– by D.J. Wilson
We’re constantly hearing that life is all about balance, dividing attention between work and home-life. Retirement is an exciting time where work demands no longer compete for the spotlight, allowing emphasis on personal health, happiness and well-being. Today’s retirees enjoy a plethora of activities from A to Z. Enjoy Part II of our unique list and feel free to contribute your own favorite ideas!
Northern Lights – Anchorage, Alaska – Alaska is one of the best locations for viewing Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. This natural phenomenon is caused by solar particles colliding with atmospheric gases which culminate into a spectacular light show. Be sure to schedule your trip during ideal viewing times and check out The University of Alaska’s North Traveler’s Guide to the Aurora Borealis for useful information.
Old Railroad – Durango, Colorado – If you enjoy celebrating life Western-style, you’ll love visiting The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark opened in 1882. Ride aboard the coal-fired, steam driven locomotive which carries passengers 45 miles along the same tracks previously traveled by settlers, cowboys and miners. You’ll love the attractive route through canyons and wilderness with fun, on-board entertainment. Included with your admission for the ride is admittance to the railroad specialty museums.
Painting– Bennington, Vermont – The Bennington Museum, set amidst the scenic Green Mountains, holds a lovely collection of paintings by Anna Mary Robertson Moses. Better known as Grandma Moses, this beloved American folk artist successfully began her career in the arts at a later stage in life. Beloved for her painting of America’s rural past, she continues to inspire folks through her legacy of works proudly on display in this quaint Vermont location.
Quilting – Gig Harbor, Washington – Gig Harbor is a snug harbor in the Pacific Northwest located on the Puget Sound. This beautiful location offers views of sailboats, pines, Mount Rainier and the Cascades. Summer weekends are fun here as the town is host events like chowder cook-offs, festivals, markets and much more. This quaint maritime village is a quilter’s paradise come fall, hosting multiple special quilt events such as the Gig Harbor Quilt Festival, complete with a quilt walk, show and classes.
Reading – Key West, Florida – When one pictures the island of Key West in the Straits of Florida, visions of white sand and palm trees come to mind. The gem island is a haven for artists of all kinds, including writers. Greats like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams once called Key West home. Each July, the Hemingway Days festival celebrates the birthday of this famous author and draws many literary folks to the area. Why not grab a novel, stake your feet in the sand, and claim this sunny spot your beloved reading haven? You’ll be delighted!
Shopping – Ashland, Oregon –With its many art galleries, festivals, theatres, lodging, and great restaurants, the town of Ashland is loved by many. Situated half-way between San Francisco and Portland, Ashland is nestled between the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountain Ranges and is an especially scenic town with great charm. Who wouldn’t love to shop downtown Ashland, where fine shops make their place in historic buildings, intermingled with great art galleries. This town is beautiful inside and outside!
Tennis –Isle of Palms, South Carolina – The barrier island resort, Wild Dunes, offers great recreation and is well-known for tennis. Proud of its roster, the resort offers 17 Har-Tru courts, with five lighted for night play. The courts offer a challenging surface to play upon which helps protect joints from shock and potential injury. The mostly clay tennis complex is located across from a 93 room hotel called The Village, with condos, shops, a spa and fitness center, an amphitheater, a market and restaurant. This continually top-ranked tennis resort offers professional instruction for all levels and features clinics and drills. Sports enthusiasts will also be pleased with its two championship golf courses designed by golf-course architect Tom Fazio.
Underground Caves – Carlsbad, New Mexico – Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in Southeastern New Mexico, is a natural attraction open every day of the year but Christmas Day. There are more than 118 known caves which were formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. Carlsbad Cavern includes a large natural limestone cave chamber, third largest in North America. Visitors to the cave can hike in through the natural entrance or take an elevator from the visitor center. Tours are available and it’s best to pre-plan which tours are most adequate for your group. Check out park policies before you go. About two thirds of the park is designated wilderness area to preserve the habitat.
Volcano Viewing = Oahu, Hawaii – One of the most famous landmarks in Hawaii is Diamond Head, an extinct crater located at the eastern end of Waikiki. Its name was derived from small glittery deposits of calcite in the sand noticed by British sailors in 1825. Today, Diamond Head is a popular tourist attraction. The crater measures 3,520 feet across and is 760 feet high. Be prepared to climb the hiking trail which leads from the crater up to a lookout point. There are two sets of stairs made up of 175 steps combined and a poorly lit tunnel through which to pass, so good physical shape is required. Most folks are amazed at the breathtaking view from the top. What could be more exciting?
Wine Tasting – Geyserville, California – Remember the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976? During this Paris wine completion, French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons in which a California wines rated best in each category, which horrified and enraged the French in their quest to maintain product superiority. This shows the fine quality of California Wines. If you wish to discover a fine winery in California, Silver Oak comes to mind, offering sprawling vineyards on the rolling hills of Napa and Alexander Valleys. Drop in for a sip at the tasting bar which offers food pairing or stay for a tour and enjoy the stunning views which surround you. The Alexander Valley location has a tasting bar which opens onto a lovely courtyard and fountain and is terribly inviting.
Xylography – Custer, South Dakota – Check out the National Museum of Woodcarving which bears the motto “Where Wood Comes Alive!” Learn the art of xylography, or in simpler terms wood-engraving. The museum features entertainment and education, displaying unique works and featuring The Wooden Nickel Theatre, over 30 scenes created by an original animator or Disneyland, a carving studio, displays of nationally recognized woodcarvers, a National Museum Gallery, plus a gift shop and snack bar. A one of a kind experience!
Yoga- Any town, USA -Due to religious objections over some forms of yoga, let’s be clear that I am speaking of American yoga, an exercise followed by millions of U.S. citizens for health benefits and fun. Classes for seniors are offered in many towns, encouraging bodies to remain flexible, strong and balanced through physical poses and simple relaxation techniques. As with all exercise, it’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning to avoid injury. For most people, yoga is a pleasurable form of non-aerobic exercise and is ideal for those seeking gentle work-outs.
Zoo- San Diego, California – Visit the top-rated San Diego Zoo, located in Sunny California. Spend the day enjoying the wonders of wildlife and visit animals in their simulated natural habitat. See tigers, tortoises, polar bears and more. Enjoy Safari park where visitors may select from a list of safari experiences. For example, one may explore the wonders of nature on the Africa Tram Safari, an exciting tour where you’ll catch glimpses of giraffes, rhinos, gazelles and antelope. As you return to the station, be prepared to see a few lions resting on the hillside. If you can’t make it to San Diego, be sure to visit one in your neck of the woods.
Happy Independence Day and many blessings!