New Mexico

When You’d Rather Leave Home for the Holidays: 5 Nurturing Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | December 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African safari, Arkansas, Arlington Hotel, beach, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Cannon Beach, Caribbean. Maho Bay Camp, Cascade Canyon, christmas, colorado, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Eco Travel, family gathering, Freestone Inn, Hanalei Colony Resort, Hanukkah, hawaii, holiday travel, hot springs resort, Kanantik Reef Resort, Kauai, Maine, Mazama, Methow Valley, New Mexico, new year's, North Cascades National Park, ocean, Ojo Caliente, Oregon, Pagosa Springs, relatives, santa fe, skiing, snow, spa, St. John, St. Thomas, Stephanie Inn, Stowe, The Sound of Music, The Springs Resort & Spa, Trapp Family Lodge, Vancouver Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands, volunteer vacation, voluntourism, Washington, Wickaninnish Inn, winter vacation

Christmas at the beach

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…”

I can hear Perry Como crooning those familiar words now, evoking images of that Norman Rockwell family gathered round the holiday table, turkey steaming, silver gleaming, family smiling … The idea of home for many of us evokes thoughts of comfort, welcome, love and belonging. Or it should, in an ideal world. But the reality of going home, especially during the holiday season, may be very different.

Expectations often don’t match the inevitable reality: while you may be yearning for ‘peace on earth, good will toward men,’ the fact is, those relatives you don’t get along with the rest of the year are unlikely to make a miraculous change for a day or two. Maybe your children have fledged the nest and won’t be home this year. If they’ve married, they may be spending the holidays at someone else’s home. Perhaps this is the first holiday you’re facing after the death of a loved one. The thought of going through the motions in the midst of grief holds little appeal.

Whatever the circumstance, there are occasions when you may not feel like singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Bing Crosby. Spending part of the season far from stressful settings may be just the gift to give yourself … Or, you may wish to pack up the family just this once and go some place more restful, without all the hassle and hoopla — at least not any that you have to host and clean up after!

If you’re feeling impulsive, last-minute deals at the holiday season are often available to fill cancellations or leftover space — it’s worth a few Google inquiries, if you’re in the mood to mosey. So, whether it’s this year or another, here are five holiday travel ideas to restore body, soul or both.

14 Stellar Spots to See the Stars

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | August 19th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, archaeoastronomy, Arizona, astronomy, astrophotography, Atacama Desert, Australia, Bryce Canyon National Park, California, camping, celestial, Chaco Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Chile, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, europe, Flagstaff, galaxies, Galloway Forest Park, Goldendale Observatory State Park, Green Living, Haleakala National Park, hawaii, hiking, Hungary, International Dark Sky Association, International Dark Sky Community, Lake Tekapo, light pollution, Mackinaw City, Maui, Mauna Kea, Milky Way, Mont-Megantic International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount Cook, Mount Haleakala, National Park Service, New Mexico, New Zealand, NSW, Pennsylvania, planets, protection, Quebec, Scotland, stargazing, Starlight, stars, telescope, The Headlands, trip, UK, UNESCO Starlight Reserve, United Kingdom, urban sprawl, Utah, vacation, Washington, Wiruna, Zselic Starry Sky Park

Milky Way from Atacama Desert, Chile

Ecotourism often focuses on vanishing natural resources, such as rainforests and glaciers. It’s not often, though, that we think of looking up when we ponder the fate of the natural world under threat. Yet the starry night sky is disappearing as rapidly from human experience as vast tracts of the Amazon or the Arctic ice cap.

Light pollution is growing at the rate of four percent per year, according to the International Dark Sky Association. It is so pervasive that if you were to stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, you would see less than one percent of the stars that Galileo Galilei saw through his telescope in 1610.

Part One of this series explored the movement to protect the earth’s natural nightscapes. Here in Part Two, you’ll find suggestions for stargazing destinations that will open up the universe to whole new realms of perception. Escape the orange glow of interstates, car dealerships and mall parking lots, and discover the wonders of our twinkling galaxy!

7 Incredible Places to See Fall Foliage Close to Home

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | October 16th, 2008 | 23 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Alabama, Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway, Arizona, autumn, Cheaha State Park, Czeslaw Milosz quote, day trips, Eco Travel, fall colors, fall foliage, gold, High Road to Taos Byway, Historic Columbia River Highway, Indiana, Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway, leaves, Multnomah Falls, nature, New England, New Mexico, Ohio River Scenic Byway, orange, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Picuris Pueblo, red, scenic byways, Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road, U.S. destinations, Wisconsin: Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, yellow, Youghiogheny River Gorge

Autumn Leaves“In the great silence of my favorite month, October (the red of maples, the bronze of oaks, a clear-yellow leaf here and there on birches), I celebrated the standstill of time.”

– Czeslaw Milosz

Ahhh, October. I think of this month, the height of autumn, as an interlude where nature gifts us with a last, dazzling blast of color before winter’s monochrome prevails.

It’s also a perfect time to enjoy the bounty of nature’s gifts close to home — so you can enjoy an incredible, eco-friendly fall-break trip that saves gas, money and carbon emissions.

In some regions, like northern New England or the Rocky Mountain high country, autumn’s palette peaks by late September. But elsewhere there is still plenty of foliage on brilliant display even into November. The key is to go lower in altitude and latitude as the season progresses. While New England is renowned, other regions also offer an immersion in fall’s finery.

Here are seven scenic byways around the country that promise an exuberant burst of color into the latter half of October or beyond. Pack a picnic basket, camera and your hiking boots, for full enjoyment of these lesser-known leaf routes.