About: Jim Becker


Articles by: Jim Becker


Seniors Find ‘A Quiet City By The Bay’

logositebannerVallejo, known as “A Quiet City By The Bay.”, is located on the northeastern shore of San Pablo Bay, in the San Francisco area. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, the Jelly Belly Candy Company, Sonoma Raceway, and the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard are a few of the main attractions senior visitors can enjoy.

Mare Island, former home to the oldest Naval Base west of the Mississippi and decommissioned in 1996, has the newest homes in the city as well as some of the oldest. Touro University California, Solano Community College and California Maritime Academy (part of the CSU system) are located in Vallejo.


Vallejo has twice been the capital of California. Once in 1852 for one week, and again in 1853 for one month. The city is named after a Mexican military officer, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Vallejo is near Mare Island, and on the Napa River. The city is on the southern tip of the Napa Valley, twenty to thirty minutes south of Napa and Sonoma in California wine country. For senior oenophiles, ideal country.

Seniors Learn About Mare Island


I would want to visit Mare Island, an historic island shipyard with a museum that presents the history of the West’s first Naval Base and Shipyard, and offers tours of officer mansions and an old chapel. Senior visitors can see the beautiful mansions, stroll the gardens and enjoy the fascinating displays at the museum.

And sunset in Vallejo! The City of Vallejo Municipal Marina is at the north end of the Downtown Marina Waterfront, close to the Mare Island Causeway and a perfect spot to enjoy sunsets every evening.


Toss in the clubs and play a round or two at Rock Springs East and West, Hiddenbrooke or Mare Island Golf Courses. One could spend a couple of days just exploring book shops or sailing and boating.

Seniors Discover Historic Districts

Local events are ongoing all year long. The Vallejo Symphony would catch my wife’s eye. The Northern California Pirate Festival looks like something I would enjoy along with the big July 4 Parade.


West Vallejo is the oldest and most historic section of the city. Saint Vincent’s Hill and Vallejo Old City are two primary historic districts.

Seniors, take in The Empress Theatre, a historical landmark located in downtown Vallejo, built in 1911.

It was re-opened in 2008 after nearly 20 years of disuse following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Enjoy the many amenities of the city  that holds on to its historic traditions. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Visit Historic Nara, Japan


Senior travelers, one of the top tourist attractions in Japan is Nara, in south-central Honshu with a population of 360,000. Do you have your coffee? Let’s go to Japan.

The city has significant temples and artwork dating to the 8th century, when it was Japan’s capital. A huge bronze Buddha is displayed in a large wooden hall in Tōdai-ji temple, located in Nara Park, which is designated one of the “Places of Scenic Beauty” by the Japanese Government.


With its cantilevered buildings, manicured lawns and deer strolling the grounds, it is said that Todai-ji Temple is  one of Japan’s must-see attractions. On the Park’s east side is the Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha, which dates to 768 A.D. with more than 3,000 lanterns.

Seniors Love Cheery Blossom Time

Nara, once known as Heijo, was the first permanent capital of Japan, established in 710 and as such, home to the Japanese Imperial Family. The capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784 when the government was threatened by powerful Buddhist monasteries.


Seniors visitors can enjoy Yoshinoyama, known as the best cherry blossom viewing in Japan. Nara Park includes several sites that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Listing of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.  Nara Park contains over 1,200 wild sika deer which were considered sacred, but today are considered a National Treasure.

With Eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, Nara is second only to Kyoto as a repository of Japan’s cultural legacy. The centerpiece is the Daibutsu, The Great Buddha, a giant statue 15 m/50 feet high, which is housed in the Great Buddha hall, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.


Seniors Visit Oldest Existing Buddhist Temple

Nara is also compact: it’s quite possible to pack the highlights into one full enjoyable day. Horyu-ji Temple, which is said to have been built in the early 7th century, is known as the oldest existing Buddhist temple in Japan. The temple boasts of the world’s oldest wooden architecture, and there are many paintings and sculptures in its possession. The temple is inscribed as a World Cultural Heritage Site.


“Old Japan” is still easy to spot, from Great Buddha Hall to traditional ryokans and the serene Isuien Garden. Senior travelers enjoy taking walking tours of Nara, particularly in the historic Naramachi merchant area.

I learned that Nara is recognized as the birthplace of Japanese civilization. In retrospect, I regret that our group of 200 US educators did not put Nara on our agenda for a visit.

 Seniors, visit with your travel agent about a visit to Nara. You will not be disappointed. That’s after you visit Tokyo of course. One simply can not go to Japan without a visit to the capital.  -jeb












Seniors Enjoy Connecticut

Seniors Enjoy Colorful New Haven

Yale009Senior travelers find New Haven located on New Haven Harbor on the northern shore of Long Island Sound in New Haven County. It is the second-largest city in Connecticut (after Bridgeport), with a population of 130,000+.

Many folks associate Yale University when the name New Haven comes up, at least I do. Yale is an integral part of the city’s economy, being New Haven’s biggest taxpayer and employer. New Haven is a two-time winner, and two time finalist community for the National Civic League’s prestigious “All-America City Award”.

New Haven was founded in 1638 by English Puritans, thus the name. The New Haven Green is currently home to three separate historic churches. The Green remains the social center of the city today and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1970.


Seniors Enjoy The Cultural Capitol Of Connecticut

The city is loaded with historical sites. The central common block of the town is the New Haven Green, a historic landmark and the center of downtown New Haven.

Senior visitors enjoy the many summer festivities on the New Haven Green, the shops that line Upper State Street, the Five Mile Point Lighthouse, Harkness Town and viewing the famed Connecticut Hall at Yale.

Known as the ‘Cultural Capitol of Connecticut’ for its New England heritage, New Haven provides a rich supply of museums, established theatres, music venues and art galleries. Home to the first North American public tree planting program, which includes some notable elms, New Haven is known as ‘The Elm City’.

 Seniors Drawn To New Haven’s Events


“While Greater New Haven is rife with New England heritage, even the most traditional spots – from lighthouses and charming town greens to world-class museums and Yale’s architecturally-renowned campus – become settings for lively concerts and events.”

Nightfall rarely means bedtime, with live bands, cool clubs, casual pubs, sophisticated lounges and theater performances around every corner. “A City On The Move”, senior visitors will not lack for a wide variety of things to see and do. For me, it would be fun to take in the Trolley Car Museum, as one does not see them much anymore, except perhaps in San Francisco.


TripAdvisor’s 48 things to see and do begin on the Yale campus. Beautiful it is and each building is unique. New Haven is also home to New Haven University. Bring along your demanding palate, the city abounds in ethnic restaurants.

According to the Hartford Courant, New Haven has more pedestrian activity than any place between New York City and Boston, and also has a burgeoning night life scene. Seniors will enjoy New Haven. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Enjoy The Sonoma Valley

img_2651bThis senior was watching a race on TV and noted that it was taking place in Sonoma, California on Sonoma Raceway.

This 2.52-mile (4.06 km) road course and drag strip is located on the landform known as Sears Point in the southern Sonoma Mountains in Sonoma.

Sonoma is a historic city in northern California in the heart of the renowned Sonoma Valley winemaking region. It’s known for its many art galleries and the colonial-era Sonoma Plaza.

oSurrounding this plaza are significant 19th-century adobe buildings including Mission San Francisco Solano and the Sonoma Barracks, once used by the Mexican military. Seasonally, the square hosts a popular weekly farmer’s market.

Seniors Love “The Valley of the Moon”

According to Jack London, who had a ranch there, the Native American word Sonoma means “valley of the moon.” He used it for his book of the same name (1913). The Valley of the Moon remains the mythic and romantic name for the wine-growing Sonoma Valley of California.


Count Agoston Haraszthy, the father of California viticulture, created the first winery west of the Mississippi. He tried many locations but settled in Sonoma with General Vallejo’s assistance. His first winery, Buena Vista, still exists today.

There are more than 300 Sonoma wineries in Sonoma County that are regularly open to the public, just 30 miles from San Francisco. Many of TripAdvisor’s suggestions for senior visitors deal with vineyards, however a hot air balloon ride might better suit your interests or a food tour or a bike tour.

Seniors Stop At The Blue Wing Inn

I’d want to put the Sonoma Barracks, El Cuartel de Sonoma -1836, high on my “must see list.” This two-story, wide-balconied, adobe building faces the central plaza of Sonoma.


The Sonoma Barracks are directly across the street from the Mission that is in the Sonoma State Historical Park.  In 1824, Sonoma became home to the last–and most northerly–link in a chain of 21 Spanish missions built in California by Franciscan padres.

Senior visitors, don’t miss The Blue Wing Inn, one of the first hotels built in the state, north of San Francisco.

What began as a simple adobe residence, transformed with time and the addition of more rooms into a storied landmark. During the California Gold Rush it was used by miners going to and from the gold fields and by the U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Sonoma.


 Senior oenophiles, wine country doesn’t get more real than Sonoma Valley, whose rich soils mark the birthplace of California’s wine industry.

Cradled between the Mayacamas and the Sonoma Mountain ranges, Sonoma Valley encompasses a rolling patchwork of vineyards, quaint farms and 13,000 acres of scenic parkland just waiting for your visit.  -jeb

Filed under : United States, Wine Trips


Seniors Stop By Limerick

documentI like that name “Limerick” and my curiosity led me to see if seniors might enjoy a visit. This area was settled by Welsh immigrants in the 1690s. In 1698, William Evans christened the community “Limerick” after his hometown of Limerick in Ireland. The township has grown from a 1990 population of only 6,600 to 18,074 (2010 census).

In Limerick, senior visitors will find the William and Mordecai Evans House and Isaac Hunsberger House that are each listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many visitors enjoy the Mennonite Heritage Center that tells the story of the life of Mennonites in southeastern Pennsylvania.


The Valley Forge National Historical Park is the site where the Continental Army camped in 1777-1778.

The Independence National Historical Park, encompassing Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, and Liberty Bell are all of historical significance near Limerick.

Seniors Can Golf And Shop

Facebook has a host of suggestions for senior visitors to consider. Toss in the clubs and play a round or two at beautiful Landis Creek Golf Club. The Waltz Golf Farm on West Ridge Pike has been steadily growing in Limerick since 1964 and produces bumper crops of family fun for mini-golf fans.


The Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick is a 553,000-square-foot open-air outlet mall providing excellent shopping choices with over 150 stores. Upscale merchants: Calvin Klein, Coach, J.Crew, Nieman Marcus, Polo,Tommy Hilfiger and Sony, are among the featured stores ready for your browsing.

Seniors, Invite Grandkids

The Lighthouse at Landis Creek (photo by Bill Cannon) is an unusual site where visitors love to shoot their own photos. One can not help but notice the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant with steam rising from the twin towers.

Mahnderach Park invites seniors to bring along grandkids to a favored spot for enjoying the outdoors with a huge slide, BB courts and lots  of fun.


Limerick Community Day in August is a fun-filled day of entertainment, great food choices, vendors and business expositions.  The Limerick Parks and Recreation Department invites senior visitors to “Movies Under The Stars” beginning at dusk in Limerick Community Park on Swamp Pike. Attendance at the movie is free, open to the public and BYOChairs.

Seniors, you don’t have to go all the way to Ireland to enjoy Limerick!.-jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Stop In Menasha


The historic community of Menasha, Wisconsin has a quaint downtown and beautiful waterfronts along the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. Senior visitors enjoy the gracious homes, built by turn-of-the-century paper barons, that are scattered throughout town. 

Menasha, Your Place On The Water, was originally inhabited by Native Americans.  The city’s name comes from the Winnebago word meaning “thorn” or “island”.


James Doty, the second Territorial Governor of Wisconsin, first traveled through the area in 1820, and the U.S. Government purchased the land in 1831. The City of Menasha was incorporated in 1874.

Seniors Invited To 2017 Arctic Club

TripAdvisor suggests that seniors not miss the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, and the Barlow Planetarium and the Weis Earth Science Museum both of which are  housed at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.


Then there is the Outagamie Museum & Houdini Historical Center. And the local festivals: the Community Fest, Polk County Fair, the Turtle Days Fall Harvest Festival. Toss in your clubs and join the Classic Golf Scramble on May 26.

The Menasha Fox Jazz Fest on the beautiful shores of Lake Winnebago features local, national and international Jazz artists. The Menasha Rotary Club invites senior visitors to the 2017 Arctic Club event on Saturday February 4th from 10am to 1pm… Dress warm!

 Seniors Choose Seafood Fest

11406757_880294485350479_2963511775504364207_o Enjoy the Menasha Seafood Fest on September 8 & 9, featuring Lobster, crab leg and salmon dinners, plus a full array of other seafood and grilled items along with live music.

Maybe I’ll run into you there with all the fine food… I love lobster and crab legs.  My wife would prefer the salmon dinner.

Plan to spend some time visiting the UW Fox Valley Arts Theatre in Menasha. Let Facebook help senior travelers with their suggestions. 

So what are you waiting for? Set your GPS for Menasha and enjoy all the amenities the city has to offer. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Discover Vietnam

imagesWe have friends who visited Vietnam and loved every moment. Senior friends, get your coffee and  please join me today… we’ll also take a look at Vietnam. There are many tours available for tourists, so check out a few.

Today Vietnam is in “full bloom” and abundant with awesome scenery in every portion of the county.  The population runs close to 90 million inhabitants. Many visitors say that Vietnam is a “Sensory Overload” and a country abounding in “Timeless Charm.”


This southeast Asian country on the South China Sea is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, with a huge marble mausoleum.

Seniors Awed With Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers. The local currency is the Vietnamese dong: 1.00 USD = 22,452.50 VND.


Hanoi is a must and the Old Quarter is a major attraction. For those who visit Hanoi with a genuine desire to have a grasp of the city’s culture or a curiosity to travel back in time, Ha Noi Old Quarter is a must-go place.

As the oldest continuously developed area of Vietnam, Hanoi’s Old Quarter has a history that spans 2,000 years and represents the eternal soul of the city with what are called the 36 Streets.

For senior gourmands, LonelyPlanet notes that the Thais may grumble, but in Southeast Asia nothing really comes close: Vietnamese food is that good.

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Incredibly subtle in its flavors and outstanding in its diversity, Vietnamese cooking is a fascinating draw for travelers – myriad street food tours and cooking schools are testament to this. Senior visitors find that the Vietnamese cuisine is a culinary superpower.

 Vietnam: A Veritable Phoenix Arisen From the Ashes

I enjoyed reading what Rough Guides had to say about Vietnam: “Few countries have changed so much over such a short time as Vietnam. Less than forty years since the savagery and slaughter of the American War, this resilient nation is buoyant with hope.


It is a country on the move: access is now easier than ever, roads are being upgraded, hotels are springing up and Vietnam’s raucous entrepreneurial spirit is once again alive and well, as the old-style Communist system gives way to a socialist market economy.

As the number of tourists visiting the country soars, their talk is not of bomb craters and army ordnance but of shimmering paddy fields and sugar-white beaches, full-tilt cities and venerable pagodas; VIetnam is a veritable phoenix arisen from the ashes.” Well said Rough Guides.


Seniors, I suggest a visit with your travel agent and plan to visit a country that is attracting millions of visitors from all around the world.  -jeb

Filed under : Asia/Pacific, Editors Choice


Seniors Discover Great Wine


Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State’s valleys, with almost 11 million acres. It also encompasses smaller valleys, like Walla Walla and Yakima. The Valley is home to Cabernet Sauvignon that this senior enjoys. Grapes have been grown in the Columbia Valley since the 1860s.

Columbia Valley is on the label of one of my favorite red wines. They say that the bold style Cabernet Sauvignon displays great complexity and structure with aromas of dark berry fruits and plum on the nose with chocolate and vanilla on the palate. Wow. Sounds good to me, I like the “dark berry fruits”, my wife likes the “chocolate and vanilla”.


 So senior oenophiles, buckle up as we go to Columbia Valley in Washington state to check out the territory and some fine wines. Columbia Valley is huge, roughly one-third of the state’s entire landmass. Nearly 99 percent of the grapes grown in Washington come from Columbia Valley.

 Seniors Enjoy Beautiful Vineyards

The Columbia Valley, referred to locally as the Columbia Basin, is an American Viticultural Area which lies in the Columbia River Plateau, through much of central and southern Washington State, with a small section crossing into the neighboring state of Oregon.


As Columbia Valley is a dry region, irrigation is often required and this restricts the location of its vineyards. The development of intricate irrigation systems has allowed this Valley to become a premium grape growing region.

Vineyards are planted on predominately south-facing slopes, increasing solar radiation in summer and promoting air drainage in winter. Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the most widely planted varietals with a growing season of 180-200 days. Gotastewine.com has a listing of the major tasting opportunities senior visitors will have in the area. 

 The Valley and valleys, River and rivers

1024px-columbiavalley_lakeThe Cascade Range forms the western boundary of the Valley with the Palouse regions bordering the area to the east. To the north, the Okanogan National Forest forms a border with Canada. The valleys within the Valley are formed by the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Walla Walla River, the Snake River, and the Yakima River.

Wikipedia notes that…the whole region shares the common climate traits of cold winters and long dry growing seasons with low humidity. The warm days and cool nights of the area help retain the balance of acid and sugar levels in the grape which give Washington wines their characteristic balance in flavors.

 Seniors, don’t miss scenic Columbia Valley.  It will be a memorable trip, a scenic trip and a highly tasty trip! -jeb


Seniors Drop By Greenwood Village

gv-masterThis senior has spent time in Colorado but had not heard of Greenwood Village. Have you? Greenwood Village is located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of around 36,000.

Once primarily a rural community, today Greenwood Village includes nationally recognized business parks and select neighborhood associations. Cyrus G. Richardson operated the Greenwood Ranch, after which the town was named.

The area continued to develop during the 1860s after settlers came from the east coast and midwest searching for gold. By the early 1900s it had become a farming community. There were beautiful orchards with cherry, apple, plum, apricot, and pear trees throughout the area in the early 1900s. In the early years of the 20th century, Greenwood Village was occupied primarily by farms and dairies.


Native Americans were the first settlers in and around Greenwood Village.

 Seniors Check Out Landmark Theatre

TripAdvisor  encourages senior visitors to visit The Landmark Theatre that is well known for screening new releases as well as independent, foreign and avant-garde films. Greenwood Village offers easy access to a number of nearby historic sites and museums.

The Colorado State Capitol, Colorado Governor’s Mansion and the Denver Mint are all within a radius of 10 miles of the city. The Wildlife Experience Museum has an excellent collection of wildlife art. The Museum is operated as part of the University of Colorado South Denver and includes an art and natural history museum and a large-screen movie theater.


Take a One Minute Stroll  with me through the city to gain an overview of what you will experience on your visit. Start now to make out a planned itinerary as there is so much to see and do in this part of Colorado.

 Seniors Enjoy Greenwood Village’s Environment

Greenwood Village offers a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities that appeal to youth, seniors, and everyone in between. In addition to sports and art activities, the locals enjoy art exhibits, lectures, outdoor concerts, fine dining and quality shopping at Greenwood Village businesses.


 Senior outdoor interests can be pursued at the Village’s developed parks, and shelters or on the pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle trails that wind through the village.

I enjoyed reading their homepage information featuring coyotes as we often see them crossing our backyard here in Arizona. Beautiful creatures they are. Bring along your camera and perhaps you may be able to go home with a couple of nice shots featuring a coyote or two.

Seniors, set your GPS for Greenwood Village, Colorado and take part in the exciting environment and scenic views.  Enjoy your visit. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Discover Bristol

seal_bottomSeniors traveling through Pennsylvania find Bristol Township 23 miles northeast of Center City Philadelphia, opposite Burlington, New Jersey on the beautiful Delaware River. The population is around 55,421.

The Harriman Historic District in Bristol is one area senior visitors enjoy. Bristol was first incorporated in 1720 but, after 1834 became very important to the development of the American Industrial Revolution as the terminus city of the Delaware Canal.


Bristol was platted in 1697, and like so many cities in the UK, named after Bristol, England. It was originally used as a port and dock. Bristol is rich in history, boasting many historic and restored houses.

From its earliest days Bristol was a center of textile mills, foundries, and milling. By the 1880s Bristol was home to many factories, including companies manufacturing wall paper and carpet.

 Seniors Check out Bristol Riverside Theatre


Attractions that interest senior visitors include the Bristol Riverside Theatre, and the Margaret R. Grundy Library and Museum.  I know that my wife and I would enjoy The Bristol Riverside Theatre. TripAdvisor puts the Theatre at top of their list for Must See in Bristol. Facebook notes that Mill Street Market Place is a great place to shop.

In the summer Bristol features many festivals and free concerts: cultural festivals like Celtic Day, Puerto-Rican Day, African-American Day, and Italian Day, with a Doo-Wop Concert.


Seniors can also find an Antique Car Show, an Arts & Crafts Festival, and a Fall Auto Show, they will enjoy. All held at the Bristol Lions Park, Bristol Wharf and in the Historic Mill Street Shopping District along side the Delaware River.

Seniors Like Bristol Historic District

Today, Radcliff Street that parallels the River is part of the Bristol Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places. Anchored by the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Museum and the King George II Inn, this street tells the colorful story of Bristol with its old buildings.

Senior visitors are invited to take a self-guided walking tour to learn about the colorful local history that reflects the greater changes that were happening in the fledgling nation.

800px-king_george_innMill Street, which saw a decline with the rise of shopping centers and malls in the suburbs, is seeing a return of retail and dining establishments. The Bath Mineral Springs at Bristol were recommended by Dr. Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin as an important health retreat.

The famed canal between Bristol and Easton was built for the transportation of anthracite coal and stimulated economic growth for the community between 1827 and 1931. One of the Bristol’s parks is located at the lagoon of this former canal, near the former Grundy Woolen Mill and its iconic clock tower. Seniors, set your GPS for Bristol and enjoy quality time in a quality town. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States

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