About: Jim Becker


Articles by: Jim Becker


Seniors Stop By Colorful Saunderstown


Senior travelers happen upon Saunderstown, a small village and historic district in the towns of Narragansett and North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

The population runs just over 6,000. The waterfront community was later named for the boat-building Saunders family, who moved into the area in the 1800s.

Saunderstown, Rhode Island is known as the birthplace of artist Gilbert Stuart, who is best known for painting the portrait of George Washington that is portrayed on the one-dollar bill. The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum consists of the house in which Stuart was born, a nature trail, and a functional gristmill.

Saunderstown is also the location of Casey Farm, an 18th-century plantation that is now a family farm. The farm, operated by Historic New England, grows organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers in a Community Agriculture Program.


 Seniors Enjoy Former Summer Resort  Area

The Saunderstown Historic District encompasses a section of Saunderstown which developed as a boatbuilding center and summer resort area in the late 19th century.

In addition to being home to a number of shipyards, several owned by members of the Saunders family, the area also became noted as a summer resort, hosting Benoni Lockwood and Frances Willing Wharton (a cousin to writer Edith Wharton), as well as the architect and artist Christopher Grant LaFarge, son of the famous artist John La Farge.


This area is mainly residential, with wood frame houses. Non-residential buildings include a country store, recreation center (which was formerly a fire barn), and the Saunderstown Post Office, which was built in 1902 as a Baptist church.

 Seniors Visit Casey Farm

Senior visitors make it a point not to miss Casey Farm. This mid-eighteenth century homestead overlooking Narragansett Bay was the center of a plantation that produced food for local and foreign markets. Located near Newport, Casey Farm had access to material goods imported from England, enabling its early owners to live in a fashionable manner.


Prosperity ended with the burning of Newport during the Revolution, and the farm settled into a pattern of absentee ownership. Today, farm managers raise organically grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers for subscribing households in a Community Supported Agriculture program.

Facebook suggests The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and The Plum Pt. Bistro and Liliana’s Italian Restaurant would both be high on my list. The Coastal Growers Market with around twenty vendors would be a great place to stock up supplies for that picnic in the park.

Seniors could easily make it a vacation just visiting the wide variety of National Register of Historic Places in Washington County. There are 130 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county, including 4 National Historic Landmarks. Seniors, enjoy a stop in Saunderstown. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Stop In West Bend

west_bendSenior travelers will find West Bend 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The population runs right at 32,000. Before the arrival of European settlers in southeastern Wisconsin, the Potawatomi and Menominee Indians inhabited the land now occupied by the city of West Bend.

In 1845 early settler Barton Salisbury, while on a surveying trip up the Milwaukee River, found a rapids that he believed would be a good source of power for a sawmill. He built a log hut on the west side of the river and the village of Barton was born. On November 1, 1961, the city of West Bend annexed the Village of Barton.


The Milwaukee River played a pivotal role in the history of the city. It was named West Bend because of the western bend in the river. In 1873, the first railroad tracks were laid through West Bend, paving the way for population growth and industrialization.

Seniors Find City Of Parks And Green Space

TripAdvisor suggests senior visitors check out  Shalom Wildlife and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

The local Chamber of Commerce notes that “West Bend is situated in one of Wisconsin’s most scenic areas, is conveniently near Milwaukee, and combines the best of small town and big city living…”


West Bend has a paved river walk that snakes through the city along the banks of the Milwaukee River. The Eisenbahn State Trail, a Rails to Trails project, has added another trail for walking, running, biking, and roller skating.

The 1,000-mile National Ice Age Trail crosses through West Bend, a city that has over 1,200 acres of parks and green space.

In addition to numerous parks and bike/pedestrian trails, Lac Lawrann Conservancy, offers a 137-acre nature preserve and 5 miles of trails, so toss in your hiking boots.

Seniors Enjoy Cache Ba$h

cachebashSeniors can have a sample of Lithia Beer that is brewed at the West Bend Brewing Co. Entertainment on Thursday nights in the summer is provided by Music on Main. The street in downtown West Bend is closed to traffic and a different band takes the stage at Old Settler’s Park each week.

Maxwell Street Days features more than 700 spaces filled with antiques and collectibles and German Fest are two summer events held in the downtown area. Riverfest (formerly Seafood Fest) is West Bend’s Premier Food and Music Festival and a more recent annual event in Riverside Park is JazzFest.


West Bend, Wisconsin has been branded the “Geocaching Capital of the Midwest,” boasting over 1,200 caches within a 10-mile radius of the city. An annual “Cache Ba$h” has been sponsored by the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce since 2008.

Geocaching is a recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. Sound like fun? It is. Seniors are invited to enjoy the many amenities of West Bend. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Stop In Colorful Kalispell


 Senior travelers find Kalispell in the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, poised in the northwest corner of Montana, about an hour south of the Canadian border.

 At more than 5,000 square miles, Flathead County’s 90,000 residents have plenty of elbow room and Kalispell, whose population is just over 22,000, is the seat of Flathead County, Montana.


Kalispell is a progressive, thriving community, the very essence of Big Sky Country – with the best backyard in the country. To the east: the soaring peaks of Glacier National Park.

To the south: Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, a glacial jewel and one of the purest anywhere. To the north: Whitefish Mountain, renowned for its epic powder and short lift-lines in winter, plus summertime mountain biking, zip lining and other fun  activities.

 Seniors Surrounded By Natural Beauty


The original inhabitants were the Salish, Kalispell, Blackfoot and Kutenai Indian tribes. They hunted for the region’s buffalo, deer and elk. In 1855 the Indians were forced to move to the Flathead Reservation.

Kalispell was established in the early 1890′s after the arrival of the railroad. Tourism and businesses began to thrive thanks to the trains. Farming, sawmills and flour mills were important factors for the economy. The city’s name is a Salish Indian word which translates to flat land above the lake.


Kalispell serves as a base for recreational activities in the region. Everywhere around senior visitors will find historic charm, affordable adventure and soul-stirring beauty.

 Flathead National Forest Draws Seniors

Encompassing the valley is the Flathead National Forest – 2.3 million acres of federally protected public land, home to abundant wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and wolves.

The Thompson Chain of Lakes is dedicated to fishing. The region is popular for hunting. Senior visitors enjoy the walking trails at Woodland City Park. Then there’s golfing at the Big Mountain Golf Club, mountain bike racing and triathlons  during the summer along with an active nightlife and numerous art galleries and boutiques.

20060924T1709LKalispell enjoys a relatively mild climate: glorious summers with warm days and cool nights and little humidity; golden autumn days turning crisp by late October; winters made for skiing, snowboarding, snowcatting and ice fishing; and springs with daffodils dusting the valley while fresh snow dusts the surrounding peaks – an extraordinary season when you can ski and golf – in the same day!

TripAdvisor suggests that seniors check out The Conrad Mansion, the 1895 family home of Charles E. Conrad, a founding father of Kalispell and pioneer businessman. Guides in period dress offer tours of this sprawling home that has been fully restored. Enjoy Kalispell! -jeb



Seniors Visit Bamberg, Germany

logo-enPour yourself a cup of coffee, friends, we’re going to Bamberg, a town in northern Bavaria, Germany, that is laid out over seven hills where the Regnitz and Main rivers meet. Seniors find that Bamberg’s Old Town preserves structures from the 11th to 19th centuries including the muraled Altes Rathaus, which occupies an island in the Regnitz reached by ancient arched bridges.

The Romanesque Bamberg Cathedral, begun in the 11th century, features 4 towers and numerous stone carvings. The population runs right at 70,000. Endowed with one of Europe’s largest intact Old Town centers, Bamberg has the magic of the past hanging in the air, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.


From the 10th century onwards, this town became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of Bamberg strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century it was the center of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Hegel and Hoffmann living there.

Seniors Enjoy The Arts And The Beer


TripAdvisor selects Bamberg Altstadt and the town hall, Altes Rathaus, for seniors to visit. The cultural program in Bamberg is shaped by the world-famous Bamberg Symphony Orchestra as well as its theaters, music  festivals, and an impressive music scene in jazz and blues bars. The international magician and street performers’ festival in July or the Sandkirchweih Fair in August transform the entire old town into one fun  scene.

Bamberg without beer is like Christmas without Santa – unthinkable! The nine breweries within the town boundaries, cooking up Bamberg’s famous smoked beer and 60 more in the surrounding area illustrate all that can be done with hops and malt.


It is suggested that senior visitors purchase a BAMBERGcard and explore Bamberg at an unbeatable price. I discovered TimeTravelTurtle and their wonderful overview of the city with great photos.

I can not wait to explore Bamberg for myself. Narrow alleys, cozy corners, medieval and baroque building fronts, plus a distinct romantic flair: Bamberg is said to be a unique work of art.

 Seniors Enjoy Bamberg’s History

Bamberg, Dom

Today, Bamberg is a lively arts and cultural center with a thousand year old history. Must-see places include the Imperial Cathedral, a breathtakingly romantic Rose Garden, the medieval Old Court, and the Old Town Hall, that sits right in the middle of the River Regnitz.

Being a “flower man” myself, I would put the Rose Garden with more than 4.500 roses on my “must see list.” It features historic statues and a memorable scenic view across the roofs of Bamberg. Lonely Planet notes that Bamberg is generally regarded as one of Germany’s most attractive settlements, bisected by rivers and canals.

Senior travelers, the town can be tackled as a day trip from Nuremberg, but, to really do it justice and to experience the romantically lit streets once most visitors have left, consider an overnight stay. -jeb




Seniors End Up in Topeka


This senior read recently that back in 1966 the strongest of a series of tornadoes struck Topeka, Kansas, killing 17 people. Topeka has weathered many storms, both manmade and natural. Geographic location has always worked to a decided advantage for the area.

Topeka is the capital city of the State of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County. Being the state’s capital city, Topeka’s largest employer is the State of Kansas—employing about 8,400 people.

VisionsofTopekaKansas1Topeka has weathered many storms, both manmade and natural. Geographic location has always worked to a decided advantage for the area. In fact, location is the key to Topeka’s future development.

Topeka in northeast Kansas, is situated along the Kansas River, that has overflowed a few times. The population runs right at 128,000 Kansans that are sometimes referred to as Jayhawkers. The name Topeka is a Kansa-Osage sentence that means “place where we dug potatoes”, or “a good place to dig potatoes”.

 Seniors View Million Dollar High School

Topeka High School

Topeka was first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas River. Read up on the History & Landmarks of Topeka and you will find that the city is home to the first “Million Dollar High School.” As a former educator, I’d like to visit that school.

The four school districts employ nearly 4,700 people, and Washburn University employs about 1,650. Small world, as years back, one of my former profs at the U of Kansas City was a professor at Washburn.

Topeka is the home of the famed Santa Fe Railroad and home of the smiling character Alfred E. Newman. TripAdvisor suggests senior visitors start with a visit to the State Capitol Building. I would want to see Lake Shawnee and then pay a visit to the Kansas Museum of History, since Topeka played a leading role in the “Bleeding Kansas” territory before its statehood. The Bleeding part came from the often-violent in-state struggles between abolitionists and slavery-state forces.

 Seniors Enjoy A City Of History And Culture


At the Evel Knievel Museum, seniors can explore the world’s largest collection of Evel Knievel’s authentic materials. Topeka’s arts and culture is thriving like never before. By preserving its art deco theaters, Victorian mansions, and Tiffany windows, Topeka ensures that its history and culture live on.

 Topeka (The Golden City) is home to 20 first-class attractions, 16 art galleries, five performing arts facilities, established annual events, fine dining for senior gourmet visitors and unique shopping.

ACE8B9AD489C1BD809A955DCFC7DCFD9-1Topeka sits on the banks of the Kansas River, surrounded by lakes, rolling hills, and lush vegetation. Residents enjoy not only their wooded surroundings, but also a strong economic environment and cultural scene. Stop in Topeka and enjoy Kansas hospitality personified. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Discover Another Fine Springfield

imagesSeems like there are many cities called Springfield. According to the U.S. Geological Survey there are currently 34 populated places in 25 states named Springfield. Here is one for seniors to enjoy called Springfield Township in Union County, New Jersey. This one is not large, population 16,000+.

New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Springfield in the Top 100 best places to live in New Jersey in its 2010 rankings of the “Best Places to Live.”  In June 2010, Newsweek named Springfield’s Jonathan Dayton High School as one of the best high schools in the county – only 6% of all public schools in the U.S. made the list.


Springfield was incorporated as one of New Jersey’s first 104 townships by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. Springfield is celebrated as the site of the extremely critical Battle of Springfield between the American Continental Army and British forces on June 23, 1780.

 Seniors Find Landmarks from Revolutionary War

Senior visitors will find several historical landmarks from the Revolution still standing. The Cannon Ball House built in 1741, served as a farmhouse when the British used it as a hospital. Today it is a museum.

CBH front view

Springfield’s First Presbyterian Church, which had been burned by the British, was rebuilt, using much of the original structure. It stands at 210 Morris Avenue. The statue of a Continental Soldier stands in the smallest state park in New Jersey.

The Rahway Valley Railroad passed through the community, and during the early 20th Century offered both freight and passenger service.  A trolley line called the Morris County Traction Company, ran trolley service through Springfield to/from Newark and Morris County, in the early part of the 20th Century.

 Seniors Golfers Enjoy Classic Golf Course


Springfield New Jersey is the home of the Baltusrol Golf Club and this is probably where I discovered Springfield on the tube. Baltusrol was the host to the 2005 PGA Championship. Golfweek magazine ranked Baltusrol as the 36th best in its 2010 rankings of the “Best Classic Courses” in the country. Senior golfers, toss in your clubs and play a round or two.

Springfield has a new Vision Plan for rehabbing the downtown. A big hit in Springfield is called Screaming Parties. Yes, it’s for kids, so bring your grandkids along and watch them have a screaming great time.

They say that living in Springfield Township comes complete in the spring with a “cricket serenade.”  Seniors, stop in Springfield and hear those crickets for yourself. Enjoy your stay and the many amenities that the township has to offer visitors of all ages. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Stop In Camas

citytxtlogo1in3Camas is a city in Clark County, Washington. Senior travelers find Camas in the Portland – Vancouver metropolitan area. Camas, with a population of 12,534, lies along the Washington side of the Columbia River, across from Troutdale, Oregon.

Officially incorporated on June 18, 1906, the city is named after the Camas Lily, a plant with an onion-like bulb. My PhD botanist brother would have loved that plant, and me, a Master Gardener, as well. That local edible root, the Camassari quamash, was a staple food item for native inhabitants along the Columbia River.


An early name for the Camas Post Office was “La Camas”, a name given to the local Camas plant by the French-Canadians employed by the Hudson Bay Company. In 1894 the Post Office switched to “Camas” to avoid confusion with “La Center” and “La Conner”, two other Pacific Northwest towns.

 Seniors Enjoy Parks, A Lake And Lily Fields


Camas and nearby attractions include Lacamas Lake, Rocket City Neon Advertising Museum, Heritage Park Camas-Washougal Community Recreation Center and the Lacamas Campground. Lacamas Park includes Round Lake and trails that go around the lake and the park. The trails lead to Camas Potholes and Camas Lily fields.

Heritage Park provides facilities for boating at Lacamas Lake. It has many open spaces and a playground for kids. The city also has a popular skate park. Portland Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, and Clark College provide facilities for higher education.


One of the major geographical features of the city is Prune Hill, where a great portion of the residential area of the city is located. Prune Hill is an extinct volcanic vent and is part of the Boring Lava Field of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.


 Seniors Enjoy This City On Columbia River

Camas originated as a paper-mill town in the 1880s when LaCamas Colony Company selected this area for their new paper mill. The first post office and school were established in 1884. It was officially incorporated as a town in June 1906.


Back then the commercial base of the city was almost solely the paper mill; however, the diversity of industries has been enhanced considerably in recent years by the influx of several white-collar, high-tech companies including Hewlett-Packard, Sharp Microelectronics, Linear Technology, WaferTech and Underwriters Labs. A local hero in Camas is Michael R. Barratt, NASA astronaut.

The local High School is home of the “Papermakers.” I love that name. Don’t you wonder what their school mascot looks like.

Camas on the banks of the mighty Columbia River has annual events that include the summer “Camas Days” featuring bathtub races. Seniors, set your GPS for Camas, Washington and enjoy all that the city has to offer. -jeb


Seniors Spend Time In Eau Claire

9361373_GEau Claire with a pop. of 68,000, took its name from Eau Claire County.  Senior’s French lesson: “Eau Claire” is the singular form of the original French name, “Eaux Claires”, meaning “Clear Waters”, for the Eau Claire River.

According to local legend, the river was so named because early French explorers journeying down the rain-muddied Chippewa River, happened upon the Eau Claire River, excitedly exclaiming “Voici l’eau claire!” (“Here [is] clear water!”), the city motto, which appears on the city seal. The name is pronounced as if it were spelled “O’Clare”.


Eau Claire was established close to the convergence of the Eau Claire River and the Chippewa River as three settlements. In 1872 the city was incorporated. The main portion of downtown Eau Claire is situated on the site of the old village of Eau Claire.

Seniors Visit Former Lumber Town

The city was a thriving lumber town during the 1800′s and the lumber business was the primary factor for the growth of the city. After the timber was depleted, Eau Claire became known for agriculture and industry. Today Eau Claire thrives on its scenic views and businesses that are attractive to senior visitors.


The trails which follow the Chippewa River and the Eau Claire River provide excellent views and hiking and bicycle riding opportunities.

Located in the rolling hills and river valleys of western Wisconsin, the Eau Claire area offers natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and a rich heritage for senior travelers to enjoy.

In the summertime Eau Claire provides popular rock as well as country music festivals. During the winter, outdoor enthusiasts are provided with groomed cross-country skiing trails.


 Seniors Enjoy Carson Park

Learn something about the history and culture of Eau Claire at the Chippewa Valley Museum, taste the greatness of local farms at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, or sip on a Leinie’s after you tour the brewery.

TripAdvisor suggests seniors visit Carson Park, which is a must in this city. Get a few shots of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at the Logging Camp Museum.

The Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival and the Eau Claire Polar Plunge are fun events for spectators as well as the participants. Toss in your clubs and play round or two at either Hickory Hills or Wild Ridge Golf Course.


Eau Claire is more than just a city – it’s a tourist destination. Whether you need a day of pampering, a weekend filled with recreation, or an evening of sipping wine by candlelight, you can find it in this Wisconsin hot spot.

Ride down scenic bike trails, spend a day at the beach, catch a show at the theater, shop downtown, have fun at a weekend festival–you’ll never get bored in Eau Claire.

Set your GPS for Eau Claire and enjoy.  -jeb


Seniors Explore Rhinebeck

rhinebeck-ny-collage2Senior travelers find Rhinebeck, in the Hudson River Valley of New York State, a sophisticated four-corner town that takes pride in its Dutch History, scenic beauty, support for the Arts as well as accessibility to New York City, rural upstate New York, the Berkshires, and Connecticut. 

Rhinebeck offers senior visitors amazing restaurants, shopping and arts. Chelsea Clinton was married in this beautiful spot. I would want to visit this village simply because it is called “The Violet Capital of the World.”


The end of the 19th century saw a new industry center in Rhinebeck: the cultivation of violets. Roughly 20% of the village’s population during the Gay Nineties was in this business in some way, and the total crop was later estimated to have exceeded a million dollars in value some years. Several of the “violet houses” built during this era survive and are located in the district.

Seniors Discover Gourmet Town

Rhine beck, a beautiful historic area in northern Dutchess County, is located on the banks of the majestic Hudson River, 100 miles north of New York City. It is easily accessible by Amtrak.


This tourism destination boasts 437 National Historic Register sites, fabulous restaurants, charming boutiques and shops, and numerous B&B’s. The Rhinecliff Hotel is a favorite stay for senior visitors. It has only nine rooms, but a beautiful Victorian setting with views on the Hudson River.

Rhinebeck is a mecca for art & culture and a thriving locavore (a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food) movement. Rhinebeck has been touted as one of America’s best Gourmet towns. And from charming B&B’s to exquisite hotels, there is a range of classic places to spend the night.

Seniors Also Discover Village Of Rhinebeck


The Village of Rhinebeck was incorporated in 1834 and exists within the Town of Rhinebeck. The Village covers 1.6 square miles and is home to 2,657  residents. This historic little town reveals majestic views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River.

The Village boasts tree lined streets that beckon seniors to stroll through a host of unique specialty shops.

Seniors, for more information about Rhinebeck, please click here and set your GPS to enjoy all that this charming town  has to offer visitors. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Enjoy Time In Rochester

5203989_origRochester, the Lilac City in the Granite State of New Hampshire, has a population of 30,000. The city includes the villages of East Rochester and Gonic that senior travelers will find on the southeastern seacoast region.Gonic was called Squanamagonic, meaning “the water of the clay place hill.”

The beautiful Cocheco River, that once provided power for the city’s early factories and mills, flows through the town enhancing its scenic setting. First settled in 1728, Rochester evolved into a town of industry, with the first large business of lumbering.


Rochester‘s attractions that senior visitors might find of interest include the Historical Society, the Rochester Fair, the Opera House and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Rochester Opera House was built within City Hall  in 1908.

 Seniors Enjoy Rochester’s Location

The Creteau Technology Center offers Career and Technical Education programs in business, graphic arts, drafting, electronics, machine trades, health occupations, child care, automotive repair, woodworking, power mechanics, and family consumer science.


The city is located “out in the country” as we would call it back home in Iowa. Nevertheless, Rochester Main Street  packs in senior visitors and the historic preservation is evident.

Rochester covers over 44 square miles of rolling hills and rivers. It is conveniently located only a short distance from New Hampshire’s famous Lakes Region, the White Mountains with its ski resorts and the seacoast with its superb beaches.

Seniors Find A Scenic Delight


Whether covered with its famous lilacs in the spring, flowers blooming in the summer, spectacular autumn foliage or fresh-fallen snow, the Rochester area is always a scenic delight. One of Rochester’s many attributes is its excellent air, highway, rail and water transportation connections.

Rochester is located approximately 1 hour north of Boston and 1 hour south of the White Mountains. Rochester is a friendly community and is proud of its heritage.

Rochester was named after Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester in England. Toss in your clubs and play a round or two at the Rochester Country Club. YP.com lists 421 restaurants and bars to choose from, so bring along a hearty appetite.

Seniors, set your GPS for Rochester, New Hampshire and enjoy.  -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States

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