Explore the Flora

Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA
Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA

June blooms are all around, so we thought we’d highlight some of the indigenous floras around our country (some are always in bloom and some are seasonal, so plan accordingly).

Texas Bluebonnets: This pretty, little blue flower, so named because its petals resemble a sunbonnet, can be found in full bloom across Texas in the spring. In fact, the town of Burnet (outside Austin) is considered the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas and celebrates each year with a festival. Fredericksburg is also a great spot to see the bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers in their full spring glory via the Willow City Loop trail.

Best time to see: March through mid-April.

Where to stay: Spend the night in a cozy cabin at Medina Lake to round out your Bluebonnet trip.

California Golden Poppies

California Poppies: The state’s official flower since 1903, the California Poppy, or Golden Poppy, is native to California. The Native Americans who lived in the area found the flower a great source for both food and cooking oil. While poppies can be found throughout the state, the best place to see them is the Antelope Valley California Poppy State Natural Reserve near Lancaster. The Reserve has the most consistent blooms of the poppy. P.S. – Harry and Meghan fans may find it interesting that the Duchess of Sussex honored her California roots and had the poppy embroidered into her wedding veil, as well as made a part of her official coat of arms.

Best time to see poppies: Mid-March to mid-May.

Where to stay: Call it a night in a cozy cabin at Soledad Canyon.

Florida Mangroves: This Florida native does so much for so many – from providing shelter to Florida’s animal kingdom to playing an important role in the overall health of the coastal ecosystem. Four types of mangroves can be found in southern Florida and those are the red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove, and the buttonwood. Guided tours through mangrove tunnels are available in the Everglades as well as the Keys and several hiking opportunities are available too. For hiking options, check out floridahikes.com/mangroves.

Where to stay: Vacation tiny at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village, or opt for a more woodsy accommodation with a cabin at Miami Everglades.

Spanish Moss

South Carolina Spanish Moss:  When you picture the South, don’t most of those visions include trees draped with Spanish Moss? Which then begs the question, just what is Spanish Moss? It is not a tree or moss at all, but instead a plant from the bromeliad family that uses the trees they drape for support but not at all for nutrients. Those come instead from the moisture in the air and rainwater running down the tree’s bark, among other things. The Low Country of South Carolina is a great place to see an abundance of Spanish Moss.

Sedona’s Prickly Pear: One of the most famous cacti native to the southwest is the saguaro, but when it comes to Sedona, Arizona, the popular cacti here is the prickly pear (fun fact: Red Rock country’s elevation is too high for the saguaro). Squat and low to the ground, unlike the taller saguaro, the prickly pear cactus can be identified by its flat pads. And, the fruit of the prickly pear can be eaten raw but is most delicious when made into a wine or syrup.

Where to stay: Check into a cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley, and while you’re there, head to Alcantara Winery, which is conveniently located right next to Verde Valley.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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!

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

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!