Don’t Leave Yourself Exhausted… Sleep In!

When on vacation, we tend to think we need to go, go, go and see and do everything, but too much activity can leave you drained  and sluggish. We all know what it feels like to return home from a great trip feeling like you need a vacation after your vacation. This next trip, give yourself the gift of sleeping in. You’ll be glad you did.

The Scientific Debate

Can you catch up on sleep? The jury is still out on this question. However, new studies show there may be a benefit to sleeping in on weekends. So while you may not be able to “catch up” on sleep exactly, there DO seem to be measurable benefits of breaking your workday routine and letting yourself get a couple more hours of sleep on weekends. When on vacation, you have even more opportunity to sleep in and get some much needed rest from your daily grind. 

Sleep More to Do More

Everyone’s vacation style is different. Some travelers have a set plan and agenda of what they want to do and see, while others tend to go with the flow and explore a city more casually. Whatever your style, it’s always best to have enough sleep so you have the energy to enjoy a full day out and about. The hours gained by getting an early start can easily be lost later in the day if you return to your hotel preemptively due to exhaustion.

A Night on the Town

One of the best aspects of traveling to a major city is the active nightlife. Whereas smaller towns may shut down at around 9, major cities have restaurants, theaters, and bars that stay open until well past midnight. After a late night out on the town, you will definitely want to sleep in the next morning. This gives you the added benefit of taking advantage of the hottest brunch spots the next day. 

It’s my vacation and I’ll sleep if I want to!

When you’re on vacation, you don’t need an excuse to sleep in. It’s your vacation, and if you want to sleep in… Do it!

Visit the Montreal Biosphere to Explore Nature, History, and Architecture

The clear dome that forms the Montreal Biosphere is one of the most iconic sights in Quebec. Visitors to Canada’s second-largest province can immerse themselves in history, science, and architectural beauty at this unique attraction.  

History of the Montreal Biosphere

The Montreal Biosphere was originally built as part of the World’s Fair Exhibition in Montreal in 1967. Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, designed the structure, which he originally named the Geodesic Dome. The large dome was originally intended to be taken down at the end of the fair, along with many surrounding structures, but it ultimately became a permanent, highly-recognizable element of the Montreal skyline.

The aesthetic dome is famous for its ability to survive multiple disasters and remain an intact piece of Canadian tourism. Nine years after the fair, the structure caught fire as a result of a welding accident, and it was closed to the public until 1995. The dome was renovated and reopened as an environmental museum in 1995, and it was again damaged by an ice storm only three years later. 

Visiting the Montreal Biosphere

The dome has been repaired for a second time, and its museum remains open. Visitors to Parc Jean-Drapeau, the large park that surrounds the museum, can visit the only North American environmental museum to learn more about the history and importance of protecting the environment. Viewing the biosphere itself can also be breathtaking and inspiring for visitors of all ages. 

Admission to the museum is $15 for adults and $10 for college students, and children under 18 are free. The museum is open daily, except on many holidays, from 10am-5pm, and guests must arrive no later than 4:15pm. 

If you plan to take public transit to view the structure, it is located a short walk from the Jean-Drapeau station on the Yellow Line.

If you’re looking for something to do that combines beauty and education on your next trip to Montreal, look no further than the Montreal Biosphere. From the structure’s intricate architecture to its fascinating history, the biosphere is sure to appeal to a variety of visitors.   

Visit the Glowworm Tunnel for an Illuminated Hike

If you’re searching for something unusual to do on your next trip to the Outback, look no further than the Glowworm Tunnel in Helensburgh. While you probably won’t find this obscure attraction in your Australia travel guide, it just might make you forget the Australian countryside and feel as though you’re in another world. 

History of the Glowworm Tunnel 

Until 1995, the Metropolitan Tunnel, also known as the Glowworm Tunnel, was just like any other abandoned railroad tunnel. It was closed in 1915, filled with water, and was largely ignored for eighty years. During the decades of being untouched by humans, a large number of luminescent glowworms began to call the tunnel home. The glowworms lingered after the tunnel was drained in 1995, and the now brightly-lit tunnel has become a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Australia that enjoy finding things to do that their friends have never heard of. 

Visiting the Glowworm Tunnel 

Although the Glowworm Tunnel can be visited year round, it is a good idea to check the weather before trekking out of town to check out this unique sight. Light rain can make the rocks inside the tunnel slippery and difficult to walk on, and strong rain can flood the tunnel. However, if you enjoy canoeing or kayaking, floating through the flooded tunnel can create the most unforgettable ride you’ve ever been on.

Be sure to pack comfortable shoes with good grips to minimize slipping, and dress in layers, as the interior of the tunnel may be cooler or more humid than the outdoor temperature. Bring plenty of water and snacks if you’re planning to stay for a while. While the tunnel can be a magical sight for children, be sure to instruct them before you arrive to walk carefully, not run, and not touch the glowworms unless instructed to do so. 

While the Metropolitan Tunnel is one of the brightest and best-known places to find glowworms, there are others throughout Australia and New Zealand. If there’s an Australian vacation in your future, be sure to add the Glowworm Tunnel to your list of must-see sights!  

Visit a Real Enchanted Forest in British Columbia

Enchanted forests have existed in childhood imaginations for centuries thanks to a myriad of fairy tales written and passed on from generation-to-generation. Visions of sugar plums aren’t just dancing in Christmas rhymes, hundreds of stationary fairy-folk, magical cottages, babbling brooks and slow-moving streams full of spawning salmon all come alive at The Enchanted Forest in Canada.

This isn’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen type of a theme park with stereotypical rides and carnival games intentionally designed to deny players a prize. Instead, visitor’s imaginations will go wild soaking in all of the magical sights and sounds at this truly out-of-the-ordinary destination that’s visually stunning found deep in the forests of British Columbia.

Lucious Location

The Enchanted Forest is located around 23 miles west of Revelstoke, another 275 miles west of Calgary or 420 miles northeast from Seattle, Washington. Basically, it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a positively breathtaking, beautiful location that was carefully selected as a remote location by the original creators of this magical dreamland.

The Labor of Love Behind a Dreamland

This wooded wonderland was the brainchild of Ernest and Doris Needham, a real-life fairy-tale couple from the middle of the last century. Doris was an artist local to Revelstoke whose muse was primarily fairy-tale figurines that were all hand-crafted without the use of traditional molds or conventional forms. Along with her loving husband Ernest, the duo searched for over two years to find the perfect, isolated home for hundreds of her one-of-a-kind creations and handiwork. 

The couple would spend their golden years of retirement clearing at least eight of 40 acres of the forest they leased and eventually purchased from the crown. They performed all of the clearings of trails and pathways entirely by hand using only shovels, picks and a crosscut saw. In a labor of love and devotion, Ernest constructed their unique home, the Candy Cane cottage with a gravity-fed water system from a nearby waterfall that’s still in existence today.  

Alluring and Amazing Attractions

The main trail through this fantastic forest is home to over 350 folk art figurines along with British Columbia’s tallest treehouse rising over 50 feet into the lush, green woods. There’s also a giant cedar tree stump-house, a castle complete with dungeons and a dragon. With surprises around almost every corner, this is a magical, must-see destination for adults and children of all ages. 

Visiting the Site of the SS Ayrfield Shipwreck

The SS Ayrfield Shipwreck can get found in Homebush Bay, which is a bay on the southern bank of the Parramatta River. The Parramatta River gets located on the Inner West Bay of Sydney, Australia. The SS Ayrfield has been sitting in the same foliage over 100 years ago and still sits in Homebush Bay to this day.

The catch is: this cargo ship never sank, which is rather miraculous given all the trees and foliage that have become intertwined with the base of the ship in the last century.

History of the SS Ayrfield Shipwreck

The SS Ayrfield shipwreck can be viewed still floating in the water from the nearby lands around Homebush Bay. The same can get said for many other ships that have been stranded in the area or wrecked nearby. Most ships that wrecked here in this area have been there for at least a century since the area was a bustling trading post to Australia back in the late 1800s and into the early 20th century.

Homebush Bay Gets Brought Back to Life

The area was revamped and refurbished by the economic boom that hosting the 2000 Olympics brought to the area. Homebush Bay has now been made into a tourist destination as the funds that were sunk into the area rebuilt it to be similar to the bustling trading post that it was back over a century ago when these types of cargo ships frequented the area to trade supplies with those who lived in the area.

SS Ayrfield a Tourist’s Attraction

The SS Ayrfield’s remains and so many others are seen as tourist attractions today The SS Ayrfield is essentially an amazing, floating platform covered by a small forest. Many tours that come through the area where the SS Ayrfield rests also take people to see other local attractions such as Hyde Park and other tours even take people throughout the entire city of Sydney to see many other great attractions!

Conclusion

If you are in the Sydney area, the SS Ayrfield is an attraction worth stopping to see! Prices are quite affordable, and people who have gone on these tours give it great reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor.

If you are ever in the Sydney area, it’s definitely worth stopping by the SS Ayrfield and witnessing what is now a beautiful floating forest! 

On the Open Road

Road trips are the staple of many American family vacations. Whether it’s to someplace new or a family favorite, a road trip can be a lot of fun. Veteran road trippers have their favorite snacks and nostalgic playlists. There is a road trip out there for everyone, no matter how much time you have to dedicate to it. 

A Brief History

According to Time Magazine, people have always romanticized the idea of traveling away. In the early 20th century people from the cities dreamed of escaping the cramped city center, although road trips as we think of them today weren’t a reality yet. The very first road trip across America was taken in 1903 by Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson according to SFGate. The journey from San Francisco to New York took 63 days and cost $8,000! Luckily this same trip today wouldn’t cost you nearly as much or take as long. 

Destination 

Picking where you want to go or what you want to see is the first step, but you don’t always have to have an answer! If you just want to see something, you can grab some snacks, hop in the car, and drive in any direction you choose. You can drive as far as you have the inclination to go. You never know — you could discover your new favorite place by accidentally stumbling into it. 

Safety and Precautions 

Before embarking on a road trip there are several steps you should take to ensure your safety. Popular Mechanics has this checklist for your car to make sure its in road trip shape. You should have an emergency kit in your car with things like batteries, flashlights, a blanket, energy bars, bottled water, cat litter (great for gaining traction in the snow!), as well as anything else you personally might need to feel safer. Inform someone you are going and how long you expect to be gone (and update them if the plans change). Having a cell phone (even if it is just a prepaid one) with you will go a long way to ensure you don’t end up stranded if you run into problems. 

Why Drive?

With planes and trains and buses, why should you drive instead? While these other modes of transportation have their own benefits, driving to your destination creates another layer to your vacation. You have the ability to see more sights, discover more hidden gems, and create lasting memories with anyone you bring with you. So, why not drive?

Serenity in the Sand

Beaches are a place of wonder, and not every beach trip is made equal. There are many different ways to enjoy a day (or a week) in the sand. Even the beaches themselves are different. Sleeping Bear Dunes in northern Michigan, for example, boasts beautiful dunes you can climb, trails to walk, and a beautiful view of the lake, which is a vastly different experience than a trip to La Chiva Beach in Puerto Rico. La Chiva sports crystal clear waters for snorkeling and water that is an awe inspiring blue. 

Origins of Beach Vacations

Beaches didn’t always promote feeling of relaxation and tranquility. In fact, it was quite the opposite! According to Smithsonian Magazine, beaches were feared as being wild and dangerous. They were a place of shipwrecks and natural disasters. That viewpoint wouldn’t change until the mid 1700’s. It wasn’t until the 20th century that beach vacations started becoming popular in the Americas, Paste reports. 

Tranquility of the Water

Walking slowly along the beach as the sand shifts between your toes and over your feet, while looking out over the small, blue, crashing waves can bring feelings of relaxation in a class of its own. And science can prove it! Inc discusses the calming effect the color blue can have on the brain activity as well as the benefits walking over sand has on pressure points in your feet. Going to the beach is proven to be good for your health. Start planning your beach trip now, it’s for your overall well being. 

Precautions

As relaxing as the beach can be, there are still times when it could be dangerous. Be sure to check with the correct local offices or authorities to determine if the conditions of the beach will be safe before you head out. Things such as high water levels, riptides, or other weather events could be a factor in determining the safety of the beach. 

Extreme Love

After some ups and downs in her life, Janet Blaser took a trip to Mazatlán, Mexico. She loved the beach, the people, and the culture so much she moved there! She now lives for about $1000 a month on the beach in Mexico, and can’t imagine being anywhere else. 

Cards Anyone?

While it is difficult to calculate, some 1,000 – 10,000 card games have been developed through the years, according to the International Playing-Card Society. Not everything to do with cards is fun and games though. Fortune tellers use tarot cards in order to forecast someone’s future, magicians use cards to develop mind-boggling tricks, and history reveals some cards even being used as a form of currency.

How did cards evolve?

The precursor for playing a game of cards developed centuries ago in China, sometime around 1000 AD. They made their way through the Middle East and Egypt, reaching the European continent around 1360. Recorded in history was a Swiss ordinance banning cards in Bern in 1367. In Paris, a 1377 ordinance referenced the use of playing cards, showing that card games were catching on around the continent.

While ever-evolving, the idea of 52 cards in a deck seems to have come along from the Middle East, which was very active in the study of astronomy. The most prevailing concept is that the four suits represent the four seasons. Thirteen cards per suit, from the ace to the king, are thought to represent the nearly 13 lunar cycles of a year.

While the face cards continually changed from country to country, the idea of the king, queen, and jack undoubtedly developed in Europe. The joker came about later and is believed to be derived from the juker in the game Euchre, invented in 1860. The Euchre juker is the card that trumps all others, and the joker is similarly used in many card games today.

Game Cards Come to America

While card decks arrived with European settlers into the US, it was in 1885 that the first Bicycle brand cards were produced by Russell, Morgan & Co. Different types of games evolved including versions of poker which included gambling, family games, and, of course, solitaire.

The top three family card games, according to Bicycle cards, are Slapjack, Crazy Eights, and Play or Pay played with poker chips or candy, rather than real money. A ladies afternoon tea and game of cards often involves bridge or canasta. Some specialty games have warranted development of special decks for children such as Go Fish, and Old Maid, although regular decks of cards will also work.

Cards games have become an institution in everyday life for fun, relaxation, and skill. Few family households don’t have a deck of cards in a drawer, and few computer users don’t have at least one card game bookmarked on their favorites list.

Camping Under the Stars

There is nothing in the world quite like a hot cup of coffee, from an old fashioned percolator, first thing in the morning on a campsite. Surrounded by the sounds of nature waking up as the sun filters through the trees. Camping is a family tradition for a lot of families. 

Through Time in the Trees

Thomas Hiram Holding was the man to put camping on the map, so to speak. Britannica writes, Holding was moved by the experiences he had as a boy which lead him to write two books on the matter and create the first camping association (Association of Cycle Campers) in 1901. By 1932 the first international camping organization was formed (International Federation of Camping and Caravanning). According to CampTrip, the 1960s saw a large increase in the number of families that took to camping as a vacation. It was cheaper than the previous alternative and lent itself to more time with nature. There was a significant improvement in the quality of the gear and a reduction in its weight. 

Nature Heals

Both the Huffington Post and the National Parks Service agree that going camping is good for your overall health. Being in nature for even a few minutes a day can help relieve stress, but staying out in nature without any screens can improve your circadian rhythms (which can aid in a better night’s sleep), reduce depression, and allow you the ability to truly appreciate all the beauty there is to be had in the natural world. Bringing people you care about with you can help build relationships and give you even more memories to share. 

Getting Started

RootsRated has a very comprehensive list of what you need and how to decide which type of supplies are best for you. To add to that list, a wire rack to go over the fire can be a great cooking tool. It’s cheaper than a stove if you are just starting out, but it takes more practice to cook with. A kitchen tent (a tall screened-in room that can be assembled over a picnic table) can be very helpful to store food and provide a place to eat without as many bugs. A hatchet to split your own wood can also be a lifesaver. You can’t go wrong with some rope and clothespins for an easy clothesline. Water Jugs will be needed along with the water bottle because you will most likely need to walk to a water pump for water, and one bottle just won’t cut it. A tarp is also a good thing to keep around. The more you camp the more you will tailor your supplies to your needs. Camping truly is a wonderful experience everyone should have at least once.