush landscapes and activities that feature the awesome display of  wildflowers such as hikes and walks, jeep tours, garden tours, and workshops in photography, art, gardening, medicinals and of course, botany.

 Seniors Love Classic Historic Mountain Town

SONY DSCThe Crested Butte area is truly unique among resort towns. Situated at the end of a dead-end road and encircled by towering mountains, there is only one way in or out in the winter. Senior visitors will discover Crested Butte to be a classic historic mountain town with a rustic vibe and with preserved remains of the adventurous Old West.

The Old saloons on Elk Avenue that were once hangouts of Billy the Kid and Butch Cassidy stay intact and house poker games against a decor of mounted buffalo heads and soggy wooden bar fixtures. The Crested Butte Town Hall, built in 1883, like most of the town structures, still has its original look preserved in a clean and tidy fashion.

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Downtown Crested Butte is a unique example of a quaint 1880′s historic mining town and a registered National Historic District. Senior travelers will discover a host of interesting shops, great restaurants, and a good variety of lodging options. 

Not large, 1,500+, this former coal mining town, is called “the last great Colorado ski town.” Crested Butte Mountain offers 1,167 skiable acres catering mostly to the advanced intermediate and experts.

Senior Visitors Discover Unique Mountain Life

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Seniors will find no traffic lights or chain stores but a community that openly celebrates the unique mountain life with the mighty Rocky Mountains in the backdrop. Surrounded by over two million acres of National Forest and Wilderness, there is not an interstate in sight, only thousand of beautiful aspen trees.

Kebler Pass is the #1 attraction in Crested Butte and one of the best places to see those golden aspens in the fall. My wife wants to go this fall!  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO CHILE



Seniors Visit Temuco

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 The seniors this time are this guy and his wife before they joined the ranks of seniors…along with a group of middle school students on a school exchange.  Yes, the Beckers led a student group to Temuco, Chile for a two weeks stay.

We loved everything about Chile and Temuco. Founded in 1881, Temuco is of the Araucanía Region in southern Chile south of Santiago. The Director of our school in Iowa arranged this exchange.

My wife and I were guests with a family that lived on a farm. As we made our way to school each day, we could see Llaima Volcano smoking. It erupted in 1994. We had never witnessed a smoking volcano before, have you?

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 Seniors Get Acquainted with the Mapuche

One of the teachers in their school took us into the surrounding countryside to enjoy the Chilean scenery and to see severals Mapuche homes called rukas. The Mapuche are famous for their 350-year struggle against Spanish and, later, Chilean domination.

The Mapuche is the most numerous group of Indians in South America and numbered more than 1,400,000 at the turn of the 21st century. They live today as they have lived for centuries, retaining their language, dress and cultural habits.

Temuco is a relatively new model city and was for a long time under the control of the Mapuche. Their culture, crafts and way of life are still very visible in and around the city, especially in the central market. The market is an historical place famed for its Mapuche crafts: textiles, carved wood and silver jewelry.

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We enjoyed strolling though the local covered market where we saw a wide range of native vegetables and fruit that we did not recognize.  Meat was hanging on large hooks as were dressed chickens and rabbits. We were told that they leave the feet on the rabbits so that folks will know that they are not cats.

Temuco’s economy is based on agricultural and forest production. Abundant plantations of pine tree and eucalyptus can be found in this zone and several characteristic native forests. Within the manicured grounds of Plaza Aníbal Pinto in the city center, is a sizable La Araucanía monument depicting the clash between the Mapuche and the Spanish.

 We Loved the Araucania Trees

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Our family took us on a trip into a forest with huge tall, prehistoric trees, called Araucania. The Conguillio National Park near Temuco is where you will find thousands of the Araucania trees.

Temuco, with its 275,000 inhabitants, has plenty to offer visitors. With its leafy, palm-filled plaza, its pleasant Mercado Municipal and its intrinsic link to Mapuche culture, Temuco is most pleasant of all Southern Chile’s blue-collar cities, giving a sense of the culture of the region.

Senior travelers, I hope you make it to Chile one day, and if you are in the south of Chile, be sure to include Temuco in your itinerary. We would go back tomorrow.  jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO IRELAND



Seniors Find A Treasure In Cloghane

Cappagh, Cloghane Cloghane. I was “flummoxed” (love my new word) on this village in County Kerry, Ireland. It came up on this senior’s travel link on CNN as a great place to visit.  I, like you, have heard of many famous places in Ireland like Dublin, Galway, Killarney, Blarney and Cork, but not Cloghane.

It is time to go there and check the place out. Actually there is a little accent on that name, Clochán (anglicized as Cloghane) which changes the pronunciation. Cloghane, which means stone hut, is a small village on the Dingle Peninsula of County Kerry, Ireland, at the foot of Mount Brandon. In 1974 the village was added to the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht.

So there you have it.  Are you still with me?

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Cloghane village is nestled in a semi-circle of mountain peaks and overlooks the stunning Brandon Bay. This region offers many rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls. This is a Gaeltacht region, where the Irish language is spoken.

It has an abundance of sandy beaches, washed clean by the surf of Brandon Bay. Nearby is Brandon, a small fishing village with a quay still used by local fishermen.

Senior Visitors Discover One Of Ireland’s Beautiful Regions

There is a lot of beauty in the area.The village of 2,000 is set at the foot of Mount Brandon, on the north of the Dingle Peninsula and overlooking Brandon Bay. The Cloghane-Brandon area, or Clochán-Breannainn in Gaelic, is certainly among Ireland’s most beautiful regions.

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The natural beauty surrounding these two villages stands alone as one of West Kerry’s unspoiled paradises for senior anglers, walkers, windsurfers, outdoors enthusiasts and families.

The magnificent valley between the Mount Brandon range and the awe-inspiring Connor Pass, Ireland’s most elevated mountain pass greets your arrival to the Cloghane-Brandon area.

For you senior hikers, the region is world famous for hill-walking and mountain climbing on Mount Brandon which links into the 180km Dingle Way. Golf and pony-trekking are available nearby.

Féile na Lughnasa takes place in the Clochán-Breannainn area every July, offering plenty of local music, song and cultural activities. The Cloghane/Brandon area has a rich heritage of music, language, and dance.

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For senior “foodies,” there are several traditional pubs in the area serving fine food, some specializing in locally-caught seafood.

Sessions of music, song, and dance are held nightly in most of the local pubs, where young and old, tourist and local, blend together to create a unique atmosphere.

Be sure to check out O’Connors Guesthouse which is a major draw for tourists in the area. Benagh B&B also rates very high. Pinterest calls the area “a dream vacation”.  jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors Head For Loess Hills

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This senior has spent most of his life in Iowa, however I never knew much about Loess Hills on the western border near Nebraska along the Missouri River. The Loess Hills are one of the most unique landscapes in Iowa. Get your coffee and let’s head for the hills.

Loess, pronounced “luss”, is German for loose or crumbly and it is good stuff. It is a predominantly silt-sized sediment which is formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. I read somewhere that that soil may be called “glacier flour.”

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The definition of a Loess Hill is a hill made of loess that is more than 60 feet in height; using that definition, about 640,000 acres of land in western Iowa constitute the Loess Hills landform. Although deposits of loess are found across the world, nowhere else but China are those deposits higher than they are in Iowa.

Dynamic and Evolving Hills

My Merriam-Webster notes that it is an unstratified usually buff to yellowish brown loamy deposit found in North America, Europe, and Asia and believed to be chiefly deposited by the wind. I’ve always called it loam and it’s really good stuff for Iowa farmers who grow corn and beans.

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The Loess Hills are a rare and unusual Iowa landform, but they are not permanent; loess terrain is dynamic and  evolving. When originally deposited, the loess was smooth like a sand dune or a snow drift. Today, the Loess Hills are rough and jagged, the result of erosion by the very elements that created them:  wind and water.

Those hills have been around for a good long time and senior visitors will note that they only run 1 to 15 miles east of the Missouri River. They form what geologists call a “front range” and rise above the flood plain. The hills stretch from a small town in Iowa called Westfield south to Mound City, Missouri, about 200 miles in length.

Seniors Find Tallgrass Prairie

The steep, rugged terrain supports the best examples of loess prairie in the five-state Central Tallgrass Prairie region. Iowa’s largest surviving prairies are found in the Loess Hills, and the Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve contains the largest contiguous native prairie in the state.

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The Loess Hills Scenic Byway affords many scenic views as it twists through the range from north to south. The main route is 220 miles of paved highway or county road in a general north to south direction paralleling Interstate 29.

The Nature Conservancy is using science-based conservation in the Loess Hills to restore and maintain healthy habitats for prairie plants and animals. For example, about 4,000 acres are blackened by controlled fire each year. Scientific analysis has revealed, however, that to keep this prairie healthy five times that amount, or 20,000 acres, needs to be burned each year.

Senior travelers, when you’re near western Iowa, take in the Loess Hills.   jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO



Seniors Visit The Tularosa Basin

BasinLumpsStAndresThe Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico is full of cultural history and is part of the White Sands National Monument. Seniors driving through New Mexico will find The Basin is in the Chihuahuan Desert, east of the Rio Grande River.

From about 7 miles north of the New Mexico-Texas border, the Tularosa Basin is a closed basin that extends 170 miles northward. The nearby city of Tularosa has a population of just over 3,000.

 Senior Oenophiles Enjoy Historic Grape Stock

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Senior oenophiles, I counted eight wineries in the Basin. In the early 1500’s the first Spanish explorers and settlers, brought their European wine grapes with them as they settled into the sunny and lush Rio Grande River valley. These initial grape stocks remain the source of many of New Mexico’s vineyards today.

Wine making started in the 1580’s, by missionary priests producing sacramental wines. The rebirth of the New Mexico wine industry began in the late 1970’s and is showing an increase. Today New Mexico now has over 50 wineries, which produce almost 350,000 gallons of wine a year with over 5,000 acres under cultivation.

And for you “rock jocks,” as we called them in college, here is a pdf file with tons of geological specs. http://pubs.usgs.gov/wsp/0343/report.pdf.  And senior historians, you will find the The Alamogordo Museum of History, formerly the Tularosa Basin Historical Society Museum, housing a fine collection of historical photographs, documents, and relics from Otero County. The museum is in Alamogordo and is owned and operated by the Tularosa Basin Historical Society.

Research, Wine & Music And Balloons

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For you “aqua fiends,” The Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility is nearby.  The Center provides state-of-the-art research facilities for researchers involved in desalination research studies, pilot-scale projects and small demonstration projects. You may find this site of interest.

Mark your calendar for the upcoming Tularosa Basin Wine & Music Fest held in Alameda Park in Alamogordo,  celebrating its 8th year on September 20-21 from noon till 5 p.m. The combined Rotary clubs of the area come together to promote New Mexico’s historic wine industry, showcasing the best of the state’s wines, along with local and regional artists and live music all day.

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This event takes place concurrently with the White Sands Balloon Invitational (this is a biggie), drawing pilots and crews, along with balloon enthusiasts from around the state, to Alamogordo. Sounds like a fun time to me. How about you?

So come on down to White Sands and check out the Basin for yourself.  Senior visitors will find New Mexico a place of interesting sites, history and for you gourmets…lots of super local food dishes.  jeb

SENIORS VISIT NEW YORK STATE



Seniors Discover Two Awesome Villages

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Aurora, New York, one of the awesome villages, is a college town, Wells College, north of Ithaca. The village has a population of 800+ of which more than 400 are college students. The Village of Aurora, settled in 1799, is in the town of Ledyard on the east shore of Cayuga Lake.

Aurora is known as “The Charming Village in the Finger Lakes.”  To the north, it is home to the renowned home accessories company, MacKenzie-Childs and to the south is Wells College that was established in 1868 by Henry Wells. Places like the Aurora Inn, Dories, Jane Morgan’s Little House, E.B. Morgan House and The Fargo are great places to shop, dine and spend the night, as featured in Country Living’s June ’06 issue.

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East Aurora, the other awesome village, founded in 1804, has a population of just over 6,500 and lies in the eastern half of the village of Aurora. Aurora is surrounded by rolling farmland and dramatic gorges. Senior visitors enjoy scenic beauty, wineries, dining, and a rich history.

Seniors Visit Historic Places

The intimately-sized Morgan Opera House is a restored Victorian gem featuring an original raked stage with pressed tin proscenium (the part of a theater stage in front of the curtain…had to look that one up) , leaded glass windows, original seating, splendidly crafted woodwork and superb acoustics.

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the Aurora Steam Grist Mill and Mosther Farmstead. The mill was one of the first mills built west of the Hudson River to be powered by steam. The farm was established  in 1887 by E.W. Mosher, and remains in the Mosher family today. It is significant as a largely intact example of a late eighteenth, early nineteenth century farm.

 Deep Lakes And Wineries Attract Senior Visitors

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The eleven finger-shaped, glacial lakes in Central New York are some of the deepest lakes in the United States. They abound with small mouth bass, smelt, and huge lake trout. Senior travelers will find chaming villages with 19th-century buildings, little inns and vineyards, geese flying north overhead, and they say that a lakefront Adirondack chair has your name on it.

And then there is the Long Point Winery and the Cayuga Wine Trail. Long Point Winery is located on the east side of Cayuga Lake on scenic Route 90 in Aurora. The winery sits on 72 acres of land overlooking beautiful Cayuga Lake.photo-side-5

The Cayuga Wine Trail was the first wine trail to be established in New York. Many events take place along the trail throughout the year. The Finger Lakes Region is approximately a six hour drive (seven, including lunch) from the Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan, making it a highly desirable, unique, and relaxing getaway.

Cayuga County is also known for outstanding events: comedy and live music at Auburn Public Theater and the Sterling Renaissance Festival. Senior visitors are in for some spectacular scenery in Cayuga County.   jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO NORTH CAROLINA



Seniors Enjoy Bald Head Island

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I followed a young couple out of our local Target store. Their car was next to mine and this senior noticed a large black and white sticker on the back that read BHI and underneath NC.  

I asked what that meant.  The lady said Bald Head Island, that’s where I’m from.  She continued…“Oh, you just have to go there.  There are NO cars.  Everyone rides around in golf carts.”

I had never heard of Bald Head Island, and I told her that was going to write a blog on it. “Curious Jim”  punched in Bald Head Island and I learned a lot…

Thousands of years ago, Bald Head Island began its formation at the mouth of the majestic Cape Fear River. Beginning as just a small tidal flat, marsh grasses and small shrubberies soon took root to aid in creating the pristine island as it is today.

 Seniors Meet Long List Of Infamous Visitors

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BHI soon became a preferred hideout for the notorious pirate of pirates, Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, and Stede Bonnet, the intellectual-turned-pirate. History thrives and flourishes on Bald Head Island. From Native Americans to sea ruffians, from Civil War troops to the inquisitive vacationer. Today all the streets on the island are named after these infamous visitors.

BHI was home to a British fort and hospital in the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War several Confederate gun emplacements helped secure the mouth of the river. In the early 1900s visitors came to the island to hunt wild pigs. Senior visitors can find out the details of these stories and more on a Historic Tour from the Old Baldy Foundation.

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  One of the most famous sights on Bald Head Island is Old Baldy rising above the trees, looking out over the sea, marsh and harbor, and greeting senior visitors when you arrive on the ferry. Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse and one of three that once graced BHI, is only a short walk from the ferry landing.

Golf Carts, Bikes or Hoof It…

When you board the ferry for the 20-minute ride to Bald Head Island, you leave your car behind, along with the stress of the mainland world. Getting around is limited to golf carts, bikes, or just plain hoofing it. Seniors will find a wide variety of vacation rentals, island tours, premier golf courses, and  fishing excursions available.

Smith Island Museum and the Kent Mitchell Nature Trail rate high for visitors. Spend a few days and let Bald Head Island help take away your worries and cares. jeb

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