Here’s the difference between glamping and camping

It’s only been a few short years since the word glamping was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Back in March 2018, the dictionary listed the word with the accompanying definition “outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping.” And, according to other linguistic lore, the word itself was first used sometime around 2005. But, some people have been glamping for years while others are wondering what this “glamping” is all about. Consider the following your quick guide to all things glamping: 

Why should you glamp instead of camp? If you are a seasoned camper, giving glamping a go may be just the thing needed to change things up. Another reason to glamp is not everyone enjoys tent camping and rising to greet the day after a rough night on the hard ground. Some people are looking for the perfect mix of outdoor adventure with some of the comforts of home.

For the most part, glamping involves a bit more of sleeping structure than the average tent or even those super high-end tents that sleep the whole gang and are “guaranteed” to keep you warm and cozy despite the outdoor weather. To glamp, you might consider overnighting in a yurt, a tiny home, a cabin, or cottage. 

There’s also the luxury of the indoor facilities that often accompany a glamping trip. No flashlight-required treks to the facilities at 3 a.m. or cold food because the campfire won’t light or the camp stove is on the fritz. Glamping rentals typically have indoor bathroom accommodations as well as well-appointed kitchens. Another plus to a glamping accommodation is that many of them have private fire rings, decks, and outdoor areas designated specifically for enjoying the art of socializing. 

What are good glamping accessories? Most glampers feel the need to up the ante when it comes to accessorizing and some of the most popular glamp gear includes tablecloths, area rugs, comfy camp chairs, and outdoor string lights and solar lanterns to create the perfect glamping ambience. Food and drink options also take a step up and glamping accessories in this category might include a charcuterie board, an espresso maker or French coffee press, as well as Dutch ovens and other “cuisine” cookware for camp. As for outdoor fun, glamping could include an outdoor projector and screen!

When it comes to glamping activities versus camping activities, they are pretty much the same. Most glamping accommodations are in areas that give the glamper the full opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Hike, bike, fish, swim, canoe, or kayak – here’s where glamping and camping meet. Take in beauty of nearby national parks, raft the rapids, paddle serene waters, horseback ride or zip through the trees. We have glamping locations near all these great outdoor adventures. 

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village
Sunshine Key Tiny House Village

Where to glamp? Try our tiny house options in Leavenworth, Washington, Oregon’s Mt. Hood area, near Nashville, Tennessee, or Sedona, Arizona, or the Florida Keys. A spring, summer or fall glamping trip to New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Tiny House Village is a plan-ahead trip. Glamping in a yurt can be an option any time of year at several locations in California, Oregon, and Washington State as well as spring through fall yurt accommodations in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. What about glamping in a teepee? Or a covered wagon? Both are unique accommodations that can be found when glamping with Petite Retreats. Check out our website to see where we have glamping opportunities – whether it’s your first glamping adventure or you’ve been a glamper long before it was an official dictionary entry!

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Last Minute Trips for Your 2021 Bucket List

It’s been awhile, but think back to early January 2021. What resolutions did you make then? What about that 2021 Bucket List? Is everything crossed off? If not, we’ve got a few ideas on how to clear the slate to get ready for your 2022 list. 

  1. See a National Landmark: In a list of the Top 10 National Landmarks compiled by flightcentre.com, two are nearby to our locations that enjoy year-round visitors. Those include Hoover Dam (less than 35 miles from cozy cabins at our Las Vegas location); and the iconic Space Needle in Seattle (less than 30 miles from the yurts and cabins at Tall Chief RV & Camping Resort). Another must-see landmark is the historic Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, which is less than an hour from the cabins at Medina Lake.

2. Drive an Iconic Highway: A drive on the 100-mile-plus engineering marvel known as Florida’s Overseas Highway will take you from the southern tip of Florida down to the Florida Keys with the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico all around you. Choose to stay two hours north of the road’s starting point in a cabin at our Miami Everglades Resort or stay at one of our Keys locations, Sunshine Key or Fiesta Key. Enjoy a glamping experience in a cottage or glamping tent at California’s Marina Dunes and enjoy an equally glamorous experience along the 17-Mile Drive that includes charming towns, woodlands, and ocean views along the Monterey Peninsula. 

3. Learn a new skill: ‘Tis the season to don a pair of snowshoes and tackle this winter sport. Consider a stay in a snow covered cabin at Tahoe Valley in California’s Lake Tahoe area and learn how to traverse and glissade with the best of them. Stalk the striper and try your hand at catching hybrid striper bass in the winter waters of Texas’ Lake Conroe. Book a stay in a cabin at Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort in Willis and see what you can catch. How about hopping on a “fat bike” and tooling around the snowy trails available near Leavenworth, Washington. Book a tiny house at Leavenworth Tiny House Village to go along with your fat bike experience!

Family Trip at Thousand Trails Lake Conroe Campground
Family Trip at Lake Conroe Camping & RV Resort

4. Girls’ Trip, Guys’ Trip, Family Trip, Couples’ Trip: Whichever one remains on your list unchecked, Petite Retreats has locations that can satisfy any of them (or all if you’ve got the time). Perfect family trip locations can include Orlando and all the theme park fun (book a stay in a colorful cottage at Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida) or Yosemite National Park in winter with all its activities (try a yurt at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, California); California’s wine country and a girl’s trip are a perfect match and a cabin or cottage accommodation at Russian River is the perfect wine country girl’s getaway home base. Nashville is great for girls, guys, and family fun depending on the activities you choose – there are bars and honky tonks, historic sites, museums, and outdoor adventure to be found here – and any of the rental cabins at nearby Natchez Trace work for all of these groups. Guys trip options could include the casinos and nightlife of Las Vegas (stay in a cabin or cottage at our Las Vegas location) or deep-sea fishing charters in the Florida Keys (Sunshine Key Tiny House Village is a great option as they run charters from the resort). Looking for romance? Check out the tiny house and cabin accommodations at Verde Valley in Arizona’s scenic and transformative Red Rocks country or a cozy cabin at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort in Santa Barbara and explore this charming California oceanside town with its wineries, architectural tours, and romantic sunsets. 

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Sense-ible Glamping

Of course, glamping is good for the soul as it provides the opportunity to disconnect from everything and reconnect with nature. It’s good for the body too as it lowers stress levels and provides plenty of opportunity for exercise in the great outdoors. Glamping is also good for the senses – and we found some locations that will delight all five of them. Next time you’re planning a trip, keep these sense-sational spots in mind.

Touch: Sand – gritty, soft or silky. Tree bark – rough, smooth, notched. Snow – cold and wet. There are so many tactile experiences to be had while glamping. See how the beach feels beneath your feet when you stay Oregon’s beach town location of Pacific City or the cold snow falling on your face when you stay in a tiny house at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in winter. How about a healing touch? The vortexes of Sedona are said to provide just that. Book a cabin or tiny house stay at Verde Valley and see if you experience this unique touch of healing energy.

Sight:  What can be more picturesque than field upon field of blooming tulips? Check out the Skagit Valley come spring and stay at La Conner. Or, catch the spectacular views from Yosemite National Park any time of year. Plan to stay in a yurt or cabin at Yosemite Lakes and see just how beautiful every inch of this treasure is. The Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys made the list of the “50 Most Beautiful Places in the U.S. You Can’t Afford to Miss” (according to attractionsofamerica.com), so book a colorful cottage stay at Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina and find out why after a short drive along the Overseas Highway.

Sound: Rolling waves hitting the sand; wildlife sounds in the night, the clip clop of horseshoes, the rustle of the trees – can you hear these sounds? Most definitely if you glamp with us at California’s Rancho Oso where guided horseback rides are available. Or, rent a tiny house at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village and let the sounds of the ocean relax you – it’ll be right outside your window. So many of our locations are nestled in the woods or in the quiet wilderness. What about the sounds of camp-side laughter? Wherever you’re glamping, gather your crew at dusk and recap the day, tell jokes, and play games to evoke this always-pleasing sound.

Bend-Sunriver Yurt
Bend-Sunriver Yurt

Smell: How about the smell of a pine forest – check into a yurt at Bend-Sunriver and check out Deschutes National Forest, which is home to thousands of fragrant Ponderosa pines. The smell of Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a mix of exotic spices, flowers, coffee beans, and more mixing to make it memorable for sure. Add in another yurt experience with a stay at Tall Chief and see how many scents you can identify at one of Seattle’s most visited attractions. What about the plethora of smells emanating from a botanic garden? Plan to stay in a cabin at Bay Landing and head into Dallas to experience the scent-sations of the blooms found at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Cabin at Miami Everglades
Cabin at Miami Everglades

Taste: How do you taste glamping? Well, for our purposes, you glamp near a unique foodie experience. For example, sample succulent Maine lobster when you stay at our Bar Harbor resorts or try an iconic Door County, Wisconsin, fish boil when you stay in a cozy cabin at Tranquil Timbers in nearby Sturgeon Bay. Enjoy the fruits of the sea when staying at our Pacific Northwest locations and taste seasonal Chinook salmon, Dungeness crab, or Oregon Pink Shrimp or oysters. A stay at Natchez Trace means Nashville’s culinary treats, which include hot chicken (named for the healthy dose of cayenne pepper used), buttery, flaky biscuits, and the oh-so-gooey and sweet Goo Goo clusters. Miami is all about classic Cuban cuisine which can be experienced through a food tour. Check out miamiculinarytours.com when you stay with us in a cabin at Miami Everglades.

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Winter Plans?

Just as surely as the sun rises, you can guarantee winter comes knocking each year in late-December. And for some who are fortunate to live year-round in areas that don’t really experience winter, it’s just another date on the calendar. But for others, it’s time to head towards the sunshine. And, even if you are lucky enough to live where the sun always shines warmly, a change of scenery is always good to chase away the winter doldrums. Here are a few ideas for fun in the sun winter escapes.

Arizona: If Sedona is your home base, day trips to the Grand Canyon (about a 2-hour drive north), the Phoenix/Scottsdale area (about a 2-hour drive south) and the Petrified Forest National Park (about a 2-hour drive east) are all possibilities. Of course, the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon, but there are other things to do here. There is the 22-mile Desert View scenic drive, wildlife to glimpse, and the Grand Canyon Railway Adventure which is a scenic train ride to the Grand Canyon that originates in Sedona. If you’re a baseball fan, then you’ll be happy come winter when Major League Baseball’s Cactus League begins their games in stadiums in the Phoenix metro area. If you’re not a baseball fan, Scottsdale has plenty of hiking opportunities including Camelback and Pinnacle Peak. Plus, there’s shopping, arts and entertainment, and plenty of good eating to be had here. The Petrified Forest, named for the large amounts of petrified wood found here, is home to the Rainbow Forest Museum and the petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock and may also seem familiar to Clint Eastwood fans as parts of his famous film, “The Outlaw Josey Wales” were shot here. Verde Valley is the place to reserve your winter accommodation where you can choose to day trip or just enjoy the local scene.

California: Rarely, if ever, do California beaches post “Closed for the Season” signs. The ocean water may be colder than most prefer, but the warm California sun is pretty plentiful and of course, anything but mountain snow is rare. Yosemite National Park is less crowded but still just as breathtaking in the winter months, so consider a stay in an ultra-cool yurt at Yosemite Lakes. The Park’s Badger Pass Ski Area offers winter skiing opportunities. Cross off your bucket list item to “stay in a tipi or covered wagon” this winter with reservations for these unique accommodations at Rancho Oso and then explore winter in Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Zoo, a mission tour, a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, or a tour of the local wineries can all add up to winter fun.

Tropical Palms RV Resort
Tropical Palms RV Resort

Florida: Warm days and cool nights give the Florida-bound winter vacationer the best of both worlds. Days are sunny with temps averaging around 70 degrees while nights are sweater-weather worthy with average lows in the ‘50s. The only shovels required during a Florida getaway are those used to build sandcastles on the fabulous beaches around the state that include Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and St. Pete Beach. Consider a trip to the Keys and a stay at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or a colorful cottage right on the water at Fiesta Key. On the Atlantic side, visit historic Flagler Beach or enjoy the sights and sounds of Miami. Accommodations at Bulow Village RV Resort and Miami Everglades are great locations for these. Wanna do Disney? Book a stay at Tropical Palms, Lake Magic, or Orlando RV for all things Disney and beyond. Check out petiteretreats.com to find your ideal Florida location.

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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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Glamping with Good Intentions

In the last several years, the Danish word hygge has gained popularity in cultures outside of Denmark and people have embraced the concept behind the word’s meaning to make their lives cozier and more content. On the heels of hygge, a few more words have crept up that can be applied to life in general, and definitely when it comes to the best way to glamp.

Tiny House Otto at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Niksen: In short, the Dutch concept of niksen translates to doing absolutely nothing, and without purpose.  So, for those of you who schedule every minute of your vacation time, this might be a difficult one to swallow, but we think the idea of lounging around a tiny home, with nothing to do but enjoy the solitude and scenery sounds pretty good coming off of a year like 2020. It’s a bit different than practicing mindfulness because what niksen wants you to do is feel the joy of just being – not focusing on how or where, but just being! We think a perfect setting to get all into the niksen way is to head to the Leavenworth Tiny House Village, set up a comfortable chair outside your favorite tiny, and just sit there. Yes, there are trees surrounding you and the sounds of wildlife as a white noise soundtrack, but in reality, it’s just you, being you, in this perfect setting.

Tiny House at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, FL

Friluftsliv: This Norwegian term is just perfect for any lover of the great outdoors because it translates to “open-air living.” How about that for a perfect match for any upcoming glamping trips you’ve got planned. First, before we embrace it, let’s learn to pronounce it – so let’s all say it together – “free-loofts-liv.” Now that you can say it, let’s figure out where to practice the concept. The point here is to get out into nature and appreciate what it can bring to us – happiness, tranquility, a clear mind. Norwegians practice it all year round so don’t let weather stop you. If you want to glamp in the winter climate, go ahead, but we’re gonna find our friluftsliv in sunny Florida. The Keys are the perfect location and the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village is a great place to start living life the friluftsliv way. Hike, bike, scuba dive, snorkel, beachcomb, frolic with dolphins, and visit the tiny Key deer. Take on all the outdoor experiences that can be found in the Keys and you’re on your way.

Cozy yurt at Pacific City Cloverdale, OR

Koselig: Another one from the convivial Norwegians, but this one wants you to bring the gang. Similar to hygge, koselig (“koosh-lee”) is all about being comfortable and cozy but tosses in the social aspect by adding in friends and family when it’s time for comfy and cozy. Studies have shown there is a clear link ] between social connections and well-being, so it’s important to get the friends and family involved when practicing koselig. “Kos” requires the same things as hygge, such as warm lighting, softer music, cozy fires, and a low-stress environment. And all that is to be enjoyed surrounded by the people who make you laugh, bring joy to your life and check the box when it comes to perfect traveling companions. Of course, there is nothing cozier than a cabin, so check out our cabins when you plan your next koselig-inspired glamping trip. Options include locations in California, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Rent several cabins, bring the whole gang and koselig like it’s 1999!

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Warmest Wishes

Hiking at sunset in Sedona, AZ

‘Tis the season….to seek out the sun. Why not give yourself the gift of sunshine this season and head toward the warm weather where the skies are sunny and coats are not required! Here are a few places to consider where you can let the sunshine in.

Palm Springs, California: Palm Springs is the perfect place to soak up some of that warm California sun thanks to its great location to all the nearby hotspots including Joshua Tree National Park, the hiking trails in Indian Canyons, and the Living Desert Zoo and Garden. Rental accommodations at Palm Springs include three cottages that have plenty of the comforts of home including TVs, microwaves, and plenty of space to relax in. Downtown Palm Springs has a celebrity Walk of Fame, shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Cottages at Palm Springs in Palm Desert, CA.

Santa Barbara, California: Enjoy beautiful Santa Barbara and plan a stay in some the coolest, and most unique accommodations you’ll find at Rancho Oso. In addition to its fabulous location, the resort offers cabins, cottages, covered wagons, and a tipi. You can’t beat that when it comes to something different. If you ride horses, or maybe that activity is on your bucket list, then Rancho Oso is the place to be. They have horses and guided horseback rides for groups. Visit nearby Solvang, a charming Danish-style town with plenty of shops and eateries as well as opportunities for wine and craft beer tastings. Of course, there is also beautiful Santa Barbara that offers beaches, architecture, wineries, and more.

Florida Keys: Sunshine Key Tiny House Village has five brightly colored tiny homes that are yours to choose from at this resort located on the 75-acre Ohio Key in the Florida Keys. Take the holidays to the tropics and spend some time exploring The Keys. The resort itself is quite the playground with opportunities for pickleball, fishing, and tennis. Plus, Key Boat Tours, a Blue Star Operator, is onsite for rentals of kayaks, stand up paddle boards and bikes, and also to arrange fishing charters and snorkeling tours. If snorkeling floats your boat, then a Keys vacation is the perfect trip since the first underwater state park in the US, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, is located on Key Largo and has some of the best snorkeling around the area.

Tiny House Lucy at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, FL.

Sedona: Head for the sun and take the mountains as the added bonus when you plan a trip to Sedona, Arizona. Book your cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley and set off to explore the very walkable downtown Sedona, the beauty and vortexes of Red Rock State Park, the abandoned mining town turned artist colony of Jerome, and some of the prettiest desert landscape you’ll find. There’s also a Verde Valley Wine Trail where you can toast the new year or ride the rails on the Verde Valley Canyon Railroad Adventure. All aboard for fun in the Arizona sun!

Cabin under a starry night at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

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National Beautiful Day

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

Beauty is subjective, thus the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What one person sees as beauty may well not be what another person sees in the very same thing. Whatever your idea of beauty may be, make sure you celebrate November 20, which is National Beautiful Day, any way you see fit!

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

Beautiful Leavenworth: Without doing much, Leavenworth, Washington, is considered a beautiful town. With its Bavarian-style architecture, mountain backdrop, and quaint downtown it’s quite pretty. Toss in the thousands and thousands of twinkling lights during the holidays and one word comes to mind: beautiful! Plan a stay at the equally beautiful Leavenworth Tiny House Village to enjoy beautiful Leavenworth.

Yurt at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, CA.

Beautiful Yosemite: In a recent poll of its followers, roughguides.com asked them to name the most beautiful locations in the USA. California’s Yosemite National Park topped the list, which also included the Grand Canyon and the entire state of Alaska. Take a trip and see what makes Yosemite a list-maker. For beautiful views, check out El Capitan, Vernal Fall, and Mirror Lake. Stay in a serenely beautiful yurt or cozy cabin at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort while exploring the natural beauty of Yosemite.

Beautiful Crater Lake: Again, a list-maker when it comes to the most beautiful lakes in the US, Oregon’s Crater Lake is known for the beautiful blue color of the lake. The surrounding mountains and towering pines make the views here real stunners! Spend a beautiful day driving the 33-mile Rim Drive which offers breathtaking views of meadows, forests, and the lake.  Book a tranquilly beautiful yurt and stay at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground.

Crater Lake is in Klamath County, OR.

Beautiful Drive: The 17-Mile Drive, which runs along California’s Monterey Peninsula, is a short, but oh so sweet drive of the beautiful kind. With the coast of the Pacific as your companion, the highlights of this drive include Bird Rock (what do you think they are buzzing about?); the Lone Cypress (one of Cali’s most famous landmarks); and Pescadero Point with its fab views of Point Lobos. Check out the unique accommodations at Morgan Hill RV Resort and choose from a cottage, cabin, or safari tent.

Beautiful Sunsets: The Travel Magazine calls them gorgeous sunsets and we all know gorgeous is another word for…beautiful!  Here’s one place to catch the beauty in California, according to the magazine’s list of the 10 best sunsets in the state.  Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara, also called Hendry’s Beach by the locals, offers one beautiful sunset, over and over and over again. On the other side of the country, the sunsets are just as beautiful and some of the most beautiful can be found in Key West, Florida. And Key Westers tend to make it a regular celebration – check out the fun at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration and catch one of Key West’s spectacular sunsets. For the east coast sunset, consider at stay in a colorful tiny house at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or colorful cottages at Fiesta Key RV Resort, and for Cali-style sunsets, Rancho Oso has great cabins for rent.

Colorful cottages at Fiesta Key RV Resort in Long Key, FL.

Beautiful S’Mores: True, they are nothing more than some crackers, sugar, and chocolate but who doesn’t think a perfect s’more is a thing of beauty? Some fun ideas to mix it up could include substituting the chocolate for almond butter and banana, switching out the graham crackers for snickerdoodle cookies; or the truly beautiful s’more made with chocolate graham crackers, sliced strawberries, and dark chocolate. Check out some of our favorite gourmet s’mores 1927smores.com.

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Smile for the Holidays

This may be the year that you see an influx of holiday cards, specifically the photo kind, because the friends and family you may see regularly throughout the year, may not have seen you in at least six months! #2020 Those cards will bring a smile to many faces, so make sure that your photo is spectacular. Check out these photo-worthy spots for Holiday 2020 cards!

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth, Washington: While just about everywhere in Leavenworth is worthy of a photo, the opportunity to pose with a real live reindeer just may be the key here. Head to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm for a holiday pic that will let your friends and family see who the holiday VIPS are! For details check out leavenworthreindeer.com. Another option is to have a traditional holiday character front and center in your photo – Karl, the mascot of Leavenworth’s Nutcracker Museum, stands ready and waiting for any and all photo ops (nutcrackermuseum.com). And sadly, while the annual Christmas Lighting Festival has been cancelled for this year, Leavenworth will still shine. The plans for the installation of more than 50,000 sparkling lights are still a go and what a backdrop for any holiday photo they will make!

Book a tiny house at the Leavenworth Tiny House Village while you create your 2020 holiday masterpiece.

Tiny House Otto at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Santa Barbara, California: Let the Chromatic Gate provide the perfect frame for your holiday photo. Take a trip to the city’s Cabrillo Park and this multi-colored art installation by famed artist Herbert Bayer sets up the shot perfectly. Or, wish everyone luck in the new year with a photo of the gang (or just a selfie!) outside the Lucky Penny restaurant – the exterior wall is literally thousands of pennies! While you’re here, enjoy a slice of pizza! One last option that may bring on the figgy pudding comments – check out what is believed to be the largest fig tree in the U.S. The Moreton Bay Fig Tree, located at Chapala and Montecito Streets, has a circumference of 486 inches and is believed to have been planted over 140 years ago.

Prep for your photo ops while staying in one of our unique rentals at Rancho Oso.

Cathedral Rock near Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona: After a crazy year like 2020, you may want to convey healing vibes to friends and family in your holiday message. Choose one of the spectacular rock formations like Bell Rock or Cathedral Rock in Sedona’s Red Rock State Park to send season’s greeting with a healthy dose of good vibrations from these vortexes. Have your pic taken while on horseback and sign up for one of the scenic rides from Wild Western Horseback Adventures (wildwesternhorseback.com) that takes you through the Verde Valley itself. How about an ancient pueblo in the background of your photo? Explore the ruins of a Sinagua pueblo at Tuzigoot National Monument which is part of the National Park Service.

Tuzigoot National Monument near Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

Relax and recharge while staying in a cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley.

Florida Keys: Send warm wishes of the Florida kind and take a pic with Key West’s iconic landmark, the Southernmost Point Buoy. Add a palm tree to the shot by heading to Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key or send your “deer-est” wishes by snapping some pics while visiting the National Key Deer Refuge National Center, also located on Big Pine Key. As always, the beaches of the Keys are great for building snowmen of the sand variety to appear in your shot and who can’t resist a beautiful sunset or brightly colored tiny house as a backdrop?

Rent a colorful tiny home from Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key while you explore the Keys for the best holiday photo shoot!

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Book Tour

Exeter, New Hampshire, birthplace of John Irving, the novelist.

National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6. We’re feeling a little bookish this month and are ready for an adventure that’s one for the books!

Take a page from our Book Tour travel guide, and head to these cities that were either the setting for a famous book or the hometown and/or inspiration for some of the most famous authors in the US.

Cozy cabins at Narrows Too in Bar Harbor, Maine.

One of the most prolific writers of horror and supernatural fiction, Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. Plan a trip to Maine and stay with us in a cozy cabin at our Bar Harbor resorts, Mt. Desert Narrows and Narrows Too, and then head about an hour northwest and explore the town of Bangor. In addition to seeing King’s current residence, you can check out some sites related to King’s novels in Bangor that include the Paul Bunyan Statue located in Bass Park that was featured in It, and Mount Hope Cemetery which was featured in Pet Sematary.

Fisherman’s wharf in Monterey, California.

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, and the area became the inspiration for so many of his classic novels. Book a stay in a cabin, cottage, or ultra-unique safari tent at Morgan Hill RV Resort and you’re less than 50 miles from Steinbeck’s California. Visit Monterey, the setting for his acclaimed Depression-era novel Cannery Row, which depicted life in the town known as the Sardine Capital of the World. Don’t miss the Cannery Row tour. The town was also the setting for Tortilla Flat, the novel that earned both commercial and critical success for the author. Steinbeck’s home and the National Steinbeck Center can be found in Salinas.

The town of Exeter, New Hampshire.

John Irving, author of many novels including The World According to Garp and Hotel New Hampshire, is a native of New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire. If you’re considering a stay with us at the Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, you’ll be less than 10 miles from Exeter, which is not only Irving’s birthplace, but also the model for the town of Gravesend, featured in the bestseller, A Prayer for Owen Meany. Fans of the movie Cider House Rules, which was based on Irving’s novel of the same name, will be interested to know that three scenes from the movie were filmed at the Northfield Drive-In in Hinsdale, which is still in operation and is about 100 miles from the Tuxbury Tiny House Village.

Tiny house Lucy at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, Florida.

Ernest Hemingway and Key West, Florida, pretty much go hand in hand. Not only did he write about Key West in his novel To Have and Have Not, but he also spent many years living on the island. Undoubtably one of Key West’s most famous residents, the town honors Hemingway every July during Hemingway Days. Book a stay with us at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village (where we have a tiny house named after him!) and head down to explore Hemingway’s Key West. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, which is located in the house in which Hemingway lived for over 10 years, offers tours of the home and garden. The Blue Heaven saloon was a favorite of the authors and visitors today can enjoy breakfast or lunch here. Another favorite Hemingway haunt was Sloppy Joe’s. Famous for its sandwich of the same name, the bar pays tribute to Papa with an annual look-alike contest.