Covington audio mini-guide Experience all the weird of Covington, Kentucky with a visit to a Spaceship house, a tour of taxidermy, and of course, bourbon (400 types!).
Cincinnati audio mini-guide Head out in Cincy to explore some of Kait's Kravings favorite women-owned bars, the bootlegging and Prohibition history of the area, and the "Carrie Nation" story!
Columbus audio mini-guide A look at Columbus Ohio's humorous side including the James Thurber menagerie and Cornhenge.
Voyageurs National Park audio mini-guide Come Visit Voyageurs National Park with Our View Outdoors! Voyageurs is Minnesota’s only National Park and features more lakes than trails and is primarily water. However there’s a myriad of activities to do in and around the Voyageurs region. Head there with a Northern Minnesota couple who know the park inside and out!
Hot Springs audio mini-guide Head to one of the lesser known US National Parks for hot mountain running, hot stone massages, hot thermal springs and spas, and the town where Bill Clinton grew up and Al Capone visited frequently.
HomeToGo, the marketplace with the world's largest selection of vacation rentals, unveiled its 2023 Wine Lovers Index that identifies the top 25 U.S. wine regions for budget-conscious travelers to celebrate National Drink Wine Day on February 18, 2023. Considering the affordability of nearby vacation rentals, the average price for wine tours and tastings, and the cost of a local top-quality bottle of wine, HomeToGo barreled through cellars of data to uncork the list of the best wine regions for affordable vino vacations. “As enotourism continues to gain popularity, we are thrilled to shine light on these U.S. wine regions during the season of romance so travelers can plan intimate, wine-filled escapes without breaking the bank,” said Mike Pearce, HomeToGo Spokesperson and Travel Expert. “Through our research, we found that the northeastern region of the United States is home to some highly regarded and very affordable wine vacations. We hope this index inspires those travelers who are dreaming of warmer days ahead and planning trips where they will be able to sip back, relax and savor the beautiful vineyard views.” On average, travelers can anticipate paying $116.63 per night for a vacation rental in one of the wonderful wine regions featured in the grape-infused index. Including regions with centuries of rich wine history as well as up-and-coming innovators of winemaking, here's a look into the top 5 rankings from the 2023 Wine Lovers Index: 5. Monticello, Virginia Monticello Vineyard - courtesy of Kate Webset Located in the central region of Piedmont, Virginia, the Monticello AVA grows 30 varieties of grapes and has nearly 250 years of experience producing wine, starting with the American Revolutionary War. This rich history of winemaking is reflected in the Monticello Wine Trail, a 25-mile adventure through 40 award-winning wineries. Visitors can track their wine trail stops in an app on their mobile devices and, upon visiting 10 wineries, receive a special surprise. 4. Isle St. George, Ohio As one of the first regions in the country to be officially recognized as an AVA, the Isle St. George region is situated on the small island of North Bass and is sometimes referred to as “covered in grapevines” due to its high concentration of wineries. The climate, which is influenced by the warm waters of Lake Erie, allows for the production of grape varietals such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Delaware and Catawba. The AVA includes the oldest winery in Ohio, Heineman’s Winery, which has been producing wine for five generations! Isle St. George also boasts the most affordable wine-tasting tours when compared to the rest of the destinations on the list. For only $10, wine lovers can appreciate the bold flavors and enticing aromatics during a one to two-hour tasting of three to six wines. 3. Middleburg, Virginia Boxwood Estate Vineyards - courtesy of Boxwood Estate Vineyards The Middleburg AVA, nestled only 50 miles outside of the nation’s capital, is one of Virginia’s fastest growing appellations. Home to more than 30 wineries and vineyards in the area, travelers can explore the mountainous terrain and wooded countryside while sipping on full-bodied blends. Perfect for red wine lovers, this wine region is known to produce grapes for wine varietals including Norton, Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Bordeaux-style blends. 2. Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Located in eastern Pennsylvania, less than an hour from the Poconos, the Lehigh Valley wine region has over 30 wineries across 230 acres of land. The area grows signature grape varietals such as Chambourcin, Riesling, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, and Cayuga White. Travelers are encouraged to explore the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail, which boasts five award-winning, family-owned vineyards for the ultimate vino-filled experience, as well as visit the local small towns along the charming countryside that are filled with the flavors of the region. 1. Shawnee Hills, Illinois Shawnee Hills - courtesy of homtogo.com As the first AVA in Illinois, the Shawnee Hills region encompasses nearly 20 wineries and 55 vineyards. Located along the Ohio River, the region’s loose soil, warm climate, and high terrain factor into the taste of the wines produced here. Visitors can wander along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, a 35-mile scenic drive in the Shawnee National Forest that features 11 award-winning wineries. After a cozy conversation in tasting rooms, travelers are welcome to embrace the local natural beauty and enjoy picturesque picnics on the hillside. Shawnee Hills also offers the most affordable accommodation price per night at $34.90—whereas Napa Valley, California, chimes in as the most expensive at $208.16 per night. —Click here to see the full rankings of affordable wine destinations
National parks are a great way to get away from the world and appreciate the beauty of nature, and with the US being home to over 60 national parks, you are really spoilt for choice when deciding which one to visit. Travel Lens decided to make that choice a little bit easier. They looked at entrance fees, the number of recreational visitors, the distance to the closest city, outdoor activities, and online reviews from sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Using all of this data together, they found parks that are both beloved for their natural beauty and top-rated activities, as well as affordable thanks to lower fees and easy access to major towns. With spring and warmer, sunnier days ahead, you'll want to plan a trip to one of these great parks soon! 3) Olympic National Park Waterfall in Olympic National Park - courtesy of nps.gov / Pete Zaidel Third place in the rankings is Olympic National Park with a total park score of 7.75 out of 10. The Washington-based national park is just 1.8 miles away from Port Angeles, its closest city. Olympic National Park also has 45% of its reviews mentioning the word “beautiful”, making it a great place to enjoy some scenery. However, it does come at a cost, with a $15 entrance fee. The park protects over 75 miles of Pacific Coast, 800 lakes, and 4,000 miles of rivers and streams that support some of the most extensive runs of wild salmon, trout, and char remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Through the management of fish and aquatic environments, the park works to preserve and restore native fishes and their habitats and provide recreational fishing opportunities for the enjoyment of park visitors. Many wild animals dwell within Olympic National Park. Despite their abundance, viewing wildlife is often a matter of luck and diligence. Most wildlife activity occurs around dawn and dusk, when animals feed. Plan excursions during these parts of the day to increase your chances of seeing wildlife. Olympic's diverse environment and epic scenery is the ultimate destination for amateur and professional photographers alike. Whether you're inspired by rich green forests, reflective glacier carved lakes, snowcapped subalpine mountain vistas, or red-orange coastal sunsets, Olympic has it all. Painters from all over the world come to Olympic National Park to paint. Set up your easel, break out your paint burshes, and set up your palette. Whether on a mountain ridge, a deep rainforest, or a sunny beach, Olympic National Park is your canvas! 2) Cuyahoga Valley National Park Blue Hen Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Cuyahoga Valley National Park takes second place with a national park score of 8.16 out of 10. Despite being one of the smaller national parks on our list, with an area of just 131.8km2, there are still plenty of things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Ohio-based national park also boasts a free entrance fee, meaning anyone can go and enjoy it, as well as a short distance to its closest city. Just three miles separate Cuyahoga Valley and Peninsula. A railroad runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, making it one of the most distinctive national parks. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tickets sell out quickly, especially in the fall when the park is ablaze with the hues of autumn. A Bike Aboard program allows you to pack up your bike, ride the train for a few stops, and ride your bike back to your starting point. The park has nearly 125 miles of hiking routes, one of which is Virginia Kendall Ledges. It's a 2.2-mile trek through a densely wooded area filled with enormous limestone boulders, mossy cliffs, and caverns. One of the best paths for photographing is this one since it changes appearance depending on the season. The route here descends into a bit of valley and then back up again, culminating with an overlook that is a favorite site for sunset viewing. The trail is unpaved and uneven, making it a somewhat challenging trek. 1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes the top spot with a national park score of 8.45 out of 10. Great Smoky Mountains National park, which sits on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, ranked highly across all our sections, recording the most recreational visitors out of all of our national parks, with over 14 million visitors. The Great Smoky Mountains also had the second-highest percentage of reviews that mention the word “beautiful." Hikers enjoy the Smoky Mountains during all months of the year with every season offering is own special rewards. During winter, the absence of deciduous leaves opens new vistas along trails and reveals stone walls, chimneys, foundations, and other reminders of past residents. Spring provides a weekly parade of wildflowers and flowering trees. In summer, walkers can seek out cool retreats among the spruce-fir forests and balds or follow splashy mountain streams to roaring falls and cascades. Autumn hikers have crisp, dry air to sharpen their senses and a varied palette of fall colors to enjoy. Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area's trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round. While driving the loop road, please be courteous to other visitors and use pullouts when stopping to enjoy the scenery or view wildlife. An inexpensive self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the road provides a map and information about the cove. — Visit Travel Lens for the complete rankings.
Imagine this: After previewing where you want to travel to in the metaverse, you finally decide which subterranean hotel to book. The day of the trip you head to the airport in an electric shuttle and breeze through security thanks to a quick and simple biometric passport screening; you've packed your in-ear language-translation device but not much else, because most things you need can simply be 3d printed when you get to your destination. And you're not just going to a physical place, but back in time to experience a particularly fascinating moment in history. Sound too wild to be true? It seems like science fiction now, but a new ground-breaking report "The Future of Travel," commissioned by airline easyJet, claims this may just be what future decades of travel look like. Heading up the report, Professor Birgitte Andersen of Birkbeck College, says, “This next 50 years will bring the largest technological advances we have ever seen in travel and tourism. Aspects of how we holiday will be transformed beyond recognition; in the future holiday-makers will be queuing at the hotel buffet to have their breakfast omelettes and fry-ups 3D printed by machines, our heartbeat will become our passport, and in-ear devices will translate the local language in real time and enable us to speak the local lingo. Looking forward, by the year 2070 the destinations we fly to, the type of accommodation we stay in, and the experiences we have, will have changed immeasurably.” The report forecasts innovations in airport journeys, air travel, accommodation, and holiday experiences, with the help of data and contributions from Europe’s leading futurists and experts from the worlds of aerospace, innovation, and engineering. Below are some of the highlights from the report. Biometric Passports Artistic rendering of future seamless airport security - courtesy of easyjet.com The airport journey and air travel experience will be revolutionized by technological advances. Heartbeat and biometric passports will replace the traditional passport for passengers to breeze through their airport. Much like fingerprints and the retina, every person’s cardiac signature is unique. Passengers’ heartbeat signatures and biometric details will be logged on a global system in the same way finger-print scanning technology works today. "Try Before You Buy" Experiences Vacations, even the most budget-friendly, are a considerable investment compared to most other expenditures. What if you could take part in a "try before you buy" system before committing to a trip? Utilizing bionic and metaverse technology, people could now "sample" a vacation before making the full investment by experiencing holiday previews. This might allow for more efficient planning, in terms of specific hotel locations and desired experiences.In-flight UpgradesArtistic rendering of future airplane ergonomic seating - courtesy of easyjet.com Ergonomic and biomimetic sensory plane seats will become the norm, with smart materials adapting to passengers’ body shape, height, weight, and temperature, providing the ultimate tailored comfort flying experience. Inflight entertainment will be beamed directly in front of passenger’s eyes, via optoelectronic devices, replacing the need for onboard screens or downloading movies before you fly. Local Language Support Devices Several translation apps offer a similar service by scanning written signs or documents and converting to other languages, but nothing as yet exists to make real-time conversations easier for foreign travelers. The report predicts that soon local language in-ear devices will be available to take on vacation to translate the local language in real time and even enable visitors to speak the local lingo. More Sustainable Hotels Artistic rendering of 3d printed hotel food - courtesy of easyjet.com As technology advances, we will see significant advances in the accommodation experience abroad. 3D-printed hotel buffet food will allow tourists to print whatever they want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while reducing food waste. Similarly, 3D-printed, recyclable holiday clothes on arrival at the hotel will remove the need for suitcases and fast holiday fashion as travelers can print the clothes required in their hotel rooms, tailored to their perfect fit and style, and recycle the materials for the next guest to enjoy. To save on energy, hotels will be able to harvest energy from its guests’ footsteps in order to generate power, essentially becoming "human-powered." Subterranean hotels will also be built into the fabric of the earth that are super energy efficient and at one with the environment. Personalized Hotel Rooms All hotel rooms will be smart rooms with beds already pre-made to exactly desired firmness, ambient temperatures and favorite music playing based upon preferences you select in advance of booking the holiday. A holographic personal holiday concierge will accompany vacationers to provide up to date destination information and assistance throughout their stay.Underwater Adventures The report also imagines new ways to see more of the world. Consider this the ultimate upgrade from your traditional cruise experience exploring the seas: the underwater "sea-fari." These would be aquatic adventures onboard submarines for tourists deep beneath the sea discovering marine life in underwater "marine parks." While much less exotic than the underwater marine park prediction, the report also sees beach vacations getting an upgrade and that e-foiling, cable skiing, and flyboarding will become the norm at oceanside destinations, truly taking water sports to another level. Time-Traveling Experiences One of the most intriguing ideas from the reports are "time-travelling" experiences. Tomorrow’s travelers will be able to vacation in the past by wearing haptic suits at historical sites that enable them to immerse themselves in live historical surroundings marveling wonders of the ancient world like the Colossus of Rhodes during a stroll in Rhodes Town, or cheering among the crowds of the original Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. The report also included a survey to gauge how interested prospective travelers would be about all the different potential technology and travel features. Time-traveling trips took the top spot when it came to most anticipated with 42% of those surveyed looking forward to those vacations. Most people were also excited for "try before you buy" metaverse previews (23%), language translation devices (24%), smart hotels (25%) and subterranean hotels (26%), "sea-faris" (32%), and biometric passports (38%). — Click here for the full report.
There are many types of vacations—romantic getaways with your partner, chaotic family trips, or peaceful solo adventures—but the best trips are with your besties. Time to take that vacation out of the group chat, reunite the girls, and celebrate your friendship with a weekend getaway. From snowy mountain hideouts to all-day beach days soaking in the sun, Room Service has got you covered with a list of great girls' trips. Keep reading to explore the best girls’ getaways around the world. For live event lovers and party starters: Nashville, Tennessee Bode Nashville - courtesy of Bode Nashville Nashville is rowdy in the best way and a hot spot for anyone and everyone celebrating their upcoming nuptials. It was recently ranked one of the best cities for a bachelorette trip. Watch a concert, visit a honky tonk, see the Country Music Hall of Fame, take Instagram-worthy photos with the city's many painted murals, and indulge in some good Southern barbecue. Where to stay: Bode Nashville. This hotel is specifically built for large groups. Bode Nashville is a chic boutique hotel that knows how to accommodate parties of up to 14 people with zero stress. With everything from foosball tables, cornhole, large lounging areas, hanging swings, a bar perfect for a mid-day aperitivo, a chef’s kitchen in each Bode suite, and a grab-and-go market with all the snacks you can think of. That list just skims the surface of all the offerings. The space is designed to encourage group gatherings so you can host a BBQ or curl up by the fireplaces. Prices fluctuate drastically but you can get a room for as low as $193/night (up to $1,619/night!). Book here. For foodies: Vancouver, British Columbia The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa - courtesy of the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa Foodies from all over the world flock to Vancouver to experience their infamous night market, sample all the yummy dim sum, and even grab a cup of joe from Tim Hortons. If your group is the type to always split multiple appetizers and save room for dessert, consider going to Vancouver BC to satisfy all your cravings. Where to stay: The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa. Luckily, in Vancouver, you can get a luxury stay for a steal of a deal. The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa has decor that must be marveled at and is located amidst the gardens and waterfalls of Robson square, right in the heart of Vancouver. They even had bike rentals so you can tour all the foodie spots across the city. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, the hotel has a 100/100 walking score and 284 restaurants within 0.3 miles, so you’re right in the center of the action. Nightly rates start around $213. Book now. For a relaxing city stay: Charleston, South Carolina Charleston, South Carolina - courtesy of travelandleisure.com Charleston is an excellent choice for a girls trip – it’s very walkable with no need for renting a car, has plenty of amazing restaurants, and has a relaxing city vibe. It’s like the goldilocks of group city trips. We recommend staying right in the heart of Charleston at The Quarters on King. Where to stay: The Quarters on King - charming, rich with history, and easy-going with just enough Southern hospitality and class. This stay is perfect for a big group as it feels less like a hotel and more like a home. Their suites offer up a great deal of privacy and come with fully equipped kitchens and living rooms so you and your friends have proper gathering spaces for much-needed quality time. Nightly rates start around $314. Book now. For a spa weekend: Palm Springs, California Palm Springs - courtesy of travellens.co Palm Springs is the perfect location to unwind and relax. The sweeping views of the San Jacinto Mountains are sure to put your mind at ease and help you achieve total relaxation. Where to stay: Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs. Usually when you heard “Margaritaville” you think party central but the Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs is the ultimate spa getaway for your and your closest pals. It has the largest resort spa in all of Palm Springs. Their spacious rooms offer up enough space and seating areas for you and your besties to get ready together or perhaps watch a movie. The exquisite and well-lit bathrooms are an added bonus. The spa honors Balinese, Thai, and Indonesian rituals and has 18 therapy rooms. The wide variety of offerings includes everything from hair coloring, makeup services, body scrubs, massages, steam rooms, and much more. Nightly rates start around $187. Book now.If you get bored of the spa, chill out at one of their two pools or go golfing nearby. Then, head back to your room for a movie night or a drink at their on-site bar or tiki-hut-inspired cabanas. For outdoor adventurers: a National Park stay Evergreen Lodge - courtesy of thedailynavigator.com For a chance to truly unwind and get some quality bonding time with your friends, take your trip to the Great Outdoors. Whether you’re into glamping or prefer to stargaze from the comforts of a traditional tent, you can enjoy the natural beauty while unplugging and unwinding from life’s daily stresses. Where to stay: Room Service recommends Zion or Yosemite—two beautiful and popular parks. However, there's plenty of other budget-friendly options or you can pick one closer to your home base. If camping in a traditional tent isn't quite your vibe, you can also check out these great hotels near the parks. Also, check out our Room Service's helpful guide for planning your National Park trip. For a weekend in the mountains: Ontario, Canada Ontario lakeside cabin - courtesy of airbnb.com Sipping on hot cocoa and sitting by the fire — there’s nothing better than watching the snow pile up from the comfort of the great indoors. Ontario, Canada is an idyllic retreat for a girls’ weekend. Where to stay: Book a secluded cabin in the woods from Airbnb. This lakefront a-frame cottage has nightly rates starting around $209. This one even comes with an outdoor fireplace. When you split the nightly rate between your best group of gals, it ends up being cheaper than you think and with few things left to do besides enjoy the snow and each other’s company, it’s a great, budget-friendly trip. For an international trip on a budget: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Costa Rica - courtesy of Shutterstock Regardless of which coast you’re flying from, Costa Rica is a great middle ground. Plus, Costa Rica is budget-friendly with many places accepting US dollars. You can score amazing flight deals to Costa Rica as well. Where to stay: Point Break Santa Teresa is like a hostel, but more private. You can share a quadruple room with your best friends and save a pretty penny without losing any of the privacy of a more traditional hotel stay. Their rooms come with AC, complimentary toiletries, a safety box, and private furnished terraces. This way you get all the on-site amenities without breaking the bank and you get to stay in the same room as your friends instead of questionable hostel companions.Nightly rates start around $76. Book now. For a little something for everyone: San Diego, California San Diego - courtesy of blog.sandiego.org With plenty of relaxing beaches, a lively nightlife in the Gaslamp quarter, and exceptional restaurants in Little Italy, San Diego is one of the best girls’ trip destinations. It’s a well-rounded city that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for all the personalities in your group. Where to stay: A remodeled beach house. Nightly rates for this house on the water start around $694—and when you split the cost between your group, it ends up being much cheaper than most hotels in the area. This one is spacious enough for your group to not have to crowd around in one bathroom mirror and it’s right on the water so you can start your mornings peacefully before hitting the nightlife when the sun goes down.
With spring officially underway, landscapes across America have begun to burst into color with incredible blooms. Some of the most lovely scenery in the country becomes infinitely more magical as seasonal plants and flowers come to life. If you're looking to take advantage of this unique time of year, head to one of these locations below. With desert valleys, mountain meadows, prairie fields, and more, there's something for everyone, everywhere. Desert "Superblooms" in Death Valley - California Wildflower bloom in Death Valley National Park - courtesy of nps.gov Death Valley is famous for its spectacular, spring wildflower displays, but those are the exception, not the rule. Only under perfect conditions does the desert fill with a sea of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. These tend to average once a decade, with the most recent superbloom years being 2016, 2005, and 1998. Most of the showy desert wildflowers are annuals, also referred to as ephemerals because they are short-lived. Oddly enough, this limited lifespan ensures survival here. Rather than struggle to stay alive during the desert’s most extreme conditions, annual wildflowers lie dormant as seeds. When enough rain finally does fall, the seeds quickly sprout, grow, bloom and go back to seed again before the dryness and heat returns. By blooming enmasse during good years, wildflowers can attract large numbers of pollinators such as butterflies, moths, bees and hummingbirds that might not otherwise visit Death Valley. If you're not sure when to plan a trip, the National Park Service and several websites exist to track the Death Valley blooms each season. While there is not predicted to be a superbloom in Death Valley in 2023 due to a lack of fall and winter rains, visitors can still spot decent spring flora most years. Rarely is there a year totally absent of flora. However, elsewhere in California there may be superblooms to visit this year. California even has a tracking page for bloom predictions. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is expected to have small pockets of wildflower blooms throughout the park this year. Sand verbena, desert lily, dune evening primrose, and desert sunflowers are blooming with enthusiasm at Coyote Canyon/DiGiorgio Road, Henderson Canyon Road, and June Wash. Chino Hills State Park also has a great wildflower viewing experience along Bane Road and the Bane Ridge Trail with flora including canterbury and school bells, arroyo lupine, and California poppy. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails - Texas Ennis bluebonnets - courtesy of Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival Ennis, Texas was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the home of the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail and was designated the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas. From April 1-30, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club. These trails are the oldest such trails known in the state, and tens of thousands of visitors make the short trek to Ennis to view this wonderful wildflower show. The Ennis Garden Club will drive the trails to check the bloom status each week starting in April. The Club then reports to the Ennis Welcome Center about the latest status of the bluebonnets so that visitors can be well informed where the best flowers are on the trails at the time of their visit. Each year, the bluebonnets will appear on different trails as these are natural to the area. In Ennis, the bluebonnets typically peak around the 3rd week of April. This can vary year to year due to weather conditions and terrain, so please check their website or call before visiting. The Ennis Welcome Center will be open 7 days a week in April (closed Easter Sunday). Downtown Ennis also hosts an annual Bluebonnet Festival in the middle of April. The event features kids activities, live music, arts and crafts vendors, food, and, of course, wildflower walks. Biltmore Blooms - North Carolina A bird's eye view of the gardens and conservatory at the Biltmore - courtesy of biltmore.com Spring at the historic Biltmore estate in North Carolina is one of the property's most glorious seasons. Experience a spring break mountain escape with all the charm of a European retreat. Immerse yourself in thousands of colorful tulips as Biltmore Blooms transforms our gardens and grounds. The estate's horticultural experts continually work to preserve Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision for the gardens and grounds, including the Rose Garden that features more than 250 varieties. As a century-old model for forest conservation (and, more recently, for sustainability, thanks to nine acres of solar panels), Biltmore continues to honor George Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state was officially inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce. Chamber directors Jerry Diggerness and Joan Houchen saw that people were coming by the thousands to view the tulips and, through a retreat, decided to add events and festivities to enhance the visitors’ trip to the Skagit Valley. In 1994 the Tulip Festival broke off from the Chamber of Commerce and became an entity of its own, eventually opening a separate office and store. The festival is one of the destination events for the Pacific Northwest, held through the entire month of April, celebrating millions of tulips bursting into bloom. As with all things governed by Mother Nature, the tulips bloom according to their own schedule sometime during the festival. The tulips allow us to share our corner of the world and showcase Skagit Valley agriculture. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - Colorado Crested Butte, Colorado - courtesy of Crested Butte Wildflower Festival A little later in the year, during July, the "Wildflower Capital of Colorado" hosts a Wildflower Festival. The event is an annual 10-day festival offering over 200 workshops in wildflower expertise each July, be it painting, pollination, photography, culinary arts, or leading hikes into the wild beyond in the heart of Crested Butte. The festival is held by a local organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the beauty of the montane and alpine wildflower environments in and around the Gunnison Valley. Holland's Tulip Time - Michigan Holland's only tulip farm is ablaze with acres of tulips from late April to mid-May. Veldheer farms began in 1950 when Vern Veldheer planted a couple hundred tulip bulbs as a hobby. Now, Veldheer's plants around 5 million tulip bulbs each year! In addition to tulips, there are several other imported flowers and perennials for you to enjoy and even purchase for your own garden. Several varieties of lilies bloom throughout the spring and summer, and you can enjoy the beautiful perennial gardens through mid-October. Veldheers is a must visit for garden and floral enthusiasts. Over 8 days in May, the town also hosts the Tulip Time festival. It features events and activities that take place in different locations, most within a 4-mile radius of Downtown Holland. Tulips can be seen for no charge in public parks and along downtown streets. However, for just a $15 ticket you can access an incredible, unique display of 65,000 tulips create by world renowned Dutch horticulturist, Ibo Gülsen. The outdoor exhibit allows visitors to be in the midst of the blooms at eye-level for an exciting display and photo-perfect experience. Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies - Tennessee & North Carolina Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, Great Smoky Mountains National Park - courtesy of Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage After a quick drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll quickly see why it's dubbed "Wildflower National Park," in the spring and summer. For an expert-led tour, arrange your trek during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage (SWFP) in April, which takes you the park's most beautiful displays with a naturalist. The SWFP is an annual nonprofit event features professionally-guided walks, exhibits, and other learning opportunities to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources. Pilgrims from more than 40 states and several countries make the pilgrimage each year to learn more about fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, insects (terrestrial and aquatic), salamanders and snakes, birds, mammals (bats to bears), journaling, art and photography, and park history. Kauai's McBryde Garden - Hawaii Located on the South Shore of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, McBryde Garden is nestled in the picturesque and historic Lawa’i Valley. The garden is a veritable botanical ark of tropical flora and home to the largest ex situ collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Our extensive collections of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias, orchids, and many others have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive. Tours of McBryde Garden and the adjacent Allerton Garden are available by appointment only. Visitors are transported into the garden via a short, narrated shuttle ride along the stunning coastline of the South Shore. Be on the lookout for whales, dolphins and other marine life as you make your way into the garden over a historic railroad trestle road and into the magnificent valley. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - California Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve - courtesy of timeout.com Each spring, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve comes alive with the seasonal surprises of the Mojave Desert Grassland habitat. The duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year. The wildflower season generally lasts from as early as mid-February through May, with a variety of wildflowers creating a mosaic of color that changes daily.Eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills, including a paved section for wheelchair access, make the park a wonderful place to hike and explore any season. Get away from the city and relax in the quietude of the countryside, with the birds singing and hawks gliding silently overhead. Benches located along the trails make good places to sit quietly and watch for wildlife, such as meadow larks, lizards, and gopher snakes. If you're lucky, you may spot a coyote or bobcat. Numerous burrows around the trails may shelter mice, gophers, kangaroo rats, beetles, scorpions, or others. Delta Magnolias and Wetland Blooms - Mississippi Known for is dependability, resiliency and of course, beauty, Mississippi is aptly named the Magnolia State for sharing qualities with the flowering tree within its history and people, and these characteristics are especially present in the Delta region. Experiencing this beloved flower in the spring, whether it’s through Quapaw Canoe Company’s Mississippi River excursions or along the Blues Highway, is an ideal time to visit given its peak in bloom and Mississippi’s gorgeous climate during the spring months. As one of the most well-preserved wetlands in the United States, the coastal region of Mississippi is untouched oasis, offering a variety of aquatic plant life (and of course, beautiful Gulf views). The American Lotus, native to Mississippi and a symbol of enlightenment, blooms in the marshes along the coast, bringing new life each spring and a vibrant yellow-white color to the area. North Cascades National Park - Washington North Cascades wildflowers - courtesy of travel-experience-live.com Wildflowers can be found everywhere in the North Cascades in Washington state. They occur across the entire range of habitat types from wet hillside seeps and moist, shady forest floors to dry east-side slopes and exposed alpine ridges. The great differences in elevation, exposure, and precipitation that exist in the North Cascades promote a range of flowering times. Some plants are flowering by late February and early March in the low elevation forests, and as late as August and early September in the alpine zone. While most of the flowers are insect or wind pollinated, those blooming during the relatively warmer days of April and May, such as salmonberry, Indian plum, and red-flowering currant will be visited by hummingbirds returning to breed. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch - California For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The 55-acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, also is one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.
March is Women's History Month, and if you're looking for a great way to celebrate, plan a trip to one of these places full of incredible history and museums, monuments, and educational experiences. Across the country, these inspiring sites highlight women's involvement in abolitionism, the suffrage movement and fight for political equality, labor rights and strides made in the workforce, and other incredible accomplishments. Learn about Harriet Tubman in Maryland Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center - courtesy of nps.gov Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most famous American abolitionist, guiding nearly 70 slaves up the East Coast to freedom in the north through the Underground Railroad. One of two park locations dedicated to this amazing woman, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland is a tribute to her daring and important work to rescue enslaved African Americans. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman made 13 trips back to Maryland before the Civil War to help free over 70 slaves on the “Underground Railroad.” Follow her path on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for 125 miles and 36 sites, including station houses, secret meeting places, and spots where daring rescues and escapes occurred. The Byway also includes the visitor center at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Church Creek, which houses exhibits about Tubman’s rescue missions and later activities as a spy during the Civil War. About an hour east of Washington, D.C., the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center is dedicated to preserving her memory and continuing her work of fighting for the rights of women, minorities, and the disabled. Revisit the women's suffrage movement in New York The M'Clintock House in Seneca Falls, New York - courtesy of nps.gov On July 16, 1848, Mary Ann M'Clintock hosted a planning session for the First Women's Rights Convention. At this session she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and perhaps several others drafted a document they called the Declaration of Sentiments. It was ratified on the second day of the First Woman's Rights Convention and signed by 100 men and women. Modeled on Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, this document proclaimed that "all men and women are created equal." The Women’s Rights National Historical Park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. It includes to homes of early women's rights activists, such as the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, the M'Clintock House, and the Richard Hunt House, and includes an up-close look at artifacts and stories of the women’s suffrage movement. Conveniently located just a short drive from Seneca Falls is the town of Auburn, where tourists can learn more about Harriet Tubman’s work for both civil rights and women’s suffrage after the war at her former home, now a national historic site. After emancipating herself and members of her family, she moved them from Ontario, Canada to Fleming and here in Auburn, New York in 1859. Central New York was a center for progressive thought, abolition, and women’s suffrage where Tubman continued to fight for human rights and dignity until she died in 1913. About an hour away from Seneca Falls and Auburn is Rochester, New York. A National Historic Landmark, the Susan B. Anthony house at 17 Madison Street was the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and Anthony was even arrested in the house’s front parlor for voting illegally in 1872. Anthony was also an abolitionist and an advocate for equal education and pay for women. In 1906, she died in the house, 14 years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. See Amelia Earhart's Birthplace in Atchison, Kansas Amelia Earhart's childhood home and birthplace - courtesy of travelks.com Before Amelia Earhart took to the skies, she grounded herself in her family home in Atchison, Kansas. Called the Otis House, after her grandfather, Judge Alfred G. Otis, Amelia was born in the southwest bedroom and raised there until she was 12. Earhart would grow up to be the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Even though she lived in many different cities, she considered Atchison her hometown. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace, which is on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, stands to be one of the few remaining tangible associations with this aviation legend. Visitors who tour her home not only get a glimpse into life in the early 20th century, but they also learn about the Ninety-Nines, an organization of 99 female pilots who elected Amelia Earhart as their first president. In addition to touring Earhart’s birthplace and childhood home, don’t miss the opportunity to meet Muriel, the last surviving 1935 Lockheed Model 10 Electra airplane, located in the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum. It’s identical to the one flown by Earhart on her fateful quest to fly around the world — a quest on which she lost her life. Visitors are invited to try their own navigation skills and pilot Amelia’s historic 1932 flight across the Atlantic Ocean via virtual reality. The experience mirrors obstacles Amelia overcame to become the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Visitors will be provided a virtual reality headset that will place them inside the cockpit of Amelia’s “Little Red Bus”, a Lockheed Vega 5B. Discover Rosie the Riveter's legacy in Richmond, California Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park visitor education center - courtesy of nps.gov When World War II began, millions of American men left their jobs and joined the military. The shrinking workforce and growing war industry led to more diverse hiring practices and huge social changes. Initially white women were recruited, followed by minority men, and finally minority women. Doing their jobs well and supporting the war effort, women earned a new respect and "cracked open" the door to equal rights. This would have a profound impact on the Women's Movement and change American culture forever. During World War II, six million women entered the workforce. "Rosie the Riveter" and her "We Can Do It" motto came to symbolize all women Home Front workers and is remembered at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. Visit historic sites and museums across Washington, DC The Hall of Portraits in the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument - courtesy of nps.gov The nation's capital is home to several sites and places honoring the legacy of women in America. Be sure to stop at some (or all!) of these places below in you find yourself in town: Mary McLeod Bethune was a renowned educator, organizer, national political leader, president of the National Association of Colored Women and founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Bethune’s house became the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women where Bethune and the council spearheaded strategies and developed programs that would advance the interests of African American women and the black community in D.C. Today, this location is preserved as the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site.Constructed in 1800 on Capitol Hill, the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument stands as a testament to the community of women who dedicated their lives to winning women’s rights. The National Woman’s Party used the building as their headquarters for nearly 90 years. Named after Alva Belmont (National Woman’s Party President from 1920-1933) and Alice Paul (one of the most prominent members of 20th-century women's rights movement), the monument tells the story of those who advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment and equality for women.As an extension of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial is a statue of three uniformed women tending to a wounded soldier. The memorial was erected in 1993 to honor the contribution of women in the Vietnam War, many of whom were nurses.Just a few blocks northeast of the White House, easily recognized by the large sculptures displayed on the median of New York Avenue, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world that exclusively celebrates female artists. Visit to see the only Frida Kahlo paintings on display in Washington, D.C., along with a wide range of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other works of art by female artists.The table where the Declaration of Sentiments was signed is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt stands at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.