Travel and Leisure News


Travel and Leisure News

Our ancestors arrived in Texas during the Texas Revolution in 1835, and some participated in the fight for freedom and the quest for making Texas larger than life. In 1901, William Wallace Whitley and his wife, Zoe Dixon Whitley, bought 1440 acres of raw ranch land in the Middle Verde Valley in Bandera County, just nine miles west of the small town of Bandera, Texas. The Whitleys, who had eight children, raised horses and Angora goats. During the wake of the Depression, Whitley's daughter and son-in-law, Billieand Dee Crowell, approached Whitley with the idea of starting a dude ranch business. He agreed to give it a try, so the Crowells left their careers in California, where Billie was an actress and Dee was a stunt man and traveled with their daughter, Darlene, back to Texas. The name Dixie Dude Ranch refers to their trek from California to “Dixieland.” Once the Crowells arrived, they worked with Whitley to make the ranch suitable for guests. They converted an old bunkhouse to living quarters, fired up a wood-burning stove for cooking and opened for business on July 3, 1937. Student pilots stationed in San Antonio during World War II for training were among the first guests and contributed greatly to the success of the business during the early years. The young servicemen were in search of a home away from home, and they found it in the serenity of the Texas Hill Country ranch. For a dollar or two they could get a comfortable place to sleep, enjoy plenty of home-cooked food, ride horses during the day and dance to country music at night. Word spread of the ranch owners' warmth and hospitality, and the business was passed on from one generation to the next. Today, seventh generation Texan, Clay Conoly—Billie and Dee Crowell's grandson—manages the ranch with his wife Diane and their two sons. Guests congregate in the community dining room for family-style meals, or gather in the spacious living room—called the Roundup Room—to read, watch television, dance to songs on the jukebox, chat or stretch out on one of the sofas. An antique piano parked against a side wall is available to any visitors inclined to tickle the ivories, and antique saddles from the Conoly family's collection are proudly displayed for those interested in touching a piece of Texas history. Dixie Dude Ranch is still a working ranch, raising horses, longhorn cattle, Spanish/Boer goats, and cultivating its own hay for the stock. Experienced ranch hands work and maintain the horses. The ranch's staff includes cooks, front desk clerks, wranglers and housekeepers – all here to extend you and yours our famous Texas hospitality.
As Americans are managing life with the Coronavirus, the travel industry is continuing to come back.  Hotels and travel destinations in many parts of the country are open in anticipation of travelers ready to throw off their cabin fever and venture out.  Your plans may be for a weekend get away to a cozy bed and breakfast, or perhaps a fishing trip to catch that “big one” that won’t get away this time. Maybe it’s a camping trip full of hiking adventures with stunning vistas, or possibly you would rather walk through America’s glorious past by taking in all the amenities offered in any of hundreds of museums?  How about a week’s stay at a ranch out west?  Whatever your travel desires are, your options are plentiful and, more importantly, clean, safe and following all CDC guidelines for Coronavirus.  Each week we will list state by state travel options we recommend to help make your vacation choices easy. ALASKA: Why Knot Adventures - Fairbanks. Fishing, sightseeing tours, river rafting, etc. ARIZONA: Keepers of the Wild – Valentine. Nature park near the Grand Canyon. CALIFORNIA: Castle Air Museum - Atwater. Stafford RV Park - Eureka. RV, Camping, Cabins. FLORIDA: Four Star Condo Services – Panama City. HAWAII: USS Bowfinn Sumbarine Museum & Park – Honolulu. IOWA: Scenic View Ranch – Monona (Yellow River). LOUISIANA: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – Robert.  RV, Camping and Cabins. Berry Creek Cabins – Bogalusa.  Cabins, fishing, water activities. MAINE: Clary Lake Bed & Breakfast – Jefferson. Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast – Washington. Pleasant Bay Bed & Breakfast – Addison. MICHIGAN: CoHooker/Lake Michigan Charters – Holland. Fishing. MINNESOTA: Hiawatha Beach Resort – Walker. MISSOURI: Titanic Museum – Branson. Pelican Point Luxury Rentals – Osage Beach. Shadrack Resort – Cape Fair.  Cabin rentals on Table Rock Lake. Ye Olde English Inn – Hollister.  Bed & Breakfast Inn. Hall of Fame Motel – Branson. Choices Concert Hall – Branson. Dining, dancing and live music. All Access Branson – Tickets to shows and attractions in Branson. NEW HAMPSHIRE: Lamie’s Inn – Hampton. Bed & Breakfast. SOUTH DAKOTA: Crazy Horse Memorial – Custer. TENNESSEE: Titanic Museum – Pigeon Forge. Norma Dan Motel – Pigeon Forge. Minutes from popular attractions. Veterans’ Museum – Halls. Floyd Garret’s Muscle Car Museum – Sevierville. TEXAS: Dixie Dude Ranch – Bandera. Bennett’s Camping Center - Granbury. RV Park and camping supplies. Museum of the Gulf Coast – Port Arthur. Wilder RV Resorts – Multiple RV Resorts in the Rio Grande Valley. UTAH: Bryce Canyon Pines Campground – Bryce. Motel, Cottages RV & tent camping. WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Maritime Museum – Manitowoc. Annie’s Campground – Gresham.  RV & tent sites, cabins. U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS: Bellavista Scott Hotel – St. Thomas. When you are ready to travel, we are here to help!  Keep checking back every week for more featured locations.  Our travel hosts are eager to see you and work with you to provide safe and clean facilities.
By Dawn Faught   Near Hitchcock, SD, thirteen miles from the original Ringnecked Pheasant release location in South Dakota, a country road edged by fields of standing corn leads to Pheasant Phun Lodge. The impressive 15,000 sq. ft. lodge overlooks hillsides waving with tall grass and a cerulean blue pond rimmed with cattails.   Some of owner Dave Olsen’s preserve is farmland where corn and soybeans provide ample food and shelter for birds and excellent hunting opportunities. Thick tangled sorghum is left standing for food and cover from often brutal South Dakota winters.   These practices provide perfect pheasant habitat proven by the ample numbers of iridescent birds strutting about doing their rooster squawk in the glow of the rising sun.   A catastrophic summer storm in 2013 caused extensive damage to their ranch. Grapefruit-sized hail pulverized everything in its path; shredding buildings and crops and killing pheasants and deer. Rather than admit defeat, Olsen built a grand new lodge with spacious suites and cozy rooms. Desiring an authentic South Dakota flavor, he incorporated wood from blue stained Black Hills pine throughout the interior.  Relics of the historic 1903 Olsen Ranch add to the ambiance of the rustic interior.  The bar, hewn out of reclaimed wood from the Olsen’s 100-year old hip roof barn, is stocked with top shelf liquor and is the perfect place to relax after a long day of pheasant hunting.   Pheasant hunting has been an Olsen family tradition at the Olsen’s OJ Bar Ranch for over 50 years. Dave’s earliest memories are of watching his father Art guide hunters, “Hunting is a celebration of life – it’s about the relationships, the land and the memories of time with my father.” Art passed away in 2017; but Anne, Dave’s mother, enjoys sharing the history of the ranch with guests along with overseeing the intricacies of lodge operations. Amy Crane is Olsen’s fiancé and Olsen asserts, “The person behind the magic - making the lodge and all that it is special for every guest.” Olsen and his expert guides with well trained hunting dogs are there to make every excursion a pleasure. Catering to small groups, Pheasant Phun offers world class wild ringneck pheasant hunting. “Our attention to detail and commitment to creating a very personal experience puts us in the elite class of global wingshooting opportunities. We look forward to helping you plan your time in the field and customizing a perfect - and perfectly affordable - hunting package for your group.” After a day of hunting in the fresh air, hungry and thirsty guests gather at the rustic bar to enjoy scrumptious appetizers and drinks. The air reverberates with laughter as stories are swapped, reliving everyone’s favorite moments and shots of the fine day.  Soon all gather around the supper table and enjoy a wonderful feast of ribeye steaks grilled to perfection, fine wines with apple pie ala mode as desert.
A 170 year old farmhouse set between rock walls, woods, and lake.  The B &B is a highly informal and unhurried place ruled by the restorative rhythms of nature.  Nearby Clary Lake offers    opportunities for swimming, fishing, and bird watching.  The setting is a journey into quiet countryside simplicity, away from    tourist crowds, but convenient to coastal adventures.  Children are welcome as well as dogs.  Pets on leash at all times.  Charge of $15.00 for pets per reservation.  Antiques, galleries, and unique shops are located close by, and the innkeeper/custom woodworker will share his craft at onsite woodworking school. Guest Rooms:  Guest rooms are individually furnished with antiques.  Local artists and craftsmen have gallery space near the guest rooms.  A shared bath is available with upstairs rooms.  There is an additional half bath as well.  Handicap accessible room and private bath are available on the first floor.  Pets accepted on lease only. Morning Cuisine:  Wake up to a Continental Breakfast at your leisure of fresh baked blueberry muffins, breads, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and juice.  Or choose a full Country Breakfast which includes options of omelets, wild Maine blueberry pancakes or waffles, eggs benedicts, crepes, or French toast along with fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and juice.  Served between 8:00 Am and 9:00 AM Wedding & Special Events:  We will help you plan your wedding or special event on our grounds. We're OPEN for Business! Clary Lake Bed and Breakfast is having brisk business, so if you are planning to travel you might consider making reservations now.  We are able to accept visitors from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut without 14 day quarantine in Maine.  Guests from other states will need to have 14 day quarantine or a negative COVID19 result within the 72 hours before travel.  There are more and more testing sites in Maine but that still requires quarantine until you have your test results.  Guests are asked to wear masks as they arrive and in the house except for eating.  Please are able to social distance by eating on our courtyard or inside for breakfast.  We want to let you know MAINE IS OPEN FOR TRAVEL.  We still have over six weeks of summer and September and October are beautiful in Maine. 
As of June 5th, 2020, ATA Lodge has been given a green light to open this season by the State of Alaska - albeit with all associated risks and challenges. We have offered our guests the option to come as planned or reschedule given the potential threat of COVID19. Most have chosen to reschedule leaving weeks that were full two years in advance almost empty this season.  This offers an unprecedented opportunity to come up this year for the intrepid angler who has assessed the risks and would still like to come.   We have: Great King Salmon weeks open, Great Chum and Pink Salmon weeks open, Great Multi-Species weeks open, Great Silver Salmon weeks open, Great late season Trout weeks open.   We are only offering a maximum of 8 spots a week to allow for social distancing. The season will go through September 13th. We are offering a COVID19 special "no risk" deal to try and fill all available empty spaces last minute.  As I have said, we are only offering a maximum of 8 spots a week, each week of the season through September 13.  I love the smaller more intimate weeks we rarely ever have during a normal season.  The quality of fishing experience and overall Alaska experience will be unparalleled this year.   So what do we mean by "No Risk" special booking terms?  Well, for THIS season only, on all NEW bookings ONLY after June 5, 2020 we are changing our booking policy as follows: 1)  Any new booking will have a 100% return policy on deposits paid after June 6 2)  The deposit required will be dropped to 25% (normally 50%).  3)  Full payment of the balance will be due 2 weeks before travel (normally 60 days before travel). This balance payment will also be 100% refundable. 4)  Or clients will have the option if they can’t come this season due to COVID19, to roll their booking over to any available week 2021 (although we can not guarantee that the same week will be available) at no extra cost of a penalty to them. This special offer can NOT be applied to any existing booking or booking beyond the 2020 season. Everyone will be required to acknowledge the special risks associated with travel this year and sign a special COVID19 waiver assuming responsibility for their decision to come to ATA Lodge. We are prepared to offer discounts in some cases for some weeks depending upon availability or the size of the group wishing to come. Please email us at atalodge.wayne@gmail.com to discuss what week you may be interested in and details related to your specific inquiry.   Please feel free to forward this special opportunity along to anyone you know who may be interested in this offer.  We hope to see you up at ATA Lodge this season!
As Americans start to get a handle on managing life with the Coronavirus, and the states are opening up, the travel industry is slowly beginning to come back.  Hotels and travel destinations are reopening in anticipation of travelers ready to throw off their cabin fever and venture out.  Various studies and surveys from the likes of The Points Guy, Deloitte and RENTCafé.com have recently indicated that 31% to 42% of Americans are beginning to feel more comfortable and ready to vacation away from home and willing to fly to get to domestic and international locales. Your plans may be for a weekend get away to a cozy bed and breakfast, or perhaps a fishing trip to catch that “big one” that won’t get away this time. Maybe it’s a camping trip full of hiking adventures with stunning vistas, or possibly you would rather walk through America’s glorious past by taking in all the amenities offered in any of hundreds of museums?  How about a week’s stay at a ranch out west?  Whatever your travel desires are, your options are plentiful and, more importantly, clean, safe and following all CDC guidelines for Coronavirus.  Each week we will feature travel options to help make your vacation choices easy. Resorts, Inns and Bed & Breakfasts: Want a getaway location with grounds to explore and activities to enjoy?  Balsam Beach Resort in Bemidji, Minnesota, is open and ready for your visit! Bed and Breakfast offer the quiet getaways, and yet you’ll find plenty to do nearby.  Step back in time at Tuxedo Park Bed & Breakfast in St. Louis, Missouri and enjoy luxurious comfort.  Located near all the major medical university hospitals, healthcare professionals will find this the perfect home away from home.  If Pennsylvania is calling you, Felicity Farms Bed and Breakfast in Beaver, provides classic and modern comforts and historic downtown Pittsburg is close by.  Traveling further east? At Mayanuk Chambers Guest House in Philadelphia, enjoy fine homemade pastries and know that you will be treated “better than family.”  If east coast travel is in your sights, head to Lewes, Delaware and stay at the Savannah Inn for a peaceful coastal escape. If you’re looking for fun in the sun, in Kissimmee, Florida, Amber Inn & Suites offers spacious rooms and suites loaded with amenities. Travel over to San Marcos, Texas and stay the elegant Crystal River Inn where you will find 12 luxurious rooms in three buildings that surround a rose garden, fountains and beautiful old trees. RV Resorts & cabins: If the great outdoors are calling, the campground and RV resorts are…wide open! From the lush Pacific Northwest, to the wide open spaces of Texas, our featured facilities have all the sought after amenities. Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park KOA Oregon: Crown Villa RV Resort - Bend Minnesota: Eagle Cliff Campground – Lanesboro Texas: Triple Creek RV Music Park - Woodville, Holiday Trav-L-Park - Del Rio Washington: Mt. St. Helens RV - Castle Rock West Virginia: Germany Valley Overlook Cabins - Riverton When you are ready to travel, we are here to help!  Keep checking back every week for more featured locations.  Our travel hosts are eager to see you and work with you to provide safe and clean facilities.
Lake Erie Walleye Fishing is some of the best Walleye Fishing you will ever experience. Day in and day out Eyes Ready Charters continues to bring in cooler fulls of these amazing game fish.We are located at Fairport Harbor in the central basin of Lake Erie. The Central Basin of Lake Erie is known for it large quantity and limit catches of trophy Walleye. A Lake Erie Walleye Fishing trip with Eyes Ready Charters is perfect for a family outing, corporate event or just a bunch of buddies getting together for a great fishing adventure. The Eyes Ready is a comfortable and safe boat with all the comforts of home. With an enclosed cabin you can always get out of the weather. Our galley has comfortable seating, a fully enclosed bathroom and plenty of room to stretch out. Captain Joe Takacs is an experienced Charter Captain with over 20 years of fishing Lake Erie. He will work diligently to put fish in the cooler and make your day on the water a memorable one. Fishing with an experienced Captain puts you where the fish are. Eyes Ready Charters provides all the right tackle and bait to make your trip a successful one. A person can charter several times a year for a fraction of the cost of outfitting and maintaining a big-water boat. Captain Joe takes emaculate care of the Eyes Ready and gets many complements on how clean it is and how well it is maintained. The Eyes Ready has all the latest electronics to help him find and keep on the fish along with navigational information.The Fishing Equipment on the Eyes Ready is top of the line and is always in excellent operating condition. Captain Joe also carries with him backups on each trip just in case something happens to a rod or reel.When it comes to fishing you can have the best equipment and fishing tackle in the world but unless you know how to use it you won't catch many fish. Captain Joe has been fishing all his life and has a 2nd nature when it comes to fishing. You will not find a harder working captain on the lake. He is also a very good teacher and enjoys showing kids and newer fishermen the ropes of fishing. To Captain Joe nothing is more fun than watching someone catch their first fish. Walleye Fishing is very popular on Lake Erie so make sure you book your trip early. Walleye can be caught throughout the year but there are some times that seem to be a bit better than others. Contact Eyes Ready Charters by calling 440-749-6150 or at www.eyesready.com
If you want to catch salmon, trout and or halibut Big Sky Charter and Fish Camp is the place to be.  We have been in business for 40 years here in Sterling, Alaska on the bank of the Kenai River.  Our guides are highly qualified and knowledgeable and they utilize the best tackle, gear and equipment that money can buy.  Two of our guides have been spending the past 20 plus summer's sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with our guests. They are both teachers in high school K12 systems, one in Alaska and the other in Oregon. Our camp is located on 5 acres with 400 feet of Kenai River frontage where there are docks and decks to both fish and recreate from.  Our guides live on the premises and thus are available to assist our guests with shore fishing needs as well as their spending time with them at the central camp fire pit talking about fishing adventures and successes. Big Sky has 9 fully furnished custom cabins of different size and composition; some being single and others two story.  Each cabin has a front deck and there are several portable cook out grills that get moved around.  The main lodge is also a gathering location as it has a large wrap around deck with chairs and tables.  Inside there are also tables and chairs along with a wide variety of animal hides and trophy's of past successes both fish and hunting wise including a king salmon mount that is actually longer than the current king salmon world record! In addition to the 5 Willie guide boats that we will run this summer here on the Kenai River we have a halibut charter boat that will be located in Homer and fish that area of Cook Inlet for halibut and other bottom fish.  During both the early and late portions of that fishing there should be some good winter king catching opportunity.   Take a look at our web site at:www.kenaiguide.com  and you will see that we offer a variety of packages that included various fishing trips along with lodging.  However, we also can build you a person plan that meets your individual interests and desires.  Simply let us know what you are thinking.  Big Sky has a extensive fish processing set up.  We have a building that contains two large commercial vacuum packaging machines, a variety of freezers including a large walk in one.  You catch is processed daily and when you are ready to leave camp it is packaged in a two party airline travel approved box.  All you do is write your name and address on it. In addition to the fishing and lodging activities we can also provide you with a variety of other experiences including: fly out fishing/bear viewing, Kenai Fjord Glacier Cruises, dog sled/mushing trip, hiking trips to a variety of river, lake and mountain locations, we also have some serious bear viewing options to places across Cook Inlet where you can stay over night and be catered to.  There are other adventure type options not mentioned here.
The Wellington Inn is a bed and breakfast located in downtown Traverse City. Built by one of Traverse City’s lumber barons, this spectacular neoclassical mansion has been fully restored to its original grandeur. The property features period antiques throughout the eight guest rooms and attached private baths as well as the rest of the property including, the dining room, living room, library and ballroom.Walking through the doors of the Wellington Inn is like taking a step back in time. This historic home in the heart of downtown Traverse City has been a labor of love for the current owners who have gone to great lengths to preserve this beautiful piece of the past. In1999 Barb and Hank Rishel purchased the mansion. Following an extensive 4 year restoration, they opened the bed and breakfast in 2003 as Antiquities' Wellington Inn, the landmark Bed & Breakfast and downtown jewel it is today. Each morning guests are treated to a sumptuous full breakfast in the turn-of-the-century dining room. Refreshments and snacks are always available in the guest kitchen located off the 3rd-floor adjacent the magnificent ballroom. If planning an extended visit to Northern Michigan, the two 2-bedroom Carriage House apartments provide guests with a home away from home, allowing a leisurely multi-day exploration of Traverse City and the surrounding region. As Wellington Inn is situated in a unique downtown neighborhood in Traverse City it is within a short walk to fine restaurants, shops, recreational trails and the spectacular beaches of Grand Traverse Bay. Perfect for small business retreats, Wellington Inn can accommodate with a very unique experience and all amenities needed. Please visit us online at www.wellingtoninn.com for more information about this historic landmark and to book your group or individual stay.”
Walters Cove Resort is a luxurious fishing lodge, owned by the Kyuquot Checklesaht First Nations.  Located in Canada, on the NW side of Vancouver Island in Kyuquot Sound, we provide a first class, all-inclusive fishing experience for salmon, halibut and bottom fish.  Offering your choice of flying into the lodge from Vancouver, BC, driving in to Fair Harbour, BC or even bringing in your own boat, we can provide any of your transportation preferences! Our small, intimate lodge holds a maximum capacity of only 18 guests which allows us to provide exceptional customer service and cultural experiences such as our signature Beach BBQ.  Our Red Seal Certified Chef prepares incredible meals offering both meat and local seafood options prepared with fresh produce and the highest quality ingredients, sure to satisfy any palate!  Enjoy the most consistent salmon, halibut and bottom fish fishery on the West Coast while using top of the line fishing equipment (Abel and Avet reels) aboard large, luxury 23' ft. Grady White boats powered by well maintained, 300 HP Suzuki motors.  Our boats are also equipped with onboard flush toilets for your comfort while spending the day on the water.  Our local, experienced, certified guides have grown up fishing these waters and know where to take you for a safe and productive fishing experience! Our Provincial Fish Processing license allows us to fillet your catch and cut them into meal sized portions, vacuum pack and freeze them within minutes of landing at the dock so you go home with the freshest, highest quality product possible that you can enjoy for months afterward. With the exchange rate currently being so favorable, now is the time to join us as all of our packages, starting at $3195/person, are in Canadian dollars.  For more info go to www.walterscoveresort.com or call us at 1.844.466.9453.