10 Good Reasons to Attend AARP’s Life@50+ Event in Miami

AARP has two national events per year and for 2015 the Spring Life@50+ event will be at The Miami Beach Convention Center.

Mary Ann and I attended the Lifeat50+ AARP National Events in 2013 (Atlanta), 2014 (Boston) and now plan on being in Miami,  May 14-16, 2015 for this year’s event too. We are excited!

So we want to share some good reasons we like to attend the AARP Lifeat50+ Events, especially the one coming up in Miami.

10 Reasons to Attend Life@50+ Miami

1. Frankly it’s an exciting and fun thing to do.

So many new experiences  and things to see all at one place. See how much fun we had in Boston!

2. The price is only $35 for the whole event.

Yes that is correct. Very affordable.

3. Ideas@50+ Miami Speakers

The following celebrities and experts will be on stage to inform, entertain and engage with attendees at Ideas@50+ in Miami. Check back often … More speakers will be added soon!

James Brown

James Brown

Friday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

  • Emmy Award-winning broadcaster
  • Founding partner of the Washington Nationals
Samantha Brown, AARP Travel Expert

Samantha Brown

Friday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Jean Chatzky, AARP expert on money

Jean Chatzky

Friday, May 15, 4:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Jeff Cole appearing at the Ideas@50+ National Event & Expo in San Diego.

Jeffrey Cole, Ph.D.

Saturday, May 16, 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

  • Expert in technology and emerging media
  • Founder of the World Internet Project
Adam Gazzaley will be a speaker during AARP's Life@50+ in Miami

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D.

Saturday, May 16, 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

  • Neurologist specializing in how brains handle memory, attention and aging
  • University professor
Ingrid Hoffmann appearing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Ingrid Hoffmann

Saturday, May 16, 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  • Host of Simply Delicioso on the Cooking Channel
  • Owner of Rocca in Miami
Michio Kaku appearing at the Ideas@50+ National Event & Expo in San Diego.

Michio Kaku, Ph.D.

Friday, May 15, 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

  • Renowned theoretical physicist
  • Best-selling author of The Future of the Mind
Rita Moreno performing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Rita Moreno

Saturday, May 16, 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.

  • Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Academy Award-winning performer
  • New York Times best-selling author
Robin Roberts appearing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Robin Roberts

Friday, May 15, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

  • Coanchor of ABC’s Good Morning America
  • Author of her memoir Everybody’s Got Something
Jon Secada performing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Jon Secada

Friday, May 15, 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

  • 2-time Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American singer, songwriter and performer
  • Professor and mentor for young singers
Ernestine Shepherd leading morning fitness at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Ernestine Shepherd

Friday, May 15, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

  • Fitness guru and exercise coach
  • Honored by Guinness World Records as the “Oldest Living Bodybuilder”
Ben Stein appearing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami.

Ben Stein

Friday, May 15, 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

  • Economist and lawyer
  • Emmy-winning actor known for portraying the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Reed V. Tuckson, M.D. appearing at the Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Boston.

Reed Tuckson, M.D., FACP

Friday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

  • Author of The Doctor in the Mirror
  • Managing director of Tuckson Health Connections

4. Community Day of Service.

AARP volunteers and Rebuilding Together helped renovate and improve the home of Leonard Edwards in San Diego.Life@50+ begins Thursday, May 14, with the Community Day of Service sponsored by AARP Credit Cards from Chase.  In the morning, volunteers will hear from community leaders, then volunteer groups will be brought into Miami neighborhoods to engage residents in projects that will improve their daily lives. Some activities will take place inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.

5. Movies For Grownups® Film Festival

Friday May 15th, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.   We had been featuring AARP’s Moives For Grownups on our Baby Boomer Movies page and get to see their excellent recommendations and reviews. Here, in person, you will see a screening of a new movie and meet some of the stars in the movie.

6. Learning Tracks are truly mind expanding and life altering.

I came away so motivated by the knowledge I had been given. Mary Ann and I especially like the AARP TEK seminars. These “learning tracks” as I will call them are reason enough to attend Lifeat50+ in Miami.

AARP presents a way for you to learn, engage and interact with others who share the same interests and passions as you at Life@50+. Attendees will experience all that AARP has to offer and discover their real possibilities through five tracks:


Health & Wellness

From brain health to caregiving to simple steps to get fit, the Health & Wellness track will provide comprehensive information and ideas from top experts in the field.


Money & Work

Are you in need of smart advice about money? Looking for a career change? Maybe you’re interested in starting a business? Our Money & Work track can help guide you in the right direction.


Technology & Innovation

Whether you’re learning how to embrace the latest trends and exciting devices, staying connected to the people and passions in your life, or you’re already on the cutting edge and want to meet others like you, the Technology & Innovation track is right for you.


Travel & Lifestyle

Your journey begins here! Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next dream trip, digging for home and garden suggestions or want to find out about how you can play a larger role in your community, the Travel & Lifestyle track will be your road map for success!

Life@50+ Miami Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

The creative arts are a true outlet of human expression. Join with people from all disciplines to learn, connect and share in a brand new Life@50+ experience.

Crossing all tracks, Life Reimagined is designed for adapting to new aging challenges and possibilities. Today’s 50-plus Americans are living longer, healthier lives and, at the same time, are navigating economic, health, social and technological realities unlike any generation before them. We’ll help equip attendees to lead the type of life they imagine and prompt them to consider the most important questions they face.

7.  Health Innovation@50+

LivePitch Health Innovation@50+
LivePitch Health Innovation@50+

You will really like LivePitch for health technology and innovation for people 50 and over. In Miami, companies will be giving pitches about how they can improve lives in the 50+ community. Watching this live is truly fascinating. The Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch  is  Thursday May 14th 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

8. Meeting, sharing and socializing

Connect with other attendees from all over the country. They are excited to be there and we are too! There will be a number of activities each day that will bring us together with exciting activities planned for us.

9. Exhibitor Hall

Ideas@50+ exhibit floor at the San Diego Convention Center.Here is an opportunity to talk first hand with company representatives that provide the services you and I need. You learn about discounts you never knew about that will save you some money. They will answer your questions.

I like that many of the sponsors are companies I use having meet them via AARP, like United Healthcare where I have my Advantage plan. I am switching to Consumer Cellular this week and getting the AARP discount to save much $$s. This is information we can use..  Take a look at these Lifeat50+ sponsors listed by track.

10. Play tourist in Miami Beach!

One main thing I like is to travel to Miami and Miami Beach and enjoy the city, the Miami’s restaurants and the historical sites. It has been a few years since I was in Miami (except to catch a cruise). I wonder if Joe’s Stone Crab Shack in Miami Beach is still great? Maybe I will find out!

Did I say 10? Well here is one more for good measure.

11. Amazing concerts

Several things going on here.

Looking for the Next Singing Sensation – AARP Superstar 2015

Superstar Contest 2015The finale of the AARP Superstar 2015 Contest will be held Friday, May 15. Finalists will compete at Life@50+ in front of a live audience and a panel of celebrity judges. Don’t miss this fun and exciting night of music, and help crown the winner of AARP’s Superstar 2015! Tickets will go on sale soon.

Big Show on Saturday Night

Entertainment at Lifeat50+
Entertainment at Lifeat50+

A big entertainment personality will close out Ideas@50+ with a show on Saturday night, live in Miami. This is a don’t miss opportunity. Stay tuned to see who it is.

Just Do it!

Now is the time to plan your trip.  Here is Ideas@50+ Miami info including registration. You will be glad you did.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler
Retirement Media Inc.

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At the LifeAt50+ event you will meet many of the AARP providers that provide member benefits listed here:


The Ultimate Retirement Community – The Villages Florida

The Ultimate Retirement Community – The Villages Florida

If you are looking for the biggest and the best retirement community in the world, you may want to visit The Villages in Florida like we did last week.

We went on the Lifestyle Preview Plan for our six night stay which we had arranged through the Properties of The Villages. You can choose a stay from 4 nights to 6 nights and I think 4 or 5 would do the trick for most.

We flew to Orlando and took The Villages Trasportation bus which leaves every hour for The Villages, which is about an hour North of Orlando. Pat Presenti, with Properties of The Villages welcomed us at the Sales office on the town square at Lake Sumter Landing and took us to  close by The Cabanas at Creekside Landing to a 3 bedroom Courtyard Villa which was our home for the week. It was complete with use of golf cart and two bikes.

Entertainment at Lake Sumter Landing
Entertainment at Lake Sumter Landing

The Villages have three town centers, each with its own personality and theme. As I mentioned we were close to Lake Sumter Landing which borders Lake Sumter and has a Florida seaport theme, then there is the original town square of Spanish Springs and the newest town square of Brownwood, which Pat took us on the first morning of our stay. Brownwood has a Western theme and has life sized bronzed cows and a cowboy riding a horse at the entrance, which you can see at the top of this post.

Socializing in The Villages
Socializing in The Villages

All three town squares in The Villages are great. In the middle of each square there is music and entertainment every single evening of the year. There are plenty of restaurants, stores for shopping plus a playhouse showing movies around each square. This is where people meet for happy hour, to walk around, socialize, shop and to enjoy the music. I can see that the town squares are a big reason people love the lifestyle at The Villages.

Craft show at Lake Sumter Landing
Craft show at Lake Sumter Landing

All of the retirement communities are called villages and are located around the squares, close enough to walk or ride your golf cart to the town square. There are 60,000 golf carts in The Villages.

Golf Carts in The Villages
Golf Carts in The Villages

There are 110,000 people living in The Villages in homes and villas. There are patio villas, courtyard villas, cottage homes (ranches), designer homes and more.  It is interesting that they build the whole section of the village before the homes are put on the market for sale, then just release  a few of the homes at a time. The homes come finished and what you see is what you get. Quite a few of the homes come furnished. There is something for everyone at The Villages, which is both a 55+ community and an active adult community.

Retirement home in The Villages
Retirement home in The Villages

Our agent Pat Presenti showed us homes on two days and carried us over to the  Spanish Springs Town Square as she was going that way so we could enjoy walking around, going into shops and eating lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Athens Greek.

One morning Pat took us to a couple of recreation centers and I was amazed at how large they were, how many large meeting rooms and how many activities inside and outside were going on. There must be 15 or more recreation centers. This is where you stay active and meet new friends. Below is us in front of the Eisenhower Recreation Center which is decorated by military veterans and their families.

Eisenhower Recreation Center
Eisenhower Recreation Center

By the way, everyone we saw and met were smiling and having a good time. They were only too happy to tell us how much they liked living in The Villages, just like the many people we had talked with before our visit.  The byline of The Villages is “Florida’s friendliest hometown” and I believe it.

Many people visit The Villages on the Lifestyle Preview Plan and then go back home to start packing. I can see how they are sold on The Villages and why The Villages is the largest and fastest growing retirement community in the USA. In our opinion, The Villages delivers a great lifestyle and it the ultimate retirement community.  You should check out The Villages with a visit of your own.

Our agent Pat Presenti was never pushy and let us do our thing but always there to assist if needed. Everyone who works at The Villages delivered excellent service.  Ask for Pat if you go. Thanks!  – Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

Properties of The Villages 800-346-4556 (ask for Pat Presenti)
Florida 55+ homes for rent
Florida 55+ homes for sale

Exercise at Brownwood town square
Exercise at Brownwood town square
Restaurant at Lake Sumter Landing
Lighthouse Restaurant at Lake Sumter Landing in The Villages

#thevillages #thevillagesfl #thevillageflordia #lakesumterlanding

Retirement Jobs: Work from Home

Retirement Jobs: Work from Home

Many of today’s seniors are choosing to continue in some type of employment even after retiring from their midlife career. Whether financial constraints make it necessary to have income beyond your retirement distributions, or you are just the type of person who dislikes being idle, a retirement job may be in your future – but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the commute, or the cubicle, or the 9 to 5 hours any longer.

Many retirement jobs today can be done from home at least part time, giving you more flexibility and leisure time so you can continue to enjoy the benefits of retirement – less stress, more time with family and friends, and time to travel and enjoy recreational activities that you may not have had time for when you were working full-time. Here is a short list of some great work-from-home opportunities that fit these requirements:

Work At Home Jobs

Blogging – If you have a lot of expertise in an industry or an area of interest such as sports, hobbies, or politics, you may be able to earn income as a blogger. It will take a while to gain a following – and some Google Ads savvy – to start pulling in money

Pet Care – You can hire yourself out as a dog walker, visit pets during the workday in people’s homes to feed and exercise and clean up after them, or even dog-sit for people who have to be away from home but don’t want to board their beloved fur-babies in a kennel. Check out Rover.com or DogVacay.com for the chance to hang your petsitter shingle.

Tax Preparer or Bookkeeper – Many small businesses cannot afford full-time accountants and bookkeepers, and will hire someone for projects or for a few hours per week.

Freelance Writer or Researcher – Although it takes some determination – and maybe some luck – to start earning good money as a freelance researcher/writer, this is another job you can do on your own time (and in your pajamas if you prefer!). There are a vast number of online freelance groups that pay on a per-word or per-article basis.

If you are considering a retirement job because you miss the hustle and bustle and social aspects of your old job, working from home might not be for you. If, on the other hand, you simply want extra income or something to keep you mentally stimulated, one of the above suggestions – or one of the other many telecommuting or freelance positions available – may be just what you need.

Move Now Rather Than Later To A 55+ Retirement Community

Move Now Rather Than Later To A 55+ Retirement Community

Maybe you are an 50+ empty nester living in a two story home and know you would like to move “someday” to a one level home and community that will serve your needs better as you age.

You agree there are lots of reasons a more suitable home/community would be to your advantage like one level with no stairs, more energy efficient, less home maintenance, landscaping taken care of, and a community of many activities with friends available everyday. So that leaves the question of when to move to this better home/community?

When To Move to A 55+ Retirement Community

Time plays a trick on us as “someday” never gets here.  I noticed this when trying to convince older relatives living alone to move to a senior living community. They were not ready yet. Within two years both felt in their homes and died within a year.

It is easy to see and advise when it is other people but not as easy to take action for yourself.  Here are some reasons you should move to a 55+ retirement community now rather than later.

5 Reasons To Move Now

1. It takes Longer Than You Think.

You need to start the process at least 5 years before you move.  It takes time to sell your home and to find a new home. All kinds of things can interfere with the process from market condition to personal situations. (It took me six years) It takes time to get rid of all the stuff you no longer need.

2. Unexpected Medical Conditions.

So you are planning on moving to a home without stairs “someday”.  However,  a mini stroke, knee or hip replacements, eye sight problems or other medical conditions seem to pop up sooner than you think. You are not planning on these things, they just happen.

3. It Gets Harder to Move the Older You Get.

Remember in your twenties you could get a U Haul and get a group of friends to move you in a weekend and celebrate with a pizza party. Guess what, you can no longer do that. Moving takes lots of energy.

4. Start Enjoy Activities  Sooner. 

Don’t waste five years of your life sitting around while everyone else on your street is at work.  Move now to a community with activities you can enjoy NOW.

5. Meet New Friends. 

Once you start cutting back on your work schedule you will have more time. You will find doing things with friends is fun and socialization is important. You will find new friends at a 55+ retirement community, not in your current community.

There are more reasons to move now, that is just the first five I thought of.  I wrote this post  because I hear people my age (66) all the time discussing this question of whether they should move from a house that does not meet their needs any longer. The answer is obvious but getting there takes a while.

If you are age 50 then start planning your move. If you are age 55, then start moving to a 55+ retirement community.

Start by visiting 55+ retirement communities. Many offer a two or three day visit where you can stay in a model and use their golf cart and the clubhouse/activity center and check out the community.  This is a fun thing to do. Try this with 3 or 4 different communities and you will start to get a feel for the lifestyle you have been missing out on.

Del Webb home
Del Webb home





Retirement Income With Retirement Housing

Retirement Income With Retirement Housing

I usually focus on retirement and senior living communities as places to live, but they also offer an excellent source for part of your retirement income.

The opportunity is to invest in companies and REITs that own, lease  and operate senior housing, assisted living ,healthcare and medical buildings.

Senior housing normally serves those age 62 and older and is starting to be in demand as us baby boomers age. Within 10 years the demand is going to be huge and will out strip supply.  Increasing interests from investors is making senior housing and healthcare facilities a hot market already.

There are several macroeconomic trends that are changing the healthcare industry today. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is expected to add between 25 and 35 million new insured individuals. The U.S. population is aging, with the number of elderly Americans growing at significant rates. As a result of these trends, the healthcare sector is projected to grow significantly faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.

Healthcare facilities, medical office building and even hospitals are already having increasing demands.  With the downturn the last few years new construction has lagged making the existing properties more valuable.

The reasons to invest in these market segments are twofold.  The demographics are clear that demand for these type properties will be in high demand starting now. Plus these companies are paying 3% to 5% out in dividends and have good price appreciation in their stocks. This looks attractive compared to almost nothing paid in interest these days.

The older Baby Boomers are starting to shift from growth investing to search for income. In a period of low interest rates, REITs are ideal for that purpose.  But beware of valuations.

Some of the companies that invest in senior housing and healthcare includes:

HealthCare REIT (HCN)  – is a self-administered real estate investment trust that invests in health care facilities, primarily nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement centers. Currently pays 4.1% dividends.

HCP, Inc.  (HCP) is an independent hybrid real estate investment trust. The fund invests in real estate markets of the United States. It primarily invests in properties serving the healthcare industry including sectors of healthcare such as senior housing, life science, medical office, hospital and skilled nursing.  4.8% dividends.

Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR), an S&P 500 company, is a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), with a highly diversified portfolio of more than 1,500 seniors housing and healthcare properties in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. 4.2% dividends.retirement income

OMEGA HEALTHCARE INVESTORS (OHI) is a self-administered real estate investment trust which invests in income- producing health care facilities, principally long-term care facilities, with the objective of profitable growth and further diversification of the investment portfolio. Investments are located primarily in the United States. Pay about 5% dividends.

These are not recommendations but examples of companies that serve this market.

There are many other companies that serve senior housing and healthcare.  I found ireitinvestor.com to be an excellent source of information about these companies.

You will need to do your own due diligence before considering these types investments.  These companies have been so hot this year that making sure you are not overpaying is going to be a challenge.  If you can get a fair price, these companies can return an excellent and often gowning dividend as well as capital appreciation.

Shared Experiences in Retirement

Shared Experiences in Retirement

When we were growing up attending elementary and high school, we shared so much together with our classmates and friends. We played ball together, schooled together and shared life together. There was something comfortable and reassuring about that.

Then we grew up to family and job responsibilities and went our separate ways. We grew apart as a generation.

I have found in retirement it is coming back full circle in that it seems retired people are connecting and finding we have a lot in common again at this stage of our lives.  These shared experiences are forming a basis for relationships and once again it is reassuring that others are experiencing the same issues we are, as we age in retirement.

My fellow retired friends are discussing what is happening in their lives and I hear some very familiar topics that I too am experiencing.  Any of these ring a bell?

Retirement Living Topics

Family -

Moving closer to your grown children,
Spending time with grandchildren,
Taking care of Mom or Dad,
Reconnecting with brothers and sisters
Caregiving, Sandwich Generation

Housing -

Where to live in retirement
Downsizing, organizing, & simplify your life
Finding senior living communities or senior assisted living for parent
Finding affordable housing
Condo living, 55+ communities, co-housing
Moving to a small town or moving to the city

Activities -

AARP, Lifeat50+, discounts & perks
Senior center, active adult center
Dancing, ballroom, swing, line dancing
Exercise, walking, gym membership, silver sneakers, senior games,
Diet, eating better, snacks, green drinks, Nutribullet, Vitamix, yoga
Reading, book clubs, Kindles and tablets
Retirement jobs, part-time jobs, consulting
Eating out, specials, dining, food tours, breakfast, cooking
Entertainment, live music,  listening rooms, bingo, arts, parks
Active adult communities, independent living
Table and board games
Golfing, fishing, games like bocce & pickleball, swimming, gardening & 1000 other retirement activities!

Travel -

Ocean and river cruises
Road trips, European trips, Adventure trips
Trip insurance, Medical trip insurance, trip cancellations
Traveling while we can, camera, tours, excursions, day trips, travel agents

Insurance -

Medicare, supplemental, medicare advantage, falling in the gap
Prescription drugs, part D drug, costs of drugs, too many pills

Health & Medical -

Medical problems, operations, hospitals and doctors, insurance
Staying healthy, staying younger, getting old, wrinkles
How much time do we have left, living in the present
Weight loss, juicing, healthy eating tips

Financial -

Keeping your retirement savings safer
Low interest rates, getting returns, retirement planning
Stock market, age 70 1/2 required minimal distributions
Shaky financial systems, banks, governments

Technology -

Facebook, texting, sending photos, blogging
Smartphones, tablets, apps,  best carrier rates and coverages

I could go on and on. There is plenty going on in retirement. It is nice to talk with and share with others our common challenges and  experiences. This gives basis for socialization and new friendships.

Spiritual -

Church, religion, humanist
Inspirational, meditation, living in the present

Practical -

Driving, golf carts, transit, electric cars, self driving cars
Tips to make life easier
Preventing falls, eating times, eye sight
Telling stories about our life experiences, childhood memories
Conversations among women

Out of Favor Topics with Retirees

Watching  too much TV, popular culture,  rap
Politicians, office politics
Full time jobs, waking up too early, how bad the boss is
(Actually all the above is discussed, but disliked).

By Robert Fowler, age 66
Retirement Media Inc.

sharing experiences
Sharing experiences



Retirement Activities: Petit Lemans
Retirement Activities: Petit Lemans
Flightseeing Plane ride at Talkeetna, Alaska over Mount McKinley
Flightseeing Plane ride at Talkeetna, Alaska over Mount McKinley


Enjoying A Cruise for Your Retirement

Enjoying A Cruise for Your Retirement

Ever wonder why so many people like to take cruises in their retirement?

Some people refer to a “retirement cruise” as a cruise they will take shortly after they retire. Maybe it will be their one and only cruise. It is a big thing and something to look forward to.  Just make sure you take a least a 7 day cruise and not a 3 or 4 day cruise, which in my opinion is really not enjoyable at all.  All your time is spend getting settled in and then start packing. So do at least a 7 day cruise or a 10 day cruise is even better.

But why are so many people really die hard cruisers in their retirement. You know the people who take one cruise after another, maybe 3 or 4  a year.

It’s like a travel bug that bites you and you just got to have more.  What’s the big attraction?

Cruising in Retirement

1. Taking a cruise is nice because you just pack and go. Once on ship you can do as little or as much as you want to but you don’t have to repack or catch a bus or change hotel rooms. That’s convenient and people like it.

2. Meeting and talking with new people is interesting and enjoyable. You have plenty of time on a cruise ship and everyone is open to talking with you at meals, at the pool or anywhere around the ship. We have met some very interesting people on every cruise and people are so nice.

Pool on ship
Pool on ship

3.  The food is really good. You can try new foods you don’t normally try. You can go formal dining or casual. Fixed seating or anytime dining.  You can visit the many specialty restaurants.

4. There is always something to do. During the day there are many activities and games, entertainment around the ship or just watch the waves and the flying fish if you are lucky.  Grab a chair and people watch. Share a drink at the bar. At night there is special entertainers like singers, ventriloquist, and magicians.  Then several shows each cruise with the ships singers and dancers which are excellent.

Food carving demo
Food carving demo

5. Oh there are destinations to visit too. Take one of the ship’s excursions or just get off the ship and walk around. Many cruisers set up their own excursions in advance over the Internet. Or just enjoy seeing them from the ship! Here is a picture I took from the ship of Antigua last week.AntiquaAntiqua

6. Take a class. The photo below is my wife Mary Ann taking a cook class aboard the Celebrity Equinox this year. There are classes for dancing, learning musical instruments, healthy living, computers and more.

Cooking class in ship
Cooking class in ship

7. There is always something to see from the ship like the Manhattan sky line on this photo I took last week.  I have seen flying fish, whales, Russian MiG plane, rainbows, 25 foot waves, beautiful islands, coatlines, mountains, skies and moonlights on the sea.

Manhattan from Royal Princess
Manhattan from Royal Princess

8. Relax by one of the pools or in the deck chairs all around the top levels of the ship.  On the middle level decks there are plenty of chairs and tables to sit and people watch and look out the window at the views.  Movies Under The Stairs is a big hit. Pick up card and table games are all over and you can check out the games from the ship’s library or bring your own.

9. Cruising is fun. We don’t live forever, have some fun! These people are having fun taking a dance lesson on ship.

Dancing on a cruise
Dancing on a cruise

Taking a cruise will give you many good memories. Planning a cruise is awesome too.  Give it a try and you many just like it so much you will become one of us frequent cruisers!

Retirement Travel – Why Cruise?
Cool Weather Cruise
Retirement Travel

View from cruise ship
View from cruise ship
Cruise for retirement
Cruise for retirement

Retirement Activities: Petit LeMans Race Series

Retirement Activities: Petit LeMans Race

Since retiring I have really enjoyed going to the Petit LeMans sports car endurance race series with two of my buddies.

We have attended the Petit LeMans race at Road Atlanta for the last five years now and it has become an annual event that we look forward to. The series is in about 15 cities beginning in January and ending in November.  Check the  Petit LeMans schedule for upcoming races. Class winners in our race automatically received an invitation to race at the 24 Hours of Lemans (France) next year.

I am not a car person but I like it. I did attended some races when I was in my 20’s and maybe even 30’s.  Then got busy with my career and stop going.  Now I see many if not most of the 100,000 in attendance are in their 40/s, 50’s, 60’s and higher age bracket. Lots of groups of men with gray hair like I have and some couples.

The paddock area is open before the race and fans and go down on the track and look at the cars, drivers and crew.  These are very sophisticated operations, that is for sure.

Last year, two of us got invitied to take a pre race ride around in the track with a professional driver. The driver of the Viper I was riding in got us up to 125 MPH and that was quite exciting. They go much faster in the race of course.

It is a spectator sport but there is some activity just getting your chairs set up in a good viewing position after you have been to the paddock area.  Bring ear plugs. There are large screens set up along the track for viewing also.

The race is 10 hours or 1,000 miles. There are four classes of autos and they all race at the same time. There is a prototype named the DeltaWing that you have to see. Several others too.

The three of us left my Johns Creek home at 8AM, had breakfast and was at the paddock area by around 9:30AM.  This race we left for home about 3:30PM but have stayed until dark.  Sometimes we pick up the wives and go get bar-b-Que after the race.

We are already talking about going next year. It is fun and we enjoy it. Isn’t that what retirement is all about!


Romantic Anniversary Getaways – Barnsley Gardens Resort

Romantic Anniversary Getaways – Barnsley Gardens Resort

Many couples  celebrate their anniversary with a romantic getaway rather than just going out for dinner at a nice restaurant or even taking a cruise.

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a romantic getaway. Many places are just outside metro areas.  You can settle in a resort for a couple of days and take a break from the routine and that is what we did to celebrate our 41st anniversary.

Barnsley Gardens Resort

A Southern experience with history, fine cuisine, attractive gardens,  sport and play bring couples a delightful getaway from their everyday lives at Barnsley Gardens. Located only an hour and 15 minutes from our home in Johns Creek (Atlanta area), it was easy to get to.

We stayed for two nights in the middle of the week on their Smart Stay Days plan and was very pleased with our stay.

What We Like About Barnsley Gardens

We liked our room because it was in a large manor house, yet private with it’s own porch. Free wi-fi and turn down service.

We liked we could walk to anywhere on the property. The grounds are gorgeous and there are plenty of green spaces including large town greens that go the whole length of the property.  There were 5 or 6 fire pits along the greens and in the evenings they just start them up and first come dibs on the chairs but that was not a problem.

town hall
town hall


Rice House at Barnsley Resort
Rice House at Barnsley Resort

The restaurants were excellent. The first evening we tried the Woodland Grill (pic below) and I enjoyed the trout and Mary Ann had the salmon after our fried green tomatoes appetizer. We both loved it.  The second evening we splurged and dined at the upscale Rice House and again loved it. (pic above)

The Woodlands Grill
The Woodlands Grill

The first day we walked to the beautiful gardens and toured the ruins of  the Barnsley house. There is an interesting history about this house which was built in 1835 by the Barnsleys. The ruins (pic below) are both interesting and beautiful.

Barnsley house
Barnsley house

The formal gardens were beautifully maintained.

Formal Gardens
Formal Gardens

There is a neat museum in a house attached to the ruins that tells the history of the house and the family. It has extensive collection of the family’s personal items.

Lovely Grounds
Lovely Grounds

The formal gardens in front of the Barnsley house are impressive but there are all kinds of flowers, shrubs and vistas throughout the property like the photo I took above will show. We also toured the chefs garden behind the Rice House restaurant.

Chefs Garden at Rice House
Chefs Garden

There are so many places to walk throughout the community. You can walk the wide streets to admire the homes and the landscaping with many interesting architectural improvements, view the golf course (and play too if you are so inclined). It’s a walkers paradise.

Or you can fish or hunt.

Fishing at Barnsley Resort
Fishing at Barnsley Resort

Fishing is one of the free activities offered so we stopped by the sports house and picked up two spinners, a tackle box and a box of worms and did some fishing in one of the several lakes on the property. We fished from a walking bridge and caught 6 or 7 nice fish. The picture above shows my wife Mary Ann’s prize catch.

Tellus Science Museum
Tellus Science Museum

At lunch time we drove the fifteen minutes to the Booth Western Art Museum over in nearby Cartersville.  There are two excellent museums in Cartersville, the Booth Western Museum and the Tellus Sciense Museum.  We visited both on consecutive days and had lunch both days in downtown Cartersville at Swheat Market & Deli, which is a real gem.

Other activities offered were hunting, fly fishing, boating, horseback riding and enjoying the pool and nearby salon.


We feel like we escaped for a little while and got in touch with the land and nature.


So for a romantic getaway you don’t have to travel too far even though that is fun too. The couple seated next to us at the Rice House, who was celebrating their anniversary too came from Ohio.

For more information, visit Barnsley Resort.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

Introducing the New Be.group Website for Senior Living Options

This post brought to you by The be.group. The content
and opinions expressed below are that of Retirement Media.

There is great news to report! With all the information and misinformation floating around on the internet, it can be difficult to sort it all out. Well, be.group has an all-new website designed for seniors and their loved ones. The site is full of living options geared towards baby boomers and what could potentially be the next step in life. There is even an informative video that provides great information on what the website offers its visitors.

However, since the launch of the new site in August of 2014, it has been a reliable source for industry professionals to direct their clients and/or patients, as well as family members of seniors who are ready to embark on the next phase in life. Therefore, family, caretakers, and healthcare providers can all find valuable information on the Be.group website.

The user-friendly site contains information about senior living housing. In addition, the site provides information on the many living solution as well as costs associated with them. The site can be tailored as to who is visiting it needing the information. For example, if a professional, family, or the senior were to visit the site individually, they can select which category of information they would like to view.

If you are a senior who have been looking for quality information about your living options, you much visit the Be.group website today. You will be guided by a simple step-by-step process through all of the solutions that best meet your needs. Your will find slideshows, articles, quizzes, and informative videos.

You, your loved ones, and/or your caretaker will have access to several communities and their different levels of care offered. There are handy printable resources you can utilize or review while offline
as well.

If you are a professional caretaker or family member of a senior, please be sure to visit the site as well. Once you are familiar with all the information, you can then direct that knowledge to your loved one or senior you are caring for. The more everyone is informed on the next steps, the better and easier the decision-making process will become.

As stated above, the Be.group website if a wealth of information that is waiting to be tapped for every baby boomer. Visit the site today and get your Golden Years started fully informed and confident in your senior living decisions.

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