Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

 Jawaharial Nehru

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Segue into adventure by booking one of the more than 200 Segway tours operating around the world. Introduced by American Dean Kamen in 1999, the company announced hopes the electric powered, human transporter would change the way we worked, lived and traveled. Here are five places you can take a guided tour aboard an emissions-free, two-wheeled Segway:

1.       Washington DC.

Hop aboard your Segway for a unique tour of our nation’s capital. Consider enjoying the sweet smells and picturesque views of the popular National Cherry Blossom festival from your transporter. Or sign up for “The Lost Symbol” tour and get an insider’s take on the sights and sounds described within Dan Brown’s novel of the same name. Your tour guide will be a member of Washington DC’s oldest Mason lodge and will lead you through a maze of more than 20 historic monuments and memorials including the White House, The Scottish Rite House of the Temple and the Smithsonian Museums on the Mall. Contact: 202.682-1980; www.capitalsegway.com/

2.       Los Angeles, CA.

Cruise along the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, people watching from the comfort of your Segway. Take time for a photo stop, capturing the sea-faring surfers, the volley ball matches on the sand and the street performers entertaining on the sidewalk. Wind your way through the canals of Venice, tuning in as your guide lists the famous films that have been made in the area. Enjoy the Southern California sun and the laid back atmosphere of these famed beach communities. Riders must be 12 and over and weigh 100 lbs or more. Contact: 310.395-1395; www.segway.la

3.       San Juan, PR.

Experience an alfresco tour of Puerto Rico’s capital, a city rich in Spanish culture and history. Glide through “The Walled City” and learn why the Spaniards built a series of forts and walls to protect their treasures. The sightseeing tour also includes visits to the Darsenas Square, the Governor’s Mansion and other significant sites in the area. Young people will also enjoy the Fortifications Tour, which provides an inside glide through the San Felipe del Morro Fort. Built in 1540, this hefty fortress offers dungeons, tunnels, lookouts and ramps to intrigue the curious traveler. Contact: 787-598-9455; www.SegwayToursPR.com

4.       Daytona Beach, FL.

Choose to ride at sunset or when the sun is high in the sky. Either way, you’ll enjoy the sea breeze, people watching and the views along the “World’s Most Famous Beach”. Learn about the famous boardwalk, the clock tower, the city’s racing history and enjoy a stop by some of the city’s local hot spots. You’ll get a 30 minute orientation before hitting the streets aboard your high-tech transporter. Contact: 386-239-7158; www.daytonasegsonthebeach.com

5.       San Francisco, CA.

Enjoy the hills of scenic San Francisco the easy way. Wind your way through Fisherman’s Wharf and the Dungeness crab stands. Check out Ghirardelli Square, the Municipal Pier and Aquatic Park. Catch a glimpse of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t miss the National Maritime Museum and listen up as your guide fills you in on the historic ships that have sailed into the harbor. Before long, your crew will be turning heads as you glide through Little Italy on your eco-friendly, self-balancing transporter. Contact: 415-474-3130; www.electrictourcompany.com.

Note: Most tours require children to be 12 years of age, weigh 100 pounds and be accompanied by an adult. Safety instructions and gear are provided.

 

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Beaches and boardwalks.

Introduce the family to your favorite walkway or discover an historic seaside fun zone together.

Here are five to consider:

Atlantic City Boardwalk. Atlantic City, NJ.

Stroll along this historic promenade, considered the oldest and longest boardwalk in the country. Since the first wooden planks were placed in 1870, the walkway has served as the centerpiece of this resort city. Today, families can ride bikes in the morning hours, sample an endless menu of confections, and wander through the arcade halls and museums. Adjacent to the famed Boardwalk is Steel Pier, home to a flashy amusement park sure to appeal to kids of all ages. Call to request a free visitor’s guide or download yours from the website.

Contact: 888-AC-VISIT (228-4748 ); www.atlanticcitynj.com.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Myrtle Beach, SC.

The recent addition of this 1.2 mile walkway has added a new vibrancy to this beach town. Expect plenty of dining options, shopping, and music as well as views of the sea and intermittent green spaces for picnics or play. Kids will enjoy the weekly carnival that promises face painters, bounce houses, balloon artists and stilt walkers. Other summer fun on the boardwalk includes fireworks displays, live bands, acrobats and fire shows.

Contact: 1-800-356-3016; www.visitmyrtlebeach.com.

Ocean Front Walk. Venice Beach, CA.

Rollerblade, bike or simply stroll along this scenic stretch of boardwalk where beachfront beauty combines with surf-culture commerce to create an eye-popping array of colorful activity. Expect farmer’s market–style jewelry and art as well as aura readers, tattoo artists and intermittent performances by jugglers, human statues and magicians. Stop for breakfast or lunch in any of the beach front cafes and keep your eyes peeled for your favorite celeb. Contact: www.VeniceBeach.com

Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. Rehoboth, Delaware.

Visit this family-friendly beach community for a relaxing seaside getaway. The recently spruced-up boardwalk, first built in 1873, has not lost its celebrated vintage vibe. After a day on the wide expanse of beach, sample sweets from Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy, ride the Jolly Trolley and make time for the kids to enjoy the retro Funland amusement center where rides, shooting galleries, pinball machines and arcade games may offer a glimpse of the kind of fun you enjoyed as a child.

Contact: (302) 227-6181; www.rehobothboardwalk.com

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz, CA.

Offering affordable family fun since 1907, this west coast boardwalk features free summer entertainment as well as the chance to hop aboard two rides that proudly claim National Historic Landmark status. The 1924 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster promises to thrill. Look to the Looff Carousel with its retro ring toss for chill. Take a break from games, mini golf and laser tag to look toward the sea. You are likely to see dolphins, sea lions and otters swimming offshore.

Contact: 831-423-5590; www.BeachBoardwalk.com

No matter where your travels take you, new mobile apps can lighten the load and add to the fun.

Here are five to consider:

Postcards On The Run.

 

Mothers and daughters deserve time away from the fray.

Here are five places where the girls can just have fun:

Scottsdale, AZ.

Mothers and daughters can tee it up on a spectacular course, ranked as one of the country’s top ten. Also noted as a “women friendly” course, the golf club at The Boulders Resort in Carefree, AZ offers a picturesque desert environment in which to work on your game together. The Fore Ladies program begins on a Friday evening with a short game intro provided by an LPGA instructor. The remainder of the weekend includes further instruction on full-swing, putting and course etiquette followed by nine holes of golf on the Jay Moorish-designed course each day. Later, relax in the Resort’s full-service Golden Door Spa or by the pool.

Contact: 480-488-9028; 866-397-6520; www.TheBoulders.com ; www.ExperienceScottsdale.com.

Clearwater, FL.

 Marine loving moms and daughters will want to take advantage of the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa’s Dolphin Tale Package. Expect two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter, the now famous dolphin whose inspirational story was turned into a book and film, a cool tote bag, and a copy of the book “Winter’s Tale”. Later, head to the beach or relax in your room where a full kitchen, an outdoor balcony and sea side view make sharing time together extra special. Your stay helps fund the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s program to help feed and care for winter and her friends.

Contact: 1-800-233-1234; www.clearwaterbeach.hyatt.com

St. John, British Virgin Islands.

Gather the girls and test your sea-faring skills in an Island Hopping Scavenger Hunt. With your very own Boating Butler as your secret weapon, you’ll learn about the regional island geography and wildlife as you cruise through the pristine waters of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. While at the resort, check out the Westin Kids Club and newly opened Teen Center. (Stand by hurricane recovery is underway.) at Contact: (340) 714-6070; www.westinresortstjohn.com 

Ojai, CA.

A family favorite, this elegant resort has welcomed guests since the 1920s. Located in the shadow of the Topa Topa Mountain range in the eclectic town of Ojai, the Five Diamond Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has much to offer mothers and daughters seeking time together. The artistic pair will enjoy a day spent in the Artist Cottage where the Artist in Residence can assist adults and children of all ages in the pursuit of creativity. Explore silk scarf painting, collage and mobile making, drawing, water color and mixed media. Ask about packages.

Contact: (855) 697-8780; www.ojairesort.com

Yoga and Surfing South of the Border.

Join award-winning outfitter Mountain Travel Sobek for seaside yoga, massages, horseback riding, snorkeling and surfing in Todos Santos, MX, a charming artist colony brimming with galleries and unique dining opportunities. Or head to the beaches of Mexico and Costa Rica with Three Jewels Retreats for an upscale approach to yoga, surf lessons, stand up paddle boarding, dining on locally-sourced meals and afternoon siestas. Contact: MtnSobek.com; www.ThreeJewelsRetreats.com

Beverly Hills, CA.

Good news for the girls: The Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills and illustrious home of the Golden Globe Awards, has just launched a girls getaway package.

How can we resist?

The ladies are escorted to their penthouse suite where chocolate covered strawberries and champagne await their arrival. Complete with a direct private line to the concierge, the days are filled with options: a private luxury transfer to Rodeo Drive to pick up any must-haves; a day at the iconic Aqua Star Pool in one of the exquisite poolside cabanas with a fresh fruit platter, a Beverly Hilton private label sun care kit, magazines, facial mister and mojitos for all; and a round of treatments in the AQUA STAR SPA at The Beverly Hilton.

Contact: www.beverlyhilton.com/ or  call Beverly Hilton VIP Reservations at 310.285.1306 .

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It is Fall getaway time and Colorado’s color-soaked leaves are begging to be explored 10 different ways this fall. Cast a line in waders next to autumn gold, soar through fiery red treetops on a zip line, take a leisurely scenic drive or saunter through the forest on horseback to experience Colorado’s mesmerizing fall foliage.

Below are the top 10 ways leaf peepers can witness nature’s artistic wonder this fall season in Colorado.

Horseback Riding.

Settle into a saddle on a guided horseback ride in Steamboat Springs to experience Colorado’s fall frontier just like the cowboys. Amble through the Routt National Forest along timeless American West trails popping with vibrant golden, red and orange leaves.  

Bike A Byway.

Begin this aspen-laden ride west of Pueblo on Colorado 96. The Frontier Pathways route climbs into the Wet Mountains and descends into the Wet Mountain Valley, passing aspens blazing in autumn color along the way. 

Historic Train.

Travel through the scenic San Juan Mountains aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Between Durango and the historic mining town of Silverton, this locomotive allows passengers to experience color-drenched aspens that line the free-flowing Animas River and ascend the rugged collection of mountain peaks and striking canyon scenery.  

Four Wheels.

With a summit at 12,095 feet, Independence Pass connects Aspen – a city named for the quintessential Colorado tree – and Twin Lakes, the largest glacial lake in Colorado and is open during early fall. Independence Pass is rife with stunning autumn colors popping on both sides of the pass and ringed with five 13,000-foot peaks. 


Tire Tour.

Fruita’s dirt trails and challenging single tracks wind along huge flattop mesas allowing mountain bikers to discover panoramic views of valleys sprinkled with glowing yellow leaves. 


Hot Air Balloon.

Fall’s cooler climate and artist’s palette of nature’s colors make for an ideal time to take to the air. Float above pockets of fall foliage speckled along the Front Range’s peaks and valleys and throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Take in colorful views on a hot air balloon ride with Fair Winds in Boulder. 


Gondola.

Leaf peep the quaking aspens nestled in Telluride’s box canyon while sailing through the trees. The first and only free public transportation of its kind in the U.S., this gondola connects riders between Telluride and Mountain Village, giving passengers an ever-changing view of the crimson and golden leaves along the way. 

Two Feet.

Fall’s crown jewel is nestled along Kebler Pass, where a massive aspen cluster of interconnected roots wows hikers with brilliant fall hues. The radiant yellow and red leaves on Kebler create a textured denseness that is unique to this area. Take the hiking trails Kebler Wagon Trail #606 and Dyke Trail #838 for even more leaf peeping opportunities. 


Zip line.

The landscape of fiery red, orange and golden leaves will shift as guests soar through autumn-tinted treetops and above deep valleys on one of 14 zip lines throughout the state. Thrill seekers will feel the rush and crisp autumn air as they glide over changing scenes at Zip Adventures near Vail. 


Fly-fishing.

Carbondale lies in the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley, home to some of the finest rivers for trout fishing, especially from mid-September to mid-October. The deep blue waters starkly contrast the foliage-lined banks bursting with deep scarlets and golds. Tranquility and a wide variety of water types await fly-fishers this fall with Roaring Fork Anglers.  

What are single parents looking for when planning family travel?

Like most parents, they want minimal stress and maximum time together during their family vacation. (And maybe a little "me" time)

Here are five possibilities: 

1. Consider a farm vacation.

Slow down at Feather Down Farm, one of three working farms in the United States and 50 in Europe that welcome families interested in learning about sustainable farm practices, healthy eating and life with chickens, goats and lambs. A parent might head out for a hike or settle in with a book, while the kids learn to churn butter or collect eggs for breakfast. Visit the Honesty Shop where family members can peruse local produce and other items, sign up for what looks interesting and perhaps craft a dinner from their purchases. Spacious tents, with authentic detail, offer a private room for adults as well as a cozy “cupboard bed” where kids can tuck away for the night.

Contact:  www.featherdown.com

2 International adventure.

Single mom Michelle Kingsley O’Neill and her triplet sons spent a month exploring Ecuador and brushing up on their Spanish skills. With a rental home on the beach in the coastal town of Olon as their home base, the family of four took language classes and enjoyed side trips to Cuenca and other sites of interest. They also sampled local cuisine and learned to surf and zip-line.

The result?

With high school on the horizon, O’Neill agreed to the boys’ request for home-schooling the following year so they could fit more travel into their education plan.

Contact: www.ecuador.travel  www.theseagardenhouse.com

It’s all included. 

Board a cruise ship or check in to an all-inclusive resort for a stress-free getaway. You’ll have a clear idea of how your travel budget will break out while knowing there will be plenty of activities and dining choices for everyone in your clan.  More companies like Disney Cruise Lines and Beaches Resorts are putting extra energy toward making single parents feel welcome.  

Efforts include group dining, waiving single supplements and special social events. In no time, kids will converge through sports, on the beach, and during arts and crafts, thus finding age-appropriate friends with whom they can share new experiences. The bonus:  solo parents discover a window for relaxation.

Solo parents checking into the all-inclusive AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit will have the single supplement fee waived when traveling with their children. In addition, one child will stay at a 50 percent discount. Expect a state of the art kids’ club and airport transfers, as well as day and evening beach, eco and sporting activities that will engage adults and children throughout their seaside vacation. Ask about current promotions and special offers.  

 

Contact: www.Beaches.comwww.DisneyCruise.Disney.Go.com  www.rivieramaya.grandvelas.com

4 Ride the rails.

Train excursions provide one parent traveling with kids a relaxed and stress-free opportunity to enjoy one another’s company. On board Via Rail, Canada’s premier passenger rail service, kids will love visiting the panoramic dome in the Skyline or Park car for a unique vista. They also can join other junior explorers for movies and games. With discounts available for children, choose from cross-country adventures or itineraries that offer some gorgeous scenery.

Contact: 1-888-842-7245; www.trainpackages.ca; www.thetrain.com

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5 Ranch relaxation.

Adventuresome parents eager to share their passion with the next generation will welcome a stay at this secluded guest ranch in central Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. Choose from activities that include fishing in the Salmon River, an overnight pack trip, swimming in a pool fed by hot springs, cycling and river floats. Evening children’s programs enable mom or dad to carve out quiet time or join in weekly barbecues, while the kids enjoy new friendships. The ranch is open mid-June through mid-September. Visit the dude ranch site below for other ranch vacation ideas.

Enjoy! 

Contact:  www.idahorocky.com;  www.duderanch.org 

 

For low-cost and high-flying fun, set the sky ablaze with the colors and shapes of your choice.

Here are five places where you and your family can go fly a kite:

While students find intellectual challenge in the formal classroom, here are five places where families can expand their knowledge through experience:

Denver Museum of Science & Nature. Denver, CO.

Through film, lectures, demonstrations and hands-on activity, your family will learn about ancient Egyptian civilization through clues scientists share from their mummy research. Tap into the latest information about our universe and our place in it through a Space Odyssey exhibit. Gain a greater understanding of Native American cultures. Plus, discover how precious gems are recovered from mines and the role they play in various cultures. All this, plus a permanent discovery zone where hands -on fun provides interactive educational opportunities for the youngest explorers. Contact: 303-322-7009; www.dmns.org.

Musical Instrument Museum. Phoenix, AZ.

This unique museum enables families to see and experience more than 3000 instruments and artifacts from around the world. Live performances, family-friendly festivals and a wide array of lectures and classes are available. Check out the Steinway piano on which John Lennon composed “Imagine” as well as the instruments of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and George Benson. Wireless head-sets allow guests to see and hear exhibits throughout the museum. Kids will enjoy the Experience Gallery where they can touch, play and hear instruments from far away cultures. Contact: (480) 478-6000; www.TheMim.org. 

The Alamo. San Antonio, TX.

Located in downtown San Antonio, more than 2.5 million people visit each year to learn why it was suggested we “Remember the Alamo!”. Representing three centuries of history, families can learn the roles played by David Crockett, Sam Houston and James Bowie as they tour the 4.2 acre complex where beautiful gardens provide a backdrop for the old mission and exhibits detailing the Texas revolution and the state’s colorful history. Admission is free. Contact: 1-866-769-8419; thealamo.org

Glaciers and Climate Change.

Trek to Alaska, our largest state, but at number 49 among the last to join the union. Here you can team up with one of many companies that will introduce you to the mysteries of glaciers and how our changing climate is affecting them and the surrounding areas. Tours offer the opportunity to dog sled, hike, and ice climb all while learning about regional geology and geography and its importance to the rest of the world. Contact: www.flyk2.com; travelAlaska.com.

Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey, CA.

Founded in 1984, this world-renowned organization’s mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s oceans. Through a variety of interactive activities and exhibits designed for young children and families, your crew will learn about the delicate balance that exists in our seas today. The youngest visitors will be drawn to the 40-foot-long touch pool for an up close look at curious creatures like sea stars, urchins, kelp crabs and abalones. Contact: (831) 648-4800; www.MonterayBayAquarium.org

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Just because you’ve become a parent doesn’t mean you have to stay put. Here are five ways to take a family vacation with wee ones:

Consider an all-inclusive. At Beaches Resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, the youngest travelers are cared for by certified nannies, caregivers with more than 2000 hours of experience and training in child safety. Toddlers enjoy beach and pool activities, puppet shows, face painting, treasure hunts and visits with Sesame Street characters. Parents of newborns to two year olds can enjoy uninterrupted beach time or a quiet dinner for two knowing their babies are cared for in a fully equipped nursery where child development specialists will look after their every need. Just in case, a nurse is available 24 hours a day. Contact: 1-888-BEACHES; www.Beaches.com.

Flight time. Book flights off peak for less crowded conditions and book early for the best choice of seats. Children under two are safest when buckled into a car seat so plan accordingly. Family preboarding may sound appealing, however, settling in early can mean considerable extra time in tight quarters before take-off. Consider sending one family member onboard early to organize seating arrangements and then board with the baby closer to departure. And of course, take time to research current TSA restrictions. Their web site offers videos regarding travel with kids of various ages. Contact: www.TSA.gov.

Take a cruise. Vacationing aboard a cruise ship provides a wide range of options for parents with young children. Many ships offer comprehensive children’s programs, providing parents a chance to enjoy their own shipboard activities. On board Disney’s Wonder and Magic ships, tykes from three months to three years can check in to the Flounder's Reef Nursery, a Little Mermaid-themed daycare center. Character visits, shows, pools and arcade centers offer family fun. Contact: (800) 951-3532; www.DisneyCruise.com.

Visit friends and family. Do you have cousins, siblings or college pals with children the same ages as yours? Plan a visit to their town or invite them to yours. Peruse the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau site for suitable outings and deals. Check promotions from Groupon and similar ventures for half or reduced-price offers. Venturing out with folks who share similar interests, restrictions and nap requirements can provide a sense of well-being for all. Too many young children under the same roof might be overwhelming. Consider spending the night in spacious accommodations that will support various sleep schedules and meal times. Contact: www.ResidenceInn.com.

Visit the zoo. Build a trip around an outing to a well-known establishment like the San Diego Zoo or our National Zoo in Washington DC or visit one nearby your own home. Stroll through lush grounds with your family and enjoy the sights and sounds of wildlife in a safe environment. Investigate educational programs and tours including animal encounters, overnights and backstage passes. Contact: (619) 231-1515; www.sandiegozoo.org; nationalzoo.si.edu

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