Last Call for the Beach

Even if you live in a climate that tends toward warmer fall and winter temperatures, there’s nothing like a beach in the summer. Before the weather changes, make it a point to hit the beach to get in a healthy dose of summer sun and summer fun.

Take in a tiny home at Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, and you’ll have several beaches upon which to soak up the last days of summer. There are five New Hampshire state beaches (Wallis Sands, Jenness, Hampton, North Beach, and North Hampton). Hampton is probably the most popular with its boardwalk, but Wallis sands offers views of the Isles of Shoals and Jenness is quieter. If these aren’t enough, head over to the nearby beaches in Massachusetts and take in a few more. There’s Plum Island Beach in Newbury that has the added bonus of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 800 species of birds, plants, and animals. Salisbury Beach State Reservation is a beach contained within a 521-acre park with swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities in addition to the 3.8-mile beach.

Long Beach, Washington, is billed as the world’s longest beach, or so reads the archway that welcomes visitors to this Pacific Coast beach. It is most likely the longest contiguous beach in the US, running 28 miles.  It may very well be one of the US beaches with the most things to do besides just being beachy.  There are many things to see here beside water and sand. There’s a chainsaw art whale sculpture, a half mile boardwalk, bald eagle and golden eagle sightings, and shells and sand dollars. To dos include kite flying, horseback riding, surfing, surf fishing, and catching a glorious sunset or two. Rent a yurt at Long Beach RV & Camping Resort and spend your days at the beach and your nights at camp with us.

Glamping tents at Marina Dunes in Marina, CA

Go glamping and enjoy the beach at all once with a stay at Marina Dunes on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Head down the coast (about 37 miles) and explore Big Sur and the iconic Pfeiffer Beach, known for its purple sand. The beach’s purple streaks come from the manganese garnet deposits that wash down from the surrounding hills. Another highlight of Pfeiffer Beach are the natural arches – of which Keyhole Rock is one of the most photographed. Pfeiffer Beach is best enjoyed from the sand and the ocean waters are known for their strong tides and heavy waves. Nearer to camp is Monterey State Beach or Fort Ord Beach, with its sea lions, seals, and shorebirds.

Although the state is at its hottest during the summer months, the beaches in Florida tend to be less crowded during this season and with an ocean to cool off in, what’s a little heat? An ideal place to soak up some Florida beach time is with a stay at a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key on Long Key or a sweet tiny home at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village on Big Pine Key. Both resorts are fabulous beach locations and have plenty of amenities onsite to enjoy beachside. An added bonus at Sunshine Key is that they have partnered with Keys Boat Tours, a Blue Star Operator, that not only rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, but also runs fishing charters and snorkeling tours opportunities from the resort. Another great beach on Big Pine Key is the beach at Bahia Honda State Park. Smathers Beach on Key West is another highly popular beach and Cannon Beach, found in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located on Key Largo, has remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck just offshore.

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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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Celebrate The Girls with a Getaway

National Girlfriends Day is celebrated August 1 annually. And to be clear, it’s not a celebration of the romantic type, but one for the woman, or women, in your life who are there for you through thick and thin. The ones who show up, the ones who’ve known you since before you were you, and the ones who you may go a long time without seeing and then pick up right where you left off.  If you’re lucky enough to have these kinds of girlfriends in your life, why not celebrate with a girlfriends getaway?

Franklin, Tennessee: While nearby Nashville is also well-suited for a girls trip, Franklin might be a good idea, as well. A little lower key than the neon lights of Nashville, Franklin is great for girl-focused fun, like eating, shopping, cocktailing, and maybe even a walking ghost tour! Book a stay at nearby Natchez Trace RV Campground and you’ll have quick access to Franklin, Nashville, and the surrounding areas. Franklin highlights include the Lotz House Museum, the Franklin Glassblowing Studio, and brunch at The Honeysuckle where you can experience the Biscuit Board, like only the South can offer! More shopping and eating can be found in nearby Leiper’s Fork, anther quaint southern town considered “Nashville’s Backyard,” which is also home to a few celebs. Check out Puckett’s Grocery for great burgers and live music.

Potawatomi State Park

Door County, Wisconsin: Not only is this a great destination because of all the shopping, but the area also offers plenty of outdoor activity to indulge in so everybody gets a little something on a girls getaway here. Get the girls all settled into a cozy cabin at Tranquil Timbers Camping Resort and prepare to explore the Door. Take in a tasting at Hatch Distilling in Egg Harbor which features a craft cocktail menu that changes daily, or hike, bike, or stroll through Potawatomi State Park, which has roughly 20 miles of trails. Speaking of trails, the Door County Wine Trail is also an option. A few don’t miss items are the goats on the roof at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and an iconic Door County fish boil.

Tuolumne County, California: Tuolumne County is home to Yosemite National Park, which is in and of itself, an adventure. But there’s also whitewater rafting opportunities, shops, and eateries to try in the area’s several small towns, plus wineries and hiking trails. Start off with a yurt rental at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and get ready for indoor and outdoor fun, girlfriend-style. Enjoy a two-fer when you visit Gianelli Vineyards Winery that offers fabulous wines as well as live music on Friday and Saturday evenings in a tented venue among the vines! Spend a day or two touring the historic Gold Rush towns that include Groveland, Sonora, and Jamestown. Outdoor fun includes horseback riding, whitewater rafting, panning for gold and exploring the wonders of Yosemite.

Cozy cabin at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, CA

The Adirondacks, New York: Imagine the great photo ops when you gather the girls in the beauty of New York’s Adirondack Region for a getaway. Mountain backdrop: check. Lake backdrop: check! With a vacation cottage rental at Lake George Escape, you’re in the perfect location to see why the Adirondacks are a great place to celebrate girlfriends. Toast to friendship at the Adirondack Winery (there are two tasting rooms – the Lake George Tasting Room and the Bolton Tasting Room). Or, head to Million Dollar Beach, one of the largest beaches in Lake George, and take a few beach shots for the ‘gram. Although it is also the most popular beach, there’s plenty of space at this beautiful 51-acre beach. Girlfriends can appreciate history so head to Fort William Henry, a British fort dating to 1755 or the Chapman Museum in Glen Falls which details the history of the area. End the days with a relaxing sunset or dinner cruise on Lake George.

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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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No FOMO this Summer

Things sure do look a lot different than they did in Summer 2020. In fact, some people are finding their calendars are filling up faster than ever. Apparently, spending some time in quarantine has given everyone a severe case of FOMO (if you aren’t hip to the lingo, FOMO is short for fear of missing out). Here’s a quick roundup of events, openings, and fun things to do this summer to avoid that FOMO:

Across the country, state and county fairs are making up for lost time and planning some great events. Some summer fairs of note include the Wisconsin State Fair (August 5-15), the Maine State Fair (July 29-August 7) and Oregon’s Clackamas County Fair (August 17-21).

Narrows Too in Trenton, ME.

Florida is glad to welcome back the Key West Key Lime Festival (July 1-5); Maine’s iconic seaside town of Bar Harbor will host the 55th season of the Bar Harbor Music Festival through July 25; and the Lake George Music Festival is back after its 2020 hiatus and will run August 18-25. Nashville will host the Music City Brewer’s Festival on July 31 which will highlight local, regional, and national breweries along with live music and lots of fun games and then in August welcomes the Blended Festival (August 13-14) which blends music, celebrity chefs, and all kinds of culinary delights.

“Fiesta In Santa Barbara” by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Oregon’s Mt. Hood area has plenty of summer fun on tap including an Outdoor Vintage Faire (July 17-18) and the Oregon City Festival of Arts (August 14-15) while Bend, Oregon’s summer events include Bend Summer Festival (July 10-11) and Balloons over Bend (July 23-25). Sunny California events include the Monterey Artichoke Festival (July 24-25) featuring all things artichoke, plus live music, and cooking demonstrations while beautiful Santa Barbara will honor their roots with the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, set to run August 4-8 with plenty of music, dance, and pageantry.

Major theme parks are open again and new rides and attractions include Hershey Park’s Candymonium steel roller coaster, which opened last summer and a thrilling new stunt show at Universal Orlando, the Bourne Stuntacular, promises a lot of excitement as does the park’s Jurassic World VelociCoaster.

And don’t forget the beaches, woodlands, trails, bike paths, and our beautiful national parks are all open again and welcoming back everyone who missed summer fun in 2020. So, check out our fabulous accommodations at PetiteRetreats.com, make a reservation and see all there is to see. No FOMO here!

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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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See You Outside!

Great Outdoors Month turns 23 this month. It initially began as Great Outdoors Week, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1998, but continued to grow under each Administration and became Great Outdoors Month. So, you have to ask – haven’t we always celebrated our great outdoors? Or was it only after the advent of computers, video games, and cable and streaming services that serve as major forms of recreation, albeit indoors, that the call came to remind people to get outside?  

The premise behind Great Outdoors month is to remind Americans about the abundance of great outdoors that exist in our country as well as to re-educate them (or in some cases, educate) them about the importance of conservation and preserving our beautiful woodlands and waters. So, how do you celebrate Great Outdoors Month? Well, the whole month of June has specific days dedicated to outdoor activities, like National Trails Day (June 1); National Fishing and Boating Week (June 5-13) and the Great American Campout (June 26). We say, start with a glamping trip and go from there. Here are a few ideas:

Hiking:  While the events of National Trails Day have come and gone this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t take to the trails any other day this month. Hiking has been proven to improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, strengthen your core and improve your balance. It’s one of the greatest outdoor activities and requires the least amount of skill. You just walk – a lot! Rent one of the great new tiny homes at Natchez Trace Tiny House Village just outside Nashville and hike the Narrows of the Harpeth Trail – an easy 1.1-mile trail with great views of Tennessee’s Harpeth Valley. Another tiny house and trail is what you’ll find if you visit Oregon’s Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and tackle the nearby Salmon River Trailhead – tackle being the operative word here as it is 7.8 miles, yet still considered a moderate trail that winds through an old growth forest and has great views of the Salmon River.

Cottage at Marina Dunes in Marina, CA

Birding:  According to James Morgan of BirdwatchingBuzz, some the of the best summer birding spots can be found in Maine’s Acadia National Park; Pennsylvania’s Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and California’s Monterey Bay. Birding may seem like a somewhat sedentary activity but there are plenty of benefits – findings show that birding can benefit our overall well-being, mental health, and cognitive functioning. So, grab your binoculars and bird guides and plan a stay with us in a cabin at Mt. Desert Narrows in Maine, a glamping tent at Marina Dunes in California or a cozy cabin at Appalachian RV Campground in Pennsylvania and get into the birds! Maine birders can expect to see warblers, eagles, and puffins while Cali birders might spy a Black-footed Albatross, plenty of seabirds and hummingbirds, too. Visitors to PA’s Hawk Mountain Sanctuary can enjoy the birds as well as hiking trails and native gardens.

Cozy Cabin at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI

Fishing: Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week by either learning to fish or adding to your collection of “fish stories.” We’ve got great accommodations near some of the best fishing locations, so grab your tackle box and gear, wish for some good luck, and drop a line. The waters that surround our cabins and yurts at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, are teeming with fish, including walleye, northern pike, trout, and bass. You’re bound to get lucky here so rent a yurt and fish away (don’t forget to check out the fishing license requirements). Or book a charter and let the pros show you how it’s done – for specific info, visit travelwisconsin.com/things-to-do/outdoor-fun/fishing. Do you remember the beauty of the fly-fishing scenes from the movie “A River Runs Through It”? Fly fishing not only gives you a total body workout thanks to all the wading, casting, and reeling it requires, but is also known to lower cortisol levels, which means you are de-stressing while wading, casting, and reeling! Head to Leavenworth, Washington, where some of the most scenic fly fishing can be found. Rent one of the great tiny houses at the Leavenworth Tiny House Village and try your hand at wading, casting, and reeling in nearby Fish Lake which is great for yellow perch and largemouth bass in summer.

And don’t forget to make sure to participate in the Great American Campout on June 26. We’ve got plenty of great glamping spots for you– check out www.PetiteRetreats.com for locations!

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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… Nashville

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Hiking trail in the forest in Nashville, TN.
  1. 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.
Fried Bologna, Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  1. 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.
Giraffe at the Nashville, TN Zoo.
  1. 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. 
Nashville themed cabin at Natchez Trace in Hohenwald, TN.

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!

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It’s Earth Day and the Party’s Outside

Celebrating Earth Day can be as simple as loving every little bit of what makes up our great planet. The 71% of it that is made up of water – which includes lakes, rivers, streams and of course, the oceans; or the 21% that is made up of sand; or the 31% covered by forests. And, of course, the best way to love something is to spend time with it. This April 22, get outside and enjoy what this magical planet has offer. Swim in the ocean or kayak a lake, climb a mountain, stick your toes in the sand, or trek through a forest. And, whichever you choose, remember the mantra to leave it the way you found it, if not better!

Tiny House Murphy at Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH.

Forest Focus: Book a tiny house stay at New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Tiny House Village and you’re about 90 miles from White Mountain National Forest, which offers all kinds of outdoor activities from hiking and climbing to fishing and rockhounding. Another great tiny house and another great forest can be found in Leavenworth, Washington. Book a stay at Leavenworth Tiny House Village and explore the four million acres of forestland in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest where you can mountain bike, horseback ride, and find plenty of hiking trails.

Tiny House Rudolf at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

Water, Water Everywhere: Explore some of the waters that make up 71% of the Earth – start with the Pacific Ocean and plan a stay in one of the cabins at Santa Barbara’s Rancho Oso. Plenty of oceanfront beaches to choose from here. Looking for a brush with fame? Try Butterfly Beach and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional celebrity. Want to watch a great sunset? Try Hendry’s Beach where your four-legged friends are welcome to take in the show, too! Head to the Florida Keys and you’ll be surrounded by water. Snorkel, scuba dive, parasail, or fish these warm Florida waters. A tiny house accommodation at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key make the perfect Keys home base.

Yosemite Merced River el Capitan Panorama.

Mountains of Fun: While most people are familiar with Yosemite’s Half Dome and El Capitan, this magnificent national park is actually home to 20 mountains that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation – the adventurous can choose to climb while the aesthetics of these snow-capped beauties will please just about anyone! Make a reservation for a totally groovy yurt at Yosemite Lakes and then spend Earth Day amid the mountains of Yosemite. How about spending the day around mountains that have magic powers? Head to Sedona to experience the healing powers of the magnificent Red Rocks, specifically Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock. Book a tiny house at Verde Valley and soak up that magic. 

Glamping Tent at Marina Dunes RV Park in Marina, CA.

And that sand we mentioned – rent a cabin or a cottage at Oregon’s Pacific City and you’re so close to Cannon Beach and the iconic Haystack Rock; you can spend Earth Day surrounded by soft sand and the sounds of the ocean. Check out the coastal dunes at the Marina Dunes Preserve and stay at in an ultra-cool Glamping Tent at Marina Dunes RV Park.

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