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!

Read More:

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!

Read More:

Give me a T for Texas, and for Tennessee!

Natchez Trace • Hohenwald, TN
Natchez Trace • Hohenwald, TN

The only states that start with T in the list of fifty, nifty United States, both Tennessee and Texas have a variety of reasons to visit them. Tennessee comes first in terms of being admitted to the Union, which happened on June 1, 1796, making it the 16th state (it was also the last state to leave the Union during the Civil War, as well as the first state readmitted toward the end of the war). Texas was the 28th state admitted in 1845, however, Texas comes first in size. As the second biggest state, Texas measures in at a whopping 268,581 square miles while Tennessee comes in 34th at 41,220 square miles (Texas can fit about six Tennessees in it!). But, when it comes to things to do and see, they are pretty equal!

Music: In terms of music destinations, Texas has Austin while Tennessee can boast both Nashville and Memphis. Nashville has the Ryman Auditorium, which was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, a space that helped launch many music careers including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.  There is also the new location of the Grand Ole Opry at Opryland, which is just a few miles outside the city. The city is also home to countless honky tonks where singer-songwriters play in hopes of achieving their dreams. The District is where you can listen to music to your heart’s content with its lively nightlife scene.

Lake Whitney • Whitney, TX
Lake Whitney • Whitney, TX

 Memphis is home to Beale Street, a major tourist attraction that has been designated as a national historic landmark and is lined with blues clubs and BBQ joints. Memphis is also where Elvis got his break at Sun Studio, which is still standing and offers tours of the place where he was first recorded. Of course, there is also Graceland, Elvis’ mansion, another major tourist attraction chock full of Elvis paraphernalia. Austin, Texas, is known for its two major annual music festivals: South by Southwest, held in March, and Austin City Limits, held in October. The city also has a vibrant music any day of the week. There are more than 250 live music venues offering everything from classical and jazz to rock, blues, and country.

Lake Conroe • Willis, TX
Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

History Both states are rich in history – Texas history can be traced back to the early 1500s with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors while British traders came upon a Cherokee town called “Tanasi” in the early 1700s. In terms of famous battles, Texas has the Alamo while Tennessee has the infamous Civil War event, the Battle of Shiloh. Visitors can see the site of the Alamo which is located in the heart of San Antonio. The 300-year-old Spanish Mission is open to the public and battlefield tours are available. Shiloh National Military Park, operated by the National Park Service, can be toured through both ranger-guided and self-guided options. It is considered one of the best preserved and most pristine of the Civil War Battlefields. Dallas has the unfortunate history of being the city where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Visitors can tour The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza which chronicles the events of that fateful day in November through exhibits and historic displays.

 Must-Sees Don’t miss the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas Hill Country, and Big Bend National Park in Texas. In Tennessee, must-sees include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and Nashville’s Centennial Park with its replica of the original Parthenon in Greece. (Petite Retreats can be found at Bay Landing in Bridgeport, Texas, which is outside of Dallas, and Natchez Trace in Hohenwald, Tennessee, which is an hour and a half outside of Nashville and three hours outside of Memphis. Colorado River and Medina Lake are near Austin and San Antonio.)

Medina Lake • Lakehills, TX
Medina Lake • Lakehills, TX

Themed Cabins at Natchez Trace RV Campground

Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN

Tennessee is a special place to visit almost any time of the year. Tennessee is famous for its barbecued comfort food that sticks to your ribs like an Elvis song can stick in your head; for its Great Smoky Mountains and endless opportunities for fishing and hunting; for Memphis and Nashville, two cities built on the blues and rock n’ roll; for Route 66, “the main street of America” that runs through Tennessee as roadtrippers traverse this land-locked state.

Natchez Trace RV Campground
Natchez Trace RV Campground – University of Alabama Themed Cabin

Immerse yourself in the charm, the culture, and the nature of the “Volunteer State” when you stay in a themed cabin at Natchez Trace RV Campground in Hohenwald, TN. These cabins are situated near the water among the trees on this beautiful forested property and each one celebrates a different facet of the Tennessee experience. There’s a cabin for the fishermen, the hunters, the Music City lovers; Tennessee Volunteer fans and Crimson Tide rivals; and for those who love the road, an ode to Route 66. Each cabin is ready for you to move right in- linens, flat screen TVs, fully stocked kitchens, coffee makers, and much more to make your stay feel just like home. At Natchez Trace, you’ll disconnect and relax – there’s no wifi connection here, but you’ll be too busy taking in the beauty of Tennessee and sleeping soundly in your cabin to notice anyway. No matter which cabin you choose, you’ll have the best view of the Tennessee sunset from your screened in porch.

Natchez Trace RV Campground
Natchez Trace RV Campground – Fishing Themed Cabin

Book your stay in a themed cabin at Natchez Trace RV Campground or another Petite Retreat today!