Seniors Explore Chowchilla

36384275 Yours truly loves a city name like Chowchilla. Let’s pay a visit and see what we can learn that might be of interest to senior travelers. This city of around 19,000 inhabitants, in Madera County, California, lies 37 miles northwest of Fresno and is conveniently located inside the Fresno metropolitan area.

The name “Chowchilla” is derived from the indigenous American tribe of Chaushila Yokut Indians who once lived in the area. The name is apparently a reference to the warlike nature of the Chaushila tribe, later on to be associated with “bravery”. The town’s high school retains the moniker of “Redskins” as their local mascot.


Chowchilla houses two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation women’s facilities, the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women.

Seniors Visit A ‘Dig Site’

The development of Chowchilla is closely associated with Mr. Orlando Alison Robertson, who was born in Prosperity, Pennsylvania. Robertson became interested in developing California around 1910 and organized the United States Farm Land Company. He purchased the Chowchilla Ranch on May 22, 1912. On February 7, 1923, the City of Chowchilla was incorporated.


Senior visitors can spend some quality time in Chowchilla. There are a number of parks and recreational facilities. In addition, the city offers bars, casinos, restaurants and shopping centers.

Merced College is nearby. Attractions in the area include Berenda Reservoir, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Meux Home Museum, RC Wisener Park and Sports & Leisure Park. Toss in the clubs and play a round or two at the Pheasant Run Golf Course.

Perhaps you have heard of the proposed rail system in California. Chowchilla is the proposed northern terminus of the first leg of the California High-Speed Rail system. I’d be sure to visit the Fossil Discovery Center, a family-friendly museum and dig site showcasing fossils from the middle Pleistocene period.

 Seniors Experience Western Stampede

Stampede 1

Facebook suggests places for seniors to stay, to eat and to explore. A Classic Car Show will take place on September 24 in Veterans Memorial Park. The local Chamber of Commerce wants you know about Chowchilla’s Luncheon of the Year that is always popular with the locals.

Western Stampede is another big draw that features a herd of cattle driven right though the city. There seems to always be a few visitors who want to view the Chowchilla District Cemetery that maintains manual records.

And I almost forgot to mention the Madera County Fair held in Chowchilla. Seniors set your GPS for Chowchilla and enjoy this California community. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Get HOT on Avery Island

captionMany of us have heard of Avery Island (historically French: Île Petite Anse), the birthplace of TABASCO® brand pepper sauce.  Senior travelers will find Avery Island in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, about three miles inland from Vermilion Bay, which in turn opens onto the Gulf of Mexico.

A small population calls the island home. Avery Island has been owned for over 180 years by the interrelated Marsh, Avery and McIlhenny families.

After the Civil War, former New Orleans banker E. McIlhenny met a traveler recently arrived from Mexico who gave McIlhenny a handful of pepper pods, advising him to season his meals with them.

McIlhenny saved some of the pods and planted them in his in-laws’ garden on Avery Island; he delighted in the peppers’ piquant flavor, which added excitement to the monotonous food of the Reconstruction-era South and history was made.

LA-W-1 - First Rock Salt Mine, Avery Island, Iberia  Parish

The island was named after the Avery family, who settled there in the 1830s, but long before that, Native Americans had found that Avery Island’s verdant flora covered a precious natural resource—a massive salt dome.

The Indians boiled the Island’s briny spring water to extract salt, which they traded to other tribes as far away as central Texas, The World’s Famous TABASCO Brand Pepper Sauce began on Avery Island after the Civil War.

 Seniors Experience Jungle Gardens

Lush subtropical flora and venerable live oaks draped with wild muscadine and swags of barbe espagnole, or Spanish moss, cover this geological oddity.


Avery Island’s 170-acre Jungle Gardens is a botanical treasure. Senior visitors may see deer, snowy egrets and other wildlife and discover a variety of azaleas, camellias and bamboo.

Naturalists, bird watchers and senior visitors from around the world will enjoy the gently rolling landscape, botanical treasures and abundant wildlife.

Avery Island occupies roughly 2,200 acres and sits atop a deposit of solid rock salt thought to be deeper than Mount Everest is high. Today,  Avery Island remains the home of the Tabasco brand pepper sauce factory, as well as Jungle Gardens and its Bird City Wildfowl Refuge.

 Seniors Find Salt and Tobasco


Although covered with a layer of fertile soil, salt springs may have attracted prehistoric settlers to the island as early as 12,000 years ago. Fossils suggest that early inhabitants shared the land with mastodons and mammoths, giant sloths, saber-toothed tigers and three-toed horses.

A salt production industry dates back to about 1000 AD, judging from recovered basket fragments, polished stone implements, and shards of pottery left by American Indians.

Although these early dwellers remained on the Island at least as late as the 1600s, they had mysteriously disappeared by the time white settlers first discovered the briny springs at the end of the next century.

Senior visitors can tour the factory and enjoy a film on the history of Tabasco Pepper Sauce. Save your appetite and be ready to shop and taste your way through the last two stops on the tour, the Tabasco Country Store and Restaurant 1868. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Enjoy The White Villages of Andalucía

Spain 364 The White Villages of Andalucia Spain or Pueblos Blancos, are a series of towns and large villages that senior travelers will find in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga in southern Spain, mostly within the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

These small, quiet hilltop towns are distinguished by their simple whitewashed houses influenced by the Berber architecture of North Africa, the Moors’ native land. Spend a night in the romantic queen of the white towns, Arcos de la Frontera with my travel hero, Rick Steves.


Towns with “de la Frontera” in their names were established on the front line of the Christians’ centuries-long fight to recapture Spain from the Moors, who were slowly pushed back into Africa. Today, these hill towns, no longer strategic, are just passing time peacefully.

Arcos de la Frontera is one of the more popular of the White Villages, because it combines a beautiful old-town center with the more modern and lively upscale downtown area.

 Seniors Take The ‘Route Of The White Towns’

The whitewashed villages of Andalucia are impressive historical monuments in themselves, and their people still live according to age-old traditions, inherited from their Iberian, Roman and Moorish forefathers.


In these village seniors will find Spanish hospitality as legendary as the landscape in all directions. Greenlife Estates notes that Andalucía is much more than great cities, beaches, sun, golf and parties.

If senior visitors go deeper into the northern parts of Málaga and Cádiz, they will find a real treasure for those who love rural areas: the Route of the White Towns, or as it is known in Spanish, la Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos with 20 villages, one right after the other.

White Villages Offer Relaxed Pace


Grazalema is another famous site. Lets descend into a valley and drive into this White Village. After visiting the most touristy cities of Seville, Granada, and Córdoba, this senior found that Los Pueblos Blancos offer a welcome escape to nature and a more relaxing pace.

Most of the villages are clustered around the Sierra de Grazalema, the Sierra Nevada, and Las Alpujarras. The villages are close to each other and can be easily combined on your driving route.

There is so much to see and do in these neat little villages. The accolades go on and on, and rightfully so. Bring up Google or DuckDuck.go and enjoy exploring the plethora of White Villages information. Have fun in Andalucía as my wife and I did.

Look for the big black bulls on the hills and the huge guitars as well. If you don’t see them…you have not been to Andalucía. -jeb


Seniors Drop By Greenville

Greenville_9As travel editor of,  I am continually searching for some of the Best Small Towns in America. When I input Kentucky, up came Greenville, the county seat in Muhlenberg County with a population that runs close to 4,500.  Senior travelers will find Greenville nestled among the hills and valleys of western Kentucky’s coal field region.

Formed in 1798 from the neighboring counties of Logan and Christian, Muhlenberg County was named after General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, a clergyman, a soldier, and a politician of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Post-Revolutionary eras.

Founded in 1799, Greenville is an idyllic small American town renowned for its warm Southern hospitality. Greenville’s picturesque and historic town square is the location of a beautiful Beaux-Arts style courthouse built in 1907. It  features the state’s second largest bell tower dome and the biggest pre-fabricated cupola in the whole country.

Seniors Enjoy Greenville’s Festivals


Greenville’s quaint downtown is fast becoming known for its festivals which include Saturdays on the Square,  a series of summertime events, and an outdoor art festival Squash & Gobble Arts Bazaar and Fall Festival. Events are held throughout the year with a summer concert series voted a Top Ten Event by the Kentucky Travel Industry.

Greenville was settled in 1799 on an estate donated by local landowner William Campbell in order to establish a seat of government for a new county. I always like to know the derivation of a town’s name. The city was probably named for the Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene.

HF Shot

Local lore holds it was named by Campbell’s wife after the abundant green forests seen from the town’s hilltop location. Being a Master Gardener myself, I have always loved the color green and would enjoy visiting Greenville Kentucky.

Seniors Hike The Rail Trail

Senior hikers, toss in your boots as the Muhlenberg County Rail Trail is a paved trail following an old Paducah and Louisville railway route between Central City and Greenville. This trail is open to pedestrian and non-motorized vehicle traffic.

If you enjoy indoor quad racing, hop on board a racer and scoot around the track. If you prefer horses, Steve Newman & Darrel Townsend monthly horse and tack sale is the 3rd Saturday of each month.  For the 2016 season concerts will take place in the front of the courthouse on the veranda formed by the steps.


The Spring Victorian Tea is held each year and can give senior visitors a glimpse of what it would be like to attend a traditional Victorian afternoon tea. Thistle Cottage, which was built soon after the end of the Victorian era, is decorated appropriately with photos and fresh flowers. Attendees are treated to a light meal and a variety of carefully chosen teas.

Looks like a great place to spend some time. Seniors, set your GPS for Greenville and enjoy some great southern cooking in the local restaurants. -jeb


Seniors Seek Fun In Tiny Forestport

Unknown Seniors traveling in upstate of New York will find Forestport in the northeast corner of Oneida County. The northern part of the town is in the Adirondack Park. Forestport was created from the Town of Remsen in 1869. The Black River adds beautiful scenery with many places to shoot great photos, so bring along extra memory chips for your camera.

TripAdvisor finds that there are a few attractions that senior visitors will find of interest. They include a couple of bars: The Wigwam Tavern and Scooter’s.  So you will be able to be “refreshed” locally. Actually, there are 8 restaurants to choose from, so you won’t go away hungry.


There is lots of great scenery surrounding Forestport including the local dam, the Kayata Lake Campground and great Adirondack scenic views. Otter Lake, White Lake and Little Long Lake are popular and senior visitors can enjoy boating and fishing on the lakes.

Seniors Snag Adirondack Air

The North Country Trail runs from Booneville to Forestport. Senior hikers, it makes for a great hike and for some good Adirondack fresh air. Mohawk Valley is always popular with visitors in Upstate New York.


Senior visitors can enjoy shopping at Griffiths Antiques where the owners have been actively selling antiques for the past 15 years. They are continually searching for 18th and 19th century antiques at affordable prices.

In the past, logging was a main source of revenue with the ready supply of huge trees. Me, I’d pack a picnic and find a spot close to Black River Dam to enjoy the fresh Adirondack air and sound of the water pouring over the dam.


So pack your bags and drop by Forestport. Take in some of the local events like the Forestport Triathlon, Old Forestport Days,  Sink-A-Boat Fundraiser and Annual Slow Pitch Softball Games.

The Woodgate Library can update you on activities such as the restoration of the Woodgate Train Station.

Enjoy your stop and the amenities of this small Upstate New York town. -jeb


Seniors Stop In Decatur

images Recently I was watching a rodeo on TV that featured bull riding. One of the cowboys was from Decatur, Texas, thus this travel blog. Senior travelers will find Decatur is located in Wise County which was established in 1856.

Taylorsville, in honor of Zachary Taylor, was made the county seat. Absalom Bishop, an early settler and member of the Texas Legislature, opposed naming the town after a Whig Party member, and in 1858 arranged to have the name changed to Decatur, in honor of naval hero Stephen Decatur.

The first post office and school were established in 1857. The town began to flourish and in the early 1860s the first of four courthouses was erected and later, new stores. Ranchers and herders would come in off the Chisholm Trail to grab supplies. Remember that old trail? It was used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland, from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads.

 Seniors Discover A ‘Best Kept Secret’


 Although Decatur is a small city, 6300, senior visitors will discover many amenities offered in larger cities: six popular parks, a regional hospital, lots of places to shop and dine, a large public library and a challenging 9-hole golf course, Decatur Golf Club.

The local Chamber of Commerce calls Decatur “one of the best-kept secrets in north central Texas”. The city square, centered around the Wise County Courthouse, provides senior visitors with a full taste of Texas hospitality with its shops, eateries, and a popular bed and breakfast. Decatur has immediate access to lakes, hiking trails, a state park and hunting properties.


Pack a picnic and head for Harmon Park located on the corner of East Mill Street and South Church Street. You will find an elaborate park with a large  playground and 2 little league baseball fields and close by, a skate park.

Once the home of Decatur Baptist College, it is now the Wise County Heritage Museum owned by the Wise County Historical Society. There are many treasures of late-Nineteenth and early-to-mid-Twentieth centuries housed in over three stories of exhibits. That’s where I would head for first on my visit.

The museum is alive with the activity of preserving Wise County’s past. The museum is the headquarters for the Wise County Historical Commission and the Wise County Historical Society, Inc.


There Are Lots Of Decaturs In The Country

After that, I’d dine with my wife at Sweetie Pies Ribeyes. With a name like that, I figure I just can’t go wrong.

I discovered on this blog that there are other cities named Decatur in Alabama, Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois and perhaps a few I missed. It is a popular city name. But seniors are invited to stop in Decatur, Texas and enjoy Texas at its best.

On your way into town, stop by the Visitor Center at 201. E. Walnut Street. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Stop In Cambridge City

4240889939_8aa45cefe7And why not? Someone just won the estimated $540 million Mega Millions jackpot. So Jim is off today to discover this city. Come along with me. Senior travelers will find Cambridge City in Jackson Township, central eastern Indiana, with a population of around 2,000.

Cambridge City was laid out and platted in 1836.The community was named after the city of Cambridge, in England.

The Cambridge City post office has been in operation since 1835. Cambridge City experienced growth when the Whitewater Canal was extended to that point in 1846.

The Whitewater Canal, which was built between 1836 and 1847, spanned a distance of seventy-six miles and stretched from Lawrenceburg, Indiana on the Ohio River to Hagerstown, Indiana.


Situated along the historic National Road, U.S. Route 40, Cambridge City is currently a prominent destination for antique seekers.

 Seniors Enjoy Canal Days Celebration

The town celebrates its history and heritage during the second weekend each September during the annual Canal Days festival, which commemorates the importance of the Whitewater Canal to the formation and growth of Cambridge City in the 19th century.

TripAdvisor suggests senior travelers make a visit to the Doughtery Orchards for some apples and then take in the Huddleston Farmhouse. The Orchards is the oldest family-owned orchard in the State of Indiana, established in 1883. Visitors can enjoy apples, a variety of fruits, home recipe jellies/preserves, cider and McDougherty’s petting farm.


The 1841 Huddleston Farmhouse was restored by Indiana Landmarks. This historic landmark offers senior visitors a glimpse of the daily lives of John and Susannah Huddleston and their 11 children, as well as the travelers who crowded the porches and yard and rented the farmhouse’s two “travelers’ kitchens” for cooking and sleeping. Well worth a visit.

Seniors Learn Of Overbeck Pottery

For the senior pottery buffs of the world,” the Overbeck Pottery in Cambridge City has been held in high esteem for many years. Awards were won in Paris, Chicago, New York, Syracuse, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and Indiana on a regular basis and at the Panama Pacific Exposition.

In recent years growing numbers of groups of museum curators, art schools and collectors have developed a full realization of the artistry of Overbeck Pottery.


Capitalizing on its heritage, the town’s cottage industry is antique shops — eleven of them. One occupies the Vinton House, a hotel built in 1847 at the former intersection of the National Road and the Whitewater Canal. Today, Vinton House Antiques operates on two floors, offering primitives and works by local artisans.

Stop at The Pour House, where you can take a break from your antique shopping and enjoy coffee and homemade pie. Be sure to check out the eleven historic homes in Cambridge City”The Crossroads of Canal Era Indiana.”   -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Discover Cloquet


 This senior admits to knowing little about Cloquet except that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the R. W. Lindholm Service Station in this city. It was constructed in 1958, a year before his death, and is still in use. It happens to be the only filling station designed by Wright. While it is no Fallingwater…it’s design features include garage skylights and a tiny observation deck overlooking the St. Louis River.


Cloquet is one of those northern Minnesota towns that celebrates all four seasons. “A city of contrasts and exciting discoveries, Cloquet is a place where the old encompasses the new and the commonplace meets with the unexpected.”

Seniors are invited to join the locals and celebrate a variety of festivals and events held throughout the year. For a city of its size it has many attractions like hockey, skiing and snowmobiling.

A portion of the city lies within the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. It is only a hop skip and a long jump north to the Canadian border. Cloquet began as a group of small settlements around three sawmills. These later became known as Knife Falls after a local waterfall over sharp slate rocks, and later as Cloquet.

 220px-Dala_horse-Grand_Rapids,_Minnesota-20070706Seniors See the Dala Horse

On October 12, 1918, the community was largely destroyed by a fire that is considered one of the state’s greatest natural disasters.  More than 450 people died in the Cloquet area as part of this fire.

The word “Cloquet” first appeared on a map of the area by Joseph N. Nicollet in 1843 which named the Cloquet River, a tributary of the Saint Louis River, and the Cloquet Rapids to the north.

The locals in Cloquet say that “once you have visited the city, you will not want to leave.” Evidently, many have not, as there is a population today that runs right at 12,000. Senior visitors are sure to note the huge Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse (Swedish: Dalahäst), a traditional carved, painted wooden…. Dala horse.


Seniors Stop At the Lindholm Service Station

Drive around Cloquet a bit and senior visitors will notice Knife Falls Dam and the old Saint Louis River Bridge Ruins that once crossed the north channel of the Saint Louis River. Drive further and you will see Big Voyageur Statue  and Pinehurst Park.

TripAdvisor suggests some whitewater rafting, a visit to the Lindholm Service Station and where to pick up some souvenir agates. The Black Bear Casino Resort overlooks the 18-hole championship Black Bear Golf Course, so toss in your clubs. The Cobalt Nightclub and Cabaret features the hottest bands and the funniest comedians.


I would head for Fauley Park, to view an old Duluth & Northeastern Railroad Steam Locomotive Number 16.  It remains a reminder of the heroic train evacuations performed by Cloquet Union Depot Agent Lawrence Fauley who ordered trains from nearby train centers into town for the evacuation of  residents during that fire.

Enjoy Cloquet. -jeb


Seniors Stop By Rockland

a149Rockland, Maine is said to be “The Gateway to Penobscot Bay.”  This town is one the premier locations that senior travelers will find along the Maine coastline. It is a small town of around 8,000 local residents, however, people from around the country make Rockland their home for a short period in the summer.

Senior visitors can best experience Rockland and the Rockland Harbor on foot, so bring some good walking shoes. The revamped downtown area is within an easy walk of the beautiful harbor. Some choose to walk the granite breakwater to the old lighthouse to get a pristine view of the Rockland Harbor and Penobscot Bay. That’s what I would choose to do with my wife.


Rockland was once inhabited by the Abenaki Indians. It was originally known as Catawamteak, which means “great landing place.” John Lermond built a camp in this area in 1767 to produce pine lumber and oak staves.

At that time it was known as Lermond’s Cove. It was renamed Shore village in 1777 and became the town of East Thomaston on July 28, 1848. The name was changed to Rockland in 1850 and it was incorporated as a city in 1854.

 Seniors Enjoy Busy Rockland Harbor


Back in the 1800s, Rockland was a leading port that sent lime and granite rock throughout the United States.

Rockland’s industries have in the past included commercial fishing, lobster, shipbuilding, granite quarrying, and lime processing.


Rockland Harbor is full of working lobster boats as well as schooners and yachts. Rockland is home to the Maine Lighthouse Museum. This lighthouse museum houses the largest collection of Fresnel lighthouse lenses, United States Coast Guard memorabilia, and other marine memorabilia.

Seniors, don’t miss the Owls Head Lighthouse, a white, 30-foot brick lighthouse that sits atop a 70-foot high cliff at the entrance of Rockland Harbor.


 Seniors Intrigued with Midcoast Maine

Rockland is one of the best known cities right at the heart of Midcoast Maine. Its mountainous and rocky shore, rivers, lakes and bays make it a primary destination on the coast of Maine.  Recreational activities abound. Senior visitors can explore historic homes, museums, art galleries or shop on historic Maine Street.

Highly popular in Rockland is the Farnsworth Art Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Shore Village Museum, Birch Point State Park, Warren Island State Park and Camden Hills State Park.


The Lobster Festival held in Rockland’s Harbor Park is an annual fun time for visitors of all ages. The Crate Race is always a big hit at the Festival as runners must cross water supported only by a string of floating crates. Great balance is required…and some luck as well.

In addition to all that fun, TripAdvisor has nearly three dozen things to do and see in Rockland. The scenery in and around Rockland is awesome. Enjoy your visit and enjoy munching on some delicious local lobster dishes. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy Bath, England


Why Bath? Well, this senior, his wife, daughter and plan to spend a few days in Bath later this year. I looked up Bath on Google and found it to be a fascinating city with a population of 88,000. The city is known for its Georgian classical architecture and its development as a Roman city called ‘Aquae Sullis’.

The presence of hot springs and easily worked limestone made it attractive to the Romans who built the original town which flourished for 400 years. Bath is perhaps the most perfectly preserved and harmonious English city, and that’s why we are going there. So get your coffee and let’s do a preview this morning…

1280px-Royal.crescent.aerial.bath.arpBath is a town set in the rolling countryside of southwest England, known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture. The museum at the site of its original Roman Baths includes The Great Bath, statues and a temple; the facility’s Pump Room serves a popular afternoon tea. We hope to soak in the waters at the contemporary Thermae Bath Spa.

Seniors Find A City Of Elegance

Bath is loaded with awesome scenery, historical sites and museums. The city’s compactness and striking architecture – Roman baths, majestic Abbey and sweeping Georgian terraces – combine to produce one of the most elegant sights in all of Europe.


The city, however, is far more than museums and old buildings. It has a lively cultural scene with several festivals and all kinds of shows, concerts and exhibitions filling up the events calendar. This university town also has a vibrant nightlife, and the dining scene equals that of almost any other British city.

TripAdvisor suggests senior visitors start with Bath Abbey and offers 149 more attractions. PlanetWare noted that “Bath is widely considered one of Britain’s most attractive smaller cities. Bath is most famous for the archeological wonder from which it takes its name – the 2,000 year-old Roman baths.

Nestled in the Avon Valley between the Cotswolds and the Mendip Hills in the beautiful county of Somerset, Bath in the valley of the River Avon, is well known for its perfectly preserved honey-colored Georgian houses.”


 Seniors Enjoy World Heritage City

Bath was granted World Heritage Site status in 1987, one of only a handful of such locations in the UK.  Two sites senior travelers will not want to miss are the Circus and Royal Crescent, a half-moon formation of Georgian town houses. These famous architectural masterpieces rank up near the top along with the Roman Baths.

The fundamental part of the Roman Baths is the sacred spring. Hot water at a temperature of 460°C rises at the rate of 1,170,000 liters (240,000 gallons) every day.

Jane Austen fan? Visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about the enigmatic writer. But to truly appreciate the villages and fields that surround Bath, England, a stroll along the canal is the route to follow. Who knows, maybe you just might run into the three of us in Bath. -jeb

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