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.)

The Thrill of It

Hiking trail at Red Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona.

Are you a thrill-seeker? Are you always challenging yourself to try something new? Do you love the adrenaline rush and the sense of accomplishment after you’ve done something your friends or family say you were crazy to try?

Well you’re not crazy – and, according to some studies, you’re possibly managing life better than your more sedate friends. Tackling your fear of these thrilling sports can provide you with coping mechanisms that you can use in other parts of your life. Another benefit is the boost to your self-confidence. You did it! Hooray for you! Who doesn’t feel good about themselves after accomplishing these feats?

Cabins at Yosemite Lakes RV Campground in Groveland, CA

If you’re ready to get your thrill on, consider these sports:

  1. Whitewater Rafting: Book a stay at one of the cool yurts at Yosemite Lakes RV Campground in Groveland and ride the whitewaters of the Tuolumne River, which is considered one of the best rivers for such an adventure. Plenty of outfitters are waiting to help you tackle the Class III rapids of the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth, Washington. Visit www.leavenworth.org to find the one that fits your idea of thrills. Plan to stay with us at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in your own tiny house where you can relax after a thrilling day on the water!
Yurt at Yosemite Lakes RV Campground in Groveland, CA
  • Rock Climbing: If you’re heading to Maine, check out rock climbing at Maine’s Acadia National Park which offers all kinds of climbing options through the Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School. Solo efforts can range from four to seven-hour jaunts, plus there are family climbs and evening climbs. Make a reservation at our nearby locations, Narrows Too (cabin and cottage options) or Mt. Desert Narrows (cabin accommodations) to be where the climbing action is. 
Cabins at Narrows Too in Trenton, ME
  • Zip-lining: Want to soar across the treetops of the amazing Adirondack forest? Book a comfy cabin at Lake George Escape and then find the zip-line adventure for you. There are plenty here including Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course or the Adirondack Adventure Center. Crazy views of Wisconsin’s Door County Peninsula as you fly over towering pine trees are what’s in store when you zip-line in this Wisconsin wonderland. Book a cabin at Tranquil Timbers and plan your adventure. Check out Door County Adventure Center or Lakeshore Adventures for their zip-lining courses.
Inside a yurt at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Snorkeling: No better place to dive deep than the Florida Keys. Reserve a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key or a super cool tiny home at Sunshine Key and explore the underwater kingdom of The Keys. The warm shallow waters off the Dry Tortugas are said to be best for snorkelers of all ages while John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first undersea park in the US, is great for viewing the various coral species, plus turtles, parrot fish and butterfly fish.
Colorful cottages at Fiesta Key in Long Key, FL
  • Ultimate Hiking: While hiking is a great activity for both body and spirit, the thrill on these hikes is the view. These are ultimate when it comes to the unparalleled beauty of nature (not to mention majorly Instagram-worthy photo ops).

Fay Canyon, Arizona: An easy 2.4-mile trail in the scenic Fay Canyon of Sedona’s Red Rock State Park. Rent a tiny home at Verde Valley and hike the park everyday for a different point of view.

Joshua Tree National Park, California: All levels of hiking trails are available here and most come with views of the Park’s namesake, the Joshua Tree. Find Heart Rock within the Park and you’re guaranteed an insta-shot you will love! A cottage accommodation at Palm Springs is the perfect companion to this hiking trek.

Atticus the Tiny House at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

Mirror Lake Loop Trail, Oregon: The Mt. Hood area of Oregon is full of opportunities for great hikes and great pics. One of the most popular, and amazing, is the view of Mt. Hood from the Mirror Lake Trail, a 3.7-mile loop. A tiny house at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village is perfect for the after-trail relax.

June is Great Outdoors Month

Cabins at Yosemite Lakes Campground in Groveland, CA

In 1998, President Bill Clinton declared that seven days in the month of June should be set aside to “celebrate our relationship with nature.” That concept resonated so soundly with Americans that successive administrations morphed those seven days into a whole month of celebrating and communing with nature.

June is upon us again and we probably all feel the need to get outside and commune! So, whether you hike, bike, fish, boat or just plain sit in it, get outside, breath the air, and become one with nature.

June in the great outdoors can include:

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

Hiking: Hiking doesn’t really require much equipment or any particular level of skill – just some strong legs and lungs, and you’ve got it. Trails abound around the country and we’ve found a few you places you might like to hike. Yosemite National Park has 800 miles of trails to choose from and the scenery is unparalleled! Enjoy the alpine hikes of Mt. Hood, Oregon’s 11,240-foot volcano – two popular hikes are the Tamanawas Falls Trail and the Old Salmon River Trail. Then, relax after a long day on the trails in one of our yurt accommodations at Yosemite Lakes Campground (CA) or Mt. Hood Village (OR).

Cottages in Palm Springs RV Resort in Palm Desert, CA

Biking: Take a seat and use pedal power to enjoy the great outdoors on a bike ride. Some great rides could include the 13-mile city-wide tour of Palm Springs, California, which gives you an idea what the town is all about. Or, pedal around Maine’s Acadia National Park on the 45 miles of carriage roads or the 27-mile Park Loop Road. Add to the fun of your great outdoors experience with a stay in a cute cottage at Narrows Too (ME) or Palm Springs RV Resort (CA).

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI

Fishing: Reel in the big one during Great Outdoors Month.  Try your luck with some deep-sea fishing in the Florida Keys or see what’s biting in the waters of Wisconsin’s Door County. Our cozy cabins at Tranquil Timbers (WI) or a colorful cottage or tiny house in the Keys can serve as your “fishing lodge” while you write your big fish story!

Fishing at Pacific City in Cloverdale, OR

Taking in the View: Sometimes it’s enough to just be outdoors to enjoy the view, the fresh air, and the magic of nature. Take in the sunsets from Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf; feel the effects of the healing vortexes in Sedona’s Red Rock State Park; enjoy the charm of Leavenworth, Washington, a quaint-as-can-be Bavarian-styled village or marvel at Haystack Rock, nature’s sea stack creation that rises 235 from the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach, Oregon. You can also enjoy the view from our cozy cabins in Santa Barbara (Rancho Oso) or Oregon (Pacific City), or from our adorable tiny homes in Leavenworth, Washington, or Sedona’s Verde Valley Resort.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Camping: Of course, there is no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a good camping trip. Writer Alice Walker said, “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.” Find your perfection and stay with us in one of our Petite Retreats. If you want mountains, we’ve got you covered with locations near Seattle, Maine’s Acadia National Park, beautiful Mt. Hood, and the Adirondacks. If you want seashore, we’ve got you covered with locations in Santa Barbara, the Oregon coast, New Hampshire, and Florida. And if your “perfect” is just gathering friends and family in the great outdoors, we’ve definitely got you covered there!

Forest Bathing – No Water Required!

Forest Bathing is the latest way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a boom in technology that plunged the average, everyday person into the digital world, resulting in what could be called screen-time addiction. During that time, the use of home computers, hand-held video games, and portable pocket-sized devices for our viewing and listening pleasures became the norm rather than the exception.

So, it’s no wonder that in the early 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries began to promote the practice of shinrin-yoku to encourage people to spend time in nature. Shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing,” which is fast becoming a popular way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.  ­

Studies have shown plenty of positive health benefits of forest bathing. It reduces levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It also has been proven to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, boost energy levels, and provide more sound sleep.  Plus, you don’t necessarily need to do anything strenuous – simply bathe in the natural surroundings and be present in the very moment!

Come stay with us and enjoy the nearby forests and take the plunge (no bathtub necessary) to see why forest bathing is making such a big splash these days.

The Deschutes National Forest is just minutes from the yurts and cabins at Bend-Sunriver. Bask in the beauty of the soaring trees, which include Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, Western larch, and White pines. There are roughly 76 moderate trails in the 1.8 million acres that comprise the forest. Waterfalls, wildlife, and mountain views add to your bathing pleasure!

Safari Tents at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA.

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara to stay in a teepee, tent, covered wagon, or cabin at Rancho Oso, you’ll be happy to know California’s Los Padres National Forest is conveniently less than 10 miles away and provides the perfect forest bathing venue. Coming in at approximately 1.9 million acres, Los Padres has over 1000 miles of trails and is home to magnificent coastal redwoods, pine and fir trees as well a variety of oak tree species, including Blue Oak and California Black Oak. Oh, and Pfeiffer Beach is also located within the forest so you can actually get wet while forest bathing here!

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, has two nearby options for forest bathing: Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest. While a short drive away, about an hour and a half to be exact, this puts you smack dab in the middle of the White Mountain Forest with plenty of hemlock, pines, and spruce trees to bathe in. Fun fact, the state of New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the US with roughly 81 percent of forest land, so everywhere you look, there’s an option to forest bathe!

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Take a trip to Wisconsin’s Door County and you’ll find yourself surrounded by forest lands, including Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands. A stay at Tranquil Timbers is a great way to get your daily dose of forest bathing. Baileys is home to spruce, cedar, birch, and hemlock trees as well as a bevy of birds including warblers and merlins who can add the soundtrack to bath time.

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)

Wonderful Wisconsin: Door County

Sunset • Wisconsin’s Door County

Wisconsin’s Door County has five state parks and over 250 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. It is also home to iconic Wisconsin fish boils, a restaurant with goats on the roof, and 11 quaint towns with cute names like Fish Creek, Egg Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay.

Come discover this 75-mile long peninsula and stay with us at Tranquil Timbers and choose one of the unique accommodations offered here, including cabins, cottages, and yurts! It’s a true glamper’s paradise.

Yurt • Tranquil Timbers Camping Resort • Sturgeon Bay, WI

Regular summer events in Door County include the Egg Harbor Farmer’s Market which is held in Harbor View Market every Friday (May 24-October 25) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (weather permitting). Fish boils are regular events at least five of Door County’s restaurants. If you haven’t experienced a fish boil, please make this a must-do – it’s a local tradition not to be missed. And, with more than 250 miles of shoreline, there’s always a beach calling your name.  In fact, there are 53 public beaches in Door County. The beach in Egg Harbor is arguably the most popular on the peninsula and Schoolhouse Beach was recently named “most romantic.”

June is jam-packed with fun as the Door hosts several events including Goat Fest, the Steel Bridge Songfest, the Door County Beer Festival, and the Fyr Bal Festival (not to be confused with Fyre Festival).

On Saturday, June 8, it’s all about the aforementioned goats. The fun kicks off with the Roofing of the Goats, as the goats are led to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant where they will take up residence for the summer season on the restaurant’s roof. Yes, you read that right. The festivities will also include live music, children’s events, food and beverages, and a Swedish Pancake eating contest.

A songwriting and performance festival that benefits the preservation of historic Sturgeon Bay, the Steel Bridge Songfest is an annual favorite and a one-of-a-kind experience. In fact, it all began to raise funds to save the Michigan Street Steel Bridge, a Veteran’s Memorial in Door County. The bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The fest itself brings together singers and songwriters to the Holiday Motel, Door’s County first ever motel, where they occupy the rooms and collaborate to create music. It all culminates with live performances. The Holiday Motel is now the world’s only fully operational motel featuring live music, collaborative songwriting retreats, and a radio station that broadcasts from the hotel.  This year’s event is scheduled for June 14-15. For information, visit www.steelbridgesongfest.org.

The Door County Beer Fest on Saturday, June 15, celebrates craft beer. The event will also include local foods, live music, and culinary artisans all gathered to say cheers to Wisconsin’s more than 150 craft beers.

The Fyr Bal, also set for June 15, celebrates the Scandinavian heritage of the town of Eprhaim, as well as the arrival of summer.  The event will include a bonfire to burn the “Winter Witch” as well as fireworks over the harbor. There will also be food booths, live music, and artisans.

July brings fireworks displays throughout the towns to celebrate Independence Day as well as the Door County Folk Festival July 12-16 and the Plein Air Festival, July 24-29. Presented by the Peninsula School of Art, this festival gives attendees an inside look at the galleries and artists who make painting the landscape of Door County a beautiful experience.

Center Your Universe in a Yurt

The ancient tribes, who are often credited with the creation of the yurt, believed in creating a balance between the world of people and the world of nature. These nomadic people felt strongly that their moveable dwellings should incorporate that balance. The Mongolians considered their traveling shelters, called gers, to be the center of their universe. The orientation of the dwelling had the door opening to the south and the interior space divided into four directions, north, south, east and west. The space to the north was considered sacred; if the family was religious that is where the altar sat, otherwise it was reserved for guests of honor. In keeping with the Yin and Yang theory, the eastern half of the yurt was the female space while the western portion was male. Traditionally, one moved around the inside space in a clockwise direction. Most importantly, it was a space for a family that provided a comfortable shelter from the elements.

Yurt at Lake of the Springs, Oregon House, CA

Gers or yurts (the Russian’s word for them which roughly translates to the word “home”) became a popular living space option in the US thanks to Dr. William Coperthwaite, a Maine-born, Harvard-educated professor who took an interest in yurts in the early 1960s for its simpler living space. While the nomadic tribes constructed their dwellings with felted mats of sheep’s wool, Coperthwaite’s design incorporated wood and canvas. Coperthwaite’s designs become popular and in 1993, Oregon became the first state to offer yurts in their state parks as an option to tent camping.

Yurt at Yosemite Lakes, Oregon House, CA

Yurts took a while to catch on, but are now one of the more popular alternatives to the tent or RV, for many reasons. The domed roofs allow sunlight and starlight in the structure and people have reported a feeling of serenity when occupying a yurt, which experts say has something to do with the circular enclosure.  Yurts are well insulated and provide, as they did for the nomads, a comfy spot away from the cold and rain. They are spacious, too – you don’t have to divide your space like the ancients did, but if you choose to, there is plenty to go around.

Yurt Interior at Tranquil Timbers, Sturgeon Bay, WI

So why not find your center of the universe in a yurt and choose one for your next outdoor adventure? Petite Retreats offers yurts at several beautiful locations in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Visit petiteretreats.com to learn about our yurts and other unique accommodations at Petite Retreats.