Featured

Forest Bathing – No Water Required!

Forest Bathing is the latest way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a boom in technology that plunged the average, everyday person into the digital world, resulting in what could be called screen-time addiction. During that time, the use of home computers, hand-held video games, and portable pocket-sized devices for our viewing and listening pleasures became the norm rather than the exception.

So, it’s no wonder that in the early 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries began to promote the practice of shinrin-yoku to encourage people to spend time in nature. Shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing,” which is fast becoming a popular way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.  ­

Studies have shown plenty of positive health benefits of forest bathing. It reduces levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It also has been proven to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, boost energy levels, and provide more sound sleep.  Plus, you don’t necessarily need to do anything strenuous – simply bathe in the natural surroundings and be present in the very moment!

Come stay with us and enjoy the nearby forests and take the plunge (no bathtub necessary) to see why forest bathing is making such a big splash these days.

The Deschutes National Forest is just minutes from the yurts and cabins at Bend-Sunriver. Bask in the beauty of the soaring trees, which include Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, Western larch, and White pines. There are roughly 76 moderate trails in the 1.8 million acres that comprise the forest. Waterfalls, wildlife, and mountain views add to your bathing pleasure!

Safari Tents at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA.

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara to stay in a teepee, tent, covered wagon, or cabin at Rancho Oso, you’ll be happy to know California’s Los Padres National Forest is conveniently less than 10 miles away and provides the perfect forest bathing venue. Coming in at approximately 1.9 million acres, Los Padres has over 1000 miles of trails and is home to magnificent coastal redwoods, pine and fir trees as well a variety of oak tree species, including Blue Oak and California Black Oak. Oh, and Pfeiffer Beach is also located within the forest so you can actually get wet while forest bathing here!

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, has two nearby options for forest bathing: Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest. While a short drive away, about an hour and a half to be exact, this puts you smack dab in the middle of the White Mountain Forest with plenty of hemlock, pines, and spruce trees to bathe in. Fun fact, the state of New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the US with roughly 81 percent of forest land, so everywhere you look, there’s an option to forest bathe!

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Take a trip to Wisconsin’s Door County and you’ll find yourself surrounded by forest lands, including Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands. A stay at Tranquil Timbers is a great way to get your daily dose of forest bathing. Baileys is home to spruce, cedar, birch, and hemlock trees as well as a bevy of birds including warblers and merlins who can add the soundtrack to bath time.

Featured

Spring Break 2020 – Have it Your Way

Tiny Houses at Sunshine Key in Big Pine Key, FL.

Just like the old burger chain slogan, you can choose to do spring break “your way” and you’ll find you’ll have a whopper of a good time! Here are some ideas to customize your spring break so you and your travel companions, whether it’s family, friends, or your significant other, will find your travel appetites completely satisfied.

Cottages at Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL.

Family Fun: We know you’ve heard it before, but Disney World really does offer something magical for everyone, from the young to the young at heart. You may hear “when are we going to get there” as you embark on this spring break journey, but once you’re there, most likely no one will be complaining one bit. Plan a stay at one of the colorful cottages at Tropical Palms Resort Kissimmee and explore all Disney has to offer. Plus, Orlando’s got some new things to keep you smiling including Magic Happens, a daytime parade with characters from Moana and Frozen, which debuted in February, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a new thrill ride that will delight Harry Potter fans, which debuted last summer.

View of Downtown Palm Springs, California.

Girls’ Getaway: Shop, eat, repeat – sounds like a great agenda for a girls getaway. Toss in plenty of sunshine, desert hikes, and colorful cottage accommodations and you’ve got yourself an all-star girls trip. All of these things and more can be found in Palm Springs, California. Get the fun started by reserving your cottage accommodation at Palm Springs and then let Palm Springs do its thing. Hike the Andreas Canyon Trail or take a drive to hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Shop ‘til you drop in downtown Palm Springs or the trendy Uptown Design District. From a foodie standpoint, there’s everything you can imagine from steakhouses, sushi joints, and farm to table. There are also several foodie tours so you can sample and see what you’ll be back for later! Enjoy VillageFest which happens every Thursday night in downtown Palm Springs and features arts, crafts, food, and live entertainment.

Guys’ Getaway: What’s better than a group of guys swapping stories about the one that got away? How about being together when one of you, or maybe all of you, reel in the Big One? And, let’s be clear, we’re talking about fish here. If fishing floats your collective boats, head down to the Florida Keys, book a stay in the new tiny homes at Sunshine Key and fish, fish, fish. The resort has teamed up with Keys Boat Tours so you can conveniently book your fishing adventures right at the resort as well as depart direct from the resort on your quest to add to your fish tales! P.S. – you can also choose to fish onsite at the resort!

Tiny Houses at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

Romantic Respite: Not sure, but is there such a thing as a quiet spring break for two? Whether you’re looking to connect or reconnect, consider experiencing the beauty and oft-transformative Sedona, Arizona. First on the list would be cozy accommodations so book a tiny home stay at Verde Valley. Then, take a hike and explore the healing powers of the vortexes found in Red Rock State Park, namely Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock. Toast to love and happiness with wine tastings along the Verde Valley Wine Trail (verdevalleywine.org). End your perfect days with some premium stargazing as Sedona is one of only 20 certified Dark Sky Communities in the world! Check out spacetourismguide.com to find the best spots to see the stars of Sedona.

Sedona, AZ, hiking • Red Rock State Park
Featured

Five Things to Do In… Bend, Oregon

Yurts at Bend-Sunriver in Bend, Oregon.

According to an article in The Oregonian, Bend ranked 4th in the US as a vacation rental hotspot, based on a 2019 survey. The top three spots went to Florida locations. So, what makes Bend, a small city in Central Oregon, rank fourth on a list headed by some real hot spots? We’ve come up with just five reasons, but there are plenty more to be there now when it comes to Bend.

  1. Spelunking and Caving: First off, spelunking is just a fancy word for exploring caves, of which the area has plenty. There are said to be 400 lava tubes in the area and Wanderlust Tours (wanderlusttours.com) offers a great way to see the ones that are accessible. You can also choose to explore on your own – check out Hidden Forest Cave, Boyd Cave, or Redmond Caves, which has five different lava tubes to explore.
  2. Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint: For more lava fun, head to Pilot Butte, which is actually the lava dome of an extinct volcano, rising 500 feet above the surrounding plains. A nice little trail provides access to the dome, which offers an amazing panoramic view of the snow-capped Cascades.
  3. Tumalo Falls: From June to October, the 90+-foot waterfall is the star of the show in Deschutes National Forest. Hike a seven mile loop trail and you’ll find the viewing platform, which provides the perfect spot for great photo ops. (Do it for the ‘gram.) Further up the trail, Middle Tumalo Falls, a two-tiered cascade is pretty spectacular, as well.
  4. Floating on the Deschutes River: The Deschutes River can easily be considered the biggest playground in Bend from May to September. On any given day, you’ll find kayakers, tubers, paddlers and floaters enjoying the scenery along the river. Floating is just one way to explore and enjoy the Deschutes. Check out visitbend.com to see how you can all float on!

    Floating on the Deschutes River.
  5. Bend Ale Trail: Is the Pacific Northwest really the birthplace of craft breweries? Maybe, maybe not, but one way to find out the history and enjoy the results of the craft beer craze is the Bend Ale Trail. There are several ways to explore the trail including by bike, trolley and tour bus. Choose one, drink responsibly, and say cheers to the innovation of Bend’s craft brewers. You’ll soon discover why Bend has been referred to as “Beer Town USA” and “Beervana.”

    Enjoy Craft Beer in “Beer Town USA.”

While exploring the natural beauty of Bend and eating or drinking your way through their exciting culinary and craft brewery scene, relax a bit in one of our yurts or cabins at Bend-Sunriver. It’ll make your visit even more photoworthy!

Cabins at Bend-Sunriver in Bend, Oregon.
Featured

Five Things to Do In……Houston/Lake Conroe, Texas

Glamping views in Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

A winter getaway to Texas will provide much in the way of cultural diversity, rich history, great food and music and, of course, moderate weather (average daytime highs are around 65 degrees in winter). There’s also plenty of great fishing and hiking in the area. We’ve highlighted five great things to do if find yourself Texas-bound!

  1. Space Center Houston: Housing more than 400 space artifacts, Space Center Houston is one of the city’s top attractions, welcoming close to 1 million visitors annually. It has the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples, as well as space capsules, lunar modules and robonauts, which are humanoid robots, one of which currently serves aboard the International Space Station.
  2. Cockerell Butterfly Center: With more than 100 species of exotic butterflies and insects making their home here, this is a must-do for nature lovers. Also, the Center houses the Rainforest Conservatory, a three-story glass structure that acts as a simulated rainforest and has plenty of butterflies alighting on the exotic plants here. Don’t miss the 50-foot waterfall!
  3. Lone Star Monument & Historical Flag Park: Displaying 13 flags that flew during the history of the great state of Texas, this beautiful 3.5-acre park is worth the trip. Located in Conroe, visitors can also see The Texian, a 14-foot bronze sculpture by Conroe artist Craig Campobella, that depicts a soldier of the Texas Revolution.
  4. Distilleries, vineyards, and breweries: Starting with distilleries, you can find more than 10 dotting the countryside between Conroe and Houston where can sip spirits including vodka, whiskey, and rum. Check out distillerytrail.com to see locations in the area, as well as all across Texas. Blue Epiphany Vineyards (blue-ephiphany.com) in Conroe has a tasting room as well as a schedule of special events while Wild Stallion Vineyards (wildstallionvineyards.com) in nearby Spring offers a tasting room and an upcoming spring concert series. Beer lovers will appreciate the craft brewers in the area which include B52 Brewing, set on seven wooded acres complete with a tap room and beer garden, and Southern Star Brewing Company, which offers tours and has plenty of events including Trivia and Tacos Thursdays and live music and food trucks on Fridays.
  5. Fernland Historical Park and Museum and Memory Garden: Located in Montgomery, Texas, Fernland has several historic homes that have been relocated to provide a hands-on educational opportunity for visitors. The homes depict life in early Texas and are examples of early Texas architecture. All the homes date to the 1800s and range from rustic cabins to a Greek-revival home build in 1845.
Cozy cabins • Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

While exploring all the Houston and Lake Conroe areas have to offer, make a cozy cabin at Lake Conroe your homebase, where you can also relax by the pool and take in views of the lake from your deck.

Featured

Black History Sites

The historic and famous Acorn Street in Boston

February is Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized the month of February as a time to “recognize the accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” However, the original concept to recognize black history dates to the early 1900s and is attributed to Carter G. Woodson, who is considered the “father of black history.” There are many historic sites throughout the US significant to black history, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016 in Washington DC. The museum is the largest destination dedicated to the African-American experience. A few more sites are listed here.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument: Part of the National Park System, this location in Wilberforce, Ohio, preserves and interprets the legacy of the Buffalo Soldier of the U.S. Army. Through photos and other multi-media exhibits, visitors can learn about these soldiers who served in America’s wars, beginning with the Civil War.

Wilberforce is approximately 30 miles from the cabins and cottages at Wilmington.

National Civil Rights Museum:  The museum, located in Memphis, Tennessee, explores the history of the Civil Rights Movement and houses more than 260 artifacts. Through these artifacts, films and other multi-media exhibits, visitors can trace the history of the movement beginning with the 17th century. The museum is built around the Lorraine Motel, which was the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Memphis is approximately 68 miles from the cozy cabins at Cherokee Landing.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site: Visitors to this national park in Washington, D.C., can tour Cedar Hill, where Frederick Douglass lived from 1877 until his death in 1895, through a guided tour with a Park Ranger. There is also a film, Fighter for Freedom: The Frederick Douglass Story, as well as other historical exhibits.

Freedmen’s Town National Historic District: This neighborhood in Houston was one of several areas established by freed slaves after the Civil War. Roughly 1000 freed slaves settled the community after leaving the cotton plantations of Texas. The history of the area can be explored at the Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum and the African American Library at the Gregory School.

Houston is about 50 miles from Lake Conroe, where you can stay in a cozy cabin.

African American National Historic Site/Black Heritage Trail: The Black Heritage Trail runs through the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and highlights 15 pre-Civil War structures and historic sites important to black history. The African Meeting House, which is the oldest surviving black church in the United States, dating to 1806, is on the trail. The trail also includes the home of John Coburn, an African-American abolitionist who aided the efforts of the Underground Railroad.

Boston is 45 miles from the Tuxbury Tiny House Village.

Featured

That’s a Wrap: Going Hollywood

Los Angeles, CA • Hollywood Sign

Right on the heels of the holiday season comes Awards Season. This is the time of year, from roughly early January until mid-February, when the Hollywood stars shine their brightest doing the circuit of award shows to see who takes home the coveted statuette – from the Golden Globe to the SAG Actor to the big daddy of them all, the Oscar. Take a trip to LaLa Land and vacation Hollywood-style.

Go full-on tourist and hit the LA scene that highlights all things Hollywood.

  • Walk of Fame: Stroll on over to Hollywood Boulevard and check out the more than 2000 stars on the Walk of Fame. The dedications here include luminaries from television, radio, movies, live theater, and the music industry, To have a star here, the criterion includes “being famous for at least 5 years.” The first star dedicated belonged to actress Joanne Woodward and the most recent was to Snoop Dogg.
  • Graumann’s Chinese Theater: Opened in 1927 to debut the film King of Kings, Graumann’s Chinese Theater was so named because of the style of the architecture. For years it was the venue for the Academy Awards, and is noted because of the more than 200 handprints and footprints of the Hollywood hotshots that you can still step into in the forecourt of the theater. FYI, those prints include the hoofprint of Trigger, Roy Rogers’ faithful horse and the tire marks of Herbie the Love Bug.
  • Hollywood Sign: If you want a good view or a selfie backdrop of the Hollywood sign, take a trip to Griffith Park. There are trails that lead up to as close as you can legally get to the sign. The outdoor patio at the Griffith Observatory also provides an ideal spot to get a good shot of this landmark sign that was built in 1923. The letters stand 45 feet high and span 350 feet across the entire sign.

Go on location and visit iconic settings that have had their fair share of close-ups during some of most the popular movies and television shows.

  • The Last Book Store: Located at 453 S. Spring in Los Angeles, the bookstore itself is worth the visit as it houses plenty of books, including vintage volumes, at great prices. From a fan perspective, you will recognize the place from the 2014 movie, Gone Girl.
  • Cunningham House: While the Cunningham family of Happy Days fame resided in Milwaukee, the exterior shots of their happy home was actually those of a house located in LA. Cruise on over to 565 N. Cahuenga Boulevard in LA and you’ll be transported to happier days! Can you hear Fonzie’s bike coming to visit?
  • Leo Carrillo State Beach: Plenty of filming has gone on at this popular beach in Malibu. Walk the beach and imagine you see Danny and Sandy enjoying those summer nights or Keanu and Patrick Swayze catching a wave while filming Point Break. The iconic beach movies of the early 1960s were also filmed here including Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo. Named for actor Leo G. Carrillo, best known for his television series, The Cisco Kid, the beach is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, in Malibu.
Boardwalk to Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu, CA

Get up close and personal with the Academy Awards and the stars who shine.

  • The Annenberg Space for Photography has a current exhibit entitled “Vanity Fair: Hollywood Calling,” scheduled to run through July 26. The exhibit features more than 100 photographs of film and television industry stars over the last 40 years taken by famous photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Herb Ritts. Visit annebergphotospace.org for hours and more details.
  • Coming soon! The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is definitely coming soon. The museum, which was slated to open in 2019, is expected to open this year on the site of the former May Co. department store, located at 6067 Wilshire Blvd. Film related objects, including Dorothy’s ruby slippers and the typewriter on which the screenwriter wrote Psycho, are slated to be on display here. Watch the website at academymuseum.org for updates on the opening date and details.
Rancho Oso
Cabins • Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA

If you’re looking to add a bit more star power to your LA visit, try staying in a cabin, cottage, teepee, or covered wagon at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara. Rancho Oso is a working ranch and also served as a retreat from Hollywood life for silent film stars, including the famed Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Covered Wagons • Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Featured

2020 Views

Photo from Devils Bridge Trail 40 minutes from the tiny houses at Verde Valley in AZ.

Get a new perspective in 2020 and check out these amazing views around the country.

Arizona

If you’re visiting Sedona, Arizona, Red Rock State Park provides some of the most breathtaking scenery you may ever see. Simply strolling through this rugged valley with its startling sandstone formations is a sight for the eyes, but if you choose to visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, you’ll add to the magnificent spectacle. Built into the buttes of the Red Rocks, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is considered an architectural wonder.

Plan a stay at Verde Valley when exploring Red Rock State Park.

Verde Valley
Tiny house photo by @adventuresonwheels from Verde Valley in AZ.

California

Any way you slice it, Yosemite National Park is one of the most scenic spots on Earth. To get a spectacular view of the Park’s highlights, including Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, take in the scenery from Glacier Point. With a commanding elevation of 7,214 feet, this popular overlook is a great way to see all the beauty of the Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Lakes provides a perfect base camp while visiting the Yosemite Valley and the National Park.

Maine

Thunder Hole, in Acadia National Park, is named due to the thundering sound that occurs when the waves of the Atlantic roll into the cavern on this inlet at Acadia. The water can splash as high as 40 feet! Thunder Hole also offers fabulous views of Otter Cliff and the Great Head from the safety of an observation deck.

Narrows Too in Trenton is a great place to stay for a visit to Acadia, as well as the charming town of Bar Harbor.

Narrows Too
Colorful cottages from Narrows Too in ME.

New Hampshire

Pick your favorite vista when you visit Odiorne State Park, in Rye. There are beautiful views of the woodlands, the rocky coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day you can see the Isles of Shoals, a small group of six islands, located about six miles off the coast. In addition to the views, there is also the Seacoast Science Center and the remains of Fort Dearborn, established during World War II to help protect the Portsmouth Harbor.

Tuxbury Pond Tiny House Village is a little over a half hour drive from Rye.

Pennsylvania

One of the most scenic spots in Lancaster County is Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. Lake and river views, as well as streams, creeks, and waterfalls are just a few of the scenic details here.  The rugged terrain of the woodlands provides possible glimpses of the preserve’s wildlife inhabitants, including coyotes, fox, and deer. Several well-marked trails lead the way as you explore the amazing scenery here.

Circle M is about 22 minutes from Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. 

Washington

Kerry Park, in Seattle, is the perfect spot to grab a panoramic view of the Emerald City. If you’ve seen such a shot in a magazine or movie, it was most likely taken from Kerry Park. There are so many pluses to visiting this location. Not only is the view of the city skyline spectacular, two bonus views include Mt. Rainier and Elliot Bay. Also, the charming neighborhood of Queen Anne provides views of 19th century homes in Upper Queen Anne, and another one of Seattle’s best locations for amazing views, the Space Needle, in Lower Queen Anne.

Seattle is a perfect day trip when you stay at Leavenworth Tiny House Village or a quick trip from Tall Chief, in Fall City.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Otto
Otto, the tiny house, from Leavenworth Tiny House Village
Featured

New Year, New Trails

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park, 30 minutes from Palm Springs in CA.

Do you plan to blaze a new trail in 2020? You might want to consider trekking these trails around the country.

Joshua Tree National Park (CA) – Check out the trees the park is named for while hiking the more than 65 moderate trails in this rugged terrain.  The Joshua Tree is characterized by its twisty, bristly limbs and these distinctive trees are just part of the scenery to be seen here. The Arch Rock Trail hike brings you to the namesake of the trail, Arch Rock, which runs 30 feet wide. Get up close and personal (well, maybe not too close or too personal) with the Park’s Cholla Cactus on the relatively easy Cholla Cactus Garden trail.

Reserve a stay in a cottage at Palm Springs in Palm Desert to hike Joshua Tree National Park.

Lake Kissimmee State Park (FL) – Live oak hammocks provide the perfect cover as you explore the two loop trails in this Florida hiking destination. The Buster Island Trail takes roughly 3 ½ hours to walk this 6.9-mile loop on an island that is surrounded by three lakes. The North Loop Trail is another option that includes Gobbler Ridge, a spur trail that leads to the edge of Lake Kissimmee.

Rest your head in a colorful cottage at Tropical Palms in Kissimmee to hike Lake Kissimmee State Park.

Prospect Mountain (NY) – Imagine 100 miles views of the Adirondacks! This somewhat difficult hike (not suggested for youngsters) is one of the

more popular hikes in the region thanks to the rewarding scenery. The goal is the summit at 2,030 feet, where hikers can experience those magnificent views but also see the remains of the Prospect Mountain Cable Incline Railway. The trailhead begins in the town of Lake George.

Cozy up in a cabin at Lake George Escape to tackle Prospect Mountain.

Fall Hollow Falls (TN) – The waterfalls are the draw on this trail, not to mention the creeks and wooden bridges. Cross over the two bridges and you’ll find yourself at the observation deck for the falls. The trail to the observation deck is less than a quarter mile. The trailhead for this hike is just off the historic Natchez Trace Parkway.

Natchez Trace
Choose your favorite themed cabin at Natchez Trace to trek Fall Hollow Falls.
Featured

The Year of the Yurt

Interior yurt photo from Tranquil Timbers in WI.

If yurt camping has been on your travel bucket list for a while, why not make 2020 the Year of the Yurt? Luckily, Petite Retreats has more than enough yurt locations so you can choose a different spot to yurt every month of the year!

If you’re not familiar with yurts, there are a few things to keep in mind. Our yurts typically feature either two double futons and one set of bunk beds or one double futon and two sets of bunk beds. Some also have a functional kitchenette with a stovetop and microwave (no oven), upright refrigerator with small freezer, and a dining table. Kitchen amenities include an electric coffeepot, a toaster, pots and pans, as well as dishes, glasses, and utensils. Oh, and also a private restroom with shower! They also feature satellite television, a propane fireplace and gas barbeque on the outdoor deck. If you’re looking to rough it a bit more, we do also feature a few yurts that are much more rustic, without a restroom or kitchen, at Snowflower, Mt. Hood, Long Beach, Paradise, Tall Chief, Grandy Creek, and Tranquil Timbers.

Circle M
Yurt so good! Check out these cozy yurts at Circle M in PA.

California yurt options include Lake of the Springs, in Oregon House; Snowflower in Emigrant Gap and Yosemite Lakes in Groveland. Lake of the Springs is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains and nearby attractions include the New Leaf Llama Farm, home to 30 friendly llamas. Snowflower puts you near Tahoe National Forest and all its activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, climbing and bicycling. Yosemite Lakes is of course the perfect spot to stay when exploring Yosemite National Park as the entrance to the Park is just five miles down the road. The campground itself offers fishing, swimming and panning for gold thanks to the Tuolumne River that runs right through Yosemite Lakes.

Heading north from California to Oregon, there are four yurt opportunities – two along the Oregon coast, one in beautiful Bend and one in Mt. Hood Territory in Welches.  South Jetty (Florence) and Pacific City (Cloverdale) provide great locations for coastal excursions that could include Florence’s Heceta Head Lighthouse with its beautiful coastal views or wine tours of Cloverdale’s many vineyards. Bend-Sunriver is great year-round and Bend is always full of activity, indoors and out.  Bend’s Oregon Winter Fest is set for February 16, 2020, and summer brings the Bend Summer Festival, set for July. Mt. Hood in Welches is a great place to stay when catching the area’s most famous festivals, including the Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival in August and the Mount Hood Salmon and Mushroom Festival in September. Worth noting, the yurts at Mt. Hood are rustic and don’t have a restroom or a kitchen. That said, they’re conveniently located near a bathhouse. Both Bend and Welches offers skiing and sledding fun in winter and plenty of hiking, biking and fishing come summer.

Photo by @three_amigos_x from the yurts at Yosemite Lakes in CA.

On to Washington State, where five locations offers yurt accommodations.  Starting in southern Washington, there is Long Beach, located on the scenic peninsula with its boardwalk and beaches, and the world Kite Museum (because kite flying is excellent here), which features our more rustic yurt offering. Paradise is in Silver Creek and is surrounded by the mountains, including Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. The campground has two stocked fishing lakes, too! The yurts at Paradise are rustic, and located near a restroom facility. Tall Chief is just outside Seattle and is the perfect spot to explore Seattle’s offerings, including the towering Space Needle, the lively, and historic, Pike Place Market and the offbeat Museum of Pop Culture. (The yurts at Tall Chief are also rustic.) Mt. Vernon and Grandy Creek, both located in northern Washington, complete the yurt options in Washington and each offer different opportunities. Mt. Vernon, located in Washington’s picturesque Skagit Valley, is a wooded wonderland with activities like hiking and fishing topping the list. The San Juan Islands are just a ferry ride away. Grandy Creek is in Concrete, in Mt. Baker territory, making the North Cascades National Park your playground. Plus, Baker Lake is great for fishing and swimming.

Tranquil Timbers is located on the beautiful Door County Peninsula of Wisconsin in Sturgeon Bay, which was voted one of the Top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns in the U.S. by Coastal Living magazine. Summer is the best time to enjoy yurt camping here as well as the world-famous bass fishing for which the bay is known. The charming towns dotting Door County are another plus to summer in Wisconsin.

Make 2020 the year of the yurt at Yosemite Lakes in CA.
Make 2020 the year of the yurt at Yosemite Lakes in CA.

Finally, the rolling hills of Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County are home to Circle M and their yurt accommodations. Lancaster County offers plenty of Pennsylvania Dutch hospitality from authentic Amish dining experiences and buggy rides to interesting museums (check out the York Barbell Weightlifting Museum and Hall of Fame or the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania). All kinds of family fun, including loads of chocolate, are available at nearby Hershey Park.

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Have Yourself a Hygge Little Holiday

Photo by @itscolleenk at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Photo by @itscolleenk at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

If you haven’t heard of hygge, you’re most likely not paying attention or don’t have a desire to feel comfy and cozy! Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” Hygge has been gaining traction in the US for about the last four years and is yet another quest for Americans to add much-needed comfort and relaxation to their crazy lives. So, let’s find a way to hygge up your holidays, both in your gift-giving and in ways to deal with the holiday stress.

Gifts

  1. Candles are big in the hygge world. Consider World Market’s Natural Birch Bark Candles ($5.99) for instant cozy or their Tobacco Flower and Rosewood Filled Soy Candle ($14.99).
  2. A required item for cozy is of course a blanket, so consider the Cable Knit Reversable Sherpa Oversized Throw from amazon.com ($69.80) or Pottery Barn’s Cozy Pom Pom Throw ($49).
  3. A diffuser with essential oils can bring calming scents to the air. Try the Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser Helix ($29.99) available from Target.com. For essential oils, consider the Wellness Set from planttherapy.com ($39.95) which includes oils mixed for wellness.
  4. Don’t forget a book to explain all about Hygge – some of the more popular ones include The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking or The Art of Hygge by Elias Larsen and Jonny Jackson. Both are available on amazon.com.
Views for days at this Lake of the Springs Cabin in California.
Views for days at this Lake of the Springs Cabin in California.

Taking Care of You

  1. Drink more tea! Proven health benefits include soothing the digestive system and decreasing risk of heart attacks as well as calming your mind.
  2. Practice Mindfulness. Not everyone can spend an hour meditating, but you can take a few minutes to close your eyes, clear your mind, and do some deep breathing exercises.
  3. Host a Hygge Night. Have friends over where the only requirement is comfy clothes and blankets and pillows. Share stories of holidays past and reflect on all that you are grateful for.
  4. Get outside. It may be cold, but a short brisk walk can do a lot to relieve stress.
The perfect spot for a family movie night at Natchez Trace, near Nashville.
The perfect spot for a family movie night at Natchez Trace, near Nashville.

 

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A Sunny Southern Cali Kind of Stay

A cozy cabin at Pio Pico, near San Diego.
A cozy cabin at Pio Pico, near San Diego.

Make your winter months as sunny as possible and head to southern California to explore the area. Daytime temperatures tend to hover around 68 degrees and the sun is out more than it’s not! There are places to make a home base while you visit the known and lesser known attractions in the Golden State.

Los Angeles: First, book a stay in a cozy cabin at Soledad Canyon and then get ready to check out the area that draws more than 48 million visitors each year.

Of course, many people flock to LA to see the stars of the human variety rather than the celestial kind. You may want to combine a hike in Runyon Canyon with your star-search efforts as this a is favorite spot for the exercise-minded celebrity. Another spot to see stars in their everyday life is The Grove, an LA shopping mecca and the adjacent Original Farmers Market. Whether you see the stars or not, these are all worthy expeditions while in Tinseltown.

Cabin interior at Soledad Canyon, near Los Angeles.
Cabin interior at Soledad Canyon, near Los Angeles.

Other LA attractions include the Griffith Observatory for celestial stargazing, the Santa Monica Pier, and Huntingon Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. And, if you want to feel like it’s winter in all the sunshine, visit Pershing Square’s Holiday Ice Rink, located in the Financial District of the city. The Square will also host a Winter Holiday Festival on December 7, complete with LA’s version of snow!

San Diego: Start by making a reservation to stay in a cabin or cottage at Pio Pico, which is a perfect location thanks to its proximity to San Diego proper. San Diego has beaches, the Pacific Ocean, museums, galleries, a world-class zoo, lots of history, and a boatload of outdoor fun to be had.

The San Diego Zoo consistently ranks as one of the top zoos in the world. With more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals, including gorillas, polar bears, and koala bears, this is definitely not your basic zoo. Visitors can enjoy a guided bus tour through the zoo or see it from above on the zoo’s Skyfari Aerial Tram.

Make a stop at the zoo as part of your San Diego Hop-on Hop-off Trolley tour which also makes stops at Old Town State Historic Park, which is considered the Jamestown of the Pacific; the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park.

Santa Barbara: Choose from a cozy cabin, teepee, or covered wagon at Rancho Oso and then head out to explore this charming California town known for its architecture and history.

A safari tent at Rancho Oso, near Santa Barbara.
A safari tent at Rancho Oso, near Santa Barbara.

One of the neat things about Santa Barbara is its proximity to the Channel Islands National Park, an archipelago of five islands. A great way to explore the Park and the islands is through the Santa Barbara Adventure Company (www.sbadventureco.com). There are all kinds of adventures waiting on the Channel Islands including snorkeling, sea cave exploration, hiking and whale watching.

A great way to get to see the beautiful architecture of the city is to take one of the weekend walking tours, offered Saturday and Sunday, through the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara (afsb.org) Tours begin at 10 a.m. and last approximately two hours.

And again, if you want to experience a bit more of a winter feeling in this sunny climate, don’t miss the “snow” events at the town’s Paseo Nuevo outdoor shopping center where “snow” fills the evening skies through December 31. There is also holiday entertainment including carolers, choirs, and Santa himself!

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Mt. Hood Tiny Population Grows!

Meet Ingrid, one of the newest tiny houses at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Meet Ingrid, one of the newest tiny houses at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

We are so excited to reveal that the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village has grown with the addition of two new tinies. Joining the existing five tiny houses, Zoe, Lincoln, Scarlett, Atticus, and Savannah are Anderson and Ingrid. The perfect complement to the existing gang, Anderson and Ingrid bring their own stories to the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and provide two more marvelous opportunities to vacation tiny at Mt. Hood.

Anderson is all about the modern design and is a bike enthusiast to boot! For him, it’s all about the bike – mountain bikes, comfort bikes, road bikes, new bikes, old bikes. Find him a trail and he’ll gladly pedal it! When he’s not atop a two-wheeled machine, he’s most likely perusing a design blog, with a freshly brewed coffee in hand from his AeroPress. Green and minimalist are two more adjectives to describe this guy and the Pacific Northwest and its vast expanse of greenery and biking trails is Anderson’s happy place.

Anderson

Ingrid can best be described as a book lover but turn back a few pages and you’ll find she’s so much more than that. A lover of podcasts, craft beer and breweries she’s equally at home in a library as well as the great outdoors. She’s hard working, curious, and makes it a daily goal to learn something new or see things from a new perspective. An innovator, a reader, and a burgeoning social butterfly, Ingrid is a great addition to the tiny home collection at Mt. Hood.

At a robust 332 square feet, Anderson has room to sleep 7. Cedar plank siding with, of course, a modern design, the tiny home houses a full bathroom, kitchen, and a large living space. Anderson’s sleeping situation is two large queen beds in the loft, one queen bed on the first floor and a pullout couch that folds down to a twin bed, also on the first floor. No pets, please.

Ingrid

Ingrid, of course, boasts a Scandinavian design with sleek modern lines. At 385 square feet, five can sleep comfortably selecting from two queen/full beds in the loft, and a pullout couch that folds down to a twin bed on the first floor. A full bathroom, large living space, and kitchen add to the charm that is Ingrid. No pets, please. (Lincoln is our pet friendly tiny house!)

Mt. Hood is one of those destinations that is an all-star any time of year. In winter, the draw of the ski hills, snow-laden trails and snow-capped mountain views are the reason to visit while summer brings opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. And again, trails upon trails for hiking, biking and walking in the great Pacific Northwest are a major reason to add Mt. Hood to your to-do list.

Mt Hood Tiny House Village Tumbleweed

The Mt. Hood area must-dos include hiking the Timberline trail, driving the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop, a visit to the historic Timberline Lodge and exploring the beauty of Trillium Lake.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this breathtaking location in the Pacific Northwest and to make one of Mt. Hood Village’s tiny homes your place to stay when you’re here! Visit www.mthoodtinyhouse.com for information on making reservations!

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Tropical Plans, Tropical Palms

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL
Colorful cottages at Tropical Palms •  Kissimmee, FL

The holidays can be a stressful time – even if you are extremely organized, get along with every member of your family, and find endless rounds of holiday affairs super exciting! Whether this is the case with you, or you find yourself more aligned with Mr. Scrooge when it comes to all things holiday, there is nothing wrong with getting ready for the season with a little “me time.”

The best way to get in some quality “me time” is quick getaway to de-stress before the holiday rush begins. What can more de-stressing that a tropical getaway? Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, fits that bill perfectly. Situated on 69 sun-kissed acres and perfected located to the area attractions, it’s the perfect home base for a quick Florida getaway minutes from the happiest place on Earth.

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

Spend your days relaxing poolside or playing shuffleboard, bocce, or a few rounds of mini-golf. Or, if you want to slowly ease into the holidays, check out some of these holiday-themed events nearby!

Festival of Trees

The Orlando Museum of Art transforms into a winter wonderland with displays of beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and holiday vignettes during the annual Festival of Trees. The event runs November 15 through November 24 at the museum. The festival will also feature live entertainment, family-focused fun, and holiday raffles. Visit www.omart.org for more details.

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

Running November 23 through December 31, SeaWorld celebrates the season by lighting up the park with more than 3 million twinkling lights and bringing special guests like Rudolph and Santa to welcome the holidays! There will also be live entertainment and special holiday markets. For details, visit www.seaworld.com/orlando.

Holidays at Old Town

Visitors can enjoy the festive decorations that turn Old Town Kissimmee into a winter wonderland. Twinkling lights, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and snow! Yes, somehow, they manage to bring “snow” to this tropical location, using a biodegradable, non-toxic product like they use in the movies. To round out the fun, there will be a tree lighting ceremony, live music events, a car show and an ice-skating rink. Event runs from November 23 to December 25 and is mere minutes away from Tropical Palms. To learn more, visit www.experiencekissimmee.com.

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

Holiday Home Tour and Winter wonderland

Get some decorating ideas and a peek inside some of the charming homes in Celebration, Florida, during this event that is scheduled for Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2. This is a self-guided tour and each home is uniquely decorated for the holidays, both inside and out. Visit www.celebrationfoundation.org for more details.

And, if you don’t want to start your holiday celebrations just yet and are focusing only on relaxing, here a few things to consider:

Discovery Cove: Experience the tranquility of life underwater at Discovery Cove where you can interact with bottlenose dolphins and feed the tropical birds.

Inside a Colorful Cottage • Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL
Inside a Colorful Cottage • Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

Disney Wilderness Preserve: Home to more than 1000 species of plant and animals, you can choose to hike, bird watch or simply enjoy the beauty of this preserve that is home to bald eagles, woodpeckers, squirrels, snakes, and bats!

Kissimmee Lakefront Park: The park has plenty of walking paths, a fishing pier, and picnic areas. Enjoy a simple day of rest and relaxation amid nature here.

Here’s the plan –pick your colorful cottage for your stay at Tropical Palms; decide what mix of holiday spirit and relaxation you want and then sit back, or get moving, and make this your best holiday season, yet!

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Glamping Thanksgiving

Bragas Family • Red Rock State Park • Arizona
Red Rock State Park • Arizona

Thanksgiving is all about gathering friends and family near and being thankful for all your blessings. Why not put a twist on the tradition this year by gathering together to go glamping?

Since it’s the holidays, it makes sense to kick it up a notch by staying in accommodations that are a bit comfier, photogenic, and where you can cook up a great meal with ease. Consider group rentals for all of the adorable tiny homes available at our tiny house villages in Leavenworth (WA), Verde Valley (AZ), Sunshine Key (FL), or Mt. Hood (OR). Another option is adjacent cottages at Tropical Palms (FL) or Palm Springs (CA). Or, be thankful for all that nature has to offer and get adjacent tent or RV sites. Either way, everyone’s all together and, of course, the more the merrier.

@adventuresonwheels
IG: @adventuresonwheels

Once you’ve settled in, get outside and be thankful for the great outdoors. Take a hike – top fall hikes include Florida’s Seminole-Wekiva Trail outside Orlando, which is a 14-mile, well-marked trail; Araby Trail in Palm Springs is about a 2-hour hike with gorgeous desert views, including a glimpse of Bob Hope’s former home; or Lower Chimney Rock Trail in Sedona, which takes you to Chimney Rock through Arizona’s spectacular Red Rock State Park. Other outdoor activities can include the Sedona Turkey Trot, Orlando’s Turkey Trot in Avalon Park or Portland’s Turkey Trot at the Zoo, which are all set for Thursday, November 28.

Mt. Hood • Welches, OR
Mt. Hood • Welches, OR

After your hike or Turkey Trot, be thankful for the bountiful meal you can enjoy with these simple ideas. Instead of a full-blown turkey dinner with all the trimmings, make up a variety of food boards ranging from veggies and cheese, to meats and breads or delicious dessert offerings. Or, plan the perfect potluck in advance by having each guest pick from a hat and bring whatever food is marked on their pick. The options should include an appetizer, veggie dishes, simple main meal options which can include stuffed peppers or one-pan dinners, easy desserts, and, of course, a seasonal libation. Or, let someone else do the cooking and consider the Thanksgiving Day Dinner at Yosemite National Park, which offers several feast options in their dining rooms and helps keep your yurt guest-free, or enjoy a meal at the historic Timberline Lodge, just a few miles from the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village.

Verde Valley • Cottonwood, AZ
Verde Valley • Cottonwood, AZ

Be thankful for local attractions and explore your surroundings. Check out the schedule for Cannon Beach, Oregon’s Haystack Holidays which include Mimosa Madness, a Holiday Wreath Making Class, Christmas concerts, and holiday light displays. Visit www.cannonbeach.org to see all the fun that’s planned. Tampa’s Busch Gardens will have a Christmas Town from early November to early January that features thousands of twinkling lights, holiday decorations, a sing-along train and a variety of holiday shows (www.buschgardens.com/tampa has all the details).

Inside a Tiny House
Inside of Zoe, a tiny house at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

Visit www.PetiteRetreats.com to book your glamping accommodations and make this a unique Thanksgiving celebration you’ll remember for years to come!

Featured

Kick off the Holidays in Leavenworth

Leavenworth RV Campground • Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

Kick off the holiday season by getting in the spirit with a visit to one of the most charming little holiday towns in the U.S. – Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth is often mentioned when it comes to the best holiday towns in America and was most recently named in County Living magazine’s list for 2019.

Make your stay extra special and choose from one of the adorable tiny homes at the Leavenworth Tiny House Village. Cozy tiny house + cozy holiday town = exponential holiday spirit!

Leavenworth RV Campground • Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

Once you’re settled into your cozy tiny house, you’re ready to find out what makes Leavenworth so great during the holidays. Here are just a few things that come to mind:

The Christkindlmarkt is a holiday favorite in Leavenworth and visitors can shop for handmade arts and crafts, sample authentic Bavarian foods, and enjoy a lantern parade. The Christkindlmarkt opens Friday, November 29, and closes Sunday, December 1. The Lantern Parade, which will be held on both Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 5 p.m., is a delightful event with children and their parents following behind holiday VIPs Santa and Mrs. Claus carrying hand-crafted, glowing lanterns. It’s truly magical.

What is the holiday season without gingerbread? Take time from your outdoor winter fun and stop in at the Gingerbread Factory to enjoy not only their delicious gingerbread creations, but also cinnamon rolls, scones, sandwiches, and locally roasted coffee. This sweet little bakery is located right on Front Street in Leavenworth.

Get your fill of nutcrackers with a visit to the Nutcracker Museum, which is home to more than 7,000 nutcrackers on display, some dating back thousand of years. If you can imagine something to crack a nut with, you’ll probably find it here.  A fun way to explore the museum is through the Nutcracker Hunt that has “hunters” going through the museum and checking off which ones they can find from a specialized list. For details on the museum and the Nutcracker Hunts, visit www.nutcrackermuseum.com.

Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth, WA

See firsthand what makes a reindeer so special and visit the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm. Learn all about reindeer through not only a video presentation but an up-close, hands-on educational tour that includes reindeer food for feeding them. Santa and his sled will be there during all tours in November and December and photo ops are available. For more information, visit www.leavenworthreindeer.com.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

Outdoor fun in the Leavenworth area can be found in abundance. From ice climbing, sledding and tubing, plus skiing, snowboarding, and even dog sledding, there are all kinds of outdoor experiences to be had here come winter. Visit www.leavenworth.org and see what they offer.

The tiny homes are waiting and so is a healthy dose of holiday spirit – visit www.leavenworthtinyhouse.com and plan your holiday kickoff getaway.

Belle • Tiny House
Belle • Tiny House
Featured

The Keys in Three: Itinerary ideas for a three-day adventure in the Florida Keys

Sunshine Key

A quick trip to the Florida Keys can be relaxing or adventurous, or a bit of both depending on what floats your boat! Toss in a tiny house accommodation and you’ve got a memorable trip in the making.

Let’s start with accommodations. Sunshine Key, on Ohio Key, recently welcomed five tiny homes, each with its own unique personality and each perfectly appointed with everything you need for a great vacation accommodation. The tiny homes at the Tiny House Village at Sunshine Key are Pearl, Isla, Hemingway, Lucy, and Kai.

Pearl, Isla, Hemingway, Lucy, and Kai

Pearl is pretty in pink and features a sleeper sofa on the first floor and a queen bed in the lofted sleeping area (accessible by stairs), as well as a full bathroom with standing shower, and a kitchen complete with refrigerator, stovetop, coffeemaker, toaster, and dinnerware and cookware.

Isla shines in her tropical green exterior with a fully appointed interior that includes a first-floor sleeper sofa and a lofted sleeping area with a two queen sized beds, and a twin bed. The full bathroom has a tub and shower and the kitchen is complete with stovetop, refrigerator, coffeemaker, toaster and dinnerware and cookware.

Lucy is friendly with a sunny personality and an exterior color to match! Life with Lucy includes a first-floor sleeper sofa and two lofted queen beds as well as a lofted twin bed! The kitchen matches those of her counterparts and the full bathroom features both a shower and tub.

Sunshine Key
Sunshine Key

Kai gives off a water loving vibe thanks to the aqua exterior that mimics the waters of the Keys. Inside, Kai is just as easy-going with a first-floor sleeper sofa and a lofted queen bed. Kai’s kitchen has all the amenities including a refrigerator, stovetop, coffeemaker, toaster and cookware and dinnerware.

Hemingway and the Keys are pretty much synonymous, so to have an authentic Keys trip, consider a stay in Hemingway, the tiny home! The first level/basement features a full bed and the loft area, accessible by ladder, has a queen bed. The kitchen has the same features as the other tiny homes and the full bath features a standing shower.

All the tiny homes have AC/heat, TV with basic cable, linens and an outdoor picnic table.

The resort itself offers on-site fishing opportunities, a marina and dock, is near the beach and has wonderful amenities including a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis and pickleball courts, and laundry facilities. The resort is also pet friendly.

As for the Keys, you can snorkel, fish, explore Hemingway’s Key West, see wildlife, take fabulous photos and enjoy life in the tropics without leaving the US! Thanks to the 113-mile Overseas Highway, all the Keys are accessible by car, from Key Largo in the north on south to Key West, at the southernmost tip of Florida.

Sunshine Key
Sunshine Key

If you’re looking to do the Keys in three days, here are a few must-sees:

Dolphin Cove on Key Largo provides the opportunity to make some dreams come true if your dreams involve swimming with dolphins.  Visit www.floridakeysswimwithdolphins.com to learn how to swim with these gentle creatures in a natural salt lagoon. Another Key Largo highlight is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park where you can snorkel, explore the reef on a glass bottom boat tour, or explore the mangrove swamps.

On Islamorada, visitors can learn all about the history of diving at the History of Diving Museum, which offers exhibits, lectures, special events, and contains one of the world’s largest collections of diving paraphernalia including diving helmets, suits, books, films and other memorabilia.

Marathon Key is home to the famous Seven Mile Bridge and Big Pine Key is home to Bahia State Park and the National Key Deer Refuge Center, which was established to protect the Key deer as well as other wildlife in the Keys. The Seven Mile Bridge was once one of the longest bridges in the world and can be explored by bicycle. Visitors can learn some interesting history of why the bridge was built. Sunset views from the bridge are spectacular!

Key West is, of course, known for the being the place where Hemingway lived for several years in the 1930s and wrote some of his best-known works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls. Visitors can tour the Hemingway House and also take a trolley tour which visits all the major attractions in the town. Snap a selfie at the Southernmost Point Buoy which marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. Stroll along Duval Street, the town’s main street, and enjoy the historic homes, restaurants, and shops.

Plan your Florida Keys getaway and reserve the tiny home that suits you best!

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Can You Dig It? A short guide to fossil hunting sites in the US

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon.

October 16 is National Fossil Day, which was established to promote the scientific and educational value of fossils. According to the National Geographic Society, a fossil is the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient animals or plants. They are important in helping us discover the evolution of life and how life was lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Most fossils are formed when a plant or animal dies in a watery location and becomes buried in silt or mud. Celebrate National Fossil Day this year and see what treasures you can unearth. We’ve listed a few well-known fossil hunting sites here.

Capitola Beach, in Capitola, California, is a great spot to hunt for fossils during low tide. This little beach town can offer the motherlode of fossils thanks to the Purisima Formation, a geologic formation which preserves fossils from the Late Miocene and Early Pleistocene Era. Bones of whales and seals, as well as sea urchins and bivalves, and been unearthed here along with the rare shark tooth.

The fossilized bones of a mastodon, a camel, and a mammoth have turned up in Florida’s Peace River which has also revealed plenty of shark teeth, some as large as seven inches. Collecting shark teeth does not require a permit but if you’re digging for anything bigger, you need both a boat and a permit. There are plenty of guided tours available or you can go it alone, wading into the river from any of the public landings – but be aware of all the living flora and fauna!

Chesapeake Bay
Cozy cabins from Chesapeake Bay, about an hour from Westmoreland State Park.

Beverly Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon, is a beautiful beach with rock formations dating back millions of years that are filled with fossils. Winter is the best time for fossil hunting here thanks to the storms that dislodge several layers of sandstone unearthing new (old!) fossils. Petrified wood, dating back some 15-20 million years, and agate stones can also be found here.

Mineral Wells Fossil Park, in Mineral Wells, Texas, has an abundance of “Pennsylvanian Period” fossils, which date back some 318 million years! Thanks in part due to the erosion of the city’s borrow pit (which is a spot where material has been dug out for use at another location), fossils of ancient sea species have been found here which have included primitive sharks, brachiopods (marine animals in hard shells), crinoids (sea lilies), and pelecypods (clams and oysters).

Westmoreland State Park in Montross, Virginia, is a well-known location for fossil hunting and has been known to turn up shark teeth, whale teeth, and fish bones and vertebrae dating to the Miocene Age. There is a portion of the park known as Fossil Beach and it’s a great place to find shark teeth, including those of the megalodon. Situated between two towering bluffs, the beach is a short walk from the Visitors Center, and here you can sift through the sand using a colander or sand sifter (no major equipment allowed).

Pacific City • IG: @ofwildestheart
Yurt interior photo from Pacific City near Beverly Beach State Park. IG: @ofwildestheart
Featured

In and Around New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Pond

Tuxbury Tiny House Village
Tuxbury Tiny House Village

The month of September not only includes fall foliage in the Northeast but also commemorates National New Hampshire Day, which recognizes the 9th state to join the Union. So, if you want to celebrate New Hampshire or are planning a fall getaway to The Granite State, consider a stay at the Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton and check out some of these fun events scheduled in and around the area. The Tuxbury Tiny House Village is the perfect place to make your home base as you explore New England in autumn. Five tiny houses, Emerson, Henry, Clara, Riley, and Murphy, are available for you to choose from. Cozy sleeping lofts, full bathrooms, and kitchens are part of the tiny house charm here. Visit www.tuxburytinyhouse.com to see which one is best for you!

Photo courtesy of @kerriemburke
Photo courtesy of @kerriemburke

Alnoba Arts Park Tours (September and October, various dates): Tour the amazing collection of art that you can touch, lean on, and climb on! An amazing sculpture garden experience awaits! Visit www.alnoba.org for details.

 Cider Hills Farms (throughout September and October): Enjoy a day of fall fun at this 145-acre farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts. It’s harvest time for peaches and raspberries (September) as well as apples and pumpkins (October). Take a tour of the farm or sample some cider (Saturday and Sundays only). There is a lot going on here! Visit www.ciderhill.com for more information.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village • Interior Emerson
Tuxbury Tiny House Village • Interior Emerson

Jazz Along the Charles (September 23): Head into Boston for the day and enjoy more than 25 jazz ensembles playing along Boston’s Esplanade between 2 and 4 p.m. Enjoy the crisp fall air and some lively jazz tunes with Boston-related themes. For information, visit www.jazzalongthecharles.org.

Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival (September 28): The 20th annual event brings music of the sea to the streets of Portsmouth. Folk performers are showcased at more than a dozen venues throughout the town. The event will culminate with a “public sing” on Sunday. For information, visit www.pmffest.org.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village
Tuxbury Tiny House Village

South Hampton Fall Festival (October 5): All kinds of fall fun including a car show, live music, vendors, games, food, drinks and a chili and soup cook-off! Event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in South Hampton (on Hilldale Avenue).

NH Pumpkin Festival (October 18-19): Held in Laconia, this two-day festival is all about the pumpkin with jack-o-lantern carving, food, craft vendors, live music, kids’ activities, hayrides and a beer garden. For information, visit www.nhpumpkinfestival.com

Halloween Pumpkin Festival (October 19): Festival goers can wear Halloween costumes and float their own hollowed-out pumpkin on Frog Pond at Boston Commons to celebrate the holiday. This free event also includes music, refreshments, a haunted maze and lots of children’s activities. Check out www.bostonfrogpond.com for more details. Don’t miss a minute of fall fun in and around South Hampton! Visit TuxburyTinyHouse.com to reserve your very own tiny house surrounded by fall colors.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village
Tuxbury Tiny House Village
Featured

Cider Sippin’ Spots

Cider Sippin’ Spots

When they say everything old is new again, they may very well be talking about cider. Did you know cider was America’s beverage of choice during Colonial times? In fact, the Mayflower possibly carried the first cider press to be used in America aboard the ship that also brought the Pilgrims to our shores. Of course, they couldn’t do anything with it until the apples were harvested from the first apple trees planted here after they first landed. Fast forward some 500 years, and cider is again very popular. To clarify, that’s hard cider versus soft cider. The difference here being that hard cider has an alcohol content while soft cider can be enjoyed by all ages! And, while Americans may not be drinking the 35 gallons of hard cider they apparently averaged annually during Colonial days, they are certainly taking it up once again, as evidenced by the popularity of cideries sprouting up across the country. To produce cider, according to ciderscene.com, there are four steps. Pick, press, punish, and produce. Again, a differentiation is required. The apples used for cider are typically not the same apples that you would eat or cook with. Cider apples tend to be dryer and less sweet. The four-step result is a crisp, refreshing alternative to other spirits, including beer and wine. Here are some cideries to check out this fall season:

Bishop Cider (Dallas, Texas):  Gluten-free and vegan friendly, the people behind Bishop Cider began making their own cider at home because they felt the commercially available cider in Texas was “trash” because it was too sweet. Started in 2014, Bishop Cider Co. now offers a variety of ciders and has a tasting room that typically offers six different ciders on tap. For more information, and to check out the unique Cidercade, visit www.bishopcider.com.

Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX
Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Bay Landing in Bridgeport, about 80 miles away)

Cider Bite (Portland, Oregon): Another cidery that grew from the idea that there was just no place to get good cider, the Cider Bite bills itself as a Cider House and focuses not only on making exceptional cider, but also on the history and production of cider. In fact, founder Jeff Hanneson’s great-grandfather was a cider-maker. Offering 32 ciders on tap, cider flights, and nibbles, the Cider Bite is the place to get your cider cravings satisfied. Visit www.ciderbite.com for more information.

Mt Hood • Welches, OR
Mt Hood • Welches, OR

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Mt. Hood in Welches, about 36 miles away)

Santa Barbara Cider Company (Santa Barbara, California): Come visit and see what’s on tap for the day as they offer 12 rotating taps of their delicious cider varieties which may include a coffee-based cider, a tea-infused cider, or one of several fruit ciders. All ciders are gluten-free and the cider makers say the majority of the ingredients they use can be found in your own kitchen cabinets, like cinnamon and brown sugar. They do have a tasting room and food trucks and other food providers are on hand during the weekends for nourishment while enjoying the cider offerings. For more information, visit www.sbcider.com.

Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Rancho Oso, about 30 miles away)

Island Orchard Cider (Ellison Bay, Wisconsin): Visit the Tasting Room and Cider Pub in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, where you can see the cider making process as well as enjoy the flavors of Island Orchard. Visit www.islandorchardcider.com for more information.

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, about 36 miles away)

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Give me a T for Texas, and for Tennessee!

Natchez Trace • Hohenwald, TN
Natchez Trace • Hohenwald, TN

The only states that start with T in the list of fifty, nifty United States, both Tennessee and Texas have a variety of reasons to visit them. Tennessee comes first in terms of being admitted to the Union, which happened on June 1, 1796, making it the 16th state (it was also the last state to leave the Union during the Civil War, as well as the first state readmitted toward the end of the war). Texas was the 28th state admitted in 1845, however, Texas comes first in size. As the second biggest state, Texas measures in at a whopping 268,581 square miles while Tennessee comes in 34th at 41,220 square miles (Texas can fit about six Tennessees in it!). But, when it comes to things to do and see, they are pretty equal!

Music: In terms of music destinations, Texas has Austin while Tennessee can boast both Nashville and Memphis. Nashville has the Ryman Auditorium, which was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, a space that helped launch many music careers including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.  There is also the new location of the Grand Ole Opry at Opryland, which is just a few miles outside the city. The city is also home to countless honky tonks where singer-songwriters play in hopes of achieving their dreams. The District is where you can listen to music to your heart’s content with its lively nightlife scene.

Lake Whitney • Whitney, TX
Lake Whitney • Whitney, TX

 Memphis is home to Beale Street, a major tourist attraction that has been designated as a national historic landmark and is lined with blues clubs and BBQ joints. Memphis is also where Elvis got his break at Sun Studio, which is still standing and offers tours of the place where he was first recorded. Of course, there is also Graceland, Elvis’ mansion, another major tourist attraction chock full of Elvis paraphernalia. Austin, Texas, is known for its two major annual music festivals: South by Southwest, held in March, and Austin City Limits, held in October. The city also has a vibrant music any day of the week. There are more than 250 live music venues offering everything from classical and jazz to rock, blues, and country.

Lake Conroe • Willis, TX
Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

History Both states are rich in history – Texas history can be traced back to the early 1500s with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors while British traders came upon a Cherokee town called “Tanasi” in the early 1700s. In terms of famous battles, Texas has the Alamo while Tennessee has the infamous Civil War event, the Battle of Shiloh. Visitors can see the site of the Alamo which is located in the heart of San Antonio. The 300-year-old Spanish Mission is open to the public and battlefield tours are available. Shiloh National Military Park, operated by the National Park Service, can be toured through both ranger-guided and self-guided options. It is considered one of the best preserved and most pristine of the Civil War Battlefields. Dallas has the unfortunate history of being the city where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Visitors can tour The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza which chronicles the events of that fateful day in November through exhibits and historic displays.

 Must-Sees Don’t miss the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas Hill Country, and Big Bend National Park in Texas. In Tennessee, must-sees include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and Nashville’s Centennial Park with its replica of the original Parthenon in Greece. (Petite Retreats can be found at Bay Landing in Bridgeport, Texas, which is outside of Dallas, and Natchez Trace in Hohenwald, Tennessee, which is an hour and a half outside of Nashville and three hours outside of Memphis. Colorado River and Medina Lake are near Austin and San Antonio.)

Medina Lake • Lakehills, TX
Medina Lake • Lakehills, TX
Featured

Why Go Outside?

La Conner • La Conner, WA

When you were young, were your parents constantly telling you to “go outside and play” anytime you were sulking, acting up, acting bored, wandering aimlessly around the house, or rummaging through the kitchen cabinets?

Well, they were onto something there! Studies have shown time and again the benefits of being outside are countless. According to Mental Floss magazine, there are scientific reasons why being outside is great for you. It can give you an energy and immune system boost, enhance creativity, and restore your focus. It can even make you a better person. According to Mental Floss, psychologists say that exposure to nature helps us shrug off societal pressures, allowing us to remember and value more important things like relationships, sharing, and community.

Here’s another interesting factoid about the benefits of being outdoors, specifically in the forest or wooded areas. A Japanese study shows that “shinrin-yoku” or “forest- bathing” is considered a form of preventative medicine. Forest-bathing can be accomplished by taking a short walk through a densely wooded area, such as your local woods or a wooded park area. But think about glamping in a forest setting! Boom – you just got a double dose of that preventative medicine!

Tiny House • Mt Hood Village • Welches, OR

Getting out of doors can be as simple as taking a walk around the block. But we know that glamping, thanks to the requirement of being outdoors to do it, is a wonderful way to reap the benefits of being outside.

Some of the specific benefits of glamping and camping include:

  1. Socialization
  2. Stress Reduction­­
  3. Physical Exercise
  4. Plenty of sunshine, thereby increasing your Vitamin D intake
  5. Connecting with nature

Here are few ideas to make sure you reap those benefits when you glamp.

Go Hiking: you’ve already taken care of Numbers 3 and 5, and Number 2, as well, as the activity will naturally decrease your stress level.

Experience Campfire Camaraderie: Next time you glamp, make sure that campfire time includes the opportunity for sharing with your glamping buddies. Whether it’s recipes, stories or a just a recount of the day’s highlights – listen and connect. Doing this takes care of Number 1 on the list. Another great way to socialize while glamping is to take part in the locally scheduled activities. You’re sure to meet some locals, too!

Another benefit of glamping is that it very possibly gets your circadian rhythm in sync. The circadian clock is a natural internal cycle that regulates your sleep-wake time. Studies have shown that just a few days of glamping can reset your clock allowing you to get more sleep. And, it’s no secret that lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of health problems including diabetes and heart disease.

Alpine Lake RV Resort • Corinth, NY

The reset has to do with trading out artificial light for natural light which is typical when glamping and the fact that your body produces melatonin, which is integral to a good night’s sleep, when it’s dark. Think of how dark your room was last time you glamped!

Lots of melatonin being produced, we’re sure.

So, let’s give a pat on the back to parents everywhere who are telling their kids right now to go outside. They know what they’re talking about.

And by the way, go outside!

Bend-Sunriver • Bend, OR

Featured

51 Days and Counting

Circle M • Lancaster, PA

As of August 1, there are only 51 days left of summer, according to the calendar. For some, summer ends when school starts, but the official calendar date is September 21, which is the first day of autumn. Time flies, especially summertime, whether you’re having fun or not.

Bend-Sunriver • Bend, OR

We’ve put together 50 fun things to do before we say farewell to summer. (We’re giving you one day to read this list and create an action plan!)

  1. Go to a waterpark
  2. Read at least one book from your summer booklist
  3. Eat outdoors
  4. Go fishing
  5. Try to learn a new watersport, like stand-up paddling or wake surfing
  6. Go to a local pool and enjoy getting splashed
  7. Visit a lemonade stand
  8. Watch the sun rise
  9. Watch the sun set
  10. Camp out in your backyard
  11. Glamp at your favorite Petite Retreats location
  12. Enter a watermelon seed spitting contest
  13. Take in a theater production under the stars
  14. Spend one day off grid – no social media, no TV, no podcasts (best paired with #11!)
  15. Catch fireflies
  16. Bird watch
  17. Take a walk in the woods
  18. Visit a farmer’s market and create something delicious with seasonal produce
  19. Make s’mores and then make more
  20. Enjoy an outdoor musical event
  21. Build a sandcastle
  22. Go to a carnival
  23. Ride a rollercoaster and scream at the top of your lungs
  24. Run through a sprinkler, even if it’s someone else’s!
  25. Listen to the crickets
  26. Pick berries
  27. Go to a baseball game – local or professional
  28. Eat corn on the cob
  29. Take a road trip (for as long as you can)
  30. Visit a national park
  31. Visit a national monument
  32. Visit an old friend
  33. Spend a day volunteering
  34. Spend a day watching old movies
  35. Go to a drive-in movie
  36. Grab some chalk and make sidewalk masterpieces
  37. Have a water balloon fight
  38. Have a squirt gun fight
  39. Fly a kite
  40. Try Goat Yoga
  41. Spend a day being a tourist in your own city
  42. Catch a parade
  43. Go on a picnic
  44. Visit a planetarium and enjoy summer’s night skies
  45. Eat popsicles
  46. Grill the perfect hotdog/hamburger
  47. See this summer’s blockbuster movie at a midnight showing
  48. Carefully enjoy a slip ‘n slide
  49. Glamp in a unique accommodation – yurt, teepee, tiny house
  50. Make a to-do list for next summer!

Goat Yoga

Featured

Oregon Coast Summer Events

New Pacific City • Cloverdale, OR

The Oregon Coast stretches 363 miles from Astoria in the north to the California border in the south. It can easily be navigated via U.S. Route 101 that meanders through big towns, little towns, beach towns, and historic towns. If you’re planning a road trip along the Oregon Coast in the next month or so, here are few events you’ll want to check out.

Every Saturday in August, Newport Farmer’s Market
Fresh flowers, fruit, plants, honey, coffee, and more, plus live music. Over 60 vendors bring their summer offerings. Held at the Newport City Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

August 7-10, Tillamook County Fair
What’s more fun than a county fair with its carnival rides, livest­­ock events, silly contests such as the Ugliest Cake, and serious ones like Tillamook’s Got Talent, and, of course, all that yummy fair food. For details, visit www.tillamookfair.com.

August 10, Lincoln City Sandcastle Contest at Siletz Bay
An amateur contest with a focus on fun, this event has contestants using only sand and other materials found on the beach such as shells and other natural materials. There will also be live music. Come join in the fun or just watch the “artists” at work from the pier.

August 17-19, Eugene Food Truck Fest
Music, live entertainment, a tasting competition, and kids activities are all part of this event featuring food trucks with a variety of fare including cupcakes, BBQ, vegan dishes, Latin, Cuban food, as well as Hawaiian, Mexican, and Vietnamese. Family friendly fun can be found at this event, as well, and its held in PK Park in Eugene. For information, visit www.eugenefoodtruckfest.com.

August 18, Pirate Treasure Hunt – Depoe Bay
This annual charity event has young and old dressing like pirates, gathering clues, and searching for the treasure hidden somewhere in Depoe Bay. A day full of fun followed by a silent and live auction. For more information, visit www.treasuredepoebay.org. 

August 24, Hayday 2019 – Beer Festival
Beautiful Cannon Beach plays host to this festival that features 40 Oregon craft beers for sampling along with live music and good food. Visit www.publiccoastbrewing.com for details.

Olympic National Park

August 25, Free Entrance to National Parks
Help the National Park Service celebrate its 103rd birthday and come visit the National Park of your choice! To recognize the big event, NPS is hosting a fee-free day. No entry fee? That’s better than cake! To find an Oregon National Park, visit www.nps.gov/state/or.

September 13-15, Cannon Beach Cottage & Garden Tour
Tour historic cottages and beach homes during this annual event in Cannon Beach. There is also live music, historic and garden lectures, wine tasting, and other fun during this weekend-long event. An English-style garden tea will be held on Sunday. For information, visit www.cannonbeach.org.

Mt Hood Village • Welches, OR

September 13-15, Rods ‘N Rhodies Invitational Car Show
The City of Florence plays host to the 12th Annual Invitational Rods ‘N Rhodies Car Show which will showcase hot rods and cruisers dating pre-1976. Held in Old Town Florence, there will also be food, music, a city-wide garage sale, and a book festival. For more information, visit www.florencechamber.com.

Featured

Glamping – It’s all the Rage!

Yurt • Circle M RV & Camping Resort

It may have become official when the word was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2018, but “glamping” has quietly become quite trendy over the past several years. The word itself it’s a combination, or portmanteau, if you will, of glamour and camping. The concept is simple, combine luxury amenities and accommodations with the outdoor activity of camping, and voila, you’re glamping.

But why has it become such a big thing in the last few years?  Simply put, American’s are looking to combine two of their favorite things – relaxing, and being outdoors with the caveat of making it less stressful when it comes to the accommodations part. No more making sure you arrive before dark so you can see all the tent poles, or waking up with an aching back which may wreak havoc on daytime activities like hiking and canoeing. According to a market research study done by Arizton, the glamping market will reach roughly $1 billion by 2024 in the U.S. Glamping is here to stay!

Glamping certainly amps up an outdoor experience in many ways. Accommodations for glamping are designed to give you the maximum amount of luxury, while staying true to the concept of communing with nature. What today’s glamper is looking for is camping amenities that include unique and quality sleeping options, onsite private kitchens and bathrooms, and a location that is near major attractions but still provides that “off the beaten path” feeling, while not sacrificing resort amenities and facilities.

Yurt Yosemite Lakes Groveland, CA

Of course, whether your camp or glamp, the benefits are still the same. The reduction in stress levels when you go off grid and spend time outside is tremendous.

So, how do you glamp?

First off, unique accommodations such as yurts, cabins, teepees and tiny houses are considered glamping accommodations. Yurts are spacious, and typically can accommodate queen-sized beds, bathroom suites with showers and kitchenettes. Similarly, cabins provide ample space for more luxurious amenities and plenty of space to relax and enjoy your camping company. Teepees are unique, and well, just plain cool. As for the tiny houses, these little darlings are so well-appointed they feel just like home.

Location is also a factor for your outdoor foray to be considered glamping. To be glamping-worthy, your campground should have clean, accessible bathrooms (if your accommodations do not provide private bathrooms), electric hook-ups, onsite amenities like pools and laundry rooms and should be pet-friendly (after all, if you’re a pet-lover, you wouldn’t consider adventuring without your four-legged bestie along for the ride.) Access to recreation should also be available, whether at the location or nearby.

Horses RanchoOso Photo By JulieVader

Some Petite Retreats glamping locations to consider would include:

Yosemite Lakes (Groveland, CA) – Check off access to recreation with Yosemite National Park just up the road, and the campground is pet friendly. As for accommodations, check out the yurts here.

Rancho Oso – The scenery surrounding the campground, which includes Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez River, provides relaxing vibes, while the teepees are ultra-cool for bedding down after a day spent horseback riding or hiking. And yes, pets are welcome.

Mt. Desert Narrows (Bar Harbor, ME) – The rugged east coast location, proximity to Acadia National Park, the cozy cabin accommodations, and the pet friendly attitude make this campground a glamping possibility.

Other items that can make you a glamper include interesting menu items other than traditional camping fare that can be created over your campfire or camp kitchen, fun cocktails, or mocktails, to relax after the day’s events, cozy blankets and chairs to relax in, and aromatics or incense to keep things smelling fresh!

Sunset • Mt Desert Narrows Camping Resort

Check out other Petite Retreat locations and get your first glamping experience under your belt. You don’t want to be left out in the cold on this trend!

Featured

Wonderful Wisconsin Part II: Madison and The Dells

Lake Monona • Madison, WI

Plan a trip to Wisconsin and take in the state’s capital, and the state’s capital of water fun in one fell swoop. This can be accomplished by visiting Madison and the nearby Wisconsin Dells, which are a little less than 50 miles apart.

Let’s start with the state’s capital city – Madison. The town Madison is an isthmus, as it sits on the land between two lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. In addition to being the state capital, Madison is routinely ranked as one of the best college towns in the US, as it is home to the University of Wisconsin, which gives it a cool vibe as well.

One of Madison’s main draws in the summer is the Saturday Farmer’s Market, which is set up in Capitol Square (located outside the domed capitol building) and runs from mid-April until November. Meats, flowers, plants, hand-crafted soaps, produce, and of course, Wisconsin cheeses, are all on display and available for purchase.

A unique Madison attraction (it’s in Middleton, just about 6 miles from downtown Madison) is the National Mustard Museum which houses a collection of more than 6,000 mustards from the US and 70 other countries. Free admission adds spice to a visit to this museum which also houses mustard pots, other antique mustard jars, holders, as well as vintage mustard-related advertising. For hours of operation and more information, visit www.mustardmuseum.com.

Thai Pavilion • Olbrich Botanical Gardens • Madison, WI

Both Lake Monona and Lake Mendota provide an outlet for water sports including canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, and lakeside walks and jogs. Ranked by Livability.com as one of the healthiest cities thanks to its wealth of outdoor activities, another great way to see Madison is by bike. There’s the UW-Madison Arboretum Trail, or a two-hour ride around Lake Monona that will take you past the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Speaking of water, less than an hour from Madison, you will find the Wisconsin Dells, often called “The Waterpark Capital of the World,” thanks to the multitude of locations dedicated to water fun that include Noah’s Ark Waterpark, which is America’s largest waterpark at 70 acres, and The Wilderness, which with its combined indoor and outdoor waterparks, is considered the largest combined waterpark in the country. There are more than just waterparks here, though. There is the downtown Dells, with its sometime kitschy, sometimes quaint array of shop along Main Street. There’s also the Dells Boat Tours, which takes you by water to explore the amazing rock formations, or dells, which gave the area its name and first attraction before the waterparks took over.

There are two wineries to check out – the Baraboo Bluff Winery, the Broken Bottle Winery, and the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater provides a bit of nostalgia while you take in one of today’s popular movies on one of two big screens. Adventure seekers will be happy to note there is zip-lining, a ropes course, axe-throwing, go-carts, and escape rooms in the Dells, and serenity seekers should be happy with the miles of scenic trails for hiking, birding, and taking some great pictures.

Cozy Cabin • Yukon Trails RV & Camping Resort

Yukon Trails RV Campground is your best choice to make camp while exploring both Madison, and the Dells area. Onsite fun at this wooded Wisconsin retreat includes disc golf, horseshows, a free movie theater, and cornhole.

Reserve your Wisconsin getaway today at www.RVontheGo.com.

Featured

Go Big in Bend

Kayaking • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Bend, Oregon is one big playground regardless of the season. But come summer, Bend is bursting with things to do under the sunny skies of the Pacific Northwest. There are all kinds of adventures to be had from rustic to urban, and from relaxing to exhilarating. There is music, art, a rodeo, theater, fishing, hiking, and the list goes on and on. No matter what your fancy, you’ll find something to tickle it when you visit Bend.

Fishing opportunities in Bend are about as abundant as the fish you can catch when you cast your line here. Consider fly fishing, and if you’re new to this sport, River Borne Outfitters offers a 2.5-hour class that covers the basics regarding terminology, casting, and knot tying. If you feel like you’re beyond beginner but still need some fishing tips, they also offer a 6-hour course that has you fishing the Crooked River. Check out www.riverborneoutfitters.com for more information.

Fishing • Deschutes River

Of course, if you’re a seasoned fisherman, just head down to the Lower Deschutes River which is one of the most popular and prolific places to fish in Oregon. Statistics show that more than 3,500 trout run per mile of water in this area. Make sure to obey all the state rules and regulations, and that you have a license to fish. For licensing information, visit www.odfw.com.

If you prefer dry land to water, and art to fishing, then the Roundabout Art Route might be of interest to you. The Roundabout Art Route is a collection of 20 pieces of art that are on display throughout the city. Stop by the Bend Visitor Center to pick up a map, then get rolling on your art adventure. The name of the route should give you a hint as to where the art installations are located, but we are going to give away the secret. Just head into downtown Bend and get ready to glimpse a bronze logger, a bronze grizzly, the Sunrise Spirit Column, and the High Desert Spiral, which at 39 feet is the tallest public art sculpture in Bend, to name a few.

Take a hike up Pilot Butte and you’re guaranteed a breathtaking vista no matter which of the three trails you choose. Pilot Butte is visible from downtown Bend and is a 500-foot high lava dome created from an extinct volcano. Visit www.oregonstateparks.org for information about the state park and the trails.

Cabin • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Tour-wise, there’s plenty of ways to see Bend while eating and drinking some of the city’s offerings. There is the Bend Ale Trail, which offers a do-it-yourself way to visit Bend’s 18 breweries at your leisure. If you want someone else to do the heavy lifting when it comes to touring the breweries, check out the offerings of The Bend Tour Company, which not only offers a craft beer, wine and spirit tasting tour, but also other adventure tours such as an arts and cultural tour of Bend, and a stunning Cascade Sunset tour. Check out what they offer at www.thebendtourcompany.com.

Special summer events in Bend include the Bend Summer Festival, July 12th-14th that will feature food, music, an art fair, and plenty of family fun. July 26th-28th brings Balloons Over Bend to the city as hot air balloon fun takes center stage. Help celebrate a milestone at the 100th Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo scheduled for July 31st-August 4th. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Fun Since Day One.” Bend Brewfest is scheduled for August 15th-17th and features craft brewers, wineries, and cideries set on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Sunset • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Of course, when the day’s fun is done, you’ll need a place to bunk in until the next adventure, so consider adding to the experience by staying in a yurt, cabin, or cottage at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. Situated on the banks of the Little Deschutes River, this 283-acre campground has plenty of onsite fun including fishing opportunities, swimming, pickleball, tennis, and mini-golf.

Plan your time to Go Big in Bend, visit www.RVontheGo.com and reserve your stay today!

Featured

It’s a Dad Thing

Fishing • Father and Son

An official “Father’s Day” has been celebrated in the US since the early 1900s but it wasn’t until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.  In 1972, it became a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed the proclamation into law.

This year, Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 16, and Dads around the country will receive plenty of ties, golf balls, and pasta artwork to honor them. They will then most likely spend the day with family, partaking in some of their favorite pastimes, which include the following Dad-oriented activities:

  1. Fishing: Whether it’s a deep-sea adventure off our coastlines or taking a rod and reel to a local lake, plenty of dads will spend Father’s Day trying to catch the big one. Top fishing spots in the US include the Florida Keys (tarpon, marlin, swordfish), North Carolina’s Outer Banks (striped bass), Door County’s Sturgeon Bay (bass), pier fishing at California’s Santa Monica Pier (halibut and surfperch), and Fish Lake in Leavenworth, Washington (trout). Looking for a fishing spot near you? Visit www.takemefishing.org.Leavenworth RV Campground • Leavenworth, WA
     
     
  2. Beer: Yes, for some reason dads and beer seem to go together. Whether it’s a refreshment after yard work or a side dish while watching sporting events, beer = Dad’s drink of choice many times. Consider spending the day touring a craft brewery.

Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, has both a brewery tour option as well as a tasting room. Founded in 1988, Deschutes favorites include Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  For info, visit www.deschutesbrewery.com.

First brewed in 1984, the Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Boston Lager might well be the brew that kicked off the modern craft brewing trend. Tours of the company’s Boston brewery are available Monday through Saturday but you can bring Dad back on Sunday to enjoy the Tap Room. For tour info and hours, visit www.samueladams.com.

  1. Baseball: On Father’s Day, Major League Baseball teams around the country will wear specially-designed uniforms accented with light blue to honor Dads. Additionally, a symbolic blue ribbon will be worn on all uniforms to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer. The MLB has partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation since 1996. Match-ups this Father’s Day include California Angels vs. the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa, Texas Rangers vs Cincinnati in Cincinnati, and the Arizona Diamondback vs. the Washington Nationals in Washington.
  2. Cars: From building model cars to tinkering under the hood of a real car, the male species has always had a fascination with the automobile since they first arrived on the American scene in the late 1800s. Take a drive and visit an automobile museum.

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (Hershey, Pennsylvania) is open daily and has a collection of cars, buses, and motorcycles dating from the 1890s to the 1980s. It has 3 of the only 50 Tucker automobiles produced in 1948. Museum information can be found at www.aacamusuem.org.  The Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) offers a Ford Rouge Tour which details the history of the automotive industry and gives visitors an inside look at how the Ford F150 truck is built. Visit www.thehenryford.org for details on the museum’s other exhibits as well as admission prices and hours of operation. On the West coast, check out the Peterson Automotive Museum, in Los Angeles, California. The museum has more than 300 vehicles on display and a current exhibit, Hollywood Dream Machines, which features vehicles from Hollywood’s science fiction and fantasy productions.  Visit www.peterson.org for more information.

Featured

Wonderful Wisconsin: Door County

Sunset • Wisconsin’s Door County

Wisconsin’s Door County has five state parks and over 250 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. It is also home to iconic Wisconsin fish boils, a restaurant with goats on the roof, and 11 quaint towns with cute names like Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay.

Come discover this 75-mile long peninsula and stay with us at Tranquil Timbers and choose one of the unique accommodations offered here, including cabins, cottages, and yurts! It’s a true glamper’s paradise.

Yurt • Tranquil Timbers Camping Resort • Sturgeon Bay, WI

Regular summer events in Door County include the Egg Harbor Farmer’s Market which is held in Harbor View Market every Friday (May 24-October 25) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (weather permitting). Fish boils are regular events at least five of Door County’s restaurants. If you haven’t experienced a fish boil, please make this a must-do – it’s a local tradition not to be missed. And, with more than 250 miles of shoreline, there’s always a beach calling your name.  In fact, there are 53 public beaches in Door County. The beach in Egg Harbor is arguably the most popular on the peninsula and Schoolhouse Beach was recently named “most romantic.”

June is jam-packed with fun as the Door hosts several events including Goat Fest, the Steel Bridge Songfest, the Door County Beer Festival, and the Fyr Bal Festival (not to be confused with Fyre Festival).

On Saturday, June 8, it’s all about the aforementioned goats. The fun kicks off with the Roofing of the Goats, as the goats are led to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant where they will take up residence for the summer season on the restaurant’s roof. Yes, you read that right. The festivities will also include live music, children’s events, food and beverages, and a Swedish Pancake eating contest.

A songwriting and performance festival that benefits the preservation of historic Sturgeon Bay, the Steel Bridge Songfest is an annual favorite and a one-of-a-kind experience. In fact, it all began to raise funds to save the Michigan Street Steel Bridge, a Veteran’s Memorial in Door County. The bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The fest itself brings together singers and songwriters to the Holiday Motel, Door’s County first ever motel, where they occupy the rooms and collaborate to create music. It all culminates with live performances. The Holiday Motel is now the world’s only fully operational motel featuring live music, collaborative songwriting retreats, and a radio station that broadcasts from the hotel.  This year’s event is scheduled for June 14-15. For information, visit www.steelbridgesongfest.org.

The Door County Beer Fest on Saturday, June 15, celebrates craft beer. The event will also include local foods, live music, and culinary artisans all gathered to say cheers to Wisconsin’s more than 150 craft beers.

The Fyr Bal, also set for June 15, celebrates the Scandinavian heritage of the town of Eprhaim, as well as the arrival of summer.  The event will include a bonfire to burn the “Winter Witch” as well as fireworks over the harbor. There will also be food booths, live music, and artisans.

July brings fireworks displays throughout the towns to celebrate Independence Day as well as the Door County Folk Festival July 12-16 and the Plein Air Festival, July 24-29. Presented by the Peninsula School of Art, this festival gives attendees an inside look at the galleries and artists who make painting the landscape of Door County a beautiful experience.

Featured

National Selfie Day

National Selfie Day

June 21 is National Selfie Day. Established in 2014, this day, according to NationalCalendar.com, was designed to “encourage people to take creative (appropriate) selfies and share them on social media.” Of course, this may be something you do on a daily basis, so maybe on National Selfie Day you should go all out and make sure your post is amazing! One way to do that is to make sure wherever you’re snapping the perfect pic of yourself offers outstanding scenery.  We’ve listed a few of the more iconic locations to provide the perfect selfie backdrop. Also, if you choose to participate, you should post your pic on social media with the tag #NationalSelfieDay.  For more information, visit www.nationalselfieday.net.

  1. The Hollywood Sign: Located in Los Angeles (and just an hour from Soledad Canyon), this American landmark is 352 feet long and spells out the word HOLLYWOOD in 45-foot tall letters. A star is born, for sure!

    Soledad Canyon • Acton, CA

  2. The Washington Monument: While the monument itself is closed for repairs until August, you can still stand in the forefront and get a great shot with this 555-obelisk built to commemorate George Washington. Conveniently, Harbor View is about 65 miles from Washington D.C.
  3. The Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco’s iconic suspension bridge is a great backdrop for a selfie. Hike up Hawk Hill, located in the Golden Gate Recreation Area, for a perfect shot.
  4. Disneyworld: A perfect selfie would include Cinderella’s Castle in the background as you smile broadly with Mickey and/or Minnie to complete the shot. The colorful cottages at Tropical Palms are just 10 miles away from the Magic Kingdom.

    Tropical Palms Resort • Kissimmee, FL

  5. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign: A Vegas landmark since 1959, this 25-foot tall neon masterpiece marks the entry to the famous Las Vegas strip. Stay in a cabin at Las Vegas to prep for the perfect pic.
  6. The Bean: Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as The Bean, is a popular selfie backdrop. Located in the city’s Millennium Park, selfie snappers have been known to get very creative when taking pics with this mirrored landmark.
  7. Cheers Bar: Go where everybody knows your name, or at least your social media handle after you post a pic of yourself with the famous Cheers sign in the background. Head to Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood to find this iconic sign. It is located across from Boston’s Public Garden, which provides some great selfie shots, too!  The Tuxbury Tiny House Village is located just an hour from downtown Boston.
  8. Hersheypark: Visit Hersheypark and keep your eyes peeled for an opportunity to take a pic with life-sized candy characters, including a Hershey Kiss, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or a Hershey Bar. The cabins at Hershey are less than 30 miles from Hersheypark. These are guaranteed to be some sweet shots.
  9. The Parthenon: You don’t have to travel all the way to Greece to get this shot. Instead, head to Centennial Park in Nashville and snap a shot in front of this full scale replica of the original in Athens. The adorably themed cabins at Natchez Trace are about an hour from downtown Nashville.

    Natchez Trace • Hohenwald, TN

  10.  Chief Passamaquoddy: Take a picture with a 40-foot Indian chief in the background. To do so, head to Freeport, Maine (which is about 60 miles from Moody Beach) and you’ll find him standing tall along Route 1. He is also known as the Big F Indian.
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Yosemite Yurts – A Natural Place to Stay and Play

Yurt Yosemite Lakes Groveland, CA

Most people visit our national parks to get closer to nature and  see nature at its best – meaning unspoiled and pretty much in its pure and original form. So, if you’re planning a trip to Yosemite National Park, which showcases ancient Sequoia trees, waterfalls, granite cliffs and 400 species of wildlife over its 1,200 square miles, the co-existence with nature shouldn’t stop when you leave the Park.

Continue your nature-quest with a stay at Yosemite Lakes. Located just five miles from Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Lakes sits on 400 acres of natural wonderland and has the South Fork of the Tuolumne River running right through it! But what makes it even better when it comes to communing with nature are the unique yurt accommodations available there. There are meadow yurts, hillside yurts, and river yurts – and you can guess by the name where they are located. The plus to any yurt accommodation – regardless of where it’s located – is the spaciousness.  Thanks to the circular design of a yurt, there is plenty of space to sleep, eat, relax, and recount the day’s adventures.

Yurt Yosemite Lakes Groveland, CA

The Hillside Yurts sleep four people and sit among towering trees. The kitchenette features a refrigerator, gas stove and dining table. Sleeping options include a queen-sized and double-sized futon while the bathroom suite includes a shower. Outdoor fun continues with a gas grill and nearby picnic table and fire ring.

In the Meadow Yurts, five guests will sleep comfortably (bedding included) and can enjoy private shower within the yurt. Outdoors, the gas grill, picnic table, and fire ring keeps you right in the natural swing of things. Pets are also welcome (for an additional fee) in the Meadow Yurts. Meadow Yurts are near the river.

River Yurts have spectacular views of the Tuolumne River. The River Yurts sleeps five with a queen-sized futon and bunk beds. A private indoor bathroom with shower and outdoor accommodations featuring a deck, gas grill, fire ring, and picnic tables round out the fun.

Reserve your yurt today!

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Leavenworth’s Insta-worthy Hikes

Leavenworth’s Insta-worthy Hikes

Sometimes, you gotta do it for the ‘gram, and these hikes in Leavenworth, Washington, are absolutely Instagram worthy! The town itself is the perfect selfie backdrop with Bavarian-inspired buildings and snow-capped mountains.  A trip here must include visits to the shops and eateries, leisurely strolls through the town and some wine tastings, but the real adventure, and Instagram postings, start with the 800 miles of hiking trails in the area. We’ve highlighted just a few of the most scenic spots that will guarantee you’ll be well-liked when it comes your Instagram posts. Get that phone camera ready!

Stuart Lake Trail

This trail might be one-stop shopping when it comes to amazing views and vistas – it has meadows awash with wildflowers, soaring granite peaks, an alpine lake, and is popular for birding.

Chiwaukum Creek

Hike along the creek through groves of cedar, fir, cottonwood and towering pines and in spring and summer, wildflowers in all kinds of variety.  This trail also promises a spectacular color show come fall.

Enchantments Traverse

As the saying goes, nothing worth doing is easy (or something to that affect) so if you want to experience the Alpine wilderness that is Washington’s Enchantments, you have to take a hike, and a pretty strenuous and long one, at that.  But the payoff is worth it – numerous alpine lakes, granite peaks, mountain streams, and possibly, the occasional mountain goat.

Mountain Views Leavenworth Leavenworth, WA

Icicle Ridge Trail

This trail provides views of the town of Leavenworth as well as the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers.  Towering Ponderosa pines and an abundance of wildflowers add to the charm of this trail.

Apple Capital Loop

This trail provides an interesting landmark – the spot where the Wenatchee River dumps into the Columbia River. The trail is paved and runs along the riverfront so bird and waterfowl sightings are another plus to this hike.

Hidden Lake

Find the cave trees along this trail for an Insta-worthy picture. The cave trees are old cedar trees whose bases have been struck by lightning, creating the “cave.” There are also spectacular views of Glacier Peak and old log bridges that make for some pretty cool “look where I am” shots.

Colchuck Lake

Hikers have been said to be awestruck at the sights of both the lake itself and the granite peaks found on this hike.  Other photo worthy opportunities could be the log bridges along the trail.

Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Lake Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth is the perfect spot to stay while hiking and exploring Leavenworth and surrounding woodlands, and offers plenty of picture perfect opportunities. Make your reservations today!

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Five Great Ideas for a Girls Getaway

Girls trips are all the rage, and we totally get it. Who doesn’t want a memorable trip with their best friends? Check out these five great locations for your next girls getaway and get planning! Your friendships will thank you.

Five Great Ideas for a Girls Getaway

  1. Sedona, Arizona: This hip spot in one of the most picturesque spots in the US offers all kinds of fun, from rafting trips to hiking, new age therapies and indulgent spa treatments. The Arts scene here is hopping, too – the Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village is a unique experience with galleries and shops with one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry. The Sedona Arts Center has exhibits in all mediums in their Fine Art Gallery and also offers classes and workshops. Fridays in May, visit the Oak Creek Arts and Crafts Show which features 40 local artisans and craftsmen.

Another Sedona must is hiking among the Red Rocks and experiencing the “earth energy” vortexes of Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.  These centers of energy are said to promote healing, spirituality, and enlightenment.  Verde Valley is a great spot for this unique girl’s trip and a Tiny House accommodation will make it that much sweeter. Plus, Alcantara Vineyard (www.alcantaravineyard.com) is just steps away and is the perfect spot for a happy hour with your favorites.

Tiny House Verde Valley Cottonwood, AZ

  1. Santa Barbara, California: An agenda here for a girls trip could include wine tasting, shopping, beach time and amazing sunsets. Start with a winery tour with Rooted Vine Tours (www.rootedvinetours.com), a group that focuses on family-owned, boutique wineries. The per person cost includes door-to-door service, a picnic lunch and tasting fees for up to four vineyards. It’s a great way to (safely) see and sample the nearby wineries. Watch the sun set on a great day at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, which is considered one of the best places to watch the sunset in SB.

Shopping in Santa Barbara can range from open-air malls to boutique-lined thoroughfares. Paseo Nuevo is an open-air mall with major retailers including The Gap, Nordstrom and Sephora while the historic La Arcada Courtyard offers smaller boutiques, chocolate shops and galleries. If you’re longing for the beach scene, consider spending the day at Butterfly Beach and stay until sunset, as it’s another one of the noted spots to watch the sun go down thanks to its west-facing location.

Rancho Oso, and its unique accommodations, is the perfect place to book a stay for an SB-style Girls Getaway!

  1. Amesbury, MA: A true hidden gem, Amesbury is located just an hour outside of Boston and will transport you to the charming, east coast town of your dreams. Spend some time downtown and sample brews at not one but two breweries located within walking distance from each other. Another gem in the adorable town of Amesbury is Cider Hill Farm (www.ciderhill.com), where you and your friends can learn the history of the farm, pick whatever is in season, and sample some of their mouthwatering seasonally themed hard ciders. Did we mention the store and cider doughnuts? We dare you to try and leave without sampling one (or two) doughnuts or purchasing some adorable home decor.

For the icing on an already perfect cake, plan a stay in one of the tiny houses at the Tuxbury Tiny House Village for cute photo ops and plenty of oohs and ahhs.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village - South Hampton, NH

  1. Florida Keys: Island hop among the Florida Keys and enjoy everything from water sports, like parasailing and scuba diving, to more land-bound adventures like a Hop-On/Hop-Off trolley tour of fabled Key West. Dolphin-watch, visit a turtle hospital, tour the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and see the endangered Key Deer at the National Key Deer Refuge.

Two great spots to stay during your Keys with the Girls trip are Fiesta Key and Sunshine Key.

Cottages, Fiesta Key, Long Key, FL

  1. Nashville, Tennessee: A girl’s trip to Music City holds more than just music in terms of things to do. Number one – eat. Number two – shop. Number 3 – take a country music history lesson.  Number four – try something out of the ordinary.

Number one – Nashville has some great eating. The Loveless Café has been serving up southern fare for more than 65 years, so they must be doing something right. Try their chicken and dumplings with a side of their world famous biscuits and homemade jams and preserves. Another Nashville staple is Monell’s, which serves up southern favorites, like fried chicken and fried catfish, family-style with plenty of southern sides!

Number two – Nashville has plenty of places to shop but you might be interested in two shops that have famous faces behind them. Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James offers women’s clothing, while Uncommon James is the concept of reality TV personality, Kristen Cavallari. The store sells jewelry and other accessories, as well as some home goods. You never know which of their famous friends may pop in to shop!

Number 3 – Get to know the history behind some of the country greats who got their start here, including Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Museums dedicated to both are located in the same building, with the Cash exhibit on the first floor and the Cline memorabilia on the second floor. Self-guided tours of Nashville’s music mecca, the Grand Old Opry, are available as well as tours of the Ryman Auditorium, which served as the Opry’s original home.

Number 4 – You can’t get more out of the ordinary than trying a sensory deprivation tank. Float Nashville provides the opportunity to allow gravity to do all the heavy lifting, thereby relieving stress on your body with the goal of profound relaxation. Let’s all float on!

Natchez Trace is a great place to stay while exploring Nashville and the surrounding area – it’s located about 80 miles from Nashville’s downtown and features perfectly themed cabins and a beautifully renovated lodge that sleeps up to 16. Talk about the perfect spot for a sleepover!

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Best of Bar Harbor

Best of Bar Harbor

Rugged, rustic, scenic, quaint, charming, historic – the list goes on when you look for words to describe a visit to Maine’s Bar Harbor. The town dates back to the mid-1700s and its charms can be found on land and sea. Dare we say, it lives up to its original name of Eden by offering an idyllic getaway for everyone? If you’re heading to Maine over the next month or so, here are just a few things you might find interesting.

Wanna See Something Really Scary?

Get to know Bar Harbor from the spooky side and take one of the many ghost tours offered. The Red Cloak Haunted History Tour (www.redcloaktours.com) offers a 90 minute walking tour through the town and Old Burying Ground while a knowledgeable guide discusses history, superstitions and more. This is a family-friendly, pet-friendly and wheelchair-friendly tour.  Another interesting option for haunted tours would be the Bar Harbor Ghost Tours (www.barharborghosttours.com), which are offered nightly from May through October. The tours provided through this group tell the history of the area through the perspective of both the indigenous Wabanaki Indians as well as that of the Euro-American settlers. They offer both walking and van options that include tours such as the Wabanaki Spirit Walk or the Island of the Dead tour.

Calling All Art Lovers!

Over the next few months, Bar Harbor will host two amazing, open-air art shows. First up is the Island Arts Association’s Annual Memorial Day Weekend Craft Fair, scheduled for May 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Come and see what the local artisans and crafters have on display (and for sale).  Later in June, enjoy the 69th Annual Art in the Park, which exhibits the works of artists in several mediums, including photography, panting and print. This event is scheduled for June 15 and 16. Both events are free, open to the public and will be held at the Village Green in the center of town.

Eat, Repeat and Enjoy

Maine is known for its lobster! So, why not get up close and personal with this delicious crustacean as well as other mainly Maine foods. The Ambrosia Cooking School (www.ambrosiacookingschool.com) offers several cooking classes that include Historic Maine Cooking, Chowder and Popovers, Please! and Maine Historic Desserts. Another option to nosh on is the foodie tour offered by Maine Food Tours (www.mainefoodietours.com) which offers tastes of the iconic Maine lobster roll as well as Maine Peekytoe Crab Cakes. Do we hear a resounding yum, err, we mean yes?

Don’t Miss the Mountain

A trip to Bar Harbor is never complete without a visit to Acadia National Park, which is hard to miss since the park’s 49,000 acres cover more than half of Mt. Desert Island. Things to do at Acadia that are available every day include hiking Cadillac Mountain, touring the park by foot, bike or car via the 57 miles of carriage roads, or enjoying the park’s Sand Beach with its amazing views.  The Acadia Birding Festival is scheduled for May 30-June 2, and is designed for seasoned and amateur birders alike. For information on this event, visit www.acadiabirdingfestival.com.

If you’re Bar Harbor bound, stay at any one of our three great Bar Harbor locations, which feature colorful cottages and unique cabins, at Narrows Too, Mt Desert Narrows, and Patten Pond.