Littleton, A Great Mainstreet Town

riverdistrict_logoLittleton, in Grafton County, New Hampshire (The Granite State), with a population of 6,000 happy folks, is situated at the edge of the White Mountains, and bounded on the northwest by the Connecticut River.

Travel & Leisure selected Littleton as one of America’s Greatest Mainstreets. Outside Magazine also chose the town as one of America’s Best Towns.

Incorporated in 1784, Littleton soon became a commercial and cultural center for New Hampshire’s North Country. It’s Main Street that puts Littleton on the map. The Littleton Opera House stands tall and proud as the staple of Main Street. A trip to the famous “Chutters” candy store, home of the longest self-serve candy counter is in order, senior travelers. So bring your sweet-tooth to Littleton.


Littleton is the center for business, shopping, medical care, education and services in New Hampshire’s North Country. Recreation and activities abound and Main Street features dozens of unique shops.

Located in an old gristmill, Schilling Beer Co. has won fans since opening last fall for its custom small-batch brews and homey, rustic vibe, exposed beams and uneven wood floors.

“Whether you’ve packed your hiking boots or are looking for some good old New England culture, the Littleton Area has lots to offer! Having a little bit of everything in the area, it can be hard to decide what to do first!”

 Seniors Stroll The Riverwalk


You are invited to stroll along the peaceful Riverwalk path that meanders along the Ammonoosuc River, across a covered bridge, and past many historic Littleton landmarks. Across Main Street dances a bronze statue of Pollyanna, that icon of gladness whose author, Eleanor Porter, called Littleton home.

Boston Globe highlights Littleton a “buzz around these parts that is teetering on the edge of hipness.” Some would argue that it had already achieved that status back in 1941 when Bette Davis came to town to premiere her movie “The Great Lie,” at the Jax Jr. Theater, which is still in operation.


In any case, it’s clear that Littleton, located just north of Franconia Notch, is loaded with charm. Most of the action centers on Main Street, named one of America’s best main streets as well by the Huffington Post last month.

Always something going on in Littleton so come prepared for a good time and plan to spend a couple of days in town.  Swim, fish, hike, bike, ski or snowmobile at Franconia Notch State Park. Ride to the top of Mount Washington courtesy of the historic Cog Railway.

Littleton is a picturesque New England gem offering something for everyone including fine dining and art galleries, unique shops and historic buildings, and a range of outdoor activities for all seasons… all awaiting your visit. jeb


Seniors Enjoy The White Rose City


York, known as the White Rose City, is located in the South Central region of the state. We can easily guess where the name York comes from. Like so many cities, New York, New Jersey, New Albany, New…anything in England.

That White Rose comes from the House of York whose symbol was a white rose.  Around 45,000 folks call York home in the Factory Tour Capital of the World where thirteen different factories are open to the general public.

For over 250 years, York has been at the crossroads of American history. In 1741, the area that was to become York was laid out in grid formation, patterned after Philadelphia. The location was chosen because it was a crossroads: the intersection of the scenic Codorus Creek with the Monocacy Trail, an old Indian trail which connected Penn’s Woods with the Shenandoah Valley.


 If you enjoy motorcycles, the Harley Davidson factory invites senior visitors to come and watch the assembly-line churn out “hogs.” Me, I’d like to visit The York Barbell Factory where I could see the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame. Senior visitors can see such sights as a license plate torn in half using only bare hands.  If theater is your bag, the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center is big in York.

 Seniors Find a Great Mainstreet City

York, also known as Yorktown in the mid 18th to early 19th century, was named one of the Greatest Mainstreet cities in the entire country by Travel & Leisure. To just stroll along the alluring streets of downtown York is to walk through an open-air museum of architectural history.


From the half-timber architecture of the Golden Plough Tavern (don’t miss it) to the post-modern construction of newer office buildings, the architecture in and around Continental Square is a microcosm of American architecture.

You will soon see why York has been surnamed “an architectural museum.” It is loaded with well-preserved historic buildings like the 1741 Golden Plough Tavern, the Gates House, the 1766 York Meetinghouse and on and on.

City of Historic Districts


As if that is not enough history, their are four distinct historic districts. Springdale Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a national historic district located in the Springdale neighborhood. It transports senior visitors into history. The Geographic Channel is your virtual walking tour of York, grouped by street.  Click on a link and start your tour!

If you enjoy theater, York is home to the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, which brings many nationally acclaimed acts to the area. Today, much of York’s culture represents the city’s evolving role as an agricultural and industrial center.

The historic York Fair, which claims to be the country’s oldest, traces its roots back to 1765. So come and spend some time in York and enjoy its roots, good food and its pleasant citizenry.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy Another ‘Springs’


There seem to be cities named “Springs” all over the US and Saratoga Springs ranks among the finest. Travel & Leisure listed Saratoga Springs as one of the best Mainstreets in America. It is an affluent city in Saratoga County, New York, that is widely known as simply Saratoga.

Senior visitors will find mineral springs that have contributed to Saratoga as a highly sought after resort area for nearly 200 years. Saratoga is one of a handful of American cities that had a period of wild popularity.

Not as lavish as Newport, RI or as sedate as Lenox, Ma., Saratoga had a vibe all its own thanks to its famous mineral springs and the colorful Canfield Casino that won Saratoga the designation of Monte Carlo of America.


Visit the History Museum, located in the former Canfield Casino, a National Landmark and keeper of 15,000 artifacts connected with the history of Saratoga. These images of the city of Saratoga are lots of fun to look into, providing a nice overview of Saratoga.

 History And Racing Draw Seniors

Saratoga has history that goes back as early at 1691 when the English built Fort Saratoga. Over the last 100 years, Saratoga has managed to master  the art of blending the “Old World” with the “Present Day World.”

Inspired by historic Saratoga Springs, a late-1800s’ New York retreat famous for its spas and horse racing, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Hotel and Spa is a Victorian-style Resort hotel nestled between rolling golf course greens and a shimmering Village Lake. It is a favorite for many senior visitors.


Saratoga Race Course is one of the most famous horse racing venues in the world and one of three tracks, along with Belmont Park and Aqueduct, which the New York Racing Association operates. Saratoga Race Track is known by the nickname “The Graveyard of Favorites” for its rich history of playing host to some of the racing world’s most spectacular upsets.

Saratoga In Capital Region Of Upstate

Saratoga is loaded with glorious Victorian homes. Consider staying at the Batchelle Mansion Inn, a restored Victorian home in Saratoga Springs and only a 5-minute drive from both the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Saratoga Race Course.

Saratoga Springs Welcome

Saratoga Arms is an award-winning Second Empire brick hotel, situated in the heart of downtown Saratoga and would make for a very memorable stay.  Note that Saratoga hosts some of the best attended art venues in the Capital Region of upstate New York. Saratoga Spa State Park has over 2,000 acres and is highly popular with senior visitors.

I learned in this Guide that Skidmore College is located in Saratoga. I knew of the school, but did not know where it was. This guide takes senior travelers through the city step by step with many great links. Enjoy your time in the Springs.  jeb


Seniors: A Tour de France Major Stop


Get your coffee, senior friends and let’s catch the last day of the Tour de France. I was watching this years Tour de France on TV and up came Gérardmer, one of the major stops (Stage 9) which is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France.

The city is home to 9,336 inhabitants and abounds in a plethora of things for senior visitors to see and do all year long. Favorites for my wife and me would include several high quality B&Bs plus le Manoir Au Lac. Gérardmer offers a rich and vibrant life right in the heart of a stunning natural setting between lake, forests and mountains making the area a ski paradise.

Gérardmer is nestled between lake and mountain forests. It has an exceptional life, sitting on industry and tourism, with the numerous sports and cultural events making for a dynamic and vibrant environment. As the French say, “Gérardmer à vivre Grandeur Nature”.


Gérardmer was the first town in France to have a tourist office, in 1875, indicating the culture of hospitality prevailing in this winter sports resort area… which is also popular in summer on account of its three lakes, Gérardmer, Longemer et Retournemer.

 Seniors, Charlemagne Voted ‘Yes’ For Gérardmer

Even Charlemagne, it seems, was taken with the place and came to stay. Good enough for Charlemagne, good enough for most of us, I’d say. Beautiful Jonquils are celebrated with an annual flower Festival.

Two theaters offer a rich and varied program with dance, theater and concerts. Gérardmer has several major events: Fantastic’Arts (the Fantastic Film Festival), the Rencontres du Cinema, the Festival of Daffodils, Ironman (triathlon world), the fireworks on the lake and the market Christmas exhibitions.


Gérardmer  is a paradise of cultural relaxation. The city is not only a well-known health and summer resort, but also a large winter sports resort boasting a variety of installations.

Set in the heart of a luxuriant, well-protected natural site, nestling between lake and imposing woods, Gérardmer  shows the winter tourist what skiing for pleasure really means and it is situated only 1.5 miles from the valley of lakes.

 Seniors, when you are tooling around Les Vosges in northeast France, stop by this fascinating city and spend a few days. Any time during the year you will find fun things to see and do. jeb


Seniors – Been to Rome?

images-7Rome, Georgia that is.  It, too, was selected as having one America’s Greatest Mainstreets by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Rome was voted the #1 small city in the Southeast.

Rome’s name is a commemoration of Rome, Italy. It too was built on seven hills with a river running between them, a feature that was an inspiration for the name. This connection, emphasized by a replica of the statue of Romulus and Remus statue nursing from a mother wolf is a symbol of the original Rome.

From Rome’s Between-the-Rivers Historic District with its landmark Clocktower to the outer reaches of the county, senior visitors will discover a wonderful sense of community.

Seniors Find Rivers And Wide Streets In Rome


Rome’s wide streets impress senior visitors. Using a chain, an early resident laid out the streets with two of the streets measuring 132 feet across. Rome’s brick Courthouse was built in 1835.

Founded in 1834, Rome is located at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers. The two rivers end up forming the Coosa River. Because of this feature, Rome’s history was guided by the transportation and cotton industries.

Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum are two major drawing cards to the city. Oak Hill was an original Victorian-style farmhouse that was built in 1847. The museum focuses on Berry College which is located at the town’s northern border. And sports fans, Rome has a Class A Baseball Team, the Braves.

Beauty And Charm Define Rome


Few southern cities can boast the beauty and charm of Georgia’s Rome. Tucked in the foothills of the ancient Appalachian Mountains, Rome’s three rivers frame the downtown district for recreation and relaxation.

History remains alive for everyone to experience in the many historical buildings, sites and cemeteries pristinely preserved throughout the city and county.

Senior visitors, you are invited to climb up the crest of historic Myrtle Hill for a super view of downtown Rome. And while you are strolling, take in Myrtle Hill Cemetery and Broad Street, where you will note a small-town revitalization in progress.

The locals have invested huge sums since the city’s precipitous decline in the 1970s and on Broad Street you will see the evidence. There have been more than 120 building rehabs in the central business district, and the area’s many Victorian homes and churches have come back to life.


Rome is one of those rarified small town American gems. It’s a super  getaway retreat, an artsy haven including galleries, antique and specialty shops and restaurants where chefs take pride in serving local produce. Yet the mountain town has a casual feel where you’re just as likely to run into fly fishermen and campers or a family coming off the scenic railroad trip.

Seniors, this might be a travel bucket suggestion.  An On-line Visitors’s Guide might be informative and helpful.  jeb


Seniors Stop At Wisconsin’s Gateway

bel-wbs-2-DSCN0049Welcome, senior travelers, to City of Beloit, the Gateway to Wisconsin. Located near the junction of Interstates 90/39 and I-43 close to the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, Beloit, pop. 37,000, is another of America’s Greatest Main Street cities.

Beloit is proud of its world class riverfront, providing year round recreation and special event facilities, biking and hiking paths.  “As you stroll the thriving riverfront district of Beloit, it’s hard to imagine that it was once a faded downtown, depressed by the loss of factory jobs and the lure of suburban malls.”

Twenty years ago, a forward-thinking group of boosters stepped in to restore many buildings as mixed-use spaces – galleries, bookshops, music venues – and to launch a weekly farmers’ market. Now everyone’s a booster and the locals brag about their 3.5 miles of bike paths, more than 20 works of public art, and the college town’s new reputation as a performing arts magnet.

Senior Travelers Discover the Gem of the Rock River Valley


The name, Beloit, originated with a committee appointed by a convention of citizens who were not satisfied with the name New Albany, the name which for a few months the town wore.

The City Center includes a unique downtown with tree lined streets serving pre-20th century commercial buildings, the internationally renowned Beloit College and beautiful, historic residential neighborhoods. Beloit is called a Gem of the Rock River Valley.

Big Hill Park located on the bluffs of the Rock River is one of Beloit’s most scenic sites with spectacular vistas. Downtown Beloit is the historical economic, cultural and social center of the community. It is anchored by a core of historic buildings and what is called the Ironworks.

Art, Baseball and Angels Attract Senior Visitors


Beloit has helpful guides that can be downloaded to help senior visitors become well oriented to the city. Downtown may be where you want to start your stroll around Beloit. It hosts over 40 days of events a year, from a summer lunchtime concert series to an ArtWalk featuring more than 100 artists.

Check out the Buzz in Beloit, a video that provides an overview of the many activities  in town. Beckman Mill is a major drawing card in Beloit in a 50-acre county park where senior visitors can view an authentically restored 1868 grist mill, a saw mill display, 1840s cooperage, a visitor center, gift shop, creamery, blacksmith shop, picnic shelter, vintage garden and nature trail.

The Beloit Snappers, an Oakland A’s minor league baseball team, represents what’s good about minor league baseball. The Logan Museum of Anthropology, dating back to 1893, has been a teaching museum of Beloit College focusing on the world’s cultures. Drop by the world’s largest angel collection at Angel Museum with over 11,000 angels and angel artifacts on exhibit.

 Senior travelers,  stop in Beloit and enjoy another great main street city.  jeb



Seniors Enjoy Historic Woodstock

woodstock_sign7553Woodstock is another of those Greatest Mainstreets awards from Travel & Leisure. Named after Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England and first settled in 1768 by James Sanderson and his family, Woodstock, Vermont is the quintessential New England Village. It is also a thriving Vermont resort community where, in 1824, Alvin Adams first established the railroad express line, later to become known as the Railway Express.

Senior travelers, the town is one of New England’s premier four season vacation destinations. I am always on the lookout for more National Historic Landmarks and The Billings Farm and Museum falls into that category with its restored 1890 farmhouse. The site honors Vermont’s rich agricultural past. Much of the village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Senior visitors find that Gillingham & Sons, one of the oldest general stores in Vermont, is one of their favorite places to visit. To quench your appetite, try Bentley’s and The Mountain Creamery that are a couple Woodstock favorites.

Senior Visitors Find 400 Year Old Trees

Enjoy the 400-year-old hemlock trees at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Woodstock Town Hall Theatre has seen continuous use since its construction in 1900 as the Woodstock Opera House. The First Congregational Church on Elm Street in Woodstock was dedicated in 1808. It is well worth a peek inside.

It is suggested that the best way to get a feel for the village is to take a stroll along Elm and Central streets, browse the shops and galleries, and then walk across the covered bridge that spans the Ottauquechee River. That bridge is smack in the center of town and surrounded by restored Georgian, Federal Style and Greek Revival homes.


And how about a good hike? It starts in Faulkner Park and is perfect for senior hikers with the switchbacks easy to traverse and make the climb just plain fun.

Called ‘The Prettiest Small Town”…

Described by Ladies Home Journal magazine as “The Prettiest Small Town in America”, it is a visual treat with tree lined streets, perennials and annual flowers everywhere the eye can see. The Village curves around the beautiful Outtaquechee River.

Senior visitors enjoy exploring the small shops, art galleries, country stores and learning about the local legends. The Boston Globe describes Woodstock as “Almost ridiculously pretty.”


The Woodstock History Center houses a large collection of antique furniture, fine art, clothing, textiles, silver, ceramics, photographs, and early American toys.

The Dana House, the History Center’s Museum, was built in 1807 for village merchant Charles Dana. In 1943 it was sold by the Dana family and turned into a museum.

So when you are in Vermont, don’t miss the quintessential New England Village and The Prettiest Small Town in America. Try to top that for a small town honor, huh?  jeb


Seniors Cool Off In Bath


Bath, historically known as “City of Ships”, more recently has a new tag,  Maine’s “Cool Little City.” Big enough to be a commercial and cultural hub and compact enough to be intimate and walkable, Bath is friendly, and a senior visitor’s paradise.

Bath is a port of entry with a good harbor formed by the Kennebec River estuary. The Abenaki Indians called the area Sagadahoc, meaning “mouth of big river.” Most of Bath, Maine was settled by travelers from Bath, England, thus the name.

Folks come from all over the nation to take in Bath’s historic waterfront downtown shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants on pedestrian-friendly Front and Centre Streets. Many senior visitors choose to learn about ship-building history at the Maine Maritime Museum.


Ranked one of the “Ten Best” maritime museums in the world and located on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River, the museum features its own working shipyard complete with boat-building demonstrations and guided kayak or lighthouse tours. Bath is a World Heritage Site.

History and Architecture Draw Senior Visitors

With a plethora of 19th century architecture, visitors enjoy the many outstanding old buildings. Senior travelers will find a conglomeration of Federal, Greek Revival an Italianate architecture, including the 1858 Custom House and Post Office. The more modern Sagadahoc Bridge is an architectural marvel as well.

Not far away is a famous lighthouse on Seguin Island off the mouth of the Kennebec River. Seguin has the tallest lighthouse in Maine and one of the oldest in the United States. It is a fully functional and one of Maine’s most memorable places. Its Fresnel lens is 12 feet tall and beams out 20 miles.


The Bath of today is down-to-earth, unpretentious and features an eclectic mix of historic houses and buildings bordering the river. Front Street, which parallels the river, was named one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association.

The city, 12 miles from the Gulf of Maine, has a shipbuilding heritage that began in 1743 and continues today. In 1841, the 1,133-ton Rappahannock, then the largest vessel in the world, was built by Bath’s Sewall shipyard. By 1857, Bath was the 5th-largest shipbuilding port in the country in registered tonnage.

Senior Visitors Enjoy A “Greatest Main Street” Town


The Chocolate Church Arts Center is midcoast Maine’s regional performing and visual arts center.  Senior travelers will find plenty of choices for places to bed down in Bath including the Benjamin F. Packard House, offering four guest rooms that reflect the life of an 18th-century shipbuilder. The Galen C. Moses House is an 1874 Italianate Victorian and is painted salmon pink.

America has a long listing of “Greatest Main Streets” and Bath fits right in. Explore Front Street, with its brick buildings and an outpost of Reny’s, a small discount department store chain that’s a throwback to an earlier era.

The Boston Globe notes that…Bath is only a half a tank north of Boston. jeb


Seniors Pull Out Your Sleeping Bags

15 - hot springs national park_flickr_lance_mountain

Grab your coffee, senior friends and let’s think about sleeping under the stars in a tent…or no tent! I just came across a neat site from The Active Times that highlights 16 spectacular National Park campgrounds.

Our national parks offer access to some of the nation’s most scenic and stunning landscapes, which makes each the perfect backdrop for a picturesque camping trip.

Not that other campsites across the country aren’t worthy of visits from overnight adventurers, but when it comes to a truly memorable camping experience, what could compare to a night spent watching the sunset amidst tremendous rock formations in the California desert? Or waking up to a beachside sunrise shaded by palm trees?

These Seniors Have Great Camping Memories

13-joshuatree-flickr_Howie Muzika

Senior campers, are you in? I hope so. My wife and I along with our 3 children spent countless hours camping all over the US and Canada.  Each of our kids still enjoy camping and I am sure that the initial experiences we shared over all those years contributed to their interest today as campers.

Our national parks are so diverse that each has something to offer for every type of camping personality. Sleep directly under the stars or seek the shelter of a rustic log cabin. Pitch your tent among magnificent mountain ranges or set up sleeping bags on the beach.

We pitched our tent along the Flathead River near Glacier National Park in Montana. I have to admit that we got soaked a few times even in our tent and later our small camper was threatened with terrible windstorms. We lived through it all and cherish every memory.

5-glacier-flickr_Paul Weimer

National Parks Draw Senior Visitors

A road trip with National Parks in mind sounds like a neat idea. Great sunsets, rare wildlife encounters, alluring rock formations, 5,000 year old pines, cave formations, park amphitheaters, shady trees, serene surroundings, great camp stores, fishing, kayaking, swimming.

Take your bikes along and your hiking shoes and check out the hiking trails across the country.  A great way to get better acquainted with this great country we live in…get acquainted with our National Parks.

Jim and Jeannine Becker


Red Lodge: The Gateway To The Park


All senior travelers need to do is follow Beartooth Highway that will lead you right into Yellowstone Park via Red Lodge, Montana (pop. 2,500+). Visitors experience true western hospitality in a quaint, historic, mountain town.

Folks claim that Red Lodge is a place not only of extraordinary beauty, but where real smiles, genuine warmth and a welcoming, Western-style hospitality greet you at every turn. Red Lodge is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities like skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking.

Seniors Travel Scenic Drive


Red Lodge was originally a coal boomtown with as many as 22 mines in Carbon County including Bearcreek’s Smith Mine, site of Montana’s Worst Mining disaster in 1943. The town features historic downtown Red Lodge.

Nearby, the 69-mile Beartooth Scenic Drive has a series of dramatic switchbacks overlooking snow-capped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. CBS news correspondent Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Pass the most scenic drive in America.

On September 17, 1851, the United States government signed a treaty with the Crow Nation, ceding the area which now contains Red Lodge to the Crow Indians. Rich coal deposits were found there in 1866, and gold was discovered nearby in 1870. An 1880 treaty between the U.S. government and the Crow allowed the area to be settled starting April 11, 1882

 Eleven Million Acres Of Wilderness Draws Seniors

JMACS_RedLodge3The Pollard is a magnificently restored old town building in the heart of Red Lodge, where senior visitors enjoy traditional mountain hospitality and a number of top-quality hotel luxuries.

Naturalist and author Gary Ferguson was drawn to Red Lodge years ago by the 11 million acres of wilderness that surround it, the Greater Yellowstone territory he calls “the last great temperate, wild ecosystem.” He says he likes living in a place where residents aren’t alarmed if a black bear takes refuge in a neighbor’s apple tree.

For senior hikers, their are numerous trails, both for day hiking and overnight backpacking, beginning at the base of the mountains and along the Beartooth Highway. The Red Lodge area has some great day hikes and extended backpacking trails for all ages allowing senior hikers to enjoy Big Sky Country at its finest.

And wow…for a small town, Red Lodge is loaded with festivities that bring in visitors from all over the world:  The Winter Carnival at the end of February, National Ski-Joring Finals in March; In April, a popular triathlon called the Peaks to Prairie; the Red Lodge Music Festival and the Annual Beartooth Run in June; the Home of Champions Parade and Rodeo, the Beartooth Rally, the Montana State Old-Time Fiddlers Contest, the Fat Tire Frenzy and the Red Lodge Mountain Man Rendezvous  in July; the Festival of Nations in August plus many more concerts and activities.

Seniors, you just can’t go wrong spending some quality time in Red Lodge. jeb

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