Extended Weekend Getaways - May 2023

Page 16

Table of Contents:

-4- | ExtendedWeekendGetaways ~ May, 2023 Feature - View Eclipse at the Parks P. 6 Recipes for Living - by Kandy Derden P. 8 Product Reviews P.10 Hotel Hospitality - Las Calines Resort -Dallas P.14 Going Global - Germany by Renée Gordon P.16 Going Global - Europe P.20 Going Global - Bahamas P.22 Western States Section P.24
Tonto Natl. Forest, AZ - by Sarah Miller P. 30 Hiking, Birding, CO by Jeanine Consoli P. 34 Top Parks, Nevada by Norman Reed P. 40 Creativity in Oregon by Kathy Condon P. 44 Midwest States Section P. 52 Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI by Heather Raulerson P. 60 Roosevelt Natl. Park, S.D. by Tim Trudell P. 78 P.22 P.34 Southern States Section P.82 Northern Alabama by Renée Gordon P.86 Dry Tortegus, FL by Robin O’Neal Smith P.92 New England Section P.100 Eastern States Section P.116 High Road, NC by Julie Diebolt Price P.120 Breaks Interstate Park, VA by Kathleen Walls P126 P.92

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Up Close: From the Editor

Mother’s Day is a time to appreciate all kinds of mothers — from birth mothers to foster mothers, from godmothers to grandmothers, and even mothers whose only children are covered in fur and walk on paws (or fly, or swim…).

To me, Mother’s Day is a celebration of unconditional love, incredible strength and fortitude, and seemingly endless patience.

This year, why not give your mother the gift of travel or a much-deserved getaway? Taking her on a trip can be a wonderful way to create lasting memories and show your gratitude for all that she has done. Whether it’s a relaxing spa retreat, a beach vacation, or an adventurous road trip, there are many options to choose from. Not only will she be able to unwind and recharge, but she’ll also have the opportunity to explore new destinations and try new experiences. The gift of travel is truly priceless, and it’s a thoughtful way to show your mother just how much she means to you. Begin your plans with this issue and all the options.

Cover Photo:

It’s the water and the horses that make a fun getaway at Tonto National Forest. See complete article by Sarah Miller on P. 30

Another May holiday, Memorial Day weekend, is also a popular time for travel. BBQs and trips to the park as it marks the unofficial start of summer. Many people take advantage of the three-day weekend to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and explore new destinations. From beaches to mountains, there is no shortage of options to hit the road and visit a park. The weather is often warm and sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and water sports. However, it’s important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, which is to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. So, while you’re enjoying your travels, take a moment to reflect and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Happy May! Let’s Go Celebrate!

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -5-
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Feature: Fun at the Parks Plan Now For Future Stay At

The total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, will cross the United States from Texas to Maine. The path of totality will pass through several states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

There are many campgrounds and accommodations along the path of totality, but it’s important to note that the availability of campsites and the proximity to the centerline of the

eclipse may vary.

Some campgrounds that are directly in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse include:

On the centerline of the eclipse: Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky, or one of the designated viewing areas in Missouri or Illinois.

Near the centerline of the eclipse: Big Creek RV Park in Missouri, or one of the state parks in Ohio or New Hampshire.

Other options: Lake Murray State Park in Oklahoma, Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, or any of the campsites in the path of totality in Vermont.

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At Parks To View Eclipse

It’s important to note that campsites and accommodations along the path of totality are likely to book up quickly, so it’s a good idea to make reservations well in advance. Additionally, it’s important to take precautions to protect your eyes when viewing a solar eclipse.

Campground inventory is generally available starting 365 days in advance. With the solar eclipse now less than a year away and expected to draw millions of people, travelers are already busily making plans. Reservations made via the Campspot platform for the weekend of the 2024 eclipse have already increased 40% year over year, with more inventory coming online daily.

To help travelers experience the eclipse first-hand, Campspot has created an eclipse booking page with tips, FAQs, and recommended locations. Travelers are encouraged to plan ahead and make reservations early to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be remembered for years to come.

Please note that the designated viewing areas for the eclipse in Missouri and Illinois may not have specific addresses or websites, but you can find more information on the NASA Eclipse website: https://eclipse.gsfc. nasa.gov/SEpath/SEpath2001/SE2024Apr08Tpath.html.

1.Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky - https://parks. ky.gov/parks/resortparks/naturalbridge-state-resort-park

2.Big Creek RV Park in Missouri


3.Ohio State Parks - https:// ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/ discover-and-learn/places-to-go/ state-parks

4.New Hampshire State Parkshttps://www.nhstateparks.org/

5.Lake Murray State Park in Oklahoma - https://www.travelok. com/state-parks/218

6.Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas - https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/petitjean-state-park

7.Vermont State Parkshttps://vtstateparks.com/

Please note that the designated viewing areas for the eclipse in Missouri and Illinois may not have specific addresses or websites, but you can find more information on the NASA Eclipse website: https://eclipse.gsfc. nasa.gov/SEpath/SEpath2001/ SE2024Apr08Tpath.html.

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Recipes for Living Take the Time to Celebrate

I love roses. They are such lovely flowers and smell oh, so good! I don’t get to smell them very often, but whenever I come across some, I always slow down simply to look.

That’s fairly simple for me this time of year because I live near a park which hosts a lovely rose garden. It is a beautiful location for outdoor nuptuals every year.

In addition to weddings, May is a month rich with holiday celebration opportunities. Although I haven’t heard anyone mention it for several decades, Mayday used to be a day I really enjoyed. I was fascinated by the idea of a Maypole. We actually had one when I was in early elementary school. It took us about half way through the process to figure out how to get the ribbons interwoven properly. I haven’t seen one since. However, there were a few years when we did get to observe the tradition of secretly delivering a basket of flowers by hanging it on someone’s door. Alas, this too is a practice which has now fallen by the wayside.

It might not be popular in all states, but Cinco de Mayo is party time where I live. Our fair city follows the pattern established by our great country as the melting pot of the world. Thus, we have quite a sizeable portion of our population which is of Mexican descent. Every year, they have a huge celebration in the largest of our city parks to celebrate one of Mexico’s battle victories. There is lots of music, laughter and food, not unlike America’s Fourth of July celebrations of


If the two previous events don’t catch your interest, perhaps it is because they get lost in the process of making everything special for Mother’s Day. Cards, balloons, flowers and special menus for eating out are advertised for weeks in advance. How can we thank mothers for all they do in just one day? Remember, their focus and attention is on their children 24/7/365 days a year for at least two decades and generally even longer.

Some think picking up the phone and calling Mom is an obligation while others tend to spend money for gifts otherwise overlooked. I know all the restaurants in town get super busy for that one day. One year, a local favorite added a huge tent to the back of their building to accommodate all the extra customers. I’m probably in the minority on this, but if I’m going to eat outside, I’d rather use a picnic table so I can actually enjoy

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Celebrate - In The Park

the outdoors and some pretty scenery such as the rose garden in our local park.

It is lovely this time of year. Here’s an even better idea: don’t wait for your mother’s funeral before you send her flowers. Send them now so she can enjoy them. Once a month ought to be enough to convince her she is not forgotten until you need something.

Memorial Day is no longer just a day, but rather, a whole weekend. How else is it possible to fit in all the parades, memorials, ceremonies, retail sales, cookouts, BBQ’s and picnics in the park?

There is one common theme recurring in all these: eating in a park. Yes, this requires . . . well, WORK! All the food has to be prepared and packaged for transport along with all the little details we don’t think of at home. For example, the salt shaker is always on the table at home, but we have to remember to take all our condiments along to picnics.

It’s not so bad if everyone brings something. That’s why whenever given the choice, I opt for taking desert. It doesn’t require but one dish. To that end, here is a recipe which was introduced to me recently and I have been finding lots of different uses for it.


2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 cans mandarin oranges (11 oz. each), drained

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Lightly spray 9X13” pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, combine all the topping ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour hot topping on cake immediately after it is removed from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with whipped topping if desired.

As with all my recipes suggestions, I try them out first at home. This one did not disappoint. I ate some warm, room temp and even chilled. I liked all three. It was good with whipped topping or alone. Even though it doesn’t need it, ice cream is always an option. I was not surprised to discover it stayed moist for an entire week. This cake is easy to transport and suitable for any or all occasions.

So, whether it’s dancing around a Maypole or enjoying a concert in the park, taking Mom to enjoy a flower garden or pausing to remember our military who have fallen, you always have the option of using local parks. Take time to appreciate the time and effort required to keep them clean, beautiful, functional and free for all to use.

And remember, take time to smell the roses.

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That Special Gift For the Traveling

Midwest State Park Adventures

A one-of-a-kind guidebook for nature enthusiasts, adventurers, and families seeking an exciting and unforgettable experience in the great outdoors. Midwest State Park Adventures highlights the best state parks in each of the twelve Midwestern states, handpicked by our team of local authors.. Authored by local experts from each of the twelve Midwest states, this comprehensive guide is packed with detailed profiles of 170+ must-visit state parks and complete listings of all state parks in the region.

Exploring the heartland of America, one state park at a time.

Publication Date: May 15, 2023

Autographed copies will ship week of May 22

Price: $24.99 Paperback

DrySee Thin Film Waterproof Dressing

For the mothers (or any other member of the family) who love the water on their weekend getaway. Swimming? Spa? Hot tub? No fears if yu happen to have a cut, scrape or wound that needs to stay “out” of the water. These bandages are totally waterproof, so they seal out the water and germs. Yet, they provide breathable wound protection. They change color when wet. Keep living your life with Visibly Better Protection.

Price: $19.95 6 Count 2x2 pad or 4 count 4x4

Available on Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens


The Fortune Teller

THE FORTUNE TELLER Mystical Light-Up Device into The Cosmos & Unknown, Speaking, Talking, 100+ Magical Predictions, LCD Display, Novelty Toy, All-New Magic 8 Ball Alternative, Limited Edition. With its upscale, sleek design and polished steel encasing, get ready to tap into the spirit plane to find your answers from the CLANDESTINE WORLD only accessible through the Fortune Teller.

Price: $90

Available on Amazon

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Traveling Mom

Arcade Belts

Founded on the belief that belts could be designed to function better, last longer, and be more comfortable, these belts have been developed from the ground up with materials that are built to go everywhere and anywhere. Each Arcade belt provides a custom fit, sturdy hold, and the right amount of flexibility to move with you. Patterns for the National Parks Lover, plain colors, or the outdoorsy one(shown). These belts feature

•Performance stretch & custom fit

• Made from recycled materials

•Dozens of styles/colors to choose from

Price: $34.95 https://arcadebelts.com/

Gather Chocolates

Six distinctly flavored chocolates each designed to be part of a flight of delightful flavor experiences. Made by hand in small batches, the flight is unified by rich notes of 70% cacao dark chocolate complimented by a lighter note of local wildflower honey. A portion of each sale is donated to the Pollinator Partnership whose mission promotes the health of bee pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through research and education.

Price: $27 - $39


Baobab Scented Candle Collection

A brand at the forefront of the creation of olfactory and aesthetic objects. Drawing its inspiration from African lands, the Belgian brand’s interior perfumes have been established as decorative objects since 2002. This company is the pioneer in the creation of large multi-wick candles. Sophisticated fragrances of citrus, floral, fresh, woods, and woody. In quality mouth-blown glass containers.


Price: Varies


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Traveling Freely with Comfortable

An Interview with Shawn Boyer, the Co-Founder of Anatomie

It was a lovely Jan 26 2023 afternoon, on one of the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collections. This was a lovely afternoon in one of the most beautiful luxury super Yacht called Evrima which is a Greek word meaning “discovery.” Our global Editor Jamie Ye, interviewed Shawn Boyer, The CEO of Anatomie, a fashion clothing Brand from Miami.

Brand Story:

Kate and Shawn Boyer founded Anatomie in 2006 after years in the activewear business. Budapest-born Kate received an MBA in International Trade in France. She met her husband, Shawn, in Miami where the Ohio native was designing customized clothing for hard-to-fit athletic men. The two joined forces to design sportswear for brands such as Elite Models, Cigarette Boats, Lamborghini and Nikki Beach clubs. Ten years ago, Anatomie began selling their product to the Ritz Carlton group.

omie uses very high quality fabric like super Ninon to keep you comfortable and flexible, especially when traveling. When you travel, you want to be fashionable - but also comfortable. Anatomie can help you be both. When you fly first class you want to wear comfortable clothing and yet still looks nice. Also, when you are on the road for as long as 10 days, you want your clothing to easily dry after washing it.

Anatomie believes that traveling freely is one of the greatest privileges in life. Their mission is to become the most-loved luxury travel brand in the world.

Where to find Anatomie?

Shawn told us their goal is to find more participating shops in the larger airports. It is their dream for the coming future is to hopefully expand their brand to Hongkong /Dubai Airport shops. Currently, the shops you can find Anatomie clothing line are:

Anatomie Flag Stores Locations: Miami / Miami Beach / Palm Beach/California / Marco Polo Airport, Venice, Italy. For addresses please check their website at https://anatomie.com/ pag-es/locations or google “yachting.”

Anatomie exists to outfit the global traveler and everyday adventurer in the most comfortable and stylish performance apparel. They define themselves as a luxury brand. However, luxury is not a price point; it’s a feeling of ultimate comfort and personalized experience. Anatomie also believes luxury should be affordable too.

In 2005, they began with an idea of designing for the work-out clothing line. After more than 600 fashion shows experienced, they realized that when their clients traveled, Anatomie was the only brand they wore.

Shawn told us during the interview that Anat-

Their clothing is designed with a style-meetsfunction mentality and is executed with European fabrics and craftsmanship. We will hopefully see more and more stores in the Global Travel Destinations very soon.

If you want to know more about Anatomie: www.anatomie.com

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Product Review

Comfortable Clothing

Above: Limited Edition: Peacock Blue

At right: What to wear ona Safari Excursion: Lightweight, wrinkle-free Kenya Safari Jacket with Kate Skinny Cargo Pant

“Savvy travelers know to pack smartly, opting for clothing that is wrinkle resistant, easy to maintain and does not take up too much luggage space. European fabrics and quality craftsmanship ensure luxurious and beautiful pieces.

Anatomie checks all of those boxes.

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Hotel Hospitality - Dallas, Texas

Las Colinas Resort Getaway

Honor Mom with a Day of Appreciation and Relaxation at The Las Colinas Resort, Dallas this Mother’s Day

Moms deserve to be honored and celebrated every day, but especially on Mother’s Day. Show your appreciation with the gift she deserves most – a day off. Treat her to brunch at The Las Colinas Resort, Dallas followed by a day of pampering in The Spa and Salon this Mother’s Day.


Mother’s Day Garden Brunch

Buffet in The Ballroom

Sunday, May 13, 2023 | Seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Leave the cooking and cleaning to the culinary team so Mom can focus on feasting. Enjoy a Garden Brunch Buffet in The Ballroom accompanied by a live pianist, face painters, and balloon artists. Children may hand select a bouquet for mom from the floral cart upon arrival.

Executive Chef Tony France has prepared an extensive menu including seasonal breakfast and brunch favorites as well as specialty dishes such as Grilled Texas Red Fish with jalapeño mango salsa and charred shishito peppers as well as chicken Cacciatore braised in red wine and topped

Getaway For Mother’s Day

with olives, herbs and heirloom carrots. Begin with Soup, Salad and Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie. Seafood lovers make your way to the Fisherman’s Wharf and select from Poached Prawns, Snow Crab Claws, King Crab Legs and Fresh Shucked Oysters or visit the Smoked Salmon and Sushi Pasta Bar. Interactive action stations include Waffles and Pancakes, Chef-to-Carve and Farmer’s Egg Stations as well as a Pasta Bar with artisan pasta made to order with your choice of Arrabbiata Sauce, Zucchini Pistou or Jalapeño Cheese Sauce.

Executive Pastry Chef Sophie

Candia’s Grand Dessert Hall has no shortage of sweets. Savor decadent delicacies such as Frangelico Crepes, fresh fried beignets, Lemon Raspberry Opera Cake, Chocolate Praline Eclairs, Pistachio Pear Galette, Raspberry Rose Gateaux, Passionfruit Pavlova and more. Pricing: $150 per adult | $50 per child (6 - 12 years) Tax and 18 per-

cent service charge are not included in the pricing listed above.

Advance reservations for the Mother’s Day Garden Brunch Buffet are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling LAW at 972 717 2420.

Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet in LAW

Sunday, May 13, 2023 | 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For a more reserved Mother’s Day Brunch experience, guests may opt for the traditional Sunday brunch buffet in the Resort’s signature restaurant, LAW. Kids menus and vegan options are

available. Pricing: $62 per person

Advance reservations for Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet in LAW are strongly encouraged and can be made online or by calling LAW at 972 717 2420.


Experience Texas wildflower season in The Spa and Salon with the In Bloom package ($250 – 270) through May 31, 2023. Indulge in ultimate hydration with a 60-minute exfoliating Wildflower Hydrating Wrap followed by a perfectly polished 60-minute Dazzle Dry Manicure. The In Bloom package includes a light and wholesome lunch as well as a tea selection curated by the team. Guests receive a complimentary gift with purchase.

Gift cards are available for purchase in The Spa and Salon. To book a stay at The Las Colinas Resort, visit online.

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Going Global: Germany 1 Nuremberg, The Most German

Nuremberg, on the Pegnitz River, is located in Bavaria and is southern Germany’s second largest city. It was founded more than 960 years ago, has been at the forefront of Germany’s culture since its establishment and personifies the entire spectrum of Germany’s history. Most significantly it presents a pattern of how to begin to recognize, come to terms with and learn important lessons from one’s history. www. germany.travel/en

The building, by King Henry III of Bavaria, of Kaiserburg, Nuremberg’s imperial castle, preceded the first official reference to “Nourenberc” in 1050. At that time the city was the eastern frontier of the region and there had been small communities in prehistoric times but the first fully documented settlement surrounded the castle and was chartered in 1219 by Emperor Frederick II as a free imperial city. Although it was not situated on a major water route it was situated at the intersection of several land routes and by the early 1300s it was a free imperial city dependent upon trade and industry. It was considered for more than 450-years the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation some have deemed the First Reich.

Armor, at that time, was so heavy that if knocked from your horse you were unable to rise without

help so many men wore shirts made of wire rings. Each shirt took 18 months to make and was comprised of 40,000 individual rings. The city became famous for making these chain-mail shirts.

The Nuremberg bratwurst, the city’s iconic food, is first mentioned more than 700 years ago. The sausage was such a diet staple that the city council instituted the “Guten Policy,” guidelines for the making and content of the sausage and those guidelines continue to be adhered to. There are numerous restaurants and kiosks where visitors can try one. Traditionally, they are between three to five inches

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“To be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child.” Cicero

German City

mentary session held by each new king had to be held in Nuremberg. During the 15th and 16th centuries Nuremberg was a cultural center and art, architecture, philosophy, science and innovation flourished. Ironically, some of the very things that made it a focal point of the German Renaissance would make it ideally suited to become a major city for Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP/ Nazi Party) and later for the war crime trials.

Nuremberg’s Old Town (Altstadt) walls were constructed to surround it beginning in the 12th-century. Originally they were approximately 4.5-miles with 3-miles and four gates still standing. The Pegnitz River divides the old town into the northern Sebalder Altstadt and the southern Lorenzer Altstadt. If you arrive at the Main Railway Station it is less than one block to the Konigstor, King’s Gate, and Konigstor Street that offers access to the major sites and attractions.

long, are grilled over beechwood and six to 12 are served with potato salad or sauerkraut on a pewter plate as pewter was one of the primary metals mined here. Currently an exhibit, “A Cultural History of the Nuremberg Bratwurst” is on display in the City Museum Fembohaus until March 2015. The 1596 Fembo House is the sole surviving large late Renaissance merchant’s house and has been a museum since 1953. www.museen.nuernberg.de/fembohaus

In 1356, the town’s status was assured when the Golden Bull was issued stating that the first parlia-

Just inside the gate is the Handwerkerhof, a courtyard with traditional craft stores, cafés and entertainment all replicating a medieval shopping district. This is a great place to purchase authentic souvenirs and memorabilia. The historic Bratwurstglocklein Restaurant is the perfect place to soak up the medieval atmosphere and order a traditional meal prepared and served in the authentic manner. It also presents a wonderful photo opportunity with the walls and tower in the background. www.handwerkerhof.de/de/home

Hotel Victoria is also in the shadow of the gate and it is ideally situated so that a car is not necessary for travel. It was constructed in 1896, underwent a complete renovation this year and represents an expert blending of traditional and modern. All 62 guestrooms provide WIFI, a pillow menu, international television viewing, down bedding and deluxe bath amenities.

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The entire hotel is nonsmoking and breakfast is offered daily. The staff is exceptional and special packages are available online. www.hotelvictoria.de

The German National Museum was established in 1852 and was heavily bombed during WWII. A new building opened in 1993 and incorporates modern architecture and portions of a Carthusian abbey. The museum is considered one of the best in the world, with a permanent collection in the millions and there is no better place to explore the cultural history of the German-speaking people. Highlights of the massive collection include works by Durer, Tilman Riemenschneider, the first globe and a Nuremberg egg.

Cartographer Maritin Behaim created the 21-inch diameter Behaim Globe in Nuremberg in 1492. It depicts the equator, one meridian and a host of miniature paintings. The Americas are conspicuously absent because Columbus had not yet returned from his voyage of “discovery”. The globe was first referred to as an earth apple. A little over a quarter of a century later, In 1524, Peter Henlein made the first pocket watch. The Nuremberg egg was round, cumbersome and no glass covered the face necessitating a lid. It is believed they were originally worn as pendants. www.gnm.de/englische-seite

The high Gothic main basilica of St. Lorenz

Kirche was constructed between 1270 and 1350 with a presbytery being added in the mid1400s making it the city’s largest church. The exterior of the church has twin, 263 and 265-ft., spires and 30-ft. diameter rose window. The main entrance is magnificently adorned with sculptures that introduce the theme of redemption from the Garden of Eden to the final judgment. The interior is decorated with carvings and sculptures the most significant of which are the 1219 Mary and Child, Stoss’ 1518 Annunciation and the 1418 high altar. (German only) www. lorenzkirche.de

Several bridges line the

River leading from the southern section of the city to the northern. One, the Henkersteg or Hangman’s Bridge, has an incredible story to tell. The wooden bridge was built in 1457, was rebuilt after a flood in 1595, and reconstructed in 1954. The Nuremberg Hang-

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man was an official position that was also hereditary. He was shunned by the people and lived away from them in a tower and six room roofed walkway over the river at its western tip. Frantz Schmidt held the office of Official Executioner from 1573 until 1618 and kept a journal that has provided much information on the office and his life.

Tours of the Hangman’s Residence Museum include the Hangman’s Room the site of the prisoner’s last meals, at that time prisoners ate well the three days prior to execution. Executions took place outside of the city walls at what is today the location of the Main Railway Station.

Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt, Main Marketplace, is home to the most renowned Christmas Market in the country, first documented in 1628. The market opens the first Friday before the 1st Advent Sunday and runs until Christmas Eve. Nearly 190 stalls, some 200-years old, are festively decorated and selling traditional foods, mulled wine and handicrafts, entertainment and stagecoach rides are offered on a regular schedule. The special Children’s Market includes hands-on activities, child-sized booths, a Ferris wheel and a two tiered carousel. www.christkindlesmarkt.de/en

Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, had the Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady, erected on the site of a destroyed synagogue, between 1352 and 1362. Our Lady is the oldest extant Gothic hall church in Bavaria. An interior tour showcases the 1445 Tucher Altar. On the western façade of the church visitors are delighted each noon by the Mannleinlaufen, a mechanical clock that was placed there in 1509. The sculpted figures of the seven electoral princes parade clockwise around the emperor

honoring him for instituting the 1356 Golden Bull.

The Rathaus, Town Hall, has several distinct sections. The oldest section is Gothic and faces the Hauptmarkt. It dates from 1332 with a modernization in the 1400s. Jacob Wolff the Younger built a Renaissance addition in 1616. The building was for a time the largest secular hall north of the Alps. It building destroyed in WWII and reconstructed beginning in the 1950s. A 30-minute tour is offered of the dungeons below the older portion of the building. They date from the 14th-century.

The “Beautiful Fountain” is located in the Hauptmarkt. Stonemason Heinrich Beheim completed it in 1396. The 62-ft. column, with four rows featuring 40 sculpted figures, was surrounded in 1587 by an ornate fence that has an attached brass ring. Legend has it that if you turn the ring your wish will be granted.

Albert Durer lived in a half-timbered house built in 1420 from 1509 until his death in 1528. The house is the sole 16th-century artist’s residence in Northern Europe and is Germany’s first artist museum dating from 1828. A docent in the role of Agnes Durer, Albrecht’s wife, leads tours through the reconstructed rooms. Demonstrations of printing techniques are held as well as artwork exhibits.

The rebuilt Historic Art Bunkers, some as deep as 79-ft., were created beneath the Kaiserburg Castle during WWII. The bunkers were the former beer cellars of the castle and they were deemed bombproof. For added protection, systems were installed to provide ventilation and protect against fire.

Article Contined >Here

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Going Global: Europe Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt

Paramount Global has announced the third edition of the Nickelodeon experiential tourism franchise, Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt Malta, to take place in Valletta on May 24-28.

The Hunt is designed to drive discovery of Valletta for kids and families through the power of Nickelodeon’s globally loved characters: SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Transformers and Baby Shark. A Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt map will act as a guide for kids to experience a series of character-themed zones across multiple locations in the heart of Valletta, creating memories and collecting mementos along the way.

Activities in Valletta will include a Transformers Zone on Republic Street starring a life-size BumbleBee Transformer, a Nickelodeon Dance Party at Pjazza Teatru Rjal featuring some of Nickelodeon’s biggest animated stars, a PAW Patrol Zone in Jean De Valette Square including Malta’s real-life first responders from the Police and Fire Departments, and a SpongeBob SquarePants Zone where families will be able to experience the world’s most famous sea-sponge like never before. Across all the zones, kids and families will be able to enjoy exclusive give-

aways, interactive augmented reality photo experiences and character meet and greets. On both Saturday and Sunday, spectacular must-see Nickelodeon Parades will close each day’s activity, starting from Republic Street and finishing in Triton Square.

In addition to the Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt in Valletta, kids and families will be able to discover the whole island through an exclusive Heritage Malta Trail, running around the Treasure Hunt weekend. There is also discounted tickets and offers for some of Heritage Malta’s most family-friendly attractions.

All activities included in the Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt will have free entry, with no registration or tickets required.This Nickelodeon experience builds upon the success of the annual Isle of MTV Malta live music event which helped reposition Malta as a youth travel destination.

The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta, built by the proud Knights of St. John, is one of the UNESCO sites and the European Capital of Culture. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 8,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.

For more information on Malta, visit www.visitmalta.com.

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Going Global: Bahamas Odyssey Aviation

The Bahamas Leader in Private Aviation Support

The Bahamas 700 islands and cays stretch over 760 miles, scattered over 100,000 square miles of ocean and only 50 nautical miles from Florida. Making it an explorer’s paradise, whether you’re island-hopping across miles of crystal-clear water by air or by sea you will be astonished by the beauty of The Bahamas awe-inspiring blue waters and jewel-like islands. Without a doubt, yachting in The Bahamas is booming! When yacht owners dream of the picture-perfect Bahamas escape, they are usually thinking of the chain of Islands known as The Exumas. With welcoming people, endless white powder beaches, a distinct Bahamian culture and award-winning restaurants and hotels, visitors are astonished by the beauty of this magical environment. And it is Odyssey Aviation’s mission to help you arrive in this Exuma paradise as swiftly and safely as possible.

Most passengers arriving via private jet are doing so to maximize their vacation time. Some then travel onto their Nassau-based hotels or yachts via ground transportation such as limos. Others, who have to travel to a private island or a yacht in a remote location, depart via seaplane or smaller aircraft better suited to land on the

short island runways. Odyssey assists with these travel arrangements and handles more air transfers maneuvers to the Bahamas Family Islands than any other FBO in the Bahamas.

Odyssey Aviation supports visitors arriving on private jets with a multitude of tasks, for example, throughout the pandemic the Odyssey team helped visitors and crews decipher The Bahamas Government, executive orders, immigration & health entry protocols and certifications. Odyssey streamlined the often-complicated processes for visiting aviation and yacht crews, they also kept the public and other industry associations fully informed with the ever-changing covid procedures and health visa requirements. Many yacht crews and aircraft schedulers and dispatchers haven’t forgotten the assistance Odyssey Aviation provided at that challenging time, what is more, Odyssey has built a huge base of tremendously loyal clientele as a result of providing this priceless support!

Odyssey Aviation Bahamas has the largest and most trusted network of Private Aviation Terminals / Fixed Base Operator (FBO’s) and Ground Handling Stations in The Bahamas. Odyssey is

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focused on safety, security, and customer service excellence. With operations at four airports on three islands, Odyssey has two full service FBOs, Nassau and Exuma, and two ground handling locations on Eleuthera, Governor’s Harbour and Rock Sound. Their highly experienced teams provide the expertise and personalized service you should expect from a premium FBO.

Odyssey Aviation FBO Nassau (MYNN) works closely with the Association of Bahamas Marinas, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, plus many other Bahamas government agencies, tourism industry partners and connections, and the benefit of having their own inhouse government agent, aides in the support of flight operators & boat crew management agencies, helping to expedite the permit processes and other Bahamas Government certifications and requirements.

Odyssey Aviation provides superior concierge services on a daily basis. They assist clients

with crew-rate hotel reservations, VIP transportation, air charter transfers to out-islands, catering requests, government permits, greeting all aircraft on the ramp and escorting each and every visitor through The Bahamas Customs and Immigration protocols on to their next mode of transportation whether it’s a waiting limo or a seaplane!

And you can rest assured that your private jet is safe and secure at Odyssey Aviation flagship FBO in Nassau, they have two large capacity aircraft hangars and the largest and only fully private ramp at Lynden Pindling International Airport, state-of-the-art CCTV security, a private bulk-volume fuel farm, and advanced ground support equipment. The company’s line service technicians are all highly trained and certified in NATA’s Safety 1st Professional Line Service Training. Odyssey’s Bahamas FBOs are also Gulfstream Safety Certified.

All Odyssey Bahamas locations are ports-of-entry

and Nassau and Exuma FBO locations have customs and immigration inside their FBO facilities. However, its Odyssey’s people and their personal commitment to service excellence that sets them apart, they are a vital partner in the flight service experience, whether supporting a small corporate flight department, large charter company, diplomatic flights, or mega yacht crews and guests, Odyssey has you covered. Guest Experience is key, the Odyssey team is continually striving to elevate their client’s experience.

Odyssey Aviation gives visitors the freedom and convenience of a flawless jet-toprivate-island, jet-to-hotel, or jet-to-yacht transfer procedure and they excel in making it feel seamless!

To experience luxury and first-class service, choose Odyssey Aviclass service. Choose Odyssey Aviation as your welcoming partner

Call (242) 702 0200


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Western States


There’s no shortage of stunning locations to catch a glimpse of Alaska’s birds. Glacier Bay National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park are must-visits for any bird enthusiast. Glacier Bay has roughly 240 different species and Kenai Fjords has about 190, many of which are easily found from early May to mid-September. Meanwhile, the Pribilof Islands have been formally recognized as part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge due to their prominence as seabird nesting sites. More than three million seabirds nest on the islands and over 220 species have been reported here, with some coming from as far as South America.

Another prime spot is Denali National Park and Preserve, which boasts 167 species of birds. Although birding dips in the winter months, ptarmigan, gyrfalcon, and goshawks remain in the park when the

Best Bird Watching

temperatures drop. Elsewhere, Gambell sits on the northwest of St. Lawrence Island and is home to loons, auklets, murres, and puffins at the start of June. The emperor goose, ruff, cuckoo, and ivory gull have also been spotted here. Nome and the Bering Sea coast is also a popular nesting spot for birds like North American waterfowl. During the summer, the area welcomes roughly

200 migratory bird species to its shores.

Kodiak Island welcomes birds from both land and sea to its rocky terrain. From sparrows, winter wrens, bank swallows, and golden-crowned kinglets, more than 240 bird species visit the archipelago. Eagles are also in the area, alongside seasonal appearances from puffins, kitti-

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When it comes to cruising in Alaska, you’ll be spoiled for choice. No other state has more coastline to explore than Alaska.

in the Parks

wakes, geese, and swans. Adak Island, located in the Aleutian Islands and part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, is also an excellent spot for birding, attracting rare bird species that aren’t viewable anywhere else in the United States due to its remote location in the Bering Sea.


Generally speaking, the best time

to bird in Alaska is from late April until mid-September. These summer months are when many birds migrate through to the area or settle here for the season. In the fall, birds tend to leave, however, local birds become more active—which can be a nice surprise for birders who aren’t familiar with Alaska’s native bird species. For rare birds that migrate to western Alaska from Asia, June is ideal to visit. For seabird colonies in

the northwest, July is best. Naturally, different species of birds have different seasonal patterns, so if there’s a particular bird you’re hoping to see, check beforehand to confirm when they’re due to be active in Alaska.


Birding is such a hot commodity in Alaska that the state actually hosts a number of birding festivals throughout the year. In early May, Cordova hosts the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival where the tidal flats of the Delta are bombarded with nearly 5 million shorebirds. The festival celebrates the significance of their migration with scavenger hunts, art exhibits, and group viewings.

Similarly, because of the need for shorebirds to make a pitstop along tidal areas and wetlands, the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival takes place in early May in Homer, Alaska. With at least 134 bird species spotted in 2022, this is Alaska’s largest wildlife viewing event.

For More on Alaska

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Petrified Forest National Park

From deserts to ancient forests to petroglyphs and Route 66, there is way more to Petrified Forest National Park than you might realize!

Educational exhibits geared towards kids showcase petrified logs. In fact, there’s even a petrified log by the picnic area. Bones are spilling out of the ground at Petrified Forest. They can become a mini paleontologist

The Petrified Forest National Park is a stunning geological wonder, known for its vibrant colors, fascinating fossils, and mesmerizing rock formations. With over 93,000 acres of natural beauty, the park offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy during a spring extended weekend getaway. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for an adventurous retreat, the Petrified Forest has something to offer everyone.

One of the must-see places in the park is the Rainbow Forest Museum, which houses an extensive collection of petrified wood specimens, ancient artifacts, and educational exhibits about the region’s natural and cultural history. The museum is a great starting point for visitors to learn about the park’s geological formations and the diverse wildlife that call the area home. After exploring the museum, visitors can take a stroll along the nearby Rainbow Forest

Trail, which winds through some of the park’s most breathtaking landscapes, including colorful badlands, petrified wood logs, and scenic vistas of the Painted Desert.

Another popular destination in the park is the Crystal Forest Trail, which features an array of dazzling petrified wood logs, some of which are over 200 million years old. The trail is a great place to witness the park’s unique geological features up close, as well as to take in the stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape.

For those seeking a more adventurous outing, the Blue Mesa Trail is a great option. This trail takes hikers through a vibrant blue badlands area, with sweeping panoramic views of the Painted Desert and petrified wood logs scattered throughout. The trail is relatively easy, but can be steep in some sections, so it’s important to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.

In addition to hiking, visitors to the Petrified Forest can also enjoy a range of other outdoor activities, including biking, horseback

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riding, and camping. The park has several designated campsites, ranging from primitive to fully-equipped, and many offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

When it comes to dining and accommodations, the park has several options to choose from. The Painted Desert Inn, a historic landmark built in the 1930s,

offers visitors a unique dining experience, with delicious meals made from locally-sourced ingredients. The park also has several lodging options, including the historic Route 66 motel and several camping cabins.

Overall, the Petrified Forest National Park is a great destination for an extended weekend getaway during the spring season.

With its stunning natural beauty, fascinating history, and range of activities and attractions, it offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience thatwill leave a lasting impression. So if you’re looking for a unique and memorable adventure, look no further here. For

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More on Arizona,

Water & Wild Horses at Tonto National

After years of visiting the Greater Phoenix area I hiked mountain rocks dotted with prickly cacti and cooled off at the pool. After passing multiple green road signs that said

“river” and seeing not a single drop, I’d written off the area as a dried-out desert. I’m here to let you in on a secret that took me a few years to discover–Tonto National Forest.

The Lower Salt River is located in Tonto National Forest,

part of a 200-mile river that feeds nearby lakes–Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt lakes. Flocked with Sonoran Desert cacti and rambling flora and fauna, Tonto National Forest occupies over 2.9 million acres. The mountains and cacti are stunning here, but

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Visiting the Arizona desert might not be the first spot you think of for water recreation. That’s understandable.

National Forest

largest national forest of the USDA’s 154 forests). You’ll find cool shady pines, but most of the area is made of rugged rocks and desert vistas that leave indelible memories. The Salt River is the best way to explore the desert beauty, an oasis of cool comfort. Drift on a tube, rent a kayak, or try standup paddleboarding.

Adventure Awaits!

Before sunrise and after sunset, visitors are sometimes gifted with the sight of wild mustangs wading or drinking from the river inside Tonto National Forest. Thought to be descendants of Spanish Colonial or Iberian horses brought to the Southwest in the 16th century, the Salt River Horses are documented to have arrived well before Tonto National Forest was created.

If you’ve never been to Phoenix in late spring or summer, it is the prime time to indulge in cool waters. Several area outfitters rent tubes, kayaks, boards, and gear for independent exploration or guided tours.

the Salt River and wild horses bring visitors and travelers to splash and relax in this desert oasis. Just about 40 minutes from downtown Phoenix, to the east, in Mesa, Arizona, visitors will find both natural beauty and relaxation.

With altitudes ranging from 1,300 to 7,900 feet, this gem offers varied vegetation and is the largest national forest in Arizona (and the sixth

Floating through Tonto National Park is magical. My first time, I went with a guided group in July. We came to a point where the guide invited us to just float on our backs with life preservers. The current quietly carried us. Cool waters rambled quietly around me and a bald eagle soared overhead. Mountain rock surrounded on either side, and the western sky was that deep blue. Floating the Salt River is relaxing and exhilarating. Please Turn to Next

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Planning Your Visit

While winter and spring are peak times to visit, the 200-mile Salt River is reason alone to visit from May into summer. Tubing, paddleboarding, and kayaking rental operations don’t open until May. Water temperatures and levels are usually just right for floating this time of year.

Summer brings lower rates which means luxury stays at the posh Scottsdale resorts are affordable. Five-star resorts offer endless opportunities for golf, massive swimming pools, gourmet dining, spa services, and opulence around every corner. Closer accommodations in Mesa and Chandler put you just a few minutes from Tonto National Forest. The Hilton

Mesa Longbow even offers mountain views where you can retreat to your room to watch the sunset over Tonto National Forest.

For More on Arizona >

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New Exhibits Coming

Market on the third Saturday of each month from March to December and the Monthly Friday Night Lecture Series. Stay up to date with the monthly events by following the Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park Facebook page.

OAKHURST - Fresno Flats

Historic Village & Park was awarded a $174,500 museum grant from the California Natural Resources Agency through the California Cultural and Historical Endowment. The funds are dedicated to improving exhibits and programs showcasing the history and cultures of underrepresented communities, digital asset upgrades and critical infrastructure repairs.

New exhibits will be installed focusing on the history and culture of the local Indigenous population in their own words, including the cultural burning practices and local fire ecology, and the contributions of the early Chinese immigrants in California. The existing digital collections on the website will be updated and

made more accessible with a digital historical photo library and oral history recordings.

Improvements and repairs to the museum include replacing a rotting log on the bottom of the Taylor Log Cabin, built in 1869, and repairing the roof and flooring of the museum, creating a safer experience for museumgoers. “Our museum is dedicated to sharing amazing stories from our past and providing hands-on experiences that inspire and educate our children,” says Paul Adelizi, President of the Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park.

In addition to housing historical artifacts and preserving 19th-century buildings, the Village & Park hosts events open to the public such as the Monthly Mountain Artisan

Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park is built around two restored and furnished homes designated by the State of California as Points of Historical Interest dating back to the 1870s, along with two early-day one-room schools, two 19th century jails and several farm buildings. This area recaptures what 19th century life was like in the Sierra Nevada foothills and the mountains of Central California during the Gold Rish of 1849 and the subsequent logging, farming and merchanting industries. The Village & Park is open for self-guided tours from dawn to dusk. Guided tours of the buildings are available from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday and weekends in the summer.

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For More on California >CLICK HERE

Guided Hiking & Birding in the

When Kaiyote Snow was three years old, she sat on her tricycle in the driveway of her home, looked up at the sky and said, “Someday I’m going to walk and see the whole world.”

She laughs now as she remembers that little girl and says that she was born to lead hikes all over the planet. Kaiyote is a certified Wilderness First Responder and educator for NOLS – the National Outdoor Leadership School and a Leave No Trace Backcountry Master Educator. This self-taught naturalist, award-winning photographer, and artist is also the lead guide and owner of Kaiyote Tours a company that promotes nature and the importance of biodiver-

sity for a healthy environment globally.

Kaiyote Snow’s Tour Company

Kaiyote stumbled into her current career during her first job out of college. She was working at a lodge on the Estes Park side of Rocky Mountain National Park doing administrative work, and started to offer older guests free guided tours of the park. They wanted to explore but were nervous about hiking without a knowledgeable guide to lead them. With her background in social psychology and group dynamics combined with her love of the natural world, she was offered a new position by the lodge to offer the amenity full-time.

Nine years later, in 1998, she started her own business. Since then, she’s led an array of outdoor tours (birding, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing) to explore the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park from the Grand Lake side also known as the “Western Gateway.”

In 2021 she added the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve for birding, hiking and overnight backpacking and multi-day overnight tours in Montana, New Mexico, and Olympic National Park in Washington State. Her company recently expanded adding international birding and nature tours.

Kaiyote offers small group (4-8 travelers) internation-

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al tours which can follow a planned itinerary or private and customized with one’s own group. Each tour provides knowledgeable guides that focus on birding and the outdoor world. The international tours are broken into three categories: easy, moderate, and adventurous so that travelers can decided what level suits them best. These treks have led Kaiyote to Taiwan, Europe, Nepal, Borneo, and the Columbia Amazon with more destination detailed on her website.

Rocky Mountain National Park

My husband and I met Kaiyote in February for a half-day guided snowshoe hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. We met her outside of the western

entrance following her through the park to the Colorado River Trailhead. The trail stretches for 7 miles and has a starting elevation of 9,040 feet with little elevation gain throughout. Kaiyote provided snowshoe gear which included shoes, poles, and snacks. We dressed for the weather, which was cold, but dry, and brought water. After a quick lesson on how to use the equipment, we set off.

We stopped often to admire the variety of trees, birds, and wildlife, during our tour and stepped off trail to dig down through the fluffy, white snow to hear the bubbling sound of the Colorado River flowing under the icy layer. Time flew by as we trekked roundtrip for three miles through the wintry landscape, admiring the beauty of the stunning surroundings.

In the spring or summer, Kaiyote leads private, small group guided hiking experiences, birding and nature excursions, or overnight backpacking tours. Rocky Mountain National Park has 359 hiking trails and covers 416 square miles with some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. There are over 300 species of birds, Elk, Moose, and Coyotes as well as smaller creatures like chipmunks and squirrels. If you trekked the Colorado River Trail in the spring or summer you’d see wildflowers, birds, and wildlife.

Great Sand Dunes

Natl. Park And Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park And Preserve in Southern Colorado has sand dune “mountains” that stretch for 30 square miles. The Ute tribe lived among the dunes 11,000 years ago and archeological work continues to this day. President Herbert Hoover first dedicated the area as a National Monument in 1932 to protect the naturally formed dunes. In 2004 the area expanded to 233 square miles to include the surrounding mountains becoming a National Park.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains have some of the highest peaks in Colorado and the dunes are the highest in North America, majestically rising 750 feet from the valley floor. Kaiyote will guide her guests on a private birding, hiking, or backpacking tour in the park. According to Kaiyote, over 250 different species of birds make the park their home and there are 40 miles of hiking trails. In the evenings guests might look up at the sky to learn about constellations, the Milky Way, and enjoy the vast canvas of twinkling lights. Please turn

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Grand Lake, Colorado – A Four Season


Grand Lake is known as the “Western Gateway” to Rocky Mountain National Park and is also known as the “Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado.” This adorable, authentic western town is a great place to spend time. You can stay in a rustic cabin or enjoy lakeside accommodations like The Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging

with stunning views across Grand Lake.

The historic raised boardwalk has over 60 shops and galleries to explore as well as some incredible dining options including Sagebrush BBQ or Charlie’s Bar And Grill where you can savor great views and delicious food.

The outdoor activities during the spring, sum-

mer, and fall at Colorado’s largest natural lake abound with boating, fishing, and sailing on the water. On land there are several activities like horseback riding, hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or wildlife viewing in Rocky Mountain National Park –a playground in any season. For

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More on Colorado >CLICK HERE

Kauai Poke Fest - June 3

Is named one of the top-five food festivals in America. Get tickets now - they sell out fast!

KOLOA LANDING - More than 500 pounds of fresh ahi tuna poke is served with professional and amateur cooks competing for the title. James Beard Award-winning chef Sam Choy — revered as the godfather of poke — hosts this event; super inventive variations on the iconic Hawaiian dish make this one of the most fun and underrated food festivals around.

Celebrity chefs Aarón Sánchez and Ronnie Rainwater will also be in attendance. The festival will include live entertainment, 20 professional and amateur chefs creating unique and delicious dishes for everyone to try. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

Kauai has never been as popular as Honolulu or Maui, but it’s a favorite island among nature lovers and adventure seekers for tranquil waterfall hikes, deserted beaches, cliff diving and rich local culture. Kauai is the same size as O’ahu, but home to less than 75,000 people. With Mālama Hawai’i, guests can earn free or discounted nights or other hotel perks at participating hotels when completing beach clean-ups or volunteering at a local nursery with reforestation efforts. For more information, visit https://kauaipokefest.com/

Where to Stay: Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection is an excellent choice for families, casual and fun with great service. The villas are well-appointed for extended stays with large private lanais, ensuite laundry and gourmet kitchens equipped with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances. For more information, visit https://koloalandingresort.com/

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For More on Hawaii, >CLICK HERE

Bruneau Dunes Park boasts the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America with a peak rising 470 feet above the surrounding desert floor. Explore the dunes in your hiking boots or rent a sandboard from the Visitor Center, but off-road vehicles are only permitted on the main road.

You can also fish for bluegill in the lakes at the foot of the dune; unlock the mystery of the desert with a breathtaking hike or horseback ride; plan a group picnic or visit the Bruneau Dunes Observatory and gaze at the night sky through the Observatory’s collection of telescopes.

With one of the longest camping seasons in the Idaho Parks system, Bruneau Dunes State Park offers camping opportunities throughout

Bruneau Dunes Park

the year. Campsites and cabins are available with plenty of first-come, first-served sites too.

Fun activities include biking, bird watching, fishing,, hiking, horseback riding and sandboarding. Sandboarding is a fun and unique way to experience the dunes. Board rentals are available at the park Visitor Center daily

For a nighttime adventure, go stargazing at Bruneau Dunes State Park. The park is home to the Bruneau Dunes Observatory, making it the perfect destination to experience Idaho’s dark sky and view the constellations. In May, the observatory will add a second telescope featuring an accessible lens for visitors using wheelchairs as well as a new ADA-compliant path. With summer vacation around the corner, the park is a great destination for the whole family. Campsites

and cabins are available for reservations, and there are first-come, first-served sites as well.

Day-use locations within state parks are open from 7 am to 10 p. m. Broken Wheel and Eagle Cove campsites are available for reservations until October 22,2023. Cabins are reservable year-round. camper cabins are situated with an excellent view of the dunes and sleeps five on a bunk bed and futon. From the large front porch, you can sit on the swing and gaze out at the dunes. The cabins are furnished with a small table, two small benches, electricity, and an A/C & heating unit. Each cabin has a picnic table and fire ring. Guests must bring their own bedding. Reservations may be made online at www.parksandrecreation. idaho.gov

More on Idaho

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Top Six Parks for Your

Nevada is known for its glitz and glamour, but its natural beauty should not be overlooked. The state is home to a number of stunning parks, each offering a unique experience for visitors. Here are the top five parks to visit on an extended weekend getaway in Nevada:

Great Basin National Park

Located in eastern Nevada, Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem. This park is known for its stunning mountains, clear night skies, and unique cave systems. Visitors can hike the numerous trails, explore the Lehman Caves, or even go stargazing at the Great Basin Observatory. Be sure to also check out the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive for breathtaking views.

Valley of Fire State Park

Just an hour drive from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see for anyone visiting Nevada. The park gets its name from the red sandstone formations that resemble flames. Visitors can hike through the park’s numerous trails, picnic at the scenic spots, or take a scenic drive. Don’t forget to bring your camera as the park offers some of the most stunning sunset views in the state.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Another park located just outside of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers a unique experience for visitors. The park is known for its stunning red rock formations, canyons, and desert wildlife. Visitors can hike through the numerous trails, go rock climbing, or even go horseback riding. The park is also a popular spot for photography and is known for its stunning sunsets.

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Next Weekend Getaway

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nevada, and for good reason. The lake offers stunning views and a number of recreational activities, including hiking, boating, fishing, and skiing. The Nevada side of the lake is home to a number of state parks, including Sand Harbor and Spooner Lake, which offer plenty of outdoor activities for visitors.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Located in southeastern Nevada, Cathedral Gorge State Park is a unique park known for its unusual rock formations and slot canyons. Visitors can hike through the park’s trails, go camping, or take a scenic drive. The park is also home to a number of wildlife species, including desert bighorn sheep and coyotes.

Ruby Mountains Wilderness

Located in northeastern Nevada, Ruby Mountains Wilderness is a breathtaking park that’s often referred to as the “Alps of Nevada.” This stunning range offers incredible hiking opportunities for visitors, with trails that lead through glacier-carved canyons, past clear alpine lakes, and up to soaring peaks. Wildlife abounds in the park, with sightings of mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and even black bears possible. Camping is also available in the park, making it an ideal destination for those looking to get off the beaten path and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Nevada.

Whether you’re looking for stunning views, outdoor activities, or just a chance to get away from the city, pack your bags, grab your camera, and head to one or all of these parks.

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For More on Nevada >Click Here

White Sands National Park

With its stunning natural beauty, endless outdoor activities, and comfortable lodging and dining options, it’s no wonder why this is the state’s most popular. It is indeed one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the United States. This stunning landscape is known for its towering white gypsum sand dunes, which cover an area of more than 275 square miles. It’s no wonder that White Sands National Park is the most visited park in the state with an average of almost 800,000 per year.

The park’s most iconic attraction is the White Sands Dunes, which are easily accessible by car or on foot. Explore the dunes by hiking, sledding, or even sandboarding down the slopes. In actuality, this type of sand sledding is much more fun than the cold snow sledding because it’s not as biting cold. You can enjoy the fresh breeze rushing against your face as you slide down the dunes. For a more immersive experience, guided tours are also available to learn

white dunes, and visitors can take guided tours. There’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy in White Sands National Park. From hiking and biking to horseback riding and birdwatching, the park offers endless opportunities to explore and connect with nature. For those seeking more adventure, the park also offers occasionalcamping and backpacking opportunities, as well as stargazing events for astronomy enthusiasts. However, accessibility can be dependent on season and activity at the nearby missile range

The closest regular accommodation is in Alamogordo, 15 miles northeast, while the nearest free camping is in the Lincoln National Forest, 5 miles further east along US 82. A good public campground is available 26 miles away at Oliver Lee State Park in the foothills of the Santiago Mountains, reached by US 54 south of Alamogordo. Inside the park, the only food and drink option is at the gift shop. Outside the park, try D.H. Lescombes Winery and Bistro at nearby Alamogordo.

about the park’s history and geology.

Another must-see attraction is Lake Lucero, located at the western edge of the park. This dry lake bed is surrounded by the park’s famous

For More on New Mexico

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> Click Here

Stargazing at Dark Sky Park

Let rangers guide you through the wonders of space and night at Prineville Reservoir.

Nature rules the areas around Prineville in Central Oregon, with plenty of options during the day for hiking, biking, fishing and paddling. But it’s what hangs overhead that will have you in awe at night: a sky packed full of stars with little manufactured light.

Prineville Reservoir State Park — about a 50-mile drive northeast of Bend — became Oregon’s first state park to earn certification as

an International Dark Sky Park in May 2021. It joined Sunriver as the only other “International Dark Sky Place” in Oregon and is now one of fewer than 200 such places around the world. The designation also recognizes the park for its work to educate and reduce light pollution with special bulbs that prevent skyglow.

While you could simply reserve one of the park’s RV sites, tent-camping sites or even a cabin, and gaze skyward with an app like SkySafari or Star Walk to guide you around the nebulas, this summer rangers

at the 291-acre park will be offering dark-sky programs. These educational talks go deep into the benefits of a light-free night for animals and people, as well as the mysteries of space.

“You don’t need much,” says George Faria, a park ranger. “Just show up and hang out, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

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Creativity Flourishes Here

Discovering Central Oregon proved to be one which opened my eyes to an area of Oregon I had not previously taken the time to explore. After this trip, I now understand why Portlanders often made the 150-mile trek during any season of the year.

Now with the addition of Aeroflot air service directly from Palm Springs, I might have to make it a more frequent getaway. While located in the high desert, mountains, lush evergreen forests, and meandering streams are not far away.

Let’s say I am delighted I was hosted. I am not sure I would have gone to this area under other circumstances, which has now captured my heart and calls me back again. The communities I visited included: Bend, Tumalo, and Redmond.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, here are five Oregon state parks located within driving distance of the city of Bend, Oregon:

• Smith Park State Park (30 miles from Bend) is 650 acres at the 3,000 ft level.

•The Cove Palisades State Park (1 hour from Bend) Swimming and Kayaking in Canyons

• Prineville Reservoir State Park (1 hour from Bend) Fabulous place for Stargazing

• Cascadia State Park (1.5 hours from Bend) Rain Forest Terra, swimming and fishing

• Collier Memorial State Park (1 hr. and 45 minutes from Bend) Outdoor Museum with logging exhibits and a repositioned 1880 pioneer village

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High Desert Museum Paths Lead to More Learning

Once you park the car, the fresh pine-scented air takes over your senses. If you have a dog, you will appreciate that they have dog kennels nearby that are attended to and provide water for your four-legged family member.

Once you pay your admission, you enter an expansive room with corridors leading off it. One of my favorites was the one where the “Creative of Spirit” exhibit is located. Here six native artists illustrate their craft and demonstrate how this beautiful art is integrated into the native traditions.

When you visit, be sure to check out this exhibit area and meet the resident gray fox, who is happy to call the museum his home after he was injured and couldn’t be returned to the forest.

Then head outside and follow the well-defined path on the 135 acres through the forest. One of the oldest exhibits with otters still is a favorite for children and adults. Afterward,

pick up the trail, and head to a recreated authentic 1908 village, and chat with historical characters.

Old Mill District

What do you do with 270 acres of abandoned land resulting from closing the lumber mills that flourished in the 1980s? If you are William “Bill” Smith, you make a plan, sell it to investors and create the Old Mill District.

Today, the three original smokestacks from the mills symbolize Bill’s development, serving as a mecca for shoppers, dining, or a late afternoon stroll along the Deschutes River to watch the sunset.

The Hayden Home Amphitheatre Welcomes International Talent

Cross the bridge from the Old Mill District and walk under the arch of the Hayden Home Amphitheatre. Walk up the slight incline, and there a stage welcomes you who showcased the likes of Ringo Star, Chris Stapleton, and James Taylor.

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The amphitheater can easily accommodate 8,000 people. Because of the stage configuration on the hill, there is no wrong spot to sit. Bring your chair or blanket and watch a performance under the beautiful star-filled sky.

Check Tower Theatre Schedule

Saved from the wrecking ball, this charming, restored theatre today serves as a gathering place for the entire community in downtown Bend. Its 78 ft. tower standing tall about the street makes it easy to find. No longer showing movies but repurposed for presenting national performances. However, the theatre is exceptionally proud of its role in educating the public about the theatrical arts and encouraging young people to participate.

I was fortunate to experience the final practice for the “Sound of Music.” The primary scene change had an entirely new cast of children to accommodate more of the local children.

Bend Cider in Tumalo Leaving its Mark

Kelly and Tammy Mark started the recipe for their cider in their kitchen. After much testing and with its botanical origin, I can attest that their Chia Cider had me at the first sip. Now they can’t keep up because others love some of their other ciders, and their shipping areas are growing.

One of the first things I noticed was the abstract art of animals on each can. They commissioned their artist friend, Sheila Dunn, to create distinct animal designs for each cider flavor. Sheila said, “Their cans of cider have gotten so well known. I take cans with me each time I have an exhibit of my work. People invariably say, oh wow, you are the artist on the Bend Cider cans.”

Warm Springs Museum Helps One Learn About Indigenous People

The Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains in the high desert are home to three tribes: the Wasco, Walla Walla, and the Paiute. The Warm Springs museums proudly display aspects of all three tribes within the confines of their 25,000 sq. ft. museum.

This museum has an extensive collection of baskets. It does an excellent job explaining the various kinds of indigenous baskets and their uses. One of my favorite exhibits was a lifesize marriage ceremony scene complete with guests bearing gifts.

Dining in Central Oregon

We all have seen food trucks. But what if you set them up in a half circle, provide lots of outdoor seating, and enhance the atmosphere with a firepit? Then have nearby a structure serving craft beers.

In Tumalo, The Bite was my first experience dining at one of them. I ordered a pizza according to my specifications. I was given an order number which was called when my pizza was done. I

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returned to the truck, picked it up, and joined friends at a nearby picnic table under the clear desert sky.

In Bend, The Midtown Yacht Club had a similar setup—granted, no water nearby. Here I opted for potato tots. Oh my, they were smothered in a bleu cheese sauce that danced on my taste buds.

People looking for vegan cuisine will not be disappointed in Central Oregon. Wild Rose Northern Thai in Bend serves various vegetarian dishes and outstanding meals with beef, chicken, or fish. You can order family style and share with your dining companions.

You will want to check out the farm-to-table restaurant Terra Kitchen when you are in Redmond. Be sure to order one of their cocktails, which are creative and tasty. I am betting you will want another. After your meal, take time to walk around the space, learn about the company SCP that owns the restaurant and hotel, and learn about their efforts to promote sustainability.

Hotel in Down Bend Oregon

When you arrive in Bend, you will discover it is far from a sleepy town and sense you have come to where the action is taking place. The Oxford Hotel Bend is a great place to use as your base to explore the area because it is located in the center of town.

An attentive staff is ready to serve you in any way they can. Upon entering my room, I smiled, for the calming décor and spacious room made it appear to be precisely what I was looking for after traveling all day.

A large shower stall is a perfect place to start or end your day with a hot shower. Soft robes await your decision to wrap yourself in them and luxuriate in this beautiful room. In the morning, curl up and drink your freshly brewed coffee from the French press. Impressive, for there were three different containers with blends to satisfy your desired strength.

There is still so much more to explore in

Central Oregon. Museums, ski resorts with their chairlift for outstanding views, the arts and crafts being produced by artists who have decided the clear blue skies and desert climate heighten their creativity. In the music scene, performers such as Joel Chadd perform his original songs in intimate settings. There is so much more outstanding cuisine to try for creative chefs who use farm-to-table produce and keep pushing the boundaries for new dishes.

With all the State parks, the trails, and the flowing rivers at the base of the mountains, the beauty of the area cannot be denied. Do yourself a favor and plan a trip to Central Oregon to renew your senses and see the human creative spirit at work.

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -47For More on Oregon > Click Here

A Playground With Scenery

MOAB - Growth, both in body and mind, is an essential element of childhood. So, it’s natural for parents to search for family vacations that will help stimulate this transformation.

This path has increasingly led to the red rock, kid-friendly paradise of Moab. This playground for young and old is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world and two national treasures: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Sandwiched between are more than enough opportunities, challenges and elements of fun for even the youngest in the clan. The experts at the Moab Adventure Center offer this list of kid-friendly favorites for starters:

Invest Your Kids in our Parks: After a visit to Moab Adventure Center to arrange activities for your family (this can also be done ahead online), head over to the visitor center of Arches National Park to introduce your kids to the benefits of the Junior Ranger program. There, children can also rent Explorer Packs for the day. (Be aware of the new Timed Entry Reservations system to assure your admission.)

Kid-Friendly Hikes Inside Arches National Park: Some

sections of the park (Devils Garden and Windows) offer lots to see in relatively small areas. To get to these sections, guests on an Arches Nation al Park Tour ($108 adults, $88 ages 5-12) settle back in a bus or Sprint er Van with high ceilings and large picture windows on a start-to-finish adventure including guided hikes plus snacks and drinks.

River Rafting on the Colorado River: Whether for a half or a full, this is a must-do adventure.

Rafts wind down a world-renowned stretch of this iconic river, through scenes made famous by dozens of popular movies. On select trips, guests savor an exclusive BBQ lunch at a riverside ranch.

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Scenery For Kids of All Ages

Splashing It Out:

The Moab Aquatic & Recreation Center has two outdoor swimming pools and one indoor pool. Some are equipped with water slides and diving boards to keep kids entertained for hours! This is the perfect place to stop for a few hours to let the kids play and have some fun.

Prepare for Lift Off:


Prehistoric Giants: Moab Giants

Kids and adults can strap in for a 3-hour zip line adventure that glides over sandstone fins and gaps above Moab with a series of six different zip line cables and two suspension bridges.

Petroglyph Hunting:



Moab 4x4 Hummer Tours allow families to access Moab’s spectacular backcountry in style and comfort aboard the world’s most serious 4x4. Professional guides operate custom Hummer® vehicles with raised seating in the rear for optimum passenger viewing. Safaris can be 2-hour or 4-hour or timed for sunsets.

Dinosaur Park & Tracks Museum is all about awe in both indoor and outdoor interactive experiences. Guests can experience the 5D Paleo Aquarium ($28 adults, $21 ages 4-15) for an underwater learning adventure. Plus there’s a run-in with the monstrous life-size dinosaurs on the Dinosaur Trail and a 3D theater thriller that discusses what happened to the dinosaurs. The Moab Giants All-Inclusive Family Pass gives access to all indoor and outdoor exhibits. There is an on-premise café.

There are hundreds of rock art sites left behind by the native people who once roamed the area. Ask the folks at Moab Adventure Center where you can park your car to access some of these sites that are only a short walk away.

Other Fun Activities

There are three distinct itineraries for mountain bikers. Experience multi-day rafting adventures fashioned with families in mind.

For more details visit https:// www.moabadventurecenter. com/moab-with-kids.

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on Utah

3 Unique Parks

Washington state is home to many beautiful parks and natural wonders, but some of its most unusual attractions can be found hidden within these natural landscapes. Here are three of the most unique and unforgettable attractions you can find in Washington parks.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

VANTAGE - Located in central Washington, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is a geological wonder that is home to some of the most well-preserved petrified wood in the world. The park features a 7-mile trail that winds through the remains of an ancient forest, where you can see petrified tree trunks that are up to 200 feet long and 16 feet wide. The park also offers guided tours, a museum, and a campground for visitors.

The Tree That Owns Itself

HOQUIAM - Tucked away in a small park in the coastal town of Hoquiam, Washington, stands a tree that owns itself. The Western red cedar tree, known as the “Hoquiam Tree,” was deeded ownership of the land it stands on in 1936 by a local resident who wanted to protect it from being cut down. The tree’s unusual ownership status has made it a beloved attraction for visitors to the town, and a plaque at the base of the tree explains its unique story.

The Gravity Hill

PROSSER - Located near the Yakima River in eastern Washington, the Gravity Hill is a mysterious natural phenomenon that appears to defy the laws of gravity. The hill appears to slope upward, but

if you stop your car and put it in neutral, it will roll uphill instead of downhill. The Gravity Hill has been a popular attraction for decades, with visitors coming from all over to experience the strange sensation for themselves.

Washington state’s parks are full of surprises and unique attractions that are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. From ancient petrified forests to mysterious gravity hills, there is no shortage of unusual things to discover in these natural wonderlands.

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10 Yellowstone Trip Tips

CODY – Trips to Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area are poised to come roaring back, and Cody Yellowstone is suggesting advance planning. Here are 10 tips for people planning that Cody Yellowstone vacation:

• Start by ordering or downloading the 2023 Cody Yellowstone Adventure Vacation Guide for information about the destination, lists of lodging options and itinerary ideas. Keep it handy and refer back to it.

• Map out your itinerary. Make sure you account for distances. Just because Wyoming takes up the same size page in the atlas as, say, Illinois doesn’t mean it takes the same amount of time to go from border to border.

• Choose lodging and make reservations early. Cody Yellowstone is home to an array of several types of accomodations. Even campgrounds are expected to near sell-out next year, so Hauck suggests making reservations as soon as possible.

• If you can, travel before June 20 or after Aug. 15 for the best lodging availability. Most of the region’s summer-season attractions kick off June 1 and travelers – especially those with school-age kids – don’t typically start hitting the road

until after mid-June.

• Take the Cody Trolley Tour, ideally at the beginning of a visit. This fun and informative one-hour tour travels around the town and as far as the Buffalo Bill Dam while an on-board narrator introduces riders to the town’s attractions, history and legends.

• Visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Capping the west end of Sheridan Avenue – Cody’s main street – this sprawling facility with five museums under one roof should be on every visitor’s must-do list. Travelers heading to the park will find the Draper Natural History Museum to be a great pre-trip orientation, as exhibits showcase the wildlife and natural history of the Great Yellowstone ecosystem. The other museums are the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum and Cody Firearms Museum.

• Experience the Cody Nite Rodeo. The longest running

summer-season nightly rodeo in the country, Cody Nite Rodeo is a fun and memorable experience for the entire family.

• Pack smart. Weather in Cody Yellowstone can vary greatly throughout the summer, and travelers should be ready for temperatures that typically range from the 70s to the 40s. Visitors should also plan for a high-altitude experience and bring plenty of sunscreen and refillable water bottles.

• Dine around. As travelers might expect, there are plenty of places to find a great steak, but there are also restaurants that specialize in local and sustainable food, ethnic cuisine, sandwiches and diner fare.

• Live the history. Numerous attractions showcase the history of the region, including Old Trail Town and Museum of the Old West, Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center, Cody Heritage Museum and the powerful Heart Mountain World War II Interpretive Center – the site of an incarceration camp where 14,000 Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II. For

on Wyoming

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Midwest States

It’s Time For A Six Flags Visit

Otherwise known as the “Thrill Capital of the Midwest,” this theme park is the place to go for an adventurous extended weekend getaway. There’s no place better than Six Flags Great America. located in Gurnee between Chicago and Milwaukee.

This 300 acre park is home to more than 70 rides, attractions, and shows, making it one of the largest and most diverse theme parks in the Midwest. From heart-pumping roller coasters like Goliath, Raging Bull, and X Flight to family-friendly rides like Justice League: Battle for Metropolis and the Whizzer, there’s something to satisfy all interests.

In addition to the rides, the park offers a wide range of entertainment options, including live shows, character meet-and-greets, and seasonal events like Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park. There are also plenty of dining and shopping options, from classic park fare like funnel cakes and corn dogs to unique dining experiences like the Mardi Gras Hangover Bar and Big Louie’s Burritos.

For families with young children, Six Flags Great America offers a dedicated area called Kidzopolis, featuring rides and attractions specifically designed for children under 54 inches tall. And for water park enthusiasts, Hurricane Harbor is located right next door, offering a variety of water rides and attractions.

If you’re planning a visit to Six Flags Great America, be sure to check their website at https://www.sixflags.com/ greatamerica for current rates and hours of operation. The park is open seasonally from May through early November, with hours varying by day and season. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the most of your visit.

So, whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or a family looking for a fun day out, Six Flags Great America is the ultimate destination for theme park fun in Illinois. Don’t miss out on the excitement.

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Fun at the City Parks

For those seeking a mix of adventure and relaxation, a visit to Fort Wayne in the northern section of the state is in order. Make sure you include a visit to Promenade Park, Fort Wayne’s newest park.

It is located downtown at Riverfront Fort Wayne andoffers a variety of attractions that cater to all ages and interests. The park spans 4.2 acres and features a treetop canopy trail that provides breathtaking views of the city. This is the perfect activity for those who love adventure and want to experience the beauty of Fort Wayne from a unique vantage point. The canopy trail is also accessible for individuals with disabilities.

In addition to the canopy

trail, Promenade Park features an accessible playground that includes interactive water features, a climbing wall, and a sensory garden. This playground is perfect for families with young children who want to have fun and cool off during the hot summer months. The park also has a splash pad for kids and adults to enjoy.

For those who are interested in history, Promenade Park offers a glimpse into the city’s past through its interactive exhibits and art installations. Visitors can learn about the history of Fort Wayne and its importance to the region through the park’s sculptures and murals.

After exploring Promenade Park, head to Parkview Field, for a ball game. The stadium

is home to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a minor league team in the Midwest League. With over 8,000 seats, 16 luxury suites, and 11,000 sq. ft. of event space, Parkview Field is regarded as a top baseball stadiums in the United States.

Reserve your overnight stay at Hilton Fort Wayne only a few blocks from the park. offering luxurious accommodations and amenities. For a fine dining experience, visit Tolon, a restaurant that offers farmto-table cuisine with a modern twist. For a more casual meal, try The Hoppy Gnome, a gastropub that serves up tasty burgers, sandwiches, and craft beer. More options are found at visit https://www.visitfortwayne.com/

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>Click Here

Take A Hike! at Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park’s Trail 3 was recently named the Midwest’s Best Hike in Midwest Living’s annual Best of the Midwest list.

The magazine tabbed Trail 3 from the 11 in the state park near Marshall in Parke County, which features sandstone cliffs and hemlock groves.

The 1.7-mile trail is a relatively rugged trek that traces a riverbed. Rock formations, waterfalls, and glacial potholes provide scenic highlights before hikers climb out of the canyon via wooden ladders. Trail 3 hikers are advised to wear shoes they don’t mind getting wet.

For more details on Midwest Living’s awards and how they were determined, see midwestliving.com/travel/best-of-the-midwest-awards-2023. Turkey Run State Park (on.IN.gov.turkeyrunsp) is at 8121 East Park Road in Marshall, 47859.

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -57For more on Indiana >Click Here


ALTOONA, Adventureland Park is an ultimate summer destination, perfect for family fun and excitement. With a wide range of rides, games, and attractions, the park promises an unforgettable adventure that everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or looking for a more relaxed day out, Adventureland Park has something for everyone.

What’s New at Adventureland Park?

This season, Adventureland Park is introducing a new ride - The Phoenix. This exhilarating roller coaster promises to take riders on a thrilling journey with twists, turns, and inversions that will leave you breathless. The park has also added new dining options, including The Exchange, where guests can enjoy a variety of food and drink options.

Rides and Attractions

Adventureland Park offers a variety of rides and attractions that cater to all ages and tastes. For the adrenaline junkies, there are roller coasters like The Monster, The Outlaw, and the new Phoenix. Water rides like the Raging River and the Saw Mill Splash offer a refreshing escape from the summer heat, while the Ferris wheel and the carousel provide a more relaxed experience.

The park also features a variety of games and attractions, including the arcade, laser tag, and mini-golf. For younger visitors, there are several rides and attractions in the Kiddie Kingdom area, includ-


Prices and Dates

Admission prices vary depending on the day of the week and whether you purchase tickets online or at the park. General admission tickets start at $38.50 for adults and $34 for children. Children under three years old are admitted for free. The park also offers season passes, group rates, and special discounts for military personnel.

Adventureland Park is open from May through September, with hours of operation varying throughout the season. In May and September, the park is open on weekends only, while in June, July, and August, the park is open daily. For the most upto-date information on hours and dates of operation, be sure to check the park’s website.

In Conclusion

Adventureland Park offers a fun-filled day out for families, groups, and individuals alike. With a range of rides, attractions, and dining options, the park promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. So pack your bags, grab your family and friends, and head to Adventureland Park for the ultimate summer adventure. For tickets or more information, visit https://www.adventurelandresort. com/

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the Frog Hopper and Lady Bugs.
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The Geological Wonders of Little Jerusalem Badlands

Located in the heart of the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, the Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is a geological wonder that attracts visitors from all over the world. The park is home to some of the most stunning rock formations, unique wildlife, and breathtaking views that you’ll ever come across.

The park is named after the towering limestone spires that dominate its landscape, which are said to resemble the skyline of Jerusalem. These formations were created more than 85 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period, when the area was covered by a shallow sea. Over time, the water receded, leaving behind layers of sediment that eventually turned into limestone.

Today, the Little Jerusalem Bad-

lands are one of the most unique geological formations in the world. The towering spires, cliffs, and canyons that make up the park are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region. Visitors can explore the park’s rugged terrain on foot, hiking through canyons and valleys, and taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

One of the highlights of the park is the 1.5-mile Nature Trail, which winds its way through some of the most impressive rock formations in the park. Along the way, visitors can see fossils, learn about the park’s history, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and abilities.

For those who are looking for a more challenging hike, the 2.5mile Summit Trail is the perfect choice. This trail takes visitors to the highest point in the park, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area. Along the way, hikers can explore a variety of rock formations, including natural arches and towering spires.

Overall, the Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves hiking, nature, and stunning landscapes. With its unique geological formations, fascinating history, and diverse wildlife, the park is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

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For more on Kansas > Click Here

Sleeping Bear Dunes Beauty

One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is by slipping off your shoes, sticking your feet in the sand, and letting all your cares wash away. Get ready to find pristine soft powdery sand beaches, lush beech tree forests, amazing hiking trails, and stunning dunes, some as high as 450 feet, leading down to crystal clear turquoise waters and epic sunsets over Lake Michigan. If you want a spectacular weekend getaway, explore the 35 miles of Northern Michigan’s scenic sand dune vistas at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Ride Along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

This 7.4-mile stretch of road through what seems like endless beech trees have breaks for you to stop at several scenic overlooks. You can drive all the way through, admiring the view from your car windows, but you would miss out on the adventures waiting for you. The drive starts by going under the beautiful reconstructed Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge. You can get a photo of the bridge by pulling off to the side after the bridge. The next few stops give you fabulous views of Glen Lake and Lake Michigan, dune overlooks, the ability to stretch your legs on short trails, and ending with the lush, shady world of Beech and Sugar Maple trees.

Hike the Diverse Ecosystem Trails

There are many hiking trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Sleeping Bear Point Trailhead is a trail that epitomizes the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. The trail includes shifting dunes, dune plants, and a shipwreck. Heads up - this is a

mildly strenuous 2-mile dune climb, but worth the sore muscles the day after.

The most strenuous hike is the Dune Climb Trailhead. This trail goes up and down five large dunes to Lake Michigan. The complete hike takes 3-4 hours. Don’t forget to bring water and sun protection. One of my favorite nature trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes is Cottonwood Trail. My niece and I had fun hiking this 1.5-mile trail. It took us about an hour to complete the loop due to stopping a lot for her to do a little climbing and running down the dunes. Ok, I might have done that as well.

Climb the Sand Dunes

The highlight of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is, of course, the sand dunes. There are two must-see dunes. The first and the most popular is the Dune Climb at the trailhead of the Dune Climb Trail. This 284-foot-high white sand dune is unique in its formation. Most dunes are formed when the wind takes sand from beaches and piles it up. The Dune Climb sand has never been on a beach; the wind has moved the sand from dunes higher up, making this an active dune that continues to move yearly. It takes only 10 minutes to climb to the top of the dune, and a heck of a lot faster coming down. Whether you walk, run, jump, or roll down, staying upright with how steep the dune is, is extremely difficult. But that doesn’t stop the hundreds of families that try. The second sand dune is at the Lake Michigan Overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This is a tempting sand dune to run down to the clear blue waters. But remember that even though running down looks fun and

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easy, you still have to climb back up 450 feet to the top. For those who want to watch the brave ones that attempt the dune, there is a nice wooden deck overlooking where you can watch the antics of them running down and long, exhausting climb back up.

Enjoy the Interactive Exhibits at the Maritime Museum

If you are visiting with young children, you should plan to visit the Maritime Museum. There is plenty to see in the museum and boathouse, where in the early 1900s, the Sleeping Bear Point Life Saving Station was kept busy by the heavily-used shipping lane and, unfortunately, shipwrecks. During the summer, the younger ones can participate in the Heroes of the Storm re-enactment of a turn-of-the-century shipwreck rescue. It is exciting to see how they rescued sailors from the sinking ships.

Wander Through the Historic Town of Glen Haven

After a day of running up and down the dunes, head over to the historic village of Glen Haven. You can tour the Cannery and see the largest public exhibit of historic Great Lakes’ small craft, watch a blacksmith using the tools

of their trade, and wander through the Glen Haven General Store. The general store appears as it did in the 1920s and features typical merchandise, items related to the history of the Glen Haven area, and souvenirs to take home.

Sleep the Night Away

There are several places to stay for a weekend while exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. There are a few camping places if you want to rough it outdoors. My niece and I stayed at the D.H. Day Campgrounds. The campground is a close location to walk the trails, visit the museum, and play on the beach.

Another great location to stay at is the Homestead. This one-mile beach access accommodation has many amenities, including spa & salon services, a fitness center, a general store, fishing, biking, bird watching, and several dining options. The Homestead is the perfect location for relaxation, close to the exhilaration of playing on the dunes and enjoying the magnificent natural wonder of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -61For more on Michigan >Click Here

3 Parks in 3 Days

Minnesota is known for its abundance of state parks, providing ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy nature. A long family weekend getaway to the parks in Minnesota can be an exciting and memorable experience. In this travel article, we will highlight some of the best parks to visit and the activities to do during your visit.

Day 1: Gooseberry Falls State Park

On the first day of your trip, head to Gooseberry Falls State Park, which is located on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The park boasts stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and breathtaking views of the lake. Start your day with a hike along the Gooseberry River, which winds its way through the park and leads to the majestic Gooseberry Falls. The falls are especially impressive after a rainfall, and the sound of the rushing water is soothing to the soul. After your hike, head to the park’s picnic area for a family lunch. The park has plenty of picnic tables and grills, making it an ideal spot to enjoy a meal with your loved ones. After lunch, explore the park’s visitor center, which has exhibits on the park’s geology and history.

Day 2: Itasca State Park

On day two of your trip, make your way to Itasca State Park, which is located in northern Minnesota. Itasca State Park is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, making it a must-visit destination for any nature lover. Start your day with a hike to the headwaters, where you can walk across the river on a series of stepping stones. It’s a unique and fun experience that the whole family will

enjoy. After your hike, rent bikes or kayaks and explore the park’s many trails and lakes. The park has a bike rental shop and a boat rental service, making it easy to explore the park at your own pace. In the evening, gather around a campfire and enjoy s’mores while stargazing.

Day 3: Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

On the final day of your trip, head to Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, which is located in the heart of Minneapolis. The park is a beautiful urban oasis, featuring a stunning waterfall, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Start your day with a hike along the creek that leads to the falls. The trail is easy and suitable for all ages, making it an ideal family activity. After your hike, enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the park’s many picnic areas. The park also has a restaurant and a snack bar, making it easy to grab a bite to eat. In the afternoon, rent bikes and explore the park’s many trails or play a game of frisbee in the open fields.

In conclusion, a long family weekend getaway to the parks in Minnesota can be a fun and memorable experience. With its stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and breathtaking views, Minnesota’s parks have something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape into nature or an urban oasis, Minnesota’s parks are the perfect destination for your next family vacation.

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For more on Minnesota

Fulton is Full of Park Fun

mile trail stretches across Missouri and passes through several small towns, including Fulton. The trail offers beautiful views of the Missouri River and the surrounding countryside, and is a popular spot for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Fulton is a small town with a big history. Located in the heart of Missouri, Fulton is home to Westminster College, where Winston Churchill gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946. The town is also home to a museum dedicated to Churchill, as well as a section of the Berlin Wall, which serves as a memorial to the Cold War era.

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Fulton is a great option. There are plenty of things to see and do, and the town has a cozy, small-town feel that makes it a relaxing place to visit.

If you’re planning a visit to Fulton, Missouri in the upcoming spring season, you’re in luck! There are several events and festivals happening in and around town that are worth checking out.

One of the most popular events is the Fulton Street Fair, which takes place in May. This four-day festival features live music, carnival rides, food vendors, and a parade through downtown Fulton. It’s a great way to experience the town’s community spirit and enjoy some fun activities with friends and family.

There are several parks in and near Fulton that offer outdoor recreational opportunities and beautiful natural scenery. One of the most popular parks in Fulton is Memorial Park, located in the heart of downtown. This park features a playground, basketball court, picnic shelter, and a walking trail that winds through the park’s wooded area. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors in the middle of town.

For those who enjoy hiking and nature, the Katy Trail State Park is a must-visit destination. This 240-

Another nearby park is the Graham Cave State Park, located just a short drive from Fulton. This park features several hiking trails, a picnic area, and a small lake for fishing and boating. It’s also home to the Graham Cave, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Midwest and offers a glimpse into the lives of early Native Americans.

Finally, if you’re looking for a place to cool off on a hot day, the Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area is a great spot to visit. This park features a 375-acre lake for fishing and boating, as well as several hiking trails and picnic areas.

Overall, there are plenty of parks and outdoor recreational opportunities in and near Fulton, Missouri. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax in town or explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area, you’re sure to find a park that fits your interests.

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Lee G. Simmons and Wildlife Safari

ASHLAND - The Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is a must-visit destination for any nature lover. Spread across 440 acres of land, the park is home to a variety of wildlife species

This year, the park has added a new attraction that is sure to thrill visitors of all ages: the Jurassic Adventure. This exciting exhibit takes visitors on a journey through time to the prehistoric era, where they can explore life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and learn about their behavior and habitat.

In addition to the Jurassic Adventure, the park continues to offer its popular wildlife safari experience which features a fourmile, drive-through North American wildlife adventure. Visitors feel like they’re on an actual safari, coming faceto-face with North American plants and animals such as elk, white-tailed deer, bison, pronghorn antelope and waterfowl. There are also hiking and biking trails, fishing ponds, picnic areas, and educational exhibits to explore.

If you’re planning an extended weekend getaway to the park, there are several lodging options available in the nearby towns. One of the most popular options is the Mahoney State Park, which offers cabins, campsites, and a full-service lodge. The park is located just a short drive away from the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari, making it a convenient base for your trip.

Another great option is the Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City, which is situated on 260 acres of scenic woodland. The lodge offers a range of accommodations, including rooms, suites, and cottages, as well as an on-site restaurant, spa, and fitness center.

The Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is open seven days a

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Conservation Park Safari Has Fun For All

week from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with extended hours during the summer season. Admission rates vary depending on the type of vehicle and the number of occupants, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel, and groups. For more information on rates and admission, as well as park events and educational programs, visit their website at www.wildlifesafaripark.com.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a dinosaur enthusiast, or just looking for a fun and educational experience, the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is the perfect destination for an extended weekend getaway in Nebraska. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with nature and witness some of the most impressive wild-

life and animatronic dinosaurs in action. Plan your visit to the park today and experience the thrill of the Jurassic Adventure!G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari today.

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For more on Nebraska >Click Here
For more on Ohio >Click Here

Looking for a thrilling adventure this weekend? Look no further than the Waggoner’s Run Mountain Bike Trail, located in the beautiful town of Gibsonburg. This newer mountain bike trail is perfect for an extended weekend getaway, offering a moderate ride with a challenging finish.

The trail is approximately 6 miles long and takes around an hour and forty minutes to complete. You’ll encounter natural features like twists and turns around trees, paired with man-made obstacles such as bridges, skinnies, tabletops, and rock gardens. The newest addition to the trail is a challenging teeter-totter placed right before one of the biggest drops on the trail. Keep your eyes peeled for the root-exposed and rocky terrain in the last mile, which adds to the excitement of the trail.

Waggoner’s Run Mountain Bike Trail is named in honor of local cycling enthusiast and bicycle shop owner Dan Waggoner. It was a collaborative

New Bike Trail

project between the Flatlanders Bicycle Club and the Sandusky County Park District in 2019. The Flatlanders completed the trail and dedicated it in October 2020, and it has been a hit with locals and visitors alike.

The trail is not just for mountain bikers; it’s also open for hikers. It’s recommended that hikers hike the trail in reverse and stay alert for oncoming bike traffic. Please note that no horseback riding, pets, or motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail.

If you’re planning to visit the area, Gibsonburg is a small rural northern Ohio farm town in Sandusky County, known for “White Star Park,” which offers hiking trails, an inland quarry lake for SCUBA diving, and mountain bike trails. And if you’re a foodie, you can’t miss out on Ideal Bakery, which is known for its amazing donuts, pastries, and cinnamon rolls.

But that’s not all the area has

to offer. Just 15 minutes up the road is Fremont and Ghoul Runnings Kayak Adventures. This kayak livery offers guided and self-guided tours along the scenic Sandusky River and the beautiful Fremont Reservoir from May to Fall. The owners, Beth Turner and her husband Bob, have been running it for 33 years, and they offer a variety of 2- and 4-hour trips, as well as specialty adventures, including a history tour, singles kayaking group, bird and nature, sunset, moonlight, and more.

Sandusky County has plenty to see and do, from kayaking in the Sandusky River to festivals and farmer’s markets. There is always something fun to see and do in the area, making it the perfect destination for an extended weekend getaway. For more information about its events and attractions, visit SanduskyCounty. org.

For more on Ohio

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What’s New at Cedar Point

SANDUSKY - This iconic world-renowned amusement park is always changing and evolving to keep guests coming back year after year. And this year is no exception, with a number of exciting new attractions and experiences that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

One of the most highly anticipated additions is the new boardwalk, which promises to be a lively hub for dining, shopping, and entertainment. The boardwalk features a range of new dining options, including a beachside seafood restaurant and a gourmet popcorn stand, and new retail shops selling souvenirs and beach gear. Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of Lake Erie and exciting new attractions such as a classic wooden carousel and a new Ferris wheel.

Another exciting development is the Grand Pavilion, a new indoor entertainment venue that offers a range of shows and performances. Guests can enjoy everything from comedy and magic shows to live music and dance performances. The Grand Pavilion is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some indoor entertainment on hot or rainy days.

But the real highlight of the 2023 season is the new Wild Mouse ride, which is sure to be a thrilling experience for visitors of all ages. This coaster takes riders on a wild journey through tight turns and sudden drops, offering a unique and exciting perspective of the park’s stunning surroundings.

Overall, Cedar Point’s 2023 season promises to be one of the most exciting yet. From the new boardwalk and Grand Pavilion to the heart-pumping Wild Mouse ride, there’s something for everyone at this world-class amusement park.

You can purchase single-day tickets, multi-day tickets, or season passes, and there are also options to bundle tickets with other Cedar Point attractions and amenities. Additionally, the park offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, cabins, and campsites, making it easy to plan a multi-day trip. To learn more about ticket prices, accommodations, and other information about Cedar Point, you can visit the park’s official website at https:// www.cedarpoint.com/.

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For more on Ohio >Click Here

A New Butterfly Trail at Hocking Hills

LOGAN -The Hocking Hills region of southeast Ohio has just unveiled its new Butterfly Trail. Designed to educate visitors about the importance of pollinators, while offering one-ofa-kind experiences, the Hocking Hills Butterfly Trail is a project of Logan in Bloom with support from Hocking Hills Tourism Association. Outlined on both a colorful map and a passport, the trail includes 14 locations, each featuring a gorgeous pair of human-sized butterfly wings replicating a different butterfly found in the region. These “selfie stations” give visitors a colorful way to take home memories from each stop while learning all about the featured butterfly, including its habitat and food sources. Created from actual photographs of each species, the massive wings accurately depict the butterfly species they represent. The wing stations are open to the public sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise noted on the Butterfly Trail map.

“Hocking Hills Butterfly Trail encourages stewardship of our natural areas by demonstrating how important pollinators are to the wellbeing of the very thing visitors come to

here to experience: nature and wildlife,” said Explore Hocking Hills Executive Director Karen Raymore. “A diverse group of partners came together to implement the trail, creating outstanding visitor experiences that educate while making each stop fun and interactive.”

In addition to photo ops and education, two stops on the trail offer visitors unforgettable hands-on opportunities for a deeper dive into local pollinators. The monarch waystation and butterfly garden at Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center offers travelers the chance to witness the entire lifecycle of monarchs, from young caterpillars feeding (May-August) to their becoming chrysalides and finally, emerging as monarchs (late

August-October). Guests can then take part in monarch migration research, tagging and releasing the butterflies as they begin their migration to Mexico. At Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, guided hikes traverse 21 acres of native pollinator-friendly prairie, forest and gardens. There are workshops, tools and even seeds available to help visitors create butterfly habitat at home. After-dark moth lighting events take visitors on a one-of-a-kind safari every second-fourth Saturday, June-August.

The printable map, passport and bonus butterfly coloring book pages further add the experience. Travelers are urged to visit explorehockinghills.com/hocking-hills-butterfly-trail/ before heading to the Hocking Hills to download their map and passport. Both are also available at the Regional Welcome Center, 13178 State Route 664 S. in Logan, along with a special butterfly trail sticker. Visitors are also urged to join in the educational mission of the trail by sharing their Butterfly Trail photos on social media with the hashtag: #hockinghillsbutterflytrail.

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For more on Ohio >Click Here

African Safari Wildlife Park Open

If you’re looking for an adventure that will take you far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio is definitely worth a visit. This unique wildlife park allows visitors to get up close and personal with a variety of exotic animals from Africa, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Ohio’s countryside. Here are some highlights of what you can expect on your visit.

One of the main attractions at the African Safari Wildlife Park is the drive-through safari, where you can experience the thrill of being just a few feet away from lions, tigers, giraffes, and zebras. You’ll drive your car through the park and be able to feed the animals from the comfort of your own vehicle. It’s an unforgettable experience that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the African savannah.

In addition to the drivethrough safari, there are also walk-through areas where you can see other animals like kangaroos, camels, and lemurs. There’s even a petting zoo where kids (and adults!) can interact with goats and other farm animals. And for those who are feeling particularly adventurous, you can take part in the park’s camel rides or giraffe feeding experiences.

If you’re looking for something a little more educational, there are also live animal shows and educational talks throughout the day, where you can learn more about the animals and their habitats. The park also has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and snacks.

The African Safari Wildlife Park is open from 10am to 5pm every day, and admission rates start at $23.95 for adults and $19.95 for children (ages 4-12). They also offer discounted rates for seniors and military personnel. You can find more information about the park and purchase tickets on their

website at www.africansafariwildlifepark.com.

Overall, the African Safari Wildlife Park is a unique and exciting experience that is sure to delight animal lovers of all ages. So pack up the family, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure you won’t forget!

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -75For more on Ohio >Click Here

I Scream, You Scream, for Ice Cream (Velvet Brand,

It’s all when the Cream Olde Mill Day weekend 29. After town to enjoy family-friendly ities, games, well as numerous booths. rides for sic car show An expected than 350 on display. come just because Ben Mitchell, for Velvet Live entertainment added bonus. perform sions at on Saturday.

Sunday 5:30 p.m., day at noon miss the throughout as the Cedar Saturday.

The Velvet members the Ohio

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We All Scream Brand, That Is)

all about the ice cream the Utica Sertoma Ice Festival returns to Ye Mill during Memorial weekend from May 27-

a parade through to kick off the festivities, family-friendly activgames, and contests as delicious food and numerous artisan/vendor

There will be pony for the kids and a classhow for the adults. expected number of more 350 classic cars will be display. “Many people just for the show alone because it is so popular,” said Mitchell, brand manager Velvet Ice Cream.

entertainment will be an bonus. Magic Nate will perform on stage with his illuat noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. He will return on Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and p.m., then again on Monnoon and 3 p.m. Don’t the strolling banjo music throughout the grounds, as well Cedar Valley Cloggers on Saturday.

Velvet Ice Cream staff members will compete against Ohio Muffin Men’s team at

May 27, 28, 29

Cream! And there will be lots of it! While more than 100 flavors have been created and tested by Velvet Ice Cream over the past 110 years, there are currently 45 flavors available.

Two brand new flavors are being introduced this month and will be featured at the Sertoma Ice Cream Festival. In fact, for now, they will only be available at Ye Olde Mill. First, the Butterscotch Brownie brand has baked brownie pieces mixed in. The other, Peanut Butter Parfait, will be a peanut butter ice cream with marshmallow swirled within and filled with chocolate-covered pretzel bites.

an old-fashioned baseball game using historic vintage rules. The Ohio Diamonds Women’s baseball team will also be on hand to play with kids and offer batting tips.

A brand new interactive performance by the Dogs of Ohio will show their expertise through obstacle courses. These world-famous agility dogs run through tunnels, leap over jumps, and fly through the air! This unique stunt-filled show will be featured on Saturday and Monday at noon and 1:30 p.m.

Woven in with all the favorite activities, game and competition themes, is the star of the show - Ice

To better control the long lines and waiting time, a second location will be set up during the festival called Dipsville to serve your choice of ice cream. All flavors are the same price, according to Mitchell. All you must do is choose the flavor.

All proceeds from this festival go directly to the Utica Sertoma Group, who use the funds to assist senior citizens, schools, and the Utica community.

For more information, visit https://sertomaicecreamfestival. com/.

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Believing he would not have become President of the United States were it not for the time he spent in North Dakota, his impact has been everlasting. Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora was named in his honor.

Roosevelt first visited the Dakota Territory in 1883 to hunt bison. He returned about a year later after losing both his

wife and mother on the same day in 1884. His ranch was located about 35 miles north of Medora. He eventually returned to New York. His log cabin is located at the park’s visitors center.

Designated as a national park in 1947, Roosevelt National Park in southwest North Dakota consists of three sections - North Unit, Elkhorn Ranch

Unit and South Unit. Visitors should plan to spend 2-3 days exploring the park.

While the Elkhorn Ranch Unit includes Roosevelt’s ranch, the North and South units attract thousands of visitors annually. The North Unit features a 14-mile drive along North Dakota’s badlands, while the South Unit - located just outside Medora - offers a

Visiting Roosevelt

22-mile loop full of beautiful scenery and plenty of wildlife. With wild horses and bison herds roaming freely, as well as plenty of prairie dog villages, visitors are challenged not to encounter animals (always respect wild animals and give them space).

With the South Unit being the most popular section of Roosevelt National Park, a

drive along the loop can take a full day, if you choose. However, people should plan to spend 2-3 hours to soak in the area’s beauty.

The loop includes several overlook spots, each with a unique view of the area. Some stops include short walking trails. While the trails can be uneven, none are too physically challenging to walk.

Park attractions include upclose visits to the prairie dog communities. Visitors aren’t allowed inside the villages, but they’re close enough for great views.

While prairie dogs may have a reputation of being invasive creatures, watching them move about and socialize is as educational as it is entertaining.

Roosevelt National Park

Standing guard outside burrows, prairie dogs stand tall, constantly surveying the area for safety concerns. At the first sign of concern, a series of barks, reminiscent of chirps, are sounded. The communication is entertaining by itself, with it being almost song-like.

If a threat is imminent,

such as snakes and foxes try to enter a hole, prairie dogs viciously defend their turf.

As bison - also known as American buffalo - roam the park, its fairly likely visitors will have an opportunity to view the majestic animal. It’s critical to remember they’re wild animals and shouldn’t be approached. It’s best to watch their movements from the safety of a vehicle. Bison are also found in the North Unit.

and strike with their hoofs. Horses will signal discomfort by moving their tails.

Roosevelt National Park is also home to other wildlife, such as pronghorn, white-tailed and mule deer, and elk, as well as coyotes. Prairie rattlesnakes are the one venomous snake found at the national park.

The North Unit’s 14-mile scenic drive features close encounters with the North Dakota’s badlands, barren

prairie dogs pop inside the burrows, entering a system of tunnels connecting the community. As predators

Wild horses are abundant at the national park, and it’s common to find some walking along the side of the road. Horses come in various colors, with each beautiful against the backdrop of the landscape. Don’t approach them, as they may become agitated

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rock formations dating back to the days when the state was part of a prehistoric sea.

Plan at least 90 minutes to drive the scenic route, beginning at the bottom of the Badlands and winding to Oxbow Outlook, with it incredible views. Oxbow Outlook marks the end of the road in the park. Follow the scenic drive back to the park’s exit. Along the way to Oxbow, visit River Bend Outlook, with its impressive scenery.

The North Unit also includes accessible trails for hikers of all levels. More challenging paths include Buckhorn, Caprock Coulee and Achenbach trails. Backcountry hikers need to obtain a permit for overnight hiking.

While Theodore National Park remains the primary draw, Medora offers a variety of charming attractions, including the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Explore Medora’s downtown and its shopping, including a taffy store, western clothing and Medora Uncork’d, a wine tasting room. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the Cowboy Fondue – a steak cookout - and then head to the “Medora Musical,” which runs early June to Labor Day week.

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For more on North Dakota >Click Here

Southern States

Discover the Best of Gulf

Nestled along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Gulf State Park is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and relaxation. Spanning over 6,150 acres, the park is a playground for nature lovers, beach bums, and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Gulf State Park is a destination that should be on your list.

One of the main attractions of Gulf State Park is its extensive trail system. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a highlight, offering over 28 miles of trails that wind through six distinct ecosystems. From pine forests to wetlands, the trail system provides a variety of hiking and biking experiences. The trail system is well-maintained and clearly marked, making it easy for visitors to explore on their own or join a guided tour.

If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of the park’s abundant wildlife, which includes alligators, deer, and coyotes. Birdwatchers will also enjoy the park’s diverse bird population, which includes the rare and endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Another major attraction of Gulf State Park is its beautiful beach. The park boasts two miles of pristine white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The water is clear and turquoise, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and kayaking. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, the park also has beach volleyball courts and a beachfront pavilion for events.

For those who want to stay overnight, Gulf State Park has over 500 campsites and 11 modern cabins available for rent. The campsites offer a range of options, from primitive sites to sites

with full hookups. The cabins are fully furnished and include amenities such as air conditioning, cable TV, and a full kitchen. Camping at Gulf State Park is a great way to experience the park’s natural beauty and get closer to nature.

In addition to outdoor activities, Gulf State Park also has a variety of other attractions. The Nature Center is a great place to learn about the park’s flora and fauna, with interactive exhibits and educational programs for all ages. The park also has a fishing pier, a golf course, and a zip line course for the adventurous.

Throughout the year, Gulf State Park hosts a variety of events and activities, including nature walks, birdwatching tours, and outdoor concerts. The park’s calendar of events is constantly evolving, so be sure to check it out before your visit.

Overall, Gulf State Park is a must-visit desti -

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D Di

Gulf State Park for a Getaway

nation for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Alabama. With its extensive trail system, beautiful beach, and range of accommodations and activities, it’s the perfect place for an extended weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a beach lover, or a nature enthusiast, Gulf State Park has something for everyone.

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -85For more on Alabama > Click Here

By the time Alabama achieved statehood in 1819 the region had thousands of years of history. Archeological evidence proves there had been Native American habitation for more than 10,000 years. Explorers documented encounters with the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Alibamos, the state’s namesake.

Alonso Alvarez de Pineda’s expedition entered Mobile Bay in 1519 but it was de Soto, in 1540, who was first to traverse the region. When the French established Fort Louis in 1702 the struggle for power among the European powers began in earnest and sixty-one years later the struggle ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris and the ceding of the territory to England. #sweethomeala

The Florence Indian Mound Museum preserves and presents a landscape of the Woodland Era as well as invites visitors to explore the community’s culture and lifestyle. The museum ‘s galleries interpret this pre-contact settlement through use of gallery exhibits, films, activities and tours of the on-site mound.

This earthen mound, the largest of its kind in the Tennessee River Valley is 43-ft. in height with a base that is 310 by 230 feet and was once enclosed by a wall. Archeologists have been excavating the area since 1914 but have been unable to officially determine how the mound was used. One hundred years after the initial excavation the Florence Indian Mound was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). www.flor -


Records indicate that the French introduced slavery into the area in 1737 with the zealous complicity of the British beginning in 1763. After the American Revolution the region was flooded with Loyalists who brought their slaves with them and by 1861 nearly 50% of the population was comprised of the enslaved.

One of the oldest homes in Alabama is located near Tuscumbia. The brick mansion was constructed 1828-32 For Dr. Alexander Mitchell. He planted clover, corn and cotton and enslaved approximately 152 people housed

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“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancient

our Ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Ancient Indian Proverb

in 13 cabins. The neoclassical Palladian-style plantation house with Jeffersonian architectural elements was listed on the NRHP in 1982 based on its significance both architecturally and historically.

The mansion and 33-acres were sold to the Winston family who retained ownership until the 1940s. The Winston’s came to Alabama with 50 slaves and by 1863 they owned 300. Tours of the house are offered and a number of the items displayed are original. A visit highlight is the recreated slave quarters in the rear yard. https://ahc.alabama.gov/properties/bellemont

In 1896 Oakwood College, so named because of the 65 oak trees on the land, was es -

tablished as the sole African American Seventh-Day Adventist College in the country. The land upon which the college was built was formerly the Peter Blow plantation where Sam Blow, better known as Dred Scott, was enslaved for 12-years. There is a plaque on campus.

Huntsville’s Weeden House Museum and Garden is a totally unique homage to history, culture and art. The two-story Federal-style house dates from 1819 and was purchased by the Weeden’s in 1845. It was family owned until 1956.

Please turn to next page

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Maria Howard Weeden was born in the house in 1846. During the Civil War Union officers occupied the house. After the war Maria, under her middle name, supported the family selling her artwork. Maria received national attention as an artist and poet. She painted former slaves and accompanied her extremely detailed portraits with poems in the dialect of the enslaved. The individuals posed in their own attire and her portraits were later used as models for the clothing of the enslaved in Gone With the Wind. Her work is outstanding and becomes even more so when you learn she was legally blind, placed her canvasses mere inches from her nose and used brushes with only three bristles. Highlights of a guided tour include her desk, numerous artworks and the room in which she was born and died. www.weedenhousemuseum.com

The Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry bivouacked for three months from October1898 atop Huntsville’s Cavalry Hill to recuperate from malaria contracted in the Spanish-American War. They were under the command of Lt. Black Jack Pershing. On Cavalry Hill stands the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldier’s Memorial. Atop a 10-ft. tall granite pedestal Sgt. George Berry is featured astride his horse, ascending San Juan Hill in Cuba, carrying the regimental flag.

Helen Keller was born in

1880 in a home known as Ivy Green, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her grandfather built the clapboard house in the 1820s. At the age of 9 months she lost both her vision and hearing. As she grew older her

behavior became increasingly uncontrollable and the choice was made to hire a teacher.

Anne Sullivan arrived in 1887 taught her to communicate and remained with her as a companion until Anne’s death in 1936. Helen went on to write 11 books, scholarly articles and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe at 20 years of age.

Highlights of the house and grounds’ tour are the water pump where Helen had her first educational breakthrough when she made the connection between the water pouring over her fingers and the letters “w-a-t-e-r” spelled into her hand and the bedroom Helen and Annie shared. Immediately east of her home is a small cottage where she and Anne lived and Helen was born. More than 85% of the furnishings in the seven-room house are original. A theatrical production of The Miracle Worker is presented each June and July. www.helenkellerbirthplace.org

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The 118-acre Huntsville Botanical Garden has developed acres of flora, fauna and thematic activity areas including gem mining, an aquatic garden, a spectacular wildflower and nature trail and the largest seasonal butterfly garden in the nation. Galaxy of Lights is the premiere holiday tradition that takes place annually in November and December. The lights may be experienced on foot or by vehicle. The colorful, immersive tradition is not to be missed.


The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a must for any visitor to the region. This is home to NASA’s Official Visitor Information Center for Marshall Space Flight Center as well as, Space Camp, Space Camp Robotics and Aviation Challenge. As Huntsville’s signature

attraction, Rocket City is intriguing for both children and adults. Displays throughout the museum are immersive and informative and include an impressive number of objects exploring U.S. manned space flight hardware. www. spacecamp.com/museum

North Alabama can be viewed as an experiential tourist mecca based on the sheer number of cultural influences and historic events that shaped it. I invite you to explore all these places that are uniquely Alabama. www. alabama.travel


Black Folktales of the Muscle Shoals, by Rickey Butch Walker and Huston Cobb Jr., relates the history of the people of northwest Alabama through

use of archival photos, interviews and documents. This holistic approach to the area’s history is well researched and inclusive of all ethnicities and perspectives. BWPublications. com

Tananarive Due is an American Book Award-Winning author whose new release, The Wishing Pool and Other Stories, is a compilation of fourteen short Black horror and Afrofuturism stories. These tales are filled with the perfect amount of suspenseful science fiction and are the ideal length for a road trip. #akaschicbooks

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For more on Alabama > Click Here

Arkansas State Parks

This year marks the centennial anniversary of Arkansas State Parks, a system that has become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. Since its inception in 1923, Arkansas State Parks has grown to encompass 52 parks and museums, covering over 54,400 acres of natural beauty and historic sites across the state.

The idea for Arkansas State Parks was born from a desire to preserve the natural beauty of the state and provide outdoor recreational opportunities for its citizens. In 1915, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a law creating a state park system, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the first park was established. Petit Jean State Park, named after a legendary French girl who disguised herself as a boy to join an early exploration of the region, opened to the public and set the standard for what would become a world-class park system.

Over the years, Arkansas State Parks has expanded to include sites of historic significance, such as the Confederate Memorial State Park and the Powhatan Historic State Park, as well as breathtaking natural wonders like the Mammoth Spring

State Park and the Buffalo National River. Each park is unique in its offerings, but all are committed to preserving the natural environment and educating visitors about the importance of conservation.

To celebrate its centennial anniversary, Arkansas State Parks has planned a yearlong series of events and activities. Visitors can attend concerts, festivals, and special programs at various parks throughout the state, such as the Diamond Lakes Region Centennial Celebration at Lake Ouachita State Park and the White River Celebration at Bull Shoals-White River State Park. There will also be opportunities for visitors to learn about the history of the park system and its role in preserving Arkansas’s natural and cultural heritage.

In addition to the centennial celebrations, Arkansas State Parks is also embarking on a major initiative to improve and expand its facilities. This includes upgrading

campgrounds and lodging, as well as enhancing the accessibility of parks for visitors with disabilities. The park system is committed to ensuring that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience, and these improvements will help to make that a reality.

As Arkansas State Parks celebrates its centennial anniversary, it’s worth reflecting on the importance of preserving our natural and cultural heritage. These parks provide a place of respite and renewal for visitors, as well as a vital habitat for plants and animals. By supporting the state park system, we can help ensure that future generations can enjoy

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Celebrate Centennial This Year

the same beauty and wonder that we do today.

Arkansas State Parks has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1923. As the park system celebrates its centennial anniversary, we are reminded of the vital role that it plays in preserving Arkansas’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. With a commitment to conservation and a dedication to providing world-class recreational opportunities, Arkansas State Parks will continue to be a

beloved destination for generations to come.

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 55,006 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with ASP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.

com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism. Mike Mills serves as the cabinet secretary for the department.

For more on Arkansas

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Click Here

Put Dry Tortugas On Your

National Parks are a treasure. I enjoy visiting them every chance I get. In 2021, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy one of the least visited National Parks in America, the Dry Tortugas.

My husband and I were visiting Key West, and when we were that close, I thought it would be a shame not to stay an extra day and make the trip to Dry Tortugas.

I’m so glad we stayed and visited this beautiful National Park. Fort Jefferson is the park’s centerpiece. It is an unfinished fortress and the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. It has abundant sea life, colorful coral reefs, tropical bird breeding grounds, and sunken treasures. More than 16 million bricks were used in the creation of the fort.

Dry Tortuga National Park Location

The Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 70 miles west of Key West. It is made up of seven isolated islands of the Florida Keys.

Juan Ponce de León visited the Dry Tortugas in 1513, caught 160 sea turtles there, and referred to the islands as the “Tortugas,” meaning turtles. The “Dry” comes from the lack of fresh water on the island.

The Dry Tortugas are also rich in maritime history. There were many shipwrecks near the island over the years. The islands provided a strategic point for controlling the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.


Temperatures range from an average of 91 °F (33 °C) and low temperatures in winter around 65 °F (18 °C) on the Dry Tortugas. It is one of the driest places in Florida, with an annual precipitation of about 38 inches with no large jungle or forest canopy area.

How to get to the Dry Tortugas?

This is the interesting part; the park is accessible only by seaplane or boat, and there are no roads or cars on the island. Boating permits to be within the National Park boundaries are free, but you must register with the National Park Service once you arrive at the Fort. This

applies to all types of boats, including Kayaks.

We rode the Yankee Freedom Ferry (Reservations are required), which was a convenient way to get to the Dry Tortugas. The price of your ferry tickets for Dry Tortugas includes National Park admission. If you have a National Parks pass, you can present that upon check-in in Key West to have the cost of entry refunded to you.

The ferry leaves Key West at 8:00 AM. There is seating inside and out on both the upper and lower decks. The ride to the Dry Tortugas takes approximately two hours each way.

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Your Bucket List

If you suffer from seasickness, you should take something before you depart. They sell Dramamine at the ferry station. When seas are rough, they tell you in advance and recommend purchasing Dramamine when choppy seas are likely.

You have between five and six hours to explore the island. An important thing to note, there is no cell service on the island, so be prepared to unplug for the day and enjoy nature.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the return trip are provided. You can purchase adult beverages on the return trip if you desire.

Things To Do At The Dry Tortugas

Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, birdwatching, camping, saltwater fishing, kayaking, and touring Fort Jefferson. When we visited, we toured Fort Jefferson first, went for a hike along the beach, and then went for a swim and snorkeled—the day passed quickly.

Lunch is included with your ticket on the ferry, or you can bring your own food.

Fort Jefferson

The ferry unloads in front of Fort Jefferson , and you cross a drawbridge for entrance. This coastal fortress is a site to behold. If you are interested in history, you will love visiting this fort.

Construction of this fort began in 1847 and was in the Union’s hands during the Civil War. It was later used as a prison. Then the Navy established a base, and it was used as a seaplane base during World War I. I enjoyed learning about this fort and photographing the arches and long corridors. We climbed to the top and took in the view.

The Beaches

The Dry Tortugas has gorgeous white pristine beaches. They are uncrowded, and you will usually see underwater wildlife and an abundance of shells. Just remember you are not to remove any natural objects from the park.

Snorkeling the Dry Tortugas

When taking the ferry to the Dry Tortugas, they provide you with snorkeling equipment. I enjoyed snorkeling around the fort.

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South Beach, to the left of the ferry dock, has the smoothest water for snorkeling and is full of undersea life.

Can You Spend the Night at the Dry Tortugas?

Visiting the Dry Tortugas is a full-day trip, including the ferry ride to and from it is nine to ten hours long. You can spend the night, but you must plan in advance. There are no hotels. Overnight camping is limited to eight primitive campsites just south of

Fort Jefferson. When you camp there, you must take all your equipment with you, including a supply of water, food, etc.

I recommend going for the day and enjoying yourself. I don’t think it would be fun to camp there with the primitive sites. They have so few, and they must be reserved months in advance. If you are there and you get bad weather, you are stuck.

I loved visiting, but going for the

day is the best option.

Don’t Forget To Take

Remember, anything you take, you will need to carry around the island with you. These items will come in handy.

Beach towel (Even if you don’t plan to swim, you will need it for sitting on the beach. Chairs are not provided.)

● Sunscreen or sunblock (this is essential)

● Refillable water bottle

● Sunglasses and hat

● Camera or phone (remember to put in airplane mode since there is no cell service.)

● Waterproof phone case

For many, visiting the Dry Tortugas is a bucket list or oncein-a-lifetime experience. But I can assure you it is beautiful and an experience worth your time.

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Hard Labor Creek State Park

At Georgia’s second-largest state park, unlike its name, there is nothing laborious about a stay at the park for an extended weekend getaway.

Located in Morgan County, The park features recently renovated lodges that sleep up to six and have full kitchens, fireplaces, screened porches, fire pits, BBQ grills, and more. There’s also:

The Creek at Hard Labor Golf Course is known for its challenging layout in a pristine, natural setting. It features Champion Bermuda greens and narrow tree-lined fairways. (There’s also a mini golf course.)

There are 16.5 miles of mountain bike trails and two one-mile loop hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate.

Kayaking is available at one of two huge lakes and there

is a sand beach on one of the lakes (man-made).

It’s also minutes from downtown Madison – one of the prettiest and most walkable small towns in the South – is just an hour from Atlanta, yet strolling through its historic Main Street and Downtown Square, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported into a walk-in picture book of nineteenthand early-twentieth-century American architecture.

Madison exudes smalltown southern hospitality and charm. And Madison is having its moment, thanks to a thriving dining scene with lots of new restaurants, a

new mid-century boutique hotel opening this summer and a slate of fun spring and summer events on tap. Main Street in Historic Downtown Madison is home to cool boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and excellent restaurants. Madison has a self-guided walking tour, and there is also a tour of some of the oldest historic homes in town that you can enjoy on foot or by bicycle.

For more on Gerogia

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> Click Here

Trending at State Parks

Louisiana is a state known for its unique culture, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural beauty. And there is no better way to experience all of these things than by visiting one of the many state parks that Louisiana has to offer. In recent years, several Louisiana State Parks have become popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all over the country. Here are some of the top trends at Louisiana State Parks.


Camping is a popular activity at Louisiana State Parks, and with good reason. The parks offer a range of camping options, from tent camping to RV camping to cabin rentals. Many of the parks have designated campsites that come equipped with fire pits, picnic tables, and other amenities. Some of the most popular parks for camping include Fontainebleau State Park, Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, and Poverty Point Reservoir State Park.

Water activities

Louisiana is known for its waterways, and many of the state parks are located on or near bodies of water. Visitors can enjoy activities such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. Some of the most popular parks for water activities include Lake Claiborne State Park, Palmetto Island State Park, and Bayou Segnette State Park.


Louisiana State Parks offer a range of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of the state. Many of the trails are suitable for all skill levels and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Some of the most popular parks for hiking include Chicot State Park, Tickfaw State Park, and Grand Isle State Park.


Louisiana is a haven for birdwatchers, and sev-

eral state parks offer prime birdwatching opportunities. Visitors can spot a variety of species, including waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors. Some of the best parks for birdwatching include Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, Lake D’Arbonne State Park, and Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Historic sites

Louisiana has a rich history, and several state parks offer visitors the chance to explore historic sites. These include Native American mounds, Civil War-era forts, and plantation homes. Some of the most popular parks for history buffs include Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, Fort Pike State Historic Site, and Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site.

Overall, Louisiana State Parks offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or an action-packed adventure, there’s a park that will suit your needs. So pack your bags and head to Louisiana to experience all the state parks have to offer.

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For more on Louisiana > Click Here

Standing Bear Park

re you ready for a journey into Native American history and culture? Then make your way to the Standing Bear Park, Museum & Education Center in Ponca City, Oklahoma. This 63-acre park welcomes visitors with its tranquil atmosphere, towering old trees, and gentle native grasses. As you wander along the walking paths, you’ll come across six tribal viewing courts, a small museum, and a magnificent 22-foot bronze statue of Ponca tribal leader Chief Standing Bear.

Standing Bear was a true hero, and his story is gracefully told at this park. He made history in 1879 by pleading before a U.S. court of law to be recognized as a person and a citizen, and his famous quote still resonates today: “This hand is not the same color as yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. The same God made us both.”

The park is a peaceful haven where you can reflect on the bravery and resilience of the Native American people. The inter-tribal Standing Bear Powwow takes place adjacent to the park each September, with native music, dances, and foods.

It’s an incredible experience that you won’t want to miss!

As you explore the park, you’ll come across the larger-than-life sculpture of Standing Bear, located where the actual chief is believed to have walked more than a century ago. This stunning monument celebrates all Native Americans with artifacts, artwork, and educational material, all in a breathtaking setting. You’ll also discover a peaceful memorial grove, a pond, and an outdoor interpretive center that tell the history of American Indians in Oklahoma.

The Standing Bear Park, Museum & Education Center is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Native American history and culture. It’s a beautiful and serene place to honor the past and gain a deeper understanding of the people who have lived on this land for centuries. So pack your bags and get ready for a journey into the heart of Native America!

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For more on Oklahoma >Click Here

State Parks Turn 100

2023 marks 100 years of Texas State Parks, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is raising $2 million to fund much-needed projects at all state parks across Texas.

For 100 years, Texas State Parks have been places of awe and discovery. Your generosity in support of the Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration will allow us to grant Centennial wishes and enhancements

to the visitor experience for all state parks. It also helps to ensure Texas State Parks will continue to delight visitors of all ages for generations to come.

Many projects will enhance wildlife viewing opportunities. From a pontoon boat for marsh tours at Sea Rim State Park, to a Braille Trail to enrich the auditory experience for vision-impaired visitors at

Caddo Lake, to spotting scopes and binoculars at parks across Texas, these projects will delight visitors for years to come.

A group of Centennial Champions are also going wild about this effort by matching all gifts dollar-for-dollar!

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For more on Texas >Click Here

New England States

Sports Adventures at

If you’re looking for an exciting adventure and a fan of sport, head to Brownstone Adventure Sports Park. Located in Portland, this park offers a wide range of outdoor activities that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. From rock climbing to zip-lining, there’s something for everyone at Brownstone.

One of the most popular activities at Brownstone is rock climbing. The park features a massive 65-foot-tall rock wall that’s perfect for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, you’ll find a challenge here. The wall is equipped with top ropes, lead climbing, and bouldering areas, so you can try out different styles of climbing.

For those who love water activities, Brownstone has plenty to offer. The park is built around an old quarry, which has been turned into a crystal-clear lake. You can

take a swim in the lake or try your hand at wakeboarding or paddleboarding. If you’re feeling daring, you can even try the park’s newest water activity: the blob. This inflatable pillow is placed in the middle of the lake, and participants jump from a tower onto the pillow, launching their friends into the air.

If you’re looking for something even more adventurous, try zip-lining. Brownstone has a 1000-foot-long zip-line that takes you over the lake and through the trees. It’s a thrilling experience that will give you a bird’seye view of the park and the surrounding area.

For those who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. You can try mountain biking on the park’s trails or go for a hike through the surrounding woods. There’s also a rope course that will test your balance and agility, as well as a giant swing that will take you soaring through the air.

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No matter what your preferred adventure style is, Brownstone Adventure Sports Park has something for you. With its stunning natural surroundings and thrilling activities, it’s the perfect destination for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure. So pack your bags, grab your friends or family, and head to Brownstone for an unforgettable experience.

Brownstone Adventure Sports Park is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the summer months, the park is open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission rates vary depending on the activity, and there are different packages available that combine various activities. For example, a day pass for rock climbing and zip-lining costs $55, while a day pass for wakeboarding and water activities costs $50. The park also offers season passes and group rates.

To learn more about the activities available at Brownstone Adventure Sports Park, as well as hours of operation, ticket rates, and special promotions, visit the park’s website at www.brownstonepark.com. The website provides detailed information on each activity, including age and weight restrictions, safety guidelines, and equipment requirements. You can also book your tickets online and sign waivers ahead of time to save time upon arrival. Don’t miss out on this unique and exciting adventure park experience in Connecticut!

For more information on Connecticut, >CLICK HERE

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at Brownstone

Attention all cycling enthusiasts and nature lovers! Trap Pond State Park in Southern Delaware is thrilled to announce the upcoming 19th Annual Family 5K Bike Rally, an exciting and eco-friendly event perfect for the whole family. The theme this year is “Get In Gear.”

Located just a short drive from the beautiful coastal town of Rehoboth Beach, Trap Pond State Park offers a stunning natural setting with lush forests, tranquil ponds, and diverse wildlife. It’s the perfect place to explore on two wheels, and the Family Bike Rally is the ideal opportunity to do just that.

The event will take place on Saturday May 6th at 10:30 a.m. and continuing until 1 pm. Participants can expect a fun-filled day of cycling, nature, and camaraderie as they ride through the park’s beautiful trails and take in the sights and sounds of the local wildlife.

The Family Bike Rally is open to cyclists of all ages and abilities, making it the perfect opportunity for families to bond while enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a beginner, the park’s trails offer a variety of terrains and challenges that are sure to satisfy every type of rider.

Bike Rally riders will bike around The Bob Trail at Trap Pond. Every registered rider will receive a free t-shirt. There will be door prizes given out at the conclusion of rally!

registration fee is $10 for individuals and $25 for the whole family. So why not gather your family, dust off your bikes, and join in all the fun at Trap Pond State Park for a day of cycling fresh air, and nature. Online reservations are only open .ntil May 3, so hurry and sigh up today. Remember, every rider under the age of 16 must wear a helmet. We can’t wait to see you there!

Trap Pond Partners is a non-profit, all volunteer organization. As members, they care deeply about preserving Trap Pond State Park’s natural and recreational resources for future generations. All monies raised are used to benefit Trap Pond State Park. For more information, visit https://www.trappondpartners.com/

For more


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Registration for the Family Bike Rally is now open, and tickets must be purchased online. The on Delaware >CLICK HERE
Cycling at Trap Pond

Let’s Go Swimming

here are 22 State Parks in this small state with swimming options available. Here are our favorites where you can soak up the sun and swim to your heart’s content. Which one will you go to today?

Hampton Beach State Park is located in the southeastern part of the state and boasts one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in New Hampshire. The beach itself stretches for miles along the Atlantic Ocean, with soft white sand and clear blue waters. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and play beach volleyball or horseshoes. There are also plenty of food vendors and restaurants nearby for when you get hungry.

If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, head to Pawtuckaway State Park, located in the southeastern part of the state. Here you’ll find a pristine lake with a sandy beach and calm waters perfect for swimming. There are also hiking trails nearby for those who want to explore the park’s beautiful scenery.

Further north, White Lake State Park is another excellent option for swimming. The park is situated in the White Mountains and has a sandy beach that is ideal for families with children. The water is crystal clear and refreshing, and there are lifeguards on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards if you

want to explore the lake.

Another beautiful spot in the White Mountains is Franconia Notch State Park. Here you’ll find Echo Lake, a stunningly clear lake that is perfect for swimming. The water is cold but refreshing, and the surrounding mountains create a picturesque backdrop for your swim. There are also hiking trails and picnic areas nearby, making it an ideal spot for a day trip.

Finally, we recommend Lake Francis State Park in the northern part of the state. This park offers a sandy beach and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. The lake is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and fishing, and there are also hiking trails nearby. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this is the perfect spot.

No matter which state park you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing time swimming in the refreshing waters of New Hampshire. So pack your sunscreen, towel, and swimsuit, and head to one of these beautiful parks for a weekend you’ll never forget!

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information on New Hampshire >CLICK HERE
For more

Anchorage By The Sea

Giri Hotels has recently announced their acquisition of this waterfront hotel located in Ogunquit. This acquisition represents the blending of long-time, trusted Maine businesses that care greatly about guest experience and the local community. Anchorage by the Sea is the 47th hotel in Giri’s portfolio and 24th property in Maine.

Situated on the ocean and the famed Marginal Way, Anchorage by the Sea has 249 rooms and offers an array of modern amenities, including ocean access, heated indoor and outdoor pools, onsite restaurant and bar, hot tub, and more. Nestled right in the heart of downtown, guests can enjoy a variety of activities right from the property, such as shopping, dining, and exploring local attractions like Perkins Cove or Ogunquit Playhouse. It is the perfect location for coastal Maine weddings, corporate events, and bus tours.

Earle Wason of Wason Associates Hospitality Brokerage Group negotiated the transaction, saying, “The Giri team is very professional in their approach. They followed through in a timely manner and have an experienced and knowledgeable team to handle their due diligence and transfer of operations.” When asked his thoughts on the

sale of Anchorage by the Sea, he continued, “this is likely the highest sale price of a hotel ever in the State of Maine, and it was a great privilege to have facilitated such a transaction.”

Michael Scavotto, Giri Hotels Director of Operations, said “Anchorage by the Sea is a classic New England hotel that exemplifies what we love about Ogunquit. Waterfront access to Maine’s unique coast, onsite restaurant and bar, and great amenities make it the perfect place to stay. This hotel has been a family-run property since 1978, and now it is coming to the Giri family.”

Giri Hotels owns and operates 47 properties in New England; in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The company’s tenets are offering top-notch customer service, unparalleled guest satisfaction and, most importantly, team-member development, which the founders firmly believe is the key to any business’ success. For more information about Giri Hotels, visit the website: girihotels.com. View their entire hotel portfolio here.

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For more

Rocks State Park, Harford

Become one with nature when you take a scenic hike through Rocks State Park in Harford. Veer off your path to experience the breathtaking Kilgore Falls and see the jaw-dropping views of the land when you hike all the way up to the King and Queen Seat.

This day-use park is located on MD 24, eight miles north of Bel Air, and is situated on 850 acres bordering Deer Creek. A popular feature is the throne-like rock formation called the King and Queen Seats where, according to legend, Indian Chieftains once sat in tribal council. Enjoy rock climbing, picnicking, hiking, tubing, canoeing, fishing and seasonal bow hunting. The Falling Branch area of Rocks State Park is located 5 miles north of the main park off MD 24. The scenic, 17 foot free-falling waterfall is the second highest vertical falls in Maryland.

The main section of the park includes three picnic areas, 3.5-miles of hiking trails and ac-

cess to Deer Creek, which is ideal for fishing, wading and tubing. The park’s two satellite properties, Falling Branch (home to Kilgore Falls) and Hidden Valley, are a short drive from the main park.

Pets are allowed at Falling Branch but must be leashed at all times. The park closes at sunset.

Parking passes are now required to visit Kilgore Falls on weekends and holidays between May 6th and Labor Day. Passes become available for reservation on the Monday prior to the desired visit.

A parking pass is not required for weekday visits, but parking is first come, first served, and often fills to capacity. To make a reservation, please visit the YourPassNow website at https://yourpassnow. com/ParkPass/md/kilgore

For more on Maryland

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Niagra Parks Ready

Niagara Parks is looking forward to a fantastic year ahead with increased service levels across all operations including extended hours of operation, the reopening of all four heritage sites, the reopening of the WEGO shuttle to Niagara-on-theLake, and so much more! This 2023 season marks the launch of exciting new changes at some of the most well-known and beloved attractions and facilities (and we can’t wait for you to see them)!

Niagara Parks is busy preparing for an early launch of the iconic Adventure Pass, the best way to experience all that Niagara Parks has to offer. There are three different passes to choose from, each filled with iconic Niagara Parks experiences to help rediscover the joy of natural wonders. New this year is the addition of the Niagara Parks Power Station + Tunnel to the Niagara Falls Pass and Adventure Pass Plus.


Niagara Falls is surrounded by some of the most spectacular gardens that are ranked among the most beautiful public gardens in Canada and around the world. The gardens and landscaped spaces are open year around and the flowers vary each season offering a

backdrop of thousands of changing blooms. Niagara Falls is the Daffodil Capital of North America and also boasts an impressive tulip display, Canada’s largest rose garden, a Magnolia Allee, the fragrant Centennial Lilac Garden, the iconic Floral Clock (16,000+ plants), one of Canada’s largest Botanical gardens, plus a serene Japanese-style garden that is often referred to as the Secret Garden!


Niagara Parks is proud to announce the arrival of two new chefs at Table Rock House Restaurant and Queen Victoria Place Restaurant! Chef Matt Krupa (Table Rock House Restaurant) and Chef Matt Hemmingsen (Queen Victoria Place Restaurant) will be launching their first new menus at their respective restaurants this spring, while continuing the

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For A Great Season

Niagara Parks tradition of Feast On certified, locally sourced dining.

Chef Matt KrupaTable Rock House Restaurant

After graduating from the Niagara College

Culinary Management Program, Chef Krupa trained in Europe at a 3 Star Michelin Restaurant, eventually returning to Canada where he was recognized as one of the “Top 30 under 30” up-and-comers by the Ontario Hostelry Institutes. As he matured in his profession, he developed a cooking identity rooted in old French-based cuisine with elements of nouvelle cuisine and world flavours. His unique blends of international flavours were acquired when working as Senior Sous Chef at Langdon Hall, a Relais and Chateaux property recognized as a coveted AAA Five Diamond venue. But, fortunately for Niagara, his passion for the region led him back to the area, gaining experience in many top restaurants from Peller Estates and Trius Winery to Megalomaniac and the Good Earth Food and Wine Co. You can experience his culinary talents during Easter weekend April 7 – 10, at Table Rock House Restaurant. Book your reservation for a special three-course Easter-inspired meal at niagaraparks.com/tablerockhouse

Chef Matt Hemmingsen

Queen Victoria Place Restaurant

As a graduate of Niagara College’s Culinary Management course, Chef Hemmingsen has always been passionate about growing within the community, industry and region. From his time spent at Cherry Hill Country Club to Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery, he has continually taken in all the offerings of Niagara’s greenbelt. While apprenticing at Rinderlin’s Dining Room, he took his skills to the next level, learning a classical and European take on cooking, working with many of the best chefs of Niagara. To this day, he loves to marry those old-world concepts with modern techniques and above all else, regional product. Now at the center of Niagara with Niagara Parks, he continues to pair regional ingredients with classic techniques. Through every dish created and served at the Queen Victoria Place Restaurant, you will see the love and appreciation he has for all of Niagara and our guests from near and far.

For more information on New York

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Tiny House Resort

Escape to the Catskill Mountains of New York and experience a unique and intimate vacation at A Tiny House Resort. Nestled on 50 acres of land with a mile of creek frontage, this hidden gem offers stunning waterfront views that will leave you in awe.

Step inside one of the 15 luxury tiny houses and you’ll find yourself in a cozy, yet fully-equipped, space. Enjoy the comfort of heat and air conditioning, as well as outdoor grills and fire pits for cooking and relaxing under the stars. If you’re traveling with your furry friend, the resort is dog-friendly and welcomes all dog owners.

But A Tiny House Resort

isn’t just about the accommodation. There are plenty of activities and amenities for guests to enjoy. Spend your days tubing or kayaking down the creek, take a dip in the heated pool, or indulge in some tasty treats from the food truck. There’s also a tiny store for essentials, games, a pick-your-own garden, and a playground for the kids.

For animal lovers, don’t miss the daily goat walk or the chance to meet some farm animals on the property. And during the summer season, live music events take place three nights a week for some added entertainment. If you’re feeling crafty, head to the onsite craft center and try your hand at a new skill.

With fully fenced decks and outdoor lounge furniture, eight of the tiny houses offer a unique and private experience. Weber grills and wood burning fireplaces are also included, while some even have covered gazebos for added luxury.

Whoever you’re traveling with, A Tiny House Resort is the perfect extended weekend getaway. Immerse yourself in the serene environment and make unforgettable memories with those you love. For more information and booking, visit their website at www.atinyhouseresort.com or call 518 622 2626 for additional information.

For more information on New York

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Our Five Favorite Theme

Pennsylvania is home to a variety of exciting theme parks that cater to visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a thrill ride, a water park, or family-friendly attractions, you’re sure to find it in Pennsylvania. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best theme parks in the state, including Waldameer Theme Park.


Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Hersheypark is one of the most popular theme parks in the state. With more than 70 rides and attractions, including 14 roller coasters and a water park, Hersheypark offers something for everyone. The park is also home to Hershey’s Chocolate World, where visitors can learn about the history of chocolate and make their own candy bar.


Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is another popular theme park in the state. With over 100 rides, attractions, and shows, including eight roller coasters and a water park, Dorney Park offers plenty of thrills and excitement. One of the park’s most popular attractions is Steel Force, a roller coaster that reaches speeds of up to 75 miles per hour.


Kennywood is an iconic theme park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, that has been entertaining visitors for over a century. The park is home to classic wooden roller coasters like the Thunderbolt and the Jack Rabbit, as well as water rides, family-friendly

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Theme Parks in This State

attractions, and live entertainment.

Knoebels Amusement Resort

Located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, Knoebels Amusement Resort is a unique and family-friendly theme park. Admission to the park is free, and visitors can purchase tickets for individual rides or buy a wristband for unlimited access to all rides and attractions. With over 60 rides, including classic wooden roller coasters and water rides, Knoebels has something for everyone.

Waldameer Theme Park

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Waldameer Theme Park is a family-owned and operated amusement park that has been entertaining visitors for over a century. The park features a variety of rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and family-friendly attractions. Waldameer is also home to a water park, which includes a wave pool, water slides, and a lazy river.

In conclusion, Pennsylvania is home to some of the best theme parks in the country. From the chocolate-themed attractions at Hersheypark to the classic wooden roller coasters at Kennywood and the family-friendly atmosphere of Waldameer Theme Park, there’s no shortage of fun and excitement to be had in Pennsylvania. So if you’re looking for a vacation destination that offers thrills and entertainment for the whole family, be sure to check out these top Pennsylvania theme parks.

For more information on Pennsylvania

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Colt State Park

BRISTOL - If you’re looking for a perfect extended weekend getaway, Colt State Park is the place to be. Often referred to as the “Gem” of the State Parks System, Colt State Park offers visitors a serene and peaceful environment with breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay. Located in Bristol, Rhode Island, Colt State Park is a 464-acre park that provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The park is known for its picturesque beauty, open fields with historic stone walls, and numerous hiking trails. It’s an ideal destination for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to spend some quality time with family and friends.

One of the main attractions of Colt State Park is its stunning panoramic views of Narragansett Bay. The park offers visitors an uninterrupted view of the bay and is a perfect spot

to watch the sunrise or sunset. The park is also an excellent spot for birdwatching, and you may even catch a glimpse of some rare bird species.

For hikers and bikers, Colt State Park offers several trails that take you through beautiful woods and open fields. The park has over four miles of paved bike paths, which makes it easy for visitors to explore the park at their own pace. The hiking trails offer visitors a chance to explore the park’s diverse terrain and see the beauty of nature up close.

For those who love to fish, Colt State Park offers excellent fishing opportunities. The park has a 1000-foot fishing pier that extends into the bay, making it an ideal spot for anglers. Visitors can fish for a variety of species, including flounder, striped bass, and bluefish.

If you’re looking for a place

to relax and enjoy a picnic, Colt State Park has several picnic areas scattered throughout the park. The park has over 400 picnic tables, and visitors can choose to have their picnic by the water’s edge or in the open fields.

Overall, Colt State Park is an excellent destination for an extended weekend getaway. The park offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the beauty of nature. With its stunning views, hiking trails, biking paths, fishing opportunities, and picnic areas, Colt State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to spend some quality time in the great outdoors.

For more on Rhode Island

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Memorial Day Week

There’s nothing like a three-day weekend to kick off the season! Come out and celebrate Memorial Day Weekend the Stratton way. We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Green Mountains with the opening of all your favorite activities, shops and restaurants.

with an explanation and photo of each hole, including par and yardage. Opening day is May 26.

The Stratton Bike Park and Scenic Lift Rides open for the first time this season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday. The Stratton Bike Park features 10+ miles of downhill mountain bike trails with the same look and feel that are synonymous with Vermont mountain biking. The Stratton Bike Park has added many new routes since it first opened in 2019, we look forward to you returning for another ride, or come drop in for the first time.

Biking, hiking, dining, shopping and dancing are all back at your mountain home this Memorial Day Weekend. Fun family activities and games are scheduled to include the CORE Bar climbing wall in the main base area for kids in attendance.

The outdoor stage is set for live music on Saturday by FREEBIRD - a Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band and Changes in Latitudes - the Premier Jimmy Buffet Tribute Show. The concert begins at 5:30pm. Grab your tickets now for the first concert of the season at Stratton Mountain. Tickets are $15 each if purchased in advance. They are $20 the day of concet.

For more on Vermont

Book your tee time as we look forward to 18 holes of golf that weekend. Scout the Stratton Golf Course before you play. Fine tune your round

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Mid - Eastern States

Beechbend Amusement

As the temperatures start to climb, what better way to beat the heat than with an extended weekend getaway at Beech Bend in Bowling Green? Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, this park combines two fun themes into one.

Opening May 13 for the season, enjoy the amusement park rides for small childen and family fun. Then there are the thrill rides, like the brand new Air Race, which replicates sensations of acrobatic flight. Loops, banks, dives and weightlessness will test even the most experienced thrill seekers. Air Race takes riders 30 feet above the ground and riders experience accelerations of almost 3G’s, right side up, upside down and everything in between. Then on May 20, add the adventures of play-

ing, relaxing and splashing in the waters at Splash Lagoon. Thrills await in these newest, award-winning water slide additions: Rip Tide, Tidal Wave, Cyclone Saucers and Polynesian Plunge. Kids of all ages will love the Ragin’ Rapids water slides – three unique slides offering three different ride experiences. Just want to relax? Cool off in the giant leisure pool or try your hand at the Lilly Pad Challenge.

New for the 2023 season, the park has added the largest water park expansion in park history. This multi-million dollar expansion includes Cyclone Saucers. This is the first installation of ProSlide’s flying saucer ride in North America. This history-making, ground breaking water slide will offer a very unique ride experience. Riders will fly around the edge of three “fly-

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Amusement Park & Campground

ing saucers” at high speeds. At nearly 500 feet long with a 55 foot elevation change, Cyclone Saucers is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Joining Cyclone Saucers are three more new iconic rides. Tidal Wave positions riders face to face as they surge up a thrilling wall and hang weightless before rocketing back down. Riptide features an intense dark ride section, before plummeting into two separate funnels.

Polynesian Plunge drops riders from the top of the slide tower into a swirling bowl. Beech Bend Waterpark is a per-

fect fit this summer for visitors of all ages, with a special area just for toddlers, complete with smaller slides and fountains. Visitors can also take a break from the rides and attractions and enjoy the park’s food stands, cabanas, and lazy river.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, Beech Bend has a campground on site with options for tent camping, RV camping, and cabin rentals. Visitors can enjoy a fun-filled weekend of camping and amusement park excitement all in one place.

General admission for Beech

Bend Amusement Park is $44.99 for adults and $34.99 for children. Ages two and under are admitted for free. Parking is also free. With plenty of new attractions and old favorites to enjoy, Beech Bend is the perfect destination for an extended weekend getaway. So why not start planning your trip today?

For more information and to reserve tickets, visit https:// beechbend.com/

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on Kentucky > Click Here
For more

Taking the High Road-A

In the far western corner of North Carolina, flirting with the southwest border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, lies a challenging road that draws muscle cars, motorcycles, and adventurers worldwide. I was one of them, and here is my tale.

Tail of the Dragon

Known as America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road, US 129 has no intersecting roads or driveways to impact your drive. The Tail of the Dragon is 11 miles of paved road with 318 tight curves and is the Mecca for sports car clubs, motorcycle groups, and road rallies. With no muscle car of my own, I took the curves slowly in the rain in a rented sedan. It was the ride of my life, and I have souvenir T-shirts and photos to prove it.

When ALCOA finished building Tapoco Lodge in Robbinsville in 1930 and another local dam completed construction, a lake covered the railroad tracks used for supplies. Ferry boat service by ALCOA replaced the train system until US 129 was completed in 1934, which opened western North Carolina to tourism and made the road famous. A little worried about traversing such a dangerous road, I kept these safety measures in mind:

• Keep to the speed limit

• Stay in your lane

• Pull off if necessary (plenty of pullouts along the way)

I stopped at Deals Way and took a selfie with the iconic metal dragon. It’s 12 feet tall and 22 feet long. If you own a muscle car and drive the Tail of the Dragon, you must capture a photo of your vehicle with the dragon, which is part of the ritual.

Make Robbinsville Your Headquarters

Robbinsville is snuggled in the Nantahala National Forest, with the Appalachian Trail running near this town of 600 residents, and makes excellent headquarters for your visit. A short drive in any direction puts you into historic destinations and stunning scenery. When I was there, spring was springing; the trees were budding and cast a soft pastel wash to the landscape.

Historic Tapoco Lodge

Make the Historic Tapoco Lodge your base camp to travel around the area. Enjoy good food, adult beverages, comfortable beds, beautiful grounds, and much history.

The Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) started a survey camp at what is now known as Historic Tapoco Lodge. During

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Photo Courtesy 129photos

Road-A Challenge

World War I, demand for aluminum soared, and dams built by ALCOA generated hydroelectric power.

Tapoco Lodge was completed in 1930. In 1934, US Highway 129 was constructed and became the famous 11-mile Tail of the Dragon road with 318 curves. In 1935, Tapoco Lodge became a resort where ALCOA executives could relax and enjoy extended time.

During World War II, Tapoco Lodge was reportedly in the top five German targets list because of its aluminum production for American aircraft. The bomb shelter onsite now protects the adult beverages, and the siren is still operational.

Historic Tapoco Lodge hosted me, but all opinions are my own. My host provided historical facts.

Celebrities Around Robbinsville

Many notable people hail from Robbinsville, and well-known movies were filmed there.

Chief Junaluska, leader of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, considered an unsung hero during the most significant Indian battle in history, is memorialized at his gravesite and trail. He fought alongside Andrew Jackson and was credited for saving Jackson’s life at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, in 1813.

Ronnie Milsap Highway, which runs in front of the Historic Tapoco Lodge and the Cheoah River,

is named after the country music singer and pianist. Milsap grew up in the neighborhood.

These movies were filmed in the Robbinsville area:

• In 1993, The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford. In one scene, Ford jumps from the Cheoah dam.

• Portions of the movie Nell (1994), starring Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson, featured the courthouse and downtown.

• Recent productions of Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners TV series.

Another Legendary Drive

Cherohala Skyway is a popular tourist attraction near Robbinsville. Known for spectacular scenic overlooks, pristine waterfalls, and world-class hiking trails, this 43-mile National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee, to Robbinsville, North Carolina.

If you’re into chasing waterfalls, detour to Bald River Falls, where you’ll see the 100-foot waterfall from your vehicle or standing on the bridge. The paved Forest Service Road 210 is well-marked. The forest road turns into a gravel road past the bridge. I returned the way I came in, backtracking about six miles rather than driving solo on an unimproved, little-traveled road. Please turn to next

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Ronnie Milsap, Cheoah River, Historic Tapoco Lodge ©Julie Diebolt Price

Follow these driving tips to experience the Cherohala Skyway:

• Do not stop in the roadway

• Watch for people and wildlife crossing

• Check your brakes, use a low gear, and keep your speed low

• Dispose of all trash properly

• Expect motorcycles and be alert for bicycles

• In winter, watch for ice

• Take your time and enjoy the views

No gas, food, phone, or lodging along the Cherohala Skyway exists. Picnic sites and restrooms are available. Get supplies at either end of the drive.

Unfortunately, low-lying clouds prevented me from seeing more than a few feet in front of my vehicle. Be aware that the drive can be challenging in good weather and bad.

On my road trip, I circled from Historic Tapoco Lodge over the Tail of the Dragon, joined the Cherohala Skyway at Tellico Plains, Tennessee, and exited at Cheoah Ranger District in North Carolina, near the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

When you exit at the Cheoah Ranger District, visiting the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is an easy stop. Alfred Joyce Kilmer, an American soldier killed during World War I, was a famous poet who wrote the poem “Trees.” The U.S.

Forest Service purchased 13,500 uncut acres of old-growth forest along the Little Santeetlah Creek basin and opened the memorial to the public in 1936. Walk among the giant poplar trees that are more than 400 years old.

Dragon Slayer

I not only slayed the Dragon, but I also conquered Cherohala Skyway in one day. I celebrated with the Dragon Slayer Bloody Mary at Tapoco Tavern…a suitable reward. For more

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> Click Here
on North Carolina
Bald River Falls ©Julie Diebolt Price Dragon Slayer Bloody Mary at Tapoco Tavern ©Julie Diebolt Price
For more on South Carolina >Click Here

Rockin’ The Docks

Lenoir City’s 23rd Annual Rockin’ The Docks kicks off summer with a Memorial Day celebration featuring food, music and fireworks

LENOIR CITY - Lenoir City’s Rockin’ the Docks brings thousands together for summer days filled with music and family fun on Fort Loudoun Lake. Twice each summer thousands gather at Lenoir City Park to enjoy live bands, delicious food, several vendors, and activities for children. Nightfall brings musical headliner Hillbilly Jedi on May 27 with the RMS Band and Ethan Vincil opening the concert. The grand finale is a fabulous fireworks display. On July 1st, the WIMZ Garage Band will be the headliner with RMS Band returning and Cole Sitzlar as the openers.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the 23rd Annual Lenoir City’s Rockin’ The Docks,” says Zack Cusick, Director, Lenoir City Parks and Recreation. “We will be bringing live music, food and a spectacular fireworks show for Memorial Day

and July 4th weekends. We would like to invite everyone to come by land or water to celebrate these two holiday weekends with us at the Lenoir City Park cove!”

Another great event in the park is scheduled for June 3-4, the 60th annual Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival. This waterfront event features works by more than 225 artists and vendors from across the Southeast featuring woodcrafters, fine artists, jewelers, handcrafters and more. A $3 donation will be requested at the entrance.

For more information, visit LenoirCityArtsandCrafts.com and https://lenoircitytn.gov/rockinthe-docks-2019/

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For more on Tennessee > Click Here
May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -125-

Breaks Interstate

Consider visiting Breaks Interstate Park, a unique park that spans the borders of southwestern Virginia and Kentucky. With only two interstate parks in the entire country, Breaks is a rare and breathtaking destination. The park covers 4,500 acres of woodland and Appalachian Mountain scenery, which is a natural wonder to see. The park gets its name from the break in Pine Mountain created by the Russell Fork River. The gorge formed over millions of years as the Russell Fork River roared its way through Virginia into Kentucky, headed for the Ohio River. It’s called the Grand Canyon of the South, and you won’t find a view like this everywhere.

Start your trip with a visit to the Rhododendron Restaurant, where the floor-to-ceiling windows offer a spectacular view of the gorge. You can step out onto the balcony and get even closer to this magnificent natural phenomenon. The lunch buffet is a treat on weekends, but there is a regular menu during the week. Be sure to try the cherry cobbler, and enjoy the delicious fried chicken, true southern style.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, Breaks Interstate Park offers a wide range of lodging options. You can choose from the park lodge buildings, which are named after plants, including Redbud Hemlock, Dogwood, and Catawba Lodges. The lodge has 70 rooms and one suite in the Rosebud Lodge, all of which have a view of the gorge. Alternatively, there are four split-level Woodland Cottages with two bedrooms and one bath, sleeping up to four adults. All have fully furnished kitchens.

The five lakefront cabins have a rustic appearance but are more luxurious. They all have a covered front porch with rocking chairs and a back deck complete with a hot tub overlooking

Laurel Lake. Imagine soaking in your hot tub and catching a nice-sized fish. You might even see some fish swimming in the clear water below. Two cabins include two bedrooms and two baths, one with a loft and additional space. One cabin is three bedrooms and three baths. There is even one cabin that is handicap accessible.

If you’re looking for camping on a slightly more luxurious scale, there are three yurts. Each yurt has a microwave inside and an outdoor cooking area featuring a picnic table, fire ring, and a charcoal grill. There are no bathrooms in the yurts, but they are located close to a campground bathhouse. One is handicap accessible.

Breaks Interstate Park offers many activities for adventure seekers, including zip-lining across the Grand Canyon of the South, whitewater rafting on the Russell Fork River, and rock climbing. If you prefer tamer adventures, you can enjoy a pedal boat, canoe, or kayak ride on Laurel Lake, bike with either a pedal or electric bike, fish, or do some leisurely hiking along the 25 miles of trails for bird and wildlife viewing. The park is home to white-tail deer, black bear, and many smaller species. There are two fledgling peregrine falcons that have been reintroduced to the area that are nesting down in the gorge. You might see beavers and mink along the river.

Breaks also has a large water park with a 4,000 square-foot beach-entry shallow pool, a current channel, four water slides, a spray ground, in-pool basketball and volleyball courts, and some shade spots if you want to avoid the sun. You won’t want to miss the eight overlooks in the park, which offer breathtaking views of the park. Many of the hiking and biking trails lead to the overlooks. One overlook you don’t want to miss is the State Line Overlook. From there,

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Interstate Park

you can see Russell Fork Gorge crossing over from Virginia to Kentucky, passing Pine Mountain.

In conclusion, my visit to Breaks Interstate Park was an unforgettable experience, but the elk tour was the icing on the cake. It was a rare opportunity to witness the majestic beauty of these magnificent creatures that were once on the brink of extinction. Learning about the conservation efforts that went into reintroducing the elk to the area was fascinating. Despite the initial opposition, the program has been a success, and the herds are thriving. However, I was saddened to learn that this year, some of the elk will be killed in a legal hunt. Nonetheless, the experience of seeing them in the wild and the chance to take home an antler as a souvenir made the tour a unique and unforgettable adventure. If you’re planning a trip to Breaks Interstate Park, I highly recommend adding the elk tour to your itinerary.

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For more on Virginia >Click Here

Pipestem State Park in West Virginia is ideal for travelers who are looking for a vacation snapshot of the beauty of the Mountain State and the excitement of adventure-related travel. West Virginia is the third most forested state in the U.S. It is located completely within the Appalachian Mountain Range where visitors can explore and experience all that nature has to offer on the ground and from above via an aerial tram and zipline down the Bluestone Gorge.

The State Park encompasses 4,000 acres of forests,

Mountain Adventures

gorges and rivers. Sitting on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge, Pipestem offers something for everyone including guided trout fishing trips, mountain bike excursions, kayaking and stand-up paddle board tours, hiking, mountain biking, an adventure lake and splash park, horseback riding, golfing and rock climbing. Families can enjoy their favorite adventures and indulge in new activities that will be the source of memories not soon forgotten in the wonderland of West Virginia.

The Pipestem Adventures

Company offers many adventure experiences and activities throughout Pipestem State Park. Three of their foremost offerings are the Pipestem Adventure Lake, Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tours, and the Pipestem Adventure Zone. Each provide a memorable, day-long experience.

Fun in the Adventure Lake

In the past 2 years, the Pipestem Adventure Lake has been created to entertain adults and children who love the water. The Adventure Lake features massive inflatables where adults and

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Adventures at Pipestem State Park

kids can pounce and splash to their hearts’ content, or enjoy a sandy beach for lounging, or play at the splash park.

Best Ziplining in West Virginia

Pipestem Adventures’ premier attraction is the Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour that is not only the best in the state, but also has the reputation of being the biggest zipline on the East Coast. The Pipestem Peaks Zipline features 9 ziplines up to 1,700 feet in length that allow visitors to sail on lines that cross over the Bluestone River Gorge three times at heights of 300 feet and speeds up to 50 mph.

Adventure Park Like No Other

The Pipestem Adventure

Zone offers more fun in one place than you can experience in a single day with adventures you’ve never attempted before. Visitors can choose from 9 exciting activities to create a full-day adventure extravaganza with skeet shooting, laser tag, remote controlled cars on paved and off-road race tracks, 3D archery, axe throwing, drone flying, miniature golf, disc golf and electric motor assisted bikes.

Pipestem Accommodations

Accommodations at Pipestem are available to fit any vacation style including the newly renovated McKeever Lodge and 26 cabins, plus nearby camp sites and RV parks. McKeever is the main lodge at Pipestem Resort State Park where visi-

tors can walk out onto the back porch for a spectacular view of the Bluestone Valley, dine on local fare in the Bluestone Dining Room or visit the new spa facilities.

The small towns surrounding Pipestem provide a look at the local flavor, art and hospitality of southern West Virginia. This includes nearby Tamarack Cultural Center where visitors can experience a showcase of handcrafts, fine art and regional cuisine. Thousands of artisans from all fifty-five counties in the state offer unique Appalachian goods to the thousands of visitors who stop at the center each year. It is located just 30 miles from Pipestem in Beckley, WV.

West Virginia State Parks like Pipestem offer an extraordinary destination and best-in-class adventures at a superb value. Learn more about Pipestem Adventures at www.pipestemadventures.com. Accommodations and activities at Pipestem State Park can be booked by calling 1-833-WV-Parks (1-833987-2757) or visiting www. wvstateparks.com.

May, 2023~ ExtendedWeekendGetaways | -129-
Virginia > Click Here
For more on

The National Parks’ New Album 8th Wonder Is All About Getting Out Of Your Head And Into The Outside World

“The overarching theme of this album is getting out of our heads, getting into nature, and experiencing the world around us with the people who matter the most,” says guitarist, vocalist, and namesake of his band, The National Parks, Brady Parks. Their fifth full-length album, 8th Wonder, is out now. Along with Megan Parks on violin, Sydney Macfarlane on vocals and keys, and Cam Brannelly on drums, The National Parks want listeners to feel the rush of running and jumping into a lake at full speed; the feeling of the clouds parting and bathing in the warm sun; or being met with a gust of cool, morning air upon stepping outside. These are the sensations being translated into song on 8th Wonder. Fans and critics who have already bonded with tunes like “Trouble,” “Sunshine,” and “8th Wonder,” ahead of the album’s release are sure to find just as much fun and inspiration in the album as a whole, just in time for the budding spring and summer ahead. You can get it at https://onerpm.link/8thwonderalbum

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Articles inside

Adventures at Pipestem State Park

page 129

Mountain Adventures

page 128

Interstate Park

pages 127-128

Breaks Interstate

page 126

Rockin’ The Docks

pages 124-125

Road-A Challenge

pages 121-123

Taking the High Road-A

page 120

Amusement Park & Campground

page 119

Beechbend Amusement

page 118

Memorial Day Week

page 115

Colt State Park

page 114

Theme Parks in This State

page 113

Our Five Favorite Theme

page 112

Tiny House Resort

pages 110-111

For A Great Season

page 109

Niagra Parks Ready

page 108

Rocks State Park, Harford

page 107

Anchorage By The Sea

page 106

Let’s Go Swimming

page 105

registration fee is $10 for individuals and $25 for the whole family. So why not gather your family, dust off your bikes, and join in all the fun at Trap Pond State Park for a day of cycling fresh air, and nature. Online reservations are only open .ntil May 3, so hurry and sigh up today. Remember, every rider under the age of 16 must wear a helmet. We can’t wait to see you there!

page 104

Sports Adventures at

pages 102-104

State Parks Turn 100

page 99

Standing Bear Park

page 98

Trending at State Parks

page 97

Hard Labor Creek State Park

page 96

Your Bucket List

pages 93-95

Put Dry Tortugas On Your

page 92

Celebrate Centennial This Year

page 91

Arkansas State Parks

page 90

Gulf State Park for a Getaway

pages 85-89

Discover the Best of Gulf

page 84

Roosevelt National Park

pages 80-82

Visiting Roosevelt

page 79

We All Scream Brand, That Is)

pages 77-78

African Safari Wildlife Park Open

page 75

A New Butterfly Trail at Hocking Hills

pages 73-74

What’s New at Cedar Point

pages 71-72

New Bike Trail

pages 68-70

Conservation Park Safari Has Fun For All

pages 65-68

Lee G. Simmons and Wildlife Safari

page 64

Fulton is Full of Park Fun

page 63

3 Parks in 3 Days

page 62

Sleeping Bear Dunes Beauty

pages 60-61

The Geological Wonders of Little Jerusalem Badlands

page 59


page 58

Take A Hike! at Turkey Run State Park

page 57

Fun at the City Parks

page 56

It’s Time For A Six Flags Visit

pages 54-55

10 Yellowstone Trip Tips

page 51

3 Unique Parks

page 50

Scenery For Kids of All Ages

page 49

A Playground With Scenery

page 48

Creativity Flourishes Here

pages 44-47

Stargazing at Dark Sky Park

page 43

White Sands National Park

page 42

Next Weekend Getaway

page 41

Top Six Parks for Your

page 40

Bruneau Dunes Park

pages 38-39

Kauai Poke Fest - June 3

pages 37-38


pages 35-36

Guided Hiking & Birding in the

page 34

New Exhibits Coming

page 33

National Forest

pages 31-32

Water & Wild Horses at Tonto National

page 30

Petrified Forest National Park

pages 28-29

in the Parks

page 27

Best Bird Watching

page 26

Western States

pages 24-26

Going Global: Bahamas Odyssey Aviation

pages 22-23

Going Global: Europe Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt

pages 20-21

German City

pages 17-19

Going Global: Germany 1 Nuremberg, The Most German

pages 16-17

Getaway For Mother’s Day

page 15

Hotel Hospitality - Dallas, Texas Las Colinas Resort Getaway

page 14

Traveling Freely with Comfortable

pages 12-13

Traveling Mom

page 11

That Special Gift For the Traveling

page 10

Celebrate - In The Park

page 9

Recipes for Living Take the Time to Celebrate

pages 8-9

At Parks To View Eclipse

page 7

Feature: Fun at the Parks Plan Now For Future Stay At

page 6

Up Close: From the Editor

page 5
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