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!

Mt. Hood Tiny Population Grows!

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

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

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

Anderson

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

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

Ingrid

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

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

Mt Hood Tiny House Village Tumbleweed

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

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

Tropical Plans, Tropical Palms

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

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

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

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

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

Festival of Trees

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

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

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

Holidays at Old Town

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

Tropical Palms • Kissimmee, FL

Holiday Home Tour and Winter wonderland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Cider Sippin’ Spots

Cider Sippin’ Spots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me a T for Texas, and for Tennessee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glamping – It’s all the Rage!

Yurt • Circle M RV & Camping Resort

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

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

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

Yurt Yosemite Lakes Groveland, CA

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

So, how do you glamp?

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

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

Horses RanchoOso Photo By JulieVader

Some Petite Retreats glamping locations to consider would include:

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

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

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

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

Sunset • Mt Desert Narrows Camping Resort

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

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!