Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

When the time is right to pursue a family fly-fishing adventure, know you’ll soon wake up in some of the country’s most pristine places. You may catch and release the fish, but will savor the memories for a lifetime.

Here are five destinations to consider: 

Casper, Wyo. 

With plenty of wide-open space at the ready, this central Wyoming town is a vibrant hub for outdoor adventure.  Home to the North Platte River, which provides year-round fly-fishing opportunities, Casper has become a bucket-list destination for avid and aspiring anglers.  The river sits below five reservoirs, enabling consistent water flows and temperature, thus manifesting a stable fishing habitat.  You’ll hear enthusiastic talk and big fish stories that originate on specific stretches of the river, including the Miracle Mile and Grey Reef. But for family travelers it’s good to know there is also Blue Ribbon water flowing right through the heart of town, with plenty of public access points available.  

Appreciate the legendary waterway in a different way via the Platte River Trail system which threads through the community for eleven miles. The paved paths provide access to wildlife watching, mountain views and public art.

Contact: www.VisitCasper.comhttps://greyreefanglers.com

The Florida Keys

Chase big bonefish, tarpon and permit in the Florida Keys, one of the world’s top spots for saltwater fly-fishing.  Practice your side casting and work on that double haul. Then prepare to be mesmerized by the reefs, flats and blue waters of these southern waters. Islamorada, comprised of six islands and billed as the “sportfishing capital of the world” , is a popular spot for eager anglers.  It’s said backcountry and saltwater fly-fishing were launched in this Florida community. Key Largo, the longest island in the archipelago, is said to host more than 600 species of fish. 

Contact: www.fla-keys.com

Steamboat Springs, Colo.

An outdoor-lover’s paradise, Steamboat offers family fly-fishing opportunities on the Yampa River. Spend the morning testing a few trout-rich holes before taking the remainder of the day to bike or explore the historic Western enclave.

Ask a local guide to lead the way for a multisport adventure, combining a short hike with the opportunity to cast a line into the pristine streams, lakes and reservoirs that dot the region.

Contact:  steamboatchamber.org  www.colorado.com

Wellston, Mich.

Introduce your family to the joys of fly-fishing in the north woods of Michigan. The scenic and diverse Au Sable River originates north of Grayling and winds for more than 100 miles before meeting Lake Huron.

A fly-fishing only section of the river flows past Burton’s Landing and is known as the “Holy Water” for its productive riffles and trout-filled pools. Team up with a local outfitter for instruction designed for young anglers.

Contact: puremichigan.com

Jackson County, N.C.

With more than 3,000 miles of trout streams and 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in the mountains alone, North Carolina is a fly-fishing haven. Home to the nation’s only designated fly-fishing trail, the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail takes anglers to 15 prime spots in the Great Smoky Mountains to cast a line. Expect a variety of options from wide-open rivers to small, secluded streams. The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, or the “Tuck” as it’s known by locals, is the county’s largest body of water. Designed by two outdoorsmen and fly-fishing guides, the trail is an ideal way for fly-fishers of all skill levels and ages to learn the art of fly-fishing.

Contact: www.flyfishingtrail.com; www.discoverjacksonnc.com

No surprise.

This is a rapidly changing public health situation and it’s important to stay informed by following reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and checking in with your own health care providers.

The best way to prevent infection from COVID-19 and any respiratory virus is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The same preventative measures that are recommended during cold and flu season will also help to protect against coronavirus:

  • Wear a mask in public spaces or when social distancing cannot be achieved
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue (or your elbow)
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

#travelresponsibly

Deciding how, where and if to travel in the months and year ahead raises many questions for most who ponder the topic. Yet, recent research indicates that travelers are slowly beginning to make plans.

If you are among those eager to tap into your wanderlust, get inspired with these ideas!

Pronghorn

Ready for a break from our current stresses?

Set amid ancient juniper groves in Central Oregon’s high desert, this resort, near Bend, a mecca for outdoor lovers, offers multiple ways to pursue your wellness goals. Spend a day at the full-service spa, sampling restorative services. Take a meditative approach to a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or ponder the meaning of darkness during a tour of the on-property cave. Visit the wellness Teepee for yoga classes, music-enhanced, guided meditations, crystal guidance workshops and herbal tastings.

Stay in vacation rentals or the recently opened, 104-room Huntington Lodge where panoramic views of the Cascade mountains will take your breath away.

Contact: PronghornResort.com

Deciding how, where and if to travel in the months and year ahead raises many questions for most who ponder the topic. Yet, recent research indicates that travelers are slowly beginning to make plans. If you are among those eager to tap into your wanderlust, here are five ideas to consider:

FT freedome to travel

1. Road Tripping  

Travelers are more likely to consider road trips now, compared to before the pandemic, according to recent research. In fact, some experts are calling this the “year of the car”, a time during which we will forego global galivanting and  “See America First”. 

 So with gas prices in the affordable range, consider exploring a National Scenic Byway, an historic route or your favorite road less traveled. Craft a leaf-peeping route and immerse your family in a burst of glorious color. For those interested in a full-service approach, consider the rolling stock offered by Blacksford. Pile into an amply-outfitted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicle for comfortable cruising. The all-inclusive pricing model includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Contact: www.Blacksford.com

camping

2. Opt Outside.

There is nothing like a heaping dose of the natural world to ease anxiety and to restore our spirits. In fact, 61 percent of U.S. travelers are more likely to consider an outdoor or nature trip now compared to before the pandemic. Spending time under the big sky is the perfect way to engage in healthy, active, socially-distanced activity. Consider planning your next adventure with hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, birdwatching or golf as the centerpiece. Many outfitters are happy to organize a private group trip making it possible to travel with only your selected group of friends or family members.

Contact: www.VBT.com ; www.AustinAdventures.com

3. A Different Way to Stay

Have you ever slept in a yurt? A tiny house? A glamping tent? Do you love to camp?  This is a great time to explore a new way of staying.  You can plan for plenty of privacy and it will be possible to keep appropriate distances. The idea of “camping” means different things to different people. From the ultra-high-end glamping experience you’ll savor at the luxurious  Paw’s Up ranch in Montana to pitching your own tent on public lands – it’s worth your time to explore the options up front. Then relax and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Contact: www:PawsUp.com ; www.HipCamp.com; www.firesidejacksonhole.com

4. Off The Beaten Path

Despite all of the disruption and restrictions this year, 76 percent of U.S. travelers continue to say that travel is important to them, even if they can't experience the world as they might have once planned. More travelers are seeking destinations where they can relax and revive without worry. Look for getaway opportunities in secondary cities and small towns. Consider a dude or guest ranch where wide open spaces are plentiful. Seek out a bungalow near an uncrowded beach or on a quiet lake where the rhythm of waves lapping will restore your spirit.  

Contact: www.DudeRanch.org.  www.doorcounty.com

 

5. Plan ahead for your trip of a lifetime. 

While waiting for your right time to travel, revel in the planning process! Half the fun of family travel is the anticipation. – knowing there is a great trip on the horizon! Tap into the wide range of virtual travel experiences available on the web. Plenty of destinations and resorts launched these visual treats in the early days of shelter-at-home mandates and their numbers have multiplied. You’ll find a bounty of engaging content from cruise companies, islands, resorts and outfitters as well as from chefs, spas, artisans and other creators – all designed to provide inspiration!

As you ponder the possibilities, you’ll realize that travel providers are eager to welcome you back. Companies want to replace your concern with confidence and thus many are offering worry-free bookings and tempting deals and packages.  Before you know it, you’ll be packing your bags!

Resource: www.CDC.gov

Are you ready to unleash your wanderlust? Is it time to hit the open road, wander the trails or set sail once again? Whether the time is right to travel now or later, it's always fun to consider the options.

So get inspired here! 

Four Seasons Bali

Cultural Celebrations as a Travel Centerpiece

Historic festivals and cultural celebrations provide expansive experiences of a lifetime for travelers of every age.

You'll gain insight into what matters to local communities paired with a bit of history. Here are several to consider: 

 Windstar Alaska

Five Epic Trips to Consider

There are vacations. And, then there are epic adventures that may qualify as the experience of a lifetime. 

Here are five to consider now. 

 spa time

Ready for Some Spa Time?

Subdue the stresses of our modern world by including spa and wellness options in your vacation planning.

Here are five ideas to consider.   

Gather the clan 

Why Gathering the Clan Matters

Are you among the nearly 21 million people who took a multigenerational trip in the last year?

Here are five reasons why gathering the clan matters.  (And here's hoping you can make it happen sooner rather than later:)

Belmond Island getaways

Many of us have put our island vacation plans  on hold. When the time is right, these island destinations, not too far from home, will be eager to welcome you. 

Yellowstone in winter

Yellowstone in Winter: This is how Old Man Winter warmed my heart.

Your Dude Ranch vacation

WIde Open Spaces

Choose a ranch vacation to learn horsemanship in an authentic  setting, explore pristine wilderness areas, fish wild and scenic rivers and relax in Western style. Round up your crew and head for these hills.

Visit the Grandparent Travel Collection to gather great ideas for traveling with the grandkids!

SIgn up for our newsletter to stay in the know about new places to go and how to get there!

For many, this is the year we put our plans to cruise, or fly to far flung destinations on hold. 

Some experts are calling this the “year of the car”, a time frame during which we will forego international travel and  See America First. With gas prices in the affordable range, consider exploring a National Scenic Byway or an historic route. 

Why not hop in the car and roll past beaches and harbors, cruise through valleys and canyons or amid jagged peaks and tall trees. Whether you take a day trip or plan a longer journey, plan ahead to make sure your chosen route is accessible, your vehicle is properly tuned and you have plenty of snacks, water and other safety items on board.

For designation as a National Scenic Byway a road must have one of six intrinsic qualities. To be designated an All-American Road, a road must have at least two of the six qualities.

  • Scenic quality is the heightened visual experience derived from the view of natural and manmade elements of the visual environment of the scenic byway corridor. The characteristics of the landscape are strikingly distinct and offer a pleasing and most memorable visual experience.
  • Natural quality applies to those features in the visual environment that are in a relatively undisturbed state. These features predate the arrival of human populations and may include geological formations, fossils, landform, water bodies, vegetation, and wildlife. There may be evidence of human activity, but the natural features reveal minimal disturbances.
  • Historic quality encompasses legacies of the past that are distinctly associated with physical elements of the landscape, whether natural or manmade, that are of such historic significance that they educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past. The historic elements reflect the actions of people and may include buildings, settlement patterns, and other examples of human activity.
  • Cultural quality is evidence and expressions of the customs or traditions of a distinct group of people. Cultural features include, but are not limited to, crafts, music, dance, rituals, festivals, speech, food, special events, or vernacular architecture.
  • Archeological quality involves those characteristics of the scenic byways corridor that are physical evidence of historic or prehistoric human life or activity. The scenic byway corridor's archeological interest, as identified through ruins, artifacts, structural remains, and other physical evidence have scientific significance that educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past.
  • Recreational quality involves outdoor recreational activities directly associated with and dependent upon the natural and cultural elements of the corridor's landscape. The recreational activities provide opportunities for active and passive recreational experiences. They include, but are not limited to, downhill skiing, rafting, boating, fishing, and hiking. Driving the road itself may qualify as a pleasurable recreational experience. The recreational activities may be seasonal, but the quality and importance of the recreational activities as seasonal operations must be well recognized.

Have you always wanted to catch the Salmonfly hatch?

The Salmonfly hatch on the Madison River in Montana is an absolute bonanza for trout, birds, bugs, and..... fishing. The pros from the Madison River Fishing Company and Troutstalkers went out on a rainy June day last summer and fished these big bugs.

Take a look at this video and you'll see how they make it happen. 

 Shop here to be prepared with Salmonfly Hatch Essentials

 

Many of us have put our island vacation plans  on hold. When the time is right, these island destinations, not too far from home, will be eager to welcome you. 

Belmond La Samanna

St. Martin & Anguilla . 

After a long wait, you deserve double the fun.

And Belmond’s two island treat delivers. A unique package makes is possible to experience the dazzling beachside luxury at Belmond La Samanna on the Caribbean island of St Martin, paired with the pristine paradise you’ll discover at Belmond Cap Juluca on neighboring Anguilla.

At La Samanna, you’ll enjoy hiking adventures, island discovery tours, art programs and guest lecturers as well as al fresco massages, evening cruises and plenty of beach time.

Don your sun hat for the semi-private boat transfer to Anguilla and prepare to immerse yourselves in the dreamlike beauty of Cap Juluca,  where every room is a beachfront haven. Pristine white walls and Greco-Moorish columns frame a stunning turquoise sea that will surely tempt your loved ones in for kayaking, paddle boarding and splashing about. Pamper yourselves in the luxurious Arawak spa where ancient healing treatments and locally sourced ingredients will nourish your spirit.

Both resorts are scheduled to reopen in November. 

Contact: www.Belmond.com.

 

Rhode Island.  

While most of “The Ocean State” is located on the mainland, it is home to 30 islands, some of which are popular and possible vacation spots. 

Block Island, a 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland, and perhaps the most popular of the small state’s island options, boasts 17 miles of public beaches, rugged ocean bluffs and historic 18th-century lighthouses. You won’t find any chain motels but you can check into small family-run inns and B& Bs. Block Island is also home to the first offshore wind farm in the country, which  produces renewable energy for the island.

On Aquidneck Island, with rocky cliffs and dramatic ocean views, 

you’ll find Newport, the historic summer destination and sailing capital of the world. Lovely beaches, colonial homes, and gilded age mansions draw visitors. 

Just off of the coast of Aquidneck lies Goat Island,  so-named because early settlers used the island for goat herding. Today the island plays host to the Tall Ships Festival and world-class sailing regattas. It’s also home to Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. 

Contact: www.VisitRhodeIsland.com

Coronado Island, California. 

Located just across the bay from downtown San Diego, this family-friendly  getaway is famous for its gentle surf and wide, welcoming beaches. It’s home to the Hotel del Coronado, an iconic Victorian gem considered the island’s crown jewel.  The long, wide stretch of sand provides easy access to the water and thus the perfect home base for your family’s seaside activities. Get out the boogie boards, issue a beach volleyball challenge, take surfing lessons, learn the secrets of mermaid fitness or join a clambake. Top-notch children’s and teen programs and spa options are also available.

Nearby, is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort where family members can choose from beach activities, pool time and ideas spurred by the pros at the kids' activity desk. Guests can call ahead to reserve child-friendly resources ranging from cribs and baby swings to pool toys and strollers. 

Contact: www.Hoteldel.com  ; www.LoewsHotels.com

 Amelia Island, FL.  

With 13 miles of beaches, abundant native wildlife and a pristine environment,  this barrier island, located off the coast of northeast Florida, has been luring families for decades. Stay at the 446-rooom Ritz Carlton on the Atlantic shore and the kids may want to join the hunt for fossilized shark teeth on the beach or learn to balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Add other water sports to the mix by trying jet skiing, boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing. Children five through 12 can look forward to the Ritz Kids program that offers immersive adventures designed to introduce young people to the natural wonders of the island. They’ll learn about sand dunes and ancient forests and how recycling can make a difference through storytelling, art and even food.   Hopefully, the kids won’t be too tired to appreciate story time, snacks and a tuck-in offered by a friendly pirate and his friend the princess.  

Contact:   https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/amelia-island

Mackinac Island, Michigan. 

You’ll find Michigan’s iconic island in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.  You won’t find chain hotels or even cars. So hop on a bike or in a horse drawn carriage to explore the picturesque island along with locals and other visitors. In just under four square miles, you’ll find a spacious lake front, outdoor dining, casual picnic spots, putt-putt golf,  interesting shops and farm-to-ferry culinary offerings. Consider a stay at The Grand Hotel for it’s historic grandeur or check in to the iconic Mission Point Resort and enjoy the sprawling Great Lawn dotted with colorful Adirondack chairs. 

 It goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave the island without sampling the world-famous Mackinac Island fudge. 

Contact: www.MackinacIsland.org

At home with the kids or grandkids?

If we can’t travel to a favorite hotel, resort, restaurant or ranch, we can always pretend.

Here are five ways to create a virtual vacation in your own home. 

The Dyrt

Go Camping.  

Whether you set up a tent in the backyard or the bedroom, with a little imagination you can enjoy all the fun of a real camping trip without spending travel time! Create a campfire using flashlights under a towel or thin blanket. Listen to the sounds of your own backyard or create an alternate sound track featuring birds, waterfalls, streams or trees rustling via a music or meditation app. Tell stories around your campfire, sample s’mores, sing songs and plan for your next adventure. 

Pro Tip: REI offers advice for introducing kids to the outdoors through camping in your own yard and beyond. 

Enjoy a Spa Day. (Or Week)

Channel the services of a famous resort spa and pamper yourselves at home.  Give family members the chance to reserve a manicure, masque, foot or head massage, a salt or sugar scrub, a relaxing soak or whichever services your creative minds concoct. Craft a soothing play list via your favorite music app, gather candles and supplies from your own beauty stash, your kitchen and you’re good to go!  

Pro tips: 

The Arawak Spa, at Belmond Cap Juluca on the Caribbean island of Anguilla recommends a detoxifying soak to ease the tension of these stressful times. 

Arawak Salt Soak 

Ingredients: 

  • · 1/2 cup Salts (Epsom, Pink Himalayan, Sea Salts)
  • · 1 cup baking soda (softens water)
  • · Essential oils if available in home (5-10 drops)
  • · Loose Tea Leaves

To make: 

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. If possible, crush or grind the tea leaves to open up natural oils in the plant and allow it to mix well with the salts. Once combined, run a hot bath and add 3 tablespoons of the mixture to the water. Soak in the tub for 15 minutes.

Suggested blends:  

  • ·      Invigorating:peppermint or citrus oil /or tea leaves
  • ·      Calming: Chamomile tea or oil, Green tea loose leaves
  • ·      Detoxifying: Rosemary Anise or Ginger /oil or tea leaves

The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe suggests this post-winter scrub which makes use of pine needles reported to be both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.

Alpine Mountain Scrub Recipe: 

  • · 1 cup white sugar
  • · 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • · 1/4 cup olive oil
  • · 2 tablespoons freshly chopped pine needles (optional)
  • · 12 drops of essential oil* (optional)

WildChild

Play Restaurant. 

Take turns playing Executive Chef and encourage every member of the family to play a role. Plan for various theme nights that might include an island luau, a ranch cook-out, mountain meadow picnic fare, a safari sundowner or a Mexican fiesta. Encourage the kids to make their own menus, placemats and other décor. Choose music to suit the “destination”.

Pro Tip: &BEYOND’s Wildchild Hub offers recipes, reading and activities to bring Africa home to your children.

4. Host a Happy Hour. 

Don’t let social distancing requirements keep you from staying in touch (virtually) with family and friends. Plan a “happy hour” video call and encourage the group to join you in a toast to future family travels. 

 FT tranquil 3

Pro tip:  Serve a kid-friendly mocktail like the one offered by restaurant  ZuZu in Scottsdale, AZ’s Hotel Valley Ho

Tranquil Tonic  

Ingredients

4 oz. blood orange juice

6 fresh raspberries

1/2 oz. simple syrup

3 oz. LaCroix grapefruit sparkling water

Instructions

Combine the blood orange juice (regular orange juice also works well with this recipe if blood oranges are not available), simple syrup, and raspberries in a shaker, then muddle. Strain and pour into a glass; top with LaCroix and garnish with an orange slice and a raspberry.   

From the Belmond Charleston Place, Charleston 

The Morning Dew Mocktail

Packed with bold, refreshing flavors, the Morning Dew mocktail is the perfect alcohol-free option for toasting to family travel.
  • 1oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz mint and basil simple syrup
  • 1 mint leaf
  • Soda water
  • 1-2 cranberries to garnish

Fill rocks glass with ice and stir. Add cranberry juice and mint and basil simple syrup into a cocktail mixer. Shake and strain into the rocks glass. Top with soda water, and add mint leaf and cranberries to garnish.Bear hunt

5. Your Fitness Center 

Take turns leading a yoga or Pilates class. Choose from a wide variety of exercise classes available online.  Venture out for a fitness walk.  

Consider taking the kids on a “bear hunt”, by walking through your neighborhood in search of teddy bears placed in the windows of neighboring homes. The idea of creating window-based scenes using teddy bears and rainbows, is spreading around the world. If it hasn’t reached your area, perhaps you and your family can help expand the trend. #BearHunt.

Pro Tip: Tara Cruz, Senior Spa Director at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown  recommends starting each day with simple stretches, breathing exercises and positive thoughts to stay healthy during challenging times. 

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