Seniors Seek Out Islamorada

Islamorada, a “Village of Islands” is an incorporated village in the Florida Keys. Senior fishermen know it as the sportsfishing capital of the world. Islamorada is situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park in one direction and North America’s only coral barrier reef and the deep blue waters of the Florida Straits in the other.

Comprised of six islands, the name Islamorada is translated from Spanish as “purple isles. This might be the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish in the morning, and then venture into the backcountry in pursuit of bonefish, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water.

The Village of Islamorada has just over 6,000 inhabitants. Perhaps you may know the name Ted Williams of baseball’s Hall of Fame status.  He spent over 45 years in Islamorada as the island’s most famous resident.

The Chamber hosts the rumor that Islamorada hosts a largest fishing fleet per square mile than anywhere else in the world. That makes for a lot of boats folks. This near perfect senior vacation destination offers something to do in, under, above or near the water 24 hours a day.

You’ll find things to see and do in town that includes feeding wild tarpon by hand. Anne’s beach is a must stop while visiting the Keys. It’s quiet and you can find small coves to nestle in for even more privacy. Four state parks dot these chain of islands and at Long Key State Park are  lush, tropical nature trails for some unique Florida senior hiking.

Head over to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, where you can view an old quarry dug by Henry Flagler’s railroad workers, or try a side trip to Indian Key Botanical State Park to learn about the state’s island history dating back to the early 1800′s.

Seniors Enjoy Fresh Seafood

Fresh seafood is the hallmark of the Islamorada dining scene. Seniors enjoy a tropical-themed bar to soak in the full Florida Keys experience with a frozen umbrella drink. For a dose of culture, take in fine art and music while strolling through the Morada Way Art and Cultural District. For a dose of history take in the History of Diving Museum and the Theater of the Sea.

Attention Senior Snorkelers

Snorkeling is a lot safer than scuba diving, especially for us older folks. While Islamorada fishing is a top tourist attraction, this tropical marine paradise is also making its name as one of the hottest spots for Florida snorkeling as well.

It’s one thing to see tropical marine life in an aquarium, but nothing compares to diving into the water yourself to swim with them. Swimmers  will relish in the variety of shallow coral reefs, mini walls, and shipwrecks hidden just beneath the surface.

Enjoy the water, the beaches and especially the famed glorious sunsets. jeb




Seniors Check Out Tour Operators

Actually it’s been done for you already by TourMatters. Senior travelers are not always sure how to choose their next tour.  As TourMatters says, “They’re your guide to the world.  We’re your guide to them.”

For your information, Globus was selected the top tour company by TourMatters. I won’t give you the entire list as you can read for yourself on this site above, but just in case you did not open that link, Abercrombie & Kent came in second followed by Viking River Cruises and Uniworld. TourMatters offers a variety of Tour Styles, breaking them  down into Accommodations, Traveler Ages, Group Type, Activity and Class, and they get very specific.

So What’s a Tour Operator? They note that the term is used loosely in the industry. Here’s what it means to them and their travelers: A tour operator is a company who sells touring itineraries and manages the relationship with the traveler. Many operators design and deliver the itinerary themselves; however use of 3rd parties to accomplish this is very common in the industry.

Seniors Look For Tours

A tour is considered to be a curated itinerary with clearly defined activities or sightseeing. Typically they have the following elements:

  • Movement : Multiple cities and highlights are visited

  • Guided : Use of local guides or tour directors who lead and coordinate the trip

  • Groups :  A number of fellow travelers will participate in the itinerary

TourMatters listing of the various tour operators will let seniors go to each one and explore on your own. Each tour operator is rated according to ranking, reviews, awards, affiliation and Similar Operators.

TourMatters was founded by Jeremy Loeckler who, after having spent eight years working with one of the largest tour operators in the world, has a deep understanding of how the industry works. Most importantly, he’s toured with and interviewed hundreds of senior travelers who have shared their thought process and frustrations in selecting a tour.

I was introduced to this site when I received an e-mail from Jeremy and was asked to include Tourmatters on my Best Travel Websites. He describes my site as “Wow! I just spent a hour browsing your list of travel resources. I’d describe it as epic.” I still have not discovered how or why more folks don’t use it. In my opinion as well, it is an EPIC.

I hope that you find TourMatters as helpful as I did. It is a great service to senior travelers.  jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Head for the Green Cape

Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atantic Ocean, 570 kilometers off the coast of Western Africa. This senior finds it interesting that there are so many people living clear out there in the Atlantic Ocean.Of course I guess one could say the same thing about the Hawaiian Islands.

The country has an estimated population (most of them creole) of about 500,000, with its capital city of Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Nearly 38% of the population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Cape Verdean census.

The uninhabited islands of the Cape Verde archipelago were discovered by Italian and Portuguese navigators way back around 1456. The islands of Cape Verde have a pleasant climate during most of the year with 350 days of sunshine, and some of them offer impressive mountain scenery as well.

The United States and Cape Verde have strong historical roots. As early as the 1740s, U.S. whaling ships began recruiting crews from the islands of Brava and Fogo, and other ships from the American colonies routinely anchored in Cape Verdean ports to trade. Some 4,000 American citizens now reside in the country. Must be something there for senior citizens to check out.

Cape Verde is sometimes referred to as the Undiscovered Islands. Mt. Fogo is Cape Verde’s highest peak (2829m/9382ft), the conical, cinder-clad Mt Fogo, rises dramatically out of the floor of an ancient crater known as Chã das Caldeiras. A scenic, cobbled road, punctuated by hamlets with lava block houses, encircles the island. Seniors, it’s still an active volcano but the last eruption was in 1995.

Seniors, Let’s Head For Mindelo

Set around a moon-shaped port and ringed by barren mountains, Mindelo is Cape Verde’s answer to the Riviera, complete with cobblestone streets, candy-colored colonial buildings and yachts bobbing in a peaceful harbor. Mindelo produces more than its fair share of the islands’ poets, musicians and stylish bars.

The islands are full of contrasts; flat, barren and parched islands like Sal in the east to mountainous, cloud capped islands such as Santo Antao in the west. Black sand beaches, bleached-white beaches, high cliffs, mountainous peaks and desert plains interrupted by volcanic cones.

Seniors, there is plenty to see and do: diving, hill walking, fishing, windsurfing or just relaxing on the beach with a Mai Tai or a Cuba Libre.  Since tourism is a relatively recent arrival, senior visitors can still sample the real culture of the islands from the more European (Sao Vicente) to the more African (Santiago).

Enjoy your every moment on Cape Verde. jeb




Seniors Find Adventure on Bike Tours

There seems to be no lack in the number of adventures for seniors to enjoy on a bicycle. One organization notes that  “Each bend in the road should bring breathtaking vistas and fresh smiles. Our tours are all painstakingly planned, thoughtfully paced, and full of vivid adventure. Eat well, pedal happy, stay curious.” Seniors can enjoy breathtaking scenery, unique points of interest, fabulous cycling, and distinctive lodging by their choice of routes and tours.

Seniors, Cross Your State?


If you are in pretty good shape, you can set out for a day-long ride like my brother or a longer one with stops in between. Enjoy each day at your own pace and and where you can savor the good life every evening. Choose your route carefully before you set out. Maybe a ride through historic covered bridges like those in Madison County Iowa, past picturesque farms and barns covered with hex signs in Pennsylvania Dutch Country or choose to visit classic country stores reminiscent of a bygone era in historic Virginia.

How About France, Germany or England?

For you senior gourmets, you could plan on a trip that featured the specialties of the country you are touring.  Here is an example of what you might do in France on a bike tour.  Many bike organizations feature a TREK bike that is one of the best for touring.  If it was good enough for Lance Armstrong, one would serve you well.

Old Folks on Spokes

Great slogan! These are trips that are done at a reasonable pace adjusted to the needs and abilities of the group. My niece took a bike trip through Tuscany with a group of friends on a tour. You’ll discover that its great to travel with other riders like yourself and just like taking a cruise like many seniors do, it’s with a group of people they know or don’t know.

 So go to Google and input Senior Bike Tours.  You can pick and choose from dozens of opportunities, costs and various routes.  Enjoy biking. jeb




Seniors Awed By Magnificent Views

Page,The Frontier of Adventure, is a city in northern Coconino County, Arizona, near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. This spectacular lake, the second-largest manmade lake in the United States, extends more than 180 miles up the Colorado River, providing access to 96 major scenic canyons and all the water sports, fishing, kayaking, house boating and camping you could imagine. Senior visitors will discover that Page has magnificent views in all directions, with Lake Powell and the Kaparowitz Plateau to the north, the Vermillion Cliffs to the west, Navajo Mountain to the east and the towering red buttes and mesas of Navajo Sandstone to the south.

Not Big, Just Very Attractive

As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 7,247. Why the name?  I’ve always been intrigued with the name Page. Originally a “Government Camp”, later called Page in honor of Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John C. Page, the town was founded in 1957 as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of the nearby Dam on the Colorado River.

Its 17-square-mile site was obtained in a land exchange with the Navajo Nation. So by historical standards, it’s a recent city. This town is on the  southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell… a friendly community that offers senior visitors outstanding recreation and a wide variety of lodging and services. The location is ideal for exploring many of the American Southwest’s renowned national parks and monuments, and discovering the unique culture of the nearby Navajo Nation.

History, Culture and a Beautiful Setting Draws Senior Travelers

Located right in the center of “Canyon Country”, Page is just a short drive from the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Monument Valley and Canyon De Chelley (can-yen duh shay). Annual events include golf tournaments on Lake Powell National Golf Course, bass fishing tournaments, mountain bike racing, rodeos, Native American dance performances and pow wows, art shows and an annual air show.

The Lake Powell Arizona Balloon Regatta, help in November, packs in senior visitors from across the country. Horseshoe Bend is a big attraction. A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon, which explains the canyon’s English name. According to local Navajos, the canyon and the LeChee area were places where cattle grazed in winter.

You can download a helpful Visitors Guide on Page and the surrounding area. Senior hikers, check out Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest. TripAdvisor will tell you all the things to do and canyons to explore, activities, nightlife and shopping stops. See you up in Page.  jeb




Seniors Visit Historic Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria, is Europe’s most affordable capital for visitors, according to more than one 2013 travel index. But this little-known Balkan city offers plenty of other reasons for seniors to visit. It’s one of the most compact walkable cities in all of Europe.

Sofia is the largest city in Bulgaria with nearly 5 million citizens. Senior visitors will find it to be a dynamic Eastern European Capital, distinguished by its unique combination of European and Communist-style architecture and many colorful orthodox churches. 

USA Today found Sofia to be full of delightful surprises, from the yellow brick roads in its historic center to the partially exposed, 1,800-year-old Roman city that lies beneath. Prehistoric settlements were excavated in the center of the present city, near the royal palace, as well as in outer districts Slatina and Obelya.

The well-preserved town walls (especially their substructures) date back before the 7th century BC. How about a 60-minute Bulgarian rose massage in the ruins of a 3rd-century coliseum for about $55, or take in an outdoor opera performance for less than $10? Looks like a good deal to me.


There’s hiking and skiing on 7,500-foot Vitosha Mountain, the highest of the peaks surrounding the capital. Within the city senior visitors will discover dozens of parks. The city’s most striking architectural landmark is undoubtably the magnificent Alexander Nefsky Cathedral.

Seniors Discover Best Kept Secrets

Sofia has been settled for many millennia and is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Do you enjoy visiting old, old towns? This one was set up and grew on a strategic crossroads, connecting Western and Central Europe with the Middle East and Asia, and linking the North and the South—from the Baltic to the Aegean Sea. It literally overflows with history.

Most of Sofia’s main sights lie within the small city center, where, in contrast to the Soviet-style blocks on the way in from the airport, the streets are paved a cheery yellow. One of Sofias best-kept secrets is its homegrown shopping scene.

The National Historical Museum has one of Eastern Europe’s most extensive collections. Wide, cobblestone boulevards, charming boutiques and truly electrifying nightlife star in this city. Trolleys, trams and buses traverse the dynamic city.

Sofia’s most attractive expanse of greenery is home to the Vasil Levski Stadium, CSKA Stadium and Maria Luisa Pool, as well as bike tracks and tennis courts. It’s laid out with countless statues and flowerbeds, and is a relaxing place for senior visitors to take a leisurely stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

It’s said that Bulgaria may be Europe’s Best Kept Secret, so go unfold the layers for yourself in historic Sofia. jeb



Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Enthralled with Old World Charm

Spain is a beautiful country and if senior travelers are looking for a taste of Old World charm, Cádiz is it. A city and port in southwestern Spain with 125,000 inhabitants, Cádiz is a provincal capital in Andalusia. It is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in southwestern Europe. It was founded by Phoenician sailors about 3.000 years ago as a commercial stronghold.

Culture Overflows in Cádiz

The city is well-known for its 10 day Carnival, often cited as the third biggest Carnival celebration in the world. Wow! Senior visitors will enjoy checking out the many squares in the city with all of their cafes. Cádiz is known worldwide for its watchtowers.

The Tavira Tower, considered the official watchtower of Cádiz due to the fact that it is situated in the center of town, is witness to the trade and prosperity which the city experienced in the 18th century. It was also the highest point in the town at 45 meters above the sea level. It’s just plain cool. The Gran Teatro Falla is another site well worth a visit.

Senior Visitors Discover Unique Cádiz

The city is located on a unique site — on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea, just sticking out there like Florida. Old Town is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters (barrios). In Arabic, the Latin name became Qādis. The Spanish Cádiz derived from this. (The little accent mark á shows that the stress is placed on the first syllable).

Old as it is, Cádiz has also proved to be durable and, ultimately, influential. Spain‘s first liberal constitution was signed in Cádiz in 1812, while the city’s distinctive urban model went on to provide an identikit (look that one up) for fortified Spanish colonial cities in the Americas.

Indeed, the port with its crenellated sea walls and chunky forts is heavily reminiscent of Havana in Cuba or San Juan in Puerto Rico. It’s is a port city with grand avenues, squares and gardens so senior visitors can easily walk around to soak up the atmosphere and get a feel of the city.

Euroresidentes points out that fishing, commerce and tourism provide Cádiz with its main sources of income. Its coastline is part of the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) and features numerous golden sandy beaches, including everything from beaches in urban areas to extensive, practically unspoiled stretches of sand.

And senior gourmets and oenophiles, Cádiz is known for its gastronomy, and particularly for its “pescaíto frito” (perfectly-fried platters of assorted fresh fish) and shellfish. This, of course, is ideally accompanied by the wines to be found on the Wine and Brandy routes in the Marco de Jerez region.

You’ll enjoy your time in Cádiz, especially that good food. jeb




Seniors Find Biarritz Ritzy

Biarritz, a luxurious seaside town on the Bay of Biscay, sits on the Atlantic coast in southwestern France. Biarritz is popular with senior tourists and surfers.  This stylish coastal town took off as a resort in the mid-19th century when Napoléon III and his Spanish-born wife, Eugénie, visited regularly.

Biarritz has long made its fortune from the sea beginning as a whaling settlement in the twelfth century. In the 18th century doctors recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for alleged cures. Biarritz’ raison d’être is its fashionable beaches which are lined end to end with sunbathing bodies on hot summer days.

Biarritz is said to be a world class surfing site and anytime anything is said to be ‘world class’, yours truly wants to see it and take in it. The city  has a permanent population of less than 30,000, but when you find yourself in downtown Biarritz, one gets the impression of a much larger city.

Attractions in Biarritz Catch Senior Visitors

While there is more for senior visitors to see and do beside these 13 recommended “musts”, for you “noctambules”, you’ll find that the nightlife is very active. The Virgin on the Rocks is within sight to all who frequent the beach area. Knowing my wife, she would head off first with or without me to the Planère Musée du Chocolat, and I would not mind being dragged along either.

There seem to be dozens of sites that are called “The Pearl…” and Biarritz is called the Pearl of the Atlantic. Its mild climate and the beauty of its coastline, its curved inlets, punctuated by rocky outcrops, and the great events that it hosts, make Biarritz a destination of enchantment for senior tourists at any time of year.

For you senior clubbers, there are several neat places to go clubbing. The high standards of  Biarritz and wide range of accommodations make this resort community an attractive proposition for senior visitors, which is why they keep returning year after year.

Thermes Marins squirts people with high pressure hoses, pummells them and massages them, and then smears them in mud and seaweed. More and more swear by thalassotherapy both as an antidote to 21st-century problems such as stress, obesity and insomnia and as a cure for physical ailments.

Today Miremont attracts perfectly coiffured hairdos (and that’s just on the poodles) but the somewhat less chic are also welcome to partake of a fine selection of teas, cakes and views over the bay. Biarritz owes its continued popularity not only to its beaches and surfing spots, but also to its golf courses and health spas, not to mention the many festivals and cultural events that are held  throughout the year.

Frommer’s and Fodors are always top notch reference travel aids.  Enjoy your every moment in Ritzy Biarritz. jeb




Travel Club For Seniors

The Travelers’ Century Club is a club for people who have visited 100 or more of the world’s countries and territories. The organization was founded in California in 1954 and now has more than 2,000 members throughout the world. Senior travelers, count up the number of countries where you have been and make a comparison with this list.

By 2012, nineteen members had visited every place on the list. John Clouse, from Evansville, Indiana, was the first to travel to all of the organization’s listed countries. Senior travelers want to be called a “Hard Core Traveler” to be counted among the membership.

The Travelers’ Century Club has sixteen regional chapters in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in the UK and Germany. It holds regular meetings and arranges tours to remote destinations. So what’s the most remote place you have visited? The idea of “collecting countries” can be an inviting challenge to senior world travelers. The only app you need is called Passport.

Seniors Seek Adventure and Exploration

The Travelers’ Century Club motto is–”World travel…the passport to peace through understanding.” Members come from diverse backgrounds, but all love adventure and exploration and have a special zeal for life. They truly believe that knowledge about other cultures and countries promotes peace. Many of the members are senior citizens who have done much of their traveling after retirement.

Membership in Travelers’ Century Club comes in different levels. Those who have traveled to 100-149 countries qualify for regular membership, 150-199 countries silver membership, 200-249 countries gold membership, 250-299 platinum membership, and over 300 are diamond members.

The club sponsors tours to out-of-the-way places like Northwest Passage, Central Asia (the “Stan” countries), West Africa, the World Heritage sites of North Africa and so forth. The most recent countries added to the list of qualifiers are Prince Edward Island, Nakhichevan, Srpska (northern Bosnia), Kosovo, and Trans-Dniester (between Chisinau/Odessa). So do you qualify here?

Membership is a great way to hang with like-minded people such as Christopher Hudson, who has ticked off 249 of the 321 countries, territories, protectorates and islands. So start counting and see how you compare.

As for me, I can only count up to twenty countries to date, but I do have a few left on my “travel bucket list”. Dick Matland, president of Coronado Shores Co., has traveled to enough destinations to qualify for the Travelers’ Century Club two times over.  So go for it and have fun filling up the old passport with lots of stamps.  jeb



Filed under : Editors Choice


Senior Just Say “Cheese”

Why would seniors say this? Easy. Monroe is known as “the Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA.” The population was just over 10,000 a couple of years back. The city, originally settled by Swiss and German immigrants, today continues to prosper and grow.

Folks here will always extend the hand of friendship to senior visitors and give them a warm feeling of “Willkommen.”Monroe is located in Green County just to east of Dubuque on Highways #11 and not far from the Illinois border to the south.

Attn. Senior Hikers and Bikers

The Cheese Country Trail, a 47-mile multi-use rail trail, stretches form Monroe to Mineral Point (where my mother and father in-law once lived). You can walk the trail but use caution to stay out the way of horses, snowmobiles, ATVs and bicycles.

A few years back I visited Monroe, the cheese factory and Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, the #1 tourist attraction in town. The sign above the bar in Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern warns visitors about the perils of sampling the $3.25 house specialty – a slab of Limburger cheese (The World’s Stinkiest) on rye bread slathered with onions and mustard. “Limburger: Don’t eat it with your nose.”  Opened in 1931 Baumgartner’s is Wisconsin’s oldest cheese store.

Seniors Help Make Swiss Cheese

The National Historic Cheesemaking Museum is located at the southern gateway to Wisconsin, just a few miles north of the Illinois/Wisconsin line.  The staff eagerly awaits your visit to tell the story of early cheesemaking earning Monroe the title of the “Cheese Capital.”

 Join Master Cheesemakers in the making of a 90 pound wheel of Swiss cheese, as it was done over a century ago. Seniors are invited to take a turn in stirring the kettle. The milk arrives approximately 9:00 am and the day continues to mid afternoon when a completed wheel of Swiss cheese is on the press table. Cheese Days celebrations started in 1914 and are held during even-numbered years. The weekend festival features music, dance, parades, factory tours and cheesemaking demonstrations.

What goes well with cheese? Beer. Monroe is proud to be the home of the oldest, continually operating brewery in the midwest, the Minhas Brewery, formerly known as the Joseph Huber Brewing Company, built in 1845. The town of New Glaurus is close by and a fine micro-brewery is found there along with Primose Winery.

Now you know that there are several options within the immediate area for cheese, wine or beer gourmets. Yes, Monroe is a cheese lovers paradise.  So bring your appetite, an interest in cheese and senior travelers will have a great time in Monroe.  jeb



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