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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Resolution-Ready

History tells us that New Year’s resolutions started with the ancient Babylonians who made promises of change to the gods in return for a favorable year ahead. Those promises for change continued through the days of Julius Caesar, who provided us the date of January 1 as the New Year with his new calendar that honored Janus (who btw was the Roman king of beginnings and endings), and remain with us to this day.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

One of the most popular resolutions made each January 1 is “to get in shape.” Interestingly though, that resolution did not become a top fiver until the 1960s, in part due to the advent of President Kennedy’s “Presidential Council on Physical Fitness,” which emphasized fitness goals for all ages. Here are a few destinations that are resolution-ready if you’re planning a new year getaway and want to stick to your resolution (at least for a while).

Skiing: Based on individual effort, a day on the slopes can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour. The physiological benefits are phenomenal as skiing provides a boost to the cardio and circulatory systems and well as the muscles, mainly the large muscles of the legs. Plus, the fresh air and sunshine are added benefits to this wonderful winter sport. Consider booking a stay at the Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Washington or the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Oregon to enjoy the nearby skiing. Stevens Pass is an option for a Leavenworth ski vacation and has more than 1100 acres of skiable terrain with options for all levels from beginner to expert. Lessons and rentals are available so there’s no excuse to not make an effort here. They also offer a Nordic Center for snowshoeing and Nordic ski options. Oregon’s Mt. Hood Skibowl dates back to 1928 and has been a top ski destination ever since. Less than 15 miles from the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village, this is the place for all things ski in the area where snow lovers can ski, snowboard, snowtube, and snow mobile. Lessons and rentals are available here, as well.

Colorful cottages at Tropical Palms in Kissimmee, FL

Biking: While it may be a bit less exhilarating than schussing snow down a black diamond run, biking provides plenty of body benefits.  The release of endorphins, the use of all major muscle groups, and the low impact status makes biking a top choice for all types of fitness-focused people. Plan a trip to Orlando, Florida, and trade out the thrill rides for plenty of bike rides. Book a stay at one of the colorful cottages at Tropical Palms in nearby Kissimmee and bike your way to a fit 2021. The Orlando area has more than 30 multi-use bike trails and over 250 miles of safe-riding terrain. Consider the Kissimmee Lakefront Park trail that runs along Lake Tohopekaliga, providing scenic lake views and glimpses of wildlife or the Little Econ Greenway Trail in Orlando that runs 8 miles along the Little Econ River. Scenery here includes the lake, of course, as well as deer, osprey, and a butterfly garden.

Cabins and tiny houses at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ

Hiking: A simple enough exercise – you just put one foot in front of the other and you’re off. The benefits are good for the mind, body, and spirit, and whether you do short daily hikes or tackle some longer ones as part of a travel itinerary, adding hiking to your 2021 to-do list is a good idea. The great thing about hiking is that it can be done anywhere – along the coast, in the mountains, on a paved trail, in the woods – the options are endless. We prefer a good desert hike in part due to the benefits of the dry air as well as the views! Hiking in Sedona is one option. Choose a cabin, cottage, or tiny home at Verde Valley to serve as base camp while you hike and explore the desert terrain of the magical Sedona surroundings. Palm Springs, California, is another great place for desert hikes, which includes the range of hikes available in nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Options include everything from short walks to challenging multi-terrain 7+-mile trails. Indian Canyons provides more hiking opportunities, again with ranges from easy 1.5 mile to strenuous 12+-mile treks. Make a reservation for a colorful cottage stay at Palm Springs and enjoy the equally colorful desert views.

Cottage at Palm Springs in Palm Desert, CA

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5 things to do in… Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

What do you look for when you want to get away? A quick dive into what factors are considered when selecting a vacation destination include 1) lodging preference; 2) travel purpose; 3) crowds or solitude; 4) the weather; and 5) the side trips. If we apply these to our destination of choice this month – Oregon’s Mt. Hood Area, here’s what shakes out:

  1. Lodging Preference: This is an easy one. What could be more enjoyable than a stay in a tiny home? The Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon, has seven tiny homes to choose from for your stay and each offers a little something different. Did you know tiny homes have personalities? That’s right, Anderson has a modern flair, enjoys a most-excellent cup of brewed coffee, and finds biking to be his raison d’etre. Savannah thinks being called “girly” is the ultimate compliment and her bright yellow exterior is an extension of her sunny personality. The tiny house gang at Mt. Hood has five more friends with five equally different personalities but one thing they have in common is that they are the right answer to “lodging preference.” Visit MtHoodTinyHouse.com to check them out and see which one suits your preference!
  1. Travel Purpose: Well, how can there be a right answer here unless you’re traveling alone? Someone likes to hike, someone likes to do nothing, someone likes to shop and someone likes to learn something new on vacation. Don’t worry, with a trip to the Mt. Hood Area, this box is checked for all involved. Hikers will be happy to know the area has more than 150 hiking trails. From local artisan crafts to antiques and boutiques to the very unique chain saw carvings, the area is a shopper’s delight with variety being the spice of Oregon life here. If you’re looking to learn something, the educational opportunities abound. Learn a new sport – attend a snowboard camp or learn to fly fish. Learn about the history of the area – visit the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum. As for the vacationer who wants to do nothing – that’s OK, too. Just sitting and soaking up the scenery here is a pretty cool thing to do, too!  
View of Mt Hood from downtown Portland, Oregon.
  1. Crowds vs. Solitude: Now more than ever this is a top of the list item with social-distancing being all the rage. Actually, pre-COVID-19, this meant do you like crowds or prefer to spend time alone with your thoughts. Do you want to be “scene,” or do you want to left alone to enjoy more solitary pursuits? So think about it – “no people” activities can include hiking, fly fishing, or skiing while the more social traveler will enjoy the many craft breweries, the annual festivals like the Salmon, Mushroom, and Bigfoot Festival (held in October but sadly cancelled this year) or the Timberline Mountain Music Festival held in late summer annually.
Fall hikes in Mt. Hood National Forest, OR
  1. The Weather: Being a four-season vacation destination, weather conditions factor into a trip to Mt. Hood, well…never really. There is always something to do here. The area has one of the longest ski seasons around. The winter ski season at historic Timberline Lodge begins in early November and runs through Memorial Day. Springtime is great for waterfall hikes and salmon fishing season begins in May. Summer brings amazing wildflowers, festivals, and mountain biking opportunities and the tail end of salmon fishing season (it typically winds down in September). Plus, there’s huckleberry season which straddles late summer and early fall and brings with it the annual Huckleberry Festival (late August). Fall hikes and drives are the best among the changing colors – drive the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway or tackle the Mirror Lake Trail on a day hike.
The vineyards of Willamette Valley, about 90 minutes from Mt Hood, OR.
  1. Side Trips: This is important because it allows travelers to feel like they are getting more bang for their travel dollars! Consider that the Mt. Hood Area is just an hour from Portland. This means you can have all the pleasure of the fantastic outdoors that the Mt. Hood Area affords you, but also have the opportunity to be a city tourist in no time at all. If you’ve always wanted a wine country vacation, you can do that, too. The nearby Willamette Valley is considered Oregon’s Wine Country and there are options for both guided and self-guided tours of the wineries.

June is Great Outdoors Month

Cabins at Yosemite Lakes Campground in Groveland, CA

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

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

June in the great outdoors can include:

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

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

Cottages in Palm Springs RV Resort in Palm Desert, CA

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

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI

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

Fishing at Pacific City in Cloverdale, OR

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

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

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

Why Go Outside?

La Conner • La Conner, WA

When you were young, were your parents constantly telling you to “go outside and play” anytime you were sulking, acting up, acting bored, wandering aimlessly around the house, or rummaging through the kitchen cabinets?

Well, they were onto something there! Studies have shown time and again the benefits of being outside are countless. According to Mental Floss magazine, there are scientific reasons why being outside is great for you. It can give you an energy and immune system boost, enhance creativity, and restore your focus. It can even make you a better person. According to Mental Floss, psychologists say that exposure to nature helps us shrug off societal pressures, allowing us to remember and value more important things like relationships, sharing, and community.

Here’s another interesting factoid about the benefits of being outdoors, specifically in the forest or wooded areas. A Japanese study shows that “shinrin-yoku” or “forest- bathing” is considered a form of preventative medicine. Forest-bathing can be accomplished by taking a short walk through a densely wooded area, such as your local woods or a wooded park area. But think about glamping in a forest setting! Boom – you just got a double dose of that preventative medicine!

Tiny House • Mt Hood Village • Welches, OR

Getting out of doors can be as simple as taking a walk around the block. But we know that glamping, thanks to the requirement of being outdoors to do it, is a wonderful way to reap the benefits of being outside.

Some of the specific benefits of glamping and camping include:

  1. Socialization
  2. Stress Reduction­­
  3. Physical Exercise
  4. Plenty of sunshine, thereby increasing your Vitamin D intake
  5. Connecting with nature

Here are few ideas to make sure you reap those benefits when you glamp.

Go Hiking: you’ve already taken care of Numbers 3 and 5, and Number 2, as well, as the activity will naturally decrease your stress level.

Experience Campfire Camaraderie: Next time you glamp, make sure that campfire time includes the opportunity for sharing with your glamping buddies. Whether it’s recipes, stories or a just a recount of the day’s highlights – listen and connect. Doing this takes care of Number 1 on the list. Another great way to socialize while glamping is to take part in the locally scheduled activities. You’re sure to meet some locals, too!

Another benefit of glamping is that it very possibly gets your circadian rhythm in sync. The circadian clock is a natural internal cycle that regulates your sleep-wake time. Studies have shown that just a few days of glamping can reset your clock allowing you to get more sleep. And, it’s no secret that lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of health problems including diabetes and heart disease.

Alpine Lake RV Resort • Corinth, NY

The reset has to do with trading out artificial light for natural light which is typical when glamping and the fact that your body produces melatonin, which is integral to a good night’s sleep, when it’s dark. Think of how dark your room was last time you glamped!

Lots of melatonin being produced, we’re sure.

So, let’s give a pat on the back to parents everywhere who are telling their kids right now to go outside. They know what they’re talking about.

And by the way, go outside!

Bend-Sunriver • Bend, OR

Go Big in Bend

Kayaking • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Bend, Oregon is one big playground regardless of the season. But come summer, Bend is bursting with things to do under the sunny skies of the Pacific Northwest. There are all kinds of adventures to be had from rustic to urban, and from relaxing to exhilarating. There is music, art, a rodeo, theater, fishing, hiking, and the list goes on and on. No matter what your fancy, you’ll find something to tickle it when you visit Bend.

Fishing opportunities in Bend are about as abundant as the fish you can catch when you cast your line here. Consider fly fishing, and if you’re new to this sport, River Borne Outfitters offers a 2.5-hour class that covers the basics regarding terminology, casting, and knot tying. If you feel like you’re beyond beginner but still need some fishing tips, they also offer a 6-hour course that has you fishing the Crooked River. Check out www.riverborneoutfitters.com for more information.

Fishing • Deschutes River

Of course, if you’re a seasoned fisherman, just head down to the Lower Deschutes River which is one of the most popular and prolific places to fish in Oregon. Statistics show that more than 3,500 trout run per mile of water in this area. Make sure to obey all the state rules and regulations, and that you have a license to fish. For licensing information, visit www.odfw.com.

If you prefer dry land to water, and art to fishing, then the Roundabout Art Route might be of interest to you. The Roundabout Art Route is a collection of 20 pieces of art that are on display throughout the city. Stop by the Bend Visitor Center to pick up a map, then get rolling on your art adventure. The name of the route should give you a hint as to where the art installations are located, but we are going to give away the secret. Just head into downtown Bend and get ready to glimpse a bronze logger, a bronze grizzly, the Sunrise Spirit Column, and the High Desert Spiral, which at 39 feet is the tallest public art sculpture in Bend, to name a few.

Take a hike up Pilot Butte and you’re guaranteed a breathtaking vista no matter which of the three trails you choose. Pilot Butte is visible from downtown Bend and is a 500-foot high lava dome created from an extinct volcano. Visit www.oregonstateparks.org for information about the state park and the trails.

Cabin • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Tour-wise, there’s plenty of ways to see Bend while eating and drinking some of the city’s offerings. There is the Bend Ale Trail, which offers a do-it-yourself way to visit Bend’s 18 breweries at your leisure. If you want someone else to do the heavy lifting when it comes to touring the breweries, check out the offerings of The Bend Tour Company, which not only offers a craft beer, wine and spirit tasting tour, but also other adventure tours such as an arts and cultural tour of Bend, and a stunning Cascade Sunset tour. Check out what they offer at www.thebendtourcompany.com.

Special summer events in Bend include the Bend Summer Festival, July 12th-14th that will feature food, music, an art fair, and plenty of family fun. July 26th-28th brings Balloons Over Bend to the city as hot air balloon fun takes center stage. Help celebrate a milestone at the 100th Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo scheduled for July 31st-August 4th. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Fun Since Day One.” Bend Brewfest is scheduled for August 15th-17th and features craft brewers, wineries, and cideries set on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Sunset • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Of course, when the day’s fun is done, you’ll need a place to bunk in until the next adventure, so consider adding to the experience by staying in a yurt, cabin, or cottage at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. Situated on the banks of the Little Deschutes River, this 283-acre campground has plenty of onsite fun including fishing opportunities, swimming, pickleball, tennis, and mini-golf.

Plan your time to Go Big in Bend, visit www.RVontheGo.com and reserve your stay today!