Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes


Soak up the magic of the Matterhorn as Zermatt in Switzerland becomes the first European destination partner on theIkon Pass. Now Ikon Pass holders have access to snow at 41 global destinations across five continents.

The Matterhorn towers over more than 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of terrain that spans both Switzerland and Italy, offering Swiss hospitality coupled with Italian lifestyle, in the highest skiable terrain offered in the picturesque Alps. Connected lift service offers Ikon Pass holders access to Rothorn, Gornergrat and the Schwarzsee-Matterhorn glacier paradise within the Zermatt ski area, plus Cervinia-Valtournenche ski areas in Italy, collectively known as Matterhorn ski paradise.

Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt and the Matterhorn ski paradise network on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, also with no blackout dates.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 41 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. 

Geographic spread, busy careers and hectic school schedules can make planning a vacation challenging.  But, carving out time with the people we care about often ranks high on our priority list. 

Here are five ways it may work for you and members of your family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins -  to gather. 


Skip-gen or Gramping  

Family life is busy.  Remedy: skip-gen or gramping vacations. Parents get a break and grandparents and grandkids  get to know each other without the filter of mom or dad on the scene.

Grandparents: why not take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with your grandkids? Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic or rural neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today? Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or visit the old stomping grounds.  It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there than what they’ll find in school books.

And, remember, you are part of their history.


Milestone Moments

Planning ahead to celebrate birthdays, graduations, retirements and anniversaries can be an important touchstone and meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With plenty of advance notice,  the odds increase that more family members will be able to take part in the fun.  Consider a cruise, a dude ranch or an all-inclusive resort for your gathering. You’ll find a long list of intriguing itineraries and appealing destinations from which to choose. With activities to engage every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater (and plenty of volume to satisfy hungry teens) you’re sure to see smiles all around. Separate sleeping quarters provide the privacy and flexibility required for early birds, nappers and night owls. 

Glacier Guides

Rock Star Relatives

Are you an amazing aunt, an unbelievable uncle or a cool cousin?  Perhaps your birdlings have flown the nest or your own kids have fur and four legs. Either way, you may want to join the increasing number of relatives choosing to explore the world with youngsters as their trusty travel companions.  Share your passion to fish or hike, learn a new skill together or plan a mutually engaging adventure to a National Park or a far-off land. You’re certain to return with a deeper bond and memories to share for a lifetime.  

Contact:; ; 

Family Reunion

The true value of a family gathering has less to do with boarding a snazzy cruise ship or checking in to a faraway resort. That option  might not be in the cards for your crew right now. It’s more about the quality of a shared experience. So, whether you are planning a small gathering in a state park picnic area or a mass meeting of the clan, organization will be key. Gather input regarding a budget, destination and lodging preferences, activities and  meal planning. Get a date on the calendar as soon as possible.  Communicate well and often. Keep your sense of humor at the ready and be grateful that at least some portion of your family is eager to spend time together.

“Like Family” 

With relatives spread far and wide, our best friends often become “like family”. Traveling with another crew, particularly one with children of similar ages and interests, can be fun and festive. Still, proper planning can go a long way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact. Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house, or urban condo. That can mean divvying expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking.

Avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated with a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway. No matter how much you enjoy your vacation buddies, carve out private time  with your own family. You’ll be glad you did.  



Upscale Americans are seeking adventures in less-visited destinations from Latin America to the Middle East to off-the-beaten-path Europe this fall and holiday season, according to new data from global luxury travel network Virtuoso®. Known as a respected trend forecaster, Virtuoso reviewed figures from its warehouse of more than $49.5 billion in transactions to compile the most in-demand locales for the coming fall and holiday season. 

Country Walkers tour in Italy

The Virtuoso Top 10:

The most popular fall and holiday destinations for Americans according to future bookings.  

1.       United States

2.       Italy

3.       United Kingdom

4.       France

5.       South Africa

6.       Israel

7.       Australia

8.       Germany

9.       Japan

10.   Spain.  

Behind the trend: 

With such a diversity of destinations and experiences at home, Americans increasingly choose to travel domestically for the holidays. Europe’s appeal as a summer destination extends into fall, with five countries on the list. Italy, France and Germany repeat from last year; the latter is especially popular with river cruisers for its celebrated Christmas markets.

Japan, the “it” country that topped the list of emerging destination in the 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report, appeals to travelers from adventurers to culinary enthusiasts. Two other fall and holiday favorites, South Africa and Israel, repeat from last year’s list, beckoning families seeking trips of a lifetime at the festive season. 

Castles in Romania drive traveler interest -

The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have experienced the largest increases by percentage in year-over-year bookings among U.S. travelers.  

1. Uruguay (+286%)                                                    6. Puerto Rico (+120%)                     

2. Maldives (+171%)                                                   7. Rwanda (+114%)

3. Malta (+140%)                                                        8. Qatar (+101%)

4. Romania (+135%)                                                   9. South Korea (+98%)

5. Egypt (+122%)                                                        10. Norway (+96%)  

Behind the trend: 

The Virtuoso Luxe Report determined the prevailing travel motivator for 2019 is exploring new destinations, and U.S. travelers are seeking fresh adventures amidst the fairytale castles of Romania, historic sites of Malta and fjords of Norway. Uruguay’s award-winning wineries, pleasant climate, and adventure opportunities make it a sought-after destination for the season.

The Middle East remains popular, with Egypt and Qatar enticing visitors with less-explored cuisines, bustling markets, and desert excursions, while Puerto Rico and the Maldives provide beach retreats for relaxation-focused travelers.  

Data is drawn from Virtuoso’s U.S. agency members and reflects travel bookings for September through December 2019.

Cowgirls, take note!  

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has acquired and added sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s needlework belt to its permanent collection. The belt is on display in the Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibition, which illuminates the many female performers who contributed to these spectacularly popular outdoor events. 

The belt was created during her third European tour in 1891. Oakley would often do needlework in her tent between performances. This belt has the tour year, “1891,” and her initials “AO,” on opposite ends of the belt. It measures roughly 22 inches in length, which would be equivalent to a size 1 or 2 today.  

“We have a few artifacts from Oakley that are singular in their ability to tie the public Annie Oakley to the private Annie Butler,” said Dr. Diana Vela, associate executive director. “This belt is one of the objects that she worked on in her private time while she was on tour.” Annie Oakley is a Hall of Fame Honoree, and in addition to the belt, the Museum has other Oakley objects on display.   

Oakley, born on August 13, 1860, has been featured through the years in books, plays and television series and has continued to be a popular figure in American culture. Oakley shares commonalities with other Museum Honorees, most notably, retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  

“Both Oakley and O’Connor broke barriers by being in traditional male-only fields, both were skilled horsewomen and both were mindful of the optics of being female in a customary male role, and as such, made conscious choices in attire,” said Dr. Diana Vela. “Most importantly, both were not afraid to take on entities much larger than themselves.”

Visit the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame’s Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibition to view Annie Oakley artifacts and holograms that explore the different stages of her public life.

Visit the Museum and Hall of Fame 

FT Annie O belt

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West. Established in 1975, the Museum is considered an important national educational resource for its exhibits, research library, rare photograph collection and award-winning distance-learning programs for grades K-12 and adults. 

The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to preserve history, foster an appreciation for their ideals and spirit of self-reliance. In 2019, the Museum opened the Kit Moncrief Galleries and It’s Never Just a HorseTM exhibition. 


1720 Gendy Street Fort Worth, Texas 76107.

Hours of operation

Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


 $12 for adults (ages 13+); $9 for seniors (60+), military and first responders; $9 for children (ages 3 to 12) and children 3 and under free with paid adult. 

For more information, visit www.cowgirl.netor call 817-336-4475.


In the spring of 2016, the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program partnered with No Barriers Youth to provide the inaugural Every Kid in a Park: Climate Change Bootcamp. Held at Cape Cod National Seashore, this novel program brought 23 high school students from Lexington, MA to the seashore for three days and two nights to learn about the impacts climate change is causing and the steps the NPS is taking to respond.

On the third day, the high school students invited a local 4th grade class to be taught by their newly minted high school student teachers. Learn about this wonderful program, and see some of the new and novel ways the Park Service communicates climate change with our nation’s students.  

Scroll down to see the video.

“That was so easy!",  I remarked to my son Ted as we slipped onto the chairlift just after noon. 

We had left our home in Phoenix just that morning, with a vague notion that we might be able to fit in a half day of skiing. 

And we did!  

The skiing options out of Salt Lake City are so numerous it is difficult to choose a final destination. With only a weekend ahead we decided to try out Alta and Snowbird, two resorts that came wildly recommended by our snow loving friends. 

And of course , the dynamic combo has been ranked the No. 1 resort in the country by SKIING Magazine for four years running.

On Our Way

After an easy flight on Southwest, we collected our bags and had only to walk ten paces to make our final arrangements to head up the canyon. We had secured reservations with Canyon Transportation before our departure and were quickly loaded in a van and were on our way. The chatty driver was well armed with the lowdown on Utah skiing and restaurant suggestions that came in handy later in the day.

We were able to check in early at our home for the weekend, Snowbird’s flagship Cliff Lodge and Spa, before taking the handy shuttle a mile up the road to the base of Alta. 

The friendly crew at the Alta Ski Shop and Demo Center were quick to help us gather the right gear so we could head quickly out the door. I’m not sure I’ve ever observed better use of every square inch within a retail operation. Had we forgotten a hat, socks or sunscreen we were covered. And I was even able to sip a latte from their espresso bar while filling out the rental forms. 

After a fabulous blue bird afternoon, we were joined by my son Alex who took a break from his collegiate studies at USC to spend time with me and his brother on the slopes. We made plans to check out the other side of the mountain! 

The next day was spent exploring the slopes of Snowbird and we weren’t disappointed. During our hot tub review session, we determined that Snowbird definitely feels like the more sophisticated cousin to it’s traditional relative, Alta. And depending on your mood or company you may prefer one over the other. Within our trio, we found lots to like about both venues over our holiday weekend. 

And thanks to a combined ticket to both mountains you don’t have to choose. With the dual mountain pass, skiers have access to nearly 5,000 acres of the famous Utah powder.  

About Alta 

They say Alta has “soul” and when you arrive, somehow you instantly know what they mean. It is peaceful and quiet. For skier’s only, you won’t hear the scraping of boarders moving down the hill behind you. 

Located 33 miles from the airport, and covering 2200 acres with 54 runs, the resort truly has something for everyone. The variety of terrain, breathtaking alpine scenery and superb snow conditions combine to create a unique setting for an unforgettable outdoor experiences for skiers of every age and ability.

We were able to ride lifts that provided runs with through-the-trees excitement for the boys as well as more intermediate terrain for me, yet still meet at the bottom.

While riding the lift we were told about the Ski With A Ranger program. You’ll learn about the natural world and mountain culture of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest during an enjoyable complimentary 45-minute guided program down friendly terrain Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 1:30 p.m. Ask about the meeting spot.  

For the little ones 

The Alta Children's Center provides a unique atmosphere, blending warm, personal attention with creative educational activities. The children play and learn in various environments designed to make fun and education come together. A special area is dedicated to meet the needs of infants. 

Under private ownership of Redwood Preschool, Inc., the Center is a state- licensed facility for children from ages three months- twelve years old. The Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. 

The Alf Engen Ski School has programs that allow every child to have the best possible learning experience in a spectacular mountain playground. The ski school offers Ski Adventures to children from ages four- through early teen, of all skill levels. Alta's goal is to give children the skills for a lifelong enjoyment of skiing. Participants can choose a two-hour adventure, an all day mini adventure that combines skiing, lunch and childcare, or an all-day adventure that includes lunch. The all day Mountain Explorers offers five hours of skiing and lunch to children from ages seven- early teens that are competent skiers.

For deals and details:  

Ski Snowbird

About Snowbird 

In addition to four lodges and 10 restaurants, Snowbird offers the Snowbird Mountain School, night skiing and snowboarding, a world-renowned children's program, snowmobile tours, snowshoe tours, tubing, ice skating, swimming pools, live music, movies, shopping, conference facilities and more.

Snowbird's luxurious Cliff Spa offers a full complement of pampering treatments as well as yoga and fitness classes. I can assure you that my massage at the end of the day was worth every penny.

You won’t find anything like the Snowbird Terrain Park, on the Alta side of the mountain. Accessed by the Baby Thunder lift, kids of all ages will enjoy this area dedicated to tabletops, hits, spines, jumps and rails of every shape and size. Snowbird’s  Superpipe is located on the Big Emma run and is accessed by the Mid Gad or Gadzoom lifts. An intermediate park near the Big Emma Superpipe offers features and rails for skiers and riders looking to improve their terrain park skills.

Averaging 500 inches of near perfect powder a year, Snowbird boasts an aerial tram, that transports 125 people 2,900 vertical feet in approximately six minutes. 

Other options include 10 chairlifts, including three high-speed detachable quads and seven doubles, plus two rope tows. While the resort is noted for its expert terrain, and there is plenty of it, I was impressed with the friendly and expansive beginner areas and Mineral Basin, all of which provide plenty of options for those not headed to the Olympic trials. 

Snowbird’s original Peruvian lift was replaced with a new high-speed quad. At the top of the lift, a 600 foot tunnel with a magic carpet  provides easy access to the popular Mineral Basin making it easier still for skiers and snowboarders to access this intermediate terrain. 

Still, I found Snowbird more challenging than Alta and was quick to send my sons off to take advantage of the testing terrain. I enjoyed the sunny day on intermediate cruisers and made the most of a significant amount of powder still present from a recent storm. When we met at the end of the day they were exhausted yet elated from the full out effort required for the expert runs they chose. After hearing the first few accounts of their air-borne adventures I was glad we had parted ways earlier in the day.   

Before catching our ride down the mountain with Canyon Transportaton, we were able to take advantage of the locker room and showers available to guests of the Cliff Lodge on check out day.  

As we headed toward Salt Lake’s airport, I was happy to have had the time away with the boys. And, I could have used one more massage.

For deals and details:

Take part in a family fly-fishing adventure and you’ll wake up in some of the country’s most pristine places. 

Here are a handful of fabulous places to consider: 

fly fish world cast anglers

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For an extraordinary angling experience, consider an overnight trip on the South Fork of the Snake River. On day one, you’ll hone your skills floating through some of the most coveted water in the western United States.

Later, as the sun sets, arrive at the South Fork Hilton, a fully-outfitted camp ,tucked in the pines with a steep canyon wall as backdrop. The overnight includes a deluxe dinner, tall tales, roasted marshmallows around a campfire, and a good night’s rest in cozy platform tents.

The second day promises stunning scenery, 16 miles of braided waters and the opportunity to expand the adventure wading around gravel bars and up side channels. The trip is ideal for a multigenerational outing. 


Western Montana

Stunning scenery, diversity of waterways, plentiful fish and an enthusiastic community of guides combine to make Montana a top notch base camp for your fly-fishing adventure. Spend a day on the Madison River with Joe Dilschneider, owner of Ennis, MT-based TroutStalkers and your family members will go home with more than basic casting skills. You’ll learn to “match the hatch”, fish pocket water from a raft and how to maximize a day on the famed Madison River. A day on the Yellowstone River, a long stretch of blue-ribbon trout habitat or nearby spring creeks will also make for great memories. 

Formed by the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison rivers at Three Forks, the mighty Missouri River flows 700 miles across Montana, and is considered one of the most productive trout fisheries in the west. 

The small town of Craig is among the numerous launch points from which families explore this storied river. Expect a picturesque landscape, trophy trout and the opportunity to imagine Lewis and Clark navigating the same waters.


fly fish North Carolina

Jackson County, North Carolina

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

Fly fish Cumberland Valley

Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania 

The Letort Spring Creek, Big Spring Creek and Yellow Breeches Creek, two classic limestone spring streams and one freestone stream are considered “hallowed waters” and have enticed fly fishers to the area since the 1800s.  Enthusiasts can expect to cast for brook, brown and rainbow in the local streams where a variety of riparian ecosystems provide diverse fly-fishing opportunities. Consider a stay at the Orvis-endorsed Allenberry Resort where fly-fishing packages are offered. The Valley is also home to the Pennsylvania Fly- Fishing Museum. 

Contact:  more:

Sun Valley, ID

Sun Valley, Idaho

This mountain town is perhaps best-known for its famous ski slopes. But the region’s gold-medal waters make for yet another reason to nudge Sun Valley higher on your family vacation list. You’ll be on the hunt for rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout on Silver Creek, the Big Lost and the Wood rivers as well as in pristine mountain lakes.

Tap into the town’s vibrant cultural scene or strap on skates for a whirl around the ice rink at the -famed Sun Valley Lodge.


Taliesin West is one of eight in a group of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

On Sunday, June 7, 2019, UNESCO inscribed Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ as one in a group of eight masterworks by architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a World Heritage Site.

The group of eight, entitled “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright,” is the first World Heritage listing for the United States in the field of modern architecture.

The nomination process, lead by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conversancy, took 15 plus years, as organizers narrowed down buildings that best represents Wright and the World Heritage Committee’s selection criteria.

Taliesin West is the second World Heritage Site in Arizona, next to the Grand Canyon National Park.

The freedom to explore the world around us is something to savor.

Here are five reasons that family vacations matter:

1. Travel broadens our perspectives.  

Whether you travel to the next county or around the world, moving out of your comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world. Appreciate the language, dress, recreational and culinary differences and similarities of your fellow global citizens when you venture into new territory. Make an effort to see the view through the eyes of others. And observe how a friendly smile is welcome currency in nearly every corner of the world.


2. Travel builds character.

Travel provides parents and grandparents the opportunity to model what matters most. Will you exhibit patience when the line snakes around the corner, your hotel room is not ready or the restaurant server accidentally spills a drink on your table? Delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap. How the adults respond to challenging scenarios will influence the developing character of young adventurers.

Contact: TSA.go

3. Travel serves up nature’s bounty.

A super moon rising over the mountain tops, eagles lofting in a barren tree, the gentle mist from a nearby waterfall, the crunch of the trail under hiking boots. Awe-inspiring experiences in the natural world are nurturing to the youngest of souls. Make time to travel to nature preserves, national parks, deep canyons and shimmering lakes, where dark skies allow the starry expanse to light your world.


4. Travel is inspiring and educational.

Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Is there a burgeoning chef, musician or engineer in your midst? How about a language immersion class? Are your kids curious about other religions, cultures or lifestyles? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas together.

Contact: RoadScholars;;

5. Travel enhances connection.

Leave the laundry, homework and to-do lists behind and reconnect in a cozy cabin, on a blustery beach or on a small ship at sea. Keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation. Take walks in the woods, listen to the birds sing, the owls hoot and the wind whistle. Remind yourselves that the best things in life are free. You’ll return home knowing your time well spent will last longer than the latest gadget or a trendy fashion item. Because time flies, be “glad you did” rather than “wishing you had.”

Happy Independence day

Savor your independence, family travelers!

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