Archive for the ‘Tuesday Travel’ Category

“Mystical, magical, creative, vintage lake cabins, workshops”..like Christmas to yourself.  Squam artist retreat in New Hampshire is my newest travel goal.

“…17 amazing teachers…” “…..trying your hand at jewelry making, cooking & food styling, writing, mixed media, photography, painting, drawing, yoga or even some wild, unconventional embroidery techniques”

$995 includes lodging, workshops and all meals.

How can you NOT go?….


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I intensely dislike exercising, the boring repetitive-ness of any form of exercise (except maybe yoga) prevents me from performing it as regularly as I should.  Instilling exercise routines in children is even more difficult, until I found Letterboxing.

Letterboxing history claims that it originated in 1854 England with a single box and an exchange of calling cards.  It slowly grew to the thousands and caught on here in the states.  Virtual maps with box locations all over the US and some European countries make it a perfect activity in your local area or while traveling.  The basic premise is similar to orienteering where you follow a set of clues to find a hidden box.  Inside the box is a rubber stamp and pad, maintained by the sponsor.  You stamp their pad with your own signature stamp and stamp their stamp in your own book.  Many people also leave amusing notes, poems or information about the search…weather, difficulty, etc.    The hikes range from very easy to difficult with all types of terrains, mileage and locations.   This activity certainly made it more fun when we took our son out ‘hiking’ and he got to look for the hiding place, carry the compass and then sign the log book and direct the stamping.  For maps and locations in your area visit Letterboxing.org and don’t forget the bug spray.

Some other items that make it fun and easy to begin your own Letterboxing adventures:

1.  LL Bean Apex back pack – On sale for $29. I love LL Bean! free shipping and free replacement at any time if anything happens to the item.

2.  Carve your own stamp kit – $9 at Stampeaz.com.  You may want to buy stamps at first but once you’re hooked on this activity you may decide to carve your own design.  This is especially useful if you decide to sponsor your own box.

3. Klean Kanteen water bottle – $13 and up at Greenfeet.com.  BPA and lead free, stainless steel water bottle.  Kleen Kanteen also sells all kinds of convenient accessories such as slings and replacement tops.

4.  Trail Mix – Make your own with snacks you like.  My son especially like M&M’s and mini marshmallows mixed in.

Not only is Letterboxing a fun and addictive outdoor activity that you do with family or friends,

…….but it’s (gasp) …..EXERCISE!

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A few years ago when I was approaching the big 4-0 a good friend of mine and I decided to do something big to celebrate.
She was also turning 40 the same summer and we thought an active adventure located somewhere between us (she’s in Israel, I’m in the US Northeast).

We explored many options, kayaking in Portugal, surfing in Costa Rica, hiking in England.  We finally decided on biking in Spain, as much for its location and good weather as the ease of bike riding.  We chose Active Journeys out of Canada for their self guided tours and reasonable pricing, the company was easy to work with and the trip was extraordinary!

I must explain that while my friend bicycles regularly, I did not.  In fact, I hadn’t been on a bicycle since I was 12, and while I had the best of intentions of practicing in the months before, I rarely did.  So I urge you to cast aside all doubts of whether you can handle an active vacation.  YOU CAN!  Explore the options…..

We had the time of our lives and never felt better, we averaged about 25-30 miles per day
and had the most wonderful Inns to stay at along the way,
the company transported our luggage to and from each location so we weren’t hauling it on the bicycles
and we had hot local meals and cold beer waiting for us at the end of each day.  I can’t wait for our next trip!

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