Green City Getaways

With April having two dates that recognize the importance of taking care of our Earth (Earth Day and Arbor Day), it makes sense to plan a trip to visit a Green City this month (or in the future).

Cherry tree blossoms on the waterfront in Portland, OR.

According to treehugger.com, there are several things to take into consideration in determining how “green” a city is. Those include efficient public transportation, quality public space, plentiful parks, and the availability of bike lanes as well as composting and recycling programs. One other interesting item is whether a city offers “good green fun,” which means farmer’s markets, plenty of organic fare served up in the local eating and drinking establishments and music festivals and outdoor events that feature solar-powered stages and valet parking for bicycles. There are several more “green definers” and combined that’s a lot for a city to tackle, yet slowly but surely, more and more of our urban areas around the country are hitting the mark when it comes to being green. Additionally, there are many different groups providing different rankings for these cities, but some consistently make the grade across the board.

  1. San Diego, California: San Diego’s nickname is “America’s Finest City”, but it can also boast being one of America’s greenest cities. San Diego is home to Balboa Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Other green things about this southern California city include dozens of weekly farmer’s markets, a major “Farm to Fork” movement in the dining industry, a variety of public transportation including trolleys, shuttles, and pedi-cabs, and plenty of opportunities for green fun including kayaking, mountain biking, and surfing.

Book a cabin or cottage stay at Pio Pico or Oakzanita Springs for a San Diego Green Getaway.

Tiny House Savannah at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR.
  1. Portland, Oregon: With over 90,000 acres of green space and a top-notch biking/walking trail system, Portland is definitely eco-friendly. In fact, they have the highest rate of workers biking to the office than any other U.S. city. They were also one of the first cities to ban the use of plastic bags. For green space, visitors and residents alike need to look no further than the city’s Forest Park, a 5200-acre urban forest, featuring hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, and plenty of greenery!

Book a stay at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village for a Portland Green Getaway.

Cozy cabin Yukon Trails in Lyndon Station, WI.
  1. Madison, Wisconsin: Did you know that the man behind Earth Day was from Wisconsin? Gaylord Nelson, who served as both governor and senator of the state was not only a politician, but also an avid environmentalist, calling upon the citizens of America to bring awareness to problems with the environment. So naturally, it makes sense that Madison would be a green city – it’s in the genes! Madison consistently ranks as a green city thanks to its abundance of green space – from plenty of city parks to acres of lakes and miles of biking and hiking trails. Madison is home to more bikes than cars and the city is very walkable. The city has more farmer’s markets than you can shake a cucumber at, and in fact, Saturday on the Square, an event that features more than 250 vendors, is a popular destination for visitors and Mad-Town residents like.

Book a cabin stay at Yukon Trails for a Madison Green Getaway.

Lake Eola Park in Orlando, FL.
  1. Orlando, Florida: While green space is not as abundant as in some of the other green cities, Orlando makes the green grade thanks to its continued efforts and eye to the future when it comes to being, and staying, green. With goals like a 40% city-wide tree canopy coverage by 2040, the One Person One Tree initiative to help expand the urban forest, and a host of programs to protect the ecosystems found here, Orlando is definitely putting a green foot forward. And to clarify, they have plenty of green space to the tune of more than 100 parks, plus plenty of lakes and wetlands.
Colorful cottage stay at Tropical Palms in Kissimmee, FL.

Book a colorful cottage stay at Tropical Palms for an Orlando Green Getaway.

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Cheers to National Lager Day

Friends toasting with beer glasses in the brewery.

Did you know the third most widely consumed beverage in the world is beer? With water and tea being number one and two, respectively, beer comes in at number three most likely due to the fact that cultures around the world have their own version of their favorite brew. December 10 is National Lager Day so why not raise a glass of lager and toast this popular drink? If you’re planning to continue to celebrate National Lager Day well past the December date, consider these popular lagers when you’re on the road to your next outdoor adventure.

BTW – what makes a lager different from other beers, you ask? Becoming a lager is all about the bottom-fermenting technique and using younger hops, a main ingredient in beer. Also, lager yeast can withstand lower temperatures, unlike ale yeasts, and that is where it gets its name. Lager comes from the German word “lagern” which means to store and lager is in cold storage while it ages. Some examples of lagers include Corona, Budweiser, and Miller Lite. We came up with a round of lagers from some of the smaller U.S. brewers conveniently located near our great Petite Retreat accommodations.

New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI.

New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisconsin: Check out the Two Women lager at this Wisconsin brewery in the Swiss-style village of New Glarus. This lager is aptly named because it is the result of a collaboration between two craft breweries both run by women. Book a cozy cabin or a cottage at Yukon Trails and visit New Glarus to sample Two Women as well as the other brews made here, including the pretty popular Spotted Cow. Forget about the beer that “made Milwaukee famous” – New Glarus and Yukon Trails is where it’s at!

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR.

Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon: The perfect tasting trip could combine a tiny home accommodation at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and a visit to Deschutes Brewery in nearby Bend. Deschutes has been craft brewing since 1988 and has two really great lagers in their repertoire of beer – Pacific Wonderland and Rip City Lager, whose interesting name has ties to the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team. Want to be even closer to the brewery? Try staying in a yurt or snug cabin at Bend-Sunriver.

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Pottsville, PA.

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Pottsville, Pennsylvania: Reputed to be America’s Oldest Brewery, Yuengling (pronounced ying-ling) offers a traditional amber lager that comes in in a “light” version as well for those watching their waists! Plan a stay at Appalachian RV Campground in a cozy cabin or cottage and head to Pottsville to explore Yuengling’s brewing facilities, which features hand dug caves for fermenting. It’s just about a 25-minute drive through the lovely Pennsylvania Dutch countryside from the campground.

Doghaus Brewery, Leavenworth, Washington: Proving you don’t have to be big to be good, Doghaus Brewery bills itself as a nano-craft brewery with a micro-sized taproom, but nevertheless offers the German Pointer Lager (get the dog reference?). Based on an original blue-ribbon recipe, this one is described as a helles lager, helles being German for “pale in color.” That’s it for this small brewery when it comes to lagers, but they also offer IPAs, stouts, and ales. This is a good place to visit because the Leavenworth Tiny House Village is just 30 minutes away and who wouldn’t want to enjoy some beer in this beautiful spot in the Pacific Northwest?

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

If you are looking for a craft brewery near your favorite Petite Retreat, visit www.craftbeer.com for a listing of breweries across the country. Cheers!

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Rent a Cabin

On many fall bucket lists you’ll find “Rent a Cabin” as one of the list-makers because a cabin in a wooded location with the trees changing color and the crispy fall air all around is about as autumn-y as you can get. So, let’s get to it! Here are a few cabin locations to consider:

Mt. Hood Village in Welches, OR.

Mount Hood Village (OR): Mid- to late-October is prime color time in the Mt. Hood area so choose from the deluxe or standard cabin rentals at Mt. Hood Village in Welches and bask in the fall colors. The Mt. Hood Scenic Loop is a great way to see the vibrant red, gold, and orange foliage, or a hike or bike ride in the Mt. Hood National Forest will do the trick. Try fly fishing in the autumn air – plenty of outfitters in the area can set you up or point you in the right direction. Visit www.mthoodterritory.com for more information.

Seaside RV Resort (OR): How about an Oregon Coast adventure this fall? Book a cabin at Seaside and enjoy the Oregon coast. Check out the wineries, coffee roasters, and craft breweries for a sample of these neat Oregon offerings (northcoastfoodtrail.com). Walk the beaches, which are just as beautiful, but less crowded now that fall has arrived. Check out Oswald West State Park for hiking and a beautiful beach, Short Sand Beach.

Appalachian RV Resort in Shartlesville, PA.

Appalachian RV Resort (PA): Berks County, Pennsylvania, is a great place come fall with the Blue Mountains ablaze with colors and all the wonderful outdoors to be explored. Book a cabin at Appalachian and then see what’s up here. Visit the Daniel Boone Homestead in nearby Birdsboro – the grounds are open from sunrise to sunset and visitors can see the house and farm where the legendary pioneer and outdoorsman lived. There’s also the Berks County Wine Trail (berkscountywinetrail.com) and Nolde Forest State Park with its hiking and walking trails.

Natchez Trace RV Resort in Hohenwald, TN.

Natchez Trace RV Resort (TN): With a large lake perfect for fishing and pontoon rides, and trees upon trees upon trees is what makes Natchez Trace in Hohenwald perfect for a fall cabin adventure. And there are eight cabins to choose from! Take a drive on the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway or enjoy the Natchez Trace Wine Trail. Hiking opportunities could include the Meriwether Lewis Loop Trail or the Falls Hollow Falls Trails which feature a waterfall. Take and drive and explore nearby Nashville or stay at camp and fish for bass.

Yukon Trails (WI): Rent one of our great log cabins at Yukon Trails and plan on plenty of fall-filled fun in the Wisconsin Dells. Visit Ski Hi Fruit Farm for some seasonal apples and a day on the farm, which dates back to 1907.  Mirror Lake State Park is great for fall outdoor adventures including exploring the many hiking, biking, and nature trails in the park.  The deluxe log cabins sleep 6 and include a compact refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, coffeemaker, and toaster, as well as a dining booth and a covered porch.

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Wonderful Wisconsin Part II: Madison and The Dells

Lake Monona • Madison, WI

Plan a trip to Wisconsin and take in the state’s capital, and the state’s capital of water fun in one fell swoop. This can be accomplished by visiting Madison and the nearby Wisconsin Dells, which are a little less than 50 miles apart.

Let’s start with the state’s capital city – Madison. The town Madison is an isthmus, as it sits on the land between two lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. In addition to being the state capital, Madison is routinely ranked as one of the best college towns in the US, as it is home to the University of Wisconsin, which gives it a cool vibe as well.

One of Madison’s main draws in the summer is the Saturday Farmer’s Market, which is set up in Capitol Square (located outside the domed capitol building) and runs from mid-April until November. Meats, flowers, plants, hand-crafted soaps, produce, and of course, Wisconsin cheeses, are all on display and available for purchase.

A unique Madison attraction (it’s in Middleton, just about 6 miles from downtown Madison) is the National Mustard Museum which houses a collection of more than 6,000 mustards from the US and 70 other countries. Free admission adds spice to a visit to this museum which also houses mustard pots, other antique mustard jars, holders, as well as vintage mustard-related advertising. For hours of operation and more information, visit www.mustardmuseum.com.

Thai Pavilion • Olbrich Botanical Gardens • Madison, WI

Both Lake Monona and Lake Mendota provide an outlet for water sports including canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, and lakeside walks and jogs. Ranked by Livability.com as one of the healthiest cities thanks to its wealth of outdoor activities, another great way to see Madison is by bike. There’s the UW-Madison Arboretum Trail, or a two-hour ride around Lake Monona that will take you past the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Speaking of water, less than an hour from Madison, you will find the Wisconsin Dells, often called “The Waterpark Capital of the World,” thanks to the multitude of locations dedicated to water fun that include Noah’s Ark Waterpark, which is America’s largest waterpark at 70 acres, and The Wilderness, which with its combined indoor and outdoor waterparks, is considered the largest combined waterpark in the country. There are more than just waterparks here, though. There is the downtown Dells, with its sometime kitschy, sometimes quaint array of shop along Main Street. There’s also the Dells Boat Tours, which takes you by water to explore the amazing rock formations, or dells, which gave the area its name and first attraction before the waterparks took over.

There are two wineries to check out – the Baraboo Bluff Winery, the Broken Bottle Winery, and the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater provides a bit of nostalgia while you take in one of today’s popular movies on one of two big screens. Adventure seekers will be happy to note there is zip-lining, a ropes course, axe-throwing, go-carts, and escape rooms in the Dells, and serenity seekers should be happy with the miles of scenic trails for hiking, birding, and taking some great pictures.

Cozy Cabin • Yukon Trails RV & Camping Resort

Yukon Trails RV Campground is your best choice to make camp while exploring both Madison, and the Dells area. Onsite fun at this wooded Wisconsin retreat includes disc golf, horseshows, a free movie theater, and cornhole.

Reserve your Wisconsin getaway today at www.RVontheGo.com.

Your Best Fall Self(ie)

New season, new reason to be your best self ever, but don’t look here for tips on doing that. Instead, we’re going to give you some ideas for your best fall selfie – that is, where to go to get the best backdrop for the perfect post, selfie-style.

Your Best Fall Self(ie)

  1. Cloud Gate, Chicago, IL: Fall in the Midwest is certainly a colorful adventure, so if you happen to be enjoying the Lake Michigan Circle Tour (a road trip that will take you through Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin) make a detour to the Windy City and take a perfect selfie at the Cloud Gate sculpture, also knowns as the Bean, in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

    Arrowhead RV Campground | Wisconsin Dells, WI
    Arrowhead RV Campground | Wisconsin Dells, WI
  2. Hawk Hill, San Francisco, CA: From September through November, this location outside of San Francisco is the best place to view the raptor migration on a clear day and a perfect spot for a selfie with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in the background. An added bonus – your furry friend, provided they’re leashed, can also join you in the pic.

    Golden Gate Bridge | San Francisco, CA
    Golden Gate Bridge | San Francisco, CA
  3. Covered Bridge Festival, Rockville, IN:  The Parke County Covered Bridge Festival is scheduled this year for October 12th through the 21st, and the 31 historic covered bridges of Parke County provide the perfect selfie backdrop.
  4. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, FL: Take in the breathtaking beauty of the grounds and gardens before the snowbirds arrive and picture yourself (literally) in the opulence of this Italian Renaissance mansion, which was once the winter home of industrialist James Deering.  There’s fountains, statuary, sculpture, orchids (Deering’s favorite) and views of Biscayne Bay that will serve as ideal backdrops for the perfect selfie.
  5. Texas State Fair, Dallas, TX: There are plenty of selfie opportunities at a state fair, but the Texas State Fair is the only place you can take your picture with Big Tex in the background. This 55-foot mechanical cowboy is the perfect companion for your State Fair selfie. Other iconic State Fair selfie companions can include baby livestock and the neon Midway sign.

    Bay Landing RV Campground | Bridgeport, TX
    Bay Landing RV Campground | Bridgeport, TX
  6. Lake Wenatchee, Leavenworth, WA:  The reflection of the fall colors against the 489-acre lake is said to be simply spectacular.  With 12,000 feet of waterfront views, there are plenty of selfie opportunities among this fall color show. To boot, the charming town of Leavenworth hosts an Autumn Leaf Festival from September 29-30, which will provide even more selfie moments.

    Leavenworth Tiny House Village | Leavenworth, WA
    Leavenworth Tiny House Village | Leavenworth, WA
  7. New England Fall Foliage: Numerous photo ops await any leaf-peeper as they make their way through the gorgeous fall color display that is New England in autumn.  Maine’s quaint Bar Harbor and the adjacent Acadia National Park are the personifications of fall colors as is New Hampshire’s South Hampton thanks to its proximity to the White Mountain Forest. Sorry, even without you in the picture, fall color shots are a must-have!

    Tuxbury Tiny House Village | South Hampton, NH
    Tuxbury Tiny House Village | South Hampton, NH

Get colorful and creative with your selfies when you stay in a Petite Retreat this fall!