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Beaches

The Tip 'n Split, calculator and magnifier in one compact motif

The Tip ‘n Split, calculator and magnifier in one compact motif

It’s that season again — when it’s time to stuff the stockings that are hanging by the chimney with care.

The good news: If the stocking you’re stuffing belongs to an ardent baby boomer traveler, there are plenty of new travel gadgets that you didn’t really know you needed until you read about them here. And now you gotta have ’em…

Tip ‘n Split

Our first gadget is called the Tip ‘n Split, invented by a baby boomer named Connie Inukai.

Tip ‘n Split is a compact, multi-use gadget that functions as an easy-to-use tip calculator — and can even split your restaurant bill, if you wish. (It won’t actually pay the bill, however — that’s still up to you and your companions.)

But what I really love about Tip ‘n Split is that it also features a… Continue reading

The Royal Clipper in full sail. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

Star Clippers” Royal Clipper in full sail through the Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

If romance is the universal language — and who says baby boomers have lost their sense of romance? — a Caribbean cruise is sure to spice it up with a potpourri of accents:

Perhaps a dose of “Yeah, mon” Jamaican hospitality one day, a Dutch treat on St. Maarten on another, and a dash of French joie de vivre on St. Bart’s on a third.

Or you could go British on Grand Cayman or all-American with a Spanish twist in Puerto Rico.

Stir in the Caribbean’s trademark turquoise waters, soft breezes, palm-fringed beaches, steel-drum beats, and alluring tropical ambiance, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable voyage.

Decision Time

Still, Caribbean cruises are as varied as the islands themselves, so you’ll need to make some decisions.

One is the itinerary.

Caribbean islands are… Continue reading

The view from the fortress above Nafplio is stunning. Photo by Clark Norton

The view from the fortress above Nafplio is stunning. Photo by Clark Norton

Although I’d been to Greece twice before, I wasn’t familiar with the town of Nafplio (also spelled Nafplion) until four members of my family and I spent several days there recently to attend a baptismal ceremony and celebration for the baby daughter of some friends. (More on that in my next post.)

Nafplio is  about a two-hour drive from the airport in Athens, and is located at the northern end of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, where the Peloponnesian War pitted the Athenians versus the Spartans in the 5th century BC.

The militaristic Spartans prevailed over the once-dominant but philosophically minded Athenians, dealing a fatal blow to the golden age of ancient Greek democracy.

It was kind of like the Michigan State Spartans football team taking on the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. Ouch.

Nafplio,… Continue reading

Fourth in a Series: 

The entrance to one of our favorite tavernas on Milos, Merthismeni Politeia. Photo by Clark Norton

The entrance to one of our favorite tavernas on Milos, Merthismeni Politeia. Photo by Clark Norton

During my week on the Greek island of Milos, I saw no Mexican restaurants, no sushi bars, no French bistros, or even a Chinese take-out joint.

Yes, there were casual cafes that served pizza, burgers, or crepes as part of their offerings, but no dedicated ethnic eateries or American fast-food places.

All this was fine with me. My family and I ate Greek food three times a day — more if you count the occasional snack — and never got tired of it.

Not only was it almost invariably fresh and delicious, but the variety in selection  and  preparation  far surpassed what you might expect to find in a Greek restaurant in the United States. Our diet went way beyond the familiar gyros,… Continue reading

Third in a Series:

Swimmers at Paliochori Beach, Milos. Photo by Clark Norton

Swimmers at Paliochori Beach, Milos. Photo by Clark Norton

During my recent week’s stay on Milos, one of the most beautiful of Greece’s Cyclades islands, I sampled several different beaches. And when I say different, I don’t mean merely separate — I mean distinctly different from each other.

Along with notable history, scenery, whitewashed villages, and food, Milos excels in its beaches.

Dozens of them are scattered around the island, some of them accessible only by boat, others by rough road, still others easy to reach by any vehicle, including bicycles. One long stretch of sand, along the inner harbor, is close to the island’s largest town, Adamas, and features calm waters, a beach bar, and even a touch of thermal warmth left over from Milos’ volcanic past.

Colorful cliffs form a dramatic backdrop to Paliochori beach on Milos. Photo by Clark Norton

Colorful cliffs form a dramatic backdrop to Paliochori beach on Milos. Photo by Clark Norton… Continue reading

A whitewashed church overlooks Milos' harbor. Photo by Catharine Norton

A whitewashed church overlooks Milos’ harbor. Photo by Catharine Norton

Milos — one of Greece’s sun-soaked  Cycladic islands that include the better known Mykonos and Santorini — had not been on my radar until a Greek-American friend of ours suggested it might be the perfect place for a three-generation vacation.

The three generations? My wife, Catharine, and I — first-time grandparents as of six months ago — our son, Grael; daughter-in-law, Nona; and our young grandson, Conrad, making his first trip abroad, brand new passport in hand. (Well, not in his hands — though he would have liked to have gotten hold of it, along with anything dangling and shiny.)

Because we’d all be traveling with a baby, we didn’t want anything too hectic and crowded — that eliminated Mykonos and Santorini — but we did want a good choice of lodgings, restaurants,  cafes, and beaches, as… Continue reading

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Crosses Delaware Bay.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Crosses Delaware Bay.

In a previous post last summer,  I wrote about how my wife, Catharine, and I liked to ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry — which crosses Delaware Bay to connect northern Delaware and southern New Jersey — just for fun when visiting the Jersey Shore.

Unlike most passengers, who are actually trying to get somewhere — holding 100 cars and other vehicles, the ferry provides a relaxing alternative to traffic-choked I-95 when traveling up or down the East Coast — Catharine and I just enjoy being out on the water. So we’ve taken the 34-mile, nearly three-hour round-trip voyage from Cape May, New Jersey, across the bay to Lewes, Delaware, and back strictly as a day trip.

It’s essentially a “cruise to nowhere,” and on a beautiful sunny day it’s a delight to sit up on deck and just watch the… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

 

On the first day of our Caribbean cruise aboard the Sagitta – a 24-passenger Island Windjammers ship sailing out of St. Lucia through the French West Indies – my watch stopped.

Though it seemed inconvenient at the time, it proved to be a good omen. This was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in years, and while I admit that I glanced at my left wrist from  time to time over the course of a week’s cruise expecting to view my now packed-away watch, I didn’t really need to know the hour – or sometimes, it seemed, even the day.

The ship’s bell rang at mealtimes – 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, 5 p.m. for snack-and-cocktail hour, 7 p.m. for dinner – so the critical times of the day were accounted for.

All my wife,… Continue reading

The Disney Fantasy, on earth -- well, at sea.

The Disney Fantasy, on earth — well, at sea.

While it’s certainly true that subsequent generations have discovered Star Wars, baby boomers were among the first to take the interstellar journey to a galaxy far, far away back in 1977, albeit in the comfort of their local cinema.

Now that Disney has taken over the franchise with the ultra-successful Episode VII (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), the same boomers — and yes, subsequent generations — can awaken to a special “Star Wars Day at Sea” aboard a Disney cruise ship. (Disney cruises, by the way, are geared to adults as well as kids.)

Eight sailings of the appropriately named Disney Fantasy will transport Star Wars fans of any age to a sea far, far away —  well, not that far away, but at least out of the… Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton cuts a dashing figure on the U.S. ten dollar bill.

Alexander Hamilton cuts a dashing figure on the U.S. ten dollar bill.

Hamilton — a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington — is the hottest show on Broadway, currently showing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The cast recording was also one of the top albums of 2015.

It’s fitting to mention it today because Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755 (some sources say 1757).

One of the leading figures in the American Revolution, Hamilton was known as a brilliant orator and influential advocate of a strong federal government, putting him at odds with Thomas Jefferson and provoking jealousy from his one-time friend Aaron Burr, who eventually killed Hamilton in a duel. (Burr, a fascinating figure in his own right, is now primarily remembered for shooting his rival.)

The Travel… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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