February 28, 2019

A ROADSIDE WONDER:a fabulous surprise from the road

One of the greatest thrills of taking back roads is when we happen upon something interesting and unusual completely by accident! We call these finds “roadside wonders.” They are not historically significant or tourist destinations. Sometimes, they are colorful, at times ugly, kitsch, and even hilarious. We love sharing some of our favorites with you!   We stopped at a drugstore while driving through Sylva, North Carolina and look at the colorful “roadside wonder” we found!   Hiding on a side street was CT Auto Service, Inc., a three-generation business that offers car repairs, towing and more. When we stopped, Anthony told us that his grandfather began covering the building with license…

February 25, 2019

HOW TO FOLLOW THE FOOTSTEPS OF SGT. ALVIN C. YORK IN PALL MALL, TENNESSEE

We just HAD to follow the footsteps of Sgt. Alvin C. York in Pall Mall, Tennessee! We wanted to learn more and pay homage to Sgt. York-one of the most decorated American heroes of WWI.   New generations of Americans became familiar with York through a 1940s biographical Hollywood movie, starring Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Sgt. York. York’s military service in WWI and the movie (made much later) made Alvin York a household name.  For we seniors, Sgt. York’s story has been a part of our growing up years.   So, who was Alvin C. York?     YORK’S BACKGROUND     Alvin C….

February 21, 2019

THE BIGGEST 3,000 Year-Old PETROGLYPHS IN North America: JUDACULLA ROCK IN North Carolina

There are times when we see a sign by the side of the road that leads to an American treasure! Judaculla Rock is just such a find!   We were driving 107 N in Jackson County, North Carolina when we noticed a silver road sign which said, “Judaculla Rock.” We had never heard of Judaculla Rock and were uncertain if the sign actually referred to a rock. Boy, does it ever!   Judaculla Rock is approximately 16 feet long by eleven feet wide and is a soapstone boulder covered with strange drawings that have been studied by researchers worldwide. Quarry tools were found nearby and scientists have speculated that Judaculla Rock…

February 18, 2019

WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT: A BUCKET LIST DESTINATION FOR SENIORS

Gypsum sands sparkle during sunset and the views are absolutely amazing!  The dunes of White Sands National Monument begin at the park road and go on like a sea of sand! White Sands National Monument turned out to be a spiritual stop in our travels and should be a true bucket list destination for retirement travel.   Huge dunes of gypsum extend over 275 square miles of desert in New Mexico. White Sands was established as a National Monument in 1933 and is said to be the largest gypsum dune field in the world. The gypsum is from 250 million years ago when the southwestern U.S. was covered by the…

February 14, 2019

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: THE PETRIFIED FOREST AND PAINTED DESERT

  If you want to experience other-worldly terrain, take a backroads trip to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert!   The Petrified Forest National Park’s headquarters are located about 26 miles east of Holbrook, Az along Interstate 40, which parallels the BNSF Railway’s Southern Transcon, the Puerto River, and historic Route 66.   In fact, the Petrified Forest National Park is the only national park site that contains a segment of the Historic Route 66 alignment. The northern portion of the park extends into the Painted Desert.     Teddy Roosevelt created the Petrified Forest National Monument in 1906. It has over 50,000 acres of designated wilderness.     We drove…

February 11, 2019

SAIL AWAY at TALL SHIP FESTIVALS

    Are you a romantic? Do you love pirate tales and swashbuckling movies?  How about Oceanographic Research? Sail away at Tall Ship Festivals, Races, Regattas, Challenges and Celebrations!               Stu and I spent three days exploring Tall Ships in Pensacola, Florida at the Tall Ships Festival.     There are Tall Ship events in North America each year as well as races and celebrations around the globe. One source for finding a Tall Ship Event near you is the Tall Ships Network.  C’mon senior travelers!     In 2019 alone, you can see Tall Ships in such American cities as:        …

February 7, 2019

GARDEN TOUR: THE BELLINGRATH GARDENS

I was so surprised when Stu turned into the driveway of the Bellingrath Gardens! I am a Master Gardener and LOVE gardening. Stu had told me our next stop was a surprise but, I had no idea it would be the 65-acre splendiferous Bellingrath Gardens!   Walter Bellingrath was one of the first Coca Cola bottlers in the southeastern United States. The gardens surrounding his home were opened to the public in 1932 and is the oldest public garden in Alabama. The Gardens are listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage and on the National Register of Historic Places.   The gardens were originally used as a fishing camp by…

February 4, 2019

BEAUTY AND THE BEASTLY: INDUSTRIAL SLAVERY AT ARCADIA MILL in MILTON, FLORIDA

We felt as if we were just walking through a nature park at Arcadia Mill in Milton, Florida. We were actually visiting Florida’s first and largest antebellum industrial complex! There is beauty in the Arcadia Mill woods but also the beastly in the Mill’s history. A large part of Arcadia Mill’s history is industrial slavery.   The Arcadia Mill site was a huge complex with various mills, a grist mill, a blackmithshop, a mule-drawn railroad and a sixteen-mile long log flume! The vast complex was built and operated with industrial slavery.   The industrial site began with a sawmill. It grew to have a second sawmill. Later, a textile mill was run…

January 31, 2019

9 BATTLE STARS: THE BATTLESHIP USS ALABAMA

Though it was a sunny day, our minds drifted to the battleship before us having sailed through the fog of war. It is a humbling experience. We felt a certain reverence as we boarded the Battleship USS (BB-60) Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Senior Travelers will relate since we grew up with stories about WWII from our parents.   The USS Alabama was commissioned in 1942 and served in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of World War II. Decommissioned in 1947, the battleship was placed in the reserve fleet in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.  In 1964, Alabama was towed to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum the…

January 28, 2019

6 PLACES TO SEE IN ONE OF FLORIDA’S OLDEST TOWNS: MILTON, FLORIDA

Tiny towns are not for everyone. Stu and I love them. Many times, they are a window into the lifestyles of yesteryear both architecturally and culturally. They just FEEL different! The vibe is laid-back and personal. Such towns have survived much longer than we, as visitors have and seem to boast a happy contentment that they will survive long after we are gone.    Milton, Florida is nothing special and yet, it is! Milton is “old-time” Florida and has blocks of historic homes and storefronts that lead to the Blackwater River waterfront. This is a sleepy town on the water where life is secure and peaceful. Milton can trace its history back to…