Search Results for Category: Learning Vacations


Seniors Journey to Hautvillers, France

746550215 Many seniors enjoy a glass of sparkly champagne from time to time. If we trace the history of the bubbly beverage, a visit to Hautvillers in France is a must.

Hautvillers (pop. 864) is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France. The Abbey of St. Peter which existed in this town until the French Revolution was the home of the famous Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who, back in 1670, developed the process for making champagne. The legend of Dom Pérignon adds an intangible yet real halo to Hautvillers.

Called “Hautvillers” (high), it is indeed up on the slopes. The French feel strongly that “authentic champagne” comes only from the champagne region in France.  I learned that the Romans were the first to plant vineyards in this area, so its history goes way back.


 This Senior Spent Two Weeks In The Region

This Abbey of St. Peter warmly greeted Dom Pérignon, whose life was  closely associated with the creation of champagne. Dom Pérignon collaborated with another Benedictine monk to a develop a process called “méthode champenoise.” The bubbles in the bottle did indeed create this well-known effect.

Dom Pérignon’s tomb lies today in the chancel of the Saint-Sindulphe abbey church. Senior visitors find Hautvillers to be a charming wine-producing village lined with old houses decorated with a wide array of forged iron shop signs.


Moi, I did not think I liked champagne until I spent two weeks living in the champagne vineyard region. I served as a tour group leader with  Elderhostel (now called Road Scholar). The program was called Food and Wine of France. Sampling a variety of champagne daily, I discovered it to be quite tasty. The Guardian suggests  you consider following the Champagne Wine Route as we did.

 Seniors Learn About Wine Making


At harvest time, grape pickers in Champagne begin the month long harvest called les vendanges, sometimes even hiring seniors to help with the task.

The winemakers will then do a single press of the three grape varieties used to make Champagne —Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier—bottle it, and wait until the carbon dioxide builds into a delicate fizz through a two-step fermentation process known as the méthode champenoise.


Three years makes a nonvintage bottle. Vintage Champagnes—meaning those of a particular year, such as the famed Dom Pérignon, can take much longer, often at least a decade. The oldest champagne-world record was set by an 1825 Perrier-Jouet and it was still good.

The winemaker hospitality in this region is as legendary as is the surrounding landscape that overflows with vineyards. The Abbey of Saint-Pierre is a major attraction in Hautvillers.

TripAdvisor has been to the region and lays out seven things to do, four restaurants not to be missed and suggested lodging and vacation rentals. Seniors, plan to stay a few days in Hautvillers: Le Berceau du Champagne, the Cradle of Champagne. -jeb


Seniors Search For Old Bones in Vernal, Utah

Vernal_Utah I read an article in the morning paper that has a story on Vernal, Utah,  this senior had not heard of that town, so it’s due for a blog.

Vernal, the county seat and largest city in Uintah County, is located in northeastern Utah about 175 miles (280 km) east of Salt Lake City and 20 miles (32 km) west of the Colorado border. The population runs just over 10,000.

Vernal, unlike many Utah towns, was not settled by Mormons. Brigham Young sent a scouting party to Uintah Basin in 1861 and received word back the area was good for nothing but nomad purposes, hunting grounds for Indians and “to hold the world together.”


Today Vernal’s economy is based on extracting natural resources, including petroleum, natural gas, phosphate, and uintaite, more commonly known as Gilsonite. This has led to the establishment of branch offices of major companies such as Halliburton and Schlumberger.

Seniors Enjoy the Scenic views and Petroglyphs


Vernal is proud to be the original home of James Woods, a film and TV actor. There are many scenic views in and aroung Vernal, but the big T-Rex pink dragon will certainly catch your eye upon arrival.

TripAdvisor has paid a visit to Vernal and has some activities all lined up for senior visitors. The nearby McConkie Ranch and its hiking trails rates very high with folks who enjoy a good walk and who are interested in the ancient Dry Fork Petroglyphs. With Holiday River close by, river rafting is lots of fun in Vernal.

The Utah Field House of Natural History Museum is another major  attraction. Senior visitors can discover the prehistoric world, dig for fossils, and explore the dinosaur garden. Within an 80-mile radius of Vernal is evidence of the entire Earth’s history and is visible at the Museum. Utah Field House reveals this geologic story with hands-on exhibits and activities.

Dinosaur Footprints and Fossils


Utah is famous for its ancient dinosaur fossils and the Vernal area is one of the best places in the state to view them first hand. Fantasy Canyon, an area composed of unique erosional features, is located about 27 miles south of Vernal.

Red Fleet State Park features a 750-acre reservoir and a fossil trackway of dinosaur footprints.  The canyon and the park draw in many visitors from all across the nation.

Sheep Creek Geological Loop is an awesome scenic drive at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Northeastern Utah. The Loop features an interesting display of unique rock formations that can be seen along the fault, including towering monoliths along with rock that has been fractured, jumbled, discombobulated

I have always loved that word. Seniors, get undiscombobulated  in Vernal. Spend a few days in town and take in the many nearby sites. -jeb


Seniors Drop by Toms River

toms-river-nj-events-toms-river-volkswagen Out of curiosity, my middle name, I googled the major cities in New Jersey and up came Newark, Jersey City and Atlantic City. Toms River was way down the list, but the name caught this senior’s eye. So let’s go check it together.

92,000 folks call Toms River home. I had to be just a little careful researching this travel blog as I discovered that there was a Tom River in Siberia Russia, a tributary of the Ob River.

Toms River is well known for having the second largest Halloween parade in the world and for being a very safe city. Much of the early history of Toms River is obscured by conflicting stories. There are two legends as to the naming of Toms River.

The first is that it was named for Thomas Luker, who operated a ferry across Goose Creek in the 1600’s. The second, more dramatic legend, is that it was named for Captain William Toms, a pirate in the 18th Century who would attack ships sailing past the area. The latter one sounds much more exciting to me.


Seniors Enjoy Diverse and Dynamic Downtown

In 1992, as part of celebrations commemorating the township’s 225th anniversary, official recognition was granted to the tradition that the “Tom” in “Toms River” was for the aforementioned Thomas Luker. Downtown Toms River provides a wide variety of things for seniors to see and do and remains one of the most diverse and dynamic downtowns in this part of New Jersey. 


For sports fans, the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex is the only indoor athletic complex bubble in Ocean County and one of the largest in New Jersey. For epicureans, the New Jersey Chili and Salsa Cook-Off, as well as the New Jersey Ice Cream Festival are both held in Toms River. Movie fans might be interested in knowing that the 1979 classic “Amityville Horror” as well as 1988’s “X-Files” movie were filmed in Toms River.

TripAdvisor wants senior visitors to know about dining on board River Lady, a 150 passenger, 85′ authentic reproduction of a paddle wheel riverboat. The River Lady splendidly captures the ambiance of a 19th century Mississippi Paddleboat.

The Library and Planetarium Draw Seniors


Of the 17 attractions Trip Advisor highlights, the Ocean City Library ranks #2, so consider putting it on your bucket list. The Novina Planetarium and the Insectropolis, the Bugseum of New Jersey, are other popular visitor sites.

Insectropolis is a fun and unique insect learning center that dazzles visitors of all ages, including seniors. View thousands of beautiful and bizarre exotic insects from all over the world.  One of my former students majored in Entomology and Andy would love that place full of bugs and insects. Probably not my wife.

Me, I would enjoy The Ocean County Historical Society, one of New Jersey’s outstanding historical societies. Now hop aboard a drone and view Toms River from the air. Nice job. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy An All American City

Tourism Information in Norfolk Virginia - VisitNorfolk

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

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

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

Seniors Smile At Naw-fok


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

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

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

Seniors Find Another Historical City


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

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

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


Seniors Visit Phillips Academy


This senior read recently that Jeb Bush, George Bush, Dr. Spock, and Oliver Wendell Holmes among a long list of other famous people, all attended Phillips Academy, established in 1778 in Andover (pop. 34,000). I knew of the fame of the Academy as years back I was a teacher (they called me a Master) at a private secondary academy in Minnesota.

Today there are just over 1,100 students who attend the Academy, the oldest and most prestigious independent secondary “prep” school in the country. The Academy is a co-ed, independent day  and boarding school.

The campus is well worth a visit. John G. Palfrey, Head of the Academy, points out that…” We often point to the achievements of Andover alumni – an extraordinary group of bridge builders, entrepreneurs, public servants, inventors, artists, performers, and leaders in nearly any field you can think of.” Historically, Samuel Phillips Jr., the Academy’s founder, provided gunpowder from his Andover factory for Revolutionary War troops.


 Seniors Find Andover Near Boston

Senior travelers will find Andover, in Essex County, 23 miles north of Boston. The city is situated on the banks of the Merrimack River, one of the larger waterways in the New England region that has helped define the livelihood and culture of those living along it since native times.

There is always lots of history associated with the east coast of the US and Andover is a prime example. It was settled in 1636 under the Native American name of Cochichawicke, a local waterway and incorporated in 1646. Today the town is known as the “Home of America.”

1024px-Musgrove_Block,_Andover_MA If you follow this travel blog daily, you are well aware of my leaning on TripAdvisor for providing information on what to see and do in areas all over the world. So it is with Andover.  The American Gallery of American Art rates #1 in town.

The Gallery’s collection of American art is one of the most comprehensive in the world, including more than 17,000 objects spanning the 18th century to the present.

Thomas Cochran created the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in 1931 as the most extraordinary of his many gifts to the school.

 Senior Birders and Hikers Enjoy the Area


The Ward Reservation is a 704-acre open space reserve and a favorite spot for senior visitors to check out  hayfields, hilltops, wetlands, creeks, swamps, and woodlands.

If you are into hiking, the Bay Circuit Trail awaits your footsteps…lots of them, as it runs from the north shore to the south shore of Massachusetts covering close to 200 miles. Senior birders, only 0.68 miles from Andover city center, is the Andover Bird Sanctuary (Moncrieff Cochran Sanctuary). 

Seniors, stop in Andover and spend time enjoying all that the town has to offer. You may just want to make the town your target for exploring the entire historic northern Massachusetts region. -jeb


Seniors Pay A Visit To Vacaville


We seniors who know a little Spanish, know that vaca means cow. So what’s the history of this city called Vacaville in northern California? Well, I discovered that cows have nothing to do with Vacaville.

Once a stage stop for the Pony Express, the city was originally laid out on land deeded by Manuel Cabeza Vaca in August 1850. Its original plat was recorded on December 13, 1851. It became a city 41 years later in 1892.

Today Vacaville is one of California’s most charming cities and is often referred to as the fresh fruit capital of California. Downtown Vacaville attracts senior visitors to the city with its fine array of older buildings like the Vacaville Opera house, originally built by Sidney Clay Walker in 1897. And to appease your appetite,  Joe’s Creekside Cafe at 301 Main Street.


Senior Find Orchards, Farmland and Rolling Hillsides

Vacaville lies midway between San Francisco and Sacramento on Interstate 80. The city has a beautiful setting bordered by rolling hillsides, fruit orchards and fertile farmland.  It’s rich history has transformed the community from a small agricultural town into a thriving and progressive city; now a diverse population of around 97,000.


Vacaville remains a “small town at heart,” whose residents pride themselves on the high level of community involvement. The city holds the annual Vacaville Fiesta Days, which includes a parade featuring the public school marching bands, gymnasts, an electric car showcase and a host of fun activities.

Senior visitors are attracted to Nut Tree Plaza, a legendary California Road Stop. Set along Interstate 80 in Vacaville, Nut Tree began in 1921 as a small, family-owned fruit stand. Today, it’s a massive complex filled with shops and kid-friendly restaurants, including fast-food eateries and ice cream shops. Vacaville Premium Outlets is another main draw for shoppers.


 Seniors Enjoy Vineyards And Historical Downtown

Let me fill up your travel shopping bag with more to take in: great nightlife, the Suisun Valley Wine area, great shopping and fine restaurants. Lagoon Valley Park, located just west of Vacaville, provides a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, mountain biking, disc golf, archery and kayaking. Vacaville is home to two state prisons.

Vacaville is surrounded by rich farmland and gentle rolling hills covered in orchards and vineyards. Fodor’s advises visitors not to miss the historical downtown that is lovely and with lots of annual events.

Senior visitors, when you are in northern California, don’t miss Vacaville.  Enjoy! jeb.


Seniors Are High On Hiram


Hiram, Georgia with population of 3,500, was named after Hiram Baggett, the town’s first postmaster, and is currently the home of country music star Travis Tritt. Senior friends, there must be something special about Hiram.

Initially named Gray’s Mill to honor early settler Garrett Gray, Hiram incorporated in 1891. Gray brought much to Hiram, including the first cotton gin and a mill. Let’s go for a visit to Hiram and check it out for ourselves.

The past decade saw a tremendous increase in the populations of Dallas and Hiram, as well as Paulding County. Dallas (GA that is) and Hiram more than doubled in population from 2000 to 2010. Hiram is strategically located for weekend or one-day trips to Birmingham, Nashville, the Smoky Mountains, and Atlanta. That’s a real plus for Hiram.


Senior Nature Lovers Notice The Silver Comet Trail

There is plenty of space for relaxation in Hiram with Silver Comet Trail, a paved abandoned railroad bed that brings together cyclists, nature lovers, physical fitness enthusiasts, and horseback riders to enjoy the beautiful north Georgia countryside.

Senior visitors are invited to enjoy Silver Comet Trail that runs for about 20 miles through Paulding County. In addition many of the locals enjoy the Ben Hill Strickland Park and Hiram Ruritan, a private rec center with various ball fields.

TripAdvisor suggests a round or two of golf at Creekside Golf Club. Seniors, bring your grandkids along and watch them have fun at Sparkles Family Fun Center of Hiram, a leader in Family Entertainment in the Atlanta area since 1959. 

Historic School Building For African American Children


Historic Hiram Rosenwald School & Museum is in Hiram. In 1912, Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., established the Rosenwald Fund to assist in community construction of public schools for African-American students in the South.

By the 1930s, 1 in every 5 rural southern schools for African-Americans had been constructed with aid from the Rosenwald Fund, a total of nearly 5,000 schools. The Georgia historical marker was erected by the Georgia Historical Society and the Hiram Rosenwald School Preservation Committee in 2007.

Not far away senior visitors will find Marietta, Kennesaw Mountain, Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta and additional sites to visit in Acworth and Douglasville. Hiram, and the immediate area in general, has enough in recreational facilities, dining, shopping, and entertainment to satisfy folks of all ages and interests.


There is much to see in beautiful Georgia and Hiram adds to its scenic pleasure. So set your sights and GPS on Hiram and you will soon see why it rates so highly as a community that offers its citizens and visitors a plethora of enjoyable amenities. -jeb


Seniors Discover Mount Laurel


Mount Laurel, New Jersey, is called an edge city suburb of Philadelphia just off I-295.  The population runs right at 42,000 and was incorporated as a town back in 1872. The name Mount Laurel comes from the name of a hill at a main crossroads in town.

Laurel Acres Park is known for its Veteran’s Memorial, fishing lake, playground, and huge grassy hill used for concerts in the summer and sledding in the winter.


Senior visitors will find historical landmarks in Mount Laurel, including General Clinton’s headquarters and Paulsdale, the birthplace and childhood home of Alice Paul, a major leader in the Women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Evesham Friends Meeting House, on the National Register of  Historic Places, is the oldest meetinghouse still in use in the United States. The Thomas Smith House is another on the National Register of Historic Places, which means…don’t miss it if you are interested in American History. I would be right behind you. Senior visitors can travel all across Hamilton County visiting one site after another; I counted 95 of them.

 Senior Visitors, Meet Hattie Margaret Hill Britt


Hattie Margaret Hill Britt, 92, whose half-century as a teacher in Mount Laurel led to the community naming a school after her, Hattie Britt School. Her career as a teacher spanned the days from one-room schoolhouses to modern classrooms, from segregated schools to multiethnic classrooms, and from Mount Laurel’s days as a farming community to its present status as a township filled with gleaming office parks and sprawling housing developments.

Farmer’s Hall, built in 1866 by the Farmers Progressive Club, served as the town hall from 1904 to 1969. The hall has been restored and is now used as a museum. The local Historical Society was formed in 1972 to save Farmer’s Hall from demolition.

 Seniors Visit Jacob’s Chapel And Cemetery


One of the most famed sites is Jacob’s Chapel that was constructed in 1859. Behind the chapel is an African American cemetery filled with soldiers from the civil war. During the war, Quakers in Mount Laurel helped slaves escape to the north through the Underground Railroad using the chapel as a hiding location.

Long before it became Mount Laurel Township, the earliest known history of this area began with the Lenni-Lenape Indians (len-ah-pee) means “original people,” who lived throughout the Delaware Valley from around 1400 until the 1700s. Evidence is found of their farming and hunting villages along the banks of the Rancocas River. In fact, the “Great Road” of pioneer days was originally an Indian trail.

Highlights for seniors include Laurel Acres Park, the Coco Key Water Resort and Larchmont Park. There seems to be no end of ethic restaurants in town. So set your GPS and spend some quality time in Mount Laurel. -jeb


Seniors Seek Out Old Town


Old Town, a neighborhood of San Diego, California and is the oldest settled area in San Diego and is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California. Senior visitors can learn about Old Town San Diego: Old Town attractions, restaurants, shopping & hotels, historic sites and a calendar of Old Town community events.

Bazaar del Mundo, Fiesta de Reyes, the Old Town Market and many boutique shops offer a variety of great gifts and souvenirs. You are sure to catch a glimpse into early colonial life in San Diego.

 Senior visitors can learn about life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. Even today, life moves more slowly in this part of the huge city, as visitors are offered a glimpse into yesteryear, as converging cultures transformed San Diego from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement.


Seniors Discover California’s First Spanish Settlement

Historically San Diego became California’s first Spanish settlement when a mission and fort were established in 1769. Later, it passed into the hands of the newly made Mexican government before gaining statehood in the United States after the Mexican-American War. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, is a state protected historical park in San Diego.

On September 18, the Taste of Old Town™ presents great samples of the finest southwest cuisine with spirits in some of San Diego’s favorite restaurants right in the heart of Old Town. For those of use who enjoy historical sites, over 17 historic points of interest and the finest in professional theatre,  museums, artisans, galleries and shops are all within easy walking distance with free live entertainment, mariachis, dancers, period attire docents providing tours.


San Diego Avenue is the main street in Old Town and home to San Diego’s first commercial theater, the former county courthouse and many other historic buildings. One of the most famous addresses on the street is the Whaley House, which is believed to be the most haunted place in the nation.

Seniors Ride The Trolley

Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley and take a tour of San Diego. The Trolley stops at the Old Town Market and passes through historical neighborhoods.


Known for colorful Mexican cuisine, Old Town’s dining is lively and vibrant. These seniors would want to visit the Casa de Estudillo that tipifies the lifestyle of a prominent San Diego family. La Casa is the most famous of the original adobe buildings in Old Town and is furnished with items from the 16th to 20th centuries in its 13 rooms.

Fodor’s notes that San Diego’s Spanish and Mexican roots are most evident in Old Town and the surrounding hillside of Presidio Park. Senior visitors can experience settlement life in San Diego from Spanish and Mexican rule to the early days of U.S. statehood. I can’t wait to check it all out. -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

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