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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Clark Norton

An aerial ad flies over the Ocean City, NJ, beach.

An aerial ad flies over the Ocean City, NJ, beach. Photo by Clark Norton

Ever since my family and I have been coming to the Jersey Shore in summer — off and on for more than 30 years — I’ve spent a few minutes each beach day staring up at the sky as small planes tow intriguing banners with messages advertising various places to eat, drink and otherwise spend your money.

Such as: “$1 beer every Monday night at Captain Bob’s Brew Dock!”

Or: “Try Luigi’s for the Best Lasagna in South Jersey!”

Or: “Empty Your Wallet at the Trump Palace in Atlantic City!”

Well, I made that last one up, though it would constitute truth in advertising.

I’ve often wondered, though, just how much effectiveness such ads have — do they really rake in enough customers that it pays for Luigi to hire a small plane for, say, a… Continue reading

Bicycling is great exercise for baby boomers, who may find running to be too hard on the knees, surfing too fraught with teenagers, golf too pricey and frustrating, and hula-hooping just all-around too embarrassing.

With cycling, though, it’s easy to just hop on a bike and take off. Of course, it’s good to have someplace safe to ride.

Bicycles are much in evidence around Ocean City, NJ. Photo by Clark Norton

Bicycles are much in evidence around Ocean City, NJ. Photo by Clark Norton

Ocean City, New Jersey, on the lower stretches of the Jersey Shore south of Atlantic City, knows how to make cycling safe and appealing, which helps keep people out of cars and improve physical fitness and air quality as well. Its longtime slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort” is morphing into “America’s Greenest Family Resort.”

A bike lane (and walking/jogging lane) runs along the south side of the beautiful new bridge that connects Ocean City to Somers Point on the… Continue reading

 

The MS Europa 2. Photo from Hapag-LLoyd.

The MS Europa 2. Photo from Hapag-LLoyd.

I’m onboard the Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd’s new luxury cruise ship, sailing from Sicily to Sardinia in the western Mediterranean.

One of the afternoon offerings onboard is a meat seminar featuring Wolfgang Otto, one of three German brothers who recognized a need in Germany and decided to fill it: supplying Germany’s finest Michelin-rated restaurants with top-quality beef and pork.

Otto admitted to me and the other baby boomers onboard that just eight years ago he knew very little about meat, yet today his family’s company, Otto Gourmet, is regarded as the top beef and pork purveyor in Germany. Kobe cattle and Iberico pig are two of the products they distribute to both top restaurants and private customers.

For enlightenment on the subject, he and his brothers first turned to a Nebraska rancher, Dan Morgan, who taught them the finer points of how to… Continue reading

Valletta, Malta – I’m in the capital of Malta before embarking on the Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd’s new luxury cruise ship, for  a cruise through the Western Mediterranean.

Malta is home to forts and remnants of the Knights of St. John, but nary a falcon in sight.

Malta is home to forts and remnants of the Knights of St. John, but nary a falcon in sight. Photo by Clark Norton


Valletta is a beautiful walled city, once home to the Knights of St. John — originally formed during the Crusades to bring Christianity back to the Holy Land — who fled here from the island of Rhodes in the 1500s.

When the knights arrived here, they paid a fief to the Spanish king of one falcon per year in order to occupy the island; eventually, the payment evolved into a golden falcon. No one knows what happened to the golden falcons, but the mystery formed the basis of the Dashiell Hammett novel The Maltese Falcon, later made into a… Continue reading

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

I was surprised to read a few days ago that Tourism New Zealand — the organization charged with luring travelers to kiwi land and making their visits more enjoyable — has just launched its first mobile app.

Called “Essential New Zealand,” the new app can be downloaded for free and used to access travel advice throughout the country without having to have a WiFi connection.

Among its current features you’ll find:

The top 10 New Zealand experiences;

“must-do” experiences for 26 regions and many popular locations;

photos, descriptions and prices for hundreds of activities and attractions;

contact details and detailed map locations for activities and information centers;

and ways to plan, save and share your favorite activities.

More features are planned for future versions.

Smartphone usage is reported to have increased by 28 percent in New Zealand… Continue reading

In a recent post we reported on “gramping” — an amalgam of grandparenting and camping — aimed at baby boomers who want to stay in the comfort of a lodge while the younger generations of their family sleep in tents at nearby campsites.

Now another lodging is adding its own creative twist to lure baby boomers: Baby Boomer Adventure Camp.

Purity Spring Resort -- time for camp, boomers!

Purity Spring Resort — time for camp, boomers! Photo from Purity Spring

From September 20-22 this year, The family-owned Purity Spring Resort in East Madison, New Hampshire, will host a weekend’s “camp” intended to tweak the nostalgia button resting inside each baby boomer’s heart — in this case, reliving those carefree days at summer camp back when we were kids (even if it is in the fall).

Campers can participate in classic activities like swimming in the lake, hiking, archery, tennis and kayaking.

But then comes the twist: according… Continue reading

Whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.

Whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.

I was glad to read in The New York Times that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo took time out from their busy schedules to promote tourism in the Adirondacks, a huge tract of parkland in upstate New York.

The two officials, who haven’t always seen eye-to-eye politically, agreed to meet each other oar-to-oar for some whitewater rafting on the Indian River. Each was part of a team of six rafters — consisting of various aides, bodyguards and relatives (including Cuomo’s two daughters) — who competed against each other for bragging rights, to see who could complete the river runs the fastest.

The rafting competition was part of a week-long event called the Adirondack Challenge, designed to call attention to various activities in this mountainous, lake-dotted region of the state: everything from art shows… Continue reading

Here’s an idea I love (complete with a great name):

“Gramping.”

Gramping comes courtesy of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, located a half mile above Hocking Hills’ scenic Cedar Falls in southeastern Ohio, about an hour and a half from Columbus.

Boomers relax in a hammock at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Photo from Inn & Spa at Cedar falls.

Boomers relax in a hammock at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Photo from Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls.

While the Hocking Hills is a popular family camping area, boomer grandparents who travel with their adult children and grandkids may not be as keen on sleeping in tents as are the younger generations.

This is where the Inn & Spa at Cedar falls comes to the rescue with…gramping.

The inn happens to be near Old Man’s Cave Campground, where the younger folks can pitch their tents. After a day’s hiking in the forests, canoeing and exploring the area’s waterfalls, caves and rock formations, the… Continue reading

Boomers still rely on old-fashioned print travel guidebooks -- along with the latest apps.

Boomers still rely on old-fashioned print travel guidebooks — along with the latest apps.

Nancy Parode, who writes about senior travel at about.com, has a perceptive piece detailing eight reasons why a baby boomer or senior would make a good traveling companion. (Although I don’t like to mix the terms “senior” and “baby boomer” — for me, “senior” starts where “baby boomer” leaves off — I understand why others may at times lump them together.)

Among the eight reasons, Nancy writes, is that “We [boomers] don’t need high-tech devices to have a good time” and “won’t get too grumpy if our computers and smartphones don’t work.”

Now, I admit I do sometimes get grumpy in those situations, but Nancy’s point is that baby boomers have lived most of their lives without such technology and can adapt to life without them.

Similarly, she argues, baby boomers still know how… Continue reading

Best Westerns hotels go green. Photo from Best Western.

Best Westerns hotels go green. Photo from Best Western.

Best Western — the world’s largest hotel chain with some 4,000 independently owned and operated properties in 100 countries and territories around the globe — is going green in a big way.

Every North American Best Western — representing more than 2,000 hotels — is required to have at least one green program in place, ranging from offering in-room recycling bins to installing low-flow shower heads and power-flush toilets to using green cleaning products and energy efficient appliances.

Some of its geothermal- and solar-powered hotels actually sell power back to the grid. Others participate in national or international eco-labeling programs. More than two-fifths of Canadian Best Westerns, for instance, have earned Green Keys from the Green Key Eco-rating program, presented by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Best Western Supply, which offers materials for hotel construction, renovation and operations, features more… 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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