Travel and Leisure News


Travel and Leisure News

As Americans are managing life with the Coronavirus and now with the vaccine finally rolling out, 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.   ALABAMA: Peach Queen Campground – Jemison.   ALASKA: Lonesome Dove Outfitters – Cordova. Big Bear Bed and Breakfast – Anchorage. Hooky Charters – Kenai.   ARKANSAS: Arkansas National Guard Musem – North Little Rock. McArthur Museum of AR Military History – North Little Rock.   FLORIDA: Ragans Family Campground – Madison. Key Largo Cottages/Key Lime Sailing Club – Florida Keys. Henry Morrison Flagler Museum – Palm Beach. ReelFishy.com  Charters – Tampa Bay. Siesta Key Fishing Charters – Sarasota. Forever Hooked Charters – Lakeland.   ILLINOIS: Galesburg East Campground – Galesburg/Knoxburg.   INDIANA: Meadows Inn – Middlebury. Raccoon Lodge Lakeside – Rockville.   KANSAS: Home on the Range RV Park and Campsite – Athol. Covered Wagon RV Resort – Abilene. Air Capital RV Park – Wichita. K & R RV Park – Wichita. Seven Winds RV Park – Atchison.   LOUISIANA: River View RV Park and Resort – Vandalia.   MAINE: OMM Outfitters – Eagle Lake. Old Mill Marina – Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake Sporting Camps – Eagle Lake.   MARYLAND: Class Act Sportfishing Charters – McDaniel. Great Oak Manor – Chestertown.   MICHIGAN: Crooked Lake Resort – Lake.   MINNESOTA: Veterans on the Lake Resort – Ely. Hyde-A-Way Resort – Hackensack. Northland Lodge – Deer Ridge. Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters – Ely.   MISSISSIPPI:           Hidden Springs RV Resort – Tylertown. Mimosa Landing Campground – Columbia.   MISSOURI:              Sandman Motel–Gallatin.  (660) 663-2191 Camelot Campground – Poplar Bluff.   NEW HAMPSHIRE: Turtle Kraal RV Park – Alton. Tamworth Camping Area – Tamworth.   NEW MEXICO: Elaine’s Bed and Breakfast – Cedar Crest.   NEW YORK: Pope Haven Campground– Randolph. Genesse County Villages & Museum – Mumford.   NORTH CAROLINA: Ashford Inn – Clinton. High Mountain Creekside Cabins – Jefferson. The Villa at Waters Edge– Belmont. Vacation Rental Home. Morgan & Wells Bed and Breakfast– Shelby.   OHIO: Coe Vanna Fishing Charters – Oak Harbor. Harvest Moon Cottages– Rockbridge/Hocking Hills.   PENNSYLVANIA: Don Laine Campground – Palmerton. Felicity Farms Bed & Breakfast – Beaver.   SOUTH DAKOTA: Royal Flush Hunting Lodge – Aberdeen/Stratford. Kickstands Campground and Venue – Sturgis.   TENNESSEE: Deer Ridge Mountain Resort – Gatlinburg. Little Mountain Valley Resort – Sevierville. Eden Crest Vacation Rentals – Pigeon Forge.   TEXAS: Art Museum of Southeast Texas – Beaumont. Silent Wings Museum – Lubbock. Scenic 515 Cabins – Midland. George Bush Childhood Home – Midland.   VERMONT: Stowe Cabins in the Woods  – Waterbury Center. Motel 6 – Colchester.   VIRGINIA: Agecroft Hall and Gardens – Richmond. Glencoe Mansion Museum and Gallery – Radford. Gloucester Parks, Recreation and Tourism – Gloucester.   WASHINGTON: Olympic Game Farm – Sequim. Drive tours where you get face to face with wildlife.   WEST VIRGINIA: Capon Springs and Farm – Capon Springs.   WISCONSIN: A1 Gypsy Villa Resort – Eagle River. Clam Lake Guides & Taxidermy – Clam Lake. Antigo Chamber & Visitors Bureau – Antigo.   WYOMING: Blackwater Creek Ranch – Cody.   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.
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.   FLORIDA: Ocala  Forest Campground – Umatilla.   MISSOURI: Willow Tree Inn – Branson. Driftwater Resort –Branson. Trout Hollow Lodge –Hollister. FoxFire Resort –Branson. Lazy Dayz Resort –Climax Springs. Kimberling Marina & Resort –Kimberling City. Branson Treehouse Adventures & RV –Branson West.   NEW HAMPSHIRE: Shir-Roy Camping Area – Winchester.   NORTH CAROLINA: Fish Screamer  Charters – Calabash.   SOUTH CAROLINA: Shallow Thoughts Fishing Charters – Charleston. Bull Dog Fishing Charters – Hilton Head.   SOUTH DAKOTA: Gold Pan Inn – Hill City. Mt. Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch – Hill City. Black Elk Resort – Rapid City. Heart of the Hills Vacation Homes – Hill City. Lewis & Clark Resort – Yankton. Yak Ridge Cabins & Farmstead – Rapid City.   TENNESSEE: Inn at Christmas Place – Pigeon Forge. Welcome Valley Village – Benton/Chattanooga.   UTAH: The Iron Gate Inn – Cedar City.   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.
When it comes to winter getaways, it's all about destination! Florida, the snowbird state, doesn’t have to be expensive or trendy.  Try visiting natural Florida on the Big Bend Coast.  Steinhatchee, located on the West Coast, has a very active winter fishing and hunting season, gorgeous hiking and kayaking/canoeing trails, all loaded with old Florida history and plenty of sunshine.  The Steinhatchee Landing Resort offers a warm escape from snow and ice, whether for a quick getaway or for an extended stay.  Situated on 35 lush, scenic acres, just 5 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, Steinhatchee Landing Resort is an idyllic escape for nature lovers, enthusiastic anglers and anyone looking for an unexpectedly upscale yet laidback vacation from the ordinary. For a one-of-a-kind Old Florida experience at its best, Steinhatchee Landing Resort is the ideal choice.   We invite you to come enjoy our magical sunsets, warm sunshine, and cozy cabins. https://steinhatcheelanding.com/
By Debra Zeigler The unique location of Blueberry Fields B&B offers our guests a feeling of peace and tranquility that is unmatched. All of our guests are special, and we welcome you into our family! Just off of the central coast of Maine, our B&B is nestled within the town of Washington, only minutes from Camden, Rockland and the state capital, Augusta! Hand-built, by the owners (Deb and Cyd Zeigler), the property stands firm and proud amidst rolling hills, and an 8-acre blueberry field. Within the grounds are trails that wind through the woods, across brooks, groves of sugar maples, and are well-traveled by our furry friends. The views and the experiences will create a bond between nature and you that will never be forgotten. This Bed and Breakfast, with its five guest rooms, has been proudly operating since its completion in May of the year 2010. Using the post and beam construction technique, many have described the Inn to be warm and welcoming. Wood from the local Knotty Pines, frames the inside of the house and gracefully catches the eye of guests entering through the front door. Within each of the rooms you can find a TV, wireless internet and air-conditioning with a private access point to the outdoors. In addition to the 5 rooms in the main inn, there is a separate cottage on the property (also available for rent), just a short walk down the driveway from the main facility. Built in 1983, this rustic cottage can sleep up to 5 adults comfortably with amenities including satellite TV, air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen and a screened-in porch. Every morning, breakfast for guests is prepared and served between 8:00-9:00am and for the general public, Thursday-Sunday from 8:00-11:00am. As well as breakfast, guests may make reservations for dinner throughout their stay, and we offer a selection of beer, wine and spirits to pair with your meal. This one-of-a-kind inn and its surrounding features provide a perfect venue for special events such as weddings or fundraisers. A stunning gazebo with porch swing is fit for a wedding alter and the vast grounds allow for quite the crowd to attend. Also, a sugar house where we produce our own Maine Maple Syrup (available for purchase) provides for an exciting new adventure. Spanning over the 120 acres there are many areas perfect for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In 2018 we received the Customer Service Award from the Institute of Family-Owned Business and more recently we were featured on the new Tru TV reality show, “Tirdy Works.”
By Richard Moss RiverBank Lodge is a 24-unit Boutique Hotel located in Historic Petersburg, IL.  Visit our website at: www.riverbanklodge.com and/or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/riverbanklodgepetersburg.  Situated in a former bank building is unlike any typical repurposed bank.  The architect that designed the building did not conform to the design norms of the day, which makes for a more interesting conversion from bank to hotel. Our main area attraction is New Salem State Historic Park, where Abraham Lincoln spent seven formative years as a young adult.  (He also did the original survey for Petersburg when it was founded.)  We are 10 miles from the 14,000 acre Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Park.  JEPC features 3 well stocked lakes, miles of hiking trails, and plenty of beautiful nature scenes.  Hunters come from many States to harvest the larger deer common to the area. We are only 20 minutes from Downtown Springfield, where several other Lincoln attractions can be found.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Illinois State Museum, Lincoln’s Home (which he lived in directly prior to becoming President), Lincoln’s Tomb, several War Memorials, and our State Capital are just a few of the attractions there. Col. Benjamin F. Stephenson who founded the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Civil War, is buried in a Petersburg cemetery. The GAR eventually became what we now refer to as the Veterans Administration. Dr. Stephenson was a Civil War surgeon, who had compassion for deceased and wounded Union Soldiers, the effects and misfortune of them and their families. Every April, Union Army Soldier descendants gather in full uniform paying tribute to Dr. Stephenson. They fire a cannon and give a 21-gun salute in his honor. The annual event lasts a few hours but we feel that it is an uplifting event worth the experience. The monument is funded and maintained by the Illinois Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. There are several wedding venues including wineries in Menard County hosting ceremonies and receptions. We often have the honor of housing out-of-town guests at our hotel. Since we have both lodging and a lounge with fantastic pizza, wedding guests usually like to top off the evening before drifting off to bed without needing to get behind the wheel. Everyone is impacted by concerns over COVID-19. We practice all precautions recommended by the CDC, County Health Department and Governor Pritzker. This applies to our rooms, common areas, restaurant-lounge, and our video gaming area. Petersburg has a quaint, attractive, and vibrant downtown surrounding the Menard County Courthouse. The city has approximately 2,200 residents. A similar number of residents reside just outside the city limits. We think you will enjoy visiting our local shops and restaurants. We also sponsor a few tours to nearby unique attractions, such as Starhill Arboretum which is the largest oak arboretum in North American. Emiquon Preserve is a large natural area nearby, recently restored by the Nature Conservancy. The Tour guides of these places are renowned professionals who can give you intimate details of these places. These are located within minutes of RiverBank Lodge.  Both tours start from Riverbank Lodge.
Bridger Visa Lodge is a 4 bed, 3 bath, luxury log cabin vacation home rental outside Bozeman, Montana, with a gorgeous view of the ski slopes at Bridger Bowl Ski Area. Far enough out to be quiet and private, but still a quick drive to Bozeman, the airport and all southwest Montana has to offer (including a day trip to Yellowstone Park).  Bridger Vista Lodge offers numerous amenities like a gourmet kitchen, WiFi, hot tub, satellite TV, cozy fireplace, nice linens and much more. This log cabin home is also a great place to social distance in comfort with online shopping and curbside pickup available for most retail stores including groceries and numerous great restaurants in Bozeman.  The great outdoors is always open with endless places to hike, bike, fish or scenic drive nearby. Whether you are planning a ski vacation, romantic getaway or a holiday with family and friends, this custom designed log cabin vacation home is a great place to enjoy the Montana mountains in comfort.
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.
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!