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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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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Because it’s all about the Grapes

Whoever came up with the calendar that recognizes national days of celebration in May must be an oenophile – or what regular folks call a wine lover. May has two days dedicated to vino – National Moscato Day on May 9 and National Wine Day on May 25. So, let’s raise our glasses of whichever fermented grape is your favorite and toast to America’s Wine Trails.

Cozy cabin at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

Arizona’s Verde Valley Wine Trail (vvwinetrail.com) has at least 10 wineries (check the website for a downloadable map) set among the beautiful countryside that includes locations in Jerome, Cottonwood, and Sedona. Book a tiny home at Verde Valley and you’ll find yourself in perfect proximity to explore Alcantara Vineyards, which is less than a 5-minute drive or a nice 1.4-mile hike from the resort. One unique way to see the vineyards is to do the Water to Wine Kayak Trip – check out sedonaadventuretours.com. Another option if you don’t want to go solo is to check out the tours offered through Sedona Vineyard tours (sedonavineyardtours.com).

Glamping Tent at Marina Dunes in Marina, CA.

If you’ve already done California’s northern wine country (Napa, Sonoma, etc.) consider the wineries of Paso Robles for a different perspective. Start your adventure with a glamping reservation at Marina Dunes and then take the day to head to Paso Robles to explore their grape offerings. For details, visit pasorobleswineries.net. There are plenty of options for tours, including group, private and even one where a non-drinking guide drives your car! And, if you want to taste something different than wine, consider an olive oil tasting at Pasolivo (pasolivo.com).

Vineyard in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon.

Did you know that Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley is home to two-thirds of all of Oregon’s wineries and vineyards? Start your trip off right by requesting a downloadable brochure from willamettewines.com and booking a tiny house at Mt. Hood’s Tiny House Village so at day’s end you have the best place to enjoy some of the wines you purchase along the way. All kinds of tours are available for Oregon Oenophiles, so check out agreatoregonwinetour.com for some options. Fun Fact: because of Oregon’s cooler climate, the state’s signature grape is the Pinot Noir, which is considered one of the oldest grapes in the world.

Cabin at Lake George Escape in Lake George, NY.

While not specifically devoted to wine alone, the Beverage Trails near Lake George, New York, do offer wine tasting along with spirits, cider, and beer. Book a rental cabin or cottage at Lake George Escape and try a different libation every day!  In addition to the Winery Production Facility, The Adirondack Winery has two additional tasting locations in the area as well. Check out visitlakegeorge.com/things-to-do/beverage-trails.

If you book a cozy cabin at Neshonoc Lakeside you can explore parts, or all, of Wisconsin’s Great River Road Wine Trail which stretches from northern Iowa to southern Minnesota. In addition to the great wineries, your drive will serve as an attraction as well. The river part of the Great River Road refers to the Mighty Mississippi so the route includes valleys, bluffs, and views of the river, all among a perfect country setting. Visit greatriverroadwinetrail.org for more information.

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Women’s History Month

March is the month to celebrate the role of women in American history and their contributions. All around the country, there are heritage sites including monuments, homesteads, works of art, and more that represent these women and their efforts in all areas from nursing and politics to civil rights, women’s rights and in the arts. We’ve listed just a few here and whether you visit now or later, it’s never too late to honor the efforts of these women.

“Gettysburg Civil War Women-s Memorial – Elizabeth Masser Thorn 1” by Amaury Laporte is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial: This seven-foot bronze sculpture of Elizabeth Thorn is located in Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery. Thorn was six months pregnant at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. Prior to the war, her husband was the caretaker of the cemetery but when he enlisted in the Union Army, the caretaking tasks fell to Elizabeth and her father. After the battle, the heavily pregnant Thorn buried 91 soldiers and 14 civilians killed in the siege.  The memorial is a tribute to all women who served, and suffered, due to the war.

Cozy cabin at Drummer Boy in Gettysburg, PA.

Stay with us in a cabin at Drummer Boy to explore Gettysburg and see the memorial.

Buildings by Julia Morgan: San Francisco native, Julia Morgan was the first woman to graduate UC Berkeley’s Civil Engineering program in 1894 and went on to become the first licensed woman architect in California. During her career, she designed more than 700 buildings throughout California, most notably Hearst Castle in San Simeon. For a listing of sites and locations of Morgan’s works, visit sf.curbed.com/maps/julia-morgan-buildings-best-sf.

“Sunset at Hearst Castle” by Trey Ratcliff is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Stay with us in a glamping tent at Marina Dunes and enjoy a ride up the California coast to see Morgan’s works in the San Francisco area or down the coast to tour Hearst’s Castle.

Glamping tent at Marina Dunes in Marina, CA.

National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum: According to their website, the museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring the women of the West. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the museum has archival footage as well as artifacts from these trailblazing women. Hall of Fame inductees include Sacagawea, Annie Oakley, Dale Evans, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. For information, visit cowgirl.net.

Stay with us in a cabin at Bay Landing in nearby Bridgeport while you explore the Cowgirl Museum.

Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine: Why is a national park on the list of women’s history heritage sites? Because Beatrix Farrand, a noted landscape gardener, designed the carriage roads in this beautiful national treasure. Also, Farrand created the rock-walled reflections rooms at the garden at the College of the Atlantic in nearby Bar Harbor in 1928. Born in New York in 1872, Farrand preferred to be called a landscape architect. She also designed First Lady Gardens at the White House during the Wilson Administration.

Cozy cabins at Narrows Too RV Resort in Trenton, ME.

Stay at Mt. Desert Narrows or Narrows Too RV Resort while visiting Acadia NP.

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