Soul-warming Wines, Cozy Tasting Rooms and Seasonal Events Are Highlights
When temperatures plummet in other parts of the country, it’s time to warm up to a winter getaway in California wine country. Not only does the Golden State enjoy sunny skies and comparatively mild temperatures year ‘round, California’s distinctive wine regions offer a host of seasonal activities and events, from food festivals to barrel tastings. Here are just some of the activities and events happening in California wine regions this season.
With Carnival season officially underway in Louisiana, the charming coastal communities in the Bayou State are welcoming a unique audience to their Mardi Gras festivities: Families! At its heart, Mardi Gras has always been about faith, family and fun and – while New Orleans may be the most famous place to partake in Mardi Gras – these destinations know how to celebrate the season in big ways …family style!
Metairie (Jefferson Parish):
A neighboring parish to New Orleans, Jefferson Parish is so family-oriented that Mardi Gras in this destination has an official event called “Family Gras.” Taking place the weekend of February 14-16 in Metairie, the festivities here include five Mardi Gras parades, authentic cuisine, local art, a kids’ Mardi Gras court, a family-friendly Mardi Gras 5K and Kids’ Half Mile, and concerts by national and regional artists.
If you’ve ever dreamed of participating in the parade, now’s your chance! The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Centurions Package includes an opportunity to ride on one of the floats in the Krewe of Centurions Parade on February 15.
Louisiana Northshore (St. Tammany Parish):
Located a short 40 minutes from the French Quarter, the family-friendly Mardi Gras festivities in St. Tammany Parish are quirky and unforgettable. Whether Krewes are parading boats, floats, dogs or lawn mowers (yes, you read that right!), Mardi Gras on the Northshore includes lots of family-friendly fun … and loot!
The Krewe of Mardi Paws is a parade designed for canine participants and their people. Coming at the tail end of each Carnival season, the parade rolls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020 in charming downtown Covington. This year’s theme is “Beyond All Boundaries: Exploring Sea, Air & Space.”
Houma, Louisiana (Terrebonne Parish):
With daytime and evening parades, Bayou Country hosts more than a dozen family-friendly parades for visitors to “pass a good time.” In addition to the double-decker New Orleans-style floats and affordable lodging, if king cake is your favorite part of the season, Houma’s got you covered. Bayou Country is home to two People’s Choice Winners of the New Orleans King Cake Festival, Cannata’s Snickerdoodle Gooey Butter King Cake and Mr. Ronnie’s donut king cake.
Lake Charles, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish):
Mardi Gras celebrations and history abound in Lake Charles. In fact, Mardi Gras can be celebrated year-round here at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, which is home to the largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world. Visitors to the museum can also climb aboard a parade float to experience the excitement of this tradition for themselves.
The Mardi Gras Lighted Boat Parade takes place on the water instead of the streets. Featuring glowing boats parading on shimmering Lake Charles, this season’s event takes place on February 20 at 7 p.m. And the Cinderella night of the Mardi Gras season is the Royal Gala at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Here at the only event of its kind in the entire state, attendees can see the royal courts of more than 60 krewes parade in full costume. The celebration takes place on February 24 at 7 p.m. and children ages 5 and younger are free.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou (Lafourche Parish):
Visitors are invited to celebrate a Cajun Mardi Gras in Lafourche Parish, just 35 miles south of New Orleans, With 16 family-friendly parades flowing up and down the Bayou, it’s evident that Cajuns love to celebrate life and there’s no better time to do that than during Mardi Gras. The smells of barbeques and crawfish boils fill the air along parade routes, so you’re sure to experience a very authentic taste of Cajun life here. It’s a popular saying that Cajuns never meet a stranger, so visitors shouldn’t be surprised to be invited to share a plate, a dance or pass the time!
For more information or to start planning your visit to Coastal Louisiana, visit Houma Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Jefferson Parish, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, Lafourche Parish and Louisiana Northshore (St. Tammany Parish).
When you have a young family, finding the time and money to go on vacation can be a challenge. At the same time, many parents want to be able to escape and spend quality time with the kids as well as expose them to new places and cultures. The key to enjoying a great family vacation is choosing the right destination, which means a place that is ideal for both children and adults.
The internet has become a hugely useful tool when it comes to researching. You can do everything from lookup history to run a people search and access educational resources. In addition, you can also research destinations around the world with ease, which makes it much easier for you to decide where you should go for your family vacation. In this article, we will look at some of the key points you need to consider.
RV ownership in the USA continues to increase with more than 10 million households now owning one according to a study commissioned by the RV Industry Association. While there is no rulebook that states how you should utilize your RV, there are few things that are quite as enjoyable as taking the family on an exciting All-American road trip. Despite it sounding like a recipe for disaster to have your entire family confined to the same vehicle, with some careful planning, an RV family vacation can turn out to be quite memorable.
Get the best RV for the job
If you already have a large-enough, comfortable RV sitting in the driveway, all you would need to do prior to your trip is give it a basic service and a good clean. If you do not own an RV, however, you will need to either purchase or rent one for your family road trip. It is vital to conduct some research prior to parting with any money. If you plan to use an RV on a regular basis, purchasing one may be more sensible than renting one every time you plan to take a trip. Weigh all your options and remember to look at both new and used vehicles as you may come across a beautiful, previously-loved RV at a very good price. If you have never driven an RV before, it may also be a good idea to get some practice in before taking to the open road as it is quite a bit different from driving a normal family car.
Plan your meals in advance
Food has the ability to either make or break a family vacation completely. While an RV will afford you most of the comforts from home, it will be on a much smaller scale. You can save yourself a lot of anguish by planning the meals for your trip well in advance. Calculate how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you need to cater to and make a shopping list accordingly. Take your fridge size and shelf space into consideration and try to incorporate as many shelf-stable items such as pasta, vegetables, bread, and soup into your menu. Keep your meal simple but varied and take along a few easy-to-serve items like cereal, peanut butter, and jelly for days that you don’t like cooking on the fire. Don’t forget to pack plenty of tin foil, paper towels, and paper plates as well as a trusted cast-iron pan to make your fire-side cooking substantially easier.
Prepare for the unexpected
Regardless of how well you plan your trip chances are you will encounter at least a few hiccups along the way. Make sure to pack back-up entertainment for the kids should the DVD player or mobile network decides to malfunction. Despite their natural resilience, children can go from being perfectly healthy to being under the weather in 5 seconds flat. Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in the RV that will enable you to deal with any minor ailments and injuries that may present themselves along the way. It is also always a good idea to not draw up an itinerary that is too rigid so that you don’t have to cancel any stops or excursions if you find yourself running late for whatever reason.
Being able to go on a family vacation is without a doubt one of life’s greatest blessings. Even if your road trip does not go entirely as planned you are bound to make beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
After months of planning, construction and testing, the new aquatic features at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort opened mid-summer for adventurers of all ages. The highly anticipated Sopris Splash Zone is the family-friendly resort’s newest addition to the hot springs, spa and lodge property in Glenwood Springs. It features a fast-moving adventure river for older kids and adults, and for younger children, a wade-in pool with waterfalls and a fountain designed for both play and show!
The wait is finally over! After months of watching construction crews build, refine and add landscaping, Shoshone Chutes—the exciting river ride that twists and turns, banks and swooshes, mimicking the thrill of a Colorado whitewater experience—is officially open. It is one of three new family-friendly play areas that comprise the Sopris Splash Zone at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
In addition to Shoshone Chutes, the other two zones are Hanging Lake, a wade-in waterfall-fed pool perfect for youngsters, which opened on July 3, and the Grand Fountain, a splash pad by day with water spraying seven feet in the air and an illuminated show fountain reaching heights of 17 feet after hours. A large, modern pergola with seating separates the two zones and provides additional shade at the west end of the hot springs property.
“We’re like little kids ourselves,” Chief Operations Officer and Vice President for Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, John Bosco, said. “We have been anticipating this opening just like everyone else—waiting, watching, seeing the progress day-by-day. It’s finally time to let people experience it for themselves. The Sopris Splash Zone will add a whole new dimension to what you can do at our hot springs. It’s a game-changer.”
Though construction started in January, the new aquatic features have been in the works for close to two years. The goal was to create water-centric attractions that appeal to today’s traveler, as well as fit the historic setting of the geothermal springs. Two consulting firms, along with local contractors, made it all come together.
Specializing in landscape architecture, urban planning and design, DHM Design, led by Project Manager Jen DiCuollo, created a masterplan to reflect Glenwood Hot Springs’ core identity which centers on the resort’s history of welcoming families and building multi-generational relationships. The firm was tasked with designing elements to enhance activities for children and families while maintaining a uniquely Colorado experience.
Working closely alongside DHM Design was Cloward H20’s Principal Allen Clawson and his team, who specialize in creating award-winning aquatics at resorts worldwide. Based on experience with similar river features at Atlantis Resorts and others in Asia, Cloward proposed a whitewater river experience as Glenwood Hot Springs’ newest visitor attraction. “Shoshone Chutes takes advantage of the slope in the North West corner of the property,” Clawson said. “This is a thrilling and exhilarating experience for a broad range of guests who will be able to ride on either single or double tubes along a waterway with as much as 32,000 gallons per minute of flow—that’s enough to fill an Olympic-sized pool in 15 minutes!”
Glenwood Hot Springs relied on talented local contractors, including S2M Construction, Gould Construction and Zancanella Engineering to carry out the design vision and get the Sopris Splash Zone ready for opening day. “We had an amazing team working on this project,” Glenwood Hot Springs Operations Manager Kevin Flohr said. “One of the things that surprised me was how much the adventure river sounds like actual whitewater. I can’t wait to see what people think the first time they ride down the Shoshone Chutes.”
“The Sopris Splash Zone is what Glenwood Hot Springs envisioned—a family-friendly resort experience with modern features that uniquely represent the Rocky Mountain West and complement our 130 years of rich history rooted in an authentic European hot springs spa tradition,” said Kjell Mitchell, Glenwood Hot Springs President and Chief Executive Officer.
The Sopris Splash Zone is now open daily through the summer and on weekends in September and October as weather permits. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no additional fee to use the new attractions in the Sopris Splash Zone. A grand opening celebration will be announced.
School is back in, the leaves are already started to turn colors, pumpkin donuts are already in food lion and my heart happy! Fall is a warmly welcomed as we embrace cooler temperatures, eat yummy chili and soup, cheer on our favorite football team, pick out Halloween costumes for our kids and enjoy everything pumpkin spice (or not, it seems to be a love or hate thing). But above all my favorite thing about fall is the excitement of travelling and indulging in the everything spooky for Halloween.
At our newest Green Pearls® member, the Hotel Rinner in Oberbozen, everything revolves around the fascinating world of the bee: from honey tastings from their own organic beekeeping to the globally unique Api-Wellness treatments, guests can let themselves be pampered in the hotel and enhance their overall well-being.
The family-run hotel can be found in the Ritten in beautiful South Tyrol and attaches great importance to the sustainable use of resources – and not only because of the bees! The Rinner family has been passionately committed to the industrious insects for three generations.
Wellness with healing beehive air
The Hotel Rinner offers wellness with panoramic views of the mountains: enjoy these from the outdoor jacuzzi, at the Finnish garden sauna or during a soothing Api-Wellness session. This unique wellness treatment follows thousands of years of traditional healing with the help of bee products. The valuable ingredients of the beehive are released into the air by the heat and ventilation generated by the bees beating their wings. And it is precisely this valuable beehive air that guests can inhale during the unique Api-Wellness treatments. The air, which now contains valuable natural substances, increases the overall well-being and has a healing effect on various respiratory problems and allergies.
"I like to tell the guests that this is your beehive for the near future, take a close look at it and observe the changes," says Karin Rinner. Every day the bees are busy, and every day the colours and fragrances in the hive change. The beehive can be opened at the top so the guests can look in and observe the bees at close range while also allowing the scent of the hive begin to take effect. Nobody needs to be afraid of stings as everything is secured with nets and guards to keep both humans and bees safe.
While guests make themselves comfortable and relax, they can be soothed by the sound of the bees humming. An inhalation device gently draws the hive air through a fine mesh and into the guest's ventilation mask via a heated tube. The beneficial treatment lasts about half an hour and can be performed from May to September during the bee season.
A fragrance explosion for the senses
Host and beekeeper Paul Rinner uses the Beecura system for Api-Wellness, a special inhalation system for hive air. The system allows the valuable air, smelling faintly of beeswax, to be breathed in and enjoyed without disturbing the bees. The result is a wonderful sense of serenity and tranquillity which guests can benefit from long after their stay at the Hotel Rinner.
"The guests often don't quite know what they're getting into, but then become very enthusiastic. Almost everyone becomes a repeat offender!" says Karin Rinner. In order to feel a longer effect, one should participate in at least three Api-Wellness sessions. Early in the morning the body is particularly receptive, but the beehive air is the most concentrated in the afternoon when the bees are all at home. It is ideal to take time twice a day for an Api-Wellness session.
All the allergy sufferers out there don't need to worry! The body does not react to the substances in the air in the same way as it does to the poison from a sting; and of course, the bees do not fly uncontrolled through the hotel. Karin Rinner emphasises that bees only sting in emergencies, for example to defend themselves, because they are very aware that they will die in the process.
"Our Api-Wellness bee colonies are perhaps the happiest there are," says Karin Rinner. "They are allowed to collect nectar all day long and we leave everything in the hive – honey, pollen and propolis. So, in autumn our guests can inhale the scent of the pollen from the spring, and every beehive is different and special. A lot of honey can accumulate in the beehives, but we leave it for the bees for winter."
Travelling apiarists with passion
Since his early years, Paul Rinner has dedicated himself to beekeeping with his heart and soul. He has built up a wealth of experience, which he is happy to share with anyone interested! As a travelling beekeeper he brings his colonies to the locations where they find the best conditions for a rich honey yield: "We hike with the colonies at night when they have all returned to their hives. We close the flight hole and send them on holiday!" Karin Rinner describes.
Thanks to the three climate zones in South Tyrol (the Mediterranean influenced lowlands, the low mountain range with meadows and woods as well as the high mountain regions), the bees are able to find a very diverse range of flora. Thus, they produce many different kinds of honey: apple blossom honey, acacia honey, dandelion honey, forest honey, chestnut honey, lime honey and high-level heath honey, which are all tasted in the hotel and can be bought as souvenirs.
The honey-yellow touch
The life of bees takes pride of place at Hotel Rinner, and not only with the beekeepers and Api-Wellness treatments. All of the spacious and carefully designed rooms are home to a honey-yellow touch of insect life that runs through the hotel. The rooms and suites are partly available with a sun terrace or balcony as well as with separate children's room and small kitchenette with refrigerator. Everyone can feel at home here, guests both big and small – and even the youngest guests can benefit from the healing beehive air.
Are you stuck in a rut? Do you need a change of pace? Sometimes the routine of daily life becomes overwhelming and the responsibilities of work, home, and family can leave you feeling drained and longing for time away from the hustle and bustle.
Perhaps a vacation is not in the plan for you this year, or maybe you've already taken the family vacation to the beach, and you really don’t have time or money for another getaway. That doesn't mean you can't dream of your next escape.
If you haven't already started a travel bucket list, this is your opportunity to begin one. With a travel bucket list, you can combine big dreams with realistic budgetary constraints. Many people have places like Paris, France, or Australia on their travel bucket list, but there are a multitude of destinations in the United States waiting for exploration
Wyoming appeals to the nature lover as well as to people who are fascinated by Wild West history. Wyoming is home to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, Cheyenne, Cody, Grand Teton National Park, and Ten Sleep.
Breath-taking natural views abound in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Jackson Hole hosts staged Old West shootouts as well as offering experiences on the Snake River in summer and skiing or snowmobiling in winter. They even offer log cabin rentals in the parks, including twin beds for the kids or a romantic king bed option for adults.
As you might expect, Cody is named for the famous frontiersman "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The Buffalo Bill Center in Cody is home to museums, a research library, and Stampede Park which claims to be the rodeo capital of the world.
Ten Sleep is a ranching town that was named because of its position between two Sioux encampments. If you have ever desired to visit a dude ranch, Ten Sleep is the place to go.
From Dallas to Houston and San Antonio to Waco, Texas offers a myriad of vacation options. There are options for weekend getaways as well as ones for longer stays. From museums and art galleries to botanical gardens, planetariums and nature centers, Texas has something for everyone.
El Paso is rich with history, and Abilene offers a storybook festival sure to please kids of all ages, even the young at heart. Waco is home to the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum that pays homage to the famous law enforcement agency.
Beach lovers as well as history lovers will enjoy Corpus Christi where the USS Lexington is located. A visit to San Antonio is a must for history buffs. Don't forget the Alamo!
Ski vacations, romantic getaways, family friendly festivals, and the promise of adventure at almost every turn make Colorado a bucket list worthy destination.
Long known as a destination for winter travelers, Colorado has offerings for those wanting a summer getaway too. Vail hosts a variety of music and dance festivals in the warmer months. Visit the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater for the Vail Jazz Festival or the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival which hosts orchestral performances from groups like the New York Philharmonic.
Steamboat Springs hosts an annual hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park festival that includes children's interactive activities as well as live entertainment, food vendors and, of course, hot air balloons.
In Telluride, you will find Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado's longest free-falling waterfall, as well as gondola rides up the mountain and an annual Bluegrass Festival.
Visit Durango to ride the Durango and Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad through the mountain passes that connect Durango to Silverton, or you could choose to kayak on the Animas River.
Those who choose to stay on the beaten path will enjoy cities like Denver, Boulder, or Colorado Springs.
Mountain getaways, whitewater rafting experiences, Civil War battlefields, and music from a variety of genres are things to expect from a visit to Tennessee.
For the Civil War enthusiast there are battlefields like Shiloh National Military Park in the town of the same name or Chickamauga National Military Park near Chattanooga.
Those who want to step into the past will find touring the antebellum homes in Tennessee to be a fascinating breath of fresh air. Blount House in Knoxville, the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna and The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home, in Nashville are just a few of the homes offering tours.
While in Nashville, experience live music downtown at the Ryman Auditorium or any number of smaller venues. Even small, locally owned establishments host events featuring music from local artists.
For Blues enthusiasts, Memphis is the town to visit. Beale Street has music performances in almost every restaurant as well as in the courtyards just off the street. Home to W.C. Handy and Elvis Presley in their adult years, Memphis is rich in music history. Sun Studios and Staxx Music offer tours for guests to learn more about the recording industry.
Home to Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and Crater Lake, Oregon features breath-taking natural vistas as well as urban cityscapes. Ghost towns, hiking trails, and beautiful waterfalls are a few of the sights that Oregon can offer travelers.
Travel to Sumpter to ride the rails on the Sumpter Valley Railroad. Visitors can ride an 1890 narrow gauge steam train that has been restored and runs between McEwen and Sumpter.
Book lovers will find themselves at home in the flagship store of Powell's Books in Portland. Powell's is touted as the largest independent bookseller in the world and the flagship store covers an entire city block and boasts nine rooms including a rare book room.
Towns like Medford and Jacksonville are off the beaten path, but they offer independently owned eateries, winemakers, and microbreweries to entice travelers to visit.
Regardless of your personal interests, there are travel destinations in the United States to peak
your sense of adventure. Add some of them to your travel bucket list. Then have fun checking
each one off.
The pace of modern life can get us down and run us ragged. And for this reason, sometimes a busy or activity-packed vacation destination can actually be the last thing you need. Instead, if you're feeling a bit worn down, you can look to slow down at a place that invites you to let go and relax. And for this type of getaway, there aren't many East Coast destinations that can top Cape May, New Jersey
With its slow pace, rich history, and almost indescribably pleasant atmosphere, it can be just the place to find peace and recuperate from everyday life. Below are a few specific reasons why.
Cape May is first and foremost recognized as a coastal destination, so we may as well start with the beaches! Here, while there can certainly be a crowd during peak travel times or over holidays, you can for the most part enjoy gorgeous beach areas without worrying about throngs of tourists, clutter, and all of that. It'll be just you, whoever you happen to be traveling with, clean sand and pretty waters.
On Cape May Beach in particular, the sand is pristine and just waiting for your lounge chair and umbrella drink. However, you may also want to check out Sunset Beach near the SS Atlantus, North Wildwood Beach, Poverty Beach, and the beach at Cape May Point State Park. And wherever you are, don't forget to hunt for Cape May diamonds when you get up for a walk down the beach! These are basically glittery quartz pebbles often collected by visitors, and they actually do add a certain charm to the beaches.
A Slower Pace
The more well-known beach destination in this part of New Jersey is Atlantic City, which is known as much for over-the-top entertainment and towering casino resorts as for the actual beaches. However, Atlantic City's charms have dissipated over the years, and in fact at this point even its casino allure is no longer unique. That's not to say you'll find casinos on Cape May (you won't), but with the games available online throughout the state, people can effectively enjoy the best part of Atlantic City anywhere.
And that speaks to the whole idea that Cape May offers a slower pace. Those who want to enjoy the state's casino culture can simply do so online from a cozy, rented cottage rather than mess with a bustling big-city resort. Similarly, if you want to get around on Cape May, you're typically better off doing so by bicycle or on foot than by car. If you're looking for a place to stay, you can find a quaint, homey property rather than a giant hotel. If you want to go for a drink you can visit a local winery instead of a crowded bar or club, and if you need an activity to enjoy with dinner, watching the sunset is as good an option as any. The whole place is just pared down, in a soothing and beautiful way.
If you're looking for a slow-paced vacation and you value the charm factor, you'll no doubt appreciate the older dwellings that are emblematic of Cape MayMay. Because of the area's rich history, there are many preserved historic homes showcasing a diverse range of architectural influences - many of which you can tour (or at least take a look at) during your stay.
If this idea does appeal to you, you may want to start with the Emlen Physick Estate, a beautifully restored Victorian. Its carriage house is home to the visitor's center, so from there you can determine other historic landmarks to visit during your stay on Cape May. Most of them reside in the historic district, including highlights like the George Allen House (in the Italianate style), the George Boyd House (Georgian Revival style), and Fryer's Cottage (Second Empire style).
Nature and Wildlife
If you enjoy the outdoors and you're up for mixing in a bit of activity with your leisurely getaway, a visit to the Nature Center of Cape May can be just the thing. This venue has its own garden and activities, along with an observation tower that provides some beautiful views. And if this interests you, a wealth of other nature parks and trails exist on the cape as well, including New Jersey Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve, Cape May County Park and Zoo, and Stone Harbor Point.
All in all, this should set you up for the relaxing vacation you need!
If you’re looking for a fun, themed, convenient and budget-friendly place to stay while visiting Orlando, you have to check out Cabana Bay Beach Resort! My family recently went to Cabana Bay to celebrate the summer birthdays and we had the best time. The entire Universal Resort is designed with a fun retro theme that takes you back to the iconic beach hotels of the 1950s and 60s.
Continue reading about the room, pool and restaurants at Cabana Bay Resort by clicking here to the full post from our Fort Lauderdale Blogger.
If you are planning a family trip to Orlando, take a look at the rates for Universal's Cabana Bay Resort!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MANDY CARTER
Mandy manages the South Florida and SWFL Communities of Housewives In the City. She is mother of two who loves to travel, shop and try new cocktails. In addition to planning events and blogging for Housewives In The City, she is a published writer, working model, freelance marketer and family travel blogger at Acupful.com.
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