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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 19:39

Family Hikes

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Four Seasons hikers

Take a hike — and take the whole family with you.

Here are five scenic destinations to consider:

1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

For jaw-dropping beauty, lace up and explore the jagged peaks of the magnificent Teton Range hear Jackson Hole. Trails that hug the shores of String, Leigh and Trapper lakes are ideal for families. With little elevation gain, the flat terrain provides ample opportunity to photograph the Tetons reflected in the water, wade into the shallow lake and picnic along the shoreline where the views will astound your entire crew.

http://www.fourseasons.com/jacksonhole/

2. Tackle a Colorado 14er.

The Centennial State is home to dozens of 14,000-foot peaks that beckon residents and visitors alike. Whether you make it to the summit or simply relish the high-altitude views, several of the trails are viable for adventuresome and fit families.

At 14,060 feet, Mount Bierstadt is both the closest peak to Denver and considered among the most approachable. Plan to arrive early, hydrate well and be off the mountain by midday to avoid dangerous thunderstorms that can roll in quickly.

Contact: colorado.com14ers.com

3. Shenandoah National Park.

More than 500 trails snake through this National Park in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, just 75 miles from Washington, D.C. Access family-friendly trails via the 105-mile long Skyline Drive, a historic National Scenic Byway that traverses the park. The highway also offers 75 scenic overlooks to stop and appreciate the region’s natural beauty. The 3.5-mile Lewis Springs Fall Loop is popular with families and offers scenic views and waterfalls. The Stony Man Summits and lower cliffs is the same length, offering stunning vistas with only 500 feet of elevation change.

Contact: nps.gov/shen/index.htm

4. Southern California’s Backbone Trail.

Not far from the Hollywood action you’ll find the 68-mile Backbone Trail, extending the length of the Santa Monica Mountains. Choose from a handful of day hike options. Try the Ray Miller Trail, accessed through Point Mugu State Park.

Scenic views of Ventura County can be seen from the 6-mile loop trail, starting at the trailhead off Yerba Buena road. Either way, you’ll be worlds away from the urban hustle.

Contact: nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/aboutthebbt.htm

5. Canyonlands, Utah.

For long views, sunny days and unique land formations, consider a hike into the history-rich Canyonlands. It’s a photographer’s dream landscape, so keep your camera handy as you choose among short strolls, longer day hikes or more strenuous outings.

The 2-mile Grand View Point trail offers panoramic views of the Island in the Sky Mesa. To learn about how the Anasazi lived in the area, consider the Aztec Butte Trail, where some of their rock structures are still visible.

Contact: utahscanyoncountry .com/index.html

Monday, 16 May 2016 07:56

High Altitude Summer

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

There is plenty of family fun to be found in mountain towns during the summer. Cool temperatures. Hiking, biking and fly fishing abound.

Ready to rodeo in Steamboat Springs, Co.?

Your whole crew will enjoy witnessing the American tradition where the rough and tough iconic cowboy meets good, old-fashioned family fun.

Check out these epic mountain towns while you are in the mood for high altitude fun.

Thursday, 28 April 2016 20:57

Multiple Family Fun?

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Family travel

Traveling with multiple families can add up to loads of holiday fun. Proper planning for family trips can go along way toward keeping friendships and expectations intact.

Here are six tips to consider:

Choose wisely.

Give careful consideration to the families and friends with whom you choose to share your precious vacation time. Parents you know from the sidelines of the soccer field might show different colors in a holiday setting away from your hometown.  Consider hosting a planning party to discuss specific destinations

and before making final plans.

Sharing.

Family groups often choose to share a beach house, condo or cabin.  That can mean divvying up expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking. Be sure to have a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway to avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated. If you sense close quarters could be uncomfortable, suggest staying in a resort or hotel where individual rooms will provide each family more time on their own.

Bring reinforcements.

With a covey of kids under roof, bringing along helping hands can save sanity. Your favorite neighborhood teen might jump at the chance to help out in exchange for a few dollars and the opportunity to experience your chosen destination. Trade time off during the day for evening duty, so that  grown ups can enjoy a quiet dinner or a night on the town.

Style matters.

Not everyone’s parenting style is in sync.  Before departure, consider discussing issues ranging from bedtime and use of technology to strategies for handling mealtime and household chores with the other parents. Then share expectations with your family before the fun begins.  If your children typically make their beds, minimize TV time and eat what they are served, it can be awkward if their travel pals are watching cartoons while waiting for a parent to create a custom waffle and squeeze special orange juice.

Plan private time.

No matter how much you are enjoying your vacation buddies, carve out private time with your own family as a group and individually. Whether you take walks on the beach, shop, grab a sandwich or visit a local museum on your own, don’t head for home without catching up with your clan. You’ll be glad you made the special effort once your regular routine resumes.

Do it right.

With proper planning and care, you'll be having so much fun, you'll be planning the next adventure as you migrate back home.

Thursday, 28 April 2016 20:21

Attitude is Everything

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

travel troubles

Contemplating a family vacation?

Don’t let concern about the challenges of travel keep you from taking off with the kids.

Remember, attitude is everything.

Here are tips for five common travel hassles.

1. Lost luggage: If you’ve stashed medical necessities, proper documents and perhaps a change of clothes into your carry-ons, it’s all good. Buy what might be crucial (and get reimbursed by your airline or through your travel insurance). Then focus on what you do have. You and the gang will quickly learn that less is more. With fewer choices and a lightened load, there will be more time to enjoy the adventures at hand.

Contact: medjetassist.com

2. You’re lost: With GPS and so many directionally savvy phone apps, it’s likely you’ll find your way back on track in no time. Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, interesting sites or a cozy diner that may exist on the road less traveled. It’s also a good time to talk with the kids about how mistakes happen and positive ways to recover.

Contact: maps.google.comroadsideamerica.com

3. Bad weather: When it rains on your beach vacation or the wind howls during a camping trip, it is a great time to look for the alternate adventure. Search for seashells without fear of a sunburn. Break out the board games or learn a new card trick. Campers can stow the tent in the back of the car and check into a hotel with a great indoor pool. Stay flexible. Be creative. And uncover what is possible.

4. Someone gets sick: It’s no fun to feel under the weather away from home. So it’s extra important to have the family’s support. Depending on the severity of the illness, consider the divide and conquer strategy. Take turns enjoying planned activities and staying in to cheer the sick one. If you bought travel insurance, review your options for medical care and reimbursement for canceled portions of the trip.

Contact: travelguard.com

5. The trip doesn’t unfold as expected: Some family members thrive on routine, and travel can mess with the order of things. But it’s also a good time to talk about how life will throw curveballs and it is good practice to learn how to respond to the unexpected. Embrace the serendipitous and know that when snafus occur it can make for a better story. Often, the pesky mishaps are the moments that become family lore and are cheerily recounted year after year.

Thursday, 21 April 2016 09:51

36 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

ft plateau earth day ts 8-3-2009 3-00-48 pm

Celebrate Earth Day, all year long.

Help create a happier planet. Try these 36 tips for earth friendly travel on for size:

  1. Share your smile.
  2. Forget the car rental and ride a bike.
  3. Jog, run or walk.
  4. Shop local.
  5. Grown your own.
  6. Be an eco traveller.
  7. Recycle at home and on the road.
  8. Make “green” choices when choosing travel providers and products.
  9. Share a meal or drink rather than waste.
  10. Instead of buying your own, share a car.
  11. Share a boat.
  12. Share a plane.
  13. Share a bike.
  14. Reuse your water bottle.
  15. Turn the lights off at home and in the hotel.
  16. Unplug.
  17. Share your books, magazines and newspapers.
  18. Love a library.
  19. Share a ride.
  20. Honor other cultures and customs.
  21. Clean green.
  22. Turn the water off while brushing.
  23. Choose native plants.
  24. Volunteer at home and abroad.
  25. Support fair trade coffee.
  26. Share your knowledge with the next generation.
  27. Recycle technology.
  28. Befriend a farmer.
  29. Buy less, breathe more.
  30. Swap services.
  31. Choose organic.
  32. Freecycle.
  33. Go paperless.
  34. Plant a tree.
  35. Learn about your world.
  36. Share your love.
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