Oh, Hello, Ojai!

Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, CAIf someone was tasked with writing about the Top Ten things to do in Ojai, California, let’s hope they have a diligent (or understanding) editor….because you can’t stop at 10. This beautiful valley city, located about 90 miles north of LA and just 30 miles from Santa Barbara, is a bundle of charm, rolled up in a mix of culture and arts and displayed in a setting so scenic and serene, your Instagram posts will be nonstop!

So, we won’t stop at 10 or 15, but just show you some highlights to send you on your way to discover all there is to see and do in Ojai.

The first thing you will notice is the surrounding countryside. There are citrus groves, vineyards, and the Los Padres National Forest. Filled with wildflowers, wildlife, hiking and biking trails and beaches, Los Padres is a wonderland for wanderers. You can also choose to fish, horseback ride or enjoy a lazy picnic with nature as a side dish!

Enjoy a tour of an olive grove at the Ojai Olive Oil Company (www.ojaioliveoil.com) or sample some of the wines at the various wineries located in and around Ojai (visit www.ojaivisitors.com for a listing of wineries). If your visit to Ojai begins after June 1, definitely stop by Frog Creek Farm (www.frogcreekfarmojai.com) to enjoy the lavender and also mark your calendar for the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at Libbey Park.

In town, you want to make sure you visit the Ojai Certified Farmers Market for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and seafood, honey, jams, soaps, and candles. The Market is open every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a list of fruits and veggies in season, visit www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com.

Also, you can’t miss Libbey Park, which is located in the center of the town and contains walking paths, a fountain, a bandstand, Libbey Bowl, a renowned concert venue, and of course tennis courts as it plays host annually to the oldest amateur tennis tournament in the US, “the Ojai,” in late April. The park will also host Art in the Park, an annual event since 1977, allowing local artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work. This year’s event is scheduled for May 25.  Just one week later on June 1, the park hosts the 2019 Ojai Blues Fest, followed by the Ojai Musical Festival, a four-day event featuring classical music that will run June 6-9.

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

There are also plenty of dining options from gourmet to farm-to-table and shopping possibilities include clothing boutiques, antiques, jewelry stores, and trinket shops, art galleries and of course Bart’s Books. Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated indoor/outdoor bookstore in the US. The store’s collection of more than 1 million books overflows to freestanding bookcases outside the store, which are paid for by customers on the honor system! Inside, visitors will also find rare, first editions and specialty art books.

And, when your perfect day, or days, in Ojai are coming to a close, don’t miss the “pink” sunset where, thanks to a combination of the mountains, the valley, the sun’s location, etc., the sky takes on a pink glow at dusk that can only be described as indescribable!

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, CA

If you want to make your own To-Do in Ojai list, consider a stay at Rancho Oso, in Santa Barbara and book one our unique Petite Retreats. Check out www.PetiteRetreats.com to see what options are available to make your home base while exploring nearby Ojai.

Hike and Yurt – Our Favorite Four-Letter Words!

Yurt at Mount Vernon RV Campground, Bow, WAWe’ve detailed the benefits of camping in our yurts many times – spacious yet comfortable, close to nature yet shielded from the elements, and, they are ready and waiting so you can get camping the minute you arrive at your destination!

We’ve also detailed the benefits of hiking many times – regularly hiking lowers your risk of heart diseases, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, boosts bone density, strengthens your core and elevates your mood.

Combine all those benefits and it’s no wonder Hike and Yurt are some our favorite four-letter words. Toss in our Washington yurt accommodations and the benefits multiply as the state is home to five different locations that offer yurt lodging and all offer proximity to hiking trails that can’t be beat.

Grandy Creek RV Campground (Concrete): The Cascade Trail Head is an easily-accessible, 22.5-mile trail that runs along the Skagit River Valley with farmland and wildlife views. It is crushed stone and gravel and fairly level and there are some benches along the way for resting. A highlight is the historic Henry Thompson Bridge at trails’ end in Concrete. At the time it was completed in 1918, it was the largest single span cement bridge in the world. The bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Long Beach RV & Camping Resort, Seaview, WA

Long Beach RV Campground (Seaview): AllTrails.com lists 11 hiking trails in Cape Disappointment State Park, which is just a five-minute drive from the campground, or a 15-minute bike ride via the Discovery Trail. Most of 11 trails listed with AllTrails are rated easy to moderate so everyone can enjoy the hike. The Bells’ View Overlooks Trail (0.5 miles) is rated for all hikers and offers beautiful views of the wildflowers and the bay. The Discovery Trail itself is 14 miles roundtrip, and takes hikers over the sand dunes via the boardwalk, provides views of the ocean and even a sculpture of William Clark, for whom the trail is named, along with his travel companion, Meriwether Lewis!

Mount Vernon RV Campground (Bow): The Padilla Bay Shore Trail takes you along the bay where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea and makes it one of the most diverse and biologically productive of the major estuaries on the Puget Sound. It is a 2.25-mile trail that can be easily trekked. Binoculars are a must!

Paradise RV Campground (Silver Creek): One of the stars here is the Skagit River Valley – an opportunity to explore the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the largest temperature rain forests in the US, via a hike along the Hoh River Trail. Mt. St. Helens National Monument is another opportunity for hiking as it offers more than 200 miles of trails that offers views of wildflowers, mountains, lakes and even the devastation caused by the 1980 eruption.

Yurt at Tall Chief RV & Camping Resort, Fall City, WA

Tall Chief RV Campground (Fall City): April to October is the best time to take a hike and view the beauty of Snoqualmie Falls, which is less than four miles from the campground.  Of course, the highlight here is the 268-foot waterfall and good to note, it’s an easy hike for everyone. Sit on the rocks near the base of the falls and take in another great show from Mother Nature.  Take a longer drive (about 40 miles) and explore a more difficult trail at the Lake Lilian Trail, an 8-mile trail that is a favorite of birders!

Book your Hike/Yurt summer adventure today – go to the petiteretreats.com/accomodations_yurts and get moving!

Boston Calling

Boston Skyline, Boston, MA

Making New England your summer retreat this summer? If so, take note of some the events going on in and near Boston this summer.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village, Tuxbury Pond RV Campground, South Hampton, NH

  1. Boston Calling – it’s not just the title of this piece, but also a 3-day music festival in Boston scheduled for May 24-26, that also features comedy performances as well. This year’s musical lineup includes artists Tame Impala, Jack White, Brandi Carlisle, The Killers, Khalid and Portugal the Man to name a few, while the comedy lineup includes Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen and Michael Che. The event is held at the Harvard Athletic Complex in nearby Allston. For a full lineup and ticket information visit www.bostoncalling.com.
  2. Boston Dragon Boat Festival – the first and oldest festival of its type in the US, this event brings over 70 teams from around the country and world to compete in a 500-meter race along the banks of the Charles River as each team commands their own 39-foot Hong Kong-style Dragon Boat. The festival itself is full of fun for the whole family with cultural events, food, vendors and more. The 40th Annual Dragon Boat Festival takes place June 8-9.
  3. North Star Pro Rodeo – while you really wouldn’t associate a rodeo with Massachusetts, you will have an opportunity to change that with a visit to the North Star Pro Rodeo held in Marshfield on June 22-23. Like any other rodeo, you can expect bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more rodeo fun. For details, visit www.marshfieldfair.org.
  4. Boston Pops July Fourth – this annual extravaganza has Boston Pops Conductor, Keith Lockhart, joined by some pretty popular guest stars, as he conducts the music of America to celebrate our country’s birthday! The concert and spectacular fireworks display should be on everyone’s bucket list. Why not check it off your list this summer? For information, visit www.bostonpopsjuly4th.org.
  5. Boston Seafood Festival – as they say, when in Rome, except in this case, when in Boston, don’t miss the seafood! This festival provides the perfect chance to eat lobster and clams and whatever else they dish up. Held on the historic Boston Fish Pier, this year’s event is set for Sunday, August 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be chef demos, a fish cutting demonstration, a lobster bake, clambakes, Battle of the Shuckers and a beer garden.

Vacation Cottage, Pine Acres RV Campground, Raymond, NH

Boston highlights also include: The Freedom Trail, a walking path through the city with historical markers that document events of the Revolutionary War; Faneuil Hall, a meeting hall and market place originally built in 1742 and restored in 1976 to become one of Boston’s most visited places thanks to its mix of markets, food vendors and street entertainers; Boston North End, the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, containing some of the oldest buildings in the city – just a short walk from downtown Boston, the food and baked goods make it worth the trip; and Fenway Park, home to the 2018 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. Take in a game, see what the Green Monster is all about and decide for yourself whether there’s a repeat brewing!

Cabin at Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground, Rochester, MA

Reserve a stay at New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Pond or Pine Acres or Gateway to Cape Cod in Massachusetts which are all conveniently about an hour’s drive away from the city. Visit PetiteRetreats.com to plan your trip to explore one of the oldest cities in the US.

Nestled in New York

Cabin at Lake George Escape Campground, Diamond Point, NY

Nestled in New York

Does your idea of the perfect summer vacation include a cozy cabin in the woods, complemented by the perfect lake for lazing by or playing in, all surrounded by towering trees and majestic mountains? If that fits your bill, don’t wait to book a stay in one of the cabins at Lake George Escape or Alpine Lake, both located in New York’s incomparable Adirondack region.

Lake George Escape, located in Diamond Point, sits on 178 acres and has direct access to the Schroon River. With four cabins to choose from (one sleeps 4, one sleeps 5 and two sleep 6), this is the place to enjoy an idyllic summer getaway. Amenities vary from cabin to cabin but all promise to be the perfect place to spend your summer at the lake.  The campground also has two pools, a playground and of course access to the lake.

Cabins at Alpine Lake RV Resort, Corinth, NY

The cabins at Alpine Lake RV Campground, located in Corinth, sleep 6 and have full bathrooms and kitchens complete with refrigerator, stove, microwave, as well as AC and heat. The resort has fishing available in the stocked lock and plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore.

Nearby to both campgrounds, there is plenty to keep you busy this summer. While there are certainly “inside” things to see and do, the focus here is enjoying the outdoors. There are hiking trails, rafting and tubing trips, scenic boat rides and lots of fishing.

From a history buff’s perspective, there’s Grant Cottage State Historic Site, in Wilton, where Ulysses S. Grant spent the last days of his life writing his memories and where for years Civil War veterans trekked to pay homage to our 18th president and Civil War General. Another top historic attraction is Lake George Battlefield Park, a 35-acre park that preserves battle sites from both the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War.

Both the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and the Adirondack Theater Festival (AFT) have a lot to offer this summer season. The AFT, located in Glen Falls, produces a nine-week summer theater schedule and this summer’s shows include Alice in Wonderland, Calling All Kates, a romantic musical comedy and The Enlightenment of Percival Von Schmootz, a musical comedy billed as Monty Python meets the Dark Ages. Check out this summer’s lineup at www.atfestival.org.

SPAC runs the gamut of entertainment genres from live big-name concerts including the Dave Matthews Band and Dead and Company to opera, ballet, and theater productions. A full calendar of events can be found at www.spac.org.

Special events to note include the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, June 29-30, at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons in Lake George, that will showcase 120 wine vendors, craft beverages, artisan foods, food trucks, and vendors. For information on that event, visit www.adkwinefest.com. Come fall, when the color show of autumn makes its debut here, the Adirondack Balloon Festival draws more than 150,000 people to this event to watch the hot air balloons soar into the mountain skies. That event is set for September 19-22 in Queensbury.

Pick your events, pack your bags and book your cabin for a tranquil, yet cultured, lazy, yet, sporty and definitely all kinds of fun summer in the Adirondacks. Go to www.PetiteRetreats.com.