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!

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!

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!

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.