Seniors Visit El Escorial

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For some reason, this senior put El Escorial on the desktop screen of my computer. So one day I took a closer look at the site and was I ever impressed with what I saw.

It was something very special. Do you have your coffee?  We’re going to Spain this morning.

I discovered that the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known as El Escorial, is a historical residence of the King of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, some 35 miles northwest of the capital, Madrid. The Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most visited landmarks.

El Escorial

The building is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance.

Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584. The Escurial Monastery stands in an exceptionally beautiful site in Castile.

Seniors Find a Monastery, A Church And A Royal Palace


Its austere architecture, a break with previous styles, had a considerable influence on Spanish architecture for more than half a century.

It was the retreat of a mystic king and became, in the last years of Philip II’s reign, the centre of the greatest political power of the time.


Within the monastery’s massive volume, there is an ensemble of different buildings: the monastery, the church, the royal palace, the school, the seminary, and the royal library, brilliantly organized around eleven main courtyards and three service courtyards.

It is said that the design is similar to that of the grill, the instrument used for St Lawrence’s martyrdom.

Its accessibility and connection to Madrid have turned it into a tourist destination for the Madrid residents as well as senior visitors that feel attracted by the patrimonial, cultural and natural attractions of the city.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

16482 notes that El Escorial is “Simplicity in the construction, severity in the whole, nobility without arrogance, majesty without ostentation.” That statement says it all to me from what I have observed writing this blog.

In the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, it was built as a monument to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French in the battle of Saint Quentin on 10 August 1557 (feast day of St. Lawrence).


El Escorial Monastery was the largest building in the world (about 675 by 528 feet/206 by 161 meters), for a period of time, a great rectangle of three parts, the center being occupied by the church.

So on your visit to Spain and Madrid in particular, senior travelers, plan to spend some times at El Escorial.  Bring along some extra memory chips for your camera, it is that kind of structure.  Enjoy. -jeb


Senior Gather in Morristown


Senior travelers will find Morristown, Tennessee, in Hamblen county, 39 miles northeast of Knoxville and 139 miles southeast of Lexington, with a population of 29,000.


Morristown is named after Gideon Morris, the first European settler in the area. Originally the land of the Cherokee Tribe, the area was first settled in the late 1700’s by settlers of Scotch-Irish and German descent who moved into the region from Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

In the middle of the 20th century the community evolved from an agricultural based economy to a manufacturing based economy, producing a wide range of products such as textiles and furniture to automotive parts and high tech plastics.

 Seniors Visit The Davy Crockett Museum


Senior visitors enjoy outings at the nearby Fun Mountain Amusement Park, Ober Gatlinburg and Dollywood. Toss in your clubs and play a round at the Milestone Golf Club.

Nearby institutions of higher education include Walters State Community College, Tennessee Technology Center and the Morristown School of Business.

Cherokee Park is a 178 acre public park on the banks of Cherokee Lake complete with scenic mountain views. Beautiful Cherokee Lake covers 30,300 acres and is 59 miles long with 463 miles of shoreline.


I’d want to be sure and visit the Davy Crockett Museum that was constructed on the site of the boyhood home of Davy Crockett who grew up in and around Morristown. The museum is a reconstruction of the 1790′s John Crockett Tavern.


Seniors Enjoy The Historic Crossroads District

Senior visitors might also enjoy the Glenmore Mansion and the Museum of East Tennessee History. The Rose Centre, the community cultural center and named after a Civil War Hero, is located in Morristown’s first coeducational public high school built in 1892.

ten1C34B1F34A65FA229The historic Crossroads District is home to specialty and antique shops, restaurants, gift shops, a bakery, service businesses and much more.

TripAdvisor wants senior visitors to know about Panther Creek State Park and Briarwood Auto Safari, home of Briarwood Ranch, featuring animals from around the world.

Plan a visit to Morristown and find out for yourself how the locals overflow with southern hospitality and feature a tantalizing array of southern cuisine appealing to your palate. -jeb


Seniors Stop In Nocona

250px-Nocona_welcome_signNocona is a city along U.S. Highway 82 and State Highway 175 in Montague County, Texas. The population runs right at 3,000, so it is small, but senior visitors will find it worth a stop.

The city, its lake, and its resurgence as a regional travel destination were featured in the June 2012 edition of Texas Highways magazine.

The city is named for Peta Nocona, a Comanche chief. The area was first known to white settlers as the last stop in Texas before crossing the Red River on the Chisolm Trail.


It was founded in 1887 along a particular bend in the Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railway line, which soon became part of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, connecting Gainesville and Henrietta, and later Wichita Falls.

Nocona assumed the role of economic and industrial center of northern Montague County, and many older towns in the area, bypassed by the railroad, shuttered and its citizens moved to Nocona.

 Seniors Find Lake Nocona


The “North Field”, an oil field between Nocona and the Red River, contributed to Nocona’s economy for much of the 20th century and continues to do so on a small scale.

Lake Nocona or Farmer’s Creek Reservoir is approximately 10 miles north of the city. It is a highly popular recreational lake with folks  from across north central Texas offering many recreational opportunities! Three public parks are scattered around the shores of Lake Nocona: Weldon Robb Park, Joe Benton Park and Boone Park.


On Lake Nocona senior visitors will find Nocona Hills, an attractive gated lakeside “city” with many homes, a hotel, golf course, landing strip, and other amenities. Nocona is also home to  one of the finest city parks in all of Texas.

Seniors Also Find Nocona Boots

Seniors, while you are in Nocona, pick yourself up a handsome pair or two of the famed Nocona Boots. In 1925, Nocona Boots was founded by Enid Justin, the daughter of Justin Boots founder H.J. “Joe” Justin, in Nocona, Texas. Enid’s goal was to carry on her father’s tradition of making quality western boots in the town he loved.


Mr. Justin, or “Daddy Joe,” was a perfectionist with every detail of his handcraft. In 1879, he started his tradition of fine boot-making in Spanish Fort, Texas. His cowboy customers could order custom-fit boots that were ready to pick up after their return from cattle drives.

One of Nocona’s more notable residents was “Jackrabbit” Jack Crain: 1939, 1941 All Southwest Conference and two-time All-American Halfback, Texas legend, and the man who saved Texas Longhorns football team in 1939.

Mr. Crain also served four terms as a Texas state representative. Nocona’s high school football stadium is named for him. An account of the game that changed Texas football is at Mack Brown’s Texas Football, and believe me, football is BIG in Texas.

Seniors, set your GPS for Nocona and enjoy Texas hospitality. -jeb


Seniors Drop By Opelika


My wife just commented to me that our country has an abundance of smaller communities that are simply great places for seniors to enjoy as we travel. Opelika is a prime example.

The seat of Lee County in the east central part of the State of Alabama, Opelika is the principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area.  According to the 2013 Census Estimate, the population of Opelika was 28,635. Now we are off to explore “Large Swamp, AL.”  What’s this? Keep reading and you will find out.


Let’s look into the name…Opelika, Alabama. This word was taken from the Muskogee language meaning “large swamp”. Settlement was sporadic until the late 1840s, when the railroad reached the town. This stimulated development of Opelika as a commercial center and it was incorporated later on February 9, 1854.

 Seniors Hike The Azalea and Dogwood Trail

Senior visitors can enjoy the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, the place where, during World War II, African American men were trained to become military pilots.


The city is also home to the world-famous Grand National Golf Course. Golfers can also visit the Beaver Creek Golf Course, Moore’s Mill Golf Club, and Pin Oaks Golf Club, and Saugahatchee Country Club.

The Chewacla State Park, spreads across 696 acres of land. Another place worth visiting in Opelika is the Azalea and Dogwood Trail. Following this trail, created by Nature itself, senior hikers can enjoy the numerous hues of the Southern Azaleas and Dogwood trees.

Seniors Enjoy Opelike Historic District


Senior visitors, let’s take a two minute driving tour of the Opelika Historic District.  We’ll see some beautiful and well kept homes and some awesome dogwoods. I don’t  think that I have seen that many historic homes one right after the other for quite some.

My wife and I love the older part of every town we visit. Tiger Town and Angel’s Antiques and Flea Mall would be of interest to my wife.


TripAdvisor’s listing of 17 things to do includes the Grand National Golf Course. Be sure to search out the Salem-Shotwell Covered Bridge, also known as the Pea Ridge Covered Bridge. This locally owned wooden covered bridge spans Rocky Brook.

Seniors, its time to set your GPS for Alabama and hone in on Opelika. You will find that the hospitality in Alabama is as legendary as the Opelika landscape and the southern cooking…yum yum!  -jeb


Seniors Enjoy Bethesda

Bethesda_MD_Instagram_overlay This senior was watching a PGA Tour Golf tournament recently that was being played in Bethesda. I had not ever been to this city and wanted to know more about it.

Bethesda is the home of Congressional Country Club, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious country clubs in the world. Congressional has hosted four major golf championships.


Senior visitors will find this city in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, just northwest of Washington, D.C.

It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda.

The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, as are a number of corporate and government headquarters.

 NIH_Clinical_Research_Center_aerialSeniors Look For Bethesda’s Landmarks

Bethesda is full of landmarks and important medical institutions, defense conglomerates and a host of other firms that call Bethesda home. Bethesda is one of the most affluent and highly educated communities in the United States.

Bethesda is situated along a major thoroughfare that was originally the route of an ancient Native American trail. Henry Fleet, an English fur trader, was the first European to travel to the area, which he reached by sailing up the Potomac River.


After staying for two years with the Piscataway tribe—either as a guest or prisoner…you guess—he returned to England, spoke of potential riches in fur and gold, and won funding for another North American expedition.

 Seniors Find Prestigious Schools and Notable People


I learned that most early settlers in Maryland were tenant farmers who paid their rent in tobacco. The extractive nature of tobacco farming meant that colonists continued to push farther north in search of fertile land, and in 1694 Henry Darnell surveyed a 710-acre area that became the first land grant in present-day Bethesda.

Senior visitors will find 18 prestigious private schools located in Bethesda including Georgetown Prep. and Sidwell Friends lower school. And notable people is a Who’s Who listing that includes Mike Tyson, Red Auerbach, Connie Chung, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Maury Povich, Daniel Stern and a host of others.


I’d want to spend some time in Downtown Bethesda, a thriving urban center home to numerous restaurants, retailers, arts venues and community events. Bethesda Avenue is an awesome street lined with a wide variety of businesses.

Bethesda: One Destination. One Community. A World of Excitement. Forbes Magazine selected Bethesda as one of the “Coolest Cities” in the country. Seniors, check out Bethesda and discover all that it has to offer.  -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Visit Trondheim, Norway

Norway-TrondheimFill your coffee cup, senior friends, today we head for Norway and check out a beautiful city named Trondheim. It has a population of 187,353, and is the third most populous municipality in Norway.

The Nidelva River flows through Trondheim with old storehouses flanking both sides of this river.

The city is situated where the river Nidelva meets Trondheimsfjorden with an excellent and sheltered harbor. In the Middle Ages, the river was deep enough for large boats.


Trondheim is a city of students, technology, culture, cycling and food. The 30,000 students, many of whom attend the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, leave their mark on the city and contribute to a high level of innovation and a vibrant cultural life.

Seniors Enjoy The City’s Festivals

Trondheim hosts many festivals year round in genres including jazz, blues, chamber music, world music, rock and pop. The best known festival is the flagship St. Olav Festival, Norway’s largest church and cultural festival.


Trondheim Norway lies on the south shore of the Trondheimsfjord at the mouth of the Nidelva.

The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) and St. Olavs University Hospital.

The city has a long interesting history. The settlement was founded in 997 as a trading post, and it served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217. It was once named Kaupangen (English: market place or trading place).


Seniors Find A Gem

TripAdvisor suggests that seniors start your visit at Nidaros Cathedral, the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral.

Built over the burial site of Saint Olav, this king of Norway, in the 11th century, became the patron saint of the country.


The red Old Town Bridge is a favorite site. You may even get a first hand glimpse of the Northern Lights that illuminate the skies in Norway.

“Trondheim is a gem in the heart of Norway”. The top five activities often include island hopping, a musk ox safari, cycling in the world heritage town of Røros, kayaking the Nidelva River and hitting the hiking routes.


An ever-increasing number of senior visitors have discovered the Pilgrim Path that leads to the medieval Nidarosdomen Cathedral in Trondheim. The path has the same European Cultural Route status as the pilgrim paths to Rome and Santiago de Compostela.

I sign off with a problem. I could not decide which video to share with you, so seniors, you will have to chose one for yourself. Enjoy getting acquainted with Trondheim…“The Heart of Norway.” -jeb


Seniors Visit Warren, Ohio

imagesWarren, the county seat of Trumbull County, is a municipality of 47,000. Seniors will find Warren in northeastern Ohio, approximately 14 miles northwest of Youngstown and 15 miles west of the Pennsylvania state line.


Mayor William Franklin answers the question, “What makes the City of Warren an attractive place to do business? It all goes back to that famous mantra: Location, location, location!

Served by a first-rate network of railroads and highways, the city has long touted its unparalleled access to major metropolitan markets: we are located midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, while ground shipping can reach New York City and Chicago overnight.”

Seniors Enjoy Warren’s Museums and Parks


Senior visitors will find opportunities for enjoying a number of activities in the city of Warren: the Trumbull Art Gallery, Americana Amusement Park, Packard Park, John Stark Edwards House and Museum, Glendower Museum, Sutliff Museum and Mosquito Lake State Park.


Warren was first settled in in 1801. Ephraim Quinby was one of the early settlers of the area which was named after Moses Warren, the surveyor of the Connecticut Land Company.

Warren became one of the major trading and manufacturing centers in the late 19th century and remained so throughout the 20th century.

By 1888, four railroads connected this area with the rest of Ohio. The family of Neil Armstrong lived in Warren before settling in Wapakoneta. I’d want to be sure to visit the The Neil Armstrong First Flight Memorial.

 Senior Visitors Drawn To Downtown Warren


Downtown Warren has both historical and contemporary qualities that have drawn senior visitors for more than two centuries.The downtown’s beauty – which can be traced back to the original layout designed by early settler Ephriam Quinby – charms visitors and workers.

Some folks who enjoy downtown find it to be so attractive that they have decided to move into the upper floors of various older buildings.The centerpiece of downtown remains the Trumbull County Courthouse on the four acre Warren Courthouse Square.


Kent State University – Trumbull Regional Campus, Raphaels School of Beauty Culture  and Trumbull Business College are some of the local colleges and universities. Seniors, PlanetWare notes that Warren ranks among the 12 best places to visit in Ohio. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Drop By Calcasieu Parish


Seniors soon get acquainted with Sulphur population of 20,500, and that’s where we are headed today. Sulphur is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area, in the Calctsieu Parish. Sulphur is the 13th largest city in Louisiana with a population of nearly 22,000. Sulphur is referred to as “the pride of Southwest Louisiana”, drawing that slogan from citizens who take pride in their heritage.


Sulphur is named for the sulfur mines that were operated in the area in the 1900s. In 1867, Professor Eugene W. Hilgard, an experienced geologist who was prospecting for oil and other minerals, conducted exploratory borings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and discovered sulfur in the caprock of a salt dome.

What can seniors see and do in Sulphur, Louisiana? The Sam Houston Jones State Park offers facilities for camping, fishing, boating and hiking. The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is also a popular spot. Nearby attractions include De Soto National Forest, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Sam Houston Jones State Park, W. H. Stark House and the Brimstone Museum.

Seniors Find An ‘All American Road’


Built in 1915, the Southern Pacific Railway Depot was used extensively to ferry passengers and freight to the small sulfur mining community of Sulphur, Louisiana. The depot fell into disuse in the 1970′s, and a group of local residents began efforts to preserve the building as a piece of history.

The museum was officially signed over to the Brimstone Historical Society on December 5th of 2005. It currently has artwork on display from local artists, and other historical artifacts from the history of the town.

In 1996, the City of Sulphur received a National Scenic Byway Designation “Gateway to the Creole Nature Trail”. Seniors can enjoy this All American Road, a driving & walking tour through the marshlands and beaches of Calcasieu and Cameron parishes.

Seniors Take In ‘Old Time Country’ Fair


The 86th annual Cal-Cam Fair is a fall tradition and one of the few remaining ‘Old Time Country’ fairs in the state, where almost anything baked, grown or crafted can be entered, judged and awarded prizes. Carlyss Bon Ton Festival draws visitors from throughout the state and the nation.

Christmas Under the Oaks Festival and Heritage Days Festival are both great times to play in Sulphur. Each Christmas, Sulphur also hosts the Kiwanis Christmas Balloons Parade, which is the only balloons parade in Louisiana.

Sulphur is brimming with youth sports every summer. SPAR Water Park offers seniors and their grandkids a large child-friendly splash and play island, splash pad, lazy river, lagoon pool, inner-tube only Raging River, Parrot Island play area, a body slide and four tube slides.  

So while you are cruising down south, set your GPS for Sulphur and enjoy! -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States


Seniors Spend Quality Time In Piscataway

9911095_nj_piscataway_townshipHere is another one of those townships/towns/cities that I enjoy exploring because of its unusual name. Like Weehawken or Chowchilla that I recently highlighted, seniors, let’s go to Piscataway, New Jersey. Piscataway is the fifth-oldest municipality in New Jersey. It has grown from Native American territory, through a colonial period, and is one of the links in the earliest settlement of the Atlantic Ocean seacoast.

The township was named by MONEY magazine in 2008, 2010 and 2014 as one of the best places to live in the United States. Cited was the long and prestigious history of the community and noted also were 189 buildings on Rutgers, the State University that is located in Piscataway.

Piscataway is a township in Middlesex County, New Jersey with a population of around 57,000. The name Piscataway may be derived from the area’s original Native American residents, transplants from near the Piscataqua River defining the coastal border between New Hampshire and Maine. The area was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire and officially incorporated in 1798.


 Senior Hikers Invited To Enjoy The Trails

Piscataway, New Jersey is home to the Colgate Palmolive Technology Center and the world headquarters of Telcordia Technologies and American Standard. It includes the prominent facilities of Siemens Hearing Instruments, MCI World Com International, Johnson & Johnson Health Systems, Hapag-Lloyd and Pepsi Cola Bottling Group.

Johnson Park is popular for outdoor activities. Senior hiking enthusiasts enjoy the trails at the nearby Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park and Farrington Lake. Golfers enjoy the Rutgers Golf Course. Despite the development, Piscataway has managed to maintain its friendly welcoming atmosphere.


TripAdvisor suggests that senior visitors take in Johnson Park, the Cornelius Low House, East Jersey Old Town Village and enjoy a play at the Circle Playhouse. The Historic District in Piscataway was deemed eligible for the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 1999. It includes nine of the 14 existing historic homes on River Road if you enjoy viewing historic homes.

 Seniors Attend The Greek Festival

One fun event I would like to attend is the Greek Festival. The St. George Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Greek culture by hosting a Greek Festival every year the weekend after Mother’s Day. During the Festival, the community showcases great Greek spirit by providing  an event filled with delicious Greek food, live entertainment, and of course Greek dancing with many colorful costumes.


The gyro and Greek fries are always popular, but if you want to get loukomades, Greek donuts with honey, cinnamon and walnuts, they say that you must be prepared to wait in line and be ready to eat them right away. If you let them cool even the slightest bit, you are taking a big gamble and will be sorely disappointed.

Seniors, set your GPS for Piscataway and you will find a community that overflows with hospitality and fun. -jeb


Seniors Explore Weehawken


Another one of those city names that draws my attention for a travel blog. Just wrote one on Chowchilla, California and now we  seniors are off to explore another, Weehawken, New Jersey. This township in Hudson County has a population of around 14,000.

The name Weehawken is generally considered to have evolved from the Algonquian language Lenape spoken by the Hackensack and Tappan.

It has variously been interpreted as “maize land”, “place of gulls”, “rocks that look like trees”, which would refer to the Palisades, atop which most of the town sits, or “at the end”, among other suggested translations, so take your pick.


Weehawken was formed as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, on March 15, 1859, from portions of Hoboken and North Bergen. The township’s written history began in 1609, when Henry Hudson, on his third voyage to the New World, sailed down what was later named the North River on the Half Moon and weighed anchor in Weehawken Cove. Enjoy this drone flyover of Weehawken.

 Seniors Learn Of NoHu


Weehawken is part of the New York metropolitan area. Situated on the western shore of the Hudson River, along the southern end of the New Jersey Palisades across from Midtown Manhattan, it is the location of the western terminus of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Weehawken is one of the towns that comprise North Hudson, sometimes called NoHu in the artistic community. Senior visitors enjoy the Ferry Connection ride from Midtown NY to Weehawken.

Hamilton Park is an area that senior visitors can enjoy with its grassy areas, floral gardens, benches, summer concerts and awesome NYC skyline views from waterside cliffs. Boulevard East is well known and consists of a mostly two lane, scenic thoroughfare in the North Hudson, New Jersey municipalities of Weehawken, West New York, Guttenberg and North Bergen.


 Seniors Enjoy Dinner Cruise

On your visit to Weehawken, seniors, spend leisurely time at the Weehawken Waterfront Park. Weehawken  is home to several historical sites like Sybil’s Cave, the oldest manmade structure in Hoboken, created in 1832,  the Weehawken Water Tower and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse.

TripAdvisor suggests a Spirit of New York & New Jersey Dinner Cruise where one can enjoy the best views of Manhattan and New Jersey’s Hudson shoreline. It departs from both Chelsea Piers in New York and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. Not upscale enough…then seek out Vista Yacht Cruises at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club in Weehawken that specialize in all kinds of special events.

The boulder on which Alexander Hamilton laid his head as he died can still be visited on New Jersey coast at the Weehawken Dueling Grounds. Seniors, set your GPS for Weehawken and explore all the amenities available. It will prove to be an exciting adventure. -jeb

Filed under : Family Travel, United States

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