SENIORS DRIVE THE EAST SIDE OF CALIFORNIA



Seniors Seek Out Truckee

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I was reading an outdoor magazine that I subscribe to and noted that one of the bike riders was from Truckee, California. The name Truckee  stayed with me or a day or two, so I just needed to check out the town. Senior travelers will find Trukee on I-80 and not all that far from the Nevada border and Reno. The population runs just over 16,000.

As you may know by now, Jim is fascinated with unusual names of towns, cities, boroughs, etc. all over the country. Truckee is one of those towns. The town’s original name was Coburn Station, commemorating a saloon keeper.

Truckee was later named after a Paiute Indian chief. His assumed Paiute name was Tru-ki-zo, and that is close enough. Tru-ki-zo helped guide thousands of emigrants in their westward journey through 40-mile desert.

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Seniors Enjoy A Town With Historic Roots

The Truckee River flows through town from Lake Tahoe for approximately 100 miles northeast to the border of the arid Great Basin of Nevada and Utah and into Pyramid Lake. This water source formed a natural, seasonal route for Native Americans.

With a name like Truckee, there just has to be lots of history associated with the town. Truckee is a place rich in history with a quaint downtown that hosts charming shops and superb restaurants set in authentic historic buildings. Recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Truckee proudly retains its historic roots.

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TripAdvisor notes that the Truckee-Lake Tahoe area along the California-Nevada border is one of the most breathtaking destinations you can visit for scenic mountain beauty, romantic getaways and outdoor excitement.

Senior Outdoor Fans, Take Note…

Donner Lake features a public beach and Donner Memorial State Park offers diverse outdoor fun with campsites, trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and rock climbing.

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Travel just a mile north along the Little Truckee River and you’re at Boca Dam and Reservoir, featuring magnificent fishing with rainbow, brook, and brown trout plus Kokanee salmon. Seniors, bring along your best hiking boots, trail bike and fishing gear and enjoy Truckee at its best.

Truckee has often been recognized as the coldest spot in the nation, but not during the winter ski season as one might expect. These nippy temperatures are noteworthy because they occur from June through early October.

The Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce invites senior travelers to spend a few days just exploring the area.  Seniors will love the beauty, the fresh mountain air and the friendly folks. -jeb

SENIORS ENJOY THE FLORIDA KEYS



Seniors Bask In The Sun In Key Largo

keylargo_slide02 Key Largo, an island in the upper Florida Keys archipelago, is the largest section of the Keys, at 33 miles long. Senior visitors find that Key Largo, the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, is an hour’s drive from South Florida’s two major airports, and a world away.

This island boasts natural wonders plus friendly locals who are ready to help senior visitors enjoy them. You can arrange an eco-tour, float on a parasail, thrill yourself on a jet ski, or relax on a sunset sail or sightseeing tour. And then you can unwind at one of several parks or beaches or stroll through a local art gallery.

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Senior visitors can enjoy Key Largo’s ties to the sea including scuba diving, snorkeling, an underwater hotel, sport fishing, eco-tours, beaches and dolphin encounter programs.

The island also offers nature trails and a rehabilitation center for wild birds. Senior visitors will find plenty to keep busy including some great sport fishing.

 Seniors Find History Of Pineapple And Key Lime

Fodor’s notes that the first settlement on Key Largo was named Planter,back in the days of pineapple, and later, key lime plantations. For a time it was a convenient shipping port, but when the railroad arrived, Planter died on the vine. Today three communities—North Key Largo, Key Largo, and Tavernier—make up the whole of Key Largo.

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The lush flora and lively fauna abound in the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Everglades National Park.

Underwater, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary teems with life, where senior visitors might catch a glimpse of the American Crocodile that thrives at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are the only living coral reef in the continental United States. Key Largo is an ideal place to come face to face with dolphins at a site called Dolphins Plus and scuba divers enjoy exploring Spiegel Grove.

Seniors Plan Weekend Getaway

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Key Largo is a great destination for a weekend getaway or a short day trip, located about 60 miles from downtown Miami. The local Chamber has a website with great information including a calendar of events, a visitors guide and a Visitor Center.

Looking for a truly unique experience? Jules Underwater Lodge is a hotel located 30 feet below the water’s surface. I think that I would prefer a glass bottom boat tour where I could watch marine life from a distance in the comfort of a boat. I did that once before in Mexico and would do it again in a wink.

Snorkeling would also be of interest to my wife and me. Key Largo is known as the “Dive Capital of the World”.

Senior travelers, make your way to the Keys and enjoy all that Key Largo has to offer. -jeb

SENIORS WHO GO TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS



Seniors Enjoy A Visit To Wellesley

wellesleytitle Wellesley, whose population is right at 28,000,  is part of Greater Boston. This senior and his family learned of Wellesley as we drove through the famed campus a few years back after spending a summer in a suburb of Boston.

Wellesley College is one of the most excellent institutions of higher education. Wellesley, founded in 1870, is a highly selective private women’s liberal-arts college. Wellesley is a member of what is called the original Seven Sisters Colleges. Other fine schools call Wellesley home as well:  Babson College, Olin College and Massachusetts Bay Community College.

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Like much of Massachusetts, the town is loaded with history. More than 350 years ago, when a handful of men first settled the area around the Charles River that is now known as Wellesley, they were so delighted with their new town that they named it “Contentment” .

Seniors Find Pride And Satisfaction In Town

“Although the name has changed over the centuries, the feeling of pride and satisfaction on the part of the residents toward their home still remains strong. For many residents, this feeling of community was best summed up in the 1981 Centennial Celebration, a year-long discovery of Wellesley which brought a new sense of awareness of its history, a new enjoyment of its present, and a renewed commitment to its future.”

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The town designated Cottage Street and its nearby alleys as the historic district in its zoning plan. Most houses in this district were built around the 1860s and qualify as protected buildings certified by the town’s historic commission.

Wellesley is home to the headquarters of many local, national and global businesses. Try to make plans to visit the town that sponsors the annual Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend which includes the annual Veterans’ Parade and Fireworks.

Seniors Enjoy The ‘Must Sees’

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If you enjoy classical music, the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra presents classical, pops, and family concerts at Massachusetts Bay Community College at its Wellesley Campus. And take a look at all the notable folks who call(ed) this town home.

The Wellesley Historical Society is the formal center of history in town, providing a rotating selection of displays honoring Wellesley’s most noteworthy citizens and happenings. It too is a “must see and do” in town.

The Boston Marathon runs through the town each spring. Pull out your forks and dine at Ming and Polly Tsai’s east-meets-west restaurant called the Blue Ginger, one of Wellesley’s best known eateries. Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s The Gardens at Elm Bank, Lake Waban and the Botanic Gardens on campus are attractive to senior visitors.

Seniors, when you are in the Boston area, stop by Wellesley and enjoy all that it has to offer.  -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors Head Up To Northern New England

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Grab your coffee and let’s visit Manchester, New Hampshire this morning. Manchester, the largest city in northern New England, has a population of 110,000. The state capital, Concordf, pales in comparison with 37,000 inhabitants. Senior travelers, do you know the smallest state capital in the country? It’s Montpelier, Vermont with a tiny sum of 7,700.  Interesting huh? #2 is Pierre, South Dakota (14,000).

Manchester was first named by the merchant and inventor Samuel Blodget, after whom the Samuel Blodget Park in Manchester North is named. Blodget’s vision was to create a great industrial center similar to that of Manchester in England, which was the world’s first industrialized city.

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Manchester boasts a wide array of fun and exciting amenities focused on recreational pastimes. The city hosts several dedicated sports teams at modern arenas. The Monarchs hockey team, Fisher Cats baseball team and the Phantoms soccer team are a few of the many local teams entertaining fans throughout the area all season long.

Senior Visitors Enjoy Manchester

Today the Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area is home to nearly one-third of the population of New Hampshire. Manchester often appears favorably in lists ranking the affordability and livability of American cities.

300px-Manch-DownTownBack in 2009, CNN Money rated Manchester 13th in a list of the 100 best cities to live and launch a business. Kiplinger found it to be the second most tax-friendly city. Forbes ranked the Manchester region first on its list of “America’s 100 Cheapest Places to Live. So it has lots going for it.

TripAdvisor notes that senior visitors will discover a bustling urban center in a quiet town that combines history, industry and business and 41 things to take in, including beautiful Lake Massabesic.

Museums, Homes and Clydesdale Horses Draw Seniors

Being a guide at Taliesin West, this senior would have to visit the Zimmerman House, a Usonian house designed in 1950 by Frank Lloyd Wright for Dr. Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman. The Amoskeag Millyard is home to The Millyard Museum, which tracks the history of Manchester back 11,000 years.

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The Currier Museum of Art focuses on paintings by famous artists like Pablo Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe. After visiting those, then drive several miles down the road to Merrimack and visit the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, where you can taste seasonal beers and get a first-hand look the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

Historically, the Pennacook Indians called the Manchester area Namoskeag, meaning “good fishing place”—a reference to the Amoskeag Falls on the Merrimack River.  Seniors, drive to Manchester and enjoy the city and surrounding communities.  -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH TEXAS



Seniors Visit A “Picture Perfect City”

800px-Waxahachie,_TX_welcome_sign_IMG_5588I came across the town of Waxahachie on a Texas weather alert map. I had never heard of Waxahachie, so this senior’s curiosity kicked in and I just had to learn about this “Picture Perfect City.”

The name “Waxahachie” which creates a great deal of interest as to its origin, is derived from the Indian word meaning “Buffalo Creek.”  Senior visitors discover this Movie Capital of Texas, located just 30 minutes south of Dallas/Fort Worth. It has a population of 30,000. 

Waxahachie, designated in the early 1900′s as Queen of the Cotton Belt, has also grown to be known as the Gingerbread City for the ornate woodwork found on many of the historic homes.

Seniors Discover a Most Photographed Courthouse

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The Ellis County Courthouse is one of the most photographed structures in the State of Texas and said to be the most beautiful of Texas’s older courthouses. The downtown area is surrounded by numerous antique and specialty stores and a historic train depot.

20% of the National Historic Registered Historic Sites in the Texas section are in Waxahachie, which has five National Registered Districts. I love National Historic Sites. The city was officially organized on the banks of the Waxahachie Creek, from which the City derived its name in the year of 1850. Its history is one which is interwoven with the history of Texas.

Waxahachie claims the title of Movie Capital of Texas, with over thirty motion pictures and three Academy Award films: The Trip to Bountiful, Places in the Heart, and Tender Mercies. Waxahachie is recognized as being Picture Perfect by the movie industry.

Seniors Enjoy The Crepe Myrtle Capital

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The Historic Downtown District is home to a myriad of antique shops, restaurants, boutiques, and specialty stores and is famous for a great Texas dining and shopping experience. The Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau offers senior visitors helpful information. Check out the link on this site and read about the fascinating history of Waxahachie.

The city is loaded with annual events including Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival in April-May, Gingerbread Trail Tour of Homes, Crape Myrtle Festival, Tree Lighting on the Square, Texas Country Reporter Festival in October, Candlelight Historic Home Tour and Bethlehem Revisited held in December.

Do you know what Crepe Myrtle is? Waxahachie is said to be the Capital of this beautiful tree that grows abundant flowers in red, white, pink and purple. In 1997, the Texas State Legislature designated Waxahachie as the “Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas.”

Enjoy your stop in Waxahachie -jeb

SENIORS EXPLORE OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA



Seniors Enjoy The Bay Area

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Oakland, lies on the other side of the Bay Bridge, it is a port city and rated by Rand McNally as having the best weather in the country while remaining one of the busiest industrial ports on the West Coast. The New York Times ranked Oakland among the top 45 places to visit in 2012. The city earned the #5 spot just after London, and before Tokyo. Senior visitors enjoy the Bay area.

“If Brooklyn is the arts hub of the East Coast, Oakland, pop. 409,000+, is most definitely the arts mecca of the West. This entertainment capital comes alive at night with new restaurants, hip bars and an arts scene that’s one of the best in the country. Oakland is fast becoming the arts capital of the west and its unique museums reflect it.”

One of the largest museums in town is the Oakland Museum of California. Divided into three sections: art, history and natural science, the museum provides a dynamic, fun-filled multigenerational experience for senior visitors who wish to learn the extraordinary story of California.

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Seniors Discover the Hipster City of the Bay Area

Wikitravel notes that Oakland is often overshadowed by San Francisco lying directly to the west, however in recent years it has began to step out from under the shadows, playing upon the beautiful highlights of its own and its rise as the multicultural “hipster” city of the Bay Area.

Fodor’s Travel notes that seniors can find a Nigerian clothing store, a beautifully renovated Victorian home, a Buddhist meditation center, and a lively salsa club, all within the same block. Trip Advisorhas the 30 top things to see and do in Oakland.

Jack London Square features some of the best dining, shopping, live music and nightlife in the Bay Area, including the famous Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, survivor of the 1906 earthquake. It’s leaning tremendously, but still open today with a bar on the slanted floor.

Seniors Find ‘The Square’

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The Jack London Square is Oakland’s revamped waterfront arts and entertainment district. Situated along the scenic Oakland/Alameda estuary. This vibrant destination in Oakland brings together dining, retail, recreation, lively summer night markets and outdoor movies to kayaking and bicycling along the waterfront.

Senior sports fans line up in Oakland for the Raiders football, the Golden State Warriors basketball, and the Athletics baseball. My wife and I would enjoy strolling through Chinatown, Oakland’s thriving Asian cultural enclave.

Oakland is just one fun place for a visit, so plan to spend a few days in town and experience all that it offers. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH MASSACHUSETTS



Seniors Visit Historic Montague

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Montague, Massachusetts with a population of around 8,500, was formed in 1754 and was previously called Sunderland. Located within Montague, senior visitors will find five villages: Montague Center, Lake Pleasant, Turner Falls, Miller Falls and Montague City.  

The town was originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc tribe (that’s a new one for me), and the area was known as Peskeompskut. Say that real fast three times! Montague is claimed to be the location of a certain maple tree that inspired poet Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918) to write the popular 1913 poem “Trees.”

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The Montague Center Historic District encompasses the well-preserved 19th century village center. A school and two churches from the 1830s flank the common, as does the 1858 town hall. The oldest building in the district is a tavern that dates to about 1734.

Seniors Enjoy Historic Districts

The District is the civic heart of the town, and was an active industrial area in the 19th century. Seniors can visit the site of an early gristmill, the Alva Stone Mill, sometimes called “The Book Mill”. The store’s motto is “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” It is on the list of National Historic Places as is the Turner Falls Historic District.

The largest of five villages, Turners Falls was named after Captain William Turner, who played a key role in the region’s Indian Wars. Two important waterfalls border the town,—Turner’s Falls, on the Connecticut, at the north, falling 25 feet, and Miller’s Falls, on Miller’s River, at the east, with a fall of 12 feet. In the eastern part of the town is a granite quarry, which furnished considerable valuable stone.

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Montague is nestled along the Connecticut River in the upper Pioneer Valley just off Interstate 91 northwest of Boston. The town prides itself on a lively arts community and convenient access to the cultural resources of the “Five College Area”.

Seniors Check Out A Bar, A Pub, a Cafe and Fish Hatchery

Montague Center is the site of the town’s original settlement in the early eighteenth century (1715-30). Early development of the village was encouraged by the availability of abundant waterpower and productive agricultural land.

Senior visitors check out The Local Guide to Montague and the Historical Society. The archives are housed at the former Grange Hall that is on the register of Historic Places.

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Then visit the Bitzer Fish Hatchery, appease your appetite at the Black Cow Burger Bar, stop at Miller’s Pub and check out The Lady Killegrew Cafe.

The most important of the natural features of the town is Lake Pleasant, covering about 100 acres, and situated in the midst of a pine grove, about a mile and a half east of Montague Centre.

So when you are traveling along the East Coast, swing by Montague. -jeb

 

SENIORS DRIVE THROUGH CENTRAL UTAH



And Seniors Stop At Historic Spring City

la-le-letters-gunning-for-trouble-20130226-001Spring City, Utah, settled by early Mormon pioneers in 1852 is located in Central Utah, in the heart of Sanpete County, just five miles south of Mt. Pleasant, the geographic center of Utah. Senior visitors will find Spring City nestled comfortably in the beautiful Sanpete Valley along the route of old Highway 89.

Spring City looks out at the majestic Horseshoe Mountain and many other surrounding peaks. Originally known as the “Allred Settlement”, “Little Copenhagen”, “Little Denmark” and “Canal”, the city is famous for its fresh water spring, which never runs dry, right in the center of town. Senior travelers will find lots of friendly folks in historic Spring City, who are so very proud of the town’s heritage.

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The entire town of Spring City (pop. 1,000) is listed on the National Historic Registry. Beginning in 1853, the Allred family and other church leaders had begun to encourage Danish immigrants to settle in Sanpete County, and, particularly after the community was re-established in 1859, to join the Allred Settlement.

Spring City was also a site of fighting during the Black Hawk War, a brief 1832 conflict between the United States and Native Americans led by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader.

Seniors Learn About Mormon Pioneer Architecture

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Although it is still largely a farming town, Spring City is becoming increasingly known as an artist community. Many excellent examples of Mormon pioneer architecture exist throughout the town. In 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Spring City as one of the prettiest towns in America.

The historical and architectural significance of Spring City lies in two areas: 1. The town graphically documents the techniques of Mormon town planning in Utah: and 2. Architecture in Spring City is remarkably well preserved with an abundance of religious buildings, homes, and small commercial establishments that predate World War I. In keeping with the religious nature of the town, Spring City is dominated by a large LDS meetinghouse.

Senior travelers can arrange a guided historic tour of Spring City. This is a great means to get the “inside story” of Spring City.  The Friends of Historic Spring City have recently republished the Spring City Guide to Architecture and History: A Self Guided Walking Tour of the many Historic Buildings.

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Seniors Attend Heritage Day Celebration

Coming up very soon is Heritage Day Celebration, May 23rd, sponsored by Friends of Historic Spring City. This event includes a tour of many of the town’s charming, mid-19th Century pioneer homes and buildings. Art and Antique Sales invite senior visitors to attend this full day of fun and excitement.

Plein Air Painting Competition Studio Tour and Art Show & Sale takes place on September 2 through 5, 2015. The Spring City Arts  community is dedicated to promoting art, artists, art awareness and art education in Spring City, Sanpete County and Utah.

Circle Spring City on your Utah map and plan to stop and enjoy the town. -jeb

SENIORS HEAD TO SAINT CHRISTOPHER ISLAND



Seniors Enjoy West Indies Island

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Saint Kitts, also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island, is an island in the West Indies. On the west side of the island, senior visitors will see the Caribbean Sea, and on the eastern coast, the Atlantic Ocean.

Its a combination of natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and white sandy beaches that combine to make St. Kitts (pop. 45,000) one of the most seductive islands in the Caribbean.

Christopher Columbus first spotted St. Kitts in 1493 when it was populated with native tribes. The Europeans didn’t colonize until later when the British arrived in 1623. Its strategic location and valuable sugar trade led to an advanced and luxurious development that was among the best in the Colonial Caribbean.

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Now just imagine an island that has set aside more than a quarter of its land as a National Park, with a rainforest that is actually expanding in size rather than shrinking. That’s St. Kitts.

The island is surrounded by new and untouched dive sites, marked by massive beds of coral, teeming with fish of every stripe and color.

Senior visitors are impressed with the abundant wildlife that includes vervet monkeys, mongoose and roaming cows, goats, and sheep that have black bellies.

Seniors Find Sugar, Tourism and White Sand Beaches

Frommer’s notes that “St. Kitts’s major crop is sugar, a tradition dating from the 17th century. But tourism may overwhelm it in the years to come, as its southeastern peninsula, site of the best white-sand beaches, has been set aside for massive resort development.”

Basseterre_from_sea_2As senior visitors will discover, most of the island’s other beaches are of black or gray volcanic sand. Fodor’s chimes in with… “Mountainous St. Kitts, the first English settlement in the Leeward Islands, offers a surprisingly diverse vacation experience.

Divers have yet to discover all its underwater attractions and history buffs will marvel at Brimstone Hill, known in the 18th century as the Gibraltar of the West Indies.

The many beaches offers pristine aqua waters, soft sand, coconut trees and an uninterrupted peace that keeps folks coming back t0 the two islands again and again. Me, I’d head for the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the largest fortress ever built in the Eastern Caribbean.

Senior Travelers Find A Vacation Paradise

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So where is St. Kitts? The island is one of what are called the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. about 1,300 miles southeast of Miami. Saint Kitts and the next door island of Nevis (just 2 miles apart) make up one country. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis… senior travelers will find both a vacation paradise.

Lonely Planet notes that the two islands “provide a near-perfect package.” Gotta be something special there as US News reports that Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone and Regis Philbin  have found solace on the Kittitian-Nevisian sands.

Both of these intoxicating islands are on my travel bucket list. -jeb

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors, It’s A Big Food Fight

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Yes, a big big fight.  Senior travelers, it’s a food fight, the largest food fight in the world. I would rather read about it than participate in it…you can choose for yourself.

Buñol, Spain is world famous for the fight that takes place there annually. It’s called La Tomatina. La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in Buñol just west of Valencia.

Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to join in the fight  where tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. It’s estimated that around 120,000 pounds of tomatoes (it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) are tossed at this annual fiesta, which began in 1945.

It’s one wild scene. Be assured that there is a whole lot of sangria and Spanish wine consumed the evening prior to the big day. This week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks.On the night before the tomato fight, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest.

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Prior to 2013 anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 (reported to be 50,000 in 2012) people crammed into this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Buñol’s normal 9,000 population. Since the 2013 event official ticketing was put into place limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people.

Seniors Learn How It All Got Started

There is an interesting history behind how it all got startedSo seniors, if you would like to toss a few yourself, a word of advice. There is limited accommodation for people who come to La Tomatina, and a limited number of tickets. So, many people take the easier option of staying in nearby Valencia, 38km to Buñol by bus or train and get your ticket early.

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In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers along the route use huge plastic covers and plywood on their storefronts to protect the facade their businesses from the juicy carnage.

What actually happens? Well, at around 11 am, the first event of the Tomatina begins. Many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town, Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive.

One Hour Of Tomato Carnage!

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Technically the festival does not begin until one brave soul has climbed to the top of a two-story high, greased-up wooden pole and reached the coveted ham at the top. In practice this process takes a long time and the festival starts despite no one reaching the meaty prize.

The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself. After exactly one hour, the fighting ends when the water cannons are fired once more to signal the end. At this point, no more tomatoes can be thrown.

It’s all their fault. These two guys that started it back in their youth and now it’s an annual tomato brawl. Join in if you dare. jeb

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