Category Archives: Travel

Pittsburgh: A Great Place to Visit and I Might Want to Live There

Jane
Jane

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Pittsburgh.  We never expected to spend a vacation there.  After all, the city doesn’t have much of a reputation as a vacation destination!  But the wedding of a daughter of dear friends took us there, so off we went, and the trip has changed Pittsburgh in my mind forever.  (I have to say: my glowing view of Pittsburgh was helped along by the wonderful Air B&B where we stayed, called “The Doll’s House”.  It’s in a great location, and the gourmet breakfasts that they advertise are real!)

Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Here are some things I didn’t know before:

1) PIttsburgh is a beautiful city!  It has three rivers, great vistas overlooking the city, great architecture (a lot of it supplied by the Carnegie and Mellon families), great parks, especially Point Park where the rivers meet.

2) Although it has had some hard times, Pittsburgh is a hip city, with great restaurants, great shopping areas with ethnic markets, and great outdoor music.  We only sampled a few restaurants, but here were my favorites:  Cafe on the Strip for great local and affordable Italian deliciousness, Primanti Brothers for the Pittsburgh experience of eating a sandwich with french fries on it, and the Milk Shake Factory for yummy, unique milk shakes.

primanti brothers sandwich
Primanti Brothers Sandwich

3) Pittsburgh has tons of great places to explore.  First of all, there’s the two incline railways that take you up to Mount Washington for gorgeous views of the city.  Then, there are the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh, which sound somewhat dull on paper, but, believe me, you will be enthralled by them–if you allow enough time to listen to the audio tour guide.  I don’t want to say more about them because they are such a hidden treasure, but trust me on this one!  There is also the Phipps Conservatory, full of every plant or flower you can imagine, all laid out inside of beautiful, Victorian glass houses. Then, there are the amazing places that we didn’t even get to:  the Carnegie Natural HIstory Museum or Science Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the museum devoted to the history of cartoons and book illustrations called the Toonseum, the World War I war memorial.

But I don’t want to forget to mention one we did visit:  Frank Lloyd Wright’s beautiful Falling Wateron the way to Pittsburgh from the East.  That house, in itself, is worth the trip.

This sounds like I’m being paid by the City of PIttsburgh!  I wish!  No, I just feel like singing the praises of a town that doesn’t often get mentioned in people’s lists of Top Ten Places to Visit–but deserves to be!

Top 10 Reasons to Go to the Beach After Labor Day

Annice
Annice

1.  The crowds are gone, and if you’re over 50, you like having the beach to yourself (well, almost)

2.  House rentals are greatly reduced – thank you Edisto Realty

3.  The temperature is still hot (88 degrees at Edisto Beach, S.C.)

Edisto Beach House
Edisto Beach House

4.  The seafood is excellent and the local shrimp practically tastes like lobster

5.  In case of evacuation, easy to get out

6.  The sound of the waves is magnificent

7.  Dogs can be off leash 

 

Terra at the Beach
Terra at the Beach

8.  No waiting in line at Whaley’s – our favorite restaurant

 9.  All the tacky beach souvenirs are half price

10.  It’s just so much easier

Wedding, Vacation, Gourmet Food Truck Lot, Old Friends, and New Puppy – Life is Good!

Annice

Only a few weeks ago, I wrote about how overwhelmed I was feeling.  Well, actually, I’ve posted on that subject quite a bit.  In fact, it’s a pretty common theme these days with us baby boomer women.  But, after spending ten glorious sunny days in California, I feel somewhat renewed.  No whining for me for a while.  I guess more vacations are in order.

My nephew’s wedding at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon was beautiful as was his bride, Noelle.  Her family came in from Hawaii and it was great meeting them as well as their Bernese Mountain Dog, Walter, who was actually in the ceremony.  What an event.  My sisters and I rented a cool house in Santa Monica for the week, and although we didn’t always agree on little things like what bread to buy for the house, or which coffee is better, it was wonderful spending time with them.

Brad&Noelle&Walter&soon to be Owen

In Santa Monica we went to a cool flea market with wild stuff, stuff I don’t see too much in Asheville, like tons of vintage clothing and art deco furniture. Then my nephew took us to the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot where we feasted on Lobster Rolls, Peking duck tacos, and even curried fries.  Yummy.  Then, there was the Getty Museum which I had never seen, and how lucky was I to stumble up on a Vermeer exhibit?

Once the festivities of the wedding were over, I visited two friends I hadn’t seen in years, and what a treat that was.  One friend took me to the Shoah Foundation (founded by Spielberg) after Schindler’s List where I discovered my dad’s s cousin had given a four hour interview/testimony about her experience in Auschwitz.  I will write about that separately, when I can process that experience of just listening to her and what happened to many members of my family.

Terra

To end on a happy note, we finally got a puppy.  After losing both our dogs several years ago (you remember, Gus and Carli), we found our dear little Chesapeake Bay Retriever from an incredible breeder only 40 minutes from our house.

Terra and Favorite Toy

So, let me introduce you to Whiskey Creek’s Terra Cotta – 11 weeks old.  You’ll be hearing a lot more about Terra in posts to come.  She’s pure joy – well almost.  Still potty training her…

Changing Cultures & Taking on Elder Care

Totsie Marine

Our Friend, Totsie, disappeared from Asheville, but we found her in Panama.  Here is her story.

Part 1: Making the Decision

“Wanda fell and broke her (other) arm. She is doing better but can’t remember why she has a cast on her arm.” This email came after we made the decision to move to Boquete, Panama and help take care of my 83 year-old mother-in-law, Wanda. It sealed the deal for us. We said we would come to Panama for a year.

How it came to be:  

My husband, Winn, and I had toyed with the idea of moving to Boquete after visiting there in January 2011. Winn’s brother, Kevin, and his wife, Tammy, had been taking care of Wanda for three years and had moved their whole family, including three school aged children, to Boquete about a year before our visit. Their decision to relocate there was based on Tammy’s parents, who had retired there, and their own research on cost of living, quality of medical care and the desire to scale down their expensive lifestyle in the states.

Family in Boquete

Winn and I have a web development business. I started the business in 1996 and he joined me in 2006. We re-branded the company in 2011 from Totsie.com to Webonobo and positioned it to be “Local Global Mobile Web Solutions”. We also had our site translated into Spanish to attract clients who needed multilingual sites. We had always been told “Oh, you could do your business from anywhere in the world.”, so now seemed to be the right time to see if that was true.

Our original thought was that we could move to Boquete, live near Kevin and Tammy and help take care of Wanda while continuing our business. We knew we would have a cable internet connection and with modern conveniences like Skype, we could still have personal connections to our clients.

The deciding factors:

One factor in our decision to move was that our business had slowed, like most businesses in the states, and while we still had a stable roster of 60+ clients which we host and support, the requests for new sites had slowed to a trickle. Even though we had re-branded and felt positive about the new direction, we were still in the early stages of marketing our new global potential.

Another important factor came when I had a reading with an intuitive in Asheville who helped me admit the fact that I was personally burned out. Being entirely self-taught, self-motivated, self-marketed, I had been working long days for 16 years and even though I thought I had a few good business years left in me, the truth came out in the reading and I had to admit that I was just plain tired, that I had become one-dimensional in giving all my energy to the business and what I really wanted was a big change in lifestyle.  

When I told Winn about my true feelings he immediately said “Absolutely, no problem, I can take over the business. I want you to rest and find yourself.” His next thought was that HE wanted to meet with the intuitive. In truth, he had been wanting to change the hectic lifestyle we had created but hadn’t figured out how to make that happen. So now he was motivated to not only take over the helm but also to do it in his style and at his pace.

And yet a third factor is the fact that I turn 62 on March 6, 2012. Yes, I’m a baby boomer. It seemed unreal to me that people really used to retire at 62 but here I was actually considering it! Of course I would have to give up the CEO position in the company and work less hours to qualify for Social Security but that quickly became a no-brainer. Winn, being 5 years younger than me, still felt excited about our rebranding efforts and could see himself running the business with me as co-pilot.

Running the numbers:

Winn loves spreadsheets so he spread us out in all the ways he could think of to evaluate the wisdom of our move. No matter how you sliced it, it looked like a really good idea!

Based on Kevin and Tammy’s experiences and cost of living, he decided that (as the new CEO) we could offer our services at a lower rate to our clients since our cost of living would be lower in Panama and that would create a win-win for our clients, who had smaller marketing budgets because of the downturn in the economy, and us who had lower living expenses. We could continue running the business, just on a smaller more sustainable pace. We would be living internationally which could eventually meet one of our rebranding goals which was to produce multilingual sites for international clients. We both got excited about the positive possibilities of this move and after we found a great renter for our house-someone I already had an acquaintance with who is in our industry-we felt like the light was green to go.

Part II – Next Monday!  In the meantime, Happy Birthday Totsie. 

 

Oops50: Do You Know About the Discounts for Baby Boomers?

Annice

A friend of mine at Sheville.org was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy’s recently, and heard him ask for a senior discount. The young woman at the register apologized and charged him less for his meal. When my friend asked the man what the discount was, he told her seniors over 55 gets 10% off everything on the menu, every day. This incident prompted her to do some research, (thanks Va) and she discovered a list of restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, travel deals, and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements. Below, you’ll find a long  list of discounts for us baby boomers, and it’s surprising just how many of them start at the young age of 50.

Just think, when you get that craving for pancakes IHOP is ready with your discount, or on the day you’re having a real ice cream emergency, Ben and Jerry’s will add a 10% discount to that rich creamy cone, and  all you have to do is ask. 

Hmmmm, it seems to me if Dunkin Donuts is willing to give free coffee to us boomers and you’re paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for free. Oh, and my very favorite is the savings you get with our National Parks – I’m just saying…

Here’s the list ladies. It’s long. Enjoy!

Restaurants
Applebees: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arbys: 10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerrys: 10% off (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Captain Ds Seafood: discount varies on location (62+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chilis: 10% off (55+)
Culvers: 10% off (60+)
Dennys: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)  
Einsteins Bagels: 10% off bakers dozen of bagels (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardees: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silvers: various discounts at participating locations (55+)
McDonalds: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Shoneys: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendys: 10% off (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Retail And Apparel
Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belks: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks: 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
 Kohls: 15% off (60+)
Modells Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot / clearance items first Monday of every month
(55+)

Grocery

Albertsons: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Frys Supermarket: free Frys VIP Club Membership & 10% off every
Monday (55+)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppes Marketplace: 5% off (62+)

Travel

Alaska Airlines: 10% off (65+)
Alamo: up to 25% off for AARP members
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club
& special fares for select destinations
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Travelers Discount (50+); 20%-30%
off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50 and up
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)

Activities And Entertainment

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark / Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services
including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off
Ripleys Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)

Cell Phone Discounts

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99 / month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10 / month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99 / month (65+).

Miscellaneous
Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)