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:

Fall Foliage Hikes

North Falls at Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon.

This fall, make it your goal to be an active leaf peeper. Yes, you heard that right. Leaf peeper – which by definition is someone who visits wooded areas in autumn to check out the changing colors of the foliage. Most everyone is a leaf peeper in some form or another. Maybe you don’t check websites for peak color dates or plan an annual trip around the changing colors but you most likely revel in the beautiful color show put on by Mother Nature and her children of the leafy kind come fall.

Now, we’re asking you to be an active leaf peeper, but we don’t mean just checking out the leaves. We think tossing in a hike – mild, moderate, strenuous, whatever a good hike means to you – while taking in this free, socially-distanced show is a great idea. These hikes are both good for your body and for your psyche.  We did some research and found some of the most popular fall foliage hikes around.

Silver Falls State Park (Silverton, Oregon): A moderate hike at almost 9 miles is well worth the effort as Silver Falls State Park offers hikers the opportunity to see waterfalls in addition to the gorgeous fall foliage. Ten waterfalls in fact, thus the name of the trail, Trail of Ten Falls, can be seen on this great fall hike.

(Plan a stay at one of the cozy cabins at nearby Pacific City while hiking Silver Falls.)

Washington Park Arboretum (Seattle, Washington): The Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle is possibly one of the best color shows contained in one location that you may find. In fact, according to the Arboretum’s website, fall in the Arboretum’s Woodland Garden section may possibly offer the most stunning display of fall colors in the region thanks to having one of the largest collection of Japanese maples in North America. All this beauty can be experienced on nearly one mile of winding stone pathways. How’s that for one-stop peeping? 

Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, Washington.

(A great idea is to book a tiny home at Leavenworth Tiny House Village and drive into Seattle. This is a two-fer since fall in Leavenworth is another spectacular show.)

Franconia Ridge Trail (Lincoln, New Hampshire): Waterfalls, a running stream, fantastic views, and plenty of fall foliage can be found on this New Hampshire trail. At just about eight miles and definitely a “hike,” the scenic rewards are plentiful. It’s no wonder this loop was named one of the 10 best hiking trails by National Geographic in 2017.

Tiny House Murphy at Tuxbury Tiny House Village

(Book a tiny home at nearby Tuxbury Tiny House Village for the perfect complement to your fall getaway.)

Potawatomi State Park (Door County, Wisconsin): Driving into Potawatomi State Park in the fall is almost a color show in itself. The contrast between the deep black of the roadway and the yellows and golds of the branches overhead is pretty cool, but wait there’s more! The trails are a carpet of beautifully colored fallen leaves and the views are some of fall’s best. Check out the portion of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that runs through the Park.

Tranquil Timbers in nearby Sturgeon Bay has the perfect cabin accommodations for your visit to Door County’s color-fall wonderland.

Ocean Path Trail, Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, Maine): This trail, which stretches along the rugged Maine coastline, is postcard perfect in fall. With the rocky shores of the Atlantic on one side and the Acadia’s beautiful foliage on the other, it’s the perfect mix. Check out the fall leaves at Thunder Hole. Ocean Path is approximately 4.5 miles round trip.

Hiking in Acadia National Park

(Book a cozy cabin at Mt. Desert Narrows or choose from a cozy cottage or colorful cabin at Narrows Too for your fall foliage experience.)

Dog Days of August

Tiny house Riley at Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH • IG: nishatnguyen

The Dog Days of Summer typically refer to the weather this time of year, but if you ask your furry companion (yes, they have opinions!), they’ll let you know that to them it sounds more like Dog’s Days of Summer, or, in other words, take me with you wherever it is you’re going!

If you’re planning a trip, and also listening to your dog, here are few spots that are super pet friendly.

Sedona, Arizona

Settle into a pet friendly cabin or cottage at Sedona’s Verde Valley RV Campground and then explore the area with Fido in tow. Several trails in the area, including the Bell Rock Pathway and the Boynton Canyon Trail, allow leashed pets along on a hike. Many of the restaurants welcome pets and Creekside even has a special pet menu featuring items like a cheddar omelet with chicken jerky or steak tartare. More attractions for the pup include Sedona Dog Park, which separates off-leash areas into big and small dog areas, and Whiskers Bakery, which sells a wide variety treats and toys if your dog is into shopping. 

Cabin at Verde Valley RV Campground in Cottonwood, AZ

Key West, Florida

If there’s a place called Island Dogs Bar, whereas the name implies dogs are welcome, this has to be a pet-friendly vacation spot. Another pet-friendly attraction on the island is the Key West Aquarium where your leashed pup can tag along and see all the marine life exhibits. Higgs Beach has a dog park were pets can run off-leash. Plan to stay at Sunshine Key RV Resort where two of the vacation trailer rental accommodations are pet friendly and the resort welcomes pets, as well.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Not only can your pup ride the bus in Bar Harbor, they are also welcome at several area restaurants, including the famous Stewman’s Lobster Pound. To work off that fabulous lobster dinner, take a hike around Acadia National Park which has more than 120 trails and all are dog friendly.

View from North Bubble, in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle has a lot to offer in terms of pets – bus rides are offered and the city allows well behaved dogs to ride the bus (accompanied by their owner, of course!). Seattle also has over 10 off-leash dog parks and plenty of hiking trails that are friendly to pets. Check out Snow Lake Trail to get a short (6.4 miles) hike in with your leashed dog. Dogs are also welcome at the Washington Park Arboretum, a beautiful 230-acre public park (think free admission). Tall Chief RV Campground has a pet friendly cottage accommodation and the campground welcomes pets, as well.

Door County, Wisconsin

Fish Creek and Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin.

Everything that Door County is known for – hiking, beaches, and water sports are available to tourists of the four-legged variety, to some degree, as well. Plus, several restaurants allow your dogs, too. There’s even a list of doggy daycare facilities in case you want some time without your furry friend. Whitefish Dunes allows dogs on the beach and Peninsula State Park has pet friendly hiking trails. Finally, the Skyway Drive-In Movie Theater allows pets to take in a movie, provided they are in the car or on a leash. Tranquil Timbers RV Campground in nearby Sturgeon Bay has two pet friendly cabin accommodations and the campground welcomes pets.

Cozy Cabin at Tranquil Timbers RV Campground in Door County, Wisconsin.

Respect the Vinyl: National Record Store Day

National Record Store Day is June 20, 2020, celebrate by paying homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears.

When it first hit the airwaves, the idea of National Record Store Day was to spend a specifically designated date visiting your local record store to support the business. The first National Record Store Day was held on April 19, 2008. Skip forward to present day, and Record Store Day is celebrated on every continent. The concept was definitely “number one with a bullet.”

And, little known fact, Record Store Day should be called Record Store Days, because typically there are two designated days to celebrate, one in April and the other being Black Friday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year National Record Store Day will be recognized on June 20. We’ve done the tour and rounded up a few stores near your favorite locations to visit, whether on National Record Store Day, or any other day you want to pay homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears!

Seattle, Washington: Neptune Music Company, 4344 Brooklyn Avenue NE

Visitors say that although a small space, Neptune Music has everything you could imagine from a music standpoint which includes a knowledgeable owner, tons of records, and a unique selection. Another plus, it’s located in the basement of the Neptune Theater, a still-functioning music venue opened in 1921 in the hip and historic University District of Seattle.

Portland, Oregon: Mississippi Records, 5202 N. Albina

Complete with listening stations, this record store also features a large supply of the good old 45 in its vast collection that includes everything from rock and blues to international music. They also have a selection of vintage electronics. Please note the store’s policy is CASH ONLY.

St. Petersburg, Florida: Bananas Vinyl Warehouse, 2222 16th Avenue N.

This is one big record collection! Bananas two-story warehouse holds more than three million LPs and records and receives more than 1000 new additions to the collection weekly. Plus, there is the nearby retail store (2887 22nd Avenue N). One visitor remarked “if Bananas doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.” Note to visitors, the warehouse is vinyl only while the retail store has CDS, DVDs, and more.

Boston, Massachusetts: Cheapo Records, 538 Mass Avenue, Cambridge

Cheapo Records has been around since 1954, so they must be doing something right. Located in the Central Square area of Cambridge (just a quick T-ride from Boston), the shop is said to have more than 100,000 vinyl albums as well as 100,000 45s. Consistently rated five stars by visitors, you can most likely find just what you’ve been searching for at Cheapo.

Cheapo Records in Boston, Massachusetts

Cincinnati, Ohio: Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Avenue

Located in Cincinnati’s eclectic Northside neighborhood, the Shake It Records experience begins with the store’s colorful façade and continues inside the 1,000 square foot store that is chock full of music from the 25,000-piece vinyl collection to the 15,000+ CDs available. Independent labels are the main act here, but mainstream selections can be found as well from rock and roll to country classics. 

Chicago, Illinois: Dave’s Records, 2604 N. Clark Street

Dave’s is a true record store – meaning it sells records only. You won’t find CDs or vintage 8-tracks, just vinyl, vinyl, and more vinyl in the store’s 40,000-plus collection. A small space but the perfect spot to find the rarest gems to the newest releases from the world of vinyl. Head to Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and look for the sign in the window that reads “No CDS. Never had ‘em!! Never Will!!” and you’ll find the treasure trove known as Dave’s Records.

Visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores near you across the US

That’s just a quick list of the hits – but if you find yourself looking for a record store, visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores across the US. And, if you’re spending time at home like so many of us are, don’t forget to check out if your favorite record store has an online store, as well.

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

Spirits in the Night, or Day if you prefer!

If you’re looking for a spirited adventure this fall but haunted houses and ghost tours aren’t really your thing, consider seeking spirits of a different kind. We’re talking about the kind of spirits you can drink, and you don’t need complicated equipment to find them. Simply check out these distilleries below to find the kinds of spirits that will keep you in good spirits!

Trinity River Distillery, Fort Worth TX:  Housed in an historic landmark dating back to 1913, this distillery uses natural rainwater in their distilling process. Tours are just $10 per person and include samples of the distillery’s products which include Silver Star Vodka, Silver Star Whiskey and Silver Star Texas Honey Liquor. After the tour, enjoy some specialty drinks at the bar like the Silver Stargarita, the Texas Honey Mule, or the Toxic Whiskey. www.trinityriverdistillery.com

(Cozy cabins at Bay Landing are less than 50 miles from the distillery)

Cannon Beach Distillery, Cannon Beach, OR:  The spirits produced here are about as homegrown as you can get. Every liquor produced is done so on site – from fermentation to bottling. Considered an artisanal distillery, the batches are small and not mass produced so a trip to the tasting room is the only way you are likely to taste what they have to offer. Sadly, they are closing up shop within the year, but they are still open and plan to release four whiskeys before year-end. www.cannonbeachdistillery.com

(Cabins and yurts at Pacific City are about an hour from Cannon Beach)

Sound Spirits Distillery, Seattle, WA: Located under the Ballard Bridge in Seattle, Sound Spirits offers tours of the distillery which produces some unique liquor varieties including aquavit and herbal liqueurs, as well as gin and whiskey. www.drinksoundspirits.com

(Cabins and yurts at Tall Chief is about 35 minutes from the distillery)

Lost Spirits Distillery, Los Angeles, CA:  According to reviews, this is more than just a tour and tasting, and is instead akin to an adult version of the tour portrayed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tours are $37 per person and reservations are required, but the experience is well worth it. A mix of science and spirits with a special “ride” to reach the tour are all part of the fun, not to mention the whiskey and rum tastings. www.lostspirits.net

Palm Springs Oasis
Colorful cottages at Palm Springs, less than two hours from Lost Spirits Distillery.

Goleta Red Distilling Company, Goleta, CA:  Rum is the spirit of choice here with three different varieties as well as a rum liqueur, but they also have gin and a “Fiesta” Agave Spirit, too! The tasting room is open Wednesdays through Sundays and you can also enjoy cocktails on the patio at this very welcome addition to the fun found in Santa Barbara. www.goletared.com

Rancho Oso
Cozy cabins, teepees, and covered wagons at Rancho Oso are less than 30 miles from Goleta Red Distilling Company.

Florida Distillery Trail, Various Locations:  Follow the Florida Distillery Trail which runs across and around the state offering roughly 15 distilleries to visit. These distilleries offer everything from rum to whiskey to moonshine. Florida Cane Distillery, in Tampa, offers not only tours, but also a Distillery After Dark option where you can mix your own signature cocktail or a 3-day Whiskey Workshop that offers insight to whiskey making (www.floridacane.com). In Sarasota, award-winning Siesta Key rum flows at the Drum Circle Distillery where tours are free and the tasting room is open seven days a week (www.siestakeyrum.com). Down in the Keys, enjoy a free tour at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery (keywestlegalrum.com) or visit (by appointment only) Key West Distilling which offers craft distilled rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey (www.keywestdistilling.com).

Tropical Palms
Colorful cottages from Tropical Palms, about one hour from Loggerhead Distillery along the Florida Distillery Trail near Orlando.

(Petite Retreats locations near the Tampa and Sarasota distilleries include Tropical Palms, Orlando, and Peace River while Sunshine Key is near the Key West locations)