SENIORS RETURN TO NEW YORK CITY



Seniors Explore Roosevelt Island

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On one of my recent tours as a guide at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ, I met a couple who said that they lived on Roosevelt Island in New York City. I was acquainted with Long Island, but Roosevelt Island was a new one for this senior.

So I just had to check it out. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City’s East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east, and is part of the borough of Manhattan. It is around 2 miles long and has a maximum width of only 800 feet.

Lonely Planet notes that it was once Blackwell’s Island, then Welfare Island, has been home to insane asylums and prisons, and later hospital out-patients and UN workers. A boxy-red tram and later the subway only reached the island in the mid ’70s. The population runs just under 10,000.

Seniors Enjoy The Octagon

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Though small, Roosevelt Island has a distinguished architectural history. It has several architecturally significant buildings, and has been the site of numerous important unbuilt architectural competitions and proposals.

One particular structure sticks out for senior visitors. Called The Octagon, now a high-end apartment community, it is one of the island’s six landmarks. This national landmark building was restored in 2006.

Several well-known folks call(ed) Roosevelt Island home. Do you remember the comedian Buddy Hackett and “Grandpa” Al Lewis from the Munsters show?  They, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, settled in this community.

Known for its wealth of promenades, green space, and incredible views of the New York skyline, Roosevelt Island’s natural beauty makes it a truly remarkable place to call home as my visitor friends discovered.

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 ‘An Affordable Island In The Sun’

It you have no fear of heights, the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram above the East River is an exciting means to get to the Island and is accessible at 60th Street and Second Avenue. A 4-mile esplanade encircles the Island and is a favorite path for joggers and hikers.

The Roosevelt Island Visitor Center, adjacent to the tram station, is housed inside a restored kiosk that was once the entrance to the tracks for the trolley car service that ran to the island from 1912 to 1955. The NY Times calls Roosevelt Island an “Affordable Island In the Sun.”

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So what are you going to do once you arrive via the red tram?  Plenty to keep you busy for more than a full day. For you gourmet seniors, check out the 4-Star Trellis restaurant. The Roosevelt Island Historical Society promotes awareness of the Island’s unique story and pursues preservation of its landmarks and artifacts.

The F. D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the south tip of the Island is dedicated to the former president. Going the other direction, senior visitors will find the The Blackwell Lighthouse, another historic landmark.

Enjoy the Island.  -jeb

SENIORS DRIVE THROUGH SOUTHERN ILLINOIS



Seniors Check Out “Little Egypt”

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Carbondale just popped into this senior’s mind. I knew that the “Salukis” (Southern Illinois University) calls the city home, however I knew little else about the city. So let’s go for a visit and see what attractions we can find down south in Illinois.

Carbondale is in Jackson County, within the Southern Illinois region informally known as “Little Egypt”. The city developed from 1853 as a result of railroad construction into the area. Today it has a population that runs just over 26,000.

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It became an educational center with the founding of Carbondale College, which was renamed Southern Illinois College in 1869. In the early 20th century, Carbondale was known as the “Athens of Egypt,” due to the expansion of the college and university, and the region’s moniker of “Little Egypt.”

Seniors Attracted To City’s Festivals

Carbondale is known for a number of annual festivals: the Lights Fantastic parade in December,the Big Muddy Film Festival (February/March), the Southern Illinois Irish Festival (April), the Indian celebration of Diwali (December), and the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta (April).

The Sunset Concerts is a summer series of free outdoor concerts on the Southern Illinois University campus and in city parks, and Brown Bag Concerts is a spring and fall series of free outdoor concerts in the Town Square Pavilion. It looks like a festival in Carbondale would be easy for senior travelers to catch.

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Being a guide at Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin West in Scottsdale, this senior would head over to the historical Fuller Dome.

The geodesic dome is Buckminster Fuller’s most enduring legacy. I once had the good fortune to meet Bucky who said in his presentation…“I don’t want to see a homogenized society, I want the cream to rise to the top.” I never forgot that.

Carbondale Has Attracted Awards

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The city has awards hanging in every direction. Named one of the Best Towns in America, Best Small City in Illinois, Governor’s Hometown Award, one of the 101 Best Outdoor Towns in America, and a finalist as an All American City and another for Municipal Excellence.  So you see, folks, Carbondale has the word “excellence” written all over its face.

Dine, stay, explore and learn in this exciting city. The Boo Rochman Memorial Park packs them in as a top attraction in town. Right along with the Park is the Honker Hill Winery.  How about that name?

The Science Center is a popular hands-on museum with a wide array of displays dedicated to the younger crowd. The scenery in Southern Illinois is said to be the best in the state. Senior visitors view a wide variety of great scenery as they hike, golf and sip wine along winding roads and trails that connect clusters of quaint towns, state parks and wineries. -jeb

SENIORS STOP IN BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA



Seniors Find Another ‘Best’

blacksburg_vaBlacksburg, Virginia, with a population of 43,000, is nestled between the picturesque Blue Ridge Highlands and Allegheny Mountains. The natural beauty surrounding Blacksburg offers a vista for residents and senior visitors to enjoy.

Consistently ranked among the country’s best places to live, Blacksburg is known for award winning services, a reasonable cost of living, safety, moderate climate, and abundant leisure activities.

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Businessweek named Blacksburg the “Best Place in the U.S. to Raise Kids” and Southern Living named Blacksburg the “Best College Town in the South.” Money Magazine kicked in with Blacksburg being among the 100 Best Places to Live. So it is very well received.

 Seniors Enjoy Home of Virginia Tech

Blacksburg is proud to be the home of the Virginia Tech Hokies and major technology companies located in the Corporate Research Center and the Blacksburg Industrial Park. Virginia Tech has 60 bachelor’s degree programs, 140 master’s and doctoral degree programs, and over 25,000 full-time students on a 2,600 acre campus.

Part of what makes Blacksburg a special place is its strong relationship with Virginia Tech. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech, is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution.

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The dynamic Blacksburg community is thriving with artisans and craftspeople. There are numerous options available for music, theatre, and galleries of varying media.  There are also many cultural sites within and around the town that reveal the rich history of this area.

Senior Visitors Enjoy Historic Blacksburg

An original settler Samuel Black died in 1792 then the land was evenly divided into two sections by his sons. The road now known as Draper Road is the dividing line between the sections. Established in 1798, John Black’s property covered the majority of today’s central campus and William Black’s property became most of central downtown area of present-day Blacksburg.

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Senior visitors can check out the Lyric Theater and the Hagn Horticultural Garden at Virginia Tech. Visitors are invited to tour the Smithfield Plantation, built in 1773, that was the home of Revolutionary War patriot William Preston and a National Historic Landmark. The Historic 16 Squares of Blacksburg provides an overview of the development of the city.

Senior visitors are invited to experience “America’s Favorite Drive” down the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.  A leisurely drive along this scenic route offers views of the area’s unparalleled natural beauty and unique community culture.

When you are driving into Virginia, drop by Blacksburg and spend some quality time. Senior travelers will enjoy all that the city has to offer.  -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Moab, A Senior Destination

Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah

We welcome Michele Hill with Moab Travel Council, our guest writer this morning.  Grab your coffee and enjoy what Michele has to share with us about Moab.

Moab is a town attractive to all generations, including  senior citizens. For the active adventurous generation, the do-it-yourself folks, it is biking, climbing, rafting, camping, and trying to budget a visit in the appealing canyons, on the rivers and trails.

Families arrive in summer during the school break and take advantage of the Junior Ranger programs in the parks. They stay in lodging in town or camp in RVs with a toy hauler in tow or tent camp to give the kids a nature experience.

Retirees and senior visitors will look for the experience of an outfitter to bring safety and regional interpretation talks to outings while 4wheeling, river running, horseback riding, and sightseeing. Often these older couples visited once before, passing through on the way to somewhere else, however, Moab remained on the list to visit again only stay longer this time.

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Seniors From Abroad Visit Moab

Travelers from abroad are regularly heard in the restaurants, shops, and at viewpoints. They are either in a car or rented RV and Moab is a part of a big loop of Western USA. Some foreigners visit in groups utilizing motorcoach services, stopping infrequently to take pictures, stopping more often to hike and enjoying prepaid tours on a well thought out itinerary.

Families, couples and singles of varying ages flock to Moab from across the globe. In the fall, an influx of retirees, senior citizens and empty nesters are taking advantage of cooler temperatures and the fact that children are back in school.

Moab City

Moab City

Full time RV residents regularly stop in Moab during a leisurely voyage to snow bird destinations. The motorcoach series of seniors increases too. Local experts are hired to step on the bus to provide developed messages about the flora, fauna and area history during the sightseeing of Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands and/or Arches National Parks.

Moab Senior Games…

All year round there are Photography Workshops. Moab Senior Games are held in early November, and Pickleball, a growing sport in active adult RV resorts across the nation, is on the competition schedule for the Moab Senior Games, an event for 50+ year olds.

Arches National Park has seen significant growth. All ages adore the park. Sand Dune Arch is nature’s sandbox and can be clamoring with youthful exuberance any summer day.  The heaviest visitation in Arches also occurs between the hours of 10 AM – 4:30 PM.

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Go to Dead Horse Point State Park or Canyonlands National Park or to the alternate trails on Bureau of Land Management lands, like Corona and Morning Glory Arches during these hours instead.

Some desert hiking tips: in the warmest months start the trail early to finish up by 10 AM or go in the evenings, to avoid the heat of day. Carry and drink water. Bring a bandana along to wet and mop skin for the instant evaporative cooling it affords.

Enjoy Moab!!  Michele Hill, Guest Writer

 

Filed under : Editors Choice

SENIORS DISCOVER ISLA HOLBOX, MEXICO



Seniors Enjoy the Eden of Mexico

holbox_main Holbox (pop. 1,600) is an island in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located 7 miles north of the Yucatán Peninsula. Senior travelers can find this island about 40 miles northwest of Cancun. Holbox Island is just 26 miles / 42 km long.

Holbox, called the “Eden of Mexico,” is separated from the mainland coast of Mexico by a shallow lagoon which gives sanctuary to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and other exotic birds and creatures. It is an ideal place for senior birders to enjoy spending a couple of days just enjoying the winged wonders of the island.

Holbox has several alternatives to enjoy nature, but the one that attracts most visitors is the experience of swimming with the impressive whale shark from June to September, an opportunity you can experience in very few parts of the world.

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Seniors Discover One Of Mexico’s Well Kept Secrets

Isla Holbox is a well kept secret not known to many Mexicans outside of the Yucatan. The island was settled by pirates who intermarried with local Mayans living in the area. Incidentally for your information, Isla Holbox is pronounced i-la holebosh – “x” in Mayan is pronounced “sh”.

If you are like me and enjoy a tour of wherever you are before you go out to discover sites for yourself, check out the various tours available on Isla Holbox. A modern catamaran takes senior visitors to Holbox in just 15 minutes.

Holbox (“black hole” in Yucatec Maya) is full of surprises. Both the land and the people are special, something to be explored at leisure and cherished. The locals of Holbox invite you to enjoy the natural beauty of their island.

Fishing, Birding and Whale Watching

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Fishing remains a major draw for those of us who enjoy casting a line. For the more adventurous visitors, kiteboarding is lot of fun at Isla Holbox. The island is lined with seemingly endless beaches, tranquil waters and a galaxy of shells in various shapes and colors.

Lying within the Yum Balam reserve, Holbox is home to more than 150 species of birds, including roseate spoonbills, pelicans, herons, ibis and flamingos. In summer, whale sharks congregate nearby in unheard-of quantities. Once on site you will want to enjoy the Yalahau Lagoon. The La Odonata is a great place for enjoying the seafoods of the Caribbean.

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The highlight of Isla Holbox is the annual migration of the whale shark, the largest fish in the world, an event that happens every summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Dolphin and whale watching is another fun activity. All transportation on the island is by golf-carts, motorbikes, bicycles and of course walking.

They say that it is hard to believe that a place like this could be so close to the megalithic tourist destination of Cancún and yet be a million miles away in attitude, natural beauty and environmental diversity and so loaded with “Island Life.”  jeb

SENIORS VISIT CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA



Seniors take in Heart of Screenland

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My local Sunday paper featured an article on the Top Ten Readers Choice Awards for Arts DistrictsCulver City, California was one of them, thus this blog today. Senior visitors to Culver City will find a unique collection of contemporary art galleries, boutique restaurants, artist studios,  and retailers.

It was Harry Hazel Culver, a real estate developer, who tacked his name on the city. Today the city is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Culver City is located in western Los Angeles County with a population of nearly 40,000. It’s called the “Heart of Screenland.” Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a significant center for motion picture and later television production, best known as the home of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios.

Seniors Find Long History in Culver City

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The Hughes Aircraft Company also called Culver City home from 1932 to 1985. The history of the city goes way back and archaeological evidence suggests a human presence in the area of present day Culver City since at least 8,000 BC. The region was the homeland of the Tongva-Gabrielino Indians who held a presence in the region for over 8,000 years.

TripAdvisor has a list of suggested “don’t miss” sites for senior visitors. Topping off that list is the Museum of Jurassic Technology that is said so be an offbeat museum that is home to many bizarre relics.

One visitor commented…”I finally made it here and it was definitely worth the trip. One of the most compelling places to visit. This is a museum about museums.  The actual exhibit is secondary and almost arbitrary. It is how it is presented, how you approach it, how it speaks to you without you actually learning anything or it making sense.”

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Running a close second for favorites is The Wende Museum (German “Wende” = turning point) and Archive of the Cold War… a museum and educational institution in Culver City. The Culver City Symphony Orchestra is celebrating 52 years…  a favorite for much of the local citizenry.

Senior Visitors Enjoy the Studio Lot

Senior travelers will find activities and events going on all year long such as the Fiesta La Ballona, the George Barris Culver City Car Show and Music in the Chambers.

For me, I think I might just head first for the Sony Pictures Studio and enjoy the Studio Lot. It’s one of the world’s most best known locations for motion picture production dating back for nearly a hundred years.

The lot has been the site of many famed classics that includes Mutiny on the Bounty, Grand Hotel, Ben-Hur, The Wizard of Oz, and Singin’ in the Rain. Senior visitors will experience an engaging city to enjoy. -jeb

SENIORS STOP IN OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS



Seniors Enjoy Another ‘Best Place’

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Overland Park, roughly 13 miles south-southwest of downtown Kansas City, is packed with a plethora of fun things for seniors to see and do. The city motto reads “Above And Beyond. By Design.”

The local Chamber notes that Overland Park is frequently distinguished with national awards in business and quality of life rankings.  In the past 6 years it has received rankings in the “Best Places to Live” and the  Best Places to Grow Up” in America. It also received rankings on “America’s 25 Best Places to Move” and “America’s Best Affordable Places to Retire.” That’s quite impressive, n’est-ce pas?

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Overland Park traces its roots to 1905, with the arrival of its founder, Wm B. Strang Jr, who plotted subdivisions along a military roadway on 600 acres he purchased that are now part of the old downtown area.

One of those subdivisions was named Overland Park. This was the site for the first airplane flight west of the Mississippi with shows by the Wright brothers, sponsored by Strang, on December 24, 1909.

The service sector constitutes most of the local economy. Health care, retail trade, professional and technical services, finance and insurance, and information technology are the city’s five largest industries. More than 40 companies have their corporate headquarters in Overland Park.

Seniors Enjoy Thriving Downtown

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The 25 square-block area that forms Downtown is home to more than 250 businesses, including everything from art galleries to attorneys and restaurants to automotive services. The new Matt Ross Community Center is a state-of-the-art fitness and community facility.

 TripAdvisor suggests that seniors visit the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a major draw to the city.  Old Town Overland Park is also a a lot of fun just for strolling. The old buildings have for the most part been preserved, but a large fire about 2007 caused total damage to some old structures, now rebuilt with more modern styles.

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Senior visitors will find an impressive  Farmers Market in warmer months and bands and events in the square by the clock tower.

Held at the Santa Fe Commons Park, the Overland Park Fall Festival is a popular annual event that features Johnson County’s best arts and crafts fair. The Theater in the Park takes place at Shawnee Mission Park’s outdoor amphitheater, which seats up to 4,500.

 Overland Park  offers an abundance of attractions for senior travelers. Enjoy your drive through Kansas and your stop in Overland Park.  -jeb

SENIORS VISIT PERPIGNAN, FRANCE



Seniors Find ‘Another South’ Of France

1024px-Gare-de-perpignanI just had to do this blog sooner or later.  When I was a graduate student at the Sorbonne, as my wife would say “150 yrs. ago”, I was told that I had a French accent like I was from Perpignan. That was a complement to this senior. I remember passing through the city with Jack and our motor scooter… we traveled all over the country. So where is Perpignan?

Perpignan is a commune and the capital of what is called the Pyrénées-Orientales (Eastern Pyrenees) department in southern France with a population of 120,000.  Perpignan is located in the center of the Roussillon plain, 13 km west of the Mediterranean coast, with a Mediterranean climate like most of southern France.

Although essentially Mediterranean, it represents “another South”, different from the world of Provence, the Languedoc country or the French Riviera. Perpignan marks its geographical and cultural identity with Spanish Catalonia.

 Seniors Enjoy A Medieval Town

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The ancient settlement goes back to Roman times, however as I discovered, the medieval town of Perpignan seems to have been founded around the beginning of the 10th century. Soon after, Perpignan became the capital of the counts of Roussillon. And for you senior historians, it was part of the region known as Septimania (you will just have to Google that one!).

Perpignan is the bridge between the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and the South of France. Today Perpignan is the intellectual, cultural, political and economic capital of the southern region of France and northern Catalonia.

Lonely Planet notes that.. “ in the foothills of the Pyrenees, in many way Perpignan feels as much Spanish as French.” It’s known as the “Crème de Languedoc” and loaded with tourist attractions.

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As the former capital of the Kings of Majorca and the Counts of Roussillon, Perpignan changed hands repeatedly during the medieval period until finally becoming French territory with the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659. Always too far from the coast to become a port, the town developed into a cloth-making center by the early middle ages.

 Seniors Find Wine, Corks and Rugby

Traditional commerce has been wine and olive oil, corks (the coal oak Quercus suber grows in Perpignan’s mild climate), wool and leather, and iron. The major sport in town is rugby. Seven times champion of the Top 14 in a Super League, they go by the name Catalans Dragons. Senior visitors will keep well occupied in Perpignan with an awesome castle, cathedral, palace and city hall (Hôtel de Ville).

Check out this “one stop” link that provides information on the city. Be sure to bring up the Christmas in Perpignan portion of the link. Enjoy Perpignan. -jeb

SENIORS HEAD UP TO THE BALTICS



Seniors Stop In Riga

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Riga (a place where centuries meet) is the capital and the largest city of Latvia. With over 700,000  inhabitants, Riga is the largest city of the Baltic States and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population. Senior travelers will find the city in the center of the country on south coast of the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of its longest river, the Daugava.

During Riga Restaurant Week, Riga’s restaurants open their doors to all gourmands willing to treat themselves to an array of delicious tastes for an especially affordable price of 15–20 euros for a three-course meal.

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Riga was founded in 1201 by Albert of Bremen as a base for the Northern Crusades. It developed as the major trade hub of the Eastern Baltic during the high days of the Hanseatic League, ruled by the Archbishop of Riga.

Seniors Find A City Reconstructed and Restored

Much of Riga was bombed during World War II and the ruins were mostly left to decay until independence, when the government, realizing the tourism potential, began to invest in reconstructing and restoring the old buildings. Because of this restoration, Riga has one of the most complete old towns in Europe, called The Pearl of Architecture.

800px-Old_Riga,_LatviaThe official language is Latvian, however about half the population speaks Russian.  A vast majority are bi-lingual as are many countries in Europe. Wikitravel  can help you better understand the city and its rich history.

Lonely Planet calls Riga the “Paris of the North” and the “City that never sleeps.”

By now you know that this author thinks greatly of any and all World Heritage Sites, wherever they are on the globe.  They are always of cultural and historical importance. The Art Nouveau Center is such a site and not to be missed.

Seniors Will Enjoy Old City Riga

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TripAdvisor offers a great list of things to see and do in Riga. Old City Riga (Vecriga) is where these seniors would start our visit. It is loaded with small squares where you can drink quality local beer in the open air in summer, or huddle over a hot bar snack in winter.

Riga’s Old Town is just made for wandering around and several walking tours are available. Don’t we love those areas in any historic city like this one? By the way, senior visitors will find 115 hotels in Riga. 

US News and Travel suggests that senior travelers visit Riga in the summer, when the streets are alive and the weather is near perfect.

Because of its proximity to the Baltic Sea, Riga experiences surprisingly mild seasons compared to other Balkan cities.

Spend 36 hours in Riga via the NY Times and enjoy all the fun. Looks like one great city to me. That YouTube version above sold me on Riga. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO VENICE, FLORIDA



Seniors Find a Paradise on the Gulf

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It’s Florida, not Italy and this Venice is noted for its large snowbird population, kind of like Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun in Arizona. This Venice is located in Sarasota County and has a population of just over 20,000.

Ever see someone with a shark’s tooth necklace around their neck? Perhaps, just perhaps it came from Venice, the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World”. It hosts the Shark’s Tooth Festival in April each year to celebrate the abundance of fossilized shark’s teeth that can be found on its coastal shores, especially on Venice Municipal Beach.

Hunting for shark teeth sounds fun to me. The teeth may be black, brown, or gray, depending on the minerals in the soil in which they have been buried. They range in size from one eighth inch to three inches, and on rare occasions even larger. And get this, an average Tiger shark can produce as many as 24,000 teeth in something like ten years.

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Seniors Enjoy White Sand Gulf Coast

Just south of Sarasota along Florida’s white-sanded Gulf Coast, Venice offers 14 miles of beaches from Casey Key to Manasota Key and plenty of recreational activities that includes swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating. Venice is home to Stephen King and several other notables.

Venice has lots to offer senior visitors. The 700-foot long Fishing Pier at Brohard Park is a major attraction. There is a 10-mile long, 10-foot wide linear trail for walkers, joggers and bikers. TripAdvisor’s #1 attraction is the Venice Theatre. Make plans early to take in a show because they are constantly sold out of performances.

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Caspersen Beach runs a close second for visitor popularity. It is a prime seashell-collecting spot with nature trails, canoeing and kayaking through coastal mangroves. Flanked by the Gulf of Mexico and northern Lemon Bay, Caspersen is 177 acres of cabbage palms, sea grapes and sea oats.

Senior visitors will discover free parking, picnic areas with two pavilions, a canopied playground, a paved and shelled walking/hiking/biking paths, restrooms, canoe/kayak launch and fitness park. 

 Seniors Flock To Warm Community

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The local Chamber notes that Venice is a warm, friendly community. Whether seniors like shopping in the unique stores of the downtown Venice Main Street district or prefer golfing, boating, fishing, or just laying on the beach, the five community area of Osprey, Laurel, Nokomis, Venice and South Venice has it all.

They further note that you can experience the charm and splendor of Venice that has enchanted visitors for over a hundred years. “Just a short drive away from Florida’s themed attractions and cultural hot spots, Venice showcases the small town ambiance of Old Florida where shop owners know you by name and Friday nights mean hometown football games.”

Check out their Top 10 List of Things to Do in Venice and enjoy your visit -jeb

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