Articles Tagged with: senior travel California


Seniors Discover Avalon, California


I recently came across the 50 Coolest Towns in America. Well, near the top of the list was Avalon, California. My grandson spent a couple of summers at a camp in Avalon.  I did some searching and discovered a tiny seaport on Catalina Island  that they say feels more like a Mediterranean getaway than a West Coast beach. Seniors, let’s visit Avalon, California today and see for ourselves.

The town has a few thousand permanent residents, whose homes layer up the hillsides around the edges of town. The Inn at Mt. Ada, is a bed and breakfast that was once the home of William Wrigley (the chewing gum Wrigley). It’s the town’s best view.

Avalon is only a small part of Catalina’s history and enchantment. Its 75 square miles of interior wilderness is a symbol of what California was like long ago, offering fantastic blends of plant and animal life forms that are now uncommon on the mainland.


Seniors Enjoy The Natural

Avalon is situated on the easterly portion of Catalina Island, 22 miles south/southwest of the Los Angeles Harbor breakwater. Not large, Avalon is a little over 2 2/3 square miles in size. The island itself is 76 square miles in area, 85% of which is in a conservancy area to be maintained in its natural state in perpetuity.

The picturesque and leisurely seaport village of Avalon has a permanent population of around 3,500, with an annual visitor count of close to one million. Catalina Island is part of Los Angeles County. Avalon schools however, are part of the Long Beach Unified School District.


TripAdvisor suggests that seniors take in Descanso Beach, meaning “relax” or “take it easy” in Spanish. Crescent Street is Avalon’s “main drag,” facing the ocean and much of it closed to all but foot traffic. Senior visitors will find shops, as well as several hotels and restaurants.

 Seniors Enjoy Popular Destination

The town of Avalon surrounds beautiful Avalon Bay on the southeast end of Santa Catalina Island. Avalon has been a popular destination for senior visitors since the early 1900’s. From the ‘20’s and beyond, Avalon has attracted film stars to presidents and still maintains its charm and allure today.

The green Pleasure Pier, in the center of the Avalon Bay is the departure point for numerous ocean expeditions, including the Undersea Expedition, Glass Bottom Boat, Flying Fish Voyage, Sundown Isthmus Cruise and Ocean Runner Dolphin Tour.


Avalon  remains Catalina’s principal tourist attraction. Though nearly 22 miles separate this unique town from the mainland, remoteness has not altered progress. Catalina contains all essential utilities such as electricity, water and phones.

Rainwater is stored in reservoirs throughout the island’s interior, which is subsequently purified then piped to the towns of Avalon and Two Harbors. So sail on over to Avalon and enjoy this beautiful island. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Pay A Visit To “The Big Box”

UnknownEl Cajon is a city in San Diego County, California. In a valley surrounded by mountains, seniors learn that the city has acquired the nickname of “The Big Box.” Its name originated similarly, from the Spanish phrase “el cajón,” which means “the box” or “the drawer.” With a population of 103,000, El Cajon is situated about 15 miles east of San Diego.

El Cajon, “The Big Box,” was first recorded on September 10, 1821, as an alternative name for sitio rancho Santa Mónica to describe the “boxed in” nature of the valley in which it was located.


That name appeared on maps in 1873 and 1875 and was shortened to simply “Cajon,” until the modern town developed in which the post office was named “Elcajon.” In 1905, the name was once again changed and expanded to “El Cajon” under the insistence of California banker and historian, Zoeth Skinner Eldredge.

 Seniors Find Themselves In The Valley Of Opportunity

Seniors find The Valley of Opportunity is loaded with amenities and things to see and do.  The Water Conservation Garden is a big draw as is the Sycuan Casino. Plan to visit Taylor Guitars, an American guitar manufacturer based in El Cajon, the #1 manufacturer of acoustic guitars in the United States.

Toss the clubs in the trunk and play a round or two at the Singing Hills Country Club – Willow Glen Course. One of El Cajon’s Premier events, the famous Cajon Classic Cruise, is held in the center of Downtown El Cajon.


For years the pasture lands around El Cajon supported the cattle herds of the mission and its native Indian converts.

Nearby San Diego Zoo And Sea World

El Cajon is home to Grossmount Community College, Cuyamaca College, San Diego Christian College, and the Southern California Seminary. Also located within the city’s boundaries are Gillespie Field (airport) and Knox House Museum.

There are several attractions within easy driving distance: the San Diego Zoo and Sea World.  Senior visitors will discover the Sunny Side of San Diego, the cities of El Cajon, Lemon Grove, La Mesa and Santee.


Seniors, if you are there the weekend before Thanksgiving, you can take in the Annual Mother Goose Parade. The parade includes over 100 colorful and exciting entries.

Let Facebook help with your planned itinerary for nightlife, museums, dining out, a walk in Wells Park and various places to bed down. -jeb 

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Explore Chowchilla

36384275 Yours truly loves a city name like Chowchilla. Let’s pay a visit and see what we can learn that might be of interest to senior travelers. This city of around 19,000 inhabitants, in Madera County, California, lies 37 miles northwest of Fresno and is conveniently located inside the Fresno metropolitan area.

The name “Chowchilla” is derived from the indigenous American tribe of Chaushila Yokut Indians who once lived in the area. The name is apparently a reference to the warlike nature of the Chaushila tribe, later on to be associated with “bravery”. The town’s high school retains the moniker of “Redskins” as their local mascot.


Chowchilla houses two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation women’s facilities, the Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison for Women.

Seniors Visit A ‘Dig Site’

The development of Chowchilla is closely associated with Mr. Orlando Alison Robertson, who was born in Prosperity, Pennsylvania. Robertson became interested in developing California around 1910 and organized the United States Farm Land Company. He purchased the Chowchilla Ranch on May 22, 1912. On February 7, 1923, the City of Chowchilla was incorporated.


Senior visitors can spend some quality time in Chowchilla. There are a number of parks and recreational facilities. In addition, the city offers bars, casinos, restaurants and shopping centers.

Merced College is nearby. Attractions in the area include Berenda Reservoir, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Meux Home Museum, RC Wisener Park and Sports & Leisure Park. Toss in the clubs and play a round or two at the Pheasant Run Golf Course.

Perhaps you have heard of the proposed rail system in California. Chowchilla is the proposed northern terminus of the first leg of the California High-Speed Rail system. I’d be sure to visit the Fossil Discovery Center, a family-friendly museum and dig site showcasing fossils from the middle Pleistocene period.

 Seniors Experience Western Stampede

Stampede 1

Facebook suggests places for seniors to stay, to eat and to explore. A Classic Car Show will take place on September 24 in Veterans Memorial Park. The local Chamber of Commerce wants you know about Chowchilla’s Luncheon of the Year that is always popular with the locals.

Western Stampede is another big draw that features a herd of cattle driven right though the city. There seems to always be a few visitors who want to view the Chowchilla District Cemetery that maintains manual records.

And I almost forgot to mention the Madera County Fair held in Chowchilla. Seniors set your GPS for Chowchilla and enjoy this California community. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Check Out Tarzana

tarzana Senior travelers learn that Tarzana, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, is a mostly residential community on the site of a former ranch owned by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. It carries the same name as Burroughs’ storybook jungle character hero, Tarzan.

In February 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs arrived in California with his family, relocating from Oak Park, Illinois. He and his family had wintered in southern California twice before, and he found the climate ideal. Burroughs purchased Otis’s tract and established Tarzana Ranch.


Burroughs sold his first “Tarzan” story to a magazine in 1912 but continued to move around as his book-length Tarzan efforts were turned down by all the publishers he contacted.

Burroughs and his wife spent the winter of 1913 in San Diego, then returned to the Chicago suburb of Oak Park before the A.C. McClurg Co. published Burroughs’ first book, Tarzan of the Apes, in 1914. The response was phenomenal, and Burroughs went on to pen twenty-three Tarzan novels in all.

 Seniors Find One Of Oldest Communities In The Valley


Historically, the area now known as Tarzana was occupied in 1797 by Spanish settlers and missionaries who established the San Fernando Mission. Tarzana is one of the oldest communities in the Valley. Burroughs subdivided and sold the land for residential development with neighboring small farms following suit. Today the population runs right at 30,000.

Get the story of Tarzana straight from the “horses mouth”… Burroughs himself. notes that Burroughs dubbed his land “Tarzana Ranch,” after the sleepy little community in which it was situated, and his creation of a character named “Tarzan” two years later can hardly be considered a coincidence.


Because Tarzana did not become an “official” community with its own post office until 1930 the legend has arisen that the town was named after Burroughs’ ape man, but actually the reverse is true.

Had Burroughs lived a few miles to the west, in the Topanga Canyon, we would undoubtedly know his immortal creation as “Topang, the ape man” instead. So how about that?

Senior golfers, toss in your golf clubs, as I counted four quality courses in Tarzana including a US Open and a Masters Course.

You will not run out of things to do in and around Tarzana  It is one exciting place for visitors to spend some quality time. So set your GPS for Tarzana and enjoy the experience. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Find Pleasanton Quite Pleasing

Pleasanton Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. Senior travelers will find Pleasanton located about 25 miles east of Oakland, and 6 miles west of Livermore. The population runs just over 70,000.

The city is a major suburb identified by the U.S. Census as one of the wealthiest middle-sized cities in the nation and was included on Money Magazine’s list of the ’50 Best Cities to Live 2014’ and on 24/7 Wall Street’s list of ‘America’s 50 Best Cities to Live’.


Pleasanton ranked #31 on Money’s annual list of the Best Places to Live, and #9 on the publication’s list of the Top Earning Towns in the nation. The rankings were determined on the basis of variables such as crime, education, employment growth, recreation, infrastructure, environment and housing affordability. The city just seems to have it all.

Seniors Find Scenic Vistas

Pleasanton kinda sits out there by itself just off of I-680 and straight north of San Jose. Pleasanton’s highly educated population and workforce reflect a community that values education and actively supports a preeminent school system which ranks among the Top 10 in California.


More than 1,200 acres of surrounding parks, open space and hiking trails offer spectacular scenic vistas and abundant recreational opportunities. Downtown Pleasanton is a charming historic destination with more than 165 specialty stores and dining establishments.

The “official city guide” can fill you in on what you can experience in Pleasanton including nightlife, restaurants, shopping and things to do. Over 200 dining establishments in town are sure to satisfy demanding palates from cafes, dessert shops and pizza, to fine dining.


Concerts, Festivals and Classy Wineries Draw Seniors

Pleasanton is enlivened by events like a free summer concert series, festivals and parades along Main Street, a weekly year-round farmers market, the attractive Callippe golf course, and an intimate performing and visual arts center. Senior visitors enjoy the Museum on Main and the local Farmer’s Market. Senior oenophiles (that’s wine lovers) will discover some classy wineries where you can do some sampling of fine California wines.


Pleasanton was founded by John W. Kottinger, an Alameda County justice of the peace, and named after his friend, Union army cavalry Major General Alfred Pleasonton. Somebody got the idea that it needed to drop that “o” and changed the name to the present spelling.

This senior would be sure to search out the John W. Kollinger Adobe Barn that is on the National Register of Historic Places. It looks pretty neat. Set your GPS for Pleasanton when you are in the Bay Area and plan to spend some quality time enjoying the many amenities the city has to offer. -jeb


Seniors Discover Historic Merced

headerMerced, the county seat of Merced County in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California, has a population of around 82,000. Merced’s population has grown faster than the state average since 1980. Senior travelers will find Merced approximately 110 miles southeast of San Francisco and 310 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Located in the Central Valley, Merced is an agricultural town and its attractions reflect this – even the local zoo is called “Applegate.”


The economy has traditionally relied upon agribusiness and upon the presence of Castle Air Force Base. Over the past twenty years, more diversified industry has entered the area, including printing, fiberglass boat building, warehousing and distribution, and packaging industries.

Seniors Visit California’s Rural Heartland

Quite unlike LA, San Francisco, San Diego and beaches for which California is known, Merced is representative of the rural heartland and Gold Rush remnants reflecting the state’s heritage. Known as the “Gateway to Yosemite”, Merced is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and several beaches to the west.


Primarily an agricultural region, the addition of canals and irrigation changed the crops produced in Merced County. The County has long been one of the top agricultural producers in the country with a wide variety of crops grown, as well as dairy production.

Loaded with attractions, senior visitors enjoy the Merced County Courthouse that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  I would also visit the Merced National Wildlife Refuge that encompasses 10,262 acres of wetlands, native grasslands, vernal pools, and riparian areas in California.

Senior Hikers Take Note…

Senior outdoor enthusiasts, there is white water rafting on the Merced River and several hiking trails that lead up to Yosemite National Park. The Ten Lakes Trail is well marked and picturesque, with rocks to climb and several lakes for swimming.vfiles15841

Consider taking Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows along the famous John Muir Trail. This high-altitude climb offers hikers a weekend getaway that leaves flat landers breathless and displays some of the eastern Sierra’s most pristine beauty.

Hop aboard a Phantom 2 Quadcopter for a visit to Small Town USA. Events are taking place all year long, so senior visitors won’t wait long to be part of one. Fishing and water sports enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there are major lakes close at hand, including house boating hot spots like Lake New Melones and Lake McClure.

You will discover Merced to be a unique city, filled with warm, friendly people that will instantly make one feel welcome and right at home. -jeb


Seniors Settle Into Belmont


A while back I wrote a blog on Belmont, Massachusetts, sent a copy to the mayor of the city as I usually do, and inadvertently sent the same on to the mayor of Belmont, California.  He was very nice and sent a note back complimenting me on our blog. He stated that he would be very pleased if we would consider writing an article on his town as folks there are very proud of what they have to offer as well. So here it is, senior friends, Belmont, California.


I discovered that Belmont is a rather affluent city in San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay Area.  With a population of around 26,000, Belmont is known for its wooded hills, scenic views of the San Francisco Bay and wide stretches of open space.

This quiet residential community is in the midst of the culturally and technologically rich Bay Area, with a good number of parks: Twin Pines Park, Waterdog Lake Open Space, Semeria Park and Davey Glen Park.

Seniors Find Smoking Ordinance

waterdog lake

I would guess that the Mayor has something to do with the fact that Belmont attracted national attention for a smoking ordinance passed in January 2009. It  bans smoking in all businesses and multi-story apartments and condominiums; the ordinance has been described as one of the strictest in the nation. How about that?

There is a lot of history in Belmont and this link has interesting “Then & Now Photos” that highlight the Historical Hot-Spots in town.  I discovered that the famous “Waterdog Lake” is located in the foothills and highlands of Belmont.


The town’s name is most likely derived from the Italian “bel monte,” meaning “beautiful mountain.” It was allegedly named such because of its “symmetrically rounded eminence” nearby. Others think it’s from French (“bel mont”). You choose.

Seniors Enjoy Historic Mansion

These seniors would enjoy visiting Ralston Hall, a historic landmark built by Bank of California founder, William Chapman Ralston. It is located on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University and was built in the 1860′s around a villa formerly owned by Count Cipriani, an Italian aristocrat.


The restored mansion features a hall of mirrors, a grand staircase, crystal chandeliers, a ballroom and an impressive collection of 19th Century antiques. After that visit, I would want her to accompany me over to the the Belmont Historical Society Museum at the Twin Pines Art Center.

Senior readers can enjoy the local Chamber of Commerce site and their video on Belmont. The Dining Guide link is neat as you can flip through pages to search out your palate’s delight. The new Belmont Map and Community Services highlights the amenities that Belmont has to offer senior visitors.  So set your GPS for Belmont and greet the Mayor for me. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Enjoy Victorville

800px-Old_Town_Victorville-Veteran's_Memorial-Seventh_St-Forrest_AveSenior travelers will find Victorville in the Victor Valley of southwestern San Bernardino County, California. Its estimated population as of July 1, 2013 was 121,096.

The community of Victorville was incorporated on September 21, 1962, and prior to incorporation the community had a history which goes back over 100 years, when the first settlers of European descent arrived.

In about 1885, the community was known as Victor. It was named after Jacob Nash Victor, a construction superintendent for the California Southern Railroad (Santa Fe Railroad). In 1901, the community’s name was changed by the United States Post Office from “Victor” to “Victorville” due to the confusion associated with the community of Victor, Colorado.


I always like those cities that end in “ville” that are everywhere in the US. So where in the world in Victorville? The city is situated approximately 97 miles northeast of Los Angeles and 35 miles northeast of San Bernardino on I-15.

Seniors Enjoy A Route 66 City

TripAdvisor has been to Victorville and has 16 things all lined up for senior visitors to consider. The California Route 66 Museum is a major draw along with the Scandia Family Fun Center for your grandkids.


Bring your clubs along and play a round or two at the Green Tree Golf Course. Senior women,  the Mall of Victor Valley will provide a round of great shopping.

Over the years The High Desert Center for the Arts (HDCAF) has been the setting for flower shows, quincineras, exercise classes, dance lessons, basketball, Meals on Wheels, musical events and a multitude of other community uses.

Seniors Find A Fast Growing California City

The local Chamber of Commerce wants senior travelers to plant your feet in Victorville.  Make the town a spot for checking out the surrounding communities and the multitude of activities in the area.


As one of the fastest growing cities in California, Victorville offers a high quality of life with views of snow-capped mountains, quality retail market, job growth, and expanding business sectors.

Located in the High Desert, Victorville is strategically placed for residents, businesses and travelers.

Enjoy your visit. -jeb


‘The Village By The Sea’ Attracts Senior Travelers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been to another Carlsbad in New Mexico where my wife and I descended into a world famous cavern. Iit was an overwhelming experience.  You walk down and down and fortunately, get to take an elevator back to ground level. Today however, senior travelers explore  Carlsbad, California with an estimated 2014 population of 112,299.

This Carlsbad is an affluent seaside resort city occupying a 7-mile stretch of Pacific coastline in northern San Diego County, California on Interstate Rte. 5. Referred to as “The Village by the Sea” by locals, the city is a popular tourist destination.

A fresh-water well was dug in the late 19th century and it was discovered that the water was chemically similar to that found in some of the most renowned spas in the world. So the town was named Carlsbad after a well known Spa in the Bohemian town of Karlsbad in the Czech Republic.


Seniors ‘Take The Waters’

Bad in the German language means a bath, spa or a pool, thus, Carl’s Spa. A sister city in the Czech Republic is Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad.

TripAdvisor notes that Spa-goers have flocked to Carlsbad since its mineral spring was discovered. Today, seniors can visit the site of the original well and do much more than just “take the waters.” Carlsbad’s spas offer world-class services.

The #1 attraction remains Carlsbad State Beach where many learn to do paddle boarding. The beautiful Museum for Making Music is another major drawing card. Bring the grandkids and spend some quality time with them at Legoland California.


Senior travelers will find Carlsbad 87 miles (140 km) south of Los Angeles and 35 miles (56 km) north of San Diego. Carlsbad is home to one of the largest one-day festivals in the nation, Carlsbad Village Street Faire.

Seniors Enjoy Strolling the Streets

Don’t mistake Carlsbad for a sleepy surfer village. A wide variety of arts and culture offer a constant influx of creativity and inspiration.


This is a city made for strollers. Senior visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk on tree-lined streets where one can find a wide variety of stores and a Farmer’s Market on State Street. Not far away is the Carlsbad Premium Outlets and The Forum, both shopping meccas.

Summer in Carlsbad means TGIF Concerts in the Parks, a tradition that has become an integral part of the community’s life. Seniors will not be wanting for things to see and do and the fun goes on all year long.

So set your GPS for the local visitor center for starters and set up a fun itinerary for a few days in Carlsbad. You will pack in a host of pleasant memories. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy the Easy Pace in Forestville

600x375xforestville-photo-stage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.oV0vYdxYswForestville is a census-designated place in Sonoma County, California. Then this senior’s wife, my editor,  went to Google and learned that a Census-Designated Place is a term assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau to communities that resemble cities or towns but lack incorporation or any sort of municipal government.

Settled by European Americans during the late 1860s, Forestville was named after one of its founders. Its population runs right at 3,300. The unofficial motto, “Forestville, The Good Life,”  appears on license plate holders sold at the local hardware store.


The major road through town is Front Street for the length of the town, a distance of about three blocks, between Covey Road and Mirabel Road.

Senior visitors will find Forestville surrounded by green hillsides, vineyards and forestlands to the Russian RiverForestville maintains its rural character and scenic beauty.

 Seniors Find Rest And Relaxation In Forestville

It is quite isolated so rest comes easily in Forestville. Forestville is home to several art galleries, wineries, Farm Trails member sites and great restaurants. There is a park for the kids and shopping, dining and coffee shops for the adults. And seniors will find several spas in the region.


In 1834 Captain Juan Bautista Rogers Cooper bought a land grant from his brother-in-law, General Vallejo. Forestville has since remained a quaint California town with scenic valleys, vineyards, businesses, wineries, farming, and recreation.

Small as it be, there is a very active Chamber of Commerce that invites folks of all ages to find out  how easy it is to enjoy rural life in California. Forestville retains a low-key family-oriented atmosphere.

Forestville Makes The List of Best Places

TripAdvisor suggests the Quicksilver Mine Co. art gallery. The Hartford Family Winery is close by, and they claim to have “a pinot noir for everybody.”  Russian River Vineyards and Thackrey & Co. Wine Makers are just a short stretch down the road. The Kozlowski Farms produce berry jams and vinegars, wine jellies and fruit butters made sans sucre.


San Jose Mercury news notes that “visitors will find plenty to see and do. Visiting the tiny berg of Forestville in the Russian River area provides a quick escape — it’s only a few hours’ drive from the Bay Area — and also just enough delights to make it an easy slowdown”.

Forestville has been named on a list of “Best Places to Live.” The New York Times noted that this town in western Sonoma County, Calif., has been a summer destination for San Franciscans since Victorian times…”

Seniors, bring your demanding palates to Corks or Mosaic, two fine places to enjoy a great lunch or dinner. The Case Ranch Inn offers rooms in an 1894 Victorian farmhouse with a wraparound sitting porch. Organic breakfast is included. My wife and I would search out that Inn.

Enjoy your stay in Forestville. -jeb

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