There is plenty of family fun to be found in mountain towns during the summer.

Cool temperatures.

Hiking, biking and family fly fishing abound. 

Ready to rodeo in Steamboat Springs, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.?

Your whole crew will enjoy witnessing the American tradition where the rough and tough iconic cowboy meets good, old-fashioned family fun.

Take a scenic drive.  

Check out these epic mountain towns while you are in the mood for high altitude fun.

Published in Family Travel Blog

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.

Wyoming drive trip

A Scenic Driving Loop Through Northern Wyoming Takes You

Back Into The Wild West Days

At least once a year a popular travel magazine will publish what is usually referred to as the “best drives in America.”  Mostly, this list includes the usual suspects such as Route 1 along the coast of California, and I can see the authors of these lists rarely stretch their imagination much, or actually get into the hinterlands of America to travel some of the great, scenic stretches of asphalt that we have created in the interior of the country.

My new, favorite ride, which covers what I call the trail of the American West, is a loop through north-central Wyoming that crosses paths with such truly American characters as Buffalo Bill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, outlaw Tom Horn, Chief Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, General Sheridan and a host of others.

If you’re more literary minded, somewhere on this journey you’ll meet the ghosts of Ernest Hemingway and Owen Mister, who wrote the first great book of Western fiction, The Virginian. Not all is in the past as you’ll definitely encounter the trail of Craig Johnson, the immensely popular local author who writes about a Wyoming sheriff in the Longmire books, which is also a television series.

Finally, on this Wyoming loop, you’ll encounter some of the most beautiful, if not diverse countryside in the country, and the wildlife there-on. On my road trip, we saw deer, mule deer, moose, antelope and on the aviary side, pheasant, grouse and turkeys.

My wife and I made this ride over the leisurely course of five days, never driving more than two to two and a half hours a day, and taking in all the sites the small, history-drenched towns had to offer.

Mint Bar in Sheidan

Start in Sheridan

The loop begins in Sheridan then goes east over the Big Horn Mountains to Cody. It turns south to Thermopolis, then back east over a different section of the Big Horn Mountains to Buffalo, and finally turns north back to Sheridan.  For those who have more time, there are numerous, spectacular offshoot drives in every direction from the loop: north to Little Big Horn, the site of General Custer’s demise; east to the Devil’s Tower National Monument; south to the Hole-In-The-Wall, a series of caves where Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and other outlaws once holed up; and west (actually northwest) to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

However, I’m going to stick to the loop.

The city of Sheridan, named for famed Civil War General Philip Sheridan, was founded in 1882. It boasts a ton of history in and around the city.

I got a late start at it all. Due to a mechanical failure on my plane out of Phoenix, I missed my connecting flight to Sheridan and didn’t arrive until the next day. So, I erased about a half day’s worth of touring. Nevertheless, I saw quite a bit in a short period of time.

A good place to start is the historic Sheridan Inn, which is temporarily closed. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is approachable. Peer through the windows and you can glimpse the turn-of-the- (last) century.  The hotel, which was once owned by William F. Buffalo Bill Cody, has played host to Hollywood luminaries, the Queen of England and the first great American writer to spil ink upon the local soil, Ernest Hemingway, who after holding up in a mountain cabin, came to the Sheridan Inn to celebrate finishing his book, A Farewell To Arms.

Sheridan still retains the ambiance of the Old West, partly because it has the largest group of turn-of-the century buildings in region with 46 on the Historic Register.

After you get past the Sheridan Inn, saunter the few blocks to Main Street and stop in at Mint Bar, which first opened in 1907 as the Mint Saloon.  Like I said, it was a warm afternoon and I decided to stop in for a cold beer.  There is a picture of the old saloon and it sure looked like I was sitting at the same bar, handsomely carved from local, burly pine (the burls were kept).  This is definitely Wyoming territory, because the walls were adorned with stuffed Rocky Mountain fauna of every type -- as is almost every public pace you’ll visit.

So did anyone famous drink at the old Mint Saloon? Probably, but in recent times Kenny Rogers filmed a western there (he was thrown through the front window), the rock bank ZZ Top stopped in for drinks as did the cast of the Longmire television show..

Stepping out of cool confines of the Mint Bar look across the street, there’s a nondescript store front that reads King’s Saddlery. This is clearly a case of looks can be deceiving, because somewhere behind the doors is one of the most fascinating things to see in Sheridan, if not all of Wyoming. The store is well known for selling saddles and ropes, some of which, especially for working ranchers and rodeo types, are hand woven. Although the retail shop doesn’t look much different from any other store, you need to know that this is just the front of a huge enterprise. A whole world is in the buildings beyond.

Don King began making saddles in 1946 and became quite famous for his work. His saddles were featured in PRCA World Championships for six years. His success engendered this business, which is mostly behind the store front into which you just walked. When you make it to the back, take a look at the rope section, where hundreds of different coils abound.

In fact, King’s Ropes are so well-known, the coolest thing you can do is buy yourself a baseball cap with the King’s Ropes logo. Not only has Johnny Depp been photographed with such a cap, but a character in the Longmire television show also wore a King’s Ropes cap.

Sometime over the course of Don King’s life he began acquiring western and Native American memorabilia and artifacts, including hundreds of old saddles. After he died, his boys continued collecting and all that work is housed in another building beyond the initial storefront. It’s open to the public. Ask to see the Don King Museum. This is no small collection; it grew to thousands of items and is housed in two floors of what looked like an old warehouse.  What’s there? The hundreds of old saddles, rodeo memorabilia, an old horse-drawn hearse, old rifles and guns including one found on the site of Little Big Horn conflict where General Custer met his demise, and on and on.

Surprisingly, I still had my energy level on high even after the exhausting visit to the Don King Museum, so I hopped in my rental car and headed for the Trail End Historic Site, a turn-of-the century mansion, now restored, which was oddly designed in Flemish Revival style. The house was built by John B. Kendrick and after he died was home to his widow, Eula. From her bedroom, she could look out acros a thin river valley to her husband’s gravesite in the town cemetery. After visiting the Trail End house, I made my way to the cemetery, which not only has gravestones for Civil War veterans but has a couple of civil war canons as well.

Wyoming is steak country, so don’t look for epicurean delights on this loop unless you consider Rocky Mountain oysters high cuisine. So, for your last interesting meal on this loop stop at Sheridan’s Warehouse 201, a restaurant in a converted warehouse.

Since I missed my first night in Sheridan, I headed for accommodations that originally were designed to be for my second night, a lodge in the Big Horn Mountains. With daylight waning, we hopped in the car and drove what was essentially State Road 14 west into the Big Horns, where some peaks rise over 13,000 feet.

I’m not going to say too much about the Bear Lodge Resort, other than it nightly houses more than its fair share of unusual characters, mostly hunters, fisherman and four-wheelers. However, when I awoke early the next morning I peered out my window to see a small herd of mule deer chomping on the grasses behind my cabin.

Fifteen minutes out of the lodge, heading west through the Big Horn National Forest, we passed a moose walking through a swampy area of forest.

ft rodeo wyoming 058

Cody Country

After coming through the forestlands and a peak pass at over 9,000 feet, you descend rapidly into rolling, arid hills. This geography lasts all the way to Cody, which, as you might guess, was named for William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who seemed to have been everywhere in Northern Wyoming.

Travelers often say Cody boasts one of the best museums in small town America. I would report that statement condescends. Indeed, Cody boasts one of the best museums in America, whether in a big city or anywhere else and it is one highlight of the Wyoming loop.

Plan to spend hours at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, because it is actually five museums in one, the most recent addition being anextensive natural history wing. The other “museums” within the museum are dedicated to Buffalo Bill, his life and times; firearms; western art; and saving the best for last, the superlative Plains Indian Museum.

I would recommend saving some time for one other museum in the area. That is the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, which was constructed on the site of one of the country’s largest relocation camps for Japanese-Americans, who were displaced from their homes and shipped to remote locations during the World War II years. The site is about 14 miles outside of Cody, and well worth the visit.

cody rodeo

A lot of tourists wash through Cody, especially during the summer months, so to keep them entertained into the evening, the city boasts a nightly rodeo. It’s not the professional loop, but it was a first class competition and entertaining even for my wife and I, who consider ourselves city slickers.

After overnighting in Cody, at the historic Buffalo Bill Village, where my wife and I stayed in our own little log cabin, we headed south to Thermopolis, which isn’t really an Old West experience, but is a unique part of the loop because of its famed hot springs.

Hot Springs And More

There is quite a bit to do at Hot Springs Park so save yourself some time for walking and riding about. If you hadn’t yet seen any buffalo on your trip, included in the park grounds are hundreds of acres of rangeland reserved for roaming buffalo. Visitors are allowed to drive through the buffalo preserve.

The Thermopolis Days Inn, a bit of wild animal museum on its own, sits on the edge of the park and if you don’t feel like taking the thermal baths at the park, the hotel offers an outdoor spa that uses the thermal heated water emitted by the hot springs

Thermopolis is not just the hot springs.

The small city proudly brags that it has one of the finest dinosaur museums in the country. I checked it out just to be sure. It’s not the biggest dinosaur museum you’ll ever visit, but it is as good as it gets: great exhibits, great design and great dinosaurs. Well worth the visit.

After a night in Thermopolis, I traveled east on State Road 16 to the Big Horn Mountains and entered the high, forested lands on a road further to the south than the one I took west a few days earlier. Another high mountain pass at over 9,000 feet and another bucolic ride through thick mountain forests. Eventually the road, descended into Buffalo, a small town with a great history.

Collecting Western arcana must have been a  big deal in the 20th century because the 1,500-item collection of Buffalo, Wyo., pharmacist Jim Gatchell laid the basis for the town’s robust history museum.

Buffalo is the venue of the Longmire Days festival, because Longmire book writer Craig Johnson lives a few miles outside the town. If one reads the books or watches the television series, someone is always referring to Sheriff Longmire being at the Busy Bee Café. Look for the real Busy Bee on Main Street.

Johnson is not the most famous writer to spend time in Buffalo. The renovated and handsomely revived Occidental Hotel has been around for over 100 years hosting many well-known personages including presidents Herbert Hoover and Theodore Roosevelt, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, the outlaw Tom Horn and the writers Ernest Hemingway and Owen Wister, the latter of which holed up at the Occidental to write the first great novel of the American West, The Virginian.

Try to get the owner of the Occidental Hotel, Dawn Dawson Wexo to show you around. It’s like visiting a museum of the Old West and early 20th century.

There is so much Old West history around Buffalo you might want to spend a few days here. I only had one day, so I chose to visit just one site, the TA Ranch about 20 minutes outside of town.

For anyone who follows the history of the West, one of great cattle conflicts occurred here and is known as the Johnson County War. It all started when a group of cattle barons hired a small army of hired guns to eliminate homesteaders. The homesteaders got wind of the invaders and surrounded them at the TA Ranch. The barn where most of the invaders held up for three days surrounded by a bigger army of homesteaders still stands, but riddled with bullet holes from the “war.”

The barn is on private land so you need to inquire if you want to make the visit.

The land around the TA Ranch consists of rolling hills settled by farmers and ranchers, but in the fading evening light as I drove back into Buffalo, the wildlife had come back around and when you peered at the fields what you saw was not cattle and horses but deer and antelope.

To complete the loop, I drove the next day from Buffalo to Sheridan. If you get off the interstate there’s plenty more history to see, but I had a plane to catch, skipping such sites as the location of the Fetterman Massacre of 1866 or the more civilized Brinton Museum with a surprisingly strong collection of American art.

I guess I’ll just have to come back.

If  You Go:

My intention was to make a driving loop through Northern Wyoming. I flew into Sheridan via Great Lakes Airlines (www.greatlakesav.com) where I rented an Avis car (www.avis.com).

Accommodations:

In Sheridan, try the Sheridan Mill Inn (www.sheridanmillinn.com). But, if you want to get a head start on the loop, you might head for the Bear Lodge Resort (www.bearlodgeresort.com) in the Big Horn Mountains.  In Cody, I stayed at the historic Buffalo Bill Village with its individual log cabins (www.blairhotels.com). When in Thermopolis, the Thermopolis Days Inn boasts a uniquely natural history-like décor (www.daysinn.com/thermopolis). Finally, when in Buffalo head to another historic building, the Mansion House Inn (www.mansionhouseinn.com), where your hosts make a great breakfast.

Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels

Published in Explore

No matter where your travels take you, new mobile apps can lighten the load and add to the fun.

Here are five to consider:

Postcards On The Run.

Published in Travel Tips

 ftts  baseball-1

Going Yard, The Ultimate Guide for Major League Baseball Road Trips, provides the information you’ve been searching for about the ballparks you love and the cities that host them. When it comes to little known facts about these famous fields, author Stan Fridstein has uncovered a treasure trove. Here are a few of his gems:

Bet you didn’t know:

  1. 1. Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is the only ballpark that sells more sausages than hot dogs.
  2. 2. Every seat at Kauffman Stadium, in Kansas City, is blue except for a single red seat behind home plate. It was placed there to honor Buck O’ Neill, star first baseman of the Kansas City Monarchs in former Negro League. Buck viewed Royals’ games from that very location for years.
  3. 3. When you visit Target Field, new home of the Minnesota Twins, be sure to have a drink at the Town Ball Tavern, whose wood floor behind the bar is the actual surface from the Minneapolis Armory, former home of the Minneapolis Lakers before they moved to Los Angeles. family travel baseball road trips
  4. 4. If you notice anything missing when you visit the Rogers Centre in Toronto, you’re not alone. This is the only stadium without bleachers.
  5. 5. Check out the bullpens at Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs) and PNC Park (home of the Pirates). They are the only stadiums where pitchers warm up on the field of play.
  6. 6. Don’t miss the Rose Garden outside Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. It marks the exact spot where Pete Rose’s record breaking 4192nd hit landed in the old Riverfront Stadium.
  7. 7. Babe Ruth’s adopted father owned a tavern in what is now center field at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.
  8. 8. The sole red seat in the right field bleachers at Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox) marks the spot of the longest home run ever hit there. The 502 foot blast was crushed by Ted Williams off Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Fred Hutchinson in 1946.
  9. 9. Speaking of Fenway Park, if you take a close look at the right field scoreboard you’ll see the following letters spelled out in Morse code: TAYJRY. They are the initials of Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey, the longtime Red Sox owners.
  10. 10. Every time a San Diego Padres’ player hits a home run, a fog horn is sounded. It’s an actual recording from the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier that sits in the Port of San Diego.
  11. 11. Between building Wrigley Field in 1914 and Coors Field (Denver) in 1995, Dodger Stadium was the only National League ballpark built exclusively for baseball.
  12. 12. Talk about a rivalry: Above right center field in AT+T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) is an actual cable car with a panel stating “No Dodger Fans Allowed.”
  13. 13. When you’re visiting Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, be sure to walk across the street to the parking lot where you’ll find the original section of Fulton County Stadium’s left field wall over which Hank Aaron hit his epic 715th home run, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record.
  14. 14. As you look around Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, you’ll notice that every seat is green except for a single row of purple seats in the upper deck of the ballpark. The reason: These seats are exactly one mile high!

Going Yard helps those completely consumed or only mildly interested in our national sport to optimize their travel experience. Visit every stadium and deal with issues like budgeting, logistics, securing tickets, tours, key facts and sites in each stadium and things to do in each and every city when not at the game. This is your go-to guide for baseball road trips.

You can find Going Yard here.

Published in Find Trips by Age

Put a road trip back on list. Here are five beautiful drives that will make the whole family smile: 

Going to the Sun Road.

Hop aboard the historic red touring cars or go on your own. This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through Glacier National Park’s wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana. www.nps.gov/glac; 406-888-7800 

San Juan Skyway.

Sometimes called the million dollar highway, this extraordinarily spectacular drive through southwestern Colorado will stun the visual senses. Appreciate jagged peaks, pastoral valleys, waterfalls and colorful canyons as you wind your way along this stunning loop.

Contact: 1- 800-463-8726; www.Durango.org. 

Pacific Coast Highway.

For majestic coastal scenery and seaside breezes, pile in the car for a trip up ( or down )our western shore. Begin in ultra hip Santa Monica, California and wind your way past the Hearst Castle. Push north to Carmel and then on to San Francisco. If you have time continue on to the dramatic Redwood forests.

Contact: 1- 877- 225-4367 www.VisitCalifornia.com

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 and the native American history that is part of the iconic landscape.

Contact: 435-727-5870 http://www.azcentral.com/travel/arizona/northern/travel_monuvalleyindex.html;. 

Skyline Drive.

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: 540-999-3500; www.nps.gov/shen.

Each year, AAA predicts that millions of Americans will travel this holiday weekend. While this three-day stretch often serves as a grand opportunity to spend quality family time, how often, during our road trip or beach time, do we recall and honor the origin of Memorial Day?

Here, find some background about the origin and birthplace of this important day:

On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic established Memorial Day or Decoration Day as the national day to decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers with flowers. Major General John A. Logan appointed May 30 as the day to be observed. Arlington National Cemetery had the first observance of the day on a grand scale. The place was appropriate as it already housed graves of over 20,000 Union dead and several hundred Confederate dead. Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant presided over the meeting.

The center point of these Memorial Day ceremonies was the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion. Speeches were followed by a march of soldiers' children and orphans and members of the GAR through the cemetery strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves. They also recited prayers and sang hymns for the dead.

Even before this declaration, local observances were being held at various places. In Columbus, Miss., a group of women visited a cemetery on April 25 1866, to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers and the Union soldiers who fell at the battle of Siloh.

Many cities in the North and the South claim to be the first to celebrate Memorial Day, but Congress and President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo in New York as the 'birthplace' of Memorial Day in 1966. It was said that on May 5, 1866, a ceremony was held there to honor local soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. Businesses were closed for the day and residents furled flags at half-mast. It was said to be the first formal, community-wide and regular event.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress, who designated the last Monday in May as the day for its observance. Many states observe separate Confederate Memorial Days. Mississippi observes it on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, Georgia on April 26, North and South Carolina on May 10 and Louisiana and Tennessee on June 3. In Tennessee, the day is named as 'Confederate Decorations Day' while Texas observes 'Confederate Heroes Day' on January 19. In Virginia, Memorial Day is better known as 'May Confederate Memorial Day.'

However, you choose to mark the day, let us honor those who sacrificed for our freedom.

Published in Family Travel Blog

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
A

re you ready for a getaway?

Plan your own classic American holiday. Here are fun-filled ideas to help you create an iconic family vacation:

Take a Road Trip.

A concept often parodied on television and in the movies, the family road trip continues to be a source of fun and happy memories for clans across the country. Play games, sing songs, tell stories along the way. Access the American Automobile Association’s plentiful and user-friendly information on road conditions, weather, deals, discounts, and gas prices. They can also help with roadside assistance, travel planning and maps.

Contact: 1 (800) 332-6119; www.AAA.com.

Make your way to the Mountains.

Fill your lungs with pine scented air. Raft the rivers, wonder at the wild life or travel by horseback into the backcountry. A visit to a mountain destination like Jackson, WY will offer you and your family the best of the great outdoors paired with a glimpse into our western heritage. Take in the rodeo, a cowboy cookout, visit the hot springs and the Grand Teton National Park.

Contact: 1 (888) 838-6606; www.jacksonholewy.com.

Head to the Beach.

You may have a family favorite or build sand castles on the beach closest to home. However, if you are looking for a new sandy spot, consider the annual list created by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. For the last 20 years, “Dr. Beach” has used 50 criteria, including water, sand quality, safety and environmental management, to rank seaside playgrounds. Beaches in New York, Florida, California, Hawaii and North Carolina top the lists. Contact: www.DrBeach.org.

Relax at the lake.

With more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is a family favorite. In addition to boating, swimming, fishing and a wide range of water sports, generations of lake lovers enjoy hiking in the nearby state park, biking, mini-golf and water parks as well as access to plenty of restaurants, music and other kid-friendly attractions.

In Montana, Whitefish Lake is a family favorite. With Glacier National Park in the neighborhood, you can't go wrong. 

Contact: 1 (800) 386-5253; www.funlake.com; www.ExploreWhitefish.com

Visit a National Park.

Celebrate our freedom and the beauty of our land within one of our 392 national parks. With so many historical and natural wonders to discover, consider heading to the National Park Service’s web pages, specifically designed to help regular and first time visitors plan a meaningful trip. There you research park activities as well as camping, back country, lodging and educational options. Across America each day there are special events, institute and field schools as well as volunteer opportunities. Check for fee free days and Junior Ranger programs for the kids.

Contact: www.nps.gov/pub_aff/plan_your_visit/index.htm

Get Sporting at the Wintergreen Resort. Wintergreen, VA.

Parents can join their kids for group golf lessons and then head to the course to refine their skills. This is a family-friendly resort on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers up a range of easily accessible sporting options. With 45 holes of championship golf as a cornerstone, families can enjoy a holiday that includes a children’s program at The Treehouse, hiking, fly-fishing and an award-winning tennis program.

Contact: 800-926-3723; www.wintergreenresort.com

Published in Gather

Take a Road Trip.

A concept often parodied on television and in the movies, the family road trip continues to be a source of fun and happy memories for clans across the country. Play games, sing songs, tell stories along the way. Access the American Automobile Association’s plentiful and user-friendly information on road conditions, weather, deals, discounts, and gas prices. They can also help with roadside assistance, travel planning and maps.

Contact: 1 (800) 332-6119; www.AAA.com.

Make your way to the Mountains.

Fill your lungs with pine scented air. Raft the rivers, wonder at the wild life or travel by horseback into the backcountry. A visit to a mountain destination like Jackson, WY will offer you and your family the best of the great outdoors paired with a glimpse into our western heritage. Take in the rodeo, a cowboy cookout, visit the hot springs and the Grand Teton National Park. Contact: 1 (888) 838-6606; www.jacksonholewy.com.

Head to the Beach.

You may have a family favorite or build sand castles on the beach closest to home. However, if you are looking for a new sandy spot, consider the list created by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. For the last 20 years, “Dr. Beach” has used 50 criteria, including water, sand quality, safety and environmental management, to rank seaside playgrounds. The top 10 include beaches in New York, Florida, California, Hawaii and North Carolina. Contact: www.DrBeach.org.

Relax at the lake.

With more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is a family favorite. In addition to boating, swimming, fishing and a wide range of water sports, generations of lake lovers enjoy hiking in the nearby state park, biking, mini-golf and water parks as well as access to plenty of restaurants, music and other kid-friendly attractions.

Contact: 1 (800) 386-5253; www.funlake.com.

Visit a National Park.

Celebrate our freedom and the beauty of our land within one of our 392 national parks. With so many historical and natural wonders to discover, consider heading to the National Park Service’s web pages, specifically designed to help regular and first time visitors plan a meaningful trip. There you research park activities as well as camping, back country, lodging and educational options. Across America each day there are special events, institute and field schools as well as volunteer opportunities. Check for fee free days and Junior Ranger programs for the kids.

Contact: www.nps.gov/pub_aff/plan_your_visit/index.htm

Get Sporting at the Wintergreen Resort. Wintergreen, VA.

Parents can join their kids for group golf lessons and then head to the course to refine their skills. This is a family-friendly resort on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers up a range of easily accessible sporting options. With 45 holes of championship golf as a cornerstone, families can enjoy a holiday that includes a children’s program at The Treehouse, hiking, fly-fishing and an award-winning tennis program.

Contact: 800-926-3723; www.wintergreenresort.com

Published in Reunions
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