Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Camping has been a go-to strategy for families eager to get outside during the global pandemic.

Whether you pop into a van or toss up the tents, the fresh air can provide some genuine stress relief. 

If you need to stay connected or get some work done while off the grid, we've got a possible portable power solution for you here


Ready to go? You'll find more camping ideas here!

In an era when we can live and work in remote places, the ability to power up our tools of the trade -  laptops, phones, i-pads and the like – makes more adventure possible. 

When we begin to think about extending the weekend camping trip, embarking on a weeklong river trip, or taking our professional and school work into the backcountry, we wonder just how we’ll keep the power pulsing. 

A solar-powered generator may be your green solution. It’s a portable power station, equipped with an AC outlet, USB charging ports and a DC carport. It’s clean (no smelly fuel needed), quiet (thanks to the battery charged with solar power) and, of course, portable. 

Jackery, a pioneer in the portable power industry, has created products to help those interested in a more mobile lifestyle to make their dreams a reality. Multiple sizes are available, making it easy to match your needs with the product that best suits your usage plan and budget. (The Jackery Explorer 1000 is their  biggest power station, with 1002Wh capacity, 1000W rated power (2000W surge power) and multiple output charge/recharge ports, it meets the power supply needs of most power electrical appliances.)

Jackery portable power

And when not exploring new mountains, rivers, lakes or canyons, it can be nice to know you have a back-up power source at home. When the winds blow, the rains come and the snow falls, you know you’ll be able to keep your gear and gadgets working. 

(During these ultra challenging times, who knows when a little extra power might make the difference. Stay healthy. Stay safe!) 



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: 

Visit Casper

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 a good way to social distance as well as access to wildlife watching, mountain views and public art.

Contact: www.VisitCasper.com

fly fish the Keys

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. 


fish the Yampa

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.


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.


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.


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:


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!


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.


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.



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: ;

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: ;;

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.  



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!


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


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