Seniors Find Edinburgh Fascinating

Burrowed beside long-dormant volcanoes and reigning over green moorlands, Edinburgh (or Ed-n-bruh in Scots speech) is known for more than its staggering landscape. If you have not yet traveled to Scotland, seniors, you are in for a treat.

Fine dining, great shopping, castles galore and museums attract seniors from all nations. One of the world’s stateliest cities and proudest capitals, it’s built—like Rome—on seven hills, making it a striking backdrop for the ancient pageant of history.

Edinburgh Castle is the top visitor attraction in Scotland and the most recognizable tourist attraction in the world. Houses in Edinburgh were historically built on the area in front of the Castle, called the Lawnmarket, which can still be visited today.

The old town continued down the High Street and Cannongate towards the Palace of Holyrood House. These streets are collectively called the Royal Mile. This route will also now take you from the Castle to the new Scottish Parliament. Situated on an extinct volcano it is part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage site. The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city.

 A Festival City Attracts Senior Visitors

Edinburgh is renowned the world over for its year-round festivals where the city’s streets throng with visitors from around the world. With a dozen different festivals to choose from and as many as 2,500 different events on offer, some simple planning will help you make your itinerary exciting.

Be prepared to discover stunning scenery, striking architecture, fine food, and beautiful coast and countryside in the nearby Lothians that forms a traditional region of the Scottish Lowlands.

From the world’s festival capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to world-class visitor attractions and exhilarating outdoor pursuits, Edinburgh and The Lothians is a must-visit on any senior’s list.

With over 4,500 listed buildings, Edinburgh is world-renowned for its rich architectural heritage. Of particular interest in this historic city is the Old Town, which includes the medieval Castle fortress.

Get this stat: 442 B&Bs and just 136 hotels. My wife and I would really enjoy selecting a couple for our stay. Arthur’s Seat is the #2 visited site. It is one of four hill forts, dating from around 2,000 years ago. The park offers walks, solace, wildlife, volcanic geology and unparalleled vistas of the city from its many vantage points

With a rich calendar of arts and cultural events, Edinburgh hosts large scale professional touring companies, awe-inspiring national companies who perform at world-class theaters and concert halls and, of course, international and Scottish artists showcasing their works at museums and galleries – there is plenty for senior travelers to see and do in Edinburgh, all year round. Enjoy the scene. jeb


Seniors Discover Bangkok

Travel & Leisure ranked ranked Bangkok  the # 1 tourist destination in 2012. So seniors, pack those bags, check out the sites below and get ready to take in exotic and beautiful Thailand with a focus on Bangkok, “The City of Angels.”

 With sixteen million foreigners flying into the country each year, Thailand is Asia’s primary travel destination. Yet despite this vast influx of visitors, Thailand’s cultural integrity remains largely undamaged – a country that adroitly avoided colonization has been able to absorb Western influences while maintaining its own rich heritage.

Friends and folks I have met who have been to Thailand have rave reviews. The headlong pace and flawed modernity of Bangkok match few people’s visions of the capital of exotic Siam. Spiked with scores of high-rise buildings of concrete and glass, it’s a vast flatness that holds an estimated population of eleven million, and senior visitors say that it feels even bigger, whatever that means.

They also state that they feel a “sensory overload” in Bangkok. This site will put you on an overload of information if you have time to read through each of the links. Rough Guides offers 20 Things Not To Miss on your vacation to Bangkok.

Bangkok is a huge and modern city humming with nightlife and fervour. It is the nation’s capital and one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities with magnificent temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone.

All That History Draws Seniors

The history of the city of Bangkok dates at least to the early 15th century. In the span of over the past two hundred years, Bangkok has become the political, social and economic center of Thailand, Southeast Asia as well as all of Indochina.

Its influence in the arts, politics, fashion, education and entertainment as well as being a business, financial and cultural center of Asia has given the city the status of a global city. Bangkok is as intoxicating as it is diverse; a melting pot of exotic aromas, interesting sights and visual delights.

Bangkok can easily occupy senior visitors for a week although we suspect that many visitors stay for just a day or two and then travel either up country or to some of Thailand’s numerous beaches. Bangkok, however, has its own gems and if you do a little research, you can find plenty to see and do.

 To put it simply, Bangkok can seem like a labyrinth to senior visitors in the city. Causing even further confusion is the lack of a true “center” to the city, with various districts scattered throughout town. The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS Skytrain, is an elevated rapid transit system that has made it much easier to get around.  Taxis, tuk-tuks, buses and motorcycle taxis are also plentiful. I think that you will find this city a real treat. It’s now on my bucket list.  jeb


Seniors, How Does One Describe Niagara Falls?

I don’t know why I have not put Niagara Falls on my senior travel blog before but it’s certainly time to do so. One of the natural wonders of the world. The most powerful falls in North America, this country-straddling landmark is one of the top tourist destinations of the region.

The Maid of the Mist cruises right to the base of the American Falls, then to the basin of the magnificent Horseshoe Falls. It’s a fantastic journey through the crashing waters, surrounded by massive rock formations that have tamed the raging rapids for millions of years.

I just can not imagine the first discoverer who encountered the Falls and their impression. I know that for me it will always remain in my mind as totally awesome. The Falls consist of three sections. The large Canadian falls – with their distinctive curved shape – are also known as the Horseshoe Falls. Millions of gallons of water rocket over Niagara Falls every minute – about 750,000 gallons each second.

Senior Destination Spot

The action is and the best views of the Falls are on the Canadian side. You will find plenty to occupy your time in Ontario and of course the Falls is the big draw but check out some of the rest. Good old TripAdvisor notes that ‘Once a destination for honeymoons and family vacations’, Niagara Falls has really stepped it up as an action-packed vacation spot.

The falls are literally the biggest draw – watching the frothy water tumble at alarming speeds can be mesmerizing. Throw on a poncho and hop aboard the Maid of the Mist to cruise close enough to the falls to be drenched by spray. Hit the main strip of Clifton Hill for flashy tourist attractions and restaurants galore.

Niagara Falls State Park draws millions of visitors each year. I discovered writing this blog that it is America’s oldest state park (Est. 1885). Oh yes, it is in Buffalo, NY on the map.

 Niagara USA Rich In History

Niagara USA is not only home to the Falls but it is a place rich in history, culture, outdoor life, shopping, adventure and agriculture. There are hundreds of attractions and things to do in Niagara Falls year-round. A great place to begin your visit to Niagara Falls is the Niagara Falls Visitor Center.

In addition to maps and information, the Niagara Falls Visitor Center is home to Niagara Adventure Theater, the park’s main gift shop and restaurants where visitors can enjoy specialty coffees, ice cream, a patio grill and a deli snack bar. Inspirational, informative and entertaining, the videos provide both panoramic and closeup images. Be prepared to be impressed. It will prove to be an everlasting memory.  jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice


Seniors Discover Yamhill County

This senior read recently that drone technology is the next big thing in agriculture, and it’s determined to make sure one lands in Yamhill County, the center of Oregons Wine Country.

One expert notes that “It’s a big game changer in agriculture.” “The Holy Grail of it is crop diagnostics.” We all hear about drones being used for all kinds of aerial observances and these drones out in Yamhill County are being put to good use.

Yamhill, “In the Heart of Willamette County”, was  originally named North Yamhill, is a small farming town located half way between Portland and the Coast in the heart of Willamette Valley’s Wine Country. Yamhill has around 800 residents and has become very important in the Oregon wine industry.

Once in the area senior visitors will discover a collection of many smaller towns. Yamhill Valley is brimming with opportunities to experience the good life. Yamhill is authentic Oregon, a place where they say that the good life is cultivated every day. And hazelnuts. The Valley is famous for them, tons of them.

 Seniors Visit the Vinyards of Yamhill County

Today the Yamhill Valley is central to a burgeoning Oregon wine industry. Seniors enjoy sipping a variety  of wines at one of Yamhill Valley’s many wineries.  What a great way to spend an afternoon.  Learn more here on lodging, great food choices, events, and of course Wine Country itself.

Over the last couple of decades the vineyards have given this little corner of paradise in Oregon a worldwide reputation. It’s the new home of the pinot noir. In fact, some experts say Oregon’s pinots are the best in the world. Keep in mind that October is harvest time in the vineyards of Yamhill County.

 Seniors Enjoy Other “Must Sees”

In the area are the world’s largest airplane, the Spruce Goose, and over 150 historic aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits that are housed at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. You can also see the historic world’s fastest plane, the SR-71 Blackbird and a 112 foot tall Titan II SLV missile.

Two major events include the Chehalem Valley Food and the Wine & Art Festival at Oakhurst Farms.

Yamhill was named for the Yamhill Indians and Yamhill River. The pear tree in the back yard of Herbert Hoover’s home in nearby Newberg, planted in 1879, still produces pears. As a Master Gardener myself, I know that olive trees in Israel still exist from the time of Christ, but wow, this is pears.

Enjoy your trip to Yamhill County and take in the wide variety of things to see and do. jeb


“The Peak of Good Living” Attracts Seniors

Apex, North Carolina was selected as one of America’s Best Small Towns. Senior readers, the town is called Apex because it was the highest point on the Chatham Railroad between Richmond, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida.

Apex, first settled in the 1860s and incorporated in 1873, was one of the earliest new towns to develop around the state capital of Raleigh, as railroads traversed the county after the Civil War.

That Peak not only captures the name’s historical significance, but refers to the fact that in places along the town’s main street, Salem Street, water which falls on one side of the street flows to the Neuse River, and on the other side it flows to the Cape Fear River.

Take an Apex City Tour and view many of the reasons folks enjoy living there.  And senior golfers, Knight’s Play has been recognized by the Golf Range Association of America as one of the top 100 practice facilities in the country.

 Historic Downtown A Senior Favorite

The historic downtown area is a favorite among the the surrounding towns. The buildings are connected by walls and the streets are lined with sidewalks, blue and green awnings, restaurants, soda shoppes, and antique stores.

The award-winning Anna’s Pizzeria is a busy, family-friendly restaurant serving up authentic New York style pizzas and Italian dishes. Visit the circa-1914 Apex Union Depot, dine at Daniel’s and experience First Fridays downtown or the Peak Fest in early May.

Downtown Apex, considered one of the most intact turn-of-the-century railroad towns in the area, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an Historic District in 1994, and includes about 60 structures built between 1870 and 1940.  The Old Union Depot, built in 1914, is designated as a Wake County Historic Landmark. The Apex Historical Society is located nearby in an old caboose.

American Tobacco Trail and Rail Trail

 In Apex, senior tourists are drawn to both the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area and American Tobacco Trail. The Wake County portion of the Trail is a recreational rail-trail open to walkers, runners, dog walkers, bicyclists and horseback riders. Upon completion, this rail-trail project will span 23 miles, from rural New Hill in western Wake County.

Today, Apex is one of the most vibrant, progressive, and fastest-growing communities in The Research Triangle area, and the thriving Downtown Historic District is at the Town’s heart. The unique mixture of historic homes, restaurants, and specialty shops gives special meaning to the motto: “Apex, The Peak of Good Living.”

In Apex there is a seasonal open air market with an indoor winter market where local farmers and vendors offer fresh produce, meat, chicken, eggs, honey, baked goods and crafts. Every year senior visitors can enjoy a jazz festival and their Peak CIty Pig Fest. So bring your appetite, your walking shoes and your enthusiasm for visiting one great city called Apex. jeb


Seniors Flock to Country Club Plaza

I well recall the famed Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  I spent part of a summer nearby at the University of Missouri at 51st and Troost.  This onceuponatime pipe smoking senior was searching for some fine pipe tobacco in a specialty shop on the Plaza. I tossed my pipes 150 years ago, as my wife would say, but that shop was a highlight of the Plaza for me.

For a long time the Plaza has been a tourist destination as well as a gathering place where Kansas City residents take friends from out of town. It is one ritzy marketplace featuring an outdoor plaza adorned with romantic European fountains and sculptures, plus designer shops and great restaurants. Feast and Frolic. Whatever senior visitors could want, from scones to scallops, beaujolais to Kansas City barbecue, it’s all waiting for you on The Plaza.

 Seniors, It’s Upscale and Its Big

The Country Club Plaza is an American upscale shopping district and residential neighborhood in Kansas City. It was the first shopping center in the world designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile. Today you will find 15 blocks of ENDLESS possibilities. And wow, 55 acres of shopping found four miles south of downtown Kansas City MO.

It’s history, layout and use as well as the Plaza Lights have brought senior shoppers and visitors to the Plaza since 1923. It’s pedestrian oriented shopping district is made up of 1920′s Spanish style architecture with towers, domes, iron and brick details, and each of the public plazas are filled with fountains and sculptures.

The Plaza attracts 300,000 people for the lighting of the plaza Christmas lights (since 1925) on Thanksgiving Eve each year and holds an Easter parade and other public events. The Plaza abounds with activity almost around the clock.

It is without any doubt Kansas City’s premier retail, dining and entertainment destination, offering 180 shops and dozens of fine restaurants nestled within old-world architecture. Whether it’s the hot spot that caters to the late crowd or a quiet courtyard café, the Plaza restaurants offer an atmosphere that no other district in town can duplicate.

Enjoy music? From May through September, enjoy live music in the Plaza’s charming courtyards during the annual concert series.

 KCMO Has Much To Offer Senior Visitors

While the holiday season is a major attraction around the Plaza, KCMO  also has a variety of fun things to do. If one place could illustrate the heartbeat of Kansas City, it would be the Plaza.

In one word, the Plaza is “awesome”, offering everything from outdoor concerts, a fine art fair, lively happy hours, horse-drawn carriage rides, outdoor dining to the world-famous holiday display of lights. Something for every senior at the Plaza so don’t miss it on your visit to KCMO.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy Delray Beach


Delray Beach, Florida is a coastal city in Palm Beach County, Florida. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,000+, making it part of the Miami metropolitan area. Wikitravel has travel plans ready for senior travelers including information on the wonderful climate, what to See and Do, where to eat, where to stay and more.

All along the shoreline seniors will find the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean and in town a host of unique galleries and boutiques on Atlantic Avenue. Enjoy a night of dining and entertainment at any  award winning café or restaurant. When visitors stay in “Florida’s Village by the Sea,” at one of the grand hotels or a quaint seaside inn, they feel instantly the warm and friendly atmosphere that makes downtown Delray Beach a joy to visit.

 Seniors Flock To Best Small Town For Fun


Recently awarded “Best of the Road—Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally. That’s why I just had to check out Delray Beach. Just beyond the beach, Delray’s famed Atlantic Avenue awaits, with its shops, yacht cruises, restaurants, lounges, nightlife, and arts & cultural attractions.

And all that art. Delray Beach’s art scene is truly a feast for the eyes. Collectors and connoisseurs have a wide array of choices in media ranging from oil paintings and original sculpture to vintage poster art and dramatic Native American works. Gallery visitors often enjoy meeting the artists, whose visits are not restricted to special shows. Seniors can also enjoy the theater year-round, at several venues.

 The Famed Atlantic Avenue


With more than 140 restaurants in Delray Beach, on Atlantic Avenue and nearby side streets, senior visitors and locals alike can enjoy a diverse dining selection—from seafood, American, and Italian, to French, Asian, Cuban, and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

Me loving the Italian touch and my wife loving the seafoods offered, we would do well in Delray Beach. The town comes alive with music and a bustling nightlife every night of the week, where senior visitors can enjoy cocktails, kick back in a lounge, or dance under the stars.

 And Senior Gourmets…


What do you get when you combine some super food, one of the best beach towns to be found anywhere in the country, and Florida’s longest dining table? The perfect recipe for a good time, of course – it’s all in Delray Beach.

Located just north of Boca Raton, this Palm Beach County city is an exciting beachside town with a plethora of galleries, shops and boutiques. And gourmets…the annual Savor the Avenue event, generally held in March, transforms a five-block stretch of famed Atlantic Avenue into the longest dining table in Florida, seating more than 1,000 guests and all are welcome.

Come and visit Delray Beach and enjoy all the amenities. jeb


Seniors Learn About Trackaways

This curious senior recently came across an article on one of New Mexico’s National Monuments called Trackaways. Prehistoric Trackways National Monument is the 100th national monument in the US. The monument is located in the Robledo Mountains near Las Cruces in the southern region of the state.

It’s called that because Trackways contain footprints of numerous amphibians, reptiles, and insects (including previously unknown species), plants, and petrified wood dating back 280 million years. So I went a bit further to explore some national parks that NM has to offer.

I discovered nearly a dozen of themThese parks, Bandelier, Aztec Ruins, Salinas Pueblo, Chaco Culture, Petroglyph, Gila Cliff Dwellings and Salinas Pueblo Missions all have ancient ruins for senior citizens to explore.

White Sands Intrigues Seniors

Rather than attempt to look at each of the eleven national parks, I’ll select three to explore with you. Let’s start with White Sands. West of Alamogordo, a vast area of desert and mountain ranges 100 by 40 miles is closed to public access and used by the military for various kinds of weapons testing.

This includes the Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was detonated, in July 1945. Determined seniors may visit on two days each year, the first Saturdays of April and October, when accompanied tours are provided.

 Drive Through El Malpais

Having driven through New Mexico numerous times on our way from Iowa to Arizona, my wife and I have passed through an area that looks burned and black. Malpaís in Spanish means “bad country” and we could see huge black hunks of lava field stones all along I-40.

 Chaco Historic Park

The very remote Chaco Culture site, located in northwest New Mexico has a series of kivas. It has the largest, best preserved and architecturally advanced of all ancient Southwestern villages, equal in importance to Mesa Verde in Colorado.

Although lacking the dramatic cliff alcove setting, the ruins with many “kivas” are made more evocative by the great desolation and emptiness of the surrounding countryside. Chaco Canyon was the major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between 850 and 1250 AD, and was the hub of activity in the Four Corners area.

The people who lived in Chaco Canyon left behind a well-organized and planned complex of buildings, laid out on a north-south grid and awe-inspiring for their size and complexity.

Chaco is a shallow, ten-mile canyon. Seventy miles from the nearest town and accessible only by washboard dirt roads, it’s remote by today’s standards.

The canyon itself has been carved from ancient sea beds by centuries of erosion. Millions of years of history reveal themselves in the layers of rock and the fossils embedded therein.

It’s definitely on my travel bucket list along with perhaps fifty others. Explore NM called the “Land of Enchantment” that well describes New Mexico’s scenic beauty. It’s an awesome state and just waiting for you to come and explore.  jeb


Blue Water Amazes Seniors

I well recall seeing the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. This senior was 21 years old and had not seen an ocean previously. I was part of a group on a French study trip sponsored by Oberlin College in Ohio. We spent a total of seven weeks in France starting in St-Aygulf, a small beach resort set on the outskirts of the old Roman town, Fréjus.

Then we were three weeks in Aix-en-Provence and lastly three weeks in Paris. I was a French major from Cornell College, Iowa and I earned a Carnegie Corporation Scholarship. I was thrilled with this “all inclusive” experience.

 The Blue Blue Mediterranean Amazed Me

When I saw the Mediterranean for the first time, it looked as if “someone has poured blue ink into the water.” It was such a dark blue. I learned later that was due to its depth. The Mediterranean has an average depth of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and at its greatest width, it runs over 850 miles.

The Sea accounts for a staggering 30% of tourists world wide and attracts nearly 250 million visitors in a year. Viewing a map of the sea, it is evident why so many tourists are lured to its sandy shores and a host of divergent islands. There is so much to see just traveling around the Mediterrean Sea.

This inland sea is bordered on the north by Europe, on the east by Asia, and on the south by Africa. Its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 14 km (9 mi) wide. It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965,000 sq mi).

 History of the Mediterranean Sea

Stone Age tools have been discovered by archeologists along its shores and it is believed that the Egyptians began sailing on it by 3000 B.C.E. Early people of the region used the Mediterranean as a trade route and as a way to move to and colonize other regions.

As a result, the sea was controlled by several different ancient civilizations. These include the Minoan, Phoenician, Greek and later the Roman civilizations.

The Mediterranean is an almost completely closed basin where the continuous inflow of surface water from the Atlantic Ocean is the sea’s major source of replenishment and water renewal. It is estimated waters take over a century to be completely renewed through the Strait of Gibraltar which is only 300 m (1000 ft) deep.

The scarce inflow, coupled with high evaporation, makes the Mediterranean much saltier than the Atlantic Ocean. The Sea is almost totally free of any tidal influence.

Main crops in the Mediterranean include olives, grapes, cork, oranges and tangerines. Wildlife, such as sea turtles, monk seals, sting rays and schools of fish flourish throughout the sea and provide vital resources.

Trademark blue, warm waters, exotic beaches and proximity to historic regions have made the Mediterranean Sea a popular destination for travelers to enjoy and explore. jeb


Hit The Road With Your Grandkids

Presently grandparents are taking the grandkids with them on more trips than ever, sometimes leaving moms and dads behind. Intergenerational journeys seem to have become more abundant today. And why not?  Seniors, have fun with the grandkids while you can and travel is an excellent way to bond and form lasting memories.

 Check Out Road Scholar

Road Scholar, formerly Elderhostel, offers some of the best grandparents-with-grandkids deals anywhere.  And get this, they have come up with 140 different intergenerational opportunities. Maybe you’d like to consider learning about animal-tracking, bird-banding, wolves and deer, weather, and lake ecology (through the ice!).

Road Scholar offers year-round programs in the United States, Canada, and abroad. Take a Grand Canyon river excursion or a train trip in Louisiana. Packages start at under $500 per person including meals, accommodations, and programs.

Each one of the programs outlined above rated a 4.9 out of five stars.  Can’t get much better than that.   It’s a super organization and I had the priviledge of working for them as a tour group leader in Europe.

Seniors, have you considered taking the whole family on a vacation?  ‘Family Vacations’ have come a long way since the days of the Griswolds pilgrimage to Walley World. Remember that film? Back then, the road trip was everything; in 2014, peripatetic (that means just walking around) grandparents can expect a mix:  volunteer vacations, farm stays, Ferris wheels and much more.

 Top Ten Budget-Friendly Vacations

These Top Ten offers may take senior travelers half way around the world, but with grandkids and maybe your own kids, it’ll be worth it. Check out the top ten and  go on to Page 3 so you don’t miss Moab, Utah. My wife and I have it on our ‘bucket list.’ That’s one of my daughter’s most favorite places in the whole world.

Oh yes, wow… Palm Springs, Las  Vegas and the Rivera Maya follow and I love all three of those myself.  Then consider topping it off with Washington, DC.  As a former educator, I have always felt that every student in the US should visit DC before they graduate from highschool.

With grandparents it’ll be highly educational. There’s no better way to make learning about history and politics fun than a visit to DC.  Be sure to take in some of the Smithsonia’s 19 museums that are all free.

 Family Travel Made Easy, Seniors Discover

Family Travel Made Easy is a comprehensive guide for parents and grandparents who want to make traveling with children an enjoyable and stress free experience. They can help you make plans including advice on everything you need to pack.

Perhaps it’s time to make plans for a wonderful experience with your grandkids and/or family that can be relaxing and totally pleasant.  jeb

Filed under : Editors Choice

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