American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the United States, is committed to creating healthy forests from coast to coast. And we plan on digging right in to assist the effort and are pleased to announce that through our agreement with the organization, and more specifically, their American ReLeaf program, we are committed to planting 100,000 trees in areas including the Sierra Mountains, the Northern Rockies, Laguna Atascosa and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuges, and the Great Lakes region as well as the Southeast. These areas have been identified as those in need of reforesting.
With our business rooted in outdoor recreation and the fact that we pride ourselves on our locations that are near beautiful forests and woodlands, this partnership makes perfect sense.
Forests are not only a great way to help with our climate issues, they also provide habitats for so many species. In the Southeast, the reforesting focus on longleaf and slash pines will help restore habitats for gophers, red-cockaded woodpeckers, tortoises, and indigo snakes. In the Northern Rockies, Grizzly bears, red squirrels and golden-mantled ground squirrels will benefit from the reforesting efforts in this area as the Kirtland warbler did and will continue to do thanks to reforesting efforts in the Great Lakes region. These tiny songbirds have been delisted from the Endangered Species Act thanks to the continued reforesting of the jack pine.
As we roll up our collective sleeves and get to work on this busy, and important, task of committing to plant 100,000 trees, we will provide updates as we grow about our way!
Mother’s Day has been traditionally celebrated in the United States on the second Sunday of May since 1914 but the tradition to honor Mothers dates to Ancient Greece. Here are a few things to think about when considering what to gift Mom with this year – Mother’s Day is the busiest day for restaurants; it’s the third highest selling holiday for plants and flowers; and more phone calls are made on this day than any other in the year. So, if you want your celebration to be like everyone else, by all means buy the flowers, book the restaurant, and give Mom a call. But, if you think your honoree is extra special and want the celebration to be unique, just like her, check out these options. And remember, whether you celebrate on May 9, or choose another day – these are all still good ideas!
Take in a Farmer’s Market: Plan a stay in an oh, so tranquil yurt at Tall Chiefand head into Seattle to explore the iconic, and always entertaining, Pike Place Market. If you’re there during Mother’s Day Weekend, check out the Market’s 13th Annual Flower Festival that runs May 8-9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Whether you book a cabin at Pennsylvania’s Appalachian or Spring Gulch, you’re about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia’s Headhouse Farmer’s Market which is open on Sundays and features 50 rotating vendors. Taking in Santa Barbara for a Mother’s Day holiday? Book your stay at Rancho Oso and then consider a Sunday drive down the sunny California coast to Santa Monica to explore the city’s Downtown Farmer’s Market that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Walk Through a Garden: Reserve a charming tiny house at Oregon’s Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and then spend the day in nearby Portland taking in the views at the city’s Japanese Garden. Spread over 5.5 acres, the garden is serene and tranquil with several different gardens including the Tea Garden and the Natural Garden. For information and reservations for timed visits, go to japanesegarden.org. The Wild Gardens of Acadia can be found in Maine’s Acadia National Park and feature over 400 species of flowers, shrubs, trees and other plants native to the area. For more details visit acadiamagic.com. For the perfect accommodation when visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, book a colorful cottage at Narrows Too in nearby Trenton.
GetActive (sort of): Try an e-bike (pedal-assisted) and enjoy the scenery of Leavenworth, Washington. The Leavenworth Mountain Tour explores downtown Leavenworth as well as Icicle Creek Canyon and the historic Leavenworth Ski Hill. Visit bavarianebiketours.com for more details. Book one of the five tiny houses at Leavenworth Tiny House Village for your stay. Or try something a bit out of the ordinary, but very trendy, and take a goat yoga class. Check out Legacy Lane Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, which offers goat yoga classes every Sunday, and also has a Country Home Store onsite that sells handmade lotions and soaps made from goat’s milk. To continue your Namaste kind of day, book a tiny house accommodation at Tuxbury Tiny House Village and relax after a day at the farm.
Whoever came up with the calendar that recognizes national days of celebration in May must be an oenophile – or what regular folks call a wine lover. May has two days dedicated to vino – National Moscato Day on May 9 and National Wine Day on May 25. So, let’s raise our glasses of whichever fermented grape is your favorite and toast to America’s Wine Trails.
Arizona’s Verde Valley Wine Trail (vvwinetrail.com) has at least 10 wineries (check the website for a downloadable map) set among the beautiful countryside that includes locations in Jerome, Cottonwood, and Sedona. Book a tiny home at Verde Valleyand you’ll find yourself in perfect proximity to explore Alcantara Vineyards, which is less than a 5-minute drive or a nice 1.4-mile hike from the resort. One unique way to see the vineyards is to do the Water to Wine Kayak Trip – check out sedonaadventuretours.com. Another option if you don’t want to go solo is to check out the tours offered through Sedona Vineyard tours (sedonavineyardtours.com).
If you’ve already done California’s northern wine country (Napa, Sonoma, etc.) consider the wineries of Paso Robles for a different perspective. Start your adventure with a glamping reservation at Marina Dunes and then take the day to head to Paso Robles to explore their grape offerings. For details, visit pasorobleswineries.net. There are plenty of options for tours, including group, private and even one where a non-drinking guide drives your car! And, if you want to taste something different than wine, consider an olive oil tasting at Pasolivo (pasolivo.com).
Did you know that Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley is home to two-thirds of all of Oregon’s wineries and vineyards? Start your trip off right by requesting a downloadable brochure from willamettewines.com and booking a tiny house at Mt. Hood’s Tiny House Village so at day’s end you have the best place to enjoy some of the wines you purchase along the way. All kinds of tours are available for Oregon Oenophiles, so check out agreatoregonwinetour.com for some options. Fun Fact: because of Oregon’s cooler climate, the state’s signature grape is the Pinot Noir, which is considered one of the oldest grapes in the world.
While not specifically devoted to wine alone, the Beverage Trails near Lake George, New York, do offer wine tasting along with spirits, cider, and beer. Book a rental cabin or cottage at Lake George Escapeand try a different libation every day! In addition to the Winery Production Facility, The Adirondack Winery has two additional tasting locations in the area as well. Check out visitlakegeorge.com/things-to-do/beverage-trails.
If you book a cozy cabin at Neshonoc Lakesideyou can explore parts, or all, of Wisconsin’s Great River Road Wine Trail which stretches from northern Iowa to southern Minnesota. In addition to the great wineries, your drive will serve as an attraction as well. The river part of the Great River Road refers to the Mighty Mississippi so the route includes valleys, bluffs, and views of the river, all among a perfect country setting. Visit greatriverroadwinetrail.org for more information.
Nashville, Tennessee, is known as Music City U.S.A. As home to the historic Ryman Auditorium, the iconic Grand Ole Opry and a stretch of honky tonks offering plenty of country music, the moniker is a no-brainer. And while many people visit Nashville to hear the music, visit these iconic places and learn about country music’s history with a visit to the city’s County Music Hall of Fame and Museum, we’ve found a few more reasons to visit this southern town that’s always humming with something to do.
Where the Wild Things Are: Nashville is home to all kinds of wild animals – but don’t be afraid of the ones we’re talking about. Polar Bear fan? Head over to the Edgehill neighborhood of Nashville to see two very large polar bears engaged in a snowball fight. At the corner of Edgehill Avenue and 12th Avenue South, the two polar bears, originally created as an advertisement for a frozen custard shop, each hold an armful of “snowballs” and appear ready for battle. More wild animals can be found in the Bellevue neighborhood and the menagerie here includes several dinosaurs, a lion, a tiger, and a bear. While the property on which the animals “reside” is private, the very large figures can be seen from a drive down Poplar Creek Road.
Civil Rights History: A portion of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail can be found in Nashville and it includes the Woolworth on 5th location (now closed) which was the site of a 1960s lunch counter sit-in. The city’s public library houses the Civil Rights Room (open to the public when the library is open) which details the history of the movement through exhibits and displays. Check out civilrightstrail.com for more Nashville sites on this trail.
Explore the Greenways: Nashville has roughly 100 miles of greenways that are great for walking, biking and taking in the scenery. There are short stretches and long stretches, parts that run along rivers and streams and parts that feature native flora, fauna and historic areas. For a downloadable map, visit greenwaysfornashville.org.
Foodie Adventures: Certainly, you can take one of the many organized food tours – check out nashvillefoodtours.com to see what’s cooking, or you can go solo and see what we have on the menu: Try a fried bologna sandwich at Robert’s Western World on Broadway; experience what Southerners call “meat and three” at Monell’s, a Nashville staple for great food; or enjoy the fried chicken and biscuits at the Loveless Café, which has been serving up this southern favorite for over 65 years. For desserts, consider a Unicorn Milkshake from the Legendairy Milkshake Bar or throw back to the 1950s and enjoy a dipped cone from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, which has been serving ice cream and shakes (as well as burgers) in the same location since 1951.
Where the Wild Things Are: Part 2: Nashville isn’t even in the Top 10 of U.S. cities when it comes to population (it ranks 23rd) and yet, they do fall into the Top 10 when it come to largest zoos in the country (based on landmass)! Go figure! What the Nashville Zoo offers over its 188 acres, of which only 90 have been developed, is nearly 3,000 animals representing more than 350 different species. The unique Kangaroo Kickabout gives visitors the opportunity to interact with red kangaroos – yep, walk around in their habitat – with them! Another unique feature about this zoo is the historic Grassmere Home. Built in 1810, the home is the centerpiece of the Zoo and is open for guided tours. New at the Zoo this year is the Tiger Crossroads exhibit; Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear exhibit and several baby kangaroos and two caracals recently born. Visit nashvillezoo.org for hours of operation and ticket information.
While checking out music city, plan to stay in an adorably themed cozy cabin at Natchez Trace. Or, be one of the first to stay at the Natchez Trace Tiny House Village, coming soon!