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SENIORS TRAVEL TO SWEDIN



Seniors Visit Visby

103238Senior travelers find themselves in one of the best preserved medieval towns in Scandinavia… Visby, Sweden. Originally founded as a Viking settlement, the town became a center of the Hanseatic trade in the 12th to 14th century.

Its 200 warehouses and wealthy merchants’ dwellings from the same period, make it the best-preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe. Incidentally, Visby is the only town on the island of Gotland.

Senior visitors enjoy strolling along the old cobblestone streets and walking along a nearly 2 mile long 13th century wall. Some seniors enjoy riding a bike through the town on one of the many bike paths. Visby is one of many European cites that now cater to cyclists. Visby has a wide range of cozy restaurants, pubs and markets, which make it a great place for shopping.

Seniors Enjoy Visby On Foot

800px-Visby,_Gotland,_Sweden_(6149956383)If you are “into music,” try to attend a private concert by the Swedish folk music group Vasen. If you are “into partying”…Visby is one of the best party cities in Sweden in the summer.

Visby is best enjoyed by foot, especially the Old Town, located within the city wall. Be aware that some of the streets (alleys) are quite narrow, cobblestone-paved, and somewhat hilly.

The Gotland Museum is a major draw, highlighting Visby’s ancient history, including the stones of Gotland and how the religion affects the lives in Gotland, Sweden’s largest island. Visby is a popular vacation destination for Scandinavians during the summer and receives thongs of tourists from all over the globe each year.

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Seniors Find A World Heritage Center

Here is why Visby is on my travel bucket list and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Center. Each August, the city hosts its Medieval Week, complete with authentic dress, feasts and jousting. But you don’t need to visit Visby in August to get a sense of its medieval history.

Being a Master Gardener back in Iowa (Arizona now), I would corral my wife and head for Botaniska Tradgarden, one of the leading botanical gardens in Europe. My deceased PhD botanist brother Steve, would have loved it as well with its thousands of roses blooming in great profusion.

The Hogklint Naturreservat is 4km from Visby and is another must visit to appreciate the splendid ocean view and the sheer cliffs.  The St. Nicolai Ruin, another great site, is one of Visby’s most impressive church ruins. Virtual Tourist’s overview on Visby offers 84 things to do, hotels, great restaurants and nightlife.  -jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe

SENIORS DRAWN TO BAVARIA IN GERMANY



Seniors Stop In Kitzingen

3b3a25ffd6ef93cb678eea9806a050a2Senior travelers in Germany will find Kitzingen in the south-central part of Bavaria in Germany and is the capital of the district Kitzingen, numbering around 21,000. According to legend, Kitzingen was founded when the Countess of Schwanberg lost her jeweled scarf while standing on the ramparts of her castle.

The castle was located high above the fertile section of the Main River Valley where Kitzingen now lies. The Countess promised to build a cloister on the spot where the scarf was found. When it was found by a shepherd named Kitz, she kept her word and built a cloister which she called Kitzingen.

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If you are a fan of Bram Stoker’s 1897 book Dracula or any of its many spin-off novels, movies and TV shows, it may draw you to Kitzingen.  The “FALTERTURM” (Market tower) is one of the most recognizable sites in Kitzingen. The ivy covered tower was built between 1469 and 1496 as a watchtower of the outer city walls.

Seniors Find The Crooked Tower

One of the city’s most well known landmarks is a tower built in the 1200’s, called the Crooked Tower because of its unbalanced roof. Legend has it that the golden ball that sits at the top of the crooked roof contains the heart of the original Count Dracula. Whether the legend is true or not, the tower and the town make interesting places to visit.

There is a carnival museum located in the Crooked Tower, today, and senior visitors can read the story of its construction. It was built during a wine festival, as the tale is told, and the masons used wine instead of water, that was rare, to mix the mortar. That is what caused the roof to lean.

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There are many cultural attractions in Kitzingen. There are two well known sculptures at the City Hall, the “Hacker”, a laborer working in the vineyards,  and his partner the “Cathedral”, holding goblets in his hands.

Seniors Enjoy Germany’s Wine Region

Regardless of its true history, it is undeniable that the Crooked Tower stands as a sentinel in the middle of Germany’s largest wine-producing region.  Franconia has a reputation for producing some unique and flavorful white wines.

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Throughout history the selling of wine has a been the main source of income for the citizens of Kitzingen.  Producers in the area use a distinctive wine bottle called a Bocksbeutel, which has a short round neck and a wide body. Potential customers can tell at a glance that the wine they are considering is Franconian in origin by this bottle.

Kitzingen hosts wine festivals throughout the harvesting and bottling seasons. In October the town holds a big festival called Letzte Fuhre or last load when the final grapes are brought in from the vineyards.

Enjoy your stay in Kitzingen. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH SOUTHEASTERN WASHINGTON



Seniors Stop In Richland

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Senior travelers will find Richland in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, at the confluence of the Yakima and the Columbia Rivers. The population runs just over 51,000.

In 1904–1905, W.R. Amon and his son Howard purchased 2,300 acres and proposed a town site on the north bank of the Yakima River. Postal authorities approved the designation of this town site as Richland in 1905, naming it for Nelson Rich, a state legislator and land developer.

The city is blessed with a rich history. Richland is getting a facelift one building at a time and from new construction to revamping the old, a rejuvenated downtown Richland is taking shape. “Other cities have inherited decaying downtowns and wondered how to revive them. We’re trying to create one,” said the mayor.

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 Senior Oeniphiles Enjoy Washington’s Wines

Among the many things senior visitors can enjoy is the Howard Amon Park with 45.91 acres, located along the Columbia River. The Art in the Park Show is brimming with artist booths and visitors can find one-of-a-kind creations plus home decor, clothing, jewelry, music, and many unique gifts.

The Empress of the North is docked at Howard Amon Park and is ready for senior visitors to board.

American_Empress_at_Howard_Amon_Park,_bowThe Barnard Griffin Winery, founded in 1983 by Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard, has been producing award-winning wines for over 30 years.

Barnard Griffin is the premier family owned winery, one of the largest and one of the oldest in Washington state. Apple orchards are loaded with Washington’s best all around the Richland area.

The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, (REACH) was developed to celebrate and learn about the natural and cultural history of the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River and greater Columbia Basin. The REACH is a hybrid institution-part interpretive center, part museum, and part visitor center.

Seniors Attracted To The Columbia River

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 Seniors, set your sights on Richland on the beautiful Columbia River and spend a few days just relaxing. The recreational facilities abound so pack a picnic basket and enjoy the air along the river.

The Gold Coast Historic District is highly popular with folks who enjoy a good stroll past classic old homes. Rich in history, produce and wine Richland offers an abundance of activities both indoors and out.  Check out the several winery tours that make this region of Washington unlike any other.

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The pleasant weather brings golfers of all skill levels to the fine courses that make golf one of the most popular sports in and around Richland.

Richland is one of three cities in Washington State that make up the Tri-Cities region. For the Beckers, I think my wife and I would enjoy hopping aboard one of the popular river cruises that depart from Richland to explore the rest of the Tri-Cities region. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL THROUGH INDIANA



Seniors Check Out Fishers

Fishers

Fishers, Indiana, population 84,000, formerly known as Fishers Station and originally as Fishers Switch, came into being in June of 1872 when Salathiel Fisher divided his land into town lots. Senior travelers will find Fishers about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis on I-69.

In those days it was common for new communities to spring up along railroads and Fishers was no exception, hence the early reference to a train station or ‘switch’. The railroad quite naturally drew residents and businesses to the area, the first of which was a gristmill and sawmill located approximately where the Nickel Plate restaurant is today.

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Fishers was named the number one city for families by The Learning Channel and was selected as a Green Community by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. The city also got the honor as the safest in the nation in 2011 and again in 2012.

 Seniors Enjoy Living History Museum

Fishers has a rich American history and was first settled by William Conner way back in 1802 as a trading post along the White River. Home to the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, senior visitors can be immersed  in a 19th-century village and interact with the people, animals, objects and routines of life in Central Indiana in 1836.

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Senior visitors can study in the one-room schoolhouse, and earn wages to spend at Whitaker’s Store. You’ll also meet the residents of Prairietown as they go about their daily lives. You’ll learn new skills and they might even tell you stories and share some local gossip.

The highly acclaimed Fishers Freedom Festival is an annual parade and festival. The Fishers Renaissance Faire packs the house with jousting and swordplay. Another major draw in the area is a 34-year tradition that continues each summer with Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, said to be the best value in central Indiana for outdoor music and entertainment.

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 Seniors Find Fishers Enjoyable

TripAdvisor likes homemade ice cream at Handel’s and then Jack’s Donuts of Fishers, another foodie delight. Seniors, if you enjoy watching old WWII airplanes fly overhead, the Warbird Expo is an awesome airshow that takes place at the Indianapolis Metro Airport in Fishers.

One just does not see a Ford Tri-Motor airplane anywhere, but there it was flying overhead last year. The Tri-Motor aircraft, nicknamed “The Tin Goose,” is American three-engined transport aircraft that was first produced in 1925 and designed to build another new market, airline travel.

Fishers has nine parks and several popular golf courses. The Morse and Geist Reservoirs are nearby  and provide facilities for water recreation like boating, fishing and swimming. Get to know some of the locals and you will find them very accommodating and willing to go the extra mile to make your stop a memorable one.  -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL ACROSS PENNSYLVANIA



 

Seniors Choose Chester For Historic Visit

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Senior travelers will find that Chester, a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, with a population of around 34,000, is located on the Delaware River, between the cities of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware.

Being on the eastern seaboard, Chester is loaded with history. Originally settled in 1644 by the Swedish as “Upland”, the name was changed to Chester in 1682. Chester is the oldest City in Pennsylvania.

In 1681, William Penn acquired the colonial settlement as a safe haven for Quakers. One year later he landed on the ship Welcome and renamed the settlement Chester, after the city in England.

Seniors Find Historically Prosperous City

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For the first two hundred years of its history, Chester was prosperous and wealthy manufacturing community with industries concentrating on machinery, metal manufacturing, locomotive, shipbuilding, and textiles. These strong industries, paired with the city’s proximity to the Delaware River and major railways generated jobs and fueled a steady population growth.

John Bullock, Ye Olde (and very humble) Webmaster, has a great page that describes Old Chester in detail.  He notes that during much of its early history, Chester was a sleepy little village along the banks of the Delaware River.

This changed dramatically with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution during the 1850′s.  During those years industry boomed as did the population in order to feed the manpower needs of the new industries.

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In 1850 Chester’s population numbered 1,667 but by 1860 it nearly tripled to 4,631.  Much of the city’s housing as well as other structures still standing was built during this period of explosive growth and through the early years of the 20th century.

 Seniors Enjoy Historic Places

Of particular interest to this senior, is the fact that since 1996, Chester has received 1.36 billion dollars in public and private investment. That’s a good chunk of change and with these funds, the city has restored its park system, improved and expanded housing, brought in new businesses and has generated many new job opportunities.

Chester has five nationally registered historic places that senior visitors find interesting. Chester County counts 113 historic places and senior visitors enjoy just traveling from one township to another taking in the old buildings and sites.

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If you ask Chester residents what they envision for a proposed Arts and Culture District in their downtown, they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s got to be “Chester Made, through and through.”  Watch the video on this page and learn about the Chester Made initiative.

As you are driving across Pennsylvania, plan to stop by Chester.   -jeb

Filed under : United States

SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors Enjoy Historic Brno In The Czech Republic

512px-Logo_Brno.svgSo why are we going for a visit to the Czech Republic?  Because yours truly is half Czech and he has been to Prague and loved it. Now he needs to go check out (no pun intended) another great Czech city. So grab your coffee, my senior friends and let’s go to Brno.

Brno is the second largest city in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic with a population of 380,000, making it the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia.

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I enjoy etymology and I learned that the origin of the name Brno is disputed. It may come from Old Czech brnie ‘muddy, swampy.’ Alternative derivations are from a Slavic verb brniti (to armor or to fortify), so take your pick. I liked them both.

Seniors Enjoy Czech Ambiance

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Senior visitors will discover and experience in this Moravian town Brno’s vibrant, authentic Czech ambiance

Art Nouveau, Empire and Neoclassical buildings stand in the bar and restaurant packed Old City Center. Leafy parks abound. And Czech wines…Brno is the gateway to the fertile vineyards in South Morovia.

Being a great fan of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, I think that I would make it a point to visit The Macocha Abyss, also known as the Macocha Gorge It is a gigantic sinkhole in the Moravian Karst cave system located just north of Brno.

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It  is the #1 tourist attraction in the area. At 138 m in depth, it is the biggest gorge of its kind in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. After that, I’d head off for a visit to the interior of The Cathedral of St.Peter and St.Paul, located on the Petrov hill in the center of the city. This national cultural monument is one of the most important pieces of architecture in South Moravia.

Seniors Also Enjoy Czech Festival

Knowing a bit about architecture, being a guide at Frank Lloyd’s Taliesin West in Arizona this senior would also want to visit Villa Tugendhat.

This historical building in the wealthy neighborhood of Černá Pole is one of the pioneering prototypes of modern architecture in Europe, and was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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Each August, a huge summertime city celebration called Brno Day, commemorates a major historical event: the defense of Brno against the Swedish army during the Thirty Years War.

Brno blends rich history with modernity and innovation. The Moravian capital is a city of universities, a business hub, a city of galleries, museums, cafés, clubs and festivals.

Enjoy Brno. -jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice, Europe

SENIORS DRIVE THROUGH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



Seniors Head for a Festival in Indio

IndioI was watching a boxing match recently and the announcer introduced one of the boxers as being from Indio, California. This senior had never heard of Indio and just had to go there to check it out for our readers.

It’s a city in Riverside County, located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California’s Colorado Desert region. It lies 23 miles east of Palm Springs, 77 miles east of Riverside, and 127 miles east of Los Angeles.

Indio, with a population of 85,000, is known as the “City of Festivals.” I like it already.  The Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival is a major draw. The Festival annually hosts a wide variety of music, food and art.

The Climate, Scenery and Festivals Draw Seniors

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The warm climate and picturesque scenery makes Indio a super place to enjoy a day with others soaking up the history and culture of festivals attended by hundreds of thousands each year from all over the world.

“Welcome To Indio – City of Festivals.” The Indio International Tamale Festival is held annually the first full weekend in December in Old Town Indio. The rich heritage of the tamale, consistent community support and hard working tamale makers have created the festival’s tremendous success.

And how about this…Recently, the Food Network-TV ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation! Festival’s Guinness World Records: The World’s largest Tamale – over 1 foot in diameter and 40 feet in length.

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The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is part of the Riverside County Fair, featuring more than 7000 exhibits and competitions related to the fruit.

Held in February in Indio, this Festival is focused on providing amazing entertainment and affordable fun to area residents and visitors.

Seniors Enjoy Coachella Valley

The local Chamber of Commerce notes that… Our year-round sunny climate, soaring palm trees and picturesque mountains provide a perfect atmosphere in which to live, visit, work and play. Furthermore… Indio is  famed for hosting highly-acclaimed events that bring culture, music, art, sports and entertainment to the Coachella Valley.

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“It is a playground for world-class polo enthusiasts and a haven for golf and tennis players. Its rich heritage can be seen in bold, colorful murals that embellish buildings throughout the city and its diverse history is showcased at the Coachella Valley History Museum.”

People from all over the Coachella Valley flocked to downtown Indio recently to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city at the second annual Indio Block Party. The free event  features a car show, food trucks and live music.  Indio is where the action is. -jeb

SENIORS TRAVEL TO BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA



Seniors Visit the Okanagan Valley

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It is always nice for us senior oenophiles to discover a new and rarely visited group of fine vineyards. This one is in Canada and a region that does not get as cold as much of Canada does. The Okanagan, also known as the Okanagan Valley and sometimes as the Okanagan Country, is located in the southern interior of British Columbia, beautiful with scenic beauty in every direction.

The natural landscape of the Thompson Okanagan includes mountains, valleys, desert, and everything in between. Boasting nearly 82 per cent of the total vineyard acreage in the province, the Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s premier grape growing region. In addition to the wineries and scenic wonders is Lake Okanagan, the largest body of water in the Okanagan Valley.

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The highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, a waterfall twice the height of Niagara Falls, and Canada’s only true desert environment are all found in this region. Foodies flock to the area’s renowned orchards and vineyards; families can’t get enough of the many sandy, lakeside beaches; and outdoor enthusiasts come for the golfing, hiking, biking and skiing.

Senior Oenophiles Find Large Wine Region

The history and culture of the region, from its Aboriginal peoples to European fur traders to winemakers and food producers, is strongly tied to the land. This is reflected in many of the area’s museums, heritage sites, and much of its artwork, where the colorful past is brought to life for senior visitors.

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The Okanagan Valley is the second largest wine region in Canada with approximately 4000 hectares (9884.2 acres) of vineyards. The Okanagan accounts for producing more than 90% of British Columbia Wine. Wine Spectator notes that British Columbia’s emerging Okanagan Valley has the makings of a serious wine region.

The largest city in the Valley is Kelowna highly praised for it wine festivals. Then head for Penticton for the sugary summer Peach Festival. Just off to the south is Osoyoos, home to an arid desert filled with rare plants and animals. Senior bikers enjoy riding along a well marked trail through Myra Canyon, rated #1 as a must see site.  Enjoy your visit to BC and the famed Valley. -jeb

 

SENIORS STOP IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA



Seniors Enjoy An All American City

Tourism Information in Norfolk Virginia - VisitNorfolk

Norfolk, Virginia is a hotspot for seniors to enjoy a great vacation. The city of 245,000 residents has seven miles of Chesapeake Bay beachfront and a total of 144 miles of shoreline along with the many lakes, rivers, and the Bay.

In 2013 Norfolk was named an “All American City,” and by now you know how this editor enjoys cities with this honor. Norfolk, called “The Heart of the Virginia Waterfront,” is loaded with a plethora of fun things to see and do. Check out its five locally zoned historic districts.

The city is known as home to the world’s largest naval base and the North American Headquarters for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

Seniors Smile At Naw-fok

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Nor-fok, or Naw-fok, no matter how one says it, the experience will always be the same: fun, vibrant, entertaining and cultural, classic cuisine with super seafood and miles and miles of shoreline just waiting your stopover.

With the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic ocean and countless rivers in their backyard, one is never far from water. Senior visitors can experience a variety of watersports, leisurely sails, or simply enjoy the dozens of scenic ocean views in every direction.

Fine schools abound.  Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and a new downtown campus of Tidewater Community College are located in Norfolk and Wesleyan College is located on the border between Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Festivals take place all year long and it’s a place where life is celebrated daily.

Seniors Find Another Historical City

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The history of Norfolk as a modern settlement begins in 1636. Norfolk was established in August 1682 after a 1680 British Act ordered the establishment of a port town.

It grew steadily and had a population of 6,000 by the eve of the American Revolution (1775). The city formally was incorporated in 1736. The city was burned by orders of the outgoing colonial governor in 1776, though was rebuilt.

The city got its name from New Norfolk County in England. Senior visitors can discover how Norfolk is Distinct, Dynamic and Diverse. Set your GPS for Norfolk while you are cruising along the Atlantic Seaboard and take in the many amenities the city has to offer. Spend a few days and discover the city.  It will be a memorable stopover. -jeb

SENIORS VISIT NAPLES, FLORIDA



Seniors visit the Crown Jewel of South West Florida

images I could have taken us to Italy, but today this senior has chosen to highlight a treasure along the Florida coast. Naples (pop. 20,000) is the crown jewel of Southwest Florida, nestled on the sun drenched beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

Years ago the name Naples caught on when promoters described the bay as “surpassing the bay in Naples, Italy.” Naples is known for world class shopping, dining and abundant, challenging golf courses. It is also, only steps away from island seclusion or the untamed tropical wilderness of The Everglades.

Boasting one of the nation’s best beaches and calmest seas, Naples makes a splash with both water lovers and recreationalists. Friendly parks with open green spaces call to senior sports enthusiasts and picnickers. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth highest per capita income in America.

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Seniors Attracted to Arts And Culture Scene

And things to do: Arts and culture top the list. Senior visitors will find over 130 art galleries in the greater Naples area, along with performances at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Sugden Theater and Naples Dinner Theatre.

The Naples Municipal Pier, which stretches 1,000 feet out into the Gulf of Mexico, is the ideal place to enjoy an awesome southwest Florida sunset. Visitors gather en masse on the pier at dusk to experience the beautiful array of the colors. The Pier is a treasured landmark and a great spot for a leisurely stroll, and for a favorite sport of mine…people-watching. Seniors will always find folks fishing off the Pier.

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Naples is well known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining. But it’s also an affordable destination that appeals to nature lovers and beach aficionados.

Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are the focal points for Naples shopping in the historic downtown area, with numerous art galleries, chic clothing boutiques and home decor shops.

Senior Bird And Wildlife Watching

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Bird and wildlife watching are also at the top of many people’s list. The natural beauty of Naples and Collier County extends far beyond the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the serene Everglades wildlife preserves and refuges.

Naples grew up around a seashore and a boat pier, which served as the town’s lifeline in the 1880s. Well-to-do northerners built homes around the pier and in the neighborhood today known as Old Naples.

With first the extension of a railroad to Naples in 1926, and the completion of the Tamiami Trail (Highway 41) two years later, the town grew eastward, but the heart remained where the first shell-paved roads once ran.

Hailed for its tree-lined downtown shopping plazas, sidewalk cafes and lively clubs, Old Naples also holds many of the city’s historic and architectural treasures, plus wide, white-sand beaches. Seniors, plan to spend a few days soaking up the sun, the great seafood and the pleasant surrounding of Naples.  jeb

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