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

Consumer advocate, author and journalist Chris Elliott has found an effective strategy for securing refunds when your travels take a wrong turn. 

Among the techniques he's developed through years of experience is called the three “P’s.” According to Elliott, it works great on refunds, including airline refunds.

For starters, advises Elliott, use credit cards to pay whenever possible, keep a paper trail if you submit a request for a refund and be ready to appeal your case if necessary. 

Further, he recommends keeping these three things in mind.

Patience. 

Give the company at least a week to respond to your refund request, says Elliott,  and two credit card billing cycles to pay you.

Persistence. 

Don’t let months pass by without letting the company know that your money is still missing, he advises. If necessary, set a calendar reminder so that you don’t forget.

Politeness. 

Angry demands for a refund and threats to take a company to court almost always backfire, suggests Elliott. The company may refer your case to its legal department, where it could linger for weeks or months.

Final advice: "Be nice!"

For more about this topic and how Christopher Elliott works to help travelers, visit his site here. 

Get in on the  not-so-spooky fun for families with Great Wolf Lodge's annual Howl-O-Ween celebration. 

Guests are encouraged to don costumes and join in daily activities, from monster bash dance parties and fall-fun crafting projects, to a trick-or-treat trail filled with interactive games and adventures that snakes throughout the resort. A fall tradition, families are sure to enjoy the spooky spirit at Great Wolf Lodge.

Howl, hop and hustle around Great Wolf Lodge as the Grand Lobby transforms into a spooktacular extravaganza complete with pumpkins and festive decorations. During Howl-O-Ween, guests can partake in complimentary programs including Twisted & Tangled, where children follow the spinner and try to stay on their feet to get a treat and be declared the winner. Guests can also enjoy Boo Bingo where five in a row gets them a bingo and yelling “boo” is the winning lingo.

Howl-O-Ween favorites include the Costume Parade, where children  showcase their favorite costumes during an event in the Grand Lobby, and then attend a Monster Bash Dance Party. 

On the Trick-Or-Treat Trail kids can play interactive games and collect candy at stops located throughout the Lodge. The trail features a Teal Pumpkin stop, offering a Great Wolf Lodge  non-food treat for guests with food allergies, or parents looking to avoid too many sweets. There are also Howl-O-Ween overlays to the children’s activities throughout the season, including Spooktacular Story Time, Critter Cartoons, and Paws On Projects feature arts and crafts with a silly, not-so scary twist.

Other highlights of Howl-O-Ween include:

  • ·Candy Corn Guessing Contest:There is a ghastly number of Candy Corn goodies filled to the brim in a jar at the front desk. The mysterious mission is to guess how many of the devilish treats are contained. Guesses will be collected throughout Howl-O-Ween. The guess closest to the correct number without going over will win a Great Wolf Gift Card. 
  • ·Character Meet, Greet & Treat: Grab a yummy snack during a break from all the Howl-O-Ween fun. Even better, snap a picture with Wiley before you’re back on the run!

In addition to two days of play in the water park for each night stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, all the Howl-O-Ween activities are included for no extra charge. Activities vary daily and by location. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in, verified in advance at GreatWolf.com or by calling the location directly.

NPR celebrates the power of poetry and place with this beautiful crowdsourced poem. 

Where I'm From: AMorning Edition Crowdsourced Poem of Remembering

I am from travelers and adventure
from "Be seen, not heard!"
from ritual and plainsong
from England and exile
from mint sauce and lamb.

I am from casseroles and canned tuna
Kennedys and Saturday morning cartoons
I am from Tang in a Daffy Duck glass
from wall phones with mangled cords stretched during private calls in a room too far 
I come from popcorn ceilings
dining rooms of glossy mahogany

I am from bed sheets 
Draped over our dining room chairs.
from the trees Littering the backyard
The sweet taste of mulberries Staining my fingers red
I'm from big hats under rainbow umbrellas
Buckets of wet sand and unstable castles
I'm from orange and vanilla custard
with a pizza slice the size of your chest
From hot July days and cool summer nights
I am from Sunday night pizza and Monday Night Football

I am from marbles
From empanadas cooking in the street
I am from orchids and mango trees
I am from la torta tres leches and ruana
I am from happy and serious
From hard work and sweat

I'm from grit, respect, and discipline.
from big family reunions and endless laughs.
I am from houses never locked
from the projects in Brooklyn
and dominoes in the park
I am from salsa and the car horns blaring

I am from diners and malls and accents that put an "aw" in coffee.
from silky lingerie and sweat socks, bruised knuckles and scars I gave myself
from longing to be someone, somewhere else.
I am from a mother who was still a girl;
whose beauty kept her shy
I am from dirt and fences
from strength and toughness

I am from ashes flicked into the tray
the despair of divorce
bonds gone unappreciated
eviction and being thrown away
running and begging to stay
I am from a little girl who just needed a break

I am from a time when my mother went to the hospital and never came back;
when my toys were in a box by the curb as we drove away.
I am from singing in the darkness of night
Putting myself to sleep with the sound of my own voice.

I am from playing backyard baseball with tennis balls, Wiffle balls, even roundish gourds.
from weekend sleep-overs
from orange push-ups
from fallen leaves kicked up in swirls on walks to school,
from early morning radio announcements of a snow day — no school!

I am from the South and the North.
from immigrant grandparents and Civil War soldiers.
I am from the red dirt clay of Virginia
From the sounds of the fiddle to the beauty of a choir
From the jig and the reel
to the cloggers and the dancers.
From collard greens and fat back,
chitterlings and white bread
I'm from hymns learned on Sundays,
hypocrisy displayed on Mondays.

I am from Tom Petty
and baby oil in the hot sun
rye bread and salami.
I am from black cows,
tacos, bicycles, and
The gentle lure of crickets.

I am from James Brown and Santana.
from Groovin' on a Sunday Afternoon
and Crystal Blue Persuasion.

I am from endless steps,
from California and Texas, and Durango, Colorado.
From unknown ancestors of the ancient Southwest,
cliff-dwellers and puebloans.
I am from the earth --

from from cityscapes and sleepy suburbs
from cicada clicks and firefly sparks
from the call of books and breathing through struggles.
I am from you

and you are from me
We are love

We are home
We are from this day forward.

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.

Happy Independence day

Savor your independence, family travelers!

In challenging times we can look to the starry skies for inspiration.

Oasis at Death Valley

In Death Valley National Park, a 3.4 million-acre expanse and the region’s clean, dry air combine to provide an ideal vantage point for observing shooting stars, meteor showers and constellations galore. And the Milky Way!

The conditions have earned the park the prestigious Gold-Tier Dark Sky status. The area shares a strong commitment to avoid light pollution and keep the night sky visible. Stay at the Oasis at Death Valley (choose from the Inn or the Ranch) and join the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for Star Parties on selected evenings or enjoy the gem-studded sky on your own. 

Find other star-filled destinations to consider here.

Are you headed to a guest or dude ranch soon?

Or perhaps you'd like to ride horses while in a western mountain town?

Get ready to ride with these tips offered by Germonimo Trail Guest Ranch. 

Dude ranch tips for horseback riding

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