About: Jim Becker


Articles by: Jim Becker


Seniors Enjoy Strolling in Petoskey

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Do you have your coffee, senior friends, we’re going to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula this morning.

Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay in the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula seniors will find Petoskey, a quaint resort community with unmatched beauty and charm.

The name “Petoskey” means “where the light shines through the clouds” in the language of the Odawa Indians.  Known for its inland lakes, rolling hills and wooded terrain, Petoskey has been a destination for resorters for more than 100 years.

Discover an area in and around Petoskey that’s been called “A Michigan Treasure.” The Petoskey Stone is a beautiful fossil stone taken from coral that lived approximately 350 million years ago in a sea that once covered Michigan.

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Not large, 6,000+, but with a ton of amenities, Petoskey is a coastal resort town that runs along eight miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It is nestled along Little Traverse Bay and is steeped in history, scenic beauty and an area that is an outdoor enthusiasts dream.

In the warmer months visitors enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities. Lake Michigan and the surrounding 38-mile inland waterway provide endless entertainment for anglers and boating aficionados.

Petoskey joins 19 other cities with populations of 15,000 or less that have excellent museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural gems.

Historic Gaslight District Draws Seniors

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Victorian architecture and the historic Gaslight Shopping District have held a magnetic appeal to senior visitors for generations. A shopping area for more than 100 years, this district is bursting with independent shops, boutiques, and galleries. Downtown Petoskey is one of the most treasured downtowns in the US.

Nestled on the shores of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, residents and senior tourists alike enjoy over 170 unique shops and fine restaurants in the famous Gaslight Shopping District.

The downtown area of Petoskey serves as a hub for resorters from Bay Harbor, Bay View, Harbor Springs, Walloon Lake and the surrounding Emmet County region. Downtown also features great views of Little Traverse Bay, fine dining, and streets lined with historic gas lights.


It’s a historical fact that Ernest Hemingway spent the first 18 summers of his life sailing and fishing on nearby Walloon Lake, and the area features prominently in several of his stories.Pick up a brochure that will take you on tour of Hemingway’s Michigan.

History buffs love the varied historic architecture of Petoskey and its neighbor, the Bay View Association, an area so unique that the entire community has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

The Odawa Casino is in town with nearly 1,200 slots, dozens of table games and a poker room. Golfers will enjoy playing on any one of the numerous championship courses in town.

So pack your bags, head to northern Michigan and enjoy Petoskey and Little Traverse Bay.  It will be a fun visit.  jeb


Seniors Stop In Furniture City

images Hickory is a city located primarily in Catawba County, North Carolina, with parts in adjoining Burke and Caldwell counties. The estimated population is 40,000+.  Senior visitors will find Hickory one great place to check out furniture.  We did anyway on our trip through North Carolina.

The name alone radiates with wood and furniture.  “In the 1850s, under a huge hickory  tree, Henry Robinson built a tavern of logs. The city of Hickory Tavern was established in 1863, and the name was eventually changed to Hickory in 1873″. The city is very famous for some of the finest names in furniture.


Yes, Hickory is known across the world for its quality hand-crafted furniture, designed by artists and built by craftsman from the Hickory Metro. Hickory is home to one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in the United States that is still located and operated on the original site.

Hickory White, formerly known as Hickory Manufacturing Company, was built in 1902 and has been in continuous operation ever since. It is estimated 60% of the nation’s furniture used to be produced within a 200-mile (320 km) radius of Hickory. Forty percent of the world’s fiber optic cable is made in the Hickory area.

Historical Furniture Construction


There is lots of history for furniture construction in and around Hickory. For more than 110 years the furniture industry has been a major employer in the Hickory Metro and local furniture companies are growing. Their reputations are built on quality furniture that can be passed from generation to generation.

Local manufacturers are adapting with the latest technology that allows them to customize orders for customers. “The Furniture. Well Crafted, hands-on exhibit at Catawba Science Center is about our community” said Alan Barnhardt, Catawba Science Center Executive Director.

“It begins with the history of furniture manufacturing in our area, then senior visitors can learn about modernized technology utilized in furniture making today.” It’s where senior visitors will want to start their visit to Hickory.


Seniors Enjoy An All American City

And sports. Hickory is home to the Hickory Crawdads, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. It is also home to the Hickory Motor Speedway, nationally known as the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.

If you know anything about All-American Cities, Hickory has been named an “All-American City” three times. What an honor! The Award is given annually to only ten cities in the United States. Reader’s Digest selected Hickory as  the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the United States.

Visit Hickory, senior travelers and see for yourself how and why it so outstanding.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy This State Capital

images “The secret is out. Everyone who visits Austin these days leaves with something great to say.”  These seniors drove through downtown Austin to check it out and we remember well the state capital building as well as the University of Texas campus. Both were awesome.

Austin was named in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state. Maybe you already knew that.

Austin, on the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country along the Colorado River, is not only the state capital, but lays claim to being the “live music capital of the world.” It’s also a center for film, and home to the Formula 1′s Circuit of the Americas raceway.


Its abundant parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor pursuits. TripAdvisor rates the State Capital Building #1. Senior visitors will see why when you get up close. It features a gorgeous whispering gallery rotunda and 22 acres of scenic grounds.

Seniors Appreciate Sightseeing Tours

A great means to get acquainted with Austin is to take one of ten sightseeing tours available. Saves a lot of walking, plus you will see the highlights of the city.  How about 46 museums to consider and some great nightlife, theaters, parks and sports events?

Seniors, roll up your blue jeans, pull up your Justin cowboy boots, adjust that new shiny silver belt buckle and welcome to Austin, home to nearly 900,000.  It’s the 11th-most populous city in the United States and fourth-most populous city in the state.


The capital of Texas attracts a number of young, talented university students, which has prompted a good-natured culture war between the newcomers and the city’s longtime residents.

Every year thousands of hipsters, groupies, and die-hard fans and folks just like you and me flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival, which has catapulted the Texas city up the must-visit charts for many visitors.

“Do Your Thing” In Austin, Seniors


Frommer’s on Austin: ”… prides itself on giving all comers a warm welcome: punks and honky-tonkers, environmentalists and SUV drivers, cowboy boots and Birkenstocks…Austin maintains its small-town feel and green spaces. Whether you’re looking for posh shopping or line dancing, you’re welcome to “”do your thing”” in Austin.”

Fodor’s adds that “Austin is a boomtown of culture and creativity. It’s a hub for music, comedy, and filmmaking, as well as a favorite foodie destination. It has also been one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and the tech boom continues to turn the city into Texas’s answer to Silicon Valley…”

Plan a visit now.  Seniors, enjoy all that this capital city has to offer.  -jeb


Seniors Like The Scenic And The Natural


The City of Manitou Springs, Colorado is known for its scenic setting and natural healing mineral springs. Founded in 1872, it was first intended to be a “scenic health resort” then four years later, the town was incorporated (the same year Colorado became a state). Senior visitors meet approximately 5,000 residents who are located on the western edge of an urban area of over 500,000 people that includes Colorado Springs five miles to the east.

Manitou Springs was founded by Englishman Dr. William Bell and his business partner General William Palmer as both a scenic site and a health resort. “Manitou”, a Native American word for “ great spirit”, well describes this beautiful mountain community.

The eight naturally carbonated mineral spring fountains are located throughout this historic town. Many of these mineral springs still function today and the water is free. The Ute, Cheyenne and other Native Americans considered this area sacred for the healing springs and clean mountain air.


 Senior Nature Lovers And Culture Hounds, Take Note

Many people over the years have found the magical waters to be both soothing and healing. US News Travel notes that the area beckons to two specific types of travelers: nature lovers and culture hounds.

Throughout the year, senior citizens grab their hiking boots and cameras to explore natural sights. The Springs is a National Historic District and remains a charming hippie-era haven filled with art galleries, funky boutiques and outdoor cafes.

Manitou Springs thrives as a popular tourist destination with its scenic landscapes, cool mountain air, healing mineral springs, hiking trails, year-round activities, and welcoming spirit. In fact, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy.

Senior visitors will want to see Colorado’s most popular free park the Garden of the Gods, as well as the Cog Railway, Cave of the Winds, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Miramont Castle, and the breath-taking Seven Falls.

Seniors Enjoy Artist’s Mecca


Manitou Springs is an artist’s mecca and abounds in world class art, music, theater and sidewalk sculpture displays. Shops, art galleries, museums, and restaurants line the downtown main street, and lodging ranges from historic B&Bs to elegant hotels.

Senior visitors, don’t miss the Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered one of the country’s largest National Historic Districts. Plan to stay for a few days in one of the pleasing hotels and B&Bs. If you enjoy camping, RV parks and campgrounds are nearby.

The local Chamber of Commerce suggests that visitors make Manitou Springs their “Base Camp” and enjoy all of the many attractions and activities the area has to offer. jeb


Seniors Seek Out Truckee


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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


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 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.


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.”


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’


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


Seniors Head Up To Northern New England


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.


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.


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 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


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


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 Enjoy The Bay Area


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.


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’


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

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