Seniors Voyage En Belgique

belgium_mons_lgOui, aujourd’hui on va en Belgique pour visiter MONS. Senior visitors learn that Mons is a Belgian city and municipality, and the capital of the province of Hainaut. It was recently selected as one of the “hots spots” for visitors in Europe.

Mons will be the European Capital of Culture in 2015. Mons will probably evoke WWI for most British readers. It has however been witness to many more battles than that, and if it remembers the presence of British and German troops in 1914, it is also proud of vestiges dating back to the Romans.

Mons is a town of tradition and its celebrations of “Lumeçon” and “Le Car d’Or” highlight these traditions. Van Gogh was in Mons for some time before moving on to Provence and senior travelers can visit the house he lived in. Mons also has some unique attractions in the nearby vicinity which are well worth visiting.

Senior Military Buffs Attracted To Mons

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Read all about the early history of Mons as well as specifics on the city via Wikipedia.  Mons (Bergen in Dutch, pop. 92,000) is a university town. The name of the city derives from Latin “Montes”, meaning “Mount”, from the geographical feature where it stands, although it is really just a hill.

Despite the lack of extraordinary monuments, Mons is without contest one of the most beautiful and pleasant of cities in Belgium, thanks to its architectural homogeneity, its clean streets and its warm atmosphere.

Located 35 miles south of the capital city of Brussels, military buffs will find a rich history in Mons. British and German troops occupied Mons in 1914 during World War I, yet the city also has ruins dating back to the ancient Romans.

Seniors Find Beauty and Historical Richness In Mons


Must-sees in Mons, include its Gothic style town hall; the Belfry, a World Heritage UNESCO site; the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru, and the Decorative Arts Museum François Duesberg with its unique and prestigious clock collection.

Mons has expanded over the centuries, outgrowing its fortified walls more than once, and engulfing surrounding communities. The central core of the town is not large, and runs in a number of rings.


TripAdvisor says the St Symphorien Military Cemetery is rated a #1 attraction in the city. Mons was originally a place of pilgrimage, and most of the historic buildings are churches, chapels, convents or abbeys. But the beauty of Mons lies in its narrow paved streets and its traditional houses.

Set your compass on Mons, the city that offers all the splendors and historical richness that so typifies most of the cities in Belgium. -jeb

Filed under : Europe


Seniors Enjoy a Main Street City


This senior was watching a football game with Texas State University. This former coach, just had to find out where TSU ( 36,700 students) was located and I discovered San Marcos.  So here we are today in San Marcos, Texas.

San Marcos is a city within the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area. The city is on the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, is the seat of Hays County and its population runs right as 54,076 happy Texans.

San Marcos was designated in 1986 as an official Main Street City by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and remains one of the oldest Main Street programs in the state. Conveniently located in Central Texas, San Marcos truly is in the center of everything.

 1280px-Hardy_williams_building_2013Seniors Find One Of Those ‘Best Places’

And honors, in 2010, San Marcos was listed in Business Week’s  fourth annual survey of the “Best Places to Raise your Kids.”More recently San Marcos was named the fastest-growing city in the United States and one the “10 Most Exciting Small Cities In America”.

This central Texas community is known as “The Gateway to Texas Hill Country,” one of my favorite areas of the state. The San Marcos River is a spring-fed waterway that flows through the heart of San Marcos–both literally and figuratively. Senior visitors can kayak, snorkel, swim, and float on inner tubes in the 72-degree water.


Or you can relax in the several parks that straddle the river, watching the tubers float by. San Marcos is prime shopping country.

The historic downtown offers unique local shops for people who want to walk and shop, and the outlet malls attract bargain hunters from all over the country.

Seniors Enjoy Hill Country Treasure

The rich cultural heritage of San Marcos is a treasure of the Hill Country and is expressed in the  museums, architecture, and festivals. San Marcos boasts more than 1,700 acres of parks and natural areas. They range from soccer fields to virgin natural areas with foot trails and rugged bike paths. This Digital Magazine Guide to Everything San Marcos, by the local Chamber of Commerce, has a plethora of information.


Senior visitors will find plenty to see and do in Downtown San Marcos. You will soon discover the recently restored 1909 Hays County Courthouse that is nestled in the center of the downtown square. Historic exhibits are housed in it’s lower floors.

The Marc is another major draw in town.  It is a world-class listening room with state of the art acoustics, two levels, three full-service bars, an upper level balcony, standing room for up to 1,000 music fans, smoke-free for most events, two projector screens that show off the stage, and a large dance floor. The Marc is a place you truly have to see and hear to believe.

Enjoy your visit to exciting San Marcos.  -jeb


Seniors Travel Through Southeast Pennsylvania

DocumentThis senior didn’t know much about Swarthmore except that my friend Jack went to Swarthmore College. Jack and I traveled together all over Europe on our Lambretta motor scooter right after I had graduated from college. We had a great learning experience as a couple of 21 year old adventurers.

We collected 46 passport stamps crossing borders, had a wreck in the Pyrenees, a flat tire, got chased by gypsies in Spain, nearly got gassed with fumes in the seven mile tunnel between Italy and France and suffered a broken rear axle in Brussels. We had a highly memorable cycling experience in the rain and a great snowball fight up above the clouds in Andorra, a country high in the Pyrenees between Spain and France.


Ah yes, we are visiting Swarthmore today… a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Swarthmore is located in extreme southeastern Pennsylvania along the Delaware River at the New Jersey border, in a lovely bucolic setting.

Swarthmore was originally named Westdale in honor of noted painter Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The town changed its name to Swarthmore after the College was founded in 1864.

Seniors Find A Senior Friendly Town

With a population of just over 6,000. Swarthmore is a tree-lined residential community of distinctive homes and quiet neighborhoods, anchored by the campus of Swarthmore College. At the center of the Borough is a downtown core of unique, independent shops and services.


The Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association has something for everyone. Seniors, age 65 years or older, ride free at all times on bus, trackless trolley, subway, and trolley service. Regional Rail fares vary depending on your final destination and that’s a pretty good deal for seniors.


The school district has one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools. Wallingford-Swarthmore schools are highly regarded, and the district is one of the best in suburban Philadelphia.

 Swarthmore Is ‘One Of The Best’


Swarthmore is loaded with parks and 3 super B&Bs,  the Longfellow House, the Magnolia House and the Purcell Darrell House. The Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College can fill in the past history of the borough, which began with its development as a college town and commuter suburb.

Access to good roads and public transportation encouraged the development of its residential and business community in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The 21st century finds Swarthmore to be the home of one of the best liberal arts colleges in America. Equally impressive is its award winning public school district, its ideal location and transportation system and its strong sense of community.

Sound interesting? It is. Senior travelers, plan to swing through  Swarthmore the next time you’re in Pennsylvania. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Senior Oenophiles and Historians Visit Montepulciano, Italy


Senior travelers will find this small hill town, Montepulciao, in Tuscany, in the province of Siena. It is most famous for its many medieval buildings and its natural scenic beauty.

Perched on top of a limestone ridge, Montepulciano is fairly close to Siena, Florence and Rome. Montepulciano’s economy is mainly based on agriculture and is known for its beautiful wines including “Il vino Nobile di Montepulciano” which is considered to be the best in Italy by wine connoisseurs. The locals call themselves Poliziani after the Roman name for the town.


Montepulciano is one of the many colorful Tuscany towns in Central Italy. The regional capital is Florence. Montepulciano is a medieval/Renaissance village of 14,500 inhabitants, with many small shops and a peaceful atmosphere that tourists enjoy.

 Seniors Find Very Old Hilltop Village

According to scholars and archeologists the first inhabitants in the area go back to the 3rd and 4th century BC, even before the Etruscans. After the Etruscans, the area was then ruled by the Romans.  Montepulciano has notoriety for the wealth of excellent vineyards from which we can obtain the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.

The hilltop location provides a wide-angle view of wonderful Tuscan landscapes. The village is surrounded by many fortifications and walls. The center of Montepulciano (located at the highest point of the town) is Piazza Grande.

Montepulciano provides senior visitors with views, villas, and vino. The narrow streets are lined with noble palazzos because Florentine nobility favored Montepulciano as a breezy and relaxed place for a summer residence.

800px-Montepulciano-streetThe Palazzo communal of Montepulciano was designed by Michelozzo. The design of the palace is very similar to the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. Thanks to aristocratic egos, each palace was constructed to outdo its neighbor.

 Seniors, Set Your Sights On Montepulciano

The Piazza Grande a Montepulciano is the main square in town with a beautiful cathedral.  Look for the ancient well with the Medici coat of arms designed by Sangallo. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Montepulciano were designed by two of the finest architects of the Renaissance, Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, and Michelozzo Michelozzi Ippolito Scalza.


The Civico Museum, housed since 1957 in the Palace Blacks Orselli, is a major tourist draw to the city along with the Piazza Grande and Il Duomo. Let my travel hero Rick Steves, take you on a short video tour of the town.

Frommers notes: “Few better places to aim for than Montepulciano, with its famous, violet-scented, orange-speckled Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Wine that flows like water is a major attraction, but the beauty of this place is not to be found only at the bottom of a glass. Noble palaces, proud medieval gateways, and a jumble of enticing alleyways spread out below airy Piazza Grande at the very top of the town, and views over the surrounding hills and valleys are as intoxicating as the wine.”

So set your sails for Montepulciano in Tuscany and plan to spend a few days in this historical village. -jeb


Caribbean Island Draws Senior Visitors

030497anguilla-mapReading my latest Travel & Leisure magazine, I came across Anguilla. This senior knew very little of this island, except that was in the blue Caribbean among a plethora of others. There are so many great destinations in that area, however, today let’s go for a visit to Anguilla.

This British overseas territory is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin. The name Anguilla derives from the word for an “eel”, the shape of the island.


“Tranquillity Wrapped In Blue,” is a description by a local tourist board. Doesn’t that sound inviting? This warm and welcoming island destination is tucked away in the northern Caribbean. Embraced by unrivaled white beaches and breathtaking turquoise seas, senior visitors will find Anguilla to be casual and easy, with a unique blend of high style and low-key elegance.

Senior Visitors Find Slow, Easy Island Tempo


Visitors easily blend in with the slow and casual island tempo. Senior visitors can enjoy the endless summer with near perfect weather, blue waters and balmy trade winds. Quiet, and low key from the end of August to October, I liked the idea of those balmy winds.

I also liked what Lonely Planet called Anguilla… “a limestone bump in the sea.” In addition they note that folks should be prepared to discover a melting pot of cultures set along mind-blowing beaches. Eel-shaped Anguilla is however, no shoestring destination, its authenticity comes at a premium. Anguilla actually flaunts its down-to-earth charms to the jet set subset who crave a vacation off the radar.

Fine White Sand Beaches, Turquoise Waters and Sun

images-4From what I have discovered, Anguilla is everything visitors search for in a Caribbean island with a plethora of those fine white sand beaches, turquoise waters, abundant scenic bays, gentle breezes all day long and palm trees that spread out far as the eye can see.

Once you arrive, you will soon discover the slow and laid-back atmosphere that seems to dominate the island and most all folks, the locals and visitors alike, seek to adopt this slower pace of life. Must be the sun, plus those balmy ocean breezes.

Anguilla has extraordinary hotels that attract the likes of Brad Pitt, Janet Jackson and Robert de Niro, just to mention a few. Only 35 miles long, Anguilla is accessible by ferry from St. Maarten, and it is also possible to fly there. I’ll sign of today with this worthy link focusing on What To Do In Anguilla.   -jeb


Seniors Discover Rye, New Hampshire


 Senior friends, do you have your coffee?  We’re going to the Atlantic Coast and stopping in Rye, New Hampshire this morning. Senior travelers will find themselves only one hour from Boston.

Rye has the longest stretch of coastline of any New Hampshire coastal town and contains four of the nine islands known as the Isles of Shoals which lie approximately ten miles off the Rye shores.

Choice of the name Rye is credited to the Jenness family, one of the founding families that had come from Rye, England. The population runs right at 5,300+. Rye is prized for its scenic setting along the ocean, making for some great seafood at local restaurants including lobster roll lunches.


Senior Travelers Enjoy the Seacoast Beaches

Rye abounds in history. As the first settlement in New Hampshire it was originally called Pannaway Plantation established by David Thompson in 1623 at Odiorne Point. Rye Beach and adjacent Jenness Beach are popular family beaches with a bathhouse and lifeguards during the summer season.

Odiorne Point itself is the largest undeveloped stretch of shore on New Hampshire’s 18-mile coast. Odiorne offers an extensive array of habitats for senior visitors to explore the local flora and fauna. The seacoast beaches run from Massachusetts, through New Hampshire, to Maine.


The Rye Historical Society on Olde Parish Road preserves, collects and displays artifacts, documents, photos and oral histories at the Rye Town Museum. Over half of Rye’s 35.5 square miles are wetlands or marshes which makes for some ideal birding.

Senior Fishermen, Take Note

Whale Watching is a big draw along the coast.  My family and I went on a whale watch near Boston and it made for a great outdoor adventure. Rye Harbor is a popular spot for fishing and features a launch ramp with ample parking and quick access to the open Atlantic Ocean.


Winter flounder and striped bass are popular catches. The first fish start arriving in late May. Cod, haddock and huge bluefin tuna are highly prized. Wallis Sands State Beach between Rye Harbor and Odiorne Point is a popular place to put up your umbrella and to catch some Vitamin D.

Odiorne Point State Park with its 330 acres of seacoast land offers some great hiking trails and picnic facilities.The Park is also home to the Seacoast Science Center, which features numerous exhibits relating to New Hampshire’s coastal and marine environment.

Senior surfers, Rye has some great waves to check out. And senior historical buffs, you will find super lodging in the area with a number of historic B&Bs. You are in for a treat with all that Rye has to offer. -jeb

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