Nature Photos from my Alaskan Adventure

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska |

My family just returned from an Alaskan cruise, and I wanted to post some of the beautiful nature and wildlife photos we took while there. Although a cruise is certainly not an eco-friendly travel option, the trip was wonderful, made even more so by the friends we vacationed with. One of our favorite excursions was whale watching, where we saw about eight humpback whales in Auke Bay, Juneau. We were close enough to hear them breathing. I managed to capture several of their tail fins after diving under as well as a calf who showed more of himself while playing with a sea lion.             We had anticipated seeing lots of glacial action, however, due to a medical crisis with one of the ship’s guests, the Tracy Arm Fjord part of our trip was cancelled. Still, we managed to see Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Did you know … Continue reading

Family Nature Getaway in #PerfectVT

#PerfectVT | Eco-Mothering

Last month, a friend and I headed up to Vermont for a blogger retreat (a.k.a. weekend getaway). Like all moms, I’d been feeling the need for some time away, ideally spent soaking in nature or indulging in awesome food and spa-like activities. And, except for the spa bit, I found it all in the tiny town of Pittsfield, just north of Killington, Vermont. I discovered the area through my hosts, Tom and Erlin, the founders of Perfect Vermont Retreats. The young couple organizes fitness and nature retreats (for corporations, groups of friends, wedding parties and families) where they  “challenge guests to get outdoors, live consciously and experience life simplified.” Such a retreat might involve yoga classes, guided biking tours, hikes on 30 miles of mountain trails or “re-wilding” instruction from an expert on foraging and wilderness survival. Pretty cool, huh? I love that Tom and Erlin’s business is run as an ongoing … Continue reading

Natural Remedies for Motion Sickness

Motion Sickness Remedies |

This is a guest post by Nicole Cunningham. Whether for an extended period of time or just a quick weekend getaway, summer is a favorite time for travel. Time to escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lifestyle. But travel often means car, boat, train and plane rides — rides that leave some of us nauseous, dizzy and vomiting. People prone to motion sickness have a variety of over-the-counter medications to choose from. While these medications may work, they may also cause unwanted side effects. For something as simple as motion sickness, there are loads of natural remedies that are safe, effective and inexpensive (even free in some cases)! The following are just a few options to get you through that bumpy ride. Please note that these may ease your symptoms but may not completely take them away.  Lime  Cutting a piece of lime and smelling it throughout the … Continue reading

How to Pack for a Family Vacation

Packing Tips |

I got the packing gene from my father. I’m good at organizing stuff into spaces, and quite frankly, my husband sucks at it. So I have become the family packer for our trips. I don’t mind. I’ve got it down to a science now. While I’m packing for our summer travels, I thought I’d share some tips with you (as well as my checklists — scroll to the bottom to download those). Prepare ahead of time. Last-minute packing will cause you more stress (running to the store at 10:00 p.m. the night before you leave) and more money (buying overpriced forgotten necessities on vacation). My husband is a last-minute packer, but then he’s only packing his own stuff. I’m packing for the family. About a week before we leave, I’ll get the suitcases out. I’ll get laundry done and set aside those clothes I know we’re bringing. Piles begin to … Continue reading

Top 5 Outdoor Family Vacations

Outdoor Family Vacations |

Treehouse Adventure Out’n’About is a unique “treesort” consisting of 36 acres of pasture and woods near Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest. And, yes, you really do stay in a treehouse. Accommodations range from The Majestree some 47 feet up a Douglas fir (for six people with a kitchenette, loft and private deck) to the smaller Treeloon, designed to look like an Old West-style saloon, to the roomier Swiss Family Complex (a pair of treehouses connected by a swinging bridge). In some treehouses, you can choose to exit by swinging down a rope or sliding down a fire pole! Area activities include treehouse ziplining, horseback riding, river rafting, arts and crafts, hiking, biking and lessons on building your own tree fort. Out-n-About is a family-run, family-friendly unique vacation. The Hills are Alive Fans of The Sound of Music will love visiting this gorgeous site in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Built by … Continue reading

Going Green With Our Summer Vacation

Soon we leave for a weeklong family vacation, and I wondered about what ways we might green our summer getaway. TRANSPORTATION First, we’re not flying. That saves huge carbon emissions right there, especially for a shorter trip like Rhode Island to Maryland. Airplane take-offs and landings guzzle extra energy, which makes short flights particularly eco-damaging… although there are some cases where flying might be better than driving.  Taking the train or bus would be the greenest mode of transportation, however our 32-mpg Scion xB remains a pretty good car option. On the road, better fuel economy equals fewer dollars and fewer polluting emissions. Here are some tips for getting the best mileage on a trip: Check the tire pressure, as my dad never fails to remind me. Under-inflated tires require you to burn more gas to keep the car moving. Slow down. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases. According to … Continue reading

La Dolce Vita: Impressions of Italy

I’m beginning to ease back into “normal” life after a ten-day anniversary trip to Italy. Ease being the key word. It’s the Italian way. It’s also the Sofie way. La dolce vita (the sweet life) is alive and well in the land of my ancestors. For my husband and I, eating, drinking and relaxing was the point of our vacation. For the locals, that is the point. Period. Shops and businesses (even banks and post offices) really do close between 1:00 and 3:00…and many don’t even open until after 9:00. As a tourist, I felt frustrated by this inconvenience—seeing a chiuso sign on the door of an interesting shop, knowing I wouldn’t be in the area when they returned. However, that frustration merely shielded jealousy over a country-wide, sanctioned two-hour midday break. How nice that would be in America! Weekday afternoons in Italy saw men and women leaving offices to … Continue reading

My Anti-Green Disney Vacation

Happy new year everyone! Sorry I’ve been away so long. (Save The Bay’s communications world keeps me very busy.) But I am attempting to commit to blogging weekly in 2011. And I’ll begin by confessing that my family has just returned from a holiday trip to Disney World. It’s like the anti-green vacation, but I felt obligated to go — my in-laws were paying and Sofie’s princess-obsessed eyes lit up at the notion of seeing Cinderella’s Castle. How could I refuse? There’s nothing quite like the Magic Kingdom in the week between Christmas and New Year’s when hordes of families descend upon the resort and your day is marked by how many two-hour-long lines you’ve waited in just to enjoy a 60-second ride. I’m typically not a fan of crowds, and it definitely makes me grumpy when the crowds are composed of tired, whiny children and parents with glazed expressions, … Continue reading