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Pre-baby getaways have gained in popularity as expectant parents seek out stress-free solace before the sleepless nights begin. 

Here are five babymoons to consider:  family travel

1. Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore; Santa Barbara, Calif. 

Parents-to-be who tap into the historic seaside hotel’s Timeless Memories package will be welcomed with a teddy bear clad in a newborn shirt, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of sparkling cider. Relax the day away with complimentary access to the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The soothing breezes will continue as you enjoy dinner for two at Tydes, a seaside restaurant with an emphasis on locally sourced culinary treats.


2.The MIlestone Hotel. London. Share the spotlight of the royal baby watch with this package that gets underway near Hyde Park. Your package includes two nights of accommodations, a tour of Kensington Palace, royal afternoon tea and tickets to an event at Royal Albert Hall. A 90-minute spa treatment for the expectant mother and dinner for two are also included. After your baby arrives, you are invited to return for a stay that will include a complimentary upgrade to a spacious family room. Book now for availability beginning Jan. 1.


3. The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa; Houston. 

Upon check-in, complimentary chilled cider and specialty beauty products will be delivered to your deluxe guest room. Prepare to be pampered at the award-winning Trellis Spa, where a prenatal massage for the mom-to-be and a deep-tissue massage for the dad-to-be await. Spend time strolling through the 18-acre wooded grounds or fit in a workout at the hotel’s fitness club. You’ll head for home with a special stuffed animal for the baby.

Contact: 1-800-231-2759;  

4. Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa; St. Lucia. 

You may want to settle in at the adults-only pool during your four-night, all-inclusive stay in this Caribbean island resort. Relax on the sun deck for two or lose yourself in a novel wrapped in the comfort of a hammock. Babymoon suite accommodations offer private balconies and sweeping views of the Atlantic and the Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Spend the day enjoying oceanfront spa treatments crafted for the expectant mother before joining your partner for a private “Perfect Night” candlelit dinner for two.

Contact: 1-877-352-8898;

5. Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort; Phoenix. 

If baby makes four or more, this family-friendly resort in the Valley of the Sun has the babymoon package for you. Check into suite accommodations and prepare to enjoy an afternoon of family fun at the 4-acre River Ranch water park, featuring a winding lazy river, water slide, pools and 18 holes of miniature golf. While the kids enjoy a howling good time at the Coyote Camp, parents can regenerate at the Tocasierra Spa with a Relax the Back or Maternity massage.

Contact: 1-800-876-4683;

Kingsmill resort for Thanksgiving

Tired of all that chop, stir, dice and bake that is so much a part of the holiday?

This year, why not leave the holiday bird prep to the pros?

Retreat to this Virginia resort where you and your family will enjoy all the seasonal trimmings. Get settled in one of 425 recently updated guest rooms or stretch out with the clan in a three-bedroom suite.

Either way you’ll enjoy views of the James River landscape and access to championship golf, tennis and world-class spa facilities. 

When you’re ready to expand your holiday horizons, hop aboard free shuttles to both Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.

Ask about holiday packages.

Find out more:  800-832-5665:

natural beauty Montana

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, 

places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and bring strength to
body and soul.
-John Muir

folk art family travel

Folk art reflects our cultural identity and often serves as a window into a community’s values and aesthetics. Here are five places where you and your family can learn more:

American Folk Art Museum. New York, NY.

This important museum’s collection is an “unabashed song of praise to the nation,” noting that folk art is often patriotic or created to commemorate an important event in history. With more than 5,000 objects on hand, dating from the 18th century to the present, the museum celebrates the creative talents of individuals with little or no formal training. View traditional and contemporary artistic expressions including drawings, tinsel art, quilts and painting. Families and Folk Art, offered the first Saturday of every month, introduces children ages 4 to 12 to folk art through conversation and hands-on art making activities inspired by objects within the museum. Admission is free.



The International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Visitors to this museum now have access to the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world, thanks to a local couple who donated their own 1,000 quilt collection. Your family will learn about hand and machine quilt-making traditions and objects used in this folk art. The more than 3500 piece collection represents work found in 30 countries over four centuries, including doll, French, African-American and Amish crib quilts. Contact:

folk fair

The Holiday Folk Fair. Milwaukee, WI.

Song, dance, food and crafts dominate this five-day festival that celebrates cultures from around the world. Held each year on the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Wisconsin Exposition Center, the gathering is considered the country’s largest indoor multicultural festival. Designed to encourage peace through respect and understanding, the fair includes dancers from more than 30 ethnic groups and offers student workshops and mini-language lessons.


cherokee heritage

The Cherokee Heritage Center. Park Hill, OK.

Learn about the legacy of the Cherokee people in this museum dedicated to preserving the native people’s culture through sharing their basketry, pottery and other artistic endeavors in an historical setting. The Center is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated by the National Park Service as an interpretive site for the Trail of Tears, chronicling a difficult time in American and Cherokee history. From now through March 1, 2015 guests of all ages can learn about life as a Cherokee villager in the 1700s in an interactive, hands-on environment.

Contact: (888) 999-6007;

folk art santa fe

Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM 

Open since 1953, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of folk art with more than 150,000 artifacts documenting cultural identity, traditions and aesthetics from around the world. Children love the toy and book areas as well as docent led art and puppet making sessions, an I-pod touch tour, and a station to listen to animal stories. Admission is free for children 16 and under.

Contact: 505-476-1200;


Interested in Santa Fe?

Find our about our Transformational Travel Retreats to this amazing city!

Ten Ways to Manifest Happier Holidays  

Lasting memories matter more than the latest gadget or this year’s  trendy ensemble.

An increasing amount of research tells us that families are eager for more shared experiences and deeper connections. They are ready to trade the pile of presents for resort, plane, and train reservations that translate into laugher, adventure and stories to last a lifetime. In short, happier holidays.

Here are ten ideas we hope will make it onto your holiday wish list. 

Kingsmill Resort

Kingsmill Traditions. Williamsburg, VA

Celebrate the holiday season with a memory making stay at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA. a destination where beauty, tradition and Southern hospitality serve as your backdrop.

From a Thanksgiving package rich with all the delectable trimmings to a Christmas Traditions stay during which your family will delight in your own stockings, a decorated tree with lights, plus cookies and milk for Santa, expect festive activities designed to deeply engage your clan. Resort guests who opt for the Christmas Town package have easy access to the popular Busch Gardens holiday pageantry. (The package includes complimentary shuttle service.)

if you love the holiday lights then the Grand Illumination package might be for you. You’ll be there to see Colonial Williamsburg aglow in the seasonal spirit and have access to musical performances and an impressive fireworks display. While immersing yourselves in the holiday fun, be sure to make time to explore all that this family-friendly resort has to offer including an expansive fitness center, spa and indoor pool.

Make a plan:  800-832-5665:

ft hh red tree w snowflakes princess plaza

Holiday Happenings at the Princess. Scottsdale, AZ

Consider this Scottsdale, AZ resort your family’s holiday headquarters if you enjoy sunshine, golf, spa services, tennis and so much more.  With a full range of active pursuits from which to choose, you and the clan can look forward to mixing in the magic of the season to each day at play.

From November 20, 2014 to January 4, 2015, the “Christmas at the Princess” festival glistens with holiday splendor featuring a four-story musical tree, the desert ice skating rink made with real ice, a magical snowfall, luxury rink-side fire pits, Kringle’s Korner, carolers, a Nativity Garden set to music and a new carousel. The magic continues with a ride on the Princess Express Train to see two million Lagoon Lights featuring beautiful swans floating on the water, 14-foot poinsettias, a pirate ship, rocking horse, a menorah, dreidels, toy soldiers, Santa fishing and 150 sparkling trees making up the candy cane forest.

Do you live in or near Scottsdale?

“Christmas at the Princess” is open to the public and special overnight holiday vacation packages are available. The Magical Memories package includes overnight accommodations, a skating session for two adults and two children, express VIP access to the Princess Express Train and a $10 donation to Cox Charities.

Make a plan: (866) 540-4495;

Longboat key

Healthy Holidays at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Sarasota, FL.

Have you every thought about passing on the decorated cookies and cakes and making health and wellness your holiday focus? It can happen at this sprawling 410-acre beachfront playground where new programs are designed to help the entire family focus on an active and fit lifestyle.

With two championship golf courses, 20 award-winning tennis courts, a Mind & Motion studio (think yoga, Pilates, spinning), pools, hot tubs and a newly renovated spa combine to create a memorable family holiday destination.   

Younger kids, ages five to twelve, can tap into the fun offered by the Loggerhead Kids Club. Adults can opt for one of several Wellness packages that include fitness classes, nutritional counseling, personal training, spa services and a sampling of golf, tennis, kayaking and beachfront yoga. 

Farm-to-table dining and special attention for those with specific dietary requirements, combine to insure your healthy approach to the holidays will include fresh and appealing selections.

With so much to do, don’t forget to make time to relax on the beach!

Make a plan:

clazy u

Holidays on the C Lazy U Ranch. Granby, CO

Destress by the fire or strap on the skis and set off for the hills.  Create fresh tracks via horseback in the new fallen snow or practice your horsemanship in the heated indoor arena. Head to a nearby resort for a day of downhill fun or play hockey on the ranch pond.  The options are yours. And there are plenty of them. 

Thanksgiving at the ranch honors the tradition of family gathering and the sharing of stories. You’ll dine on plenty of turkey and delectable trimmings and enjoy evening entertainment.

During Christmas week, you’ll have your own sweet smelling tree to enjoy as well as the opportunity to join in the decorating fun as guests gather in the lodge to adorn the lodge tree with festive trimmings.  With the cracking fire as a backdrop, gather round the piano for Christmas carols. Keep one eye out the window as Santa is known to arrive via horse drawn sleigh to share a little holiday cheer. 

Make a plan: 

Grand Lake CO

Celebrate Winter Holidays in Grand County Colorado.

Just 67 miles from Denver, this historic region offers plenty of adventure for families seeking a snowy, scenic and active holiday.  

Grand County is home to some of the country’s most family-friendly ski resorts. Example: Winter Park Resort has been offering family-style skiing since 1940, and now offers nearly 3,000 acres of winter fun and Ski Granby Ranch specializes in the intimate family experience.

Does your family love snowmobiling? The community of Grand Lake is known as Colorado’s snowmobile capital, for the wealth of trails available in the area, Kremmling, on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, is known for their vast accumulation of the white stuff and is also popular with snowmobilers.

And while in the region, you’ll want to help Rocky Mountain National Park celebrate their 100th year of providing a meaningful blend of conservation and access to one of the country’s most pristine landscapes.

Make a plan:

Boston Harbor Hotel – Boston, Ma.  

 Pack your bags with warm scarves, hats and gloves and head to the Boston Harbor Hotel for an engaging, 

wintry experience.  This architectural treasure celebrates the season by opening the city’s most picturesque ice-skating rink right under the iconic archway along the Boston Harbor waterfront.  Local Bostonians and hotel guests alike can take in the views while gliding across the rink before heading inside to warm up with hot cocoa and s’mores.  In between practicing skills on the ice, families can shop the city’s holiday markets, stroll through Stone Zoo’s annual light show, and partake in countless other New England winter traditions. The Ice skating rink is open November 22, 2014 through mid-March 2015.

Make a plan:

Beaches Resort. Turks and Caicos. 

Let someone else do the work while everyone enjoys an all-inclusive, seaside holiday getaway.  A great destination for multigenerational families, there is a  something for every one to do in a relaxed yet active island setting surrounded turquoise blue water. 

Busy parents will be happy to know that the youngest travelers are cared for by certified nannies, caregivers with more than 2000 hours of experience and trained in child safety and nutrition.  Toddlers enjoy beach and pool activities, puppet shows, face painting, treasure hunts and visits with Sesame Street characters. Parents of newborns to two year old can enjoy uninterrupted beach time, sailing, snorkeling or a quiet dinner knowing their little ones are cared for in a fully equipped nursery where child development specialists will look after their every need. Trained nannies are also available to care for children with special needs.  Just in case, a nurse is available 24 hours a day.

Make a plan:  1-888-BEACHES;

Inn at Loreto

Santa Fe, NM.

Members of every generation appreciate the sense of tradition and the reverent quality of the festivities that envelope this centuries old city at holiday time. You’ll enjoy visiting the historic Plaza where small white lights create an engaging glow, listening to music that often fills the night air and strolling down Canyon Road where farolitos or luminarias line the narrow streets. Shop for last minute gifts of local art and native crafts.  Nearby, the snow-draped Sangre de Cristos provide the opportunity for the family to pop on their skis and enjoy a day on the slopes. 

Make a plan: (505) 955-6200; 

Hershey Park Christmas. Hershey, PA. 

The sweet magic of the holidays will envelop your family as you enjoy a sea of twinkling lights, listen to holiday concerts, visit with Hershey characters (they’ll be all dolled up for the holidays) and hop aboard the Twilight Express. Don’t miss a visit with Santa’s reindeer or a chance to share breakfast or lunch with Santa. Be sure to take part in Hershey Sweet Lights, the Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular. You’ll cruise through two miles of wooded wonderland, aglow with dozens of colorful and animated seasonal displays.

Make a plan:  1-800-HERSHEY;


Plan volunteer travel.

During the season of giving, consider including volunteerism in your existing plans or commit to incorporating the strategy into future itineraries. The non-profit organization, Together For Good, helps families give back to underprivileged children and teens in challenged areas of the world in several ways.  They’ll provide detailed information and connections to enable your clan to incorporate social responsibility into a cruise shore excursion or resort stay.  Assistance in organizing a trip focused solely on helping those less fortunate is also possible. 

Make a plan:


Happy Holidays!

mb swimming  floating

Did you know you can camp in one of the top family and beach vacation destinations on the East Coast?

The oceanfront resort of Myrtle Beach, SC is famous for miles of white sandy beaches, water sports, fantastic golf courses, amusement and water parks. You’ll also find great shopping and a wealth of dining options.

It’s also considered the “Camping Capital of the World!”

With warm sea breezes blowing and water temperatures around 80 degrees, a seaside camping adventure in Myrtle Beach provides the best of a sought after resort destination at rates you’ll want to write home about.

Camp Myrtle Beach

Choose from six family-friendly camping locations that offer amenities to suit your camping style ranging from hook-ups for your RV or a place to pitch your tent.

No RV?

Not ready for the full camping experience?

Then the cottage or villa rental units might be the perfect fit for your family. You’ll have the option to enjoy all the facilities and amenities of the campground, and then retreat to the comfort of your fully furnished rental property for the evening.

There will be no shortage of onsite activities to entice your clan. Look forward to swimming pools and hot tubs, fishing from a pier or on the lake, water parks with lazy rivers, bike paths and evening hayrides.  Stay active with an afternoon of basketball, volleyball, bocce ball or miniature golf.

ft myrtle beach two chairs

Is this the year to try something new?

Sure, those roadside motels and inns are convenient. But perhaps its time to transform your road trip from the northern climes to the sunny south, into its own adventure.

Consider this: the oceanfront resort of Myrtle Beach, SC is famous for miles of white sandy beaches, water sports, fantastic golf courses, amusement and water parks. And there are plenty of fresh, new attractions that will tempt the most seasoned traveler.

Sound compelling?

You’ll also find great shopping and a wealth of dining options. That’s why it is considered the “Camping Capital of the World!”

There’s so much to do, you’ll be tempted to stay put for weeks.

Camp Myrtle Beach

Warm sea breezes and water temperatures make a seaside camping adventure in Myrtle Beach a must do. You’ll find a sought after resort destination at rates you’ll want to write home about.

And it’s easy to get comfortable in Myrtle Beach. Choose from six family-friendly camping locations that offer amenities to suit your camping style ranging from hook-ups for your RV or a place to pitch your tent.

No RV?

Not ready for the full camping experience?

Then the cottage or villa rental units might be the perfect fit for your family. You’ll have the option to enjoy all the facilities and amenities of the campground, and then retreat to the comfort of your fully furnished rental property for the evening.

mb swimming  floating

There will be no shortage of onsite activities to keep you busy. Look forward to swimming pools and hot tubs, fishing from a pier or on the lake, water parks with lazy rivers, bike paths and evening hayrides.  Stay active with an afternoon of basketball, volleyball, bocce ball or miniature golf. 

Visitors also like to take a break from the beach and paddle a kayak or canoe across one of many picturesque lakes. And the kids often go home with new friends made while enjoying the landscaped playgrounds and recreation areas.

From the “trees to the sea”, each of the six campgrounds offers its own blend of family-friendly amenities:

Lakewood Camping Resort

Myrtle Beach KOA

Myrtle Beach Travel Park

Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Pirate Land Camping Resort

Willow Tree Resort


No matter how you choose to stay, you’ll enjoy sunny days in a fun-filled beach destination and warm nights under a star-filled sky.

ski switzerland

My first published piece of "journalism" was a review of a Warren Miller ski movie. 

Since that day, many snowy runs ago, a Warren Miller filmfest has remained a great way to gear up for another season on the slopes.

This year, No Turning Back, will get the adrenaline pumping for plenty of ski enthusiasts. Filmed in Montana, Switzerland, France, and Japan, you won't want to miss this chance to feel the powder on your brow, even before you slap on those skis for the first time this season.

Are you ready? 

Glimpse a preview here.

Where the wild things are Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

As a child I loved to curl up with a good story. I still do. A good book can transport us to magical places and encourage exploration.

Here are five places with stories to tell and the characters that bring them to life: 

 A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

 A century ago, a Canadian soldier launched a literary legacy when he adopted a black bear cub and named it after his hometown of Winnipeg. The soldier took the cub across the pond and eventually donated it to the London Zoo, where Winnie became the inspiration for the well-loved character. Today, Winnipeg’s Pavilion Gallery Museum houses a permanent collection of Winnie the Pooh artifacts and memorabilia, including a painting by the book’s original illustrator.



Louisa May Alcott, Concord, Mass. 

I can recall staying up all night reading Little Women. Today we can visit the home of this novelist who crafted a compelling story around the relationships within her own family. You’ll take a guided tour and get a glimpse into how the Marche family lived in the home known as Orchard House. Many of the family’s treasures remain in the well-preserved structure, including family china and photographs. You’ll find out why the Alcotts kept daily diaries and visit Louisa’s bedroom where the shelf desk, upon which she wrote Little Women, still remains.



Zane Grey’s America. 

 Best-selling novelist and avid angler Zane Grey created robust stories detailing the life and culture of the American West. Through titles like Call of the CanyonRiders of the Purple Sage and The Thundering Herd, Grey’s tales of frontier character and romance inspired many to explore new country. His books involve every state west of the Missouri River except North Dakota. Visit his birthplace in Zanesville, Ohio, a town founded by his mother’s ancestors. You can also visit a replica of his Arizona cabin (the original burned in a 1990 wildfire), which served as his home base while exploring and writing.



Where the Wild Things Are. 

My boys loved this book!

Why not use this creative tome as the centerpiece of a wild and wonderful weekend with the kids? Read Maurice Sendak’s book, then visit your local zoo or wildlife park, or walk through a nearby forest and discuss the adventures of young Max, the main character. Top off the weekend by streaming the Spike Jonze movie of the same name. The whole family will enjoy the mix of real actors, computer animation and live puppeteering, the combination of which brings the story to life. Let the wild rumpus begin! Contact:

Jack London, Glen Ellen, Calif. 

Channel the adventuresome spirit of one of the planet’s most inspired writers as you explore more than 26 miles of hiking, horseback and cycling trails across 1,400 acres in the stunning Sonoma Valley. Visit the stone barn and the home where London wrote his page-turners. The author of Call of the Wild and White Fang was laid to rest on this landscape that nurtured his creativity and drive. It is is now a National Historic Landmark.


Do you have a favorite literary location?

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