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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.