Black History Month

With the events of this past summer, now more than ever may be not only the time to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of Black Americans throughout our history, but perhaps to also honor their history by taking the time to learn more about the experiences of Black Americans. The month of February has officially been recognized as Black History Month since President Gerald Ford declared it so in 1976. Visit museums and heritage sites, support Black-owned businesses, and read a few books to learn more. And, with some of these locations temporarily closed or operating on shortened hours due to the pandemic, keep in mind our list is not a to-do list for February, but instead a to-do list for all time.

“File:Seattle – Northwest African American Museum from Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint 01.jpg” by Joe Mabel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Museums and Heritage Sights

The Northwest African American Museum, Seattle, Washington: If you’re planning a trip to Leavenworth Tiny House Village, a good field trip to consider would be a trip to the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle (about a two-hour drive). The mission of the museum includes presenting and preserving the connections between the Pacific Northwest and people of African descent and is accomplished though exhibits and educational programs. Currently closed due to COVID-19, check out their virtual exhibits at www.naanmw.org. If you plan to visit once the museum reopens, don’t miss the nearby Jimi Hendrix Park, named for the one of the greatest and most innovative African-American guitarists of all time.

California African American Museum (CAAM), Los Angeles, California: Highlighting the important role African Americans have played in the development of the American West through over 4000 pieces that include art, historic objects and printed materials, the Museum was one of the first African American museums fully supported by any US state. CAAM also offers lectures and workshops. (The museum is a little over 100 miles from our colorful cottages in Palm Springs.)

Abyssinian Meeting House, Portland, Maine: Located about 72 miles from the Tuxbury Tiny House Village, the Abyssinian Meeting House is Maine’s oldest African-American church building and the third oldest in the country. Construction began in 1828 and was completed in 1831 and all construction was done by free African Americans. The Abyssinian Meeting House served not only as a house of worship, but also as the center of social and political life for Portland’s African American community. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Milton House in Milton Wisconsin” by royal_broil is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Milton House, Milton, Wisconsin: Milton House served as a stop on the Underground Railroad in part due to its location to the Rock River, a tributary to the Mississippi, which may have served as a route to Canada for escaping slaves. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and visitors can take a guided tour of the building, the nearby cabin and the original tunnel used by the freedom seekers. Milton is about 84 miles from the cabins at Arrowhead.

“The Lorraine Motel in Memphis” by Kees Wielemaker (pedaal) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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 Cherokee Landing.

Books to Read

“Between the World and Me” by CCAC North Library is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson: The stories of the Great Migration of Black citizens fleeing the South for northern and western American cities.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: A New York Times bestseller, this book is written as a letter to the author’s son to explain what it is to be Black in America.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: This historical fiction story details the story of the fight for freedom by two Southern slaves.

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo: An examination of race in America with each chapter addressing an issue about race in our contemporary society.

Black-Owned Outdoor Gear Shop:

Lastly, if you’re looking for some camping and outdoor gear, check out slimpickensoutfitters.com. Recognized as the first Black-owned outdoor gear shop in the country, the business is owned by Jahmicah Dawes, who said in an article with Men’s Journal that his initial experiences with outdoor life through the Boy Scouts was “terrible” but that later in college he learned to love the outdoors. Dawes has said outdoor activities brings people together and believes “change happens around a campfire.” Shop from the website, or if you’re visiting Lake Whitney, the brick-and-mortar store is located in Stephenville, which is about 70 miles from the campground.

Read More:

Five Things to Do in…..La Conner

Swinomish Channel, La Conner Washington.

Settled in the late 1860s, La Conner, Washington, was originally known by the name Swinomish, as the area was home to the Swinomish Indians. In 1869, the town was deeded to John Conner for a whopping $500. Conner went on to name the town in honor of his wife, Louisa Ann Conner, which then became LA Conner, and finally, La Conner.

Other notable things to know about La Conner include that it consistently makes the Top 10 of travel lists when it comes to small, quaint and charming towns; it is located on the edge of the largest tulip-growing region in the world, which means come spring, the tulip explosion in the valley outside La Conner is a sight to behold. And, it is considered a four-season attraction, meaning no matter when you visit, there’s always something going on! From beautiful fall hikes to skiing in winter and the burst of spring flowers and summers on the waterfront, La Conner is a year-round destination.

La Conner RV Resort in La Conner, WA

In short, if you’re looking for a charming, waterfront town, complete with boardwalk, art galleries, restaurants, boutiques, museums, and even a gastropub, plus a vibe that will calm even the most hyper of travelers, then La Conner should be put on your destination list!

Here are five things to do when visiting this Pacific-Northwest charmer.

  1. Museum of Northwest Art: With a mission to collect, preserve and interpret art created in the Pacific Northwest, MoNa, as it is called, has contemporary art exhibits from artists hailing from Alaska, British Columbia, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. MoNa displays both permanent and traveling exhibits and admission is free. For information and hours of operation, visit monamuseum.org.

    Beautiful and colorful tulip fields by the mountains of Skagit Valley at sunrise
  2. Drive or Bike the Valley: As mentioned above, the Skagit Valley is not only home to the beautiful blooms of spring’s tulips, daffodils and more, but it is also a charming countryside dotted with farms, fields, wildlife and charming towns to explore via bike or on the road. Check out visitskagitvalley.com for a bike map.
  3. Visit the Islands: If you’re up to it, a three-mile kayak or canoe paddle across the Swinomish Channel will get you to Goat Island, where you can explore the remains of century-old Fort Whitman. A quick drive across the iconic Rainbow Bridge brings you to Fidalgo Island, home to Washington Park which has a beach and hiking trails. Kiket Island, which is another short drive from La Conner, offers hiking, pebble beaches, and amazing views.

    View from Mt. Erie
  4. Photo Ops Galore: With Mt. Baker as a backdrop, most likely anywhere you take a picture in La Conner will prove a worthy photo op but we’ve found some other worthy backdrops as well in the area. Set your sights on Magnus Anderson’s hand-split log cabin, dating back to 1869 (near the Town Hall); the Swinomish totem pole, which is a replica of the original built in 1939 as a Works Project Administration project (across from the ball fields); La Conner Rainbow Bridge, a deck arch bridge built in 1957 that connects La Conner to Fidalgo island.
  5. Skagit County Historical Museum: Learn all about the history of Skagit County in this unique museum whose exhibits range from Native American artifacts to Shirley Temple dolls. Current exhibits include Hometown Teams, which explores how hometown sports teams play a role in American society.

A cozy cabin at LaConner RV Campground.

Go Big in Bend

Kayaking • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Bend, Oregon is one big playground regardless of the season. But come summer, Bend is bursting with things to do under the sunny skies of the Pacific Northwest. There are all kinds of adventures to be had from rustic to urban, and from relaxing to exhilarating. There is music, art, a rodeo, theater, fishing, hiking, and the list goes on and on. No matter what your fancy, you’ll find something to tickle it when you visit Bend.

Fishing opportunities in Bend are about as abundant as the fish you can catch when you cast your line here. Consider fly fishing, and if you’re new to this sport, River Borne Outfitters offers a 2.5-hour class that covers the basics regarding terminology, casting, and knot tying. If you feel like you’re beyond beginner but still need some fishing tips, they also offer a 6-hour course that has you fishing the Crooked River. Check out www.riverborneoutfitters.com for more information.

Fishing • Deschutes River

Of course, if you’re a seasoned fisherman, just head down to the Lower Deschutes River which is one of the most popular and prolific places to fish in Oregon. Statistics show that more than 3,500 trout run per mile of water in this area. Make sure to obey all the state rules and regulations, and that you have a license to fish. For licensing information, visit www.odfw.com.

If you prefer dry land to water, and art to fishing, then the Roundabout Art Route might be of interest to you. The Roundabout Art Route is a collection of 20 pieces of art that are on display throughout the city. Stop by the Bend Visitor Center to pick up a map, then get rolling on your art adventure. The name of the route should give you a hint as to where the art installations are located, but we are going to give away the secret. Just head into downtown Bend and get ready to glimpse a bronze logger, a bronze grizzly, the Sunrise Spirit Column, and the High Desert Spiral, which at 39 feet is the tallest public art sculpture in Bend, to name a few.

Take a hike up Pilot Butte and you’re guaranteed a breathtaking vista no matter which of the three trails you choose. Pilot Butte is visible from downtown Bend and is a 500-foot high lava dome created from an extinct volcano. Visit www.oregonstateparks.org for information about the state park and the trails.

Cabin • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Tour-wise, there’s plenty of ways to see Bend while eating and drinking some of the city’s offerings. There is the Bend Ale Trail, which offers a do-it-yourself way to visit Bend’s 18 breweries at your leisure. If you want someone else to do the heavy lifting when it comes to touring the breweries, check out the offerings of The Bend Tour Company, which not only offers a craft beer, wine and spirit tasting tour, but also other adventure tours such as an arts and cultural tour of Bend, and a stunning Cascade Sunset tour. Check out what they offer at www.thebendtourcompany.com.

Special summer events in Bend include the Bend Summer Festival, July 12th-14th that will feature food, music, an art fair, and plenty of family fun. July 26th-28th brings Balloons Over Bend to the city as hot air balloon fun takes center stage. Help celebrate a milestone at the 100th Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo scheduled for July 31st-August 4th. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Fun Since Day One.” Bend Brewfest is scheduled for August 15th-17th and features craft brewers, wineries, and cideries set on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Sunset • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Of course, when the day’s fun is done, you’ll need a place to bunk in until the next adventure, so consider adding to the experience by staying in a yurt, cabin, or cottage at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. Situated on the banks of the Little Deschutes River, this 283-acre campground has plenty of onsite fun including fishing opportunities, swimming, pickleball, tennis, and mini-golf.

Plan your time to Go Big in Bend, visit www.RVontheGo.com and reserve your stay today!

Glamping in Style with Petite Retreats!

Thanks to the advent of “glamping,” more and more people are catching the camping bug. And, because glamping made alternatives to tent camping cool, camping is no longer just a warm-weather getaway option. With glamping becoming trendier, accommodations like yurts, cabins, and tiny houses are now sought after options, compared to the more traditional, yet weather-dependent tent and all the outdoor accoutrements associated with camping.

Glamping options like tiny houses have all the amenities of a hotel while also providing the cozy, communing with nature feeling campers seek. Cottages and cabins can range from rustic to well-outfitted yet still maintain that same “one with nature” atmosphere provided by the camping cottages and cabins of yesteryear. Yurts offer a unique way to spend time among nature in a setting that is both cozy and spacious all at once.

Whether you’re looking for a wintery glamping experience filled with hot cocoa and activities bouncing around in the snow, or escaping the cold until the winter in the North is over, there are plenty of options ready and waiting to help make your glamping dreams come true with Petite Retreats!

Is the Pacific Northwest calling your name this season? Check out the Tiny House Villages in Leavenworth, Washington, or Welches, Oregon. The Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches sits amid all the winter sports activities in the area and is also close to Portland so you can get your big city fix when you’re done playing in the snow.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village has the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains (and all the snow fun that comes with it) and is, of course, is just a few miles from the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth, where you may just feel like you went to sleep in Washington and woke up in Germany!

Leavenworth Tiny House Village
Leavenworth Tiny House Village

There are also yurts at Bend-Sunriver in Oregon, the aforementioned Mt. Hood, and several Pacific Coast locations from Washington on down through Oregon. Cabins can be found in California, Oregon, and Texas. And, if you insist on spending winter on the beach, colorful cottages in Florida beckon you to locations that include the Florida Keys and centrally-located Kissimmee.

Florida speaks for itself in terms of fun and sun. Kissimmee offers perfect proximity to all the theme parks and the Keys are as close as you can get to a tropical adventure without leaving the U.S. So, enjoy a cottage in the sun and go glamping the Sunshine State.

Colorful Cottages at Fiesta Key

Pick a yurt and enjoy a stay at Tall Chief RV Resort in Fall City, Washington, which is less than a half hour outside of Seattle. Or, choose a cozy cabin at Pacific City RV Resort in Cloverdale, Oregon, and enjoy winter hiking in Cape Meares State Park. Try out staying in a cabin “Cali-style” and book a stay at Rancho Oso RV Resort, located just outside the charming city of Santa Barbara. Enjoy “America’s Riviera” as Santa Barbara is known, and take in the history, culture, arts, and local wineries.

Get your winter glamping groove on while you can! Petite Retreats provides you with lots of variety in your choice of destination, or destinations if you’ve got the time. So, get going and get glamping!

Visit petiteretreats.com to find your perfect winter glamping getaway.

The Winter Wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest

The Winter Wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest
The Winter Wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest

There are some destinations that no matter the time of year, are the ideal vacation spot. A perfect example of a year-round getaway destination is the Pacific Northwest. The mountains, forests, and the Pacific Ocean are what make this region one of the most beautiful. When it comes to the Pacific Northwest, Mother Nature is always at her best here from summer sun to winter snows.

As far back as 1928, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Skibowl was a major draw. As one of the oldest remaining ski resorts in the country, the Mt. Hood Skibowl continues to draw snow sport enthusiasts thanks to its offerings that include 65 total runs over 960 acres of terrain. Snow lovers can day and night ski, snowboard, and snow tube as well as enjoy special events such as visits from Santa Claus and a New Year’s Eve party complete with fireworks. For information visit www.skibowl.com.

The Mt. Hood Skibowl is less than 20 minutes from Mt. Hood Village RV Resort.

Mt Hood Village RV Resort
Mt Hood Village RV Resort

Another must-see in the area is Timberline Lodge, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. A visit here offers a history lesson as well as snow sports fun. The historic lodge was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1936 and 1938 and was ultimately dedicated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt created the WPA as part of his New Deal program to put people to work during the Great Depression. The Lodge and its views alone are worth the visit, but the skiing is the real draw for visitors. Timberline boasts 3,960 vertical feet, which is said to be more than any other ski location in the Pacific Northwest. Holiday events include a Christmas Tree Lighting on December 14 and a New Year’s Eve party on December 31. Visit timberlinelodge.com for more information.  

Snow is big in Bend, Oregon. According to visitbend.com, the mountains surrounding Bend get an average of thirty feet of snow per year. That’s plenty of the powdery stuff in which to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, snow hike, snow bike and simply frolic.

One interesting way to enjoy the snow is a Sled Dog Ride from Oregon Trail of Dreams.  A truly unique experience where you can sit back and let the dogs, and of course the human team, do all the work.

Skiing in Bend, OR
Skiing in Bend, OR

Another fun way to appreciate all the snow is at the Snowblast Tubing Park at Mt. Bachelor where you can glide down the slow with little effort on your part – just hang on to the tube handles and enjoy the ride. Or, consider a guided snowshoe tour where you can learn about the geology of the area as well as the plants and animals of Central Oregon. Visit mtbachelor.com for more information.

Downtown Bend will host special holiday events including the Bend Christmas Parade on December 1 and the Holiday Lights Winter Paddle Parade on December 14, where kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are decorated for a holiday parade on the Deschutes River. Any place that is so big on snow has to celebrate it and you can enjoy all the fun at the Oregon Winterfest, set for February 15-17, 2019 in Bend. This three-day party will include music, food, drinks, ice sculpting competitions, and more winter fun.

Mt. Bachelor is less than 30 minutes from the Bend-Sunriver RV Campground.