Road Trip!

Buckle up and cruise our scenic byways for exceptional beauty, wildlife and history.

Here are six to consider:

Bear tooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway.

Visitors who travel this extraordinary byway, experience the visual trifecta of Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone Park, home to the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains. The windy, cliff-hugging 68-mile stretch introduces road explorers to one of the most diverse ecosystems accessible by auto. It’s also the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies. Stunningly beautiful, the All-American Road showcases wide, high alpine plateaus, painted with patches of ice blue glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. Plan for many stops so the driver can take in the long views!

Contact: http://beartoothhighway.com

 Alaska

Seward Highway, Alaska.

The road that connects Anchorage to Seward is a 127-mile treasure trove of natural beauty, wildlife and stories of adventure, endurance and rugged ingenuity. Take a day or several to explore the region that has earned three-fold recognition as a Forest Service Scenic Byway, an Alaskan Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. The drive begins at the base of the Chugach Mountains, hugs the scenic shores of Turnagain Arm and winds through mining towns, national forests, and fishing villages as you imagine how explorers, fur traders and gold prospectors might have fared back in the day. Expect waterfalls, glaciers, eagles, moose and some good bear stories.

Contact: www.Alaska.org.

Trail Ridge Road. Estes Park, CO.

During a 48-mile, two to three hour drive through majestic Rocky National Mountain Park, marvel at the Park’s wildlife, crystalline lakes, and jagged peaks. The nearby Continental Divide, provides the opportunity to explain to the kids how the “roof of the continent” spills moisture to the east and the west from its apex. Consider a stop at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which inspired Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” Also, visit the charming town of Grand Lake, home of the largest natural lake in the state of Colorado.

Contact: Colorado.com; www.nps.gov/romo/

visit Maine

Lighthouse Tour. ME.

Travel the 375 miles between Kittery and Calais, ME, visiting lighthouses along the way, and learn about the dangers that seafaring vessels and their crew endured along the craggy Northeastern coast. Hear tales of shipwrecks and ghosts and of the difficult and lonely life led by those who kept the lights burning brightly. Visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum, where artifacts and hands-on exhibits for children provide an enticing break.

Contact: www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.com; www.VisitMaine.com.

monument valley

Monument Valley, AZ 

You’ve seen the skyline in the movies and on television commercials. Your entire family will marvel at the 250 million year old red rock formations, the magical light, the starry night and the Native American history that infuses the iconic landscape.

Take in the 17-mile scenic loop road on your own or hire a guide to delve deeper into the storied region and to access off-limit sites. Overnight at The View hotel for the best chance to capture the incomparable sunrise and sunset hues. Don’t forget your cameras!

Contact: http://navajonationparks.org;  www.MonumentValleyView.com

skyline drive

 Skyline Drive. VA.

Meandering along the crest of the mountains through the woods and past spectacular vistas, Virginia’s Skyline Drive begins in Front Royal and twists and turns southwest through Shenandoah National Park. Hike in the shade of oak trees along the Appalachian Trail, discover the stories from Shenandoah’s past, or explore the wilderness at your leisure.

Contact: www.nps.gov/shen.

Planning a trip to the Valley of the Sun? 

Consider these fun facts about Phoenix so you'll be in the know before you go!

  • According to legend, Phoenix gets its name from Cambridge-educated pioneer Darrell Duppa, who saw the ruins and prehistoric canals of the Hohokam and believed another civilization would rise from the ashes.

  • Phoenix is the United States’ fifth-largest city with a population of over 1.6 million.

  • Greater Phoenix (which includes, among others, the cities of Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale and Tempe) has a population of nearly 4.5 million and covers 2,000 square miles.

  • Maricopa County—where Greater Phoenix is located—covers 9,266 square miles, making it about the size of New Hampshire.

  • Phoenix's elevation is 1,117 feet.

  • Greater Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert, which is one of the wettest and greenest deserts in North America, thanks to 3-15 inches of annual rainfall.

  • According to data compiled by the National Climatic Data Center, Phoenix basks in sunshine more often than any other major metropolitan area in the U.S. The sun shines on Phoenix during 85 percent of its daylight hours.

  • Phoenix has an average annual rainfall of 8.04 inches, an average temperature of 75.05 degrees and an annual high temperature of 86.7 degrees. The average high temperature in winter is 67 degrees.

  • Greater Phoenix has more than 62,000 guest rooms at more than 450 hotels and more than 40 resort properties.

  • Greater Phoenix is home to nearly 200 golf courses.

  • Greater Phoenix consistently ranks among the nation’s top cities in the number of Five Diamond and Four Diamond and Five Star and Four Star resorts.

  • More than 22 million people visit metropolitan Phoenix each year.

  • More than 44 million people visit Arizona each year.

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, dubbed America's Friendliest Airport, is the main airport for the Greater Phoenix area. It serves more than 40 million passengers a year, and goes to more than 100 domestic and international destinations, making it one of the 10 busiest airports in the nation. With about 1,200 daily flights - about 500 nonstop - Sky Harbor is one of the most convenient airports.

  • Sky Harbor is a hub for two major low-fare carriers (American Airlines and Southwest Airlines).

  • Phoenix is one of the few U.S. cities with franchises in all four major professional sports leagues: Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Arizona Cardinals (NFL) and Arizona Coyotes (NHL).

  • Greater Phoenix hosted Super Bowl XXX on Jan. 28, 1996, Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008 and Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015.  

  • The Phoenix Suns have brought the NBA playoffs to Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly US Airways Center) 29 times.

  • 15 Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training in the Cactus League, which in 2015 drew a record 1.89 million fans.

  • Greater Phoenix is currently home to 15 Cactus League franchises: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

  • University of Phoenix Stadium, home of Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLIX, features both a retractable fabric roof and a roll-out grass field.

  • The University of Phoenix Stadium will be the host of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and recently hosted the 2016 College Football Playoff  National Championship Game (formerly BCS).

  • The Waste Management Open, played each February at the TPC Scottsdale, is the best-attended event on the PGA Tour, averaging more than 500,000 spectators.

  • The Phoenix Open set records attendance in 2015 with 564,368 fans attending the event.

  • Greater Phoenix is home to college football’s Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl. The 2007 and 2011 BCS National Championship games were played at University of Phoenix Stadium. University of Phoenix stadium also hosted the 2016 College Football Playoff (formerly BCS). In addition, Greater Phoenix hosted Pro Bowl in 2015.

  • ISM Raceway plays host to two NASCAR events each racing season.

  • Greater Phoenix’s major industries are (1) high-tech manufacturing, (2) tourism and (3) construction.

  • Greater Phoenix is the corporate headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: Freeport-McMoRan, Avnet, Republic Services, and Insight Enterprises.

  • Phoenix is home to the largest municipal park in North America. South Mountain Park and Preserve covers more than 16,500 acres and has more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.

  • There are six lakes within a 75-minute drive of Phoenix.

  • MIM museum
  • Phoenix has museums to suit nearly every taste. The Heard Museum (Native American); Desert Botanical Garden (the world's largest collection of desert plants); Taliesin West (home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation); the Phoenix Art Museum (the Southwest's largest art museum); the Fleischer Museum (American Impressionism); the Arizona Science Center; the Hall of Flame (featuring the world's largest collection of fire-fighting equipment); Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park (Native American) and the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) are among the cultural hot spots.

  • The Heard Museum has an extensive collection of American Indian artifacts, including the largest kachina doll collection (donated in part by the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater) of any museum in the country.

  • Arizona is home to 22 American Indian tribes.

Published in Destinations

A larger-than-life experience, Grand Canyon draws tens of thousands of families each year who unplug their smartphones, tune out television, and create lasting memories together.

Bruce Brossman, marketing director for the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges and Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, shares 10 ways the park helps kids replace virtual reality with a real-life experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Guaranteed.

1. Take Part in a Junior Ranger Program

With its historic sights, walking trails, museums, exhibits, and the canyon itself, Grand Canyon National Park may be America’s largest classroom. For kids, one of the most popular activities is participating in a Junior Ranger program.

“Lessons are related to nature, history, the environment, and geology and every program is free,” Brossman explains. “Kids can pick up a Junior Ranger book, complete the activities inside, and then bring it to a ranger at the Visitor Center. After they review the answers, they administer the Junior Ranger pledge and then present them with their Junior Ranger badge. They can even take their new badge to one of the park’s bookstores for a custom sew-on patch related to their award.”

Published in Family Travel Blog

Golf is a great activity for the whole family and there is no better place to test your skills on the links than Scottsdale, AZ.  

A number of Scottsdale’s most popular courses offer programs and junior golf academies designed specifically for young athletes.

Most offer full instruction for beginners to advanced players, including swing analysis, rules and etiquette, sportsmanship, on-the-course training, and games and prizes.

Here are just a few area courses that cater to young golfers.

EAGLE MOUNTAIN GOLF CLUB: SUMMER JUNIOR GOLF CAMPS


Eagle Mountain’s three-day Junior Golf Camps include four hours of instruction per day and are geared toward kids 8 and older. The Jr. Mountain Club Card (additional fee), enables camp participants to play an hour after twilight all summer long for only $10 ($25 for an accompanying adult).

GRAYHAWK GOLF CLUB – JUNIOR GOLF CAMP


From full swing to putting and chipping to bunkers, Grayhawk’s golf instruction is communicated using fun games and competition. Students learn all the basic mechanics of the golf swing as well as the proper etiquette of the game. The program is open to kids from 8 to 16 years old.

CAMELBACK GOLF CLUB – SUMMER JUNIOR CAMP


All juniors work with PGA-certified Instructors to improve their game through balance, stability, coordination, power and speed. Full-day camps for ages 9 to 16 and half-day camps for ages 7 to 15 are available. Camps feature a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio and include 9 holes of golf daily.

MCCORMICK RANCH GOLF CLUB – SUMMER JUNIOR GOLF ACADEMY


Golfers age 6 to 17 receive individualized instruction in swing techniques and course strategy, as well as the rules and etiquette of the game. Junior golfers involved in the Golf Academy also receive reduced green fees and range rates to perfect their skills.

MCDOWELL MOUNTAIN GOLF CLUB – JUNIOR GOLF PROGRAM


McDowell Mountain Golf Club’s beginner (ages 8 and under) and intermediate (ages 9 to 13) clinics include fun games, drills and instruction that focus on the full swing, short game and putting. High school prep and college prep programs also are available.

TROON NORTH GOLF CLUB – TROON FAMILY GOLF PROGRAM


This exciting program is available every day of the year! Golfers 15 years of age and younger receive complimentary instruction when taking a lesson with a paying adult, golf for free after 3 p.m. when playing with a paying adult, and enjoy complimentary Callaway rental clubs all day.

GAINEY RANCH GOLF CLUB – JUNIOR TEES PROGRAM


For families that love to golf, Gainey Ranch Golf Club offers “Junior Tees,” special tee locations that are designed to provide children 12 and younger the opportunity to play a yardage-friendly round on a par-72 course. Plus, when playing with a paid adult, children 15 and younger can play the course for free! And for guests at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa, all rounds after your first (at full price) can be enjoyed for 50 percent off! 

 

Published in Destinations

It was legendary golf course designer, Jay Moorish’s first visit to this stunning Sonoran Desert environment. Visualizing the project that would someday emerge amidst the Santa Catalina and Tortolita Mountains in northwest Tucson, he was in awe of the extraordinary beauty and rich texture of the expansive landscape. Despite an already impressive collection of championship courses lining his portfolio, he was quick to consider himself a mere “custodian” of a near perfect, natural setting.

As it turned out, Moorish’s reverence for the landscape would result in a Sonoran Desert treasure, esteemed by residents, players and most recently, some of the most well respected names in the game of golf.

Stone Canyon Golf

Masters of the Game

The result of this “Master of the Desert’s” meticulous and thoughtful effort is a 7300-yard gem that has since collected numerous top-drawer awards and accolades. Admirers note the conservation-minded use of a mere 78 acres of turf, which ultimately rewards accurate and thoughtful shot making. Undulating greens, various grass heights and slopes paired with vast bunkers, add to the sporting nature of each round.

Yet, perhaps most importantly, the challenging yet playable course, has garnered the deep appreciation of a stalwart membership that relishes the giant saguaros, native trees, flowering plants, and historic petroglyphs that remain interspersed and serve as the backdrop for the impressive track.

“The ownership team of Phil Mickelson and Steve Loy has embraced the timeless beauty of Stone Canyon, and has delivered on their commitments to the membership,” explained Director of Club Operations, Mike Russell. “Their professional approach, deep knowledge of the game and dedication to providing an outstanding private club experience is unparalled.”

Family Resort Living - Stone Canyon

The Gathering Place

To wit, members celebrated the opening of a stunning, 25,000 square foot clubhouse that now serves as the central gathering place for Stone Canyon members, their family and guests.

Crafted through the design leadership of Phx Architecture’s Erik Peterson AIA and Ron Skoog AIA, in partnership with Wespac Construction Inc. and Pati Vester of Vester Studio Design, the clubhouse is a desert gem in its own right.

Indoor and outdoor dining spaces take advantage of the enviable climate and vistas. Lounge areas and fire pit seating offer 270-degree views of craggy rock formations and the sun-drenched cactus and boulder-studded landscape.

The use of reclaimed wood from an old cotton mill, hand-painted Italian tiles, original art and hand-forged chandeliers combine to provide a luxurious yet casual environment in which members enjoy sipping a beverage or relaxed dining after a day on the course.

The two-level clubhouse also includes the golf pro-shop and locker rooms, as well as club service and storage,

Health and fitness is also an important aspect of the Club’s offerings, including a full range of classes and programs designed to enhance the lifestyle of members. From tennis, swimming, yoga and Pilates to professional assistance in developing and attaining personal fitness goals, the standards are set high.

“Our members often comment on the sense of community and welcoming atmosphere that exists within the club,” explained Kelly Mainevielle, Director of Membership. “The new clubhouse allows us to offer themed dinners, wine tastings, cigars under the stars, and other special events in an extraordinary environment. You’ll also find groups of members enjoying lively book club discussions or engrossed in card games. You can tell strong friendships have been forged here.”

Near Perfection

While Jay Moorish was an early “custodian” of the nearly perfect setting, those who have contributed since, share his reverential view.

“The area’s natural beauty, an impeccable golf course, and a stunning new clubhouse, combine for an extraordinary private club experience, “ offered Mike Russell. “But none of us take a single day here for granted. We are fully aware that this may well be as good as it gets."

The Stone Canyon Club Membership

Stone Canyon members are not required to live inside the gates of The Stone Canyon Club. Membership is non-equity.

Golf Membership

Golf members appreciate full access to all club facilities, including the Top 100 Ranked Golf Course and the luxurious health and fitness facility.  Golf members also may utilize the clubhouse, dining facilities, locker rooms, and participate in all club functions and activities.  Golf Members have reciprocal privileges at The Rim Golf Club and Chaparral Pines in Payson, AZ.

Sports Members

As a sports member, you will enjoy all of the same benefits of Club membership with the exception of full golf access. Sports members may play the golf course when accompanied by a golf member and will receive a discounted guest fee.

For more information: 520.219.1500 or www.StoneCanyon.com

Published in Gather

Lately, I have been thinking about and discussing with friends, family, and colleagues, the delicate balance we seek when managing the many aspects of travel. By that, I mean stirring the sometimes bubbling pot of risk, reward, fear, preparation, knowledge and exploration.

Perhaps our formula is different when the situation involves our children.

Perhaps not.

Travel safety

Several years ago, I was in Hawaii with my sons, Alex and Ted, when word came of Japan's devastating tsunami. We watched the tragedy unfold on television as we prepared to evacuate our hotel rooms. We would sleep in the public spaces along with other uneasy guests as we awaited the incoming swells.

We've hiked, rafted, skied, and kayaked in places where wild animals roam and sheer cliffs threaten.

I've traveled extensively through countries considered a world away from the perceived safety net provided by chain hotels and English-speaking island resorts.

All too often a deadly virus, a terrorist attack or a mosquite-borne threat gives rise to a new conversation about travel and well-being.

What's more, I am often asked if I worry about my safety as a woman traveling solo in a city or after an adventure in the backcountry.

Safe?

What really makes us feel safe?

How is it that one person's fear-inducing experience is another's source of exhiliration?

I don't have answers but believe that, in the end, it's about the personal attitudes we develop very early, layered with opportunity, choice and experience. It is among the reasons I feel so strongly about encouraging children and families to explore the world early and often.

And, the question always reminds me of a thought-provoking experience I shared with my sons Alex and Ted during and soon after, a trip to the Peruvian Amazon.

(Forewarned: this tale involves snakes!)

Peruvian Amazon

                                                                       ~ ~ ~

Eyes empty, sadness smudged her forehead. Then our guide told us the story and I understood.

We had come to her home on the secluded banks of the Peruvian Amazon to search for the elusive poison dart frog in the adjacent jungle. The woman before me, her husband and four children cooked, dined and slept beneath a thatched roof, covering a raised platform. There were no walls. 

No doubt they received a small fee from our guide’s lodge to allow us to slide our canoes on to their riverside beach and to welcome us for a short visit in their home.

But it was not our presence that veiled her eyes.  It was this: a few weeks prior, the couple’s oldest son was sent 100 yards down to the river to collect water for their cooking.

He did not return.

Soon they went searching for him and discovered he had been struck by the deadly fer-de-lance snake. This creature, deeply feared by the river people, is sometimes called the “three-step snake” – so deadly you can walk only three steps after its bite.

The family had no way to get their son to modern medical treatment. The local shaman was called, but the boy did not survive.

~ ~ ~

With this story thickening the already hot and humid air, we wandered into the jungle and located many small colorful frogs.

We were told their poison is still applied to the tips of darts used for hunting within the region. We returned on the path, crossing near the family’s home, climbed into our canoes and paddled back to our lodge.

During our stay at the jungle lodge, my sons and their friends were asked to join the local villagers in their soccer matches. The games took place at sunset. I, somewhat sheepishly, felt compelled to warn my sons not to venture into the jungle for the ball. We were told this was prime time for the deadly snakes to hunt.

Boys join jungle soccer match.

With the grieving mother’s pained expression still haunting me, I studied the natural floor during our jungle hikes, determined to spot the mottled skin of the exotic, mysterious snake. It didn't happen. Within a few days, after fishing for piranha, visiting a native village and zip-lining through the canopy, we returned home to the States.

~ ~ ~

Within weeks after our return to our Scottsdale, AZ home, we were enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Teddy was watching a movie in the study.  I was finishing some work at my desk. As my husband walked toward the hall powder room, he stopped to chat with me for just a moment. Fortunately, as he spoke, he put his hand on the door, moving it in slowly. In doing so, a loud noise erupted. Was it a water pipe? Some sort of electrical malfunction?

No.

It was the rapid tail movement of an angry Diamondback rattlesnake. Stunned, we realized that the rattler had done his part. He had warned us with a surprisingly vigorous alarm, one designed to be heard in the desert. It now echoed strangely off thick, slate floors.

My husband and son wisely stuffed towels under the bathroom door so the snake would not disappear into the house. I called the fire department.

The firefighters arrived quickly, amazed that the snake had slithered into our home. Using their cleverly designed extraction tool, they removed the Diamondback to the natural desert beyond our patio.

Later, we discussed how easy it would have been to have an unpleasant encounter with the poisonous rattler as he meandered within a few feet of each of us.  We spoke of our rigorous planning and preparation and the safety measures exercised in the wild places we explored.

And how ironic it was that our closest call came within the “safety” of our own home.

Published in Go Global

 The simple pleasures of family life can be found at lakeside retreats.

Here are five places to enjoy gentle breezes and a book on the porch:

Published in Adventure

 El Tovar on edge of Grand Canyon FamilyTravel.com

This winter, get cozy with the kids in a great American lodge. Sit by the fire, share stories and enjoy a winter family vacation. Here are five to consider:  

Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Tabernash, CO.

Stay in a cabin or the lodge and get cozy near one of 45 flickering fireplaces. Enjoy local specialties in the lodge dining room where a three-story, three-hearth fireplace, comprised of hand-stacked stones, warms winter visitors. Grab the binoculars to catch a glimpse of wildlife roaming on this 6,000 acre expanse of Colorado beauty or set out on the Nordic trails for an up-close view of winter scenes. From now through May, stay two nights and get the third night free. Pet friendly. Contact: 970-726-5632; www.devilsthumbranch.com

Skytop Lodge. Skytop, PA

For junior boarders and skiers, this lodge in the Poconos offers crowd-free, gentle slopes on which to learn. Kids as young as three can enroll in ski school. Dog mushing, tobogganing, sledding, ice-skating and cross-country skiing add to the active pursuits available on this sprawling 5,000-acre estate.  Later, stretch out in the indoor pool or bubbling hot tub and get ready for game night. Contact: 800 -345 -7759; www.Skytop.com

Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR.

Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration.  Located 60 miles east of Portland, the well-crafted lodge has long served as the centerpiece of this mountain playground. Take a guided, moonlit snowshoe tour, experience Snowcat skiing or simply relax in the historic lodge and enjoy the extraordinary views. Ask about weekday, ski-free deals. Contact: (800).547-1406; www.timberlinelodge.com/ 

El Tovar – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.

Open since 1905 and registered as a national Historic Landmark, this charming, 78-room lodge is just steps from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Take in a nature talk, go for a mule ride or hike the famed trails that criss-cross down and through the park.  Marvel at the extraordinary beauty of snow falling onto the multi-colored rock walls and into the canyon below. Contact: 928-638-2631; www.GrandCanyonLodges.com

The Whiteface Lodge. Lake Placid, NY.

Located in the heart of the Adirondacks, this woodland lodge is spacious, with modern amenities.  At the same time, it serves up rustic, with stone chimneys, antler chandeliers and handcrafted Adirondack furnishings. Nightly family bonfires, a skating rink, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing and indoor swimming programs, provide plenty to keep an active family engaged. A complimentary kids club makes it easy for the adults to take advantage of the full service spa on site. Contact: 800-903-4045; www.thewhitefacelodge.com

Published in Lodges & Inns

Sometimes we must find respite from our hectic, tech-saturated lives.

Here are five places with a powerful sense of place where you and your family will also find peace:

Northern Lights. Alaska.

In the deep reaches of Alaska, somewhere above 60 degrees north latitude, you and your family will have the opportunity to see a red, green, blue and purple light display known as an aurora or the Northern Lights. The best time to catch the show is around the spring and fall equinoxes (mid-March and mid-September) The lights are most intense from December through March when the nights are darker. Consider a tour that includes a dip in a hot spring, a climb to a hilltop where viewers can marvel at the magnificent light display and a Mongolian yurt in which you can retreat to stay warm.

Contact: www.TravelAlaska.com

Float The Grand Canyon.

Whether you travel by raft or dory, for a few days or a few weeks, the majesty of the Grand Canyon may well provide a transformative experience, as it does for many visitors. This national treasure stretches 277 miles across northern Arizona, and plays host to more than five million visitors each year. From your craft on the Colorado River, geologically diverse canyon walls rise as high as 9,000 feet toward the western sky. Hike the side canyons, plow through storied rapids, relax on sandy beaches and revel in the grandeur of one of nature’s finest accomplishments.

Contact: www.oars.com/grandcanyon.

Montauk, NY.

Visit this seaside enclave on the East end of Long Island. Just 100 miles but a world away from the bustling Big Apple, you’ll find secluded beaches, whaling tales and pounding surf. Deep sea fishing, hiking, seal watching and surfing are all available in this community, first settled by Europeans in the mid-1600s. Scramble to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse for magnificent views of the craggy coastline.

Contact: www.OnMontauk.com; www.GurneysInn.com.

Hike the Canyons. Springdale, UT.

Find your way into the canyon country of southern Utah. From curvaceous slot canyons to table-top plateaus, this peaceful yet grand countryside offers a visual bonanza of color, shape and form. Consider the Narrows, a spectacular 16 mile corridor that requires one rigorous day for fit family members. Most recommend an overnight. Better yet, choose the Bottoms Up hike enabling hikers to see the most stunning aspects of the canyon in four to six hours. Numerous day hikes and mountain biking options abound.

Contact:  www.nps.gov/zion

Boundary Waters Canoe Trips. Ely, MN.

Your family will enjoy the peace and tranquility that can be found within this pristine wilderness area. Listen to the waves lapping against the shore as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds chirping in the birch trees, enjoy breakfast over a campfire and then set out to explore the more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes that criss-cross the waterways.

Contact: www.boundarywatersoutfitters.com; www.ExploreMinnesota.com

Published in Destinations

Whether you know it as the “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road” as John Steinbeck labeled the byway in his prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, there is no doubt that Route 66 has consistently caught and held the imaginations of intrepid travelers who seek freedom, adventure and a slice of Americana.

Through Pixar’s film, Cars, a new generation of road trippers were introduced to the iconic roadway that stretches from Chicago, Ill to Santa Monica, CA.

The next time your family yearns for the magic of the open road, relive the glory days along Arizona’s continuous stretch of Route 66.

Here are a few suggested stops:

Winslow, AZ.

While standing on “The Corner” in this quaint, old railroad town you’ll be reminded of the 1972 tune Take It Easy, music that made both the town and the Eagles famous. Check into the historic La Posada hotel and enjoy train watching, outstanding food and a visit to the nearby Petrified Forest.

Contact: www.winslowarizona.org

Flagstaff, AZ 

This gateway to the Grand Canyon celebrates its Route 66 history with an annual celebration that includes vintage cars, arts and crafts and musical tributes to the Mother Road . Visit The Museum Club, built in 1931, a classic roadhouse famous for their extraordinary taxidermy collection. Classic hotels from the mid-century still line Rt 66 as it winds through the center of town.

Contact: www.flagstaffarizona.org/ 

Williams, AZ 

Local shopkeepers have brought this town’s colorful history back to life with sassy saloons, ghost-ridden bordellos, cowboy gunfighters and ice cream parlors all eager to serve travelers a taste of Route 66 hospitality. Kids will enjoy the historic Grand Canyon train trip to the South Rim which includes old-time musicians and an occasional “hold-up” by the local outlaws. Don’t worry. The U.S. Marshall arrives just in the nick of time.

Contact: www.TheTrain.com ; www.WilliamsChamber.com

Seligman , AZ  

Recognized as the community that inspired the movie Cars and as the birthplace of Route 66, this railroad town is full of historic gems. Thanks to the work of residents and fans of The Mother Road, the well-preserved quirky shops, restaurants and iconic signage make this a popular stop. Don’t miss the landmark Snow Cap Drive-In for tasty burgers, root beer floats and some good-natured funny business from the crew behind the counter. Contact: www.seligmanarizona.org

Kingman, AZ 

Visit the Route 66 Museum in the Powerhouse Visitor’s Center and then grab a bite at Mr.D’s Route 66 Diner. It is worth the trip to nearby Oatman where wooden boardwalks and vintage saloons are reminders of a by-gone boomtown era when gold hid in the hills. Kids will thrill to the sight of wild burros that still roam the streets, descendants of those that assisted the early day miners. Expect daily shootouts on Main Street when costumed cowboys strut their stuff for visiting tourists.

Contact:  www.KingmanTourism.org

For more history and suggested Route 66 itineraries visit the National Scenic Byways site at www.byways.org/explore/byways/2489/itinerary/59554

Published in Destinations
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