Some of my favorite vacations..National Parks Week

I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite trips since we have been in lockdown, and so many of them have been our trips to National Parks. We have not yet had the opportunity to take Wyatt, but I am hoping that maybe next year we will be able to start visiting with him, although I am not sure which to start at. An old favorite? One that is new to both Billy and I? We will see!

For now, I can look back with smiles on the memories I have made visiting the parks before he was with us and it was just Billy and I off adventuring, many times with my brother Devin and his wife Chrissy, before my niece was born as well.

I think my favorite of all that I have been to (which is not very many sadly!) is Shenandoah. To me there is just something so beautiful about the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah in particular was so peaceful and lovely. We have stayed there more than once, and we always stayed in Big Meadows Lodge. Big Meadows Lodge was built by the CCC and is rustic and sturdy, with its stone and log walls. We stayed in a room that did not have television or phones, and I loved the quiet of it. The deer are so plentiful and numerous there that they are as common as the squirrels here, just frittering about in front of your room or on the trails. And so are other animals, including bears! We never saw one on the trail, but I am sure they knew we were there… we did see a mom and her cubs from our room though, all the way across a field. I was a bit nervous being from an area that does not have bears! But the best part was the horse back riding on the trail – I have always loved horses and never had the opportunity to ride them until Shenandoah and it was such a great experience. One of my favorite lifetime memories was here at this National Park too – and my brother told me the other day it was one of his as well. There is a little pub bar in the lodge where you can go and get drinks and snacks, and at night they have a sing-a-long. We all sat there drinking our wine and beer, singing along to songs like Country Roads by John Denver and then when we headed back to the room we stepped outside and saw the bright stars just blanketing the dark skies overhead, the mountains stretched out in front of us, the cool air and felt so alive and happy and in the moment. Just perfection, one of those moments you never forget.

Our trip to Sequoia was equally memorable – it was my first (and only so far) time in California and wow, so beautiful!! We stayed on Coronado Island to start, at the Hotel Del Coronado then ventured north to Sequoia, which was like something out of a movie set. If I ever move to California, that is where I want to go. I am a forests and lakes and mountains kinda girl, and I am not one for beaches, although they have their own beauty and charm. It is impossible to walk in the shade of the giant Sequoias and not feel in awe of nature’s wonder. We stayed in the lodge here too, because I am not a tent camper. I like bathrooms that are in my room and a bed and walls. Especially in bear country! Plus there is something to be said for hiking all day then going back to your room at night, at least in my opinion. The best of both worlds!

Unfortunately, my photos from our other trips have been lost when my old computer died. Our trips to Gettysburg (a place I have visited at least five times!), and to Mammoth Cave National Park, so different but both so amazing to visit. Then there is our trips to Chincoteague National Seashore when I was a kid, one of my favorite places ever and is on the top of my list to take Wyatt when we can travel safely again, and of course Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! I do have photos from that trip though! And of course, I saw that pancakes picture and had to include it since I have a pancake problem… lol.

I have some parks that are on top of my list to visit one day! Acadia is definitely one, and of course the big ones like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Smoky Mountain too, because I can’t believe I have never been there, with my love of the mountains. Billy can’t wait to head west, although I’m not sure how I will feel about the desert but Carlsbad Caverns looks pretty cool. And of course we both want to go to Isle Royale in our own home state!

Have you been? What is your favorite?

National Parks Week!

Our family loves to hike and be outside, and before we had Wyatt, Billy and I had made plans to visit as many National Parks as we could. Notice the key word there, plans. We have visited a couple so far, but we were waiting until well, this year, to start visiting again, a plan that might be on hold for a little bit.

While we can’t visit this year, there are ways we can “visit” virtually if you need an escape for a bit. I love Instagram and always find different events and information through following different accounts, which is how I found out that Yosemite was hosting a virtual campfire program Saturday night. We set up Wyatt’s tent in the living room, lit a virtual fire on my laptop, gathered blankets and pillows and snacks, and tuned in. My brother and his family did the same, and we video chatted each other before the event. It was the closest we could get to hanging out right now, but it was nice to see my little niece having such a fun time doing the same thing we were.

It’s not the same as visiting in person, but there are ways to visit virtually! I am adding some here, and I might add to this list as the week goes along, so keep checking back!

The complete list of National Park Week events from the NPS. If you scroll down there is a list of all these different parks and if you click on a park listed, it takes you to their pages of events! So many to choose from and look through! https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm#CP_JUMP_6139956

Take a virtual visit to a park! https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/take-virtual-visit-national-park

The NPS has a checklist of a great ways to celebrate the National Parks virutally https://www.nps.gov/articles/national-park-week-inspired-20-virtual-ideas.htm

Or if you have kids, here is a complete list of how to earn Junior Ranger Badges at home from the blog Craft Knife http://craftknife.blogspot.com/2018/06/heres-every-national-park-junior-ranger.html

A few free coloring sheets from The Landmark Project.. https://thelandmarkproject.com/blogs/news/nps-coloring-pages

Billy and I spent some time coloring on Saturday…

Follow Parks Project on Instagram for a different challenge everyday, like trivia, playlists, and challenges!

And of course, there are always books! We may not be able to go to the library in person, but these books are available digitally or if not, for purchase. These are a few that I have read, but there are obviously tons out there – I even picked up a few more to read while grabbing these cover images! This list is a mixed bag of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books but I have enjoyed them all!

Later this week I will be sharing some of our previous adventures at National Parks. What is your favorite park?

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Another week of shelter-in-place. Billy took the week off this past week and it was really nice to have him home. I was much more relaxed knowing he was home with us and not out at work. And while we did a lot of lazy things this week, we realized last night that being just sort of couch potatoes is not something we really ever do a whole lot of. So it was interesting to just lay about. The weather was horrid this week, we even had an all day snow on Friday, and we just stayed inside with the exception of a few rides around town to just get out for a minute. We also worked with Wyatt together for his homeschool, learning about the letter R and rabbits, and we had so much fun doing it! This week and next we are going to focus on weather, and I am in the process of pulling that all together still. We watched a stream of the DSO classroom edition, which was really cool. It was about the many moods of music and Wyatt absolutely loved it! Saturday night we tuned in to a virtual campfire program with Yosemite National Park. We set up the tent in the living room and went all out. It was fun! I am trying to take advantage of some of these virtual events as much as I can – or at least as much as I remember to do so.

Read Last Week:

I haven’t been able to really read since COVID started, until this series. I can only read about ghosts right now apparently. But since I am able to read this series, I am sticking with it! It is pretty good! And so far they have all been included in my Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership.

Reading This Week:

Posted Last Week:

I reviewed a few board games for kids here, and then talked about our massive craving for junk food here.

Watching:

Still watching When Calls the Heart, although we are nearing the end of the seasons available. Good news though, the newest season will start this upcoming week. Lol. Yay! We watched a movie, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Saturday night too, after kiddo went to bed. It was pretty good!

And that’s it from my corner of the world. How about you?