About: Jim Becker


Articles by: Jim Becker


Seniors Take In Bensalem

Unknown This senior chose Bensalem because it was named one of America’s 50 Best Small Cities.   Furthermore, I selected the town because it rated #46 out of 50 and I like those kinds of small towns.  I know small towns… mine had a population of 300.

Bensalem has 60,512 inhabitants and is known for its strong Jewish community.  Bensalem seems to be a perfect place to visit to avoid the hustle, bustle and high prices of the city.

There have been many discussions and controversies about the derivation of the name “Bensalem”. As far back as 1692 a portion of the name “Salem” appeared in provincial records in connection with surveys and grants of land and some time between that year and 1701 the prefix “Ben” was added.


There have also been discussions about the meaning of the name. One historian suggested that the name meant “hill of peace” or “peaceful mount”, while others maintained that it meant “son of peace”, so, take your pick.

 Seniors Find Themselves In Covered Bridges

Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo and Bensalem Council would like to welcome you to Bensalem Township. Incorporated in 1692, this thriving suburban community is just outside Philadelphia. Bensalem Township, an area of 21 square miles, is the buffer township between Philadelphia on the West and the rest of Bucks County on the East and Northeast.

Through Bensalem  pass four of the most important arteries of transportation in the United States—- Interstate 95, U.S. Route 13 (Bristol Pike), U.S. Route 1 (Lincoln Highway) and the Eastern Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.


Bensalem is home to the headquarters of Charming Shoppes, a Fortune 1000 company. The region features numerous historic buildings, notable covered bridges and picturesque scenery.

Seniors Enjoy Historical Area

TripAdvisor includes the Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine and Pistol People, an organization dedicated to teaching families and professionals the safe and practical uses of firearms.

The Bucks County Visitor Center serves as a gateway for all senior visitors. The Historical Society of Bensalem Township, founded and incorporated in 1977, is a great place to read up on the local history.


The Society has acquired many interesting and valuable items including old cemetery records, a variety of ancient maps, more than 50 land deeds, local genealogies, photographs, slides and a host of other historical and significant items.

Parx Casino is located in Bensalem for those of you who care to play a few games. There is  Neshaminy State Park,  located along the Delaware River.

Senior travelers, when you drive across Pennsylvania, make a stop in Bensalem and enjoy another of America’s Best Small Cities jeb


Seniors Stop In Gallup


This senior always enjoys driving through the Gallup, New Mexico area with all the beautiful red rocks and interesting terrain. This city on Hwy I-40 lies 139 miles west of Albuquerque and 25 miles east of the Arizona border.

Route 66 and many Indian reservations are the major attractions for senior travelers who are attracted to the area.  I always enjoy driving through the area with all the beautiful red rocks and interesting terrain.

The city was founded in 1881 and was named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.

 Indian Capital of the World


Gallup is often known as  the “Heart of Indian Country” and sometimes called the “Indian Capital of the World”, for its location in the heart of Native American lands, and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes.

One-third of the city’s population has Native American roots. Gallup’s nickname references the huge impact of the Native American cultures found in and around Gallup.  There are many American peoples in the Gallup/Four Corners region.

By far the most numerous are the Navajo, who are today widely regarded for their achievements in wool, with original Navajo rugs and blankets (both new and antique) sought by private collectors and museums throughout the world.


Seniors Attend Inter-Tribal Ceremonial

Every August Gallup plays host to Native Americans from across the United States in a massive Inter-tribal ceremonial, The 90th Annual Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in Gallup.

People come from all over the world for this spectacular event, and whether you’re eight…or eighty, it’s an experience senior visitors will not forget.


Here is one colorful site with tons of information on the city.  Gallup is a fantastic place to begin your New Mexico adventure. Whether your interests lie in culture, history, sports and outdoor activities, shopping, or exploring the beauty of the Southwest, you’ll find that Gallup has it.

Trading companies seem to congregate in Gallup. Windfield is a “biggie” and note the beautiful gold and turquoise neckwear on the site. Squash blossom necklaces are always a good buy. And don’t miss the Red Rock Balloon Rally.

I’ll leave you today and hope to see you in Gallup. Seems like there is always more to learn about an area or a city wherever you travel in the world.  Seniors, enjoy your stay in Indian country.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy The Dinoflagellates In Bioluminescent Waters

n_p-52697113e4b09484f56feff7_lgThat title is a mouthful but it is all true. Seniors are invited to visit Jamaica’s fascinating Luminous Lagoon on a night cruise near Montego Bay. Cruise around the glowing lagoon in a small boat at night with your expert guide and go for a dip in the colorful water.

This is a must-see attraction in Jamaica that is perfect for folks of all ages. The water is filled with phosphorous which allows it to illuminate so brilliantly when disturbed. The bioluminescent green glow is caused by the presence of a micro organism called pryodinium bahamene – a type of dinoflagellate.


If you are an adventurous senior, take a swim in the glistening waters, one of only a few dips like it in the world. Don’t worry, the lagoon’s eerie-looking water is actually completely harmless. The natural glow is unique.

One visitor writes “Thousands of microscopic aquatic creatures glow from any movement of the water, by the boat, your hands or if you are a daring type, from the movement of your body as you swim with them.

Seniors Experience Magical Waters

Luminous-Lagoon-in-Jamaica“It reminded me of a scene from the movie “The Abyss”. Another says… “It is quite magical when you get in the water and it glistens and glows like twinkling stars. The muck that you are standing in is a little creepy but there are showers available when you get back to shore.”

Whether you wish to get in the water or watch from the safety of the boat, it is definitely recommended that you pay the dinoflagellates a visit.

The place is MAGICAL! Glistening Waters is a glowing lagoon on the north coast of Jamaica. This marvel is only found in few places in the world, however, this lagoon is the brightest of them all due to more consistent climate. The fresh water from the Martha Brae River meets the salt-water ocean and a totally amazing creation is formed.


 Luminous Lagoon Lights Up

The Luminous Lagoon lights up with a turquoise glow… it is Jamaica’s only nighttime major attraction. Located on the outskirts of Montego Bay, senior visitors can personally witness magic take place right before your eyes as you enjoy a quiet boat ride through the dark marina.

Historical stories of nearby Falmouth are told by the Captain as the illuminating outlines of the fish light up around the boat. Guests are also offered a swim in the water so they can see their own bodies radiate a turquoise glow. Following the tour of the lagoon, enjoy a  dinner at the Glistening Waters Restaurant, which overlooks the marina.

Senior travelers,  come and see for yourself one of the unique features of the world’s waters.  Enjoy. jeb


Seniors Enjoy Vacation Paradise


Senior travelers will find Cedar City, Utah 250 miles south of Salt Lake City on Interstate 15. Cedar City’s 29,000 residents live amongst some of the most breath taking scenery anywhere.

There is a ton of history in and around Cedar City and its Historic District contains one hundred and seventy-two buildings that have survived to this day. Cedar City was originally an iron works town near the Mormon city of Parawan.


After Brigham Young shut down the iron facilities, two-thirds of Cedar City’s residents left for other settlements. The remaining families prospered from sheep ranching.

The Cedar City Shakespeare Festival draws senior visitors. William Shakespeare would find himself at home in Cedar City, Utah, home of Utah’s extravagant annual, summer Shakespearean Festival.  Senior visitors also enjoy touring  scenic Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Cedar Breaks resembles a miniature Bryce Canyon. Many say that its magnificent colors may even surpass Bryce. The Indians called Cedar Breaks the “Circle of Painted Cliffs.” Situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor.



Senior Mountain Bikers, Take Note

Bikers come to experience excellent mountain biking at Brian Head. In the winter, Brian Head transforms into one of Utah’s great ski resorts, with excellent powder and runs, receiving over 400 inches of Utah powder annually. Southern Utah University adds an additional, exciting dimension to this vibrant community.

TripAdvisor notes that this “charming and compact” city offers visitors a great home base for exploring the area. Golf, skiing, biking and other outdoor recreational activities abound.

2013_slider2Called the “Festival City” due to the incredible theatrical and cultural offerings, Cedar City plays host to a number of prestigious film, theater and art festivals throughout the year, making anytime a great time to visit. 

Hiking trails are found in all directions from Cedar City. Senior visitors will discover a unique small city complete with world-renowned theatricals, astounding beauty, and unbelievable outdoor recreation.

The Arts And The Rodeo Draw Senior Visitors

The Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is open year-round in the heart of Cedar City.  The Heritage Center presents an assortment of plays, symphonies, ballets, art shows and a multitude of cultural events and entertainment.

Many tourists come for the Cedar City Rodeo that takes place each June. A full contingent of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events include Bareback, Steer Wrestling, Tie Down Roping, Saddlebronc, Team Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding each performance.

Iron Mission State Park provides visitors with more information on Cedar City’s history and boasts a large collection of horse-drawn wagons. Additional Cedar City landmarks include the Old Rock Church next to the city offices and the former Union Pacific Depot building, which is now a fine dining restaurant.

Senior travelers, when you are in Utah, put Cedar City on your itinerary. jeb



Seniors Love The Waters in Hot Springs

Day 23 Thermopolis & Grand Teton 006I inquired as to the “Best Sites to Visit in the state of Wyoming” and up jumped Hot Springs State Park. Seniors will find the park is situated in East Thermopolis, right next to the scenic shores of the Bighorn River.

The Park is most famous for its hot springs, including the largest natural mineral spring in the world. With a temperature of 135 degrees, the water is used for its healing benefits as well as a spectacular natural wonder.

 Senior visitors can enjoy the outdoor pools, the splendid views to the park, then, make a tour of the city of Thermopolis. The town is small and quiet, but is dotted by numerous shops and a variety of restaurants. The Park is easy to find in Thermopolis,  just off the main road, US 20, on the north side of town.

Seniors Enjoy Western Hospitality

Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis

Thermopolis is a unique and remarkable corner of the world where senior visitors will be greeted with genuine western cowboy hospitality and great respect.

For wildlife lovers, photographers, and explorers, there is a world to discover in Thermopolis. A state maintained Buffalo heard roams the hills just northeast of town on the upper range land of the State Park. Legend Rock is filled with petroglyphs.

Take the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway between the ancient rock cliffs of Wind River Canyon, the same path once used by Native Americans, explorers, and pioneers. Senior visitors will discover lots of things to see and do in and around Themopolis starting with the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum,  that is world-class and includes early life fossils, dioramas, and full-size dinosaur skeletons.


Have you ever soaked in a hot water spa? They are terrific. Over colorful terraces along the Big Horn River, water flows from mineral hot springs… over 18,000 gallons every 24 hours at a constant temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

The mineralized hot springs at Thermopolis form the main feature in the oldest state park in Wyoming, created 1897. The springs have created a beautiful terrace of white, yellow and brown travertine, on the banks of the Big Horn River.

The park has a free Bath House where the water is maintained at 104 degrees for therapeutic bathing. That will open up your pores for sure. Either before your soak or after, walk over the board walks through the park which displays various thermal pools, the “biggie” is Star Plunge.

Take the plunge in Thermopolis.  It will prove to be a memorable event. jeb


 Seniors Lost in a Different World


Senior travelers, are you ready for an adventure? I’ve found a good one for you in a recent travel article. The lost-world island of Sumba, said to be a dynamic mystery, is an hour’s flight from Bali. Chris Burch, the US billionaire investor, has fallen in love with a remote atoll in the Indonesian archipelago.

When Burch visited two years ago, the place tugged at his heartstrings, and today, around US$30 million later, Burch is realizing his dream of turning Nihiwatu on Sumba into the world’s most exclusive sustainable luxury resort and multi-million dollar foundation.

The island is home to the last-remaining Animist tribes, an ancient indigenous people who believe in the spirits of animals and plants. Sumba is at once one of the culturally richest and financially poorest islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

Seniors Drawn To A No Longer Ignored Island


Islands like Bali and have gotten the majority of tourist attention over the years, but today it’s Sumba. Sumba  has remained largely uninfluenced by the outside world.  Discovered in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, Sumba was incorporated into the Dutch East Indies in 1866.

However, the island had very little contact with the outside world and remained, throughout history, largely “ignored” due to its lack of natural resources and its fierce warriors, the famous headhunters.

The island is also known for its small and versatile horses. I wrote a blog recently on a nearby island called Lombok.  I wonder who counted all of Indonesia’s 18,307 islands.

Seniors Meet Kind, Sweet People


Sumba, an island in eastern Indonesia, with a population of 660,000, is of volcanic origin, and predominantly mountainous, with lovely beaches. The people of Sumba have a rich social culture. They are kind and sweet, with strong traditions of music, dance, literature, crafts and religion.

Historically, this island exported sandalwood and was known as Sandalwood Island. The largest town on the island is the main port of Waingapu, with a population of about 53,000. The landscape is low, limestone hills, rather than the steep volcanoes of many Indonesian islands.

beautiful_children_landscape For you birders, the island is particularly rich in birdlife with nearly 200 species. Facing the wide Indian Ocean, the island of Sumba in the province of East Nusatenggara is a surfer’s paradise. Although as yet little known on the tourist map, surprisingly the island of Sumba has a number of luxurious, well frequented resorts.

The women of Sumba produce some exemplary hand woven cloth with motifs of stylized horses, animals and people, in dark blue, red and black, white and yellow natural dyes.

So make plans for a super adventure today. Set your sights on Sumba.  jeb


Seniors Check Out Starkville

bbHPStarkville, Mississippi (pop. 24,000) is the county seat of Oktibbeha County. The first white settlers of Starkville were Presbyterian missionaries. Once settled, people began to flock to the area because of its springs and accommodating terrain.  Seniors learn that this area was inhabited at least 2100 years ago and there is a mound site nearby.


Mississippi State University was established in 1878 in Starkville and their football team is one of the leading teams in the country. The university is the towns largest employer and social activities tend to revolve around the campus.

Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum links the past with the present. The Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum of Archaeology displays artifacts related to the Native American cultures of the Southeastern United States and the civilizations of the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

 Seniors Walk Through the Cotton District


The Cotton District is a walkable neighborhood that contains many restaurants and bars as well as unique residential units. Senior visitors will find that the Cotton District “contains more than 130 award winning structures- all of which proudly display eye-pleasing facades splashed with rich color”.

The Greensboro Street Historic District is an architecturally/historically significant collection of primarily residential structures. The Greensboro Street Historic District was home to many successful merchants and even civic leaders during the late 1860s.

Nearby Noxubee National Wildlife offers nature lovers a virtual paradise. Just 13 miles south of Starkville, this natural paradise sports a remarkable variety of wildlife, and is an excellent outlet for bird watching.


Historical Districts Preserved

Starkville is full of history. The Overstreet Historic District offers an eclectic mix of architecture built during the post-Civil War era.  A walking or driving tour of Starkville’s historic districts is an absolute must-do, including Historic Downtown Starkville. One of the outstanding sites in town is the Hotel Chester, constructed in 1925, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Starkville’s talent for savoring the past while embracing the future is seen in its marvelous historic districts. Senior visitors are encouraged to pack their walking shoes, as there is much exploring to be done.

If you enjoy John Grisham’s books as I do, be sure to check out the John Grisham Room, a place where people may view materials and memorabilia from the writings and achievements of bestselling author, former Mississippi legislator (1983-1990), and MSU alumnus John Grisham.

So stop in Starkville as you drive through Mississippi and enjoy all that a university city has to offer. jeb


Seniors Head for Whitefish


Whitefish, Montana is located in the heart of the spectacular northern Rocky Mountains. And is home to the world-class Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, the gateway to Glacier National Park, and 7,436 of the friendliest Montana folks – and business owners – that senior visitors ever want to meet.


Whitefish sits in Flathead Valley at an elevation of 3,000 ft. Like many Montana towns and cities, Whitefish grew considerably in the early 1900s following the Great Northern Railway. Many of the buildings that were erected during this time are still standing today, and they make for great Whitefish attractions if you, like me, are interested in the historical side of things.


Complementing the historic feel of downtown Whitefish is the dramatic landscape that rises up around the small town. Whitefish is located in the shadows of Big Mountain, and a line of mountains stretch across the horizon just north of town.

Seniors Like Best Kept Secrets

Whitefish is said to be is one of the best kept secrets in America. With Whitefish Lake and Whitefish Ski resort in the same town, visitors have winter and summer outdoor activities.  The summers are filled with festivals in Whitefish Central Park. Senior visitors can arrive on Amtrak rail service that stops  downtown.


Whitefish restaurants are known for world-class wine selections and great service, and the chefs are recognized in national rankings. The arts are as abundant as the trees and mountains. The covered Central Avenue sidewalks, the galleries, boutiques and specialty shops are a senior visitor’s delight. 

Seniors Also Like Authentic Mountain Town

This authentic mountain town is a five-star town in the heart of the Rocky Mountain wilderness near Glacier National Park. Annual events in Whitefish include Huckleberry Days Arts Festival, an annual festival featuring 100 artists and food vendors. The event includes a huckleberry dessert bake-off contest.


The Taste of Whitefish is another event that has been held for more than twenty-five years,  featuring over twenty-five restaurants, caterers and beverage companies offering samples of their specialties. The World Indoor Golf Championships has been held in Whitefish for over sixteen years and is a 9-hole “miniature golf” tournament in downtown Whitefish.


In the Summer months, Whitefish Mountain turns into an adventure playground of a different kind with zip line tours, an alpine slide and a boardwalk high in the treetops. There are many opportunities for water sports on Whitefish Lake, and to bask in the beauty of the surroundings on the City Beach.

National Geographic notes that in the 1930s, locals hiked the steep ridge above Whitefish so they could ski powder snow on the “big mountain” that towers above the lake. From those dreamy first runs, a ski resort was born.

Over a half century later, Whitefish Mountain Resort is consistently ranked one of the top resorts in the nation with 3,000 acres of winter skiing. This sounds like a destination not to be missed.  jeb




Seniors Go To Relax On Santorini Island

360 Mediterranean Greece Mykonos Santorini Original  Landscape Oil Painting

I recently read that Maui and Kaua’i rated second and third in Best Islands for a visit. These seniors loved Maui and the Big Island and we hope to get to Kaua’i next year. So what is #1? It’s Santorini.

Santorini is the most popular island among dozens in the Aegean Sea. There are few travel destinations that combine beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, some of the world’s best wine, plus a volcano.

But Santorini has all this and more. Senior visitors can rent a car, a bike, a scooter or an ATV and enjoy exploring. Sightseeing tours abound on Santorini as well. The island is known for its incredible villages. Some of them are perched on the top of 300 m high cliffs and offer gorgeous views.

Seniors Drawn To Greek Island


Most people who go to Greece go to Santorini. It’s on my travel bucket list too. There are direct flights to Santorini, cruise ships stop there, and it is a part of just about every Greek island itinerary.

The Greek island of Santorini or Thera is located in the Cyclades islands, in the middle of the Aegean Sea. The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions but what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera.

The island of Santorini is known for the amazing views from the villages of Fira, Oia perched on cliffs, the sunsets, the black and red beaches and the great wine. The village Oia was devastated by the 1956 earthquake and has never fully recovered, but it is dramatic and quieter than tourist-frenzied Fira. Oia is famous for its amazing sunsets.

Seniors Find Whitewashed Houses Everywhere

santorini1 Everywhere you go, senior visitors will see the whitewashed houses and beautiful blue domes of the Orthodox churches. Santorini has one of the most spectacular landscapes in Greece and in the world. The traditional villages of the island, built on tall cliffs, offer a breathtaking view over the submerged volcano.

Historically the island was a circular shape. The volcano’s eruption was so strong that it caused the centre of the island to sink. Some believe that this eruption was even responsible for the extinction of one of the great civilizations: the Minoan Civilization of Crete.

Due to the good ferry connection with other Greek islands, holidays in Santorini can easily be combined with holidays in other islands as well. There are also charter flights to Santorini from abroad, making it easy to get to this little paradise on earth.

Seniors,  Santorini might be a bucket list item. jeb


Seniors Seek Out Beautiful Lepidoptera


Senior friends, get your coffee and join me this beautiful Sunday morning as we visit Butterfly Houses. Butterflies are part of the Class of Insects in the order Lepidoptera. Moths are also included in this order.

Adults butterflies have large, often brightly colored wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. There are dozens of butterfly houses for senior visitors to view Lepidoptera all over the world. The folks right here in the Valley (Phoenix) have a good example with Butterfly Wonderland that is drawing in those of us who love butterflies.


Texas Discovery Gardens is a 7.5 acre organic botanic garden featuring native and adapted plants. Inside, the two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium transports senior visitors to a tropical rainforest, complete with hundreds of free-flying butterflies.

The Lepidoptera source in  South Deerfield in Western Massachusetts, features an 8,000-square foot indoor conservatory home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies in a tropical environment. The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in St. Louis wants senior visitors to know that their Owl Butterflies come from El Bosque Nueve Butterfly Farm in Costa Rica.


Seniors Visit the Butterfly Rainforest

The Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville, Florida is a can’t miss living exhibit that features hundreds of free-flying butterflies and birds from around the world along with an assortment of other animals including turtles and fish. The lush landscape is planted in tropical trees and colorful flowering plants amid waterfalls and a walking path.

Hundreds of butterflies flutter back and forth in Brookgreen Gardens, Pawleys Island, SC, as if trying to decide which they like best – the flowers’ sweet nectar or a refreshing dip in the pool. Then, one of these beautiful creatures lightly lands on your finger or your head.

Oh to be able to focus your camera and capture the image, but you know that as soon as you move, the butterfly will simply fly away. So you sit quietly and simply enjoy the beauty of your visit to Brookgreen’s Butterfly House.

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Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO hosts 1,600 butterflies in their Wings of the Tropics exhibit, an indoor tropical rainforest environment. Senior travelers can visit Butterfly Pavilion and all those marvelous butterflies seven days a week.

Navarre, Florida hosts the Panhandle Butterfly House opened in 1997 and has been providing fun and education ever since.

So, hopefully I have ignited your interest in visiting a Butterfly House somewhere in the U.S. jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice, United States

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