Seven Natural Wonders of the World

Aurora Borealis

There has been a lot of conjecture among those “in the know” as to what those Seven Wonders really are. There are so many impressive sites that are culturally or historically significant all over the world that choosing only seven is not only very difficult but today most senior citizens agree that there be be no consensus.  Nevertheless there are sites that say “This Is It” and that “These Seven belong on that Master List.”

If you are a senior world traveler and have seen some of the Wonders, what would your own list look like? I once had a friend who traveled around the world.  When I asked him what were the most memorable spots he had ever visited, Andy replied “I loved Jordan” but “Hawaii is Paradise.”

harbor at Rio

 Have you been to both?  What site in the world do you love the most?  And where would you call paradise?  Here is a list compiled by CNN but how can anyone shrink any list of great sites down to just 7?

  • Grand Canyon

  • Great Barrier Reef

  • Harbor of Rio de Janeiro

  • Mount Everest

  • Aurora

  • Parícutin volcano

  • Victoria Falls

    Mount Everest

Those are pretty impressive.  So what’s Aurora anyhow?  How did that get on the list and what… a volcano too? Okay, here’s what they are referring to with Aurora.  It’s awesome and probably should rank in there somewhere, don’t you think…but a volcano?

To Each Senior, His own…

For many years folks have conjured up lists such as Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind, and Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages. I have to admit that each is very impressive.

Then there is the New7Wonders Foundation that has their preferences. USA Today made up their listing that included the Polar Ice Caps, the Internet and the Great Migration on the Serengeti Plains.

Then we have the Seven Wonders of the Underwater World drawn up by CEDAM International (an American-based non-profit group for divers) which includes the Great Barrier Reef, Lake Baikal (Yes, it should be on this list), the Galapagos and the Deep Sea Vents.

Victoria Falls

So If You Are Sufficiently Confused, We Shall Proceed…

That’s what my psych prof used to say daily to our class. To conclude I include the master listing of many Wonders for seniors to wonder about even more.  Me, I’m into World Heritage Sites. They always top my list. So enjoy your coffee, enjoy your surfing and have a great day. jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Spring Loose for Springfield

While Chicago gets the praise as the most action in the state of Illinois, Springfield can hold its own. It ranks only sixth in size (116,000) but offers much to senior visitors. Springfield became the third and current capital of Illinois in 1839.

A major site not to be missed is the new Lincoln Library. Springfield is dotted with sites associated with Abraham Lincoln, who started his political career there. Lincoln arrived in the Springfield area when he was a young man in 1831, though he would not actually live in the city until 1837.

Springfield is known for the popular food item, the Corn Dog. Although there is some debate as to the origin of the snack, it is claimed to have originated in Springfield under the name, “Cozy Dog”.

The Springfield Park District operates more than 30 parks throughout the city. TripAdvisor invites senior travelers to get out your compass and check out some of these 37 sites all worth a visit.

History and Architecture Interests Seniors

My wife and I along with my sister in law visited the Lincoln Presidental Museum and the Dana-Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright. It, too, is a “must see” for folks interested in architecture. The home, the 72nd building designed by Wright, contains the largest collection of site-specific, original Wright art glass and furniture.

The current Illinois State Capitol  building was completed in 1889 and has an architectural style based in the French Renaissance. It is shaped like a Latin cross aligned to the major points of the compass. Then there is the Shea Gas Station. A wonderful private museum, owned by the Shea family, is loaded with gas station and oil company collectibles.

Located in central Illinois on Interstate 55, Springfield features several historical attractions. The Old State Capitol Plaza allows senior visitors to tour a reconstructed version of a statehouse that served as the state’s political center from 1839 to 1876.

Lincoln worked in the building while serving in the state House of Representatives. Guided tours are available. You might want to visit Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The tomb holds Lincoln, his wife and three of their four sons. The site stands 117 feet tall and consists of rooms decorated in bronze-trimmed marble.

No place else on earth will seniors find more authentic Lincoln history in one place. And, it doesn’t end there – from incredible museums to Route 66 nostalgia – you’ll find something for everyone. Tours abound along with classy shopping, great entertainment, art galleries, outdoor fun and plenty of year-long events. Enjoy them all.  jeb




Bologna Draws Seniors

Bologna is the largest city in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populated city in Italy and the heart of a metropolitan area of about one million happy Italians. Bologna is an important cultural and artistic center, attractive to senior citizens.

Bologna’s homogenous mixture of monuments and architectural examples (medieval towers, antique buildings, churches, the layout of its historical center) as well as works of art, are the result of a first class architectural and artistic history. Bologna, one of the most important cities in Italy, is an important transportation crossroad for the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical, electronic and nutritional industries have their headquarters.

Famed for the oldest university in the Western world, Bologna has a lively student population, exquisite food, typical brick terracotta-roofed architecture and porticos, theater and nightlife, so you senior noctumbules (that’s a “night owl”) will enjoy your late evenings in Bologna.

So Much For Seniors To See and Do

Lonely Planet invites senior travelers to check out their list of things to see and do: from famed pizzerias to basilicas, wine bars and theaters, you’ll discover these and more in town. Bologna is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country: in 2011 it ranked 1st out of 107 Italian cities.

Historically, Bologna has been inhabited since the 9th century BC, as evidenced by the archeological digs in the 19th century in nearby Villanova. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and has one of the largest and best preserved historic centers. Boasting one of the country’s great medieval cityscapes – an eye-catching ensemble of red-brick palazzi, Renaissance towers and 40km of arcaded porticoes.

The center of Bologna is startlingly medieval in plan, a jumble of red brick, tiled roofs and balconies radiating out from the great central square of Piazza Maggiore. There are enough monuments and curiosities for several days’ leisured exploration, including plenty of small, quirky museums, some tremendously grand Gothic and Renaissance architecture and, most conspicuously, the Due Torri, the city’s own “leaning towers”.

And for you gourmets and gourmands, Bologna is self-described as ‘la dotta, la grassa e la rossa’ (the learned, the fat and the red). It’s called “The foodie capital of Italy.” The city claims to have laid the intellectual foundations of Italy (it founded Europe’s first university. Bologna is famous for its cuisine (la cucina Bolognese).

While crowds of tourists fill Venice, Florence and Rome, Bologna remains relatively quiet in comparison. This medieval university town is charming, historic and fun for senior visitors to explore… and you’ll find Bologna’s local cuisine is light-years away from the American deli meat bearing the city’s name.

 A fine City Guide will fill you in on all the see, shop and eat possibilities of the city. The photos are captivating and the commentary interesting.

I think that you’ll love your visit to  Bologna.  jeb




Seniors Enjoy a Dutch Touch in Pella

If senior travelers have driven through Iowa on Interstate 80 you have probably noticed such places as the Amana Colonies and the Danish communities of Elkhorn and Kimballton. Pella is a Dutch oriented community. I have Dutch friend who loved to say “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”

There are interesting things to see and do in the town of 10,350+,  including Central College where yours truly earned his MA degree at the Sorbonne in Paris. Central College was founded by the Baptists in 1853, when a fellow called Scholte gave them 160 acres of land. The name “Pella” is a reference to Pella in Jordan where the Christians of Jerusalem found refuge during the Roman-Jewish war of 70.

Pella was founded in 1847 by 800 Dutch immigrants led by Henry Peter Scholte. Scholte and the other immigrants were fleeing famine and religious persecution at the hands of the state church of the Netherlands. Pella is the childhood home of Wyatt Earp. Today Pella is famous for Tulip Time, the annual spring tulip festival.

Senior visitors can’t miss the dutch windmill called the Vermeer Mill which was imported from Holland and is 100% wind driven. The mill is an eye catcher in the historic village and visitors will not find a larger working windmill in the entire US. It was constructed in parts in the Netherlands and then assembled by two dutch craftsmen on location in Pella. You can tour the mill.

Tulip Time Festival in Pella Attracts Seniors

Tulip Time is one event that seniors will not want to miss.  Thousands and thousands of colorful tulips of every nature and color all over town. Tulip Festival is filled with parades, costumes, flowers, street scrubbing, Dutch dancing, crafts, food, music and good Dutch food. Yes they actually scrub down the streets wearing, what else, wooden shoes. Watch skilled crafters at work quilting, spinning, weaving, knitting, tatting, crocheting, woodworking and making pottery.  Stop and watch the blacksmith doing his craft and the steam engine with the whistle blowing occasionally, as well as a Quilt Show.

In Pella you’ll find many family names here that end with Van something like Van Gorp, Van Hauen, Van Woerkom, Van Wyk and Van Maanen and names like Dykstra, Kuiper and Zylstra and Bokhoven. If you have heard of Pella Windows, this town is home base for this company that is world renown for quality products. The Vermeer Corporation, headquarted in Pella, is a family-owned company that manufactures agricultural, environmental and construction equipment.

One special treat that senior visitors must try is Dutch Letters at Jaarsma Bakery. The family owned-and-operated bakery, located in historic Pella has been baking delicious “Dutch Treats” for over a century. Pella is unique. I think that you will enjoy just walking around the town and enjoying the ambiance and friendly folks who call Pella home.  jeb




Seniors Find Great Life in Caribou

Caribou, Maine is not large (8,000+) but it has lots to offer senior visitors who love the outdoors and scenic beauty. Caribou’s nickname is “The Most Northeastern City in the US.”  Caribou and Aroostook County‘s two major agricultural crops are the potato and broccoli. Area farmers annually plant approximately 60,000 acres of potatoes and that’s a whole lot of spuds.

Wikipedia has information on Caribou and highlights the many cross-country ski-trails with varied scenery and terrain within a one hour drive of the city. Caribou has two municipal cross-country ski venues; one within the urban limits which has lights for night skiing as well as a visitors center, and a lengthier venue two miles outside the urban limits.

With over 115 inches of snowfall annually, both are consistently well-groomed for skate and classical skiing. Get this, over 2,300 miles of nordic trails for snowmobilers and skiers. The Maine Winter Sports Center, headquartered in Caribou, is the premier outdoor sports organization in the state.

Senior travelers will discover a cultural diversity in Caribou. Irish, Scottish and English descendants mixed with an infusion of Swedes. Along with these, the families of the French and Acadian culture have long been one of the glues to the local heritage.

Seniors Drawn to Aroostook County

Senior travelers will find Caribou on this World Atlas site.  Look for it way up north, almost to Canada. The local Chamber of Commerce notes that “The rural American lifestyle is alive and well in northern Maine.

Senior citizens in Caribou will find themselves among people who take pride in what they do. A major “must see” in Caribou is the Nylander Museum of Natural History which was dedicated in 1939 by Maine Governor Lewis Barrows. The museum was built as a WPA project.

Aroostook County has over 7000 miles of rivers and streams. Senior fishermen will find many Brook Trout waters. Arguably the most beautiful freshwater fish, Brook trout  are the only trout native to much of the eastern United States.

This colorful and inviting county is a top birding destination in North America where the lakes, rivers and streams provide prime bird habitat. Pristine habitat also remains undisturbed for an abundance of wildlife. Senior visitors are likely to see more moose than fishermen.

I’ll depart today with a plug for the state of Maine and an invitation for you to visit their official tourism site that you can find on Google. There’s a wide variety of activities to keep you busy during your Maine vacation. I think you’ll enjoy everything about Caribou and Aroostook County. jeb




Seniors Seek Stress-Free Travel Destinations

Seniors travelers often search for vacation sites that will be stress-free and those that are aimed at senior interests. Well, I found good information that seems to fit into that category, so read on.

Today, seniors and baby boomers are more health conscious and active than ever before. As result, traveling is often a goal for many 55+ year olds who have the time and the financial resources at their disposal. However, as people get older, the risks involved in traveling increase. The most prominent is health as well as coping with stressful situations and the hassle that is sometimes involved with traveling. Happy Health offers some stress-free destination ideas for senior travelers.

Travel Guidelines Focus on Senior Travelers

Travel Guideline has chosen their  Top Five destinations for senior travelers. Senior citizens are not interested in being confined to their homes and they will be the first to tell the world that traveling also belongs to the young at heart. In fact, when it comes to leisure traveling, seniors have a certain edge over the relatively younger ones in the sense that they can have a more enriching experience because the stress and concerns of a career are behind them. has a super listing of senior travel with articles and web links galore. is another site with link suggestions for seniors seeking that stress-free vacation. Again and again for folks over 50, up comes Branson, our National Parks, the Jersey Shore, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Portland, Oregon and if you have not yet taken a railroad trip, the Rocky Mountaineer. They are all super destinations, especially for those of you who have not visited any of these places.

AARP lists ten foods to avoid prior to traveling that includes one of my favorite foods – beans. Also included is garlic, alcohol, french fries, soda, cheeseburgers, hot peppers, apples, chewing gum (I’m out on that one) and my beloved coffee. You’ll have to decide if you will forego any of these foods if you want to reduce the risk of stomach discomfort.

You may wish to check out some travel publications at Amazon by entering: best travel destinations. Google is always a major resource for searching out most anything having to do with senior travel.  Simply input ‘best senior travel destinations’ and watch what happens.  You can do your own searching online with great results.

Lastly I’ll depart today with that is another major URL that can help seniors searching for Top Destinations, especially in the good old continental USA.

Enjoy your surfing and planning for a super vacation that focuses on senior needs and interests. jeb


Seniors Prep For Sochi and Olympics

Seniors, if you have not yet heard the name Sochi, you will soon. It’s where the next Winter Olympics will be held, in Russia, in 2014.  That’s really not that far off folks, so let’s see what we can learn about Sochi prior to the Olympics. Sochi  is a city situated on the Black Sea coast between Georgia and Russia. Greater Sochi sprawls for 90 miles along the shores near the Caucasus Mountains with a permanent population of just over 340,000 and covers a total area of 1,352 square miles.

The Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 will also take place in Sochi. Greater Sochi claims to be the longest city in Europe running just over 90 miles long.  That a long long city folks. It looks quite modern to me. So what else might draw seniors to Sochi? The attractions in Sochi start with the Dendrary Botanical Garden, the Augura Waterfalls, the Dolpharium and a way cool Sochi Discovery World Aquarium.

Unofficial “Summer Capital” of Russia Attractive to Seniors

Sochi is called the “Black Pearl” and is the country’s biggest and busiest summer sea resort, attracting more than 4 million visitors annually with its amazing mountainous coastline, endless shingle beaches, warm sunny days, and bustling nightlife. From May to September Sochi’s population at least doubles with tourists, including celebrities and political elite of the country. Strangely, only 3 percent of this visitors’ crowd are international travelers but Bono made it there… it must have had something going for Bono to check it out.

Sochi brings them in and attracts senior vacation-goers with its subtropical vegetation, numerous parks, monuments, and extravagant Stalinist architecture. About two million people visit Greater Sochi each summer, when the city is home to the annual film festival “Kinotavr” and a getaway for Russia’s elite.

Attractive Coastline Attracts Senior World Travelers

Wikipedia can fill in lots of gaps on the city. I wonder if Bono knew that the territory of today’s Sochi was inhabited for thousands of years by Caucasian mountainous tribes and was under the influence and dominion of ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Abkhazian and Ottoman civilizations. A few landmarks of antecedent civilizations remain, including the bronze age table-stones and medieval Byzantine temples.

The backdrop of Sochi features the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, where Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, stands 18,500 feet high. France’s Mont Blanc is a mere 15,700 feet. Sochi has miles and miles of prime Black Sea coastline to work with. The sea is warm and reportedly clean. That rocky shoreline? Nothing a little imported sand can’t cure.

Spas, beaches and mountain scenery, the presence of mineral springs, attractive coastal and mountain scenery, long beaches, and the warm climate have made Sochi a large and popular holiday and health resort.  Sochi Information is a very helpful guide for first timers to the area.

We’ll be hearing lots more about Sochi in the months ahead.  jeb



Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Vote For Favorite 8th Wonder

I just came across this site sponsored by Virtual Tourist and wanted to pass it on to you senior world travelers.  This makes for a fun and interesting Sunday morning read, in my opinion. I voted (the first time) for the Badlands.  You can vote ONCE PER DAY.  It’s open from June 3 through September 30.  So have fun just looking at all the possibilities. And maybe cast a vote or two.

Among the many great sites that I would consider are: The Alhambra and the Alcazar in Spain, which my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing a few years ago. Banff National Park, the Bay of Fundy and the Cahokia Mounds, none of which I’ve visited.  The Biltmore Estate, Bisbee Arizona, Buenos Aires City all of which I’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed. Cathedral Rock in Sedona is stunning.

Copper Canyon, Arches National Park are on our list for this summer.  Fallingwater is on my bucket list.  Fountains of Bellagio were  entertaining. Galapagos Islands is another bucket list item for my wife.  Gardens of the Gods, Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone National Park are  Colorado destinations that we’ve experienced. The Giant Sequoia Trees are an awesome site. Glacier National Park was a camping destination for my family when our kids were young and the memories are golden.

Truck Stop World Wonder?

The Iowa I-80 Truck Stop is just plain interesting and a ‘must’ stop for these seniors as we travel back to our home state. My wife gets her DQ fix here.  Lake Tahoe, London, The Matterhorn, Mount Rushmore (awesome site), Niagara Falls (breath-taking), Old Quebec (on our to-visit list), Old Town Dubrovnik,  Plymouth Rock (yes, we’ve been there), Redwood National Park, Santorini, Sonoma County, Stonehenge (interesting mystery), Sunset Strip, The Blue Lagoon, The Everglades, The Vieux Carré in New Orleans, Monticello, Tulum and Uluru. I just about ran out of breath doing this part folks.

Well, that does it. Senior travelers can access them all with the Virtual Tourist link above.  How many of these sites have you personally seen on your travels?  I have seen a few and each one of them rates #1 with me. Wouldn’t it just be something if we seniors could view all of them up close ourselves?  Some of Virtual Tourist’s choices did not resonate well with me.  I will not tell you which ones. You do the same and see if maybe, just maybe  you come up with the same idea.

Anyway, most all are magnificent and worthy of the 8th Wonder selection. Enjoy your coffee and have fun investigating this list of great sites.  jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Travel From Moscow Over to Pullman

I just received a travel guide that combined these two cities in Washington State and Idaho. Senior travelers will find it interesting to visit two cities in two states that have much in common.

Way back in 1889 the State of Idaho named  Moscow as the home of the state’s land grant institution, the Univ. of Idaho.  Just across the border going west, Pullman was named in 1890 the land grant institution of Washington State University.  So you see already that they have something in common. Today these two universities provide senior visitors in both cities access to “big city” cultural and recreational events.  

 Nestled in the rolling wheat fields of southeastern Washington, Pullman has much to offer visitors, students and those seeking a lifestyle that combines a beautiful country setting with the benefits of a major university.

Pullman’s 27,030 residents boast of its abundance of outdoor recreation, theatre and arts, low crime rates and excellent educational system. Moscow’s 24,000 folks enjoy not only the University, but several points of interest that includes the Historic Downtown, Farmer’s Market, Appaloosa Horse Museum and McConnell Mansion. Senior gardeners like me will enjoy the University Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at the U of I. I happen to be a Master Gardener (Iowa State Univ. Certificate) and enjoy all types of gardens.


Seniors Enjoy the Palouse Scenic Byway

Here’s a drive that senior travelers will find memorable through hundreds of miles of undulating hills. That route is loaded with “buttes” and it’s just one colorful butte after another as you roll along. The best known are called Kamiak and Steptoe Butte and each has a state park that surrounds those attractive mounds. Both Buttes have recreational areas offering hiking, picnicking and scenic views.

The Palouse is a geographical area that occupies most of the south eastern corner of Washington state. It is characterized by rolling sculpted sand dune shaped hills of fertile soil called “loess”, which just happen to be perfect for growing wheat. The name Palouse comes from the Palus Indians that historically lived in the area.

It just seems like more and more whenever I write a travel blog about most any state and any specific area in a state there are wineries. The Spirits of Palouse is no different. It’s a huge area of that encompasses both states. And bring your bike along and enjoy the Latah Trail that runs between Moscow and Troy.  It’s an old rail bed that runs for eleven miles, is fully paved and 10 feet wide.

 With big city amenities and small town friendliness and charm it is no wonder senior visitors enjoy both Moscow and Pullman.

Oh yes, Moscow got its name from a postmaster back in the late 1800s… it reminded him of his hometown out in Moscow, PA (not Russia). Pullman, they think, was named after George Pullman of the famed sleeping railroad cars.

Enjoy both cities. jeb


Seniors Awed by the Arizona Biltmore

The Arizona Biltmore Hotel is world famous. While Frank Lloyd Wright was NOT the principal architect, it is said that his “DNA is all over the building”. The 200 foot long lobby, with its guilded ceiling is said to be second only to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. This senior has learned a lot about Frank Lloyd Wright through my work as a guide at Taliesin West,  which was FLW’s home base and school of architecture in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1932 till his death in 1959.

FLW had built four homes in California in the LA area using a concrete textile interlocking block and the McArthur brothers would be using 250,000 of this style block (my wife says it looks like a magnificant prison).  While Wright was on site as a consultant only four months, it is evident that his skills were crucial to its design.

Biltmore’s Story Intrigues Senior Visitors

Albert Chase McArthur, the Biltmore’s chief architect was one of FLW’s former students. Along came the great depression and McArthur and his two brothers, who were financing the construction, lost the hotel. Wm Wrigley Jr. purchased the hotel and went on to build the Wrigley Mansion on a nearby hill for $1.2M… right in the heart of the depression.

The Mansion now operates as a private club with meeting facilities. Great place for lunch or dinner, but take valet parking at the top or seniors will be climbing over a hundred steps to get to the restaurant. The tour of the Mansion with it 24 rooms, 12 bathrooms, and over 16,000 square feet is most interesting. In 1989 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Biltmore Hotel has 438 rooms on 39 acres. Every president has stayed there since it’s construction and today it rates very high with all senior visitors. During its construction it was 8 miles outside of Phoenix. It is said that White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, was written on the site.

The Biltmore seems to have it “all together” including a championship golf course, a 22,000+ square foot spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants, and a variety of amenities that await senior visitors. Experience the unrivaled grace of this timeless treasure. Wikipedia enlightens every aspect of the Biltmore. Everywhere you look there is beauty…a fountain here, ivy covered cottage there, palm trees, relaxing spa and pools, and exciting bars and restaurants offering delicious food and beverages.

This area has become nationally and internationally renowned for its real estate. As you drive in you will see some fabulous homes on both sides of the access. Reproductions of the geometric ‘sprite’ statues, originally designed by sculptor Alfonfo Ionelli for Wright’s 1915 Midway Gardens project in Chicago, are placed around the property. Also, the original hotel solarium of 1929 was converted to a restaurant in 1973 and since the mid-1990s has been named ‘Wright’s’.

The Biltmore should be on your “bucket list” if you visit the Valley and plan on dinner at “Wrights.” jeb



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