5 Things to Do in… Lake George/Upstate New York

In case you might have missed it, there is a whole lot more to New York than New York City. For one thing, head north from The Big Apple and you trade concrete and steel for lots and lots of greenery. There are mountains, lakes and springs, beautiful valleys, and pastoral farmlands. There are charming towns, college towns and towns full of history as New York State was one of the thirteen original colonies. Prior to the arrival of the colonists, the area was inhabited by several Native American tribes.

A visit to Upstate New York in the fall means plenty of opportunities for leaf peeping, apple picking and enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few ideas if you’re planning a trip to the area.

  1. Adirondack Balloon Festival: Celebrating its 48th year, the Adirondack Balloon Festival is not only New York State’s largest hot air balloon festival but is also considered one of the oldest events of its type to take place on the East Coast. This year’s event, while smaller than previous years due to COVID-19 safety aspects, promises to be just as thrilling as ever. The event runs from September 24 through September 26 and each of the days will have spectacular balloon launches. Best of all, this event is free! For more information, visit glensfalls.com/event/adirondack-balloon-festival-61317/.
  1. Take a Trip to Woodstock: The charming mountain town of Woodstock isn’t nearly as crowded with visitors as it was back in August of 1969 when it was the site of a music festival billed as “3 Days of Peace and Music” (and actually the festival was held on a farm outside of the town), and it is still worth checking out. There’s Overlook Mountain with its 4.6-mile moderate hiking trail. There are the museums and galleries along Tinker Street, which pay homage to Woodstock’s original history as an artist’s colony. Plus, Tinker Street also has plenty of shops and eateries. And there’s also the Mower’s Saturday/Sunday Flea Market and the Sunday Farmer’s Market, which both run through October.
  1. Learn Horse Racing History: A visit to historic Saratoga Springs demands a visit to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The town grew in popularity in the mid-1800s as wealthy Americans made it their summer place thanks to the wealth of mineral springs in the area. The Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863 and still offers a race schedule that runs from July through Labor Day. In addition to the Hall of Fame, which includes jockeys, horses and trainers, the National Museum of Racing has exhibits, artifacts and artwork that detail the history of horse racing.
  1. More Festivals and Fall Fun: In addition to the Balloon Festival, the area also hosts the Lake George Jazz Festival (September 17-19) and the Lake George Oktoberfest and Fall Festival (October 8-10). If you want to get a jump on Halloween scares, check out some of the more “spirited” places in the area including Fort Ticonderoga, where the sound of mysterious footsteps has been noted. Or check out Fort William Henry where phantom bells ringing, marching footsteps and flickering lights have frightened a few, and The Sagamore, where “permanent” guests can be seen floating around.
  1. Apples and Pumpkins: Another favorite fall activity, the area offers several places where you can pick your own apples and find the great pumpkin. Hicks Orchard is one of the oldest u-pick orchards in New York (hicksorchard.com) while Elmms Family Farm (ellmsfarms.com) is a great place for a fall outing with a pumpkin patch and a crazy corn maze.

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5 Things to Do in… Seattle

Just like the fictional Emerald City discovered by Dorothy Gale when she was blown there by a Kansas tornado, America’s Emerald City is full of wonderous things to see and do. We’re talking about Seattle, Washington, and while you may not find the Wizard, you will find some memorable, one-of-a-kind things. If you’re planning to head to Seattle, book a stay in a nearby cozy cabin or yurt at Chehalis, La Conner, Mt. Vernon, and Tall Chief.

  1. Observe the Absurd: Seattle has plenty of museums, gardens, and parklands, the iconic Space Needle and shopping and eateries, but consider a trip on the wild side and observe these absurd Emerald City attractions. The Fremont Troll, which can be found under the Aurora Bridge, is an 18-foot-high sculpture of a troll made of concrete and wire. Pike Place Market is not only home to the odd tradition of flinging fish, but is also home to the Giant Shoe Museum, which houses a collection of giant shoes, including one worn by Robert Wadlow, considered the tallest man in the world standing at 8’ 11”.
Aurora Bridge in Seattle, WA
  1. Exhibits, Exhibits: Now that museums and other public venues have begun to reopen, see what’s new in Seattle. The Museum of Pop Culture debuted Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume on June 5. The exhibit includes more than 70 original pieces from a sorcerer’s cape to ballgowns to tiaras and one famous glass slipper. The Seattle Art Museum will host “Monet at Etretat” through October 17, which displays works created by Monet when he retreated to the seaside town of Etretat. There are 10 works by Monet as well as 12 works by his contemporaries of the era. An exhibit that “brings to life the genius of Leonardo DaVinci” will be on display at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry through January 2022. A great lesson for all ages as the display is interactive and has life-sized replicas and animated presentations of some of DaVinci’s greatest works.
  1. Outdoor Adventures: There’s hiking, beachcombing, paddling, and more in and around the Seattle area. How about whale watching? Alki Beach is a good spot (note: winter, spring, and fall are the best times to glimpse a whale) and is also known for its great scenic views and the occasional seal pups. Alki Beach is also home to Alki Point Lighthouse which offers tours on Sundays during summer. Hiking at Discovery Park, a 534-acre city park or at Mt. Si, which is considered great for casual hikers, are two options for an outdoor trek. Rent a kayak from the Agua Verde Paddle Club, or opt to take a tour with them, and discover Seattle’s unique houseboat community.
Alki Point Lighthouse in Seattle, WA
  1. Seattle Spirits: Seattle offers several spirits to experience, including those of the paranormal kind. Check out viator.com for several brewery tour options that take you through two of Seattle’s neighborhoods known for brewing including Ballard and Georgetown. Follow the Woodinville Wine Trail that explores four distinct districts in the Sammamish River Valley. There are more than 130 wineries in the area. As for the other-worldly spirits, Seattle offers several ghost tours including the Haunted History Ghost Tours of Seattle, which is owned and operated by experts in the paranormal and occult. Boo!
  1. Chihuly Garden and Glass: Simply put, do not miss this! Featuring the works of famed American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, visitors can view eight galleries of his work as well as marvel at the stunning Glasshouse with its centerpiece – a 100-foot-long suspended glass sculpture that resembles a serpent or an alien. Then there’s the garden with its lush plantings interspersed with more of Chihuly’s amazing pieces.

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5 Things to Do In… the Wisconsin Dells

If you ask people what the Wisconsin Dells are known for most will answer, the waterparks! Yes, there are plenty of waterparks in The Dells, both indoor and out, but there is a whole lot more to this idyllic Wisconsin area beyond gallons of water and twisty turning slippery slides. If you’re heading to the area, here are a few ideas:

  1. Experience a bit of Americana and dine at a true Wisconsin Supper Club. If the Dells is the unofficial world capital of water parks, then the state of Wisconsin is definitely the unofficial capital of the supper club with more than 200 in the state. In fact, the Wisconsin Supper Clubs of days gone by have become so trendy there are several books about them and even a Supper Club map detailing the locations. One of the best is in nearby Lake Delton, just a few miles from Downtown Dells. Ishnala Supper Club is a must-do when in the area. From the views of Mirror Lake surrounded by the towering pines to the fabulous menu items and Ishnala’s signature Old Fashioned cocktail, Ishnala is a Wisconsin Supper Club experience at its best.
  1. The New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm has 14,000 lavender plants with over 25 varieties that are in bloom from June until mid-July. But beyond the lavender, they have 8 acres of wildflowers, a cherry orchard, lavender treats like lavender ice cream and cherry lavender jam, a farm store, self-guided tours, and farm to table wagon rides. Visit newlifelavender.com for more information on visiting the farm.
  1. A Day Trip to Spring Green could be on the agenda if you’re into architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is here as well as the unique House on the Rock) or theater (American Players Theatre is here offering outdoor productions throughout the summer season) or nature (The Spring Green Preserve, aka Wisconsin’s Desert, is great for birding, hiking, and great photography opportunities).
  1. DIY Food and Wine Tours can be served up by taking advantage of the many wineries in the area. Winery options can include Balanced Rock Winery, billed as a boutique winery (balancedrockwinery.com) or Fawn Creek Winery (fawncreekwinery.com) that offers reds, whites, and seasonal fruit-flavored wines, plus live music events. Try Wisconsin Ice Wine (while supplies last), made from frozen grapes, at Wollersheim Winery, which is also a distillery and a bistro. Or do a cocktail and spirit tasting of the distillery’s products which include brandy and bourbon. Visit wollersheim.com for more information. Another must-taste in The Dells is the fudge. Stroll Downtown Dells and you’ll find at least three shops selling this delicious treat. Which will you like best – Swiss Maid or Wisconsin Dairyland Fund or Dells Fudge Company? Try them all!
  1. Check out Circus World in Baraboo where you can see over 250 vintage Circus Wagons, plus learn all about the history of the American circus. Circus World sits on the grounds of the winter quarters used by Ringling Brothers Circus from 1884 to 1918. There is so much to see here and it’s not just for kids! There is a daily schedule of events and details can be found at circusworldbaraboo.org. And, when you’re talking about the circus you can’t forget the clowns. Baraboo is also home to the International Clown Hall of Fame. For visitor information, go to clownmusuem.com.
Cottage at Yukon Trails in Lyndon Station, WI.

Book a cozy cabin at Arrowhead or Yukon Trails for your Wisconsin Dells vacation!

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Fields of Flowers

Is there anything more summery than a sunflower? From the canvases full of these flowers painted by Van Gogh to the real-life sunflower fields across the U.S., a glimpse of these sunny flowers is bound to make you smile!

Tiny House Clara at Tuxbury Pond Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH.

Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire, will host the 2021 Sunflower Festival from July 31 through August 8. Book a tiny house at Tuxbury Pond Tiny House Village and make plans to see these sunnies in bloom. The festival will not only have the fields open but will also have a daily farm stand, food vendors, and live music.

Thompson’s Strawberry Farm in Bristol, Wisconsin, does have a pick your own strawberry option (mid-June to early July), but it also has fields and fields of sunflowers where you can pick your own, too! The sunflower picking season runs from July through October. Drive on over from your cozy cabin at Plymouth Rock (about 90 miles), pick a bunch and head back to camp! 

Cozy cabin at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, WI.

Won’t the sunflowers you harvest at Oregon’s Lee Farms Sunflower Festival look great in your tiny house accommodation at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village? The festival begins August 6 and runs through the month. Learn about the sunflower, enjoy a hayride through the sunflower maze, listen to some live music and frolic among the fields of 30 varieties of sunflowers. For more information, visit oregonsunflowerfestival.com.

Book a cabin at Spring Gulch in New Holland, Pennsylvania, and make plans to attend Maple Lawn Farms Sunflower Festival 2021. Less than 45 miles from your cabin, you’ll find roughly eight football fields’ worth of blooming sunflowers. Variety is the spice of the sunflower festival here because in addition to the classic sunflower, the farm also has 40 different types of sunflowers planted. There’s the Red Sea section where the blooms are a beautiful velvety red. There’s the Land of the Giants where the sunflowers tower over the visitor walkways. Plus, there’s food, music, and a bajillion great photo ops! Visit sunflowerfestivalpa.com for all the details.

Some of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings were those of the sunflowers he painted in the south of France. An interesting way to immerse yourself in these fields of flowers is to visit the unique Immersive Van Gogh, a digital experience of Van Gogh’s most famous works, including those sunflowers, at various locations across the U.S. The experience is currently at several locations including Dallas (through October 3, 2021); Orlando (opens October 7, 2021); San Francisco (through September 6, 2021) and Nashville (opens November 4, 2021.) Visit petiteretreats.com to reserve a unique accommodation near these cities. 

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Turtle Time

Have you ever considered some of the things you can learn from a turtle? Like slow and steady wins the race, or you can only move forward by sticking your neck out? Plus, they are quite the study when it comes to patience and perseverance. Fun fact – a female loggerhead turtle will swim thousands of miles to nest her eggs on the very same beach she herself was hatched as a baby! Now that’s perseverance. World Sea Turtle Day is June 16 and we believe there’s no better way to celebrate than to highlight our partnership with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) and to share a few ways you can help these shelled friends of ours. 

What we learn from sea turtles is so important as they tell us the health of our oceans and in turn, our oceans tell us the health of our planet.

Speaking of loggerhead turtles, Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts recently announced their partnership with Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC).

Through its four core pillars of rehabilitation, research, education, and conservation, LMC serves as a conservation hub with international reach. As a worldwide agent of ocean conservation, LMC has developed and implemented comprehensive solutions to man-made threats impacting sea turtles. Designed to reduce common injuries seen in sea turtle patients, LMC’s conservation efforts focus on providing individuals and industry partners with actionable solutions.

Last year, the Center celebrated several accomplishments including: 

  • Reaching 20 countries with its mission
  • Releasing 48 treated sea turtles back into the wild
  • Documenting and protecting more than 16,500 sea turtle nests 
  • Removing 99,967 pieces of marine debris during underwater and coastal cleanups
  • Releasing 802 sea turtle hatchlings back into the wild

Thousand Trails campgrounds and Encore RV Resorts will collaborate with LMC to encourage environmentalism and sea turtle research, including on-premise conservation solutions and awareness campaigns to share marine education programs at every touchpoint. 

What a perfect month to visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, which is located in Juno Beach, Florida, since June is World Oceans Month. Loggerhead turtles are found in our world’s seas, specifically the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. To find details about the best time to visit LMC and what you can expect when you arrive, go to marinelife.org.

Long Beach in Seaview, WA

To see Loggerhead turtles in their natural habitat, there are several beaches in the U.S. where you just might have the opportunity (no promises though). The John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach, Florida, has ranger-guided tours (make a cottage reservation at Sunshine Travel); North Carolina’s Topsail Beach is another prime nesting spot and visitors here can also see the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in nearby Surf City (plan a stay at White Oak Shores or Whispering Pines if you’re renting an RV). On the Pacific side, Long Beach is a spot to see the turtles and also visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, which successfully rehabilitated a sea turtle in 2015 and released him back into the ocean. Plan to stay in a cabin or yurt at Long Beach or reserve one of the unique accommodations at Rancho Oso and take a leisurely drive to Long Beach.

Cottage at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA

How can you help? Aside from any donations or volunteering your time, the points below are ways that glampers can help with the conservation efforts:

  • Properly recycling monofilament lines at fishing sites to prevent derelict marine debris. It could easily drift elsewhere and entangle or strangulate marine life as well as nearby wildlife. 
  • Being cognizant of single-use plastics at restaurants or while glamping. Plastics eventually break down into nano plastics and trickle into the food and water we consume. 
  • Supporting local beaches during sea turtle nesting season. Best practices involve turning off artificial lights at night, knocking over sandcastles and filling in holes, collecting beach chairs, and so on.

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5 Things to Do in… Northern California

California is big – in fact, it ranks number 3 in terms of square miles, measuring 163,695 square miles, falling between Texas and Montana in terms of size. And yet for as big as the Golden State is, most people tend to refer to it in terms of either Northern California or Southern California (although the residents trying make Central California a thing may disagree). Northern California is considered pretty much anything north of San Francisco. Yosemite National Park is in Northern California as is the Napa/Sonoma Wine Country and several national forest lands that are home to California’s famed giant sequoias. Northern California is also home to four great campgrounds with each offering its own bit of Northern California charm and fun rental accommodations. So, we’ll round up the campgrounds, highlight the best there is to see near each and throw in a fifth highlight for additional fun in the North!

Cabin at Ponderosa in Lotus, CA
  1. Ponderosa is in Lotus, California, on the South Fork of the American River, which means plenty of water sports including kayaking and rafting right onsite. An interesting day trip would be to visit the historic town of Folsom, which is about 20 miles away. If Folsom sounds familiar, it is the same Folsom made famous by Johnny Cash’s song “Folsom Prison Blues” written about the Folsom State Prison. Visitors can check out the Folsom Prison Museum which has exhibits and artifacts about the 100-year-old-plus facility. There is also the Johnny Cash Trail, which is a Class I bike and pedestrian trail. The town is also home to the Folsom History Museum, the Railroad History Museum and plenty of shops and restaurants. Ponderosa offers a number of cabin options, perfect for a glamping vacation.
Cabin at Tahoe Valley in South Lake Tahoe, CA
  1. Tahoe Valley is in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, which is a mix of towering pine trees, sandy beaches, and of course beautiful Lake Tahoe. Things to do include the Heavenly Ski Resort, with its non-snow summer fun that includes a gondola ride and a mountain coaster, several casinos, and the South Lake Tahoe Beer Trail. Emerald Bay State Park is great for hiking, scenic views of Eagle Falls and to see Vikingsholm Castle, a California landmark that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture outside of the Nordic countries. Enjoy a cozy cabin surrounded by towering pine trees and nature and you’re set for a Tahoe adventure.
  1. Lake Minden has its own 41-acre lake, perfect for fishing for catfish and largemouth bass. This is a great home base camp if you want to check out California’s capital city of Sacramento. Sacramento highlights include the State Capitol building with its beautiful gardens, the Capitol Museum, and the California Automobile Museum which has over 150 vintage autos on display dating from 1885 to 2011. Don’t miss the Crocker Art Museum which is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi and has collections that include California art and other American works dating from the Gold Rush to current times. Check out a cabin or cottage rental while at Lake Minden.
  1. Lake of the Springs is in Oregon House, California, and sits at the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The 120-acre private lake is the jewel of the campground and is great for fishing, boating, and swimming. The area offers several wineries, the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, and lots of outdoor fun. A great photo op would be at the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge in South Yuba River State Park, which also has great hiking and private swimming spots! Lake of the Springs offers cabin rentals and adorable yurts!
  1. Lodi, California, is a charming town that could serve our Northern California glampers very well as a day trip adventure. There are 85 wineries in the area, plenty of bike trails, and hiking, as well as rafting and kayaking opportunities. Visitors to the town of Lodi are welcomed by the Lodi Mission Arch, which was built in 1907 and topped with a gold-leafed covered bear – which is the state’s official animal. Once you pass through the gate, the Lodi adventure begins. Check out the Lodi Murals, a serial of murals painted around town to commemorate Lodi’s centennial. Or, visit the World of Wonders Science Museum where science provides the entertainment. There are also galleries, shops, plenty of dining options, plus wines, and ciders and craft brews to sample! Add Lodi to your Northern California glamping trip for the ultimate adventure.
Yosemite National Park

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5 Things to Do in… San Diego

The climate alone is reason enough to plan a getaway to San Diego. There’s plenty of sunshine and 80-degree days to be found here. There’s also the draw of the ocean and the miles of beaches as well as the history, the theme parks, a world-class zoo, and much more. We came up with five ways to experience this sunny southern California favorite:

Sunset on La Jolla Beach, CA.
  1. Act Like a Local: Some say the best way to get to know a city is to do what the locals do. So, we checked in with a San Diegan and here’s what they suggest: Start the day with a walk/hike along Sunset Cliffs. Next, head over to Wonderland for mimosas and brunch and some great ocean views. After that, check out the pier at Ocean Beach, which is one of the longest piers on the West coast and has great sea lion sightings. Spend the afternoon strolling Newport Avenue with its cool shops – including surf shops and antiques. Enjoy an afternoon nosh at South Beach for local beers and great fish tacos. End the day with dinner at the OB Noodle House for great Asian fare.
Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego.
  1. Act Like a Kid: What’s more fun than a bunch of Legos (unless, of course, they’re on the floor and you’re barefoot)? Head to Carlsbad and visit LEGOLAND California which is a theme park, a water park, and an aquarium all rolled into one guaranteed fun time. The aquarium portion of LEGOLAND has 350 different species featuring over 6000 sea creatures. The water park has all kinds of wet fun from wave pools to waterslides. And, of course, the theme park has thrill rides, shows, and a Lego retail store. As for Legos, all attractions include a Lego miniland made from millions of genuine Legos. Watch where you step!
  1. Act Like an Athlete: With 70 miles of coastline, water sports are the thing to do in San Diego. Wakeboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking, surfing, and bodysurfing are just a few of the water challenges to be attempted when visiting San Diego. The San Diego Surf School (sandiegosurfingschool.com) offers private, semi-private, and group lessons as well as surf camps and surf retreats for adults. If you’re gonna attempt hanging ten, consider that San Diego has some of the warmest waters and several of the best surfing breaks on the California coast.
  1. Act Like a Foodie: A few years back, Thrillist.com said San Diego was a hotspot for fresh-sourced ingredients and world-class street food and a few years later, San Diego remains a foodie favorite. A good place to start to explore the food scene here is through one of the several food tours offered. Bite San Diego (bitesandiego.com) offers six different neighborhood tours that serve up a side of each neighborhood’s history, as well! Or try the Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Tour offered through viator.com that takes you through a food and walking tour of the city’s historic Old Town.
Getaway cabin at Pio Pico in Jamul, CA.
  1. Act Like a Glamper: We’ve got two great locations where you can get your glamping fix in while exploring all that San Diego has to offer. Pio Pico in nearby Jamul has great cottage and cabin options for your consideration. The resort has bike trails, pickleball courts, nature and hiking trails, a pool, hot tub, and a game room. Each rental cottage sleeps six, has heat and A/C, full-sized refrigerators, electric coffeemakers and microwaves and full-sized bathrooms/showers. Cabins at Pio Pico sleep 4-6, have full-sized bathrooms/showers and kitchens with microwaves and refrigerators. Oakzanita Springs is another option for glamping during a San Diego getaway. Each of the two cottage rentals sleeps 6 while the two cabin rentals sleep 4. All have full-size bathrooms/showers and a variety of kitchen amenities. The resort has bike trails, nature and hiking trails, a swimming pool, hot tub, and bocci and horseshoes.
Cozy cabin at Oakzanita Springs in Descanso, CA.

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5 Things to do in… Palm Springs!

Palm Springs is a great destination no matter the time of year. Indoor and outdoor attractions abound and the area enjoys a dry, desert climate. There’s history, nature, arts and culture, shopping, plenty to eat and drink and, of course, an abundance of sunshine. We decided to take an elemental approach to our visit. In keeping with the 5 Elements of Nature – earth, water, fire, air, and space, let’s see what Palms Springs has to offer (and please forgive our artistic license!):

colorful cottage at Palm Springs in Palm Desert, CA.
  1. Earth: The desert is the earth to explore here. Head to Joshua Tree National Park for a spiritual reset and explore the Mojave Desert. Make sure to see Giant Rock – a freestanding boulder (possibly the largest in the world) that is considered sacred by Native Americans. Hike some of the trails in the Coachella Valley Preserve – the McCallum Trail is an easy 1.8 mile option as is the Indian Palms Trail at 1.2 miles; the Hidden Palms Loop, with its beautiful wildflowers is a bit longer at 1.9 miles while the Pushawalla Palms Loop tracs at 4.4 miles.
Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park illuminated by sunset, Mojave Desert, California
  1. Water: This one’s easy thanks to the several waterfalls found in and near Palm Springs. There’s the Tahquitz Falls, a 60-foot waterfall that can be viewed via a short hike; Seven Sisters Waterfall, another hike-worthy option; and West Fork Falls, which can be seen from December through March in Palm Canyon.
  1. Air: Several options here. There’s the Palm Springs Air Museum, which is considered one of the top aviation museums in the world, and its display of combat aircraft ranging from World War II to the Vietnam era. Or, take to the air in the Palm Springs Aerial Tram that provides breathtaking views of Chino Canyon.
  1. Fire: There are several ways to interpret this one when visiting Palm Springs, so indulge us, please. It can be the heat from the sunshine – of which Palm Springs experiences approximately 350 days of sun or it can be the heat found in the range of spicy foods including Thai, Peruvian, Indian as well as the spicy Bloody Mary offered at Cheeky’s.
View of the mountain landscape at Mount San Jacinto State Park near Palm Springs, California.
  1. Space: spacetourism.com lists 10 places in the Palm Springs area that are perfect for night sky viewing. Joshua Tree National park is one spot and others include the Coachella Valley Preserve and Mt. San Jacinto. Visit spacetourismguide.com/stargazing-palm-springs for more information.

While exploring this vibrant town, book a colorful cottage at our Palm Springs location to call your home base.

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5 Things to Do In… Dallas Fort-Worth

Dallas skyline

Heading to Texas? The Dallas-Fort Worth area to be more specific? If a trip to the Lone Star State is in your future, we’ve found some great places in and around Dallas you might find of interest. We’ve got four great locations in the area, so we’ve found something fun near each and added the bonus of a Fort Worth highlight, to boot!

  1. Lake Whitney: Located in West Texas Hill Country, Lake Whitney is a great place to stay while you get the chance to “be a Pepper, too!” For those of you who don’t drink soda pop or are a bit younger than the catchy Dr. Pepper commercials from a few decades ago, you can get in the know with a visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum, located in nearby Waco. Not only do you get a free soda with paid admission, but you can also make your own pop. As our country’s oldest soft drink (it was invented in 1885, one year before Coca-Cola!), there’s lot of history to learn here. After the museum, be sure to check out Magnolia Market at the Silos, from Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.
Cabin at Lake Texoma in Gordonville, TX
  1. Lake Texoma: The lake is known for its excellent striper fishing so if you’re angling for bass, this is the place. If you’re angling for a great place to glamp that’s close to all the fishing, then Lake Texoma will lure you right in! Rental cabins are available on this 300-acre resort in Gordonsville that is close to the lake. Enjoy the fishing or just enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor at the multitude of good seafood restaurants in the area. 
  1. Lake Tawakoni: Like Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni is another great place for fishing, but it is also a fantastic area for antique and treasure hunting. Whether you’re looking for something specific or just browsing, don’t miss First Monday Trade Days, in Canton, which is about 30 miles from camp. This extraordinary flea market dates to the 1850s when the circuit judge arrived in town on the first Monday of every month to hear cases. People came to watch the proceedings and naturally brought goods to sell and trade. Nowadays, visitors can find everything from antiques and collectibles to crafts, jewelry, home goods, and decor.
Aframe Cabin at Bay Landing in Bridgeport, TX
  1. Bay Landing: Located in the town of Bridgeport, Bay Landing works as a great home base while you explore the great Texas outdoors in the area. Canoeing, paddling, hiking and even archery are just a few of the ways you can spend your days outdoors when visiting Texas. Bridgeport Falls offers a 5.8 looped paddling trail in the West Fork of the Trinity River while the Chupacabra Paddling Trail is another option complete with glimpses of local wildlife. Cinnamon Creek Ranch, in Roanoke, has indoor and outdoor archery as well as a field challenge course. Chisholm Trail Memorial Park, which is located on the site of the old cattle drive route, has a paved hiking trail that runs a little over nine miles and you can choose to do all or a part of this picturesque trail.
  1. Dallas/Ft. Worth: There are plenty of things to draw you to the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth including the art museums, botanical gardens, and various historic sites but to get to know Texas, you should get to know the industry that it is most associated with: livestock. Head over to the Fort Worth Stockyards and learn the history, see real cowboys and cattle, catch an Old West “gunfight,” shop, eat and just enjoy this Texas-sized historic district of Fort Worth.

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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.

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