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This article was developed in collaboration with St. Joseph® Low Dose Aspirin. Personal opinions and thoughts within this article are my own.

Have you experienced new adventures on boomer travels that put a little love in your heart, and an enthusiasm to try it again on the next trip? Isn’t that the best?

New adventures make me smile. What a fun way to experience retirement!

Since starting My Itchy Travel Feet in 2008, I’ve had the pleasure of going on several heart thumping adventures. They energize and inspire me to keep on trying new activities.

However, as we all know, boomers can’t travel if we aren’t healthy. That’s especially true for our heart health. When my dad began experiencing heart trouble in his early seventies, I watched my parents’ active travel life dwindle down to overnight getaways and eventually to no travel at all. I know that I want to continue traveling and having exhilarating experiences, so that’s why I’ve been prioritizing my heart health by regularly exercising, maintaining a heart healthy diet, and having regular check-ins with my doctor.

A healthy heart is especially important when traveling to faraway places. Before leaving on an exciting adventure, it’s important to check your overall health with your physician, and while you’re there, ask whether a daily low dose aspirin regimen would be right for you, especially if you have suffered a heart attack in the past.

If your physician recommends a low dose aspirin, remember that St. Joseph Low Dose Aspirin is available right off the shelf at all major retailers. Visit the website and download a coupon for your next purchase. And, be sure to speak with your doctor before beginning, stopping or changing an existing aspirin regimen.

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Aspirin may also help save your life when taken during a suspected heart attack so it is good to keep it on hand just in case, especially when traveling.

In the event of a suspected heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1 and chew or crush and swallow aspirin as directed by a doctor.

So now that we’ve talked about the importance of protecting our heart, let’s talk heart thumping travel adventures! What excites and inspires me might not be the same for you. That’s why I’m giving you a choice. Take a look at these active travel adventures. You’re sure to find one that makes your heart go pitter-patter.

Cruising to Antarctica

My first view of penguins in Antarctica.

The moment I looked out on deck to see the Antarctica peninsula, I knew this would be a trip of a lifetime. Stepping onto land in Antarctica for the first time at Half Moon Island sealed the deal. Penguins hopped and slid across the frozen whiteness, oblivious to my presence as my heart leaped with joy at the scene.

Arriving in Antarctica is a thrill like no other. While cruising across the Drake Passage can be stomach churning, the journey is worth it. Boomer travelers to the great white continent explore by zodiac, kayak in protected bays, hike along frozen trails and marvel at the setting sun on a cruise through Neumayer Channel.

Learning to stand up paddleboard

Sitting on a paddleboard is just fine with me.

As the sun rose over Maui, I slowly wobbled up from a kneeling position on the paddleboard, following the instructor’s commands. After about a minute, my legs trembled violently. I sat down quickly. After several similar attempts, it became apparent to me that this was the best I would accomplish on my first paddleboarding attempt.

For the rest of the lesson, I maneuvered the board from a seated position and thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of a Hawaiian morning. My point? Trying a new adventure may not always be successful. But you can learn and enjoy from it.

If your next trip offers an opportunity to learn paddleboarding, I urge you to go for it!

Hiking on glaciers

I could have walked on and on.

I stepped off the inflatable boat in Alaska to land that nature had reclaimed from a receding Baird Glacier. Thick moss felt spongy underneath my feet. After jumping a rivulet of water, I took a step up to actually stand on the icy surface of the glacier and kept on walking. A mesmerizing white river of ice continued for as far as I could see.

Hiking on glaciers sounds like an adventure for athletes; but it’s not. Some of the best destinations for glacier hiking include New Zealand, Alaska, and Switzerland. Many cruises offer the experience especially expedition cruises. Not every route is as easy as arriving by zodiac, so make your choice according to your abilities.

Swimming with Stingrays

This stingray wanted to be petted.

I stood in chest-deep water in the Moorea lagoon. Stingrays fluttered around my legs causing me to giggle. One approached my chest looking for a handout. The guide fed the stingray as I petted its slippery surface. Swimming with stingrays is an exhilarating, yet peaceful adventure that makes me smile.

Every time my husband, Alan, and I cruise to the South Pacific, we swim with stingrays in Moorea and Bora Bora. You’ll also find several opportunities in the Caribbean. This is another easy adventure that most baby boomers can do. It will make you smile, too.

Have I inspired your next heart thumping travel adventure? Put a little love in your heart with a new experience that provides enthusiasm, optimism and inspiration to try it again.

 
        
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Updated 07.16.2019:  On a Mekong Delta shore excursion, Alan and I discovered a touristy experience that’s usually not our cup of tea. I can’t say it’s my most favorite Asia cruise excursion, but I did appreciate the introduction to life along the Mekong River, prime people watching and an interesting way to spend the day in the Saigon area.

Boat traffic while on a Mekong delta tour

Vietnam was one of the countries that we visited on a Vancouver to Singapore cruise with Regent. When Mariner docked for two nights in the port area of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), guests had plenty of time to explore both the city and surrounding countryside.

Learning about culture on the way to a Mekong Delta shore excursion

The day-long tour began with a drive through a surprisingly upscale section of South Saigon, where a Porsche dealership competed with the BMW one next door. As the bus reached the city’s outskirts, rice fields appeared.

But rice wasn’t the only thing planted in the ground; tombstones dotted the fields. Our guide explained that Vietnamese families bury their ancestors in the fields because they like to be near them.

Despite the lush, green land, the rural feel didn’t last long. From Saigon to our destination at My Tho, the road was bordered by a never-ending procession of cafes, coffee shops with hammocks, and street vendors selling bread and duck.

Hammocks? Yes, so that the motorbike drivers could stop and rest.

Since this was Saturday, Saigon city dwellers traveling on overloaded motorbikes crowded the roads too. They were driving home for a visit with relatives in the Mekong Delta.

At My Tho, the tour facility included clean, modern restrooms along with a marbled pavilion waiting area. Mekong Delta tours are obviously big business.

The Mekong Delta tour begins

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Our group boarded a sampan for a ride across the river to Unicorn Island. First stop—a small pavilion for tea drinking and a lesson about snake wine and pythons.

Snake wine is purported to improve health and virility. A whole snake is steeped for several months in rice alcohol so that the venom and essence blends into the liquid. But the ethanol in the drink actually deactivates the venom. The wine is served in shot glasses due to its high alcohol content. No, Alan and I didn’t sample any.

Want a drink?

After a walk through a fruit orchard, we rested under another shaded pavilion to sample an assortment of fruits while local musicians entertained the group. This may seem like a lot of resting in the shade, but those guests unaccustomed to high humidity truly appreciated it.

Fruit and tea

Next, the sampan transported us to another area on the river for a ride in long boats through narrow canals. Mangrove trees crowded the banks, their branches arching overhead to form a long winding tunnel that filtered out sunlight and rain from a passing thunderstorm.

One of the less crowded portions of our boat ride.

At the conclusion of the ride, our guide led us on a walk through the jungle. We stopped at a primitive manufacturing plant to learn the process of making coconut candy. Then the humid hike continued to our lunch destination at a local resort restaurant for a meal of elephant fish and other Vietnamese delicacies.

Lunch is ready.

The return to the ship included a ride by sampan back down the Mekong River to My Tho before the long bus ride back to the pier. We watched as motorbikes clogged the road even in the midst of a heavy downpour. The drivers and passengers somehow donned plastic raincoats without stopping the bikes.

During the course of our day, we continuously met up with other groups of tourists, some on land-based tours and others from cruise ships. It seemed that touring the Mekong Delta was high on the Saigon to-do list.

Things to know about a Mekong Delta cruise excursion

Knowing what to expect will save you from disappointment when exploring the Mekong Delta:

  • You’ll experience a long bus ride from the port to My Tho.
  • Be prepared for hot, humid conditions. I recommend bringing insect wipes.
  • Wear a hat as sun protection and to keep cooler.
  • Expect lots of buying opportunities and tip requests.
  • Make sure to tip when taking photos of children. There will be many opportunities to photograph them.

Even with the downsides of this Mekong Delta tour, you’re experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of another culture. Yes, it’s touristy, but so are most of the major destinations in Vietnam. Although I wouldn’t recommend a return visit, seeing the Mekong Delta is worth a one-time trip. 

Did you know that we publish a weekly broadcast with the latest articles from My Itchy Travel Feet, timely trip inspiration and travel deals? Subscribe by clicking here and checking the “Weekly Updates” box. We offer a monthly newsletter, too. Why not sign up for both?

        
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Cape Town, South Africa is known as one of the top spots where luxury travel and active travel converge. Whether its a relaxing beach break you’re after or a once-in-a-lifetime South African safari, this beautiful area of the world has just about everything. But, there’s even more to Cape Town than what’s on the beaten path. Come along as guest contributor, René De Klerk, a South African travel and conservation journalist, (who already took us Hiking on South Africa’s scenic Garden Route) is back to take us on a wonderful tour of some incredible weekend escapes near Cape Town.

Weekend Escapes near Cape Town, South Africa

Planning a trip to South Africa with a weekend free near Cape Town? Fancy some time in nature away from the bustle of the city where you can just sit back and relax? Many visitors to Cape Town are so overwhelmed with everything there is to offer in town that they miss the beautiful places that can be visited within a stone’s throw from the city.

Springbok in Anysberg Nature Reserve.

Cape Town and its surroundings fall within the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest vegetation biome in the world, but the most diverse when it comes to the number of species. There is always something flowering, does not matter what time of the year. It represents less than 0.5% of Africa’s area, but home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. This makes Cape Town and its surroundings an incredible place to explore, at virtually any time in the year.

Visit Bontebok National Park

Hiking around this area on foot is sure to get your blood pumping. Don’t worry, though, there’s no big predators around!

The bontebok is a colorful antelope found in the fynbos and renosterveld of South Africa’s Western Cape and if you want to see one, the park is your best bet. In the early 1800s, the bontebok population neared extinction and a number of land owners set aside land to conserve the species. What I love most about the park is its location on the Breede River, with the beautiful Langeberg Mountains as backdrop.

It is situated approximately 225km from Cape Town and 5km from the town of Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa. It is South Africa’s smallest national park, and with no big predators, they encourage getting out there and enjoying nature on foot. I loved practicing my macro photography skills on the fynbos flowers, but this becomes quite challenging when it is windy.

Fly to Cape Town International Airport and rent a vehicle. All these national parks are easily accessible by normal sedan. Entry fees apply to all of these parks and reserves.

Where to Stay in Bontebok National Park

The beautiful views from Bontebok Lang Elsies Rest Camp.

The Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp, named after Lang Elsie, a Hessequa Khoe Khoe, a clan of herders that once lived in the area, offers accommodation on the banks of the Breede River. It is peaceful, and the ideal location to light a cozy fire and enjoy sundowners while watching the sun set over the Breede River.

Activities in Bontebok National Park
  • A number of short hiking trails offer plenty of opportunity to explore the park on foot. There is a distance for every fitness level.
  • Rent a bicycle and cycle on the designated routes.
  • Water activities such as swimming, canoeing and fishing on the Breede River.
  • Game viewing as there is not only bontebok, but grey rhebuck, red hartebeest and Cape mountain zebra amongst others.
  • Explore the historic buildings in the nearby town of Swellendam. The Drostdy Museum and the Old Gaol are two worth a visit.
Explore Anysberg Nature Reserve

Eland roam free around the Anysberg Nature Reserve.

This conservation hotspot in the heart of the Klein Karoo is approximately 260km from Cape Town, but there are still fynbos elements in selected areas in the reserve. At almost 80 000 hectare, this nature reserve offers vast expanses of open space, ideal to escape from the crowds. Cellphone reception is not great, but I never complain when there is an opportunity to get away from technology.

Anysberg Conservation manager Marius Brand pointing out rock art.

In Anysberg, everything happens according to nature’s rhythm. On my arrival, a large herd of springbok scattered, but quickly stopped when realising I posed no threat. Later, I passed a gemsbok lazily grazing in the Karoo vegetation. Apart from these antelope, you can also look out for Cape mountain zebra and a few other species.

Where to stay in Anysberg Nature Reserve

Rough it by camping, or stay in one of five rustic cottages inside the nature reserve. Although extremely basic, I loved their simplicity against the backdrop of the Cape Fold Mountains. They have no electric plug points, and lights are provided by means of solar power. The kitchen has a gas stove for cooking.

Activities in Anysberg Nature Reserve

Take a horseback ride to see this beautiful area.

  • Hike the trail at Land se Kloof, the only formal hiking trail in the park. Keep in mind that you can walk anywhere in the reserve.
  • Explore the rock art sites in the reserve, just inquire at reception.
  • Explore the reserve on the back of a horse.
  • Star gazing is exceptional in the reserve due to the location. There are no major cities nearby.
Adventures in West Coast National Park

West Coast National Park never disappoints when it comes to wildlife watching.

The azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon form the central focus point of the West Coast National Park. Just 2.5 hours from Cape Town, it is the perfect choice along South Africa’s west coast.  Think endless white beaches, salt marshes, migrant waders and carpets of colorful Namaqua daisies during spring. During this time, you can expect to see eland, bontebok, Cape mountain zebra and other game graze amongst the flowers.

Bird watchers will love seeing the West Coast Seeberg bird hides in this area.

Where to stay in West Coast National Park

Fancy sleeping on the water? Accommodation options include the Kraalbaai Luxury houseboats on the lagoon. It is self-catering, but catering can be arranged on request. For those that prefer their feet firmly on the ground, choose a beach cottage or chalets elsewhere in the park.

Book at stay at the wonderful West Coast Kraalbaai House Boats!

Activities in West Coast National Park
  • Cycle on the designated routes in the park
  • Walking and hiking
  • Water sport such as kayaking, sailing and kite-boarding in selected sections of the Langebaan Lagoon
  • Geelbek Restaurant offers brilliant meals inside the park
  • Birding enthusiasts can visit one of four bird hides to capture spectacular shots
  • The breathtaking Tsaarbank section of the park is the place to go for whale watching from August to September
  • The West Coast Fossil Park is approximately 20mins from the town of Langebaan. It is home to fossils dating back 5.2million years ago.

Looking for more adventure? Check out Alan and Donna’s experience on a South African safari.

Have you ever explored South Africa? Come join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook. Or send us an email with your thoughts.

Did you know that we publish a weekly broadcast with the latest articles from My Itchy Travel Feet, timely trip inspiration and travel deals? Subscribe by clicking here and checking the “Weekly Updates” box. We offer a monthly newsletter, too. Why not sign up for both?

        
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Welcome to this edition of News for the Week—a look at boomer travel ideas, news and deals.

Guests and crew take photos of Milford Sound, which was one of the highlights of our Silversea South Pacific Cruise.

From Donna:

Vacation’s over so it’s back to work for me (and Alan). Due to the 4th of July holiday, the July newsletter was a tad late. But it’s filled with luxury travel info. Did you see it? You can read it here.

An iPhoto tip I learned last week in Colorado: Use portrait mode on your phone for flower closeups. This blurs out the background to make the flower stand out. Thanks for the tip, Sue!

Are you on Facebook? Do you belong to any travel groups? When you find the right ones, the information shared by the community is amazing, like this Glacier National Park group. If My Itchy Travel Feet started a FB group for boomer travelers, would you join it? I’m interested in your thoughts. Email me here.

Do you know about our weekly email? Subscribe here  and check weekly updates for our latest articles plus timely travel deals and news.

From Nicole:

This month, we’re talking luxury travel and, of course, we couldn’t go without highlighting one of our favorite modes of luxury travel: Cruises! With hundreds of hours clocked at sea, you know Alan and Donna have some wise words of advice on how to choose a cruise that’s right for you. Check out a few of their Luxury Cruise Reviews as well as their most memorable Cruise Excursions.

This Week’s Articles

This week, MITF featured writer, Debi Lander, is back with incredible tales of her recent road trip through the Lowcountry. This region is gorgeous, filled with just about everything anyone could want, amazing landscapes, classic architecture, history, culinary works of art, and more. Don’t miss Debi’s Tips for Road Tripping through the Lowcountry!

Travel Deals for Boomers

We’re on the hunt for the best travel deals for boomers. Look at the specials for this week!

Are you looking to save money on upcoming travels? Send us an email. We’ll check our resources for you.

More Travel News for Boomers

Travel + Leisure shares 20 luxury vacations that are affordable.

Debi Lander’s article for Florida News Line, makes the perfect primer for a late summer or early fall trip to Virginia. Discover the charms of glamping in Paint Bank.

This week, our guest article featured a boomer road trip through the Lowcountry, if that has your travel feet itching for more adventure on the southeastern coast of the U.S., don’t miss Roadtripping through Georgia’s Golden Isles.

That’s all for now but we really want to hear from you. If you have a question about travel or suggestions for our next boomer road trip eguide, please send an email through our contact page.

        
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Although it may not receive the same amount of recognition as say, the California coast, for example, the southeast coastal area, known as the Lowcountry, is a spectacular place for a road trip. Charleston and Savannah are especially intoxicating, filled with vibrant history, charming architecture, and of course, incredible local cuisine. Yes, there is much to be seen here, and thankfully, our feature contributor Debi Lander from ByLanderSea is here to tell us how to plan an amazing baby boomer adventure road tripping through the Lowcountry.

Road Tripping through the Lowcountry

The Lowcountry is a loosely defined term that generally refers to the area along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.

No surprise that Charleston and Savannah rank among the top tourist destinations in America. Charleston, South Carolina, entices visitors with its architectural wonders, fascinating history and genteel southern hospitality. The city is downright seductive; she’s got an attitude and a million stories. So does neighboring and equally alluring Savannah, Georgia. Both belong to the Lowcountry, the marshy land bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the southeastern United States.

Imagine brick townhouses and grand homes where wraparound front porches offer rocking chairs, the perfect place to sip sweet tea. If you can rouse yourself from such bliss, shrimp boats and ferries, steeples, spires, gardens and gates beckon. The smell of salty air, a sweaty brow, and pungent barbecue pass your nose. South Carolina and Georgia, both members of the original 13 colonies, have a proud history of independence, but memories of slavery and the Civil War remain strong. The mix creates a destination worth exploring. Come hear their tales as I explore these cities and other highlights in the Lowcountry.

Sultry Savannah

Savannah’s Spanish-moss covered trees adds a bit of mysteries to their city parks. This is a shot of the trail to the famous Forsyth Fountain.

Let’s start in sultry Savannah, easily accessible by air or a two-hour drive from Jacksonville, Florida. English General James Oglethorpe founded Savannah as Georgia’s first city in 1733. Today, she stands with sophisticated style: iron fences and balconies, similar to those in New Orleans, adorn historic homes; 22 of the original 24 green squares provide park-like settings and aged live oaks drip with Spanish moss. This river city teases with tales of murder and ghosts.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil featured the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Savannah’s historic district is divided into a grid. Begin at the visitor center, where you can hop on a tour bus or trolley to get a feel for the place and a sense of the past. Stroll around the famed Forsyth Park Fountain or browse high-end antique shops, quirky boutiques and art museums. Fans of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will delight in touring sites from the book and movie, including the Mercer Williams House where you’ll only see the first floor, but is still worthwhile. Many enjoy the serene statuary in tombstone-filled Bonaventure Cemetery.

One of Savannah’s most iconic landmarks is the Forsyth Fountain.

Don’t miss the riverfront area and Savannah’s Cotton Exchange, built in 1872 when export revenue from cotton was $40 million and Georgia was the leading cotton producer in the country. By the 1880s, the area became known as the “Wall Street of the South.” Ironically king cotton was brought down by the tiny boll weevil, rendering the building obsolete by 1920.

Make time to tour the Savannah Mercer Williams House Museum when in town.

Just a simple shot of Savannah’s well-known style and grandeur.

Get in line early to dine at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room; a former boardinghouse that dishes such a bountiful lunch it lasts all day. Another favorite, The Pink House, serves elegant southern cuisine and sports a lively barroom in the basement. If you want to splurge on lodging, check into the modern Mansion on Forsyth Park or consider numerous, antique-adorned bed-and-breakfast inns at Historic Inns of Savannah. Weather permitting; a riverboat cruise becomes another fun activity.

Stop by and say hello to the legendary Mrs. Wilkes!

What to see in Tybee Island

Tybee Lighthouse is the island’s most famous landmark.

Neighboring Tybee Island, a 20-minute drive, bespeaks an altogether different aura; she tempts visitors with tiny raised cottages, marsh grass, tidal beaches and sea breezes. Where Savannah oozes Southern charm and elegance, Tybee prefers laid back relaxation. Tybee’s claim to fame is Fort Pulaski, where a famous Civil War battle occurred, and Tybee Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Georgia. Sign-on for deep-sea fishing charters, perhaps a dolphin cruise, rent a bike or kayak, bird-watch, surf or simply rest on her five miles of sandy dunes.

Looking for places to stay in Savannah? Start your search for hotels in Savannab with us!

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beautiful Beaufort is known for its classic architecture.

Move along to Beaufort, SC, pronounced as the locals say, “Like beautiful – Beaufort.” Beaufort lies just 40 miles from Savannah and 70 miles from Charleston. The city, founded in 1711, was overtaken by Union troops during the Civil War. The soldiers found the place so lovely; they spared the buildings from destruction. Many of the mansions acted as wartime hospitals.

A scenic walking or carriage tour in the downtown area won’t include all 304-acres listed in the National Historic Register, but you’ll pass sites from the iconic Hollywood movies: The Big Chill, The Great Santini and Forest Gump. Literary fans of hometown Pat Conroy will relish a stop in the new Pat Conroy Literary Center and the special Pat Conroy Literary tour. Beaufort’s arsenal looks like a castle with gothic church windows.

Beaufort was home to Robert Smalls, a riveting figure I learned about on my recent trip to the city. Born into slavery, Smalls freed himself, his crew, and their families during the Civil War by commandeering a Confederate transport ship in Charleston harbor. He sailed the boat from Confederate-controlled waters of the Union-controlled enclave in Beaufort-Port Royal-Hilton Head area, where it became a Union warship. His example helped convince President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.

After the Civil War, Smalls returned to Beaufort and became a politician, winning election to the SC State legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives during the Reconstruction era. Smalls authored legislation providing South Carolina the first free and first compulsory public school system in the United States.

Sweetgrass Baskets for sale.

If possible, book a tour to nearby islands for a Gullah or Gullah Geechie (African-American) cultural tour. Many Gullah still live in small farming and fishing communities on the chain of Sea Islands that runs parallel to the coast. Because of their geographical isolation and strong community life, the Gullah have been able to preserve more of their African cultural heritage than any other group of Black Americans. They speak a creole language, use African names, tell African folktales, make African-style handicrafts such as sweetgrass baskets, and enjoy a rich cuisine based primarily on rice. They were, in fact, responsible for the successful rice production in the South. You may also wish to enroll in a Gullah cooking class at the Gullah Grub restaurant in Beaufort.

Stop at the Penn Center for an important lesson in the region’s history.

Just outside of Beaufort, you’ll find one of the newest National Park sites: Penn Center originally called Penn School, established in 1862 as the first school in the South for former slaves. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation in January 2017 establishing the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County. The historic sites include Penn Center’s Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church on St. Helena Island and the Camp Saxton site in Port Royal—along with the Old Beaufort Firehouse in the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District in downtown Beaufort.

While visiting Beaufort, I stayed in and highly recommend the gracious Beaufort Inn, a boutique hotel with lovely balconies, patios and gardens.

Any birdwatchers should consider a stop at The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw on the way to Georgetown or Charleston.

Georgetown, South Carolina

Georgetown, South Carolina, presented itself as one of the most captivating small towns I’ve toured. Though compact and easy to walk, Front Street offers five museums including a Rice Museum, Gullah Museum and the elegant Kaminsky House, circa 1769, on the banks of the Sampit River. Actually, Georgetown is the spot where four rivers – the Wacamaw, Black, Sampit and Pee Dee – converge.

The interior of the Kaminsky House is as ornate as it getts.

Rice plantations flourished in the area and by 1840, the region produced nearly one-half of the total rice crops of the United States. Hard to believe, but little Georgetown’s port exported more rice than any port in the world. The local variety called “Carolina Gold” was in demand worldwide. This labor-intensive crop provided great riches for the planters but meant backbreaking work for the slaves, the Gullah population. Rice plantation workers in the South Carolina Lowcountry afforded their masters the highest per capita income in the American colonies. The plantation owners continued to earn huge profits up to the Civil War. Eventually, saltwater infiltrated the fields and halted production.

Today, downtown Georgetown delights shoppers and its Harborwalk or wharf area brings scenic dining opportunities. I recommend the Old Fish House, aka Big Tuna, a fun restaurant.

Fish Dinner at Big Tuna. Make sure to come hungry!

Huntington State Park: Atalaya Castle and Brookgreen Gardens

Head on to Huntington State Park where Atalaya Castle, more a folly than a castle, takes the starring role. The wealthy and eccentric couple, Archer and Anna Huntington, built the one-story brick structure on over 9,000 acres. A most unusual construction, the floor, walls and ceiling are all brick. Cool in the summer, but in February when I visited, the place was damp and chilly. The informative guided tour reveals some oddball tales about the Huntington’s lives, their monkeys, bear pits (yes) and dogs.

The Atalaya Castle’s grounds are well worth a tour.

Classic arches and romantic walkways are found throughout the castle.

Anna Huntington was a famous sculptor, and many of her works are displayed across the highway at the impressive Brookgreen Gardens. Brookgreen’s immense property contains over 2,000 works by 425 artists, and in the words of Wayne Craven, author of the book, Sculpture in America, it is “unequaled in its size, focus on figurative works, visibility of the sculpture to the visitor, and integration within a garden setting.”

Anna’s Don Quixote is a must-see, modeled from a dying horse she purchased for the project and then nursed back to health. (Photography by Mary Ann DeSantis)

Pawleys Island

A visit to Pawleys Island brings you to the southern end of the Hammock Coast and one of the oldest resort areas on the Atlantic coast. Pawleys Island offers unique waterfront lodging with no mundane trappings or distractions. Not a single business dots the island except for its two historical inns that stand alongside a collection of beach homes. Staying on Pawleys Island is indeed an escape, one I did not have time for but wish to return.

Charleston, Queen of the Lowcountry

Perhaps I’ve saved the best for last because you can’t leave South Carolina without at least a day in Charleston, the queen of Lowcountry. If your budget permits (warning: the destination is pricy), spend a few days to a week, as there is so much to see and do.

Charleston streets are made for slow exploration. Make sure to get lost here because every street is lined with history.

Food and drink are an essential component of a Charleston lifestyle as clearly displayed on a sign gracing a storefront: Cocktails! Because no great story ever started with a salad. Visitors will find a nearly endless supply of watering holes and restaurant options from upscale fancy to hole-in-the-wall eateries. Charleston’s oldest independent dining establishment, Poogan’s Porch serves seasonal, refined Lowcountry cuisine in a restored Victorian home on Queen Street. Fig, an upscale bistro, always ranks among the top restaurants. Be sure to try their cornbread and soft shell crabs, if in season. The cocktail and craft beer scene offers too many choices to list! Did I mention the College of Charleston fits snugly into the downtown area?

A good old Lowcountry Boil is not to be missed!

Whether you opt for a walking tour, carriage tour or simply meander around, make your way to Rainbow Row on East Bay Street. The series of 13 brightly colored houses along the waterfront beckon as one of Charleston’s most photographed spots.

A carriage ride is a great way to explore Charleston.

While the architecture and beautiful pastel coloring are to be admired, Rainbow Row wasn’t always captivating. After the Civil War, this area was considered a slum. Not until 1931, when Dorothy Porcher Legge and her husband Judge Lionel Legge purchased the section of houses, did improvements begin.

Rainbow row is the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. 

If you are attracted to beautiful doors, gates and church steeples, you’ll encounter many along the Holy City’s historic Battery promenade and Waterfront Park overlooking the harbor. Fort Sumter National Park Memorial site, the federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies offshore. You’ll need to take the National Park ferry to get there but do visit. History buffs may also want to include the Charles Towne Landing site, a tidal channel where the first expedition of English settlers arrived in 1670. Today you can explore 664-acres filled with majestic oak trees.

A number of historic and tour-worthy plantations rest about 20-30 minutes drive out of the city on Ashley River Road. Here, I chose to visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The 30-minute house tour quickly covered the 300-year ancestry of the home and Drayton family.

I exited the back door, really the front door as it faces the Ashley River, and walked down a path to the landing. I felt the presence of the prosperous Old South but tried to remember the slave population that made it possible. In 2020, the new International African-American Museum (IAAM) is scheduled to open paying homage to Charleston as the place where more enslaved African captives arrived in the U.S. and were sold than any other location.

Make sure to get out of the town and check out the unique landscape the Lowcountry is known for.

I moved my car from the mansion house to the entrance of the 60-acre Audubon Swamp Garden. There, I crossed onto a wooden boardwalk over green-slimy water brimming with duckweed. I was lured by the calmness and tranquility of birdcalls. Back and forth, I heard twitters and tweets – the real kind from the ornithological species. I listened to frogs croaking and crickets.

My visit to the Lowcountry put me into sensual overload. I surrendered to the swamp and it revived my spirit. I learned stories about the Gullah population, Robert Smalls and Fort Sumter. I devoured oysters, tasted a Lowcountry boil and licked my lips on pralines. I sipped sweet tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the U.S., but I missed so much. The Lowcountry calls me back as I suspect it does for most visitors. Make time to make a trip.

Did you know that we publish a weekly broadcast with the latest articles from My Itchy Travel Feet, timely trip inspiration and travel deals? Subscribe by clicking here and checking the “Weekly Updates” box. We offer a monthly newsletter, too. Why not sign up for both?

        
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Welcome to this edition of News for the Week—a look at boomer travel ideas, news and deals.

Luxury travel is our favorite way to go!

From Donna:

For July, we’re all about luxury travel. We’ll be featuring our favorite luxury travel tips, destinations, small ship cruise advice and more. You’ll find useful information even if you aren’t a luxury traveler. The best place to start is by reading the July newsletter (it will arrive in your inbox on Tuesday, July 9.) Subscribe here by clicking the monthly newsletter box.

How was your July 4th celebration? Alan and I are driving home from Colorado as you read this. But what a fun time we had! And, since our trip was a bit of vacation, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Tune in next week for more.

From Nicole: I’ve always admired the way that Alan and Donna always managed to combine the best of luxury travel with active travel. And these days, with a little savvy strategies, its easy to do the same, without breaking the bank. If you’d like to find out how the traveling duo manages to find the best deals that offer premium amenities, check out Donna’s Tips for Finding Travel Bargains. Then, have a look at our Luxury Travel Planner, which has some great resources for living out that luxurious travel dream.

This Week’s Articles

Have you ever been glamping? Well, if you’re looking for an incredible glamping destination, look no further than beautiful Baja, California. This week, our guest contributor is taking us to the area’s best sights to go kayaking, whale watching and friend-making. Check out some great tips for Active Travel in Baja California.

Also, this week, Donna was interviews by the Silver Standard, regarding her tips for cruise travel today. Check it out!

Travel Deals for Boomers

For the first time ever, Donna is traveling without her laptop. Yes, she’s going through withdrawal and it’s not pretty. Unfortunately this means Donna can’t access the special deals that she usually shares with you. But we still have resources  that will help you save travel dollars all year round. Start planning your trip here:

Are you looking to save money on upcoming travels? Send us an email. We’ll check our resources for you.

More Travel News for Boomers

Looking for some luxury lodgings on your next trip? Check out TripAdvisor’s list of the Best Hotels in the World for 2019.

Or … for a more personal reference, you could also have a look at our favorite Luxury Hotels and Resorts for Boomers.

That’s all for now but we really want to hear from you. If you have a question about travel or suggestions for our next boomer road trip eguide, please send an email through our contact page.

        
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From ultra luxurious suites overlooking the world’s most vibrant cities, to small off-grid huts on the beach, travelers have all types of lodging options these days. Personally, we like to mix it all up a bit, with luxury accommodations surrounded by natural settings, be it beach, mountains or desert. These days, glamping options can be found around the world, but today’s guest contributor, Pat Allen is here to tell us about her first experience going glamping in Baja, complete with an entire itinerary built around active travel.

Active Travel in Baja California

Imagine enjoying the sunset of your dreams—every night!! Now, imagine yourself enjoying that sunset on the beach, with a cocktail, watching pelicans or gray whales, while chefs are preparing an amazing meal…

Glamping on Isla Espiritu Santo may meaning roughing it a bit, but you really can’t beat the setting.

I will freely admit—I never anticipated being a fan of “glamping”, but I’ve reached the age where sleeping in a tent big enough to stand up in, with the addition of cushy cots, table and chairs, has a definite appeal. Not to mention having seemingly every need catered to by an endlessly cheerful and patient staff. Even private “baños” were provided—no peering out from behind a bush hoping no one passes by!

Sunrise with coffee on the beach is the best way to wake up.

After taking a shuttle from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, we spent the 1st evening in a lovely hotel owned by the tour group that we booked with Mar Y Aventuras, the Posada Luna Sol. Done up in an attractive adobe style, it’s located just blocks from the beach, with a multitude of savory restaurants nearby. Optionally a delightful patio-kitchen is available for guests who wish to cook their own meals. 

Glamping on Espiritu Santo Island

The following morning, after a wonderful breakfast on the patio by the pool, we were introduced to our two local guides, and received an overview of what adventures lay ahead (this particular tour spends a few days on the Sea of Cortez, and then travels by shuttle to the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula, for whale-watching).

Wildlife abounds in this beautiful area!

We were outfitted with wetsuits and snorkel gear (keep in mind that the water temps in the winter are in the mid-60’s, but the trade-off is that it’s gray whale migration time!). We also had a chance to purchase our own wine and beer, if we felt the cocktail hour provided by the company might need “expanding”. Then we loaded up in vans, and headed for the boats that would ferry us to La Isla Espiritu Santo. Here we had 2 ½ days to kayak, paddle-board, snorkel with sea lions, see nesting frigate birds, take nature walks to observe desert flora and fauna, or … just relax leisurely in the sun.

Single and double kayaks are on offer.

Swimming with Whale Sharks

On the way back to the mainland, we suited up to have our whale shark encounter. What a thrill—seeing those amazing, almost ethereally-spotted mammals from the side of the boat, and then swimming alongside them. (I couldn’t stop yelling “Wow! Wow! Wow! inside my snorkel). Swimming with the whale sharks is carefully monitored by Baja, i.e. only a certain number of boats/passengers are allowed per day, so as to keep the population healthy.

Whale Watching in Baja California

Gorgeous sunsets at Lopez Mateos Camp are guaranteed!

We returned to our hotel to shower, explore the lovely seaside town of La Paz, and reflect on our island experiences. Next morning we loaded up in the vans again, this time heading towards Lopez Mateos, on the Pacific Coast.

We were so lucky to get up close to this grey whale with babies!

After a delicious lunch at the embarcadero, we boarded boats heading towards Magdalena Bay. We had gray whale encounters en route, and many more in the next 1 1/2 days, including mothers with babies. Our boat captains were so observant of the whales’ whereabouts—continually sighting and steering toward the next leviathan. What a magical experience! We were also able to see and hear them spouting from our 2nd luxury camp. Paradise!!

Looking for a place to stay in Baja? Start your search for hotels in Baja California with us!

Our guides were super-friendly, knowledgeable, bi-lingual, and always willing to go the extra mile. And remember the warm friendships? With groups usually under 20, and time spent together watching those amazing sunsets (and also beautiful sunrises with good coffee, for those who are early risers), conversation seemed to flow naturally, and we found so much to appreciate about each other, despite (or because of?) differing backgrounds, occupations, even ages.  To that add hearing fellow travelers’ stories of interactions with wildlife, comparing whale photos, snorkeling and kayaking experiences—we were always hesitant to call it quits for the evening!

In such a spectacular setting, making friends is quite easy!

Tips for Active Travel in Baja
  • For more information on kayaking in Baja, go to kayakbaja.com. There you will find an assortment of trips, varying in length, type/difficulty of physical activity, and level of “luxury”. They also provide a great pre-trip reading list, in case you want to bone up on whales, desert flora/fauna, etc. before your trip.
  • For transport information, Ecobajatours.com provides a very reliable and comfortable shuttle service.

Did you know that we publish a weekly broadcast with the latest articles from My Itchy Travel Feet, timely trip inspiration and travel deals? Subscribe by clicking here and checking the “Weekly Updates” box. We offer a monthly newsletter, too. Why not sign up for both?

        
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Welcome to this edition of News for the Week—a look at boomer travel ideas, news and deals.

Spain offers tons of road trip options, but if you want to see some amazing scenery and visit some incredible pueblos, a road trip through the Lower Rias are calling your name!

From Donna:

Hello from Denver, no wait, am I in Boston? Seriously, I’m on a plane flying to Denver. I’ve just spent the last two days at TravelCon 2019 where I was a panelist on the Boomer Travel Blogging panel.

Did I meet you at the conference (or not)? Be sure to say hi  and ask to receive my list of resources that I use to power My Itchy Travel Feet.

And don’t miss the $30 discount that the folks at Tailwind gave me to share with conference attendees (and you). It’s the best tool for improving Pinterest performance. Love those Tailwind Tribes!

We visited Sylvan Lake State Park on our last trip to Edwards, Colorado. Due to dam construction, this beautiful park is out of commission for the summer of 2019. Put it on your list for 2020!

Where will you be on the 4th of July? Alan and I are celebrating our country’s birth in the Colorado mountains with our good friends, Rich and Sue (we met them on a cruise). I’ll be on the lookout for Colorado travel tips to share with you.

From Nicole:

While Donna is at her travel conference, we’re still discussing wonderful road trips. Do you have any favorite road trip itinerary?  One of my all-time favorite road trips was when my husband and I drove from Bordeaux to Normandy and then down back to Bordeaux through the Loire Valley. The scenery was really out of this world, and we stopped at some incredible little villages such as Saint Malo, Dinan, Bayeux, etc. It was incredible!

This Week’s Articles

New Mexico is, without a doubt, one of the country’s best states to visit. A vibrant area with a rich history, there is something for everyone in the Land of Enchantment. If you’re considering a trip to this beautiful area, make sure to check out this week’s guest post on Active Travel in Taos.

Of course, if you’re headed to Taos, make sure to check out Donna’s first-hand tips for traveling through New Mexico’s Backroads. Boomer adventure guaranteed!

Travel Deals for Boomers

We’re on the hunt for the best travel deals for boomers. Look what we found for this week:

The July 4th specials are quickly coming to an end. Get them while you can:

Are you looking to save money on upcoming travels? Send us an email. We’ll check our resources for you.

More Travel News for Boomers

Our guest post this week took us to beautiful Taos, New Mexico. If you’d like to explore this beautiful area by car, make sure to check out these tips to enjoying Four Perfect Days in New Mexico.

Headed to Italy for a summer break? Tirol has been on my travel bucket list for a while, and this Guardian article featuring the gorgeous region is really convincing me that it’s time to go!!

That’s all for now but we really want to hear from you. If you have a question about travel or suggestions for our next boomer road trip eguide, please send an email through our contact page.

        
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New Mexico has been at the center of southwest travel forever. Its bustling towns and rich cultural background makes it a magnet for travelers. Enveloped by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is especially lively, and well-known for its active travel options. From mountain adventures, to llama riding and some unique cultural stops along the way, this lovely city has just about everything. Today’s guest contributor, Fred Mays from North Texas Active Life is here with some great recommendations for active travel in Taos. 

Mystical City: Taos, New Mexico

Taos is often viewed as a side trip from a vacation to Santa Fe. Don’t make that mistake! Taos is a destination in its own right. There is so much to see and do, from the arts, to the historic and mystical Taos Pueblo, and any number of outdoor adventures.

Let’s start with the Taos Pueblo, continuously inhabited by the Tanoan people for over a thousand years, making it the longest inhabited community in the United States. The pueblo is the permanent home to about a dozen Native American families today, who live without modern conveniences like electricity or running water. It’s not a life for everyone, and the population has slowly declined in recent years.

It sits on 95,000 acres of land, which extends into the sacred Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which tower over the community.

Admission to the pueblo is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students. It includes a guided tour, filled with history of the community. The tour is free and optional. Take it! It’s well worth a half hour of your time.

The pueblo is both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Active Travel in Taos

Those same mountains hold another key to Taos’ attraction. They are filled with hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and in the winter there are four ski resorts just out of town. The Rio Grande River Gorge slices through the high desert terrain, and outfitters run the rapids with rafts and kayaks. During the spring melt-off the river swells with Class III and IV whitewater.

River Rafting is always an unforgettable adventure! (photo credit: New Mexico River Adventures)

I floated the river with New Mexico River Adventures during calmer water times. Guides do an excellent job of explaining the history of the river and surrounding wild country.

Ahh, just look at that face! (Photo credit: Wild Earth Llama Adventures)

For wilderness hiking in the Carson National Forest without the need to lug a heavy pack, there are llamas to carry the load.

Wild Earth Llama Adventures provides a guide and llamas for day hikes or multi-day treks in the mountains around Taos, or in the Rio Grande river gorge. You’ll be surprised how much more terrain you can cover by not carrying that heavy pack on your back. And breathe that fresh mountain air.

The Taos climate is four seasons. It sits at seven thousand feet elevation on the high plains, desert terrain. Even during the summer it cools off enough at night for a light jacket or sweater. Winters are moderately cold and snowy, especially in the higher mountain elevations.

There are miles of mountain biking trails in state parks and the national forest. We rented bikes from Gearing Up Bikes and toured trails in the Rio Grande Gorge State Park, overlooking the river gorge, north of Taos.

The expansive landscapes make Taos a perfect spot for active travel.

In the winter the mountains around Taos have four ski areas to pick from. The largest is Angel Fire with peaks over 11,000 feet.  There are also trails for Cross Country skiing and snowshoeing.

Looking for a place to stay in Taos? Start your search for hotels in Taos, New Mexico with us!

Art and Culture in Taos

Art lovers have an abundance of opportunities to let the Taos culture atmosphere satisfy them. There are eight museums in town, and over 40 art galleries. A complete list can be found at the Taos Visitor Center website.

It’s almost impossible to leave this area without taking some pottery with you. Whether just a small token or a large piece of artwork, you won’t regret it!

We spent an enjoyable hour visiting the Enchanted Circle Pottery in the Taos Canyon, getting the tour from owners Kevin and Jo DeKeuster. They explained their creative process, which includes firing their molds in a wood fueled kiln to 2,400 degrees.

For restaurants, I recommend Lambert’s on Bent Street. It has a full menu for dinner, and a fine wine list. Another more budget conscious restaurant is The Gorge on Taos Plaza right by the main plaza entrance off Route 68, Paseo del Pueblo Sur.  For lunch the Burger Stand on Paseo del Pueblo Sur serves up huge burgers and craft beer.

Treat yourself to a wine tasting while in Taos!

Just south of Taos you will find a rarity, a New Mexico vineyard. The Vivac Winery sits just off Highway 68, the road from Santa Fe. It has a full tasting room, and obviously you can buy wine by the bottles or the case. We found the current vintage quite good.

So no matter whether you are seeking adventure, culture, or just a nice place to enjoy a glass of wine and dinner, Taos has a lot to offer. I’ve spent four days there and would go back in a heartbeat because there is so much to see and do.

Did you know that we publish a weekly broadcast with the latest articles from My Itchy Travel Feet, timely trip inspiration and travel deals? Subscribe by clicking here and checking the “Weekly Updates” box. We offer a monthly newsletter, too. Why not sign up for both?

        
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Welcome to this edition of News for the Week—a look at boomer travel ideas, news and deals.

Driving the Alpine Loop in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains offers some spectacular high-country scenery as well as a few history lessons about Colorado mining history.

From Donna:

As you can tell from the photo below, Alan and I finally explored more of our Montana backyard. This view of the Bitterroot Mountains appeared during a stop on our ATV ride to Gird Point Lookout in the Sapphire Mountains. What a gorgeous 26-mile-round-trip adventure. We’re looking for another one just like this tomorrow. Stay tuned.

View of the Bitterroot Mountains during a stop on Gird Point Lookout Road.

From Nicole:

One of the best things about road trip travel is the bonus of staying in multiple hotels or B&Bs. I love the excitement of walking into a new guest room for the first time. If you’re about to hit the road sometime soon, make sure to check out a few of our favorite Romantic Bed and Breakfast lodgings to see if they’re on  your route!

This Week’s Articles

Road Scholar has declared France their 2019 campus of the year, and to celebrate, they asked Donna to step in with some tips on how to Discover France with Road Scholar.

Do you love finding active travel adventures in gorgeous scenery? Well, you’re in luck because this week, our guest contributor, Erika Nelson, is taking us all the way to Newfoundland’s most beautiful national park. Take a look at her Travel Tips for Visiting Gros Morne National Park.

Traveling during the summer months can be great, but the summer crowds are anything but. This week, Donna is working in collaboration with Cummins to reveal her best strategies for finding Uncrowded Summer Destinations in the American West.

Travel Deals for Boomers

We’re on the hunt for the best travel deals for boomers. Look what we found for this week:

Gear up:

Listen to books on your upcoming road trip with Audible. Not sure? Enjoy a 30-day free trial before committing. Sign up here.

Save on travel:

Are you looking to save money on upcoming travels? Send us an email. We’ll check our resources for you.

More Travel News for Boomers

Canada is filled with charming towns and breathtaking scenery. If you want to see the best of what Canada has to offer, check out these incredible Canadian road trip itineraries.

Donna’s sharing her best road trip tips and itineraries at the CumminsRV page. Don’t miss: Are you ready to hit the road?

What are the top 10 experiences in Europe according to TripAdvisor readers? Find out here.

That’s all for now but we really want to hear from you. If you have a question about travel or suggestions for our next boomer road trip eguide, please send an email through our contact page.

 
        

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