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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

Woodstock Memorial at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Richie Havens' name appears first. Photo by Clark Norton

A Woodstock Memorial commemmorates the festival at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located on the concert site. Photo by Clark Norton

It was the cultural touchstone of my generation — three days of peace, love, and, of course, music, mud, and skinny-dipping.

Somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 young people somehow made their way to Max Yasgur’s farm in New York’s Catskills, drawn by almost mysterious forces that seemed to transcend even the lure of hearing Jimi, Janis, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, and Jefferson Airplane perform at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, as it was formally known.

Fifty years later, the joke goes, at least ten times that many aging baby boomers swear they were at Woodstock, too — perhaps aided by memories of watching the movie and listening to the soundtracks while engulfed in a smoky haze appropriate to the occasion.

I… Continue reading

Rome’s Trevi Fountain, 1970

When we last left Sandy Coghlan, an Aussie baby boomer who has written up her 1969-70 European travels in her new book, Yesterday: A Baby Boomer’s Rite of Passage, she was in Monaco enjoying the somewhat casual changing of the guard in front of Prince Rainier’s and Princess Grace’s fairytale palace.

If you haven’t read Part I of excerpts from her travel diary, you can go there now. As with Part I, I’ve added some of my own notes to provide context. Sandy has included her vintage photos and a few postcards from her travels.

We pick up the narrative in Rome, where she has gone to work as an au pair, looking after five children under the age of seven. (She confesses she got the job by saying she was the oldest of five children and had lots of experience looking after her… Continue reading

Today I have the pleasure of introducing guest poster Sandy Coghlan, an Aussie Boomer who has written a diary-style book, Yesterday: A Baby Boomer’s Rite of Passage, about her sojourn in Europe in the magical mystery tour days of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Back then, it was literally cheaper to travel on the Continent than it was to stay home — especially if you were willing to catch a few winks on some overnight ferries, crash with friends or in inexpensive hostels, and maybe do some hitchhiking that didn’t always take you where you planned to go. (And many young travelers did just that.)

I enjoyed Sandy’s account in part because — despite our differences in nationality, gender, and travel experience —  it reminded me of my own first adventures in Europe nearly 50 (gasp!) years ago: memorable moments of discovery and revelation, and perhaps even more… Continue reading

The expedition ship MV Cascadia sailed the Haida Gwaii islands. Photo by Robert Waite.

In Part II of Robert Waite’s chronicle of his trip to remote Haida Gwaii — an archipelago off the west coast of Canada, in British Columbia — he takes us aboard the MV Cascadia, a small  expedition vessel that holds a maximum of 24 passengers.

Along with comfortable accommodations and amenities, the Cascadia provided plenty of opportunities for visiting the islands, formerly known as the Queen Charlottes, where the biological diversity is the richest on earth and Haida tribal culture is making a comeback.

If you haven’t read Part I of this two-part series, I suggest you go there now and you’ll have the full context for reading about this extraordinary journey.

By Robert Waite

Once aboard the Cascadia, much of our seven-day voyage was determined by weather and tides.

Tides on the east… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii’s mist-covered islands are sheer magic. Photo by Robert Waite.

In this post, Part I of a two-part series, guest contributor and baby boomer Robert Waite chronicles his journey to little-visited Haida Gwaii, previously known as the Queen Charlotte islands, off the coast of British Columbia.

Part I offers an introduction to the tumultuous history and compelling culture of the islands, while part II will detail his voyage through them aboard the MV Cascadia, a small expedition ship that allows for shallow landings and coastal kayaking trips while balancing comfortable accommodations with environmental protection.

Getting to explore Haida Gwaii personally is a far cry from the distant views afforded from Alaska-bound cruise ships as they pass Haida Gwaii sailing along the Inside Passage, often in the dead of night. Like me, if you’ve made that trip, you may have wondered what you were missing on those islands. Now we… Continue reading

Here’s a nice infographic from Ireland Walk Hike Bike, serving as a reminder for foodies (or anyone who likes to eat) looking for some of Europe’s tastiest and most scenic and culturally rich regions.

It’s by no means comprehensive — France doesn’t make an appearance — but who needs a reminder that French food is some of the best on the planet?

Ireland may be better known for Guinness than the food that goes with it, but I can certainly vouch for the seafood on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, where I once spent a week on a hiking trip eating nothing but fish for my main course three meals a day. I hadn’t initially intended to do that, but after a couple of days it became a challenge of sorts that I couldn’t resist — and I was glad I didn’t.

Tuscany, of course, is famous for its food,… Continue reading

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan's Famous hot dogs? Answer: Malaysia. Photo from Nathan's Famous.

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs? Answer: Malaysia. Photo from Nathan’s Famous.

Hope everyone had a happy Fourth!

Here are the answers to the July 4th Independence Day Travel Quiz from my previous post. (If you haven’t taken the quiz yet and want to, I’d suggest returning there first.) Some of these questions were tricky, others merely difficult, and a few were relatively easy, especially with True or False questions offering just two choices. The multiple choice questions seemed to give people the most trouble, based on feedback I received. Thanks for joining in, whether Baby Boomers or younger!

1. True or false: As one of the 13 original colonies, Vermont was the only one that refused to ratify the Declaration of Independence.

Answer: False. Vermont was not one of the original 13 colonies.

2. Which U.S. president was born on… Continue reading

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan's Famous hot dogs? Photo from Nathan's Famous.

Where in Asia would you find this location of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs? Photo from Nathan’s Famous.

Americans all know about fireworks, barbecues, hot dogs, parades and the other modern-day manifestations of the July 4 holiday, but how much do you really know about Independence Day, especially as it relates to travel or travel destinations?

Take this quiz and find out. (Baby boomers, how well do you remember your history?)

1. True or false: As one of the 13 original colonies, Vermont was the only one that refused to ratify the Declaration of Independence.

2. Which U.S. president was born on the Fourth of July in Plymouth Notch, Vermont?

3. Name two Asian countries where you can now buy a Nathan’s Famous New York hot dog, similar to those gobbled up in the annual hot dog eating contest at New York’s Coney Island:

a.… Continue reading

Berlin sightseers have plenty of options for boat rides around the city. Photo by Lia Norton

Here’s part two of Lia Norton’s mini-series on Berlin. The first post focused on art and food in the cutting-edge German capital, which apparently has inspired several readers to add it to their bucket lists.

In this post, Lia writes about some of the more unexpected experiences that both surprised and charmed her, making her visit to Berlin so memorable.

By Lia Norton

Berlin by Boot

There are plenty of options for seeing Berlin by water, but whichever you choose, don’t miss out on this special way of traversing the city. Berlin is home to two rivers (Spree and Havel), a number of lakes, and canals that run alongside neighborhood streets, all navigable by small boat.

With sandwiches and beers in our backpacks, my partner Mike and I joined our German friend Jens,… Continue reading

The Pergamonmuseum is filled with artworks from ancient Babylon, Islamic cultures, and classical antiquity. Photo by Lia Norton

It’s been 30 years since I was in Berlin. The Berlin Wall was about to come down, but East Germany was still hanging on and Checkpoint Charlie was still up.  It was pretty grim.

Berlin, of course, has undergone tremendous changes since then, as my daughter, Lia, writes about in her first guest post for this blog. The city is now a swirl of activity, culture, and culinary experimentation.

In this post, Lia focuses on Berlin’s art and food, both of which she absorbed with gusto. For baby boomers like me who remember Berlin mostly as an outpost of the Cold War, the transformation is a revelation — I can’t wait to go back.

By Lia Norton

The last time I was in Berlin, back in 2008, it was for a… 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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