International Writer of Mystery, Travel, and Wine

Category: USA Travel

35 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for 2021

Eco-travel seeks to benefit local communities and cultures while minimizing the impact on the environment. Eco-travelers try to minimize the carbon footprint of their travel by making wise and conscientious choices. Eco-tourism can educate tourists, protect natural habitats, and boost the employment and financial opportunities for local people.

Follow the following tips to become an eco-friendly traveler!

Transportation and Packing:

  1. A large portion of a plane’s carbon emissions occur during takeoff and landing, so try to book non-stop flights.
  2. Consider flying with one of the 30+ International Air Transport Association (IATA) member airlines that offer carbon offset programs.
  3. After arriving at your international destination, avoid taking domestic flights and travel by bus, train, or bike instead.
  4. If you must rent a car, choose the smallest or hybrid vehicle that will meet your needs.
  5. Pack lightly because the more that a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces.
  6. Bring shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars. They do not come in plastic packaging and are generally made from natural materials. They also take up less room in your suitcase.
  7. If you cannot drink a beverage without a straw, bring a reusable straw. Plastic straws are destructive to the environment and often end up in the ocean, causing harm to wildlife.

Hotels:

  1. If possible, stay at a working farm that also functions as a hotel or inn. Travelers can stay connected with the area’s agricultural heritage and save money as they generally cost less than hotels.
  2. Check if your chosen hotel is affiliated with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, EarthCheck, Green Globe, or Rainforest Alliance. They may also be certified by the Center or Responsible Travel, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, or the U.S. Green Building Council which proves they have met minimum standards of sustainability.
  3. Responsible eco-travel businesses will have the details concerning their sustainability and corporate social responsibility clearly explained on their websites.
  4. Take a shower – uses only 10-25 gallons of water – rather than a bath that can use up to 70 gallons of water.
  5. For short stays, re-use your towels and ask housekeeping not to clean your room. This will reduce the amount of chemical cleaning supplies used, electricity consumed during vacuuming, and laundering the bed linens.
  6. If you absolutely need your room cleaned, hang your towels – it’s the universal signal for the staff to not take them for washing.
  7. Take all the free amenities like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. home with you. Unused portions are often disposed of without recycling.
  8. Ask the hotel about their recycling program and sort your trash. If the hotel does not recycle, consider finding somewhere local to recycle empty bottles or take them home.
  9. Be sure to turn off all the lights, heat, air conditioning, and television before leaving your room.
  10. Close the curtains when you leave the room – this helps keep the heat out during the summer and the heat in during the winter.

 

Tours and Local Culture:

  1. Research your tour company to determine how they give back to the local community. Be aware of “greenwashing” – where a company tries to sound “green” but actually does not practice any sustainable policies. Use companies that hire local guides and contribute to preserving the area’s natural resources. If possible, find a tour company that is both run and operated by the local community.
  2. Smaller tour groups have less of an environmental impact so seek out small group tours.
  3. Immerse yourself in the local culture and honor local customs. Research before you go and learn a little about the local cultural traditions and some key vocabulary words and phrases in the local language.
  4. Buy local products when possible rather than products that have been shipped in from overseas.
  5. Buy souvenirs directly from local, indigenous artisans. This helps them feed their family and preserve their culture.
  6. Always ask for permission before taking a photo of someone – it’s common courtesy.
  7. Do not buy souvenirs or products made from endangered plants or animals or souvenir photos that exploit wildlife.
  8. Don’t take any tours that promote hands-on encounters with wild animals. These animals are often illegally captured, drugged, abused, and slaughtered.

Shopping:

  1. Bring your own, reusable, cloth bag for shopping. Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to biodegrade and are banned in many places.
  2. Use refillable water bottles and avoid contributing to the plastic bottle waste that litters the ocean. Most tourist areas have potable water that is safe to drink.
  3. Eat local foods and help support the community. Shop at farmers’ markets and eat at restaurants with locally-sourced ingredients.
  4. Drink locally-brewed beers and other beverages. This reduces the carbon emissions of shipping non-local beverages and is carbon-friendly.

Hiking and Water Sports

  1. Always stay on marked trails when hiking. Going off of the marked trail could lead to destruction of endangered plants or encounters with dangerous species.
  2. Deposit your trash in trash receptacles or take it with you when you are done hiking. You can even pick up other, less eco-friendly tourists’ trash and dispose of it properly.
  3. Do not feed or touch wildlife as this makes them reliant on humans and can lead to attacks.
  4. Don’t touch or step on the coral reefs when snorkeling or scuba diving. This can stir up sediment and damage the reef’s ecosystem.
  5. Don’t forget the sunscreen when snorkeling and scuba diving, but make sure the sunscreen you use is reef-safe for marine life and coral.

After Travel:

  1. When your travel or tour is completed, look into ways to help offset your travel carbon footprint:
  • Donate to an organization that plants trees
  • Volunteer to plant trees
  • Pay into a carbon offset organization

The world is ours to improve or ruin – let’s make it a better world for those who inherit it from us

 

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We’re Moving…

Hello loyal readers,

I just wanted to let you know that I will be phasing ExpatWriter.com out and migrating everything over to TammyWunsch.com. The content will not change – I will still be writing about travel, wine, and animal welfare – however, I am also an author so I am rebranding myself as Tammy Wunsch, Author and Content Writer (and still an intrepid explorer despite this damn pandemic!).

So, follow me to TammyWunsch.com and stay tuned for my new book, Reunions Can Be Murder which will be published very soon.

Thank you for your support and I hope to see you at the other site!

Hanging With Gibbons, or How I Spent My 2019 Winter Break

I hate the holidays. I suppose I always have. It is not a joyful time of year for me. Add the fact that my birthday is four days before Christmas and the feeling is exponentially intensified. Mostly, I could never celebrate my birthday on my birthday – or anytime near – due to holiday events and festivities. When I was younger and exchanged gifts with friends, inevitably a few friends would combine my birthday and Christmas gift and then exchange gifts with other friends, thereby diluting my birthday even further.

A few years ago, I decided to cancel my celebration of the holidays. I started volunteering at an animal sanctuary over the holidays and I have never been happier. The first few years, I volunteered at Save the Chimps (STC), a fabulous chimpanzee sanctuary located in Fort Pierce, Florida. Another year, I stayed home and volunteered at Our Companions Animal Rescue, a local dog and cat sanctuary to whose news magazine I submit articles. That was also great, but I still had to endure winter and a lot of downtime.

While I love the chimps at STC and the rescues at Our Companions, this year I wanted to volunteer a place that was warmer than home and within driving distance. Plane travel over the holidays is rarely enjoyable. I looked to my Facebook feed and found the International Primate Protection League (IPPL), a gibbon sanctuary located in Summerville, South Carolina, right outside of Charleston. I contacted the sanctuary and they said they would be happy to have me there for the holidays.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”
~Elizabeth Andrew

I arrived in South Carolina on December 22 and started volunteering on December 23. I was enchanted from the very first time I heard the gibbons singing to each other.

Click the link below to listen to the gibbons’ song:

https://soundcloud.com/stations/track/tammy-wunsch-794483567/primate-ln

 

That first day, Shala, the Sanctuary Director, took me on a tour to meet the gibbons, and I was enthralled. Each subsequent day, I fell a little more in love with the amazing gibbons who call IPPL their home.

 

Hello there!

The Facts About Gibbons

Gibbons live in tropical and subtropical rainforests in India, Bangladesh, China, and Indonesia. They have long arms and strong legs and are arboreal – meaning they live in the tree canopy. Following are some more fun facts about gibbons:

  • Gibbons are territorial, monogamous and generally live in bonded pairs.
  • They are part of the ape family but classified as lesser apes because they are physically smaller than the great apes.
  • Gibbons mostly move through the trees by brachiation – swinging through the trees by their long arms. They can move at speeds up to 34 miles per hour.
Val brachiating through his enclosure – look at him go!
  • If they do “walk”, they are bi-pedal.
  • Gibbons are not able to swim which keeps them isolated on some islands.
  • Females are the head of the family group and gestate for approximately seven months and usually only have one offspring at a time.
  • Gibbons usually stand about three feet tall and weigh between 10-20 pounds.
  • They are mostly covered in light-colored, ashy or tan hair to very dark brown or black hair. Some have a band of white hair surrounding their face.
  • Gibbons do not make sleeping nests like other apes and generally sleep upright.
  • They are omnivores but prefer mainly fresh fruit.
  • Gibbons modulate their vocalizations, making it sound like they’re singing. The singing is used to communicate and protect their territory. Different gibbon species make different vocalizations.
  • There are 20 species of gibbons. Unfortunately, all are threatened by extinction due to palm oil production, logging, and the illegal pet trade.

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
~Winston Churchill

The International Primate Protection League (IPPL)

Dr. Shirley McGreal

IPPL was founded in 1973 by Dr. Shirley McGreal when she became concerned about primates being captured, transported, and exploited. She has worked tirelessly to protect all primates, both big and small. Some of Dr. McGreal’s successes include:

  • Founding a gibbon sanctuary in 1977;
  • Publishing IPPL News and being recognized by the BBC as one of the world’s best wildlife publications;
  • Exposing and closing down many smugglers’ networks that were illegally shipping primates from Asia to the West;
  • Uncovering gruesome radiation experiments on rhesus monkeys and numerous inhumane medical and biological warfare research experiments on primates;
  • Lobbying worldwide governments to ban the practice of wildlife trafficking;
  • Fundraising for numerous worldwide primate sanctuaries;
  • Investigating the conditions of primates in zoos and other entertainment venues;
  • Rescuing and providing shelter to gibbons at IPPL headquarters in South Carolina.

Dr. McGreal was presented with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her “services to the protection of primates” in2008 and has also received numerous letters from Prince Phillip regarding her service to primates.

 

Sanctuary Life

Currently, 34 gibbons who call IPPL home. The sanctuary is located in Summerville, South Carolina, about a half-hour northwest of Charleston. It is set on 37 acres in a rural area of town and is surrounded by trees and land which act as a buffer between the gibbons and the local, human residents. There are 10 gibbon houses that are hurricane-proof and climate-controlled. Each house also has a television to provide enrichment when they cannot venture outside. Numerous outdoor enclosures that are attached to the houses by a series of aerial walkways that can be used to move the gibbons with less stress and no anesthesia.

All but one of the gibbons are members of the white-handed gibbon species. There is one yellow-cheeked crested gibbon, Tong aka Tiggy, which I must admit, quickly became one of my favorites. Not only does she look different from the other gibbons but her vocalizations are very different as well. Other favorites included Maynard, Val, Spanky, and Gideon, though they all had such unique personalities I feel I would equally love them all if I were able to stay longer.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

As most of the gibbons were born in captivity and never learned ape behaviors from their parents, they would never be able to survive in the wild. They are protected and loved at the sanctuary – a much better fate than so many others. Many of the gibbons do live in pairs, however, some bachelors who have learned to co-exist peacefully – to a certain extent.

Each morning, the gibbons wake up and are let out of their houses into their enclosures where they can brachiate, climb, and observe their surroundings. Their first meal of the day consists of about a pound of vegetables. The gibbons prefer fruits but need the nutrients of the vegetables to stay healthy. Feeding them their vegetables in the morning ensures they will be eaten when the gibbons wake up hungry.

At lunch, the gibbons get approximately one pound of mixed fruits. These are their preferred foods but gibbons are rather fastidious – they do not like to get dirty. If a piece of food is too sticky, they will drop it immediately.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

The gibbons go to bed when it starts to get dark. Night rounds consist of walking throughout the sanctuary, picking up the food containers from each enclosure, ensuring the gibbons are locked inside their enclosure, and giving them a peeled banana for dinner. Sometimes the gibbons are stubborn and need to be enticed into their enclosure but it is for their health and safety. The temperature can drop to freezing and that would not be good for their well-being.

A Typical Day for a Caregiver

A caregiver’s job is never done. Besides preparing the meals and feeding the gibbons, caregivers need to ensure that they receive required medicines, monitor their poop output, ascertain that they are eating sufficiently, and that the enclosures are cleaned, both inside and out. There is also veterinary care to provide regular physicals and dental examinations.

As a volunteer, I frequently hosed down the outside enclosures, often closely supervised by my new gibbon friends. They would chat with me and show off by swinging acrobatically throughout their enclosure. Normally, the thought of traipsing around outside, unwinding hoses, and spraying food and feces out of an enclosure, and rewinding up the hoses would sound like a distasteful job to me, but I must confess, I relished the opportunity to be close to the gibbons. Hearing the gibbons sing and watching their interactions was peaceful and joyous. I left the sanctuary after ten days feeling sore but also entirely relaxed and serene.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank

Some of the gibbons are playful and some are very friendly. As a volunteer, I was cautioned against any physical contact with a gibbon unless accompanied by one of the staff. The friendlier gibbons would press their backs against the enclosure and look at you beseechingly for a back scratch. Some would huff and puff at you if you didn’t scratch them as much as they wanted. One of the gibbons liked to have his feet held. I witnessed the playfulness and sneakiness of the gibbons – one pulled a Santa hat off a caregiver on Christmas day and tried to wear it, eat it, and tear it up before dropping it in a puddle and another would grab for the sanctuary director’s raincoat when she was passing out dried fruit snacks.

One of my favorite activities was helping with enrichment for the gibbons. One day we made and delivered popcorn which most of the gibbons enjoyed. We tried jell-0 another day molded into holiday shapes but that didn’t go over as well. The stickiness of the Jell-O was a definite turn off to some of the gibbons. Something they all seemed to enjoy was dried fruit which can be donated to them through Nuts.com. Dried mangoes appeared to be a particular favorite. Other types of enrichment they receive include PVC pipes filled with treats, mirrors, and stuffed animals.

Other jobs that must be attended to at the sanctuary such as picking up and sorting through food deliveries, groundskeeping, and general maintenance.  The sanctuary is not open to the public but there are member days when members can come and listen to an expert give a talk about primates and meet the gibbons.

How You Can Help IPPL

Are you intrigued yet by IPPL? Do you want to help them and their mission? What can you do?

You will not regret one single moment you volunteer at IPPL nor anything you provide for the gibbons. Explore IPPL’s website and Meet the Gibbons. Follow them on Facebook. You will soon find yourself beguiled by the amazing lesser apes. I know that I will be visiting IPPL to volunteer as often as I can and I hope to meet you there as well!

I forgot to mention…there are also six otters in residence at the sanctuary. Otters and gibbons – how nice!

Run to Running Springs, CA

Running Springs is a mountain community in the San Bernardino National Forest and a gateway to Lake Arrowhead, Arrowbear, Green Valley Lake, and Big Bear. Running Springs’ is ideal for travelers who vacation year-round in the popular San Bernardino National Forest. Running Spring is also a bedroom community for commuters to the city of San Bernardino and a member community of the Rim of the World. Running Springs hosts several summer camps and an outdoor education program. With a mild climate and abundant wildlife, Running Springs has something for everyone.

Lake Arrowhead

Activities for every level of active traveler

Running Springs is the closest community to Snow Valley Mountain Resort which focuses on alpine skiing, snowboarding, and lessons for every skill level. Visit Nordic Rim, the only cross-country ski area in southern California with groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and mountain bike riding and trail running in the summer. Drive a short distance to Lake Arrowhead for boating and waterskiing. Jump on an alpine slide to whisk you down a mountain without snow. When you have built up an appetite, world-class restaurants and bars are ready to serve you.

Snow Valley

Attractions for every member of the family

Running Springs is conveniently located for fun and educational attractions. Keller Peak Fire Lookout is open from Memorial Day through mid-November. There are excellent views of the San Bernardino Mountains and Lakes Arrowhead, Gregory, and Silverwood. On clear days, you can see as far as the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island. The National Children’s Forest has trees bearing children’s names which were planted after the 1970 Bear Fire. There are two paved trails suitable for hiking with children. The Big Bear Discovery Center has eco-tours and events at their outdoor amphitheater.

Keller Peak

Mild climate for every season

Running Springs allows travelers to enjoy the slightly warmer winter temperatures than in Big Bear, which has a higher elevation. Running Springs’ climate is warm and temperate with rain falling mostly in the winter. There is relatively little rain in the summer. Running Springs is near alpine and cross-country ski resorts for winter sports as well as lakes for water sports such as swimming, boating, and water skiing. June is the driest month and July is usually the warmest month of the year. January is the wettest and coldest month in Running Springs.

Rim of the World

Explore the Rim of the World

Running Springs is located in the San Bernardino National Forest and is only 4.2 square miles in area. It is one of the member communities of the Rim of the World which is an inhabited stretch of the San Bernardino Mountains that extends 30 miles from Crestline to Big Bear. Running Springs’ name is derived from the natural streams and springs that run in the San Bernardino Mountains. Many of the springs feed into the Pacific Ocean. While enjoying Running Springs’ nature, be aware that there are abundant wild animals in the area such as bears, mountain lions, and coyotes.

Big Bear Lake Dam

 

Spring Into Springdale, UT

Springdale is a natural wonder.

Springdale is located in southern Utah, just outside of the boundaries of one of our national wonders – Zion National Park. Springdale grants you access to everything outdoor sports-related. Southern Utah’s mild climate lets you stay active all year long. Either individually or in a group, you can easily hike, climb, and bike your way through some of nature’s spectacular sights. Focus solely on hiking or learn how to rock climb and mountain bike. Marvel at the wonders of both national and state parks within a short drive. Spend downtime between activities at one of the local art galleries.

Zion National Park

Activate your competitive drive

Springdale is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Activities in Springdale cater to outdoor sports athletes and families alike. Start your day biking or running on the path through town. Attack an exhilarating rock climb and rappel in Zion. Mountain bike on Gooseberry Mesa. Fly with the birds on a thrilling helicopter tour. Springdale will satisfy the thrill-seeker in everyone. Bring your family to cool off and tube the Virgin River. Hike the Canyon Overlook Trail for outstanding views of Zion landmarks. Culture abounds in Springdale with art galleries and a photography tour.

Bryce Canyon

Springdale is park central

Springdale makes a great base camp for your southern Utah vacation. Springdale attractions include several National Parks, Monuments, and Forests located a short drive away. Zion National Park is closest with massive sandstone cliffs and unique array of wildlife. Bryce Canyon has the largest collection of hoodoos in the world. Visit Sand Hollow State Park where you can boat, fish, and ride the dunes of Sand Mountain. Families will be enthralled with the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum, an all-natural habitat exhibiting wildlife from Africa, South America, Asia, and North America.

Sand Hollow State Park

Surprisingly mild climate

Travelers assume that Utah’s winters are harsh and snow-filled. Springdale climate will surprise and delight you. Spring has warm, sunny days with wildflowers blooming from April through June. Summer days heat up, but the nights cool down and afternoon storms often bring waterfalls. Autumn days are clear and mild with vibrant color changes beginning in September and peaking in late October. Winter is mild with only light snow in Zion Canyon – the average annual snowfall is only five inches. You will experience heavier snow at higher elevations, but clear days can reach 60 degrees.

Pine Valley Mountains

Amazing colorful mountains and spectacular vistas

Springdale allows travelers to experience incredible views. Springdale sits on the outskirts of Zion National Park and caters to travelers to Zion and other nearby National Parks, Monuments, and Forests. The town has a small footprint, measuring only 4.6 square miles in area. Springdale rests in the shadows of the red, white, and pink striped cliffs that symbolize southern Utah, between the Pine Valley Mountains to the west and Kolob Terrace to the northeast. Discover Springdale nature and delight in the mountains, canyons, and abundant wildlife which surrounds Springdale.

Kolob Terrace

Oh My! Omaha, NE

Omaha is overflowing with history, culture, and activities for everyone

Omaha is located on the Missouri River near the Iowa border. It is known for its pioneer history, cultural centers, and is a stop on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. There are abundant free WiFi spots located throughout the city and many activities and attractions to fill your days. Omaha allows visitors to feel a part of the city and to experience the diverse array of museums, activities, and attractions that it has to offer.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Excitement for all in Omaha

Relax in Omaha and treat yourself to a ride on a riverboat or gondola. Guide a paddleboard or rent a boat for more river fun and activities in Omaha. Hike along the river or discover history with bronze sculptures of pioneers. Explore underground caves or be amazed by the beauty of herons at a wetland sanctuary. Take a safari or ride the longest zipline in Nebraska. Baseball lovers can catch a game at the College World Series. Play a round of golf at an area golf course or celebrate an exciting festival.

Omaha caves

Delight in history, culture, and biodiversity

Omaha attractions have cultural diversity, exciting displays, and lots of animals. Escape to an urban oasis at the botanical gardens. Enrich your mind and spirit at one of the many area museums like the Durham Museum, the Joslyn Museum, or the Museo Latino. Bring your family to Omaha Children’s Museum which provides a hands-on experience with exhibits on science, culture, and the arts. Investigate one of the world’s largest desert, rainforest, and swamp at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. Unwind at Old Market, a diverse mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, and bars.

Omaha Old Market

Enjoy all 4 seasons

The climate in Omaha allows visitors to enjoy all 4 seasons. Summer in Omaha lasts from May through September and can typically be warm and humid with an average daily temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter lasts from late November through the end of February and is dry, windy, and cool with an average daily temperature of 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Omaha becomes colorful in the fall with changing leaves and cooler temperatures. Admire the blooming flowers and warming temperatures of spring in Omaha. Omaha can be a little wet, but that’s a great time to take advantage of the many interesting museums.

Omaha in autumn

Gateway to the west and full of nature’s wonders

Omaha is located on the banks of the Missouri River in eastern Nebraska and is surrounded by rolling hills. Enjoy Omaha vacation rentals and the “gateway to the west.” The Port of Omaha helped the city develop and it is the largest city in Nebraska. The highest natural point in the city is Belvedere Point. Omaha geography is diverse and at Glacier Creek Preserve, there have been more than 140 native species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals and more than 320 species of native flora identified.

Glacier Creek Preserve

 

Land of Lakes – Lakeland, FL

Lakeland is located almost halfway between Tampa and Orlando. Families will appreciate the convenience of Lakeland if they plan to visit Orlando’s theme parks or Florida’s sparkling gulf coast beaches. Active vacationers will stay busy fishing, bird watching, and boating on the many lakes throughout the area. There are many nature parks to seek out wildlife and hiking trails for every skill level. Lakeland allows travelers to appreciate world-class museums, major league sports, exotic wildlife, and tantalizing restaurants in the area. Lakeland is a family-friendly destination with abundant activities to satisfy every traveler.

Circle B Bar Reserve

Get up close and personal with nature’s wonders in Lakeland.

Popular pastimes in Lakeland include fishing, boating, and bird watching. Top Lakeland attractions include the Circle B Bar Reserve teeming with wildlife such as alligators, ospreys, eagles, and otters. Lake Mirror features a paved sidewalk for an easy walking tour. Bird lovers enjoy the royal swans at Lake Morton. Enjoy downtown Lakeland’s bike share program. If you are searching for a festival, Lakeland has cultural- and holiday-themed festivals all year long. Dine at the area’s variety of restaurants or shop for local produce at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday or the Dixieland Twilight Market every Wednesday evening.

Dixieland Twilight Market

Lakeland has something for everyone.

Whether your interests are sports or architecture, there are Lakeland area activities for your whole family. Catch the Detroit Tigers warming-up during spring training at Publix Field. Tour the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world at Florida Southern College. Airplane enthusiasts will love the Florida Air Museum where you can climb in a jet plane. Lakeland is within one hour of Orlando theme parks, so take a day trip or stay in Lakeland and enjoy the Family Fun Center. Stay connected with free WiFi at Munn Park or disconnect at the Silver Moon Drive-In Theater.

Frank Lloyd Wright – FSU

Enjoy Lakeland’s subtropical climate.

Lakeland is located in a subtropical zone where summers are humid and often accompanied by afternoon thunderstorms. Spring starts the rainy season and this is the perfect time to visit the Lakeland Family Fun Center or visit one of the many Lakeland museums. The temperatures begin to cool in the fall and it’s a great season to be active and outdoors. Lakeland is idyllic for those fleeing cold, blustery, northern winters. You can bask at the beach in the dry Lakeland climate during the winter months which are perfectly complemented by mostly sunny skies.

Lakeland Village Beach

Lakeland is truly a land of lakes.

The dominant feature in Lakeland is the city’s lakes – roughly 10 percent of the area is covered by water. You can’t travel far without coming across one of Lakeland’s nature parks. You will find that many residents use the lakes’ names rather than street names as reference points for giving directions. Popular lake attractions, and residents, include a number of descendants of a pair of royal swans which were donated by Queen Elizabeth. Wherever you are in Lakeland, you are bound to be located near one of the 38 named lakes or other unnamed waterways which provided Lakeland with its name.

Lake Morton Swans

 

Gilford, NH for ALL Seasons

Gilford is located in central New Hampshire on the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and the northern slope of Belknap Mountain. Gilford’s vacation rentals have attracted travelers since the early 1800s when farmers supplemented their income by renting to summer boarders. By the early 1900s, winter sports enthusiasts were also vacationing in Gilford for the cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Alpine skiing was also soon popular and Gunstock Mountain introduced the area’s first motorized ski lift and a snow train to transport skiers from Boston. The natural beauty of the mountains and lake continues to appeal to visitors today.

Gunstock Mountain Skiing

Gilford is a family-friendly town with activities for every member of the family.

Gilford activities are seasonal, but there is plenty to do in every season. Gunstock Mountain Resort is popular for its skiing and snowboarding trails and also offers snow tubing, snowshoeing, off-road Segway tours, a treetop adventure, and ziplining. Swim in Lake Winnipesaukee at the Ellacoya State Park. There’s usually a breeze and you can relax on the sandy beach and dine in the picnic area. Don’t miss Funspot – the largest arcade in the world! View Gilford from the sky in a unique biplane tour of the area.

Lake Winnipisaukee

Discover Gilford on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Gunstock Mountain Resort is a fun family destination with breathtaking views of Lake Winnipesaukee and activities for everybody and every season. Pepi Herrmann’s Crystal Gallery & Museum showcases some of the finest hand-cut crystals by a master crystal cutter with one-of-a-kind customized creations. From May through November, sample a diverse selection of locally-produced wines at Stone Gate Vineyard. Experience a show at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, formerly Meadowbrook – a 900 seat amphitheater on the shores of the lake.

New Hampshire Snowmobile Association

Gilford has a season for everyone.

From December through February, relish cold weather sports like skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling, or curl up with a book in front of a roaring fire. Watch the area bloom to life in spring from March through May. Wildflowers burst through the thawing ground and you can visit maple sugar houses for demonstrations on making maple syrup. The lake region comes alive in summer from June through October with area tours, water sports, and an abundance of hiking. The spectacular colors of fall ignite the imagination and experience the crisp, mouth-watering taste of freshly-picked apples.

Wildflowers

Get up close and personal with nature in Gilford.

Gilford vacation rentals allow visitors to enjoy every seasonal pastime imaginable. Belknap Mountain, at the southern point of the town, is the highest point in the area with an elevation of 2,384 feet. Almost 28 percent of the town is covered by water. Discover Gilford’s nature and wildlife with your family and friends. You may be lucky enough to spot a peregrine falcon, moose or speckled fawn. Gilford is the best possible place to experience and enjoy all that nature has to offer, from amazing wildlife to majestic mountains to a sparkling lake.

Motoring to Detroit, MI, USA

Experience culture, history, and dining in Detroit.

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan and is nicknamed the “Motor City” due to its ties to the auto industry. Detroit is also acknowledged as the birthplace of Motown Records. Detroit is a major port on the Detroit River and is home to unique museums, delightful water views, and distinctive restaurants. Explore unique art collections, relax on the waterfront, watch a major league baseball game, or get hands-on with science. Detroit allows visitors to enjoy an exceptional city with a rich, cultural history.

Detroit Riverwalk

Discover Detroit and all of its delights.

Be prepared you to experience Detroit’s activities. Tour Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, and get a behind-the-scene look at the park’s popular attractions. Immerse yourself in river life with a riverboat tour or explore Detroit by land. Stroll, bike, or skate along the 3.5 mile, paved RiverWalk trail where you can also picnic, fish, and take in the breathtaking views of the Detroit River and city skyline. Activities in Detroit are full of history and nostalgia. Shop the treat-filled Eastern Market with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lively street musicians to provide the soundtrack to your day.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

History comes alive at many Detroit attractions.

Take a tour of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is a National Historic Landmark and where Henry Ford first began assembling the Model T. Visit the Fox Theater – a National Historic Landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – that illustrates a number of extravagant architectural styles. Inspire and educate your family at the Michigan Science Center with interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. Reminisce with artifacts, memorabilia, and photos at the Motown Museum. Discover the Detroit Zoo which is home to over 3,300 animals and was the first zoo to feature bar-less exhibits.

Michigan Science Center

Great Lakes affect Detroit climate.

Experience Detroit’s temperate climate and 4 well-defined seasons. The Detroit climate is greatly influenced by the Great Lakes. The condensation of water vapor from the Great Lakes causes frequent cloud coverage over Detroit. Winters are cold with moderate snowfall and summers are warm and sunny. Summers usually run from May to September and are a wonderful time of the year to appreciate the activities on and around the Detroit River. Winter’s chills will provide you time to appreciate the wide variety of museums in the cool winter months.

Detroit River – International Wildlife Refuge

Detroit has unique geographic attributes.

Detroit has the only international wildlife preserve in North America that is located in the heart of a major metropolitan area. The preserve includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, and shoals along 48 miles of the Detroit River. The city slopes gently on a plain composed of clay. Detroit geographical location is north of its sister-city, Windsor, Ontario, and it is the only city in the United States where you need to travel south to reach Canada. Both Detroit and Windsor sit atop the Detroit Moraine, a broad clay ridge which rises approximately 62 feet above the Detroit River.

 

 

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