Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Have you ever thought about selling it all and taking your family on a very, very long road trip?

Each year, scores of families choose to expand their geographic horizons by learning a new language in another country or seeing as much of the planet as possible while circling the globe.

Find out more here!

 

myths and mountains

Each year, the month of February is deemed “plant seeds of greatness month” in an effort to encourage Americans to examine their goals and aspirations and make changes where desired. 

Use this idea ( you don’t have to wait until February), to spark a conversation within your family. Then forge ahead. Learn a new skill, explore new territory or give back to your community. 

Consider these ideas:   

  1. 1.    Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. But when it comes to eco-savvy travel, consider a cycling tour. Forget the trains, planes and automobiles and encourage the entire family to hop on a two-wheeled alternative. Sign on for trips offered by  Cycling through the Centuries and you’ll pedal through parts of Portugal, Spain and South Africa not accessible to travelers arriving by vehicle. Throughout the trip, everything is recycled. Meals and picnics consist of locally grown specialties. Contact: www.cycling-centuries.com 
  2. 2.    Give back during a great adventure. Join pioneering adventure travel expert Dr. Antonia Neubauer for a trek through Nepal, the country she says, where adventure travel was born. Explore the cultures and festivals of the people and join in the efforts of READ Global. The award-winning program inspires rural prosperity by building a community library and resource center in a village then seeding a local business to fully sustain and support the library and provide local jobs. Contact: 800-670-6984; www.MythsandMountains.com
  3. 3.    Find inspiration in a great hotel just steps from the grandest canyon. Completed in 1905 to accommodate tourists arriving to this wonder of the world, El Tovar provides a history-rich lodging experience just steps from the rim of the magnificent Grand Canyon. Every season offers a new opportunity to put your world in perspective by simply standing at the edge of this visual extravaganza. From your cozy, hunting lodge-style digs, set out for hiking, photographing, journaling and people watching. Contact: 888-29-PARKS (888-297-2757); www.GrandCanyonLodges.com. 
  4. 4.    Become a golf great. Follow Kentucky’s Golf Trail and sharpen your skills on one of 19 courses operated by the Kentucky Department of Parks. The “Trail Card”, sold at all state park golf courses, provides unlimited green fees for cardholders. Check out the “Tees and ZZZs” packages, which include meals, lodging and more to craft a great family weekend.. Contact: 1-800-255-PARK (7275); www.parks.ky.gov/golftrail
  5. 5.    Plant a seed. As a symbol of your new goals or commitments, visit a nearby botanical garden, join a local tree planting effort or launch a community garden in your own neighborhood. You’ll then have the pleasure of watching the greenery grow along with your own efforts. Contact: 214-515-6500; www.DallasArboretum.org.

 

 

 

 

 

For many families, summer is a time of transition. Family schedules and structures take on new shapes and sizes. When September rolls around, will there be more school supplies to buy? Or will the nest soon be emptying? This year, the warm summer breeze reminds me of an adventure we experienced years ago. 

Not far down the sandy bank, I could see my 18-year-old son Alex rhythmically casting his fly into the Salmon River, intent on luring a trout. He was tanned and relaxed. His smile came easily as his angling efforts paid off.

 I was looking for some uncomplicated time with my middle son before he went off to college. Perhaps selfishly, I wanted his full attention. Not those moments diluted by phone calls or text messages, the lure of the evening’s social activities or side glances to catch the latest on ESPN. So off to the wilderness we went.

  Our backcountry choice was the Salmon River, referred to as the River of No Return by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. What we found in Central Idaho was a river corridor of exceptional beauty meandering through two million acres of wilderness, exciting whitewater, calm river pools, white sand beaches, and traces of American history not likely found in any other river valley in North America.

I was more than willing to share our time on the water with my youngest son Ted, who was about to miss his older brother as much as I would. From Boise, we climbed aboard a plane so small it felt like a bathtub toy. And we seemingly floated into Salmon, Idaho after enjoying up close and exhilarating views of the rugged mountain wilderness near Stanley and Sun Valley.

We were met by our charming host Wayne Johnson, owner of Salmon River Rafting, who would eventually impress us as a jack of all river trades. He informed, organized and otherwise herded us from our Salmon hotel to the water’s edge.                                                                  

 We were in the good company of a father, his son and two grandsons from Michigan, a couple from Minneapolis and our guides Wayne, Steve and Megan. Once afloat, our group of ten was dispersed among two kayaks, a rubber raft and the swift boat that carried our supplies down river.

Some of us were eager for the extra challenge (and exercise) provided by the kayaks. Others were just as content to relax in the boat, enjoying the near perfect weather and the surrounding Frank Church Wilderness. That is until we heard the rumble of rushing water ahead.

salmon river rafting familytravel.comFrom the beginning, our guides carefully coached us to take the white water seriously and keep our feet first and down river should we end up in the drink. And it was a good thing!

fishing

Over the course of five days, rapid after rapid, we screamed, splashed, strategized and steered our way in and around giant boulders, swirling holes, and foamy waves that crashed over our heads.

My kayak partner Mark and I high-fived in pride for having stayed right side up more often than my two muscular teens traveling in tandem.

Evenings were spent enjoying hearty food prepared by Wayne and his capable crew, then stories and poems around the campfire, and the company of our fellow adventurers. The biggest decision of the day was whether to assemble the tent or enjoy a peaceful night under the stars.

Wayne Johnson is a veteran of the river, having spent most of his adult life guiding through this wilderness corridor. His love for the flowing water, the natural surroundings and the significant history provides tremendous added value to the trip. As travelers on the Main Salmon River we found ourselves immersed in an historical gold mine with Wayne as our guide, telling tales of hermits and homesteaders, while leading us past grave markers and abandoned log cabins. We saw Indian pictographs and happily immersed ourselves in hot springs considered medicinal by the early Indian settlers.

On our final afternoon, Alex and I headed up a small creek from our campsite and spent the afternoon gleefully catching the most colorful trout either of us had ever seen. It was one of those magical afternoons, suspended in time, only the wilderness can provide.

!

It's blue skies and beach time!

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Shining brightly in the Bahamas, Atlantis is an uber-hip resort that retains a genuinely hospitable attitude toward families. During a recent visit, I joined my niece Keara and nephew Morgan for beach games with other hotel guests.

You guessed it.

We were on the Blue Team!

#Familytravel

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Explore our underwater world during a family dive vacation. Here are great places to consider: 

1.       Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros Island, Bahamas.

Check into one of this family-run resort’s 21 cottages and prepare to explore, relax and enjoy a special holiday. Young children can begin by participating in the young naturalist program before moving on to shoreline snorkeling lessons, a snorkel reef trip and then on to SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) Diving. The latter enables kids 7-9 to experience the underwater world wearing a small tank and other dive gear. At age ten, the Discover Scuba program is available for those interested in pursuing the next level. The resort’s on site dive staff will provide scuba lessons for one or more. The all inclusive resort offers complimentary babysitting from six until nine pm.

Contact:  www.SmallHope.com.

2.       Florida Keys.

Explore the only living coral reef system in the continental United States during a visit to this scenic South Florida region. For kids eight and older: the Summer Marine Science Camp at Pigeon Key, an historic site 100 miles southwest of Miami, offers programs that include information about reef fish, coral reef systems, underwater photography and the gathering of specimens. Kids can get scuba certification during a camp session or brush up if already certified. Also included: underwater obstacle courses, volleyball, and snorkeling. Also in the region: the Wreck Trek Passport Program," spotlighting the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, where certified divers can explore a string of sunken vessels and artificial reefs with local dive instructors.

Contact: 305-289-0025; www.PigeonKey.com; www.Fla-Keys.com/diving. 

3.     Brac Reef, Cayman Brac

From this small, family-friendly island, families can enjoy a dive vacation that includes exploring the waters around Cayman Brac as well as the Russian Frigate and the Bloody Bay Wall near Little Cayman Island. The on-site dive shop provides personalized attention to the soon-to-be certified as well as the seasoned diver. The all inclusive, beach front resort also offers free bike rentals to explore the island, spa services and volley ball. Ask about special packages for families.

Contact: 1-800-594-0843; www.BracReef.com. 

4.       Grand Wailea, Maui.

For families who choose to blend a luxury resort holiday with a scuba experience, this resort fits the bill. Give the sport a try by joining instructors twice daily in the comfort of Hawaii’s only specially designed scuba pool. Interested in learning more? Certification classes are offered at every level. Once the instruction is complete, escorted ocean dives are available. Meanwhile, families can enjoy the super-cool pool on the property, an expansive beach, as well as a spa and numerous family-focused resort programs.

Contact: 808-875-1234; www.GrandWailea.com.

ft divepapuanewguinea loh  5-31-2010 8-35-17 5-31-2010 8-35-16 pm 5.       Harbour Village, Bonaire.

Children ages five to 12 can join the Kid’s Great Adventure program at this Caribbean resort. They will learn about the Bonaire Marine Park, snorkel, identify fish, and get comfortable with the SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) program, a wonderful precursor to SCUBA.

Children eight and over can take part in the PADI Bubblemaker program, which enables young enthusiasts to breathe with a regulator in shallow ocean water. At ten, kids can earn their Junior Scuba Certification. Currently, the second diver in your party dives free when you book the Dive Into Luxury Package. Children under 16 stay free in the room with their parents.

Contact: 1-800-424-0004; www.harbourvillage.com.

 Resource:  www.PADI.com.

 There is nothing so American as our national parks. The fundamental idea behind the parks is that the country belongs to the people.  – Franklin D. Roosevelt

As a resident of both Montana and Arizona, in recent years I was pleased to note that President Obama and his family chose my "backyard" parks" - Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon- to spend precious family time.

In the end don't we all vote with our feet?  

They will also followed in historic footsteps. 

Park historians from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the National Park Service shared the following anecdotes about the visits of previous U.S. Presidents: 

Instead of staying in one of Yellowstone’s lodges, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose to stay at the private home of Harry Child, the owner of the Yellowstone Park Company, which operated the park lodges and other concessions. His reason: he did not want the general public to see him in his wheelchair. Designed by Robert C. Reamer, the same architect who designed the Old Faithful Inn, the large home is a single-floor prairie-style structure, so it can easily accommodate a wheelchair.  

Bill Clinton visited both the Grand Canyon (in 2000) and Yellowstone (in 1995). President Clinton stayed in the Mary Colter Suite of the Grand Canyon’s El Tovar and had lunch at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. President Clinton and the First Lady also took a stroll around Old Faithful Geyser.

President Gerald Ford was already familiar with Yellowstone National Park when he visited in 1976; he had been a 23-year-old National Park Service ranger in 1936. Ford once said his time in Yellowstone was “one of the greatest summers of my life.” One of his duties was to meet and greet VIPs at the Canyon Lodge. He also protected other park rangers who fed bears at the bear-feeding truck, a popular visitor attraction at the time. The park long ago stopped feeding bears and other wildlife.

In 1883, President Chester Arthur rode a horse from the southern to the northern entrance of the park and met supporters at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel before departing the area aboard the newly completed Northern Pacific Railroad. Although it wasn’t quite completed and still lacked a complete roof, President Arthur dined at the Mammoth Hot Springs Dining Room before his departure.

President Theodore Roosevelt made his final visit to Yellowstone National Park in 1903. Although he was on a two-week vacation, he managed to squeeze in some business too. Roosevelt, Harry Child and Robert C. Reamer reviewed plans for the Old Faithful Inn, which was completed the following year. During that trip he also laid the cornerstone for the Roosevelt Arch at the northern entrance to the park. The arch bears the inscription: “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”  President Roosevelt also visited the Grand Canyon – in 1903, before it was a national park and again in 1911.

Calvin Coolidge visited Yellowstone in 1927. Although Yellowstone Superintendent Horace Albright tried to engage President Coolidge in park-related politics, Coolidge was more interested in fishing than talking.Howard Taft visited the Grand Canyon in 1911.I

n 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill that designated Yellowstone the world’s first national park. It was a move that has been called America’s best idea. Sadly, President Grant never visited Yellowstone.

During his visit, President Jimmy Carter traveled to one of the islands on Yellowstone Lake to fish with National Park Service officials. After his presidency, Carter returned to the park and had pizza in the employee pub at Lake Hotel. He even signed the wall of the pub, and his signature is still visible today.President Warren Harding visited the park in 1923, shortly before he died. Staff in the park named a geyser after him and observed a moment of silence in his honor. President George Herbert Walker Bush visited both the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. His visit to Yellowstone in 1989 was the summer after the historic Yellowstone fires. He was briefed by park officials about Yellowstone fire science.

Intergenerational travel is on the rise.

Busy family schedules and geographic distance sometimes prevent regular gatherings. Thus, “grand travel”, as one aspect of this growing trend is known, provides an opportunity for two generations to get to know each, and the world, a little better.

By spending time away, with parents out of the picture, grandchildren and their grandparents can forge their own special bond. Grand travel need not include a fancy holiday in a luxury resort or a visit to a trendy theme park. There are other options.

rafting with grandkids

Here are a hand full:  

Over the river and through the woods.

Invite the grandkids to your place and then paint the town. They’ll love getting comfortable in your home and seeing your local sites. Check in with your Chamber of Commerce orgrandparents Convention and Visitors Bureau for an update on great options for kids. Consult parents from your neighborhood or church for family-tested ideas. See your home town through the fresh eyes of youth. 

Share your passions.

Do you love to ski, play golf, camp or scuba dive? A trip with the grandkids to indulge in your favorite activity will give them the chance to know a special part of you.

Share a bit of your past.

Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today?

Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or music festival or visit the old stomping grounds. Take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with the kids. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there. And, remember, you are part of their history.

Learn a new skill together.  

You’re never too old to learn a new trick! And the grandchildren will be impressed with your sense of adventure and curiosity. Learn to kayak, snorkel or spot rare birds in nature. Go
snow shoeing, ice fishing or cross country touring. Find something that’s new to all of you and share the joy of learning together.

Consider a cruise or all-inclusive resort.

With activities to appeal to every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater and itineraries to please the most well-traveled, such an option eliminates the daily decision making that can cause conflict.

Consult an expert.

For many, developing the plan is the hard part. There are travel consultants who specialize in helping families create intergenerational travel memories. They’ll serve up options ranging from cruises in the Galapagos Islands to fly fishing on wild and scenic rivers to train trips through the American West.

However you choose to share time with your grandchildren, you’ll create treasured memories to deposit in your family’s history bank.

Have you perused our Grandparent Travel Collection?   It's a great resouce for finding just the right trip for you and your clan!

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Intergenerational travel is on the rise.

Busy family schedules and geographic distance sometimes prevent regular gatherings. Thus, “grand travel”, as one aspect of this growing trend is known, provides an opportunity for two generations to get to know each, and the world, a little better.

By spending time away, with parents out of the picture, grandchildren and their grandparents can forge their own special bond. Grand travel need not include a fancy holiday in a luxury resort or a visit to a trendy theme park. There are other options.

Here are a hand full:  

Over the river and through the woods.

Invite the grandkids to your place and then paint the town. They’ll love getting comfortable in your home and seeing your local sites. Check in with your Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau for an update on great options for kids. Consult parents from your neighborhood or church for family-tested ideas. See your home town through the fresh eyes of youth.

Share your passions.

Do you love to ski, play golf, camp or scuba dive? A trip with the grandkids to indulge in your favorite activity will give them the chance to know a special part of you.

Share a bit of your past.

Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today? Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or music festival or visit the old stomping grounds. Take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with the kids. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there. And, remember, you are part of their history.

Learn a new skill together.

 You’re never too old to learn a new trick! And the grandchildren will be impressed with your sense of adventure and curiosity. Learn to kayak, snorkel or spot rare birds in nature. Go snow shoeing, ice fishing or cross country touring. Find something that’s new to all of you and share the joy of learning together.

Consider a cruise or all-inclusive resort.

With activities to appeal to every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater and itineraries to please the most well-traveled, such an option eliminates the daily decision making that can cause conflict.

Consult an expert.

For many, developing the plan is the hard part. There are travel consultants that specialize in helping families create intergenerational travel memories. They’ll serve up options ranging from cruises in the Galapagos Islands to train trips through the American West. However you choose to share time with your grandchildren, you’ll create treasured memories to deposit in your family’s history bank.

Find more ideas for your grand travel in our Grandparent Travel Collection.

 

 

Tennesee

Tennessee is within a day's drive of 65 percent of our nation's population. There, you'll find natural beauty, great music and vibrant communities ladled with a dose of Southern hospitality. Here are five places your family won't want to miss.

1 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg.

This 800- square-mile wonderland offers a treasure trove of outdoor opportunity for family members of all ages. Heavily forested, it's well known for its plant and animal diversity, including a population of 1,500 black bears. Enjoy picnicking, hiking the nearly 800 miles of trails, horseback riding and fishing. Kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge and join one of the ranger-led programs designed for young people.

Contact: 865-436-1200; www.nps.gov/grsm

2 Graceland, Memphis.

Share a bit of music history with your kids by including Elvis Presley's home in your itinerary. You won't want to miss the trophy building where the King of Rock 'n' Roll stowed his massive collection of awards, records and flashy mementos. Consider donning a headset for an audio tour that includes commentary from Elvis himself as well as his wife, Priscilla.

Conclude the visit with a stop by the Meditation Garden where Elvis and other family members rest in peace.

Contact: 901-332-3322 or 1-800-238-2000; www.elvis.com

3Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.

Make time for a stop at the world's largest freshwater aquarium. Scope out the 10-foot-long sharks, giant spider crabs, river otters and alligators. Within the aquarium's newest addition, Ocean Journey, you and your clan will learn about stealthy stingrays and colorful reef fish as the creatures glide through coral formations. You'll also experience a shark and ray touch pool and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Ask about overnight programs that allow those 6 and older to "Sleep in the Deep."

Contact: 1-800-262-0695; www.tennesseeaquarium.com

Nashville

4 Nashville.

Spend time in Music City USA, and young and old will swing to country music and discover its rich origins. Start at the Grand Ole Opry, where an 85th birthday celebration is under way. Learn about industry legends such as Loretta Lynn as well as more recent names the kids might recognize, including Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum further reveals how folk and gospel music and front-porch jamming evolved into the sounds we know today. You'll also see rhinestone costumes and tear-stained lyric sheets in this world's largest music museum.

Contact: Grand Ole Opry, 1-800-733-6779, www.opry.com; Country Music Hall of Fame, 615-416-2001; www.countrymusichalloffame.org

5 John Muir Trail, Cherokee National Forest at Reliance, Tenn.

Named for the famed naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, the John Muir Trail stretches for 20.7 miles along the north side of the Hiwassee State Scenic River. Here, nature-loving families can explore a crowd-free portion of the state that's said to look much the same as it did in Muir's day. Take the trail in springtime to view wildflowers. Fishing, picnicking and rafting are also accessible via the trail.

Contact: www.fs.fed.us/r8/cherokee/

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