Seniors Lost in a Different World


Senior travelers, are you ready for an adventure? I’ve found a good one for you in a recent travel article. The lost-world island of Sumba, said to be a dynamic mystery, is an hour’s flight from Bali. Chris Burch, the US billionaire investor, has fallen in love with a remote atoll in the Indonesian archipelago.

When Burch visited two years ago, the place tugged at his heartstrings, and today, around US$30 million later, Burch is realizing his dream of turning Nihiwatu on Sumba into the world’s most exclusive sustainable luxury resort and multi-million dollar foundation.

The island is home to the last-remaining Animist tribes, an ancient indigenous people who believe in the spirits of animals and plants. Sumba is at once one of the culturally richest and financially poorest islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

Seniors Drawn To A No Longer Ignored Island


Islands like Bali and have gotten the majority of tourist attention over the years, but today it’s Sumba. Sumba  has remained largely uninfluenced by the outside world.  Discovered in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, Sumba was incorporated into the Dutch East Indies in 1866.

However, the island had very little contact with the outside world and remained, throughout history, largely “ignored” due to its lack of natural resources and its fierce warriors, the famous headhunters.

The island is also known for its small and versatile horses. I wrote a blog recently on a nearby island called Lombok.  I wonder who counted all of Indonesia’s 18,307 islands.

Seniors Meet Kind, Sweet People


Sumba, an island in eastern Indonesia, with a population of 660,000, is of volcanic origin, and predominantly mountainous, with lovely beaches. The people of Sumba have a rich social culture. They are kind and sweet, with strong traditions of music, dance, literature, crafts and religion.

Historically, this island exported sandalwood and was known as Sandalwood Island. The largest town on the island is the main port of Waingapu, with a population of about 53,000. The landscape is low, limestone hills, rather than the steep volcanoes of many Indonesian islands.

beautiful_children_landscape For you birders, the island is particularly rich in birdlife with nearly 200 species. Facing the wide Indian Ocean, the island of Sumba in the province of East Nusatenggara is a surfer’s paradise. Although as yet little known on the tourist map, surprisingly the island of Sumba has a number of luxurious, well frequented resorts.

The women of Sumba produce some exemplary hand woven cloth with motifs of stylized horses, animals and people, in dark blue, red and black, white and yellow natural dyes.

So make plans for a super adventure today. Set your sights on Sumba.  jeb


Seniors Check Out Starkville

bbHPStarkville, Mississippi (pop. 24,000) is the county seat of Oktibbeha County. The first white settlers of Starkville were Presbyterian missionaries. Once settled, people began to flock to the area because of its springs and accommodating terrain.  Seniors learn that this area was inhabited at least 2100 years ago and there is a mound site nearby.


Mississippi State University was established in 1878 in Starkville and their football team is one of the leading teams in the country. The university is the towns largest employer and social activities tend to revolve around the campus.

Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum links the past with the present. The Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum of Archaeology displays artifacts related to the Native American cultures of the Southeastern United States and the civilizations of the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

 Seniors Walk Through the Cotton District


The Cotton District is a walkable neighborhood that contains many restaurants and bars as well as unique residential units. Senior visitors will find that the Cotton District “contains more than 130 award winning structures- all of which proudly display eye-pleasing facades splashed with rich color”.

The Greensboro Street Historic District is an architecturally/historically significant collection of primarily residential structures. The Greensboro Street Historic District was home to many successful merchants and even civic leaders during the late 1860s.

Nearby Noxubee National Wildlife offers nature lovers a virtual paradise. Just 13 miles south of Starkville, this natural paradise sports a remarkable variety of wildlife, and is an excellent outlet for bird watching.


Historical Districts Preserved

Starkville is full of history. The Overstreet Historic District offers an eclectic mix of architecture built during the post-Civil War era.  A walking or driving tour of Starkville’s historic districts is an absolute must-do, including Historic Downtown Starkville. One of the outstanding sites in town is the Hotel Chester, constructed in 1925, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Starkville’s talent for savoring the past while embracing the future is seen in its marvelous historic districts. Senior visitors are encouraged to pack their walking shoes, as there is much exploring to be done.

If you enjoy John Grisham’s books as I do, be sure to check out the John Grisham Room, a place where people may view materials and memorabilia from the writings and achievements of bestselling author, former Mississippi legislator (1983-1990), and MSU alumnus John Grisham.

So stop in Starkville as you drive through Mississippi and enjoy all that a university city has to offer. jeb


Seniors Head for Whitefish


Whitefish, Montana is located in the heart of the spectacular northern Rocky Mountains. And is home to the world-class Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, the gateway to Glacier National Park, and 7,436 of the friendliest Montana folks – and business owners – that senior visitors ever want to meet.


Whitefish sits in Flathead Valley at an elevation of 3,000 ft. Like many Montana towns and cities, Whitefish grew considerably in the early 1900s following the Great Northern Railway. Many of the buildings that were erected during this time are still standing today, and they make for great Whitefish attractions if you, like me, are interested in the historical side of things.


Complementing the historic feel of downtown Whitefish is the dramatic landscape that rises up around the small town. Whitefish is located in the shadows of Big Mountain, and a line of mountains stretch across the horizon just north of town.

Seniors Like Best Kept Secrets

Whitefish is said to be is one of the best kept secrets in America. With Whitefish Lake and Whitefish Ski resort in the same town, visitors have winter and summer outdoor activities.  The summers are filled with festivals in Whitefish Central Park. Senior visitors can arrive on Amtrak rail service that stops  downtown.


Whitefish restaurants are known for world-class wine selections and great service, and the chefs are recognized in national rankings. The arts are as abundant as the trees and mountains. The covered Central Avenue sidewalks, the galleries, boutiques and specialty shops are a senior visitor’s delight. 

Seniors Also Like Authentic Mountain Town

This authentic mountain town is a five-star town in the heart of the Rocky Mountain wilderness near Glacier National Park. Annual events in Whitefish include Huckleberry Days Arts Festival, an annual festival featuring 100 artists and food vendors. The event includes a huckleberry dessert bake-off contest.


The Taste of Whitefish is another event that has been held for more than twenty-five years,  featuring over twenty-five restaurants, caterers and beverage companies offering samples of their specialties. The World Indoor Golf Championships has been held in Whitefish for over sixteen years and is a 9-hole “miniature golf” tournament in downtown Whitefish.


In the Summer months, Whitefish Mountain turns into an adventure playground of a different kind with zip line tours, an alpine slide and a boardwalk high in the treetops. There are many opportunities for water sports on Whitefish Lake, and to bask in the beauty of the surroundings on the City Beach.

National Geographic notes that in the 1930s, locals hiked the steep ridge above Whitefish so they could ski powder snow on the “big mountain” that towers above the lake. From those dreamy first runs, a ski resort was born.

Over a half century later, Whitefish Mountain Resort is consistently ranked one of the top resorts in the nation with 3,000 acres of winter skiing. This sounds like a destination not to be missed.  jeb




Seniors Go To Relax On Santorini Island

360 Mediterranean Greece Mykonos Santorini Original  Landscape Oil Painting

I recently read that Maui and Kaua’i rated second and third in Best Islands for a visit. These seniors loved Maui and the Big Island and we hope to get to Kaua’i next year. So what is #1? It’s Santorini.

Santorini is the most popular island among dozens in the Aegean Sea. There are few travel destinations that combine beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, some of the world’s best wine, plus a volcano.

But Santorini has all this and more. Senior visitors can rent a car, a bike, a scooter or an ATV and enjoy exploring. Sightseeing tours abound on Santorini as well. The island is known for its incredible villages. Some of them are perched on the top of 300 m high cliffs and offer gorgeous views.

Seniors Drawn To Greek Island


Most people who go to Greece go to Santorini. It’s on my travel bucket list too. There are direct flights to Santorini, cruise ships stop there, and it is a part of just about every Greek island itinerary.

The Greek island of Santorini or Thera is located in the Cyclades islands, in the middle of the Aegean Sea. The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions but what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera.

The island of Santorini is known for the amazing views from the villages of Fira, Oia perched on cliffs, the sunsets, the black and red beaches and the great wine. The village Oia was devastated by the 1956 earthquake and has never fully recovered, but it is dramatic and quieter than tourist-frenzied Fira. Oia is famous for its amazing sunsets.

Seniors Find Whitewashed Houses Everywhere

santorini1 Everywhere you go, senior visitors will see the whitewashed houses and beautiful blue domes of the Orthodox churches. Santorini has one of the most spectacular landscapes in Greece and in the world. The traditional villages of the island, built on tall cliffs, offer a breathtaking view over the submerged volcano.

Historically the island was a circular shape. The volcano’s eruption was so strong that it caused the centre of the island to sink. Some believe that this eruption was even responsible for the extinction of one of the great civilizations: the Minoan Civilization of Crete.

Due to the good ferry connection with other Greek islands, holidays in Santorini can easily be combined with holidays in other islands as well. There are also charter flights to Santorini from abroad, making it easy to get to this little paradise on earth.

Seniors,  Santorini might be a bucket list item. jeb


Seniors Seek Out Beautiful Lepidoptera


Senior friends, get your coffee and join me this beautiful Sunday morning as we visit Butterfly Houses. Butterflies are part of the Class of Insects in the order Lepidoptera. Moths are also included in this order.

Adults butterflies have large, often brightly colored wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. There are dozens of butterfly houses for senior visitors to view Lepidoptera all over the world. The folks right here in the Valley (Phoenix) have a good example with Butterfly Wonderland that is drawing in those of us who love butterflies.


Texas Discovery Gardens is a 7.5 acre organic botanic garden featuring native and adapted plants. Inside, the two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium transports senior visitors to a tropical rainforest, complete with hundreds of free-flying butterflies.

The Lepidoptera source in  South Deerfield in Western Massachusetts, features an 8,000-square foot indoor conservatory home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies in a tropical environment. The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in St. Louis wants senior visitors to know that their Owl Butterflies come from El Bosque Nueve Butterfly Farm in Costa Rica.


Seniors Visit the Butterfly Rainforest

The Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville, Florida is a can’t miss living exhibit that features hundreds of free-flying butterflies and birds from around the world along with an assortment of other animals including turtles and fish. The lush landscape is planted in tropical trees and colorful flowering plants amid waterfalls and a walking path.

Hundreds of butterflies flutter back and forth in Brookgreen Gardens, Pawleys Island, SC, as if trying to decide which they like best – the flowers’ sweet nectar or a refreshing dip in the pool. Then, one of these beautiful creatures lightly lands on your finger or your head.

Oh to be able to focus your camera and capture the image, but you know that as soon as you move, the butterfly will simply fly away. So you sit quietly and simply enjoy the beauty of your visit to Brookgreen’s Butterfly House.

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Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO hosts 1,600 butterflies in their Wings of the Tropics exhibit, an indoor tropical rainforest environment. Senior travelers can visit Butterfly Pavilion and all those marvelous butterflies seven days a week.

Navarre, Florida hosts the Panhandle Butterfly House opened in 1997 and has been providing fun and education ever since.

So, hopefully I have ignited your interest in visiting a Butterfly House somewhere in the U.S. jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice, United States


Seniors Enjoy Beaverton

images-2Beaverton,  seven miles west of downtown Portland in the Tualatin River Valley, has a population right at 90,000. Well-known for its many attractive and well-planned neighborhoods, Beaverton is the fifth largest city in Oregon and the second largest suburb in the metro area.

In 2010, Beaverton was named by Money magazine as one of the 100 “best places to live”, among smaller cities, in the country. Along with Hillsboro,  Beaverton is one of the economic centers for Washington County, home to a variety of industries, home to Anthem College and Portland Community College.

Beaverton has the great outdoors in its backyard with rolling hills, lush forests, rivers and wetlands. Ocean beaches and mountain skiing are little more than an hour away from Beaverton in either direction. Senior travelers, this makes for a great vacation spot.

Seniors Enjoy Green Space


And parks… the city has a vast amount of green space with over 100 parks encompassing 1,000 acres. A park is located within a half mile of every home, and the city features 30 miles of hiking trails and a 25-mile network of bike paths. Senior visitors will find ski slopes to the east and ocean beaches to the west.

Historically, the Native Americans occupied a village located on the Beaverton and Fanno creeks that was called Chakeipi. Although the name meant “place of the beaver,” early settlers called the village Beaverdam and later changed it to Beaverton.

TripAdvisor has a listing of things to see and do on your visit to Beaverton starting off with Tualatin Hills Nature Park and for you senior golfers, Red Tail Golf Course. The local Chamber wants visitors to know that Beaverton is nestled between the vibrant city of Portland and the verdant farm fields of Western Washington County.

Farmers Markets, Parks and Hiking Trails


“The city offers a strong business environment and the attractions of a large metropolitan area, but still has a home-town feel.” Headquarters of global companies like Nike and Tektronix support the local economy.

 Senior visitors enjoy a wide variety of cultural and recreational opportunities. The city offers the region’s largest farmers market, a new library, parks galore and abundant bike paths and hiking trails. It is also conveniently located within an hour’s drive of popular natural resources, including the Oregon coast, Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

Money magazine can’t be wrong about this city. So as you roll along up the Oregon coast, stop by Beaverton and you will soon find out why it rates so highly among many great communities in our country.  jeb


“Paradise on Earth” Invites Seniors


I don’t know about you, but India is on this senior’s travel bucket list.  Called a valley right out of heaven,  I discovered the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir is known as The Paradise on Earth. It is a major Hindu and Muslim pilgrim area.

Jammu and Kashmir’s major attractions lie in scenic beauty, snow clad peaks, lush green valleys, Alpine villages, cascading waterfalls and flower gardens. Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir is located at the heart of the Kashmir valley. The river Jhelum flows through the city adding to its beauty and Nagin and Dal lakes enhance the picturesque quality of the setting.

jammu kashmir

Kashmir is a valley surrounded by the mountains and because of this topography, is called Switzerland of India.  Kashmir is noted as one of the most preferred tourist destinations in India.

Seniors Discover The Ultimate Destination

Many who have visited Kashmir find it to be the ultimate destination of extraordinary beauty and fascinating mysticism. The best time to visit Kashmir is during the months of March to October.  Kashmir is a senior shoppers paradise for the carpets, the Pashmina Shawl and  beautiful jewelry and pottery.

Dal lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in India, is the second largest lake of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated at the foothill of the mountain Zabarwan, the lake is surrounded by number of willow and poplar trees and the banks of this lake are adorned by several blooming gardens and orchards.


Mahatma Gandhi once said “if there is heaven on earth it’s here in Kashmir.” The Valley is known as a “food paradise” as well. Other major sites in Kashmir include Jama Masjid, one of the most important mosques in Srinagar. This mosque was constructed in 1400 AD by Sultan Sikandar.

Shalimar Garden is a “must see” site that was constructed in 1616 by Emperor Jehangir for his wife Nur Jahan. Later during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, between 1628 and 1658, a second garden, known as Faiz Baksh, was added to it.

Kashmir Valley Abounds In Beauty


For senior nature lovers, Dachigam National Park is famous for the endangered Hangul, which is the only species of red deer to be found in the country. 

The beautiful Kashmir valley claims a glorious past of grandeur, power and riches beyond imagination. The antiquity of the monuments and various architectural structures tell tales of a rich legacy and a refined sense of culture and art.

Seniors, consider adding Charismatic Kashmir to your bucket list. You will find it to be a place of natural beauty in abundance and extremely rich geography. The Kashmir Valley has much to offer adventurous tourists. So go for it and see for yourself. jeb


Seniors Enjoy Baker City


This senior was watching the weather channel and up came Baker City, Oregon.  I had never heard of this town before, so curious Jim just had to investigate. If it rated highly enough to be noted on a major TV channel, there must be something there worth seeing.

I soon learned that Baker City is the county seat of Baker County, Oregon. It was named after Edward D. Baker, the only U.S. Senator ever killed in military combat and the population runs right at 10,000 folks.

A major claim to fame is that it lies on the famed Oregon Trail with a history that goes back to 1874. Beginning in its earliest days, Baker City had a Chinatown that included several businesses, a Chinese temple and private dwellings.


The Miners’ Jubilee on the third weekend of July, celebrates the mining history of the area and the filming of the 1969 Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood musical comedy Paint Your Wagon.

 Historic District Draws Senior Visitors

And history…the Baker Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on 40+  acres in downtown Baker City. Within its boundaries are more than 130 properties, about half of which include structures built between the late 1880s and about 1915.

Many of these as well as others built as early as 1870 are two-story masonry commercial buildings. By the early 1900s, Baker City was considered the largest city between Salt Lake City and Portland and served as a major destination for thousands of west-bound travelers in search of a better, richer life.


The city hall, county courthouse, the former post office, former library, former social clubs, a Roman Catholic cathedral, and an Episcopal Church are among notable buildings within the historic district.

Baker City can now boast that it has the second largest number of homes and buildings on the National Historic Register in Oregon.

A Gold Rush Town…


In the 1860s gold was discovered just outside of town spawning a gold rush that would last over fifty years. At the turn of the century Baker City was known as the Queen City of the Mines.

Discoveries from the gold rush are on permanent display at the U.S. Bank on Main Street, where a 5-pound gold nugget shines in a glass case.


Baker City is quiet, quaint, and nestled in a valley of snowcapped mountains in eastern Oregon, between Portland and Boise. The Art Deco Baker City Tower constructed in 1929 is one site senior travelers will not want to miss.

The Geiser Grand  Hotel is a Victorian jewel dating to 1889 with plate glass windows, electric lights, an elevator and a dining room that seated over 200 patrons.

Senior bikers, check out the Baker City Cycling Classic, a set of bicycle races held in Baker City and the surrounding region.

Seniors, when you are in eastern Oregon, spend some time in Baker City, a stop you won’t regret.  jeb


Seniors Find a Most Photographed Area

AlabamaHills One would think right away ALABAMA…well, it has to be in the South. Wrong.  Senior travelers will find Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California.

This “range of hills” and rock formations are located near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine.

This is one of the most photographed areas in California, the panoramas are breathtaking. If you love landscape photography, there are a few places in America you simply must photograph, and the Alabama Hills is one of them.


The Alabama Hills is a several-mile-wide patch of rocks and eroding hills, at the foot of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states.

The Alabama Hills has been a popular filming location for television and movie productions for some time, especially Westerns.


Since the early 1920s, 150 movies have been filmed in the Alabama Hills, including old favorites like Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, the Gene Autry Show and the Lone Ranger.

On May 24, 1969, the Bureau of Land Management dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomena at a leisurely pace.


Seniors Learn How It Got Its Name

The unusual name Alabama Hills came about during the Civil War. In 1864 Southern sympathizers in Lone Pine discovered gold “in them thar hills.”

When they heard that a Confederate cruiser named the Alabama had burned, sunk or captured more than 60 Federal ships in less than two years they named their mining claims after the cruiser to celebrate. Before long the name applied to the whole area.


A favorite subject of photographers and filmmakers, the Alabama Hills Natural Arch, also known as Mobius Arch, can be found off Movie Road in Lone Pine.

A neat contrast to the towering escarpment of the eastern Sierra Nevada, the massive boulders scattered throughout the Alabama Hills have been chiseled away leaving impressive holes through the center forming perfect archways.

“The Alabama Hills is a favorite spot for hiking, picnicking, landscape photography and the Movie Road Tour. Whether visitors come here for the Sierra views, identifying native plant life or photography, this area offers a variety of activities.”

Hot, Cold, Water And Wind


While the rocks of Alabama Hills are identical in composition to the 14,000 foot peaks looming above, the difference in appearance is the result of the weathering processes.

Up high, the freezing, expanding and thawing of rainwater and melting snow has caused the more chiseled splintering of the granite seen at Mount Whitney.

Down in the warmer Owens Valley, the Alabamas took shape when the climate became drier, and erosion slowly stripped away the soil mantle, exposing and shaping the piles of boulders. Water and wind continue to shape the landscape and rocks to this day.

So head west, drop by Lone Pine and take in and enjoy ‘them thar Hills’.  jeb


Seniors Can’t Pass Up McKinney


…and for good reason. McKinney was selected as the#1 “Best Place to Live” by Money Magazine, Oct 2014. So this senior did some checking to see why McKinney, Texas earned this prestigious award.

Both the city and the county were named for Collin McKinney who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Today it is a city of around 145,000 located 30 miles north of Dallas on Interstate 75.


The history of McKinney notes the city to be one of the oldest towns in North Texas, dating to 1841 when the first settlers arrived in the region from Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Seniors Enjoy Old and Authentic

McKinney has one of the oldest authentic and thriving historic downtowns in Texas. The downtown district offers over 100 unique shops and for the senior gourmand, more than a dozen unique restaurants. It is said in McKinney…”Don’t expect to lose any weight while visiting McKinney; quite simply, the food is way too good.”


Senior visitors will encounter an assortment of specialty shops, art galleries, furniture stores, exquisite antique collections, gifts and home décor and apparel boutiques. Town Lake Recreational Area is an attractive 22 acre lake for fishing or for boating. Senior hikers, the Lake is surrounded by a 1.3 mile hike and bike trail.

So as you are cruising around Dallas, swing north into McKinney and plan to spend a few days.  Seems like something is brewing all year long. Annual Events include Bike the Bricks, Red White and Boom!, Mickey Mantle World Series, Oktoberfest, Dickens of a Christmas and the Heritage Guild Holiday Homes Tour.


Historic Homes, Courthouse Square and Village

If you are into historic sites, like me, McKinney is home to over 1700 historic homes and buildings and an  historic Courthouse Square. Chestnut Square Historic Village is a collection of six historic homes, a replica of a one-room school house, chapel and store on 2.5 acres just south of the downtown McKinney square.

The grounds also include a blacksmith shop, smoke house, and beautiful chapel and reception gardens.  The buildings include period artifacts showing how people lived in Collin County from 1854-1920.

The city’s tree-lined streets, historic downtown and tight-knit community give McKinney a friendly, small town feel. Check out the Grand Hotel… it would make a great place to bed down in historic downtown McKinney. Enjoy your visit to this Number One Town.  jeb

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