Seniors Check Out The Cook Islands


Senior friends, get your coffee, we’re headed for the South Pacific today. The Cook Islands is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometers.

“The fifteen islands of the Cooks are located halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii in the South Pacific, scattered like fragrant flower petals floating across 2.2 million square kilometers of a seductive, sensual ocean.” Many visitors call it the “Secret of the Pacific.”


Senior visitors will discover that the Cooks are a mix of coral atolls and volcanic islands – a good few of the nine Southern islands of the Cooks could be listed as “must see before I die”…

an idyllic climate, stunning scenery, beautiful azure waters and warm-hearted inhabitants who seek a laid-back way of life and where the word “hurry” makes little sense.

Seniors Learn More Polynesian History


As per usual in the Pacific Islands, there is a Polynesian history and Cook Islanders are no exception. The locals regard themselves first and foremost as true Polynesians connecting directly back to the finest seafarers of the vast Pacific.

Their sophisticated navigation took them fearlessly through vast ocean tracts in search of new lands, and they found these islands.

Captain James Cook, the great explorer who, on the orders of his country was voyaging the South Pacific for possible land acquisition, in 1773, sighted the Cooks, and thus the name.

Cook named the islands the Hervey Islands. The name “Cook Islands”, in honor of Cook, appeared on a Russian naval chart published in the 1820s. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888.

Seniors Find Themselves In The Center Of Polynesia


Positioned at the very center of Polynesia, the Islands stretch out in a scattering of 2 million square kilometers. The Polynesians arrived in Rarotonga, the largest island, around 800 AD. These ancient voyagers had set sail from Tupua’i, now French Polynesia.

Lonely Planet notes that the islands are scattered over a vast expanse of empty ocean the size of Western Europe. The tiny Cook Islands are a castaway’s dream come true. If you’ve ever fantasized about escaping to a remote desert island, far from the hustle and hum of the modern world, then look no further than these 15 fascinating islands.


Senior visitors will find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the South Pacific.

The jewel in the crown is Rarotonga, the largest island – a bewitching blend of craggy mountains, dense jungle and glorious bone-white beaches – but you are advised to get out and explore some of the other islands as well.

Seniors will find adventure, water activities and a life-style that can not be matched stateside. jeb


And Seniors Stop In Wentzville


Wentzville is the fastest growing city in the state of Missouri, according to the 2010 Census, with an increase in population of 322%. Called “The Crossroads of the Nation”, senior travelers will find Wentzville at the intersection of Interstates 70 and 64.

Its history goes back to 1855 when it was founded as a depot on the Northern Missouri Railroad. The city gets it name from Erasmus Livingston Wentz, a railroad engineer for the line, just like my hometown in Monmouth, Iowa, named after a RR engineer.


Loaded all year long with things for seniors to see and do, the most popular includes the 4th of July festivities, Concerts and Movies in the Park, the Soapbox Derby, and the Holiday Night Lights driving tour of Rotary Park. Other local events are Wabash Days, a downtown street festival held in August, and the Annual Christmas Parade.

Senior Oenophiles And History Buffs Enjoy…

For you oenophiles, that’s French for wine enthusiasts, Wentzville is located just 20 minutes from some fine wineries in Augusta, MO. A General Motors assembly plant is Wentzville’s major employer.

For senior history buffs, plan a visit Daniel Boone’s home in Defiance or go over to St. Charles where you can see the Lewis and Clark Boathouse. If you enjoy a county fair, take in the Charles County Fair, the St. Louis Pirate Festival and the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire. They are all sure to please.


The Wentzville Flea Market is open every Sunday, with the exception of Easter Sunday, is home to over 400 vendor spaces and opens early at 6 am. It draws in not only many of the locals but folks from all across the country in search of quality antiques and a wide variety of produce. Did you enjoy that video as much as I did?

Seniors, Do You Like Flea Markets?

The Wentzville Community Club is a highly active group that is responsible for not only the Flea Market, but some hotly contested bingo games as well. The more I researched Wentzville, the more I learned just how big and important the Flea Market is to the area. Reminds me of the Marché aux Puces (flea market) just north of Paris that is said to be Europe’s largest. That one is larger, but same idea with Wentzville’s 400 vendors. That’s quite large for community that size.


I thought it neat that TripAdvisor has been to Wentzville and has several suggested things for senior visitors to take in that includes Quail Ridge park and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. They further suggest that you consider filling your plate at the Tattooed Dog and several other quality restaurants in town.

The next time my wife and I pass through Missouri, we plan to stop in Wentzville and check out the city for ourselves. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy A Top Ten Best Small Town


I read recently that Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator, spent his formative years in Butler, PA. Santorum is just one of a bunch of notable people who have been connected to Butler over the years. So this senior just had to go to Butler , located in Butler County, and check out the town of Butler.

Butler was rated by Smithsonian Magazine one of the top ten best small towns in America. Only 35 miles north of Pittsburg, and home to 14,000 residents, Butler has been home to industry and family owned businesses for more than 200 years, marking its place in history.


The birthplace of the Bantam Jeep, oil refining roots, railroad car manufacturing, headquarters of Westinghouse Nuclear, Butler County is the industrial hub of the area and Butler is right in the middle of things.

Seniors Discover A Main Street Community

The downtown shopping and restaurant district in Butler is a thriving, nationally accredited Main Street community. As the county seat, Butler is also the hub of government and commercial activity.  Butler truly provides residents with metropolitan living and small town convenience. It is conveniently close to the city of Pittsburgh and enjoys world-class education, medicine, arts and sports,

Butler_County_Courthouse,_Butler This brief history of Butler can bring you up to date on how it has thrived so well over the years. Butler got its name from Major General Richard Butler, who fell at the 1791 Battle of Wabash. Ever heard of that battle? Me either.

TripAdvisor suggests that senior visitors stop in at Cummings Coffee & Candy, the oldest business in town, then trip over to the Maridon Museum with its Chinese artwork.

Take in the Butler County Symphony Orchestra, Pullman Park and a baseball game and Willow Run Stable is close by for a fun horseback ride.

Seniors Find An Active And Historical Town

Butler is quite an active town with a Road Race, the historic Butler Little Theater and a Fall Festival in September that features car shows, all kinds of ethnic foods, and lots of items from various cultures.


Then you will find that the locals enjoy basketball with the Butler BlueSox, football with the Butler County Bears, and Softball and Sports Leagues. Senior visitors will also discover a town that is loaded with history.

The Butler County Historical Society operates several museums that depict life in Butler County. The Society preserves Butler County’s rich heritage through four historic sites: Butler County Heritage Center, Cooper Cabin Pioneer Homestead, Little Red School House and Lowrie/Shaw House.

Seniors, set your GPS for Butler and enjoy getting to know the town.  -jeb


Seniors Flock North To California’s Capitol

sacramento-ca-skyline Senior visitors are invited to California’s capital, Sacramento , population 480,000, about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco. Sacramento sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers in the northern tip of California’s expansive Central Valley.

Even though the capital is in the northern portion of the state, it is said that “California Begins Here.” Today it features trendy downtown nightclubs and nine shopping malls, historic attractions, over 30 galleries, museums and theaters, that help make it interesting and keep its storied past alive.


Others call Sacramento America’s Farm to Fork Capital. No other major city in America is more centrally located amid such a diverse range of high-quality farms, ranches and vineyards. Award-winning chefs and restaurants provide the perfect complement.

Senior Visitors Enjoy Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento is a 28-acre historic riverfront district with more than 125 boutique shops, restaurants and attractions. The State Capitol building is beautiful and the accompanying Capitol Park is alive with California’s colorful political past and historic achievements.


Built in 1869, the Capitol  with its white domed top, features an interior filled with mosaic floors, stained glass windows, mural-covered walls and a 100-foot rotunda within a double-domed ceiling. I have seen many state capitol buildings, but this one stands above the rest.

Sacramento was founded in 1850 by gold rushers. Sutter’s Fort is the last remaining structure from the days before the Gold Rush. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is the original site where gold was discovered and can still be found. The Fort was built by John Sutter, the famed Swiss immigrant who jumpstarted California’s Gold Rush.

Senior Oenophiles, Take Note…


And for senior oenophiles, the region all around Sacramento is home to one of California’s oldest wine-producing areas. There are over 200 wineries in the region with most offering free tastings and access to the wine-making process and the winemakers.

Senior travelers can make a day of sampling and visiting some scenic vineyards. Bring along your hiking boots and a bike as you will discover the American River Parkway to be a biking/walking trail surrounded by natural, protected habitats, scenic bridges, acres of parks, fishing spots, kayaking and tubing areas.

The city offers 18 different tours: underground Sacramento, river tours, food tours, sailing tours, wine tours and more. Senior visitors quickly discover that Sacramento means History, Character and Lifestyle .


Folks with an interest in trains might enjoy the Railroad Museum’s huge collection of antique locomotives. The Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Park, the Governor’s Mansion, the Zoo and Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament are additional must see attractions.

Put this exciting city on your travel bucket list and spend time in northern California and Sacramento. You will find a joyful bunch of amenities for folks of all ages. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy Knoxville

knoxvillecityguide Knoxville was the first capital of Tennessee before it was moved to Nashville, this senior learned. With a population of around 185,000 it is the state’s third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. First settled in 1786,  Knoxville was named after Henry Knox, President Washington’s War Secretary.

Knoxville , a major center of marble distribution in the early 1900s, earned its nickname “The Marble City.” In 1901, Kid Curry, a member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, shot up a couple of deputies and escaped out the back window of a business on Central Avenue in what is now the Old City.


A fellow by the name of Abishai Thomas visited Knoxville in 1794 and wrote that, while he was impressed by the town’s modern frame buildings, the town had “seven taverns” and no church. That has changed significantly.

Seniors Find A City Of Historic Places

Knoxville is situated at the crossroads of three major interstates, I-75, I-40 and I-81 and seven lakes surround Knoxville: Cherokee, Douglas, Ft. Loudon, Melton Hill, Norris, Watts Bar and Tellico.

Knoxville is the home of the University of Tennessee, whose sports teams, called the “Volunteers” or “Vols,” are extremely popular in the surrounding area. Perhaps you already know of the bright orange colors of the university.


Many senior visitors come to town just to visit the Vols beautiful Neyland Stadium sports complex with a seating capacity of 102,455. The city is loaded with sites on the National Register of Historic Places. I counted over thirty of them.

Seniors Enjoy The Festivals And Events

Knoxville is home to the headquarters of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority.) In 1933 during the Great Depression, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was founded by the U.S. Government to help create jobs, attract manufacturing, and provide electricity for all.


The TVA provides  navigation, flood control, electricity generation and economic development to the Knoxville area and includes parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and portions of other surrounding states.

And my oh my, does Knoxville ever have the festivals and events. I have written dozens of these travel blogs for seniors, I don’t think that I have ever noted this many in just one city.

If you are “into history” consider a visit to one of the oldest artificial structures in Knoxville, a burial mound constructed during what is called the early Mississippian Culture period (c. A.D. 1000-1400). The earthwork mound is now surrounded by the University of Tennessee campus.

So when you set your GPS, be sure to get it right. The City of Knoxville shares its name with Knoxville, Georgia – Knoxville, Iowa – Knoxville, Maryland – Knoxville, Pennsylvania – and New Knoxville, Ohio. -jeb


Seniors Take In The Sounds of Music City


Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, “Music City” , and home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry” stage and radio show. Known as “country’s most famous stage,” what began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live-entertainment phenomenon that many seniors enjoy.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and historic Ryman Auditorium are downtown, along with the District which is packed with legendary honky-tonks and dance halls.

The city is named after Francis Nash, an American Revolutionary War hero. There’s a lot of history in Nashville: settled on Christmas Day in 1779, Tennessee became a state later in 1796. The city became the Tennessee state capital from 1812-1815 and then permanently in 1843.

Seniors Find a City of Culture and Natural Beauty


Nashville is the second largest city in Tennessee, after Memphis, and is the fourth largest city in the Southeastern United States. Senior travelers will find Nashville on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of the state.

Tennessee gets some ancient influence in Centennial Park, where inside of the full-scale model of the Parthenon you’ll be awestruck by the gigantic statue of Athena. Three days in Nashville may be just what the doctor ordered.

Senior visitors will soon discover that there is more to Music City than the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a city of culture and history, haute cuisine, pro sports, outstanding academics, natural beauty and pure Southern charm.


Bring along your a best appetite and demanding palate. Located in a beautiful Victorian 1880s home in historic Germantown, Monell’s offers an all-you-can-eat spread. Long wooden tables seat up to a dozen people, making for a family-style dining experience. It’s a Nashville tradition.

Seniors Experience Nashville’s Variety

The local Chamber of Commerce notes that with live music of every genre being performed any night of the week, more than 180 recording studios, and some 5,000 working musicians, Nashville is known the world over as Music City.


But it’s not the only claim to fame. Nashville has two major-league sports teams, an extensive park system, and the Ryman Auditorium, built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 by Captain Tom G. Ryman. It is one of the most famous music venues in the country.

The Hermitage the home of Old Hickory, former President Andrew Jackson is well worth a visit. The Parthenon in Centennial Park, a replica of the temple in Greece, houses timeless artwork and the grounds surrounding it are magnificent in the spring and summer.

Outside the city, homes like the Carton, Belle Meade and Carter House Plantations offer historical tours and make for an informative day trip. I just know that my wife and I would point our car to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden with lunch in the Pineapple Room.

Seniors, experience Nashville for yourself. It’s a great city. -jeb


Seniors Enjoy Strolling in Petoskey

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Do you have your coffee, senior friends, we’re going to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula this morning.

Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay in the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula seniors will find Petoskey , a quaint resort community with unmatched beauty and charm.

The name “Petoskey” means “ where the light shines through the clouds ” in the language of the Odawa Indians.  Known for its inland lakes, rolling hills and wooded terrain, Petoskey has been a destination for resorters for more than 100 years.

Discover an area in and around Petoskey that’s been called “A Michigan Treasure.” The Petoskey Stone is a beautiful fossil stone taken from coral that lived approximately 350 million years ago in a sea that once covered Michigan.

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Not large, 6,000+, but with a ton of amenities, Petoskey is a coastal resort town that runs along eight miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It is nestled along Little Traverse Bay and is steeped in history, scenic beauty and an area that is an outdoor enthusiasts dream.

In the warmer months visitors enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities. Lake Michigan and the surrounding 38-mile inland waterway provide endless entertainment for anglers and boating aficionados.

Petoskey joins 19 other cities with populations of 15,000 or less that have excellent museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural gems.

Historic Gaslight District Draws Seniors

4th of july

Victorian architecture and the historic Gaslight Shopping District have held a magnetic appeal to senior visitors for generations. A shopping area for more than 100 years, this district is bursting with independent shops, boutiques, and galleries. Downtown Petoskey is one of the most treasured downtowns in the US.

Nestled on the shores of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, residents and senior tourists alike enjoy over 170 unique shops and fine restaurants in the famous Gaslight Shopping District.

The downtown area of Petoskey serves as a hub for resorters from Bay Harbor, Bay View, Harbor Springs, Walloon Lake and the surrounding Emmet County region. Downtown also features great views of Little Traverse Bay, fine dining, and streets lined with historic gas lights.

It’s a historical fact that Ernest Hemingway spent the first 18 summers of his life sailing and fishing on nearby Walloon Lake, and the area features prominently in several of his stories.Pick up a brochure that will take you on tour of Hemingway’s Michigan.

History buffs love the varied historic architecture of Petoskey and its neighbor, the Bay View Association, an area so unique that the entire community has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

The Odawa Casino is in town with nearly 1,200 slots, dozens of table games and a poker room. Golfers will enjoy playing on any one of the numerous championship courses in town.

So pack your bags, head to northern Michigan and enjoy Petoskey and Little Traverse Bay.  It will be a fun visit. jeb


Seniors Stop In Furniture City

images Hickory is a city located primarily in Catawba County, North Carolina, with parts in adjoining Burke and Caldwell counties. The estimated population is 40,000+. Senior visitors will find Hickory one great place to check out furniture. We did anyway on our trip through North Carolina.

The name alone radiates with wood and furniture.  “In the 1850s, under a huge hickory  tree, Henry Robinson built a tavern of logs. The city of Hickory Tavern was established in 1863, and the name was eventually changed to Hickory in 1873″. The city is very famous for some of the finest names in furniture.


Yes, Hickory is known across the world for its quality hand-crafted furniture, designed by artists and built by craftsman from the Hickory Metro. Hickory is home to one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in the United States that is still located and operated on the original site.

Hickory White, formerly known as Hickory Manufacturing Company, was built in 1902 and has been in continuous operation ever since. It is estimated 60% of the nation’s furniture used to be produced within a 200-mile (320 km) radius of Hickory. Forty percent of the world’s fiber optic cable is made in the Hickory area.

Historical Furniture Construction


There is lots of history for furniture construction in and around Hickory. For more than 110 years the furniture industry has been a major employer in the Hickory Metro and local furniture companies are growing. Their reputations are built on quality furniture that can be passed from generation to generation.

Local manufacturers are adapting with the latest technology that allows them to customize orders for customers. “The Furniture. Well Crafted, hands-on exhibit at Catawba Science Center is about our community” said Alan Barnhardt, Catawba Science Center Executive Director.

“It begins with the history of furniture manufacturing in our area, then senior visitors can learn about modernized technology utilized in furniture making today.” It’s where senior visitors will want to start their visit to Hickory.


Seniors Enjoy An All American City

And sports. Hickory is home to the Hickory Crawdads, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. It is also home to the Hickory Motor Speedway, nationally known as the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.

If you know anything about All-American Cities, Hickory has been named an “All-American City” three times. What an honor! The Award is given annually to only ten cities in the United States. Reader’s Digest selected Hickory as  the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the United States.

Visit Hickory, senior travelers and see for yourself how and why it so outstanding. jeb


Seniors Enjoy This State Capital

images “The secret is out. Everyone who visits Austin these days leaves with something great to say .” These seniors drove through downtown Austin to check it out and we remember well the state capital building as well as the University of Texas campus. Both were awesome.

Austin was named in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state. Maybe you already knew that.

Austin, on the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country along the Colorado River, is not only the state capital, but lays claim to being the “live music capital of the world.” It’s also a center for film, and home to the Formula 1′s Circuit of the Americas raceway.


Its abundant parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor pursuits. TripAdvisor rates the State Capital Building #1. Senior visitors will see why when you get up close. It features a gorgeous whispering gallery rotunda and 22 acres of scenic grounds.

Seniors Appreciate Sightseeing Tours

A great means to get acquainted with Austin is to take one of ten sightseeing tours available. Saves a lot of walking, plus you will see the highlights of the city.  How about 46 museums to consider and some great nightlife, theaters, parks and sports events?

Seniors, roll up your blue jeans, pull up your Justin cowboy boots, adjust that new shiny silver belt buckle and welcome to Austin, home to nearly 900,000. It’s the 11th-most populous city in the United States and fourth-most populous city in the state.


The capital of Texas attracts a number of young, talented university students, which has prompted a good-natured culture war between the newcomers and the city’s longtime residents.

Every year thousands of hipsters, groupies, and die-hard fans and folks just like you and me flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival, which has catapulted the Texas city up the must-visit charts for many visitors.

“Do Your Thing” In Austin, Seniors


Frommer’s on Austin: ”… prides itself on giving all comers a warm welcome: punks and honky-tonkers, environmentalists and SUV drivers, cowboy boots and Birkenstocks…Austin maintains its small-town feel and green spaces. Whether you’re looking for posh shopping or line dancing, you’re welcome to “”do your thing”” in Austin.”

Fodor’s adds that “Austin is a boomtown of culture and creativity. It’s a hub for music, comedy, and filmmaking, as well as a favorite foodie destination. It has also been one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and the tech boom continues to turn the city into Texas’s answer to Silicon Valley…”

Plan a visit now. Seniors, enjoy all that this capital city has to offer. - jeb


Seniors Like The Scenic And The Natural


The City of Manitou Springs, Colorado is known for its scenic setting and natural healing mineral springs. Founded in 1872, it was first intended to be a “scenic health resort” then four years later, the town was incorporated (the same year Colorado became a state). Senior visitors meet approximately 5,000 residents who are located on the western edge of an urban area of over 500,000 people that includes Colorado Springs five miles to the east.

Manitou Springs was founded by Englishman Dr. William Bell and his business partner General William Palmer as both a scenic site and a health resort. “Manitou”, a Native American word for “ great spirit” , well describes this beautiful mountain community.

The eight naturally carbonated mineral spring fountains are located throughout this historic town. Many of these mineral springs still function today and the water is free. The Ute, Cheyenne and other Native Americans considered this area sacred for the healing springs and clean mountain air.


Senior Nature Lovers And Culture Hounds, Take Note

Many people over the years have found the magical waters to be both soothing and healing. US News Travel notes that the area beckons to two specific types of travelers: nature lovers and culture hounds .

Throughout the year, senior citizens grab their hiking boots and cameras to explore natural sights. The Springs is a National Historic District and remains a charming hippie-era haven filled with art galleries, funky boutiques and outdoor cafes.

Manitou Springs thrives as a popular tourist destination with its scenic landscapes, cool mountain air, healing mineral springs, hiking trails, year-round activities, and welcoming spirit. In fact, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy.

Senior visitors will want to see Colorado’s most popular free park the Garden of the Gods, as well as the Cog Railway, Cave of the Winds, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Miramont Castle, and the breath-taking Seven Falls.

Seniors Enjoy Artist’s Mecca


Manitou Springs is an artist’s mecca and abounds in world class art, music, theater and sidewalk sculpture displays. Shops, art galleries, museums, and restaurants line the downtown main street, and lodging ranges from historic B&Bs to elegant hotels.

Senior visitors, don’t miss the Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered one of the country’s largest National Historic Districts. Plan to stay for a few days in one of the pleasing hotels and B&Bs. If you enjoy camping, RV parks and campgrounds are nearby.

The local Chamber of Commerce suggests that visitors make Manitou Springs their “Base Camp” and enjoy all of the many attractions and activities the area has to offer. jeb

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