Archive for the ‘horseback riding’ Category

Fall Foliage: North America’s Best B&B’s

Cool, crisp, clean air brings out the leaf peeper in all of us, so it’s never too soon to pull out a foliage map and ponder where you want to be when the leaves start to turn. Of course, catching the prime peaks and intensity of colors depends on what part of the country you are in, temperature, precipitation, wind, and leaf genetics.

Across North America there are hundreds of inns and B&Bs located near forests, national parks, and vineyards that present thousands of leaf-seekers and eco-adventurer’s with myriad choices for getaways come fall. Explore a regional wine trail, get up in the colorful canopies with the birds via a zip-line adventure, or take an extreme off-road truck ride up a wild mountain. Here are some top suggestions ranging from tame to extreme culled from around North America.

To enjoy fall foliage at its peak, Mary White, founder of, a leading online B&B directory listing hundreds of getaway specials, says, “The character of foliage season is unique to each region; Texas has its golden forests of ‘Lost Maples,’ Arkansas has dogwoods that turn brilliant ruby red. Put your finger anywhere on a map, and there’s good chance spectacular foliage and a welcoming bed and breakfast hosted by innkeepers who know the best routes and secret spots for superb leaf-peeping awaits you.”

She suggests:

  • Check the National Forest Service Foliage Alerts to view maps and foliage reports.
  • Book your B&B early: fall foliage is prime time for visitors so it’s wise to pick your destination and lock in your lodging. Look for deals and better availability if you can getaway mid-week.

Here are some bed and breakfast offerings to elevate foliage viewing to new heights:

Extreme Peeping – Who said leaf peeping has to be tame? It doesn’t have to be during your stay at the lovely Rabbit Hill Inn, inLower Waterford , Vermont . Nestled in the Northeast Kingdom , famous for outdoor sports and covered bridges, the inn offers concierge services for a full range of activities including guided treks, hot air balloon rides, glider rides, golf, and tennis and even finding your way out of a corn maze. The off-road, action-packed Truck Safari up the wild trails of Barron Mountain delivers lion-hearted passengers to a breathtaking vantage point where Franconia Notch, awash in jewel-toned foliage glory, will leave thrill-seeking leaf peepers breathless. Romantic guest rooms with fireplace and whirlpool and candlelit country breakfasts are included, and two Mud Puddle cocktails at the local pub. For extreme thrill seekers zip-lines are also available.

Crush on You Foliage season in Napa , California coincides with grape crushing so visitors can enjoy the bonus of wine tasting and other grape-centric events hosted by local wine producers during this colorful time of year. The historic Beazley House offers a Wine Train package that capitalizes on the beauty of the region in foliage season and the gourmet cuisine and wines for which Napa is so famous. Passengers are treated to first-class service as they sup and sip on board this luxuriously-appointed train as it wends through the countryside and vineyards. The grape vines turn shades of brilliant gold, red, and mahogany in September and October, and the views are breathtaking. Request the Wine Train package when reserving one of the elegant guest rooms with private bath and garden views, and prepare yourself to be further enchanted by the delicious breakfast served each morning.

Jewel of the Ozarks – Eureka Springs is a vibrant Victorian village snuggled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains . With its pristine air, abundance of fall festivals, and many chef-owned eateries, this hamlet is a lovely place while you enjoy the scarlet dogwoods and golden maples. The Inn at Rose Hall is a magnificent recreation of an 1880’s Victorian manse with its period antiques, stained glass windows, and exquisite gardens. Fall gourmet breakfasts reap the bounties of harvest including such delights as pumpkin waffles with orange sauce, and chocolate zucchini bread.

Isle of Color – The spectacle of turning leaves against the backdrop of the deep blue sea, rolling farm land, and towering forests make Canadian Prince Edward Island a unique destination for leaf peepers. The Elmwood Heritage Inn, in Charlottetown , welcomes guests on foliage patrol from mid-September until late October. Century-old majestic elms with gold-crested boughs lining the hidden driveway greet you upon arrival. Cycling, golfing, walking on quiet beaches or taking scenic drives are some ways to enjoy the magnificent vistas. Or, take in the panorama of fall from the golf course, or during a bike ride around what is commonly called, this “gentle island.”

The Gold Standard – The Berkshires rank tops in fall foliage aficionado circles, and the Inn at Green River, in Hillsdale , New York , is the perfect spot for viewing foliage and partaking in the many cultural and gastronomic offerings that make this region so popular. The Inn ‘s1830 Federal-style farmhouse boasts seven romantic guest rooms with fireplaces, and ancient sugar maples and beautiful gardens adorn the grounds. Leaf peepers can begin the day with a leisurely walk down a quiet dirt road known to the locals as “the Dug way,” then progress to a hike at Batfish Falls in Taconic State Park , the Appalachian Trail , orBartholomew’s Cobble. Your innkeepers know the way, and can also direct you to Monument Mountain or Mt. Greylock , or even point you toward more adventurous pursuits such as viewing foliage from a bird’s eye perspective on the zip-line at the new aerial adventure park nearby.

Check out: for all of nature’s great hidden gems.

Empower, Enlighten, Evolve… through Equines

There’s nothing quite like personal growth and discovery… on horseback. I grew up riding in the Arizona desert and when Dad and I took to the canyons and valleys we were like two pilgrims on the search for our own personal holy grail of hope and healing. After all, there was a movie called The Horse Whisperer for a reason.

To that end, when I was told about Equus Elemental, personal development and transformational growth workshops, offering group trainings and coaching utilizing a unique equine-guided process that provides profound and immediate results in all areas of people’s lives, I was hoping and wishing I could fly back stateside just to have a good long ride.

Using the powerful, subtle, non-judgmental guidance of horses in their seminars and workshops is said to accelerate personal growth through facilitated interaction, allowing fast and lasting change.  As horses are natural teachers, mirroring to us our true-selves immediately and non-judgmentally, they teach us how to be present in the moment, how to hold focus and intention, how to communicate honestly and how to be truly aware of the world around us. Growing up, I’m positive that my work on horses forced me to face my fears and my foibles so we recommend giving it a shot. It’s a great idea, isn’t it? You could use some Equine transformation (admit it). Equus Elemental’s will conduct its 2-day workshop “Empower ~ Enlighten ~ Evolve through Equines™”  in Southern Cal at t.h.e. Ranch in Calabasas, 26500 Agoura Rd. 91302, on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20, 2010.

For reservations call 530-265-2636 or register online at Regular tuition is $649 per person, with an early-bird special of $595 if you sign up before May 10, space is limited. Equus Elemental is a member of the Equine Guided Education Association (EGEA)

Boot Camp: Baby You Were Born To Ride

My daddy taught me how to ride, but I still need to giddy up a few times a year just to make sure I haven’t lost my seat (as the cowboys say).

I was born and reared in Arizona so if I didn’t know the difference between a Palomino and a Pinto, I’d be a real disgrace to the community. Not to mention the fact that my grandmother was half-Chiricahua Apache.

Cochise, my favorite Chiricahua Apache. —>

So, what better way to feel out your own native roots than a little Cowgirl Boot Camp? This trip is perfect for the Sex & the City Slicker. Whether you’re Samantha or Charlotte, Alisal Ranch & Resort, nestled on 10,000 acres in Santa Barbara wine country lets you rough it alongside expert wranglers at the Cowgirl, Couples, or Mother/Daughter all-inclusive ‘Boot’ Camp getaways.

Do it with your boo, your mom, or the girls, Alisal has three to four day adventures combining the best of wild west with the adventure of working on a real cattle ranch.

You’ll learn how to “saddle up” before heading out for a two-hour morning horseback ride along Alisal’s 50-miles of trails, lead by a resident ranch hand. For the more experienced rider and horse enthusiast, there’s also the chance to try barrel racing in an authentic open-air, western arena. If roping cattle isn’t your thing, you can head to Alisal’s 100-acre spring fed lake for archery lessons, hike in Deer Canyon, bike to Nojoqui Falls, boat on Alisal Lake, or play tennis.

Breakfast rides to the historic Old Adobe camp, campfires with award-winning singing cowboy Dave Stamey, and two-step lessons at the historic Santa Ynez’s Maverick Saloon, all round-out the horsey experience.

Can I get a ‘Yee-Haw?”

Guests can also schedule a private bootcamp, November through March, by booking a minimum of 10 rooms. Bachelorette party anyone? Alisal offers 73 (telephone-and-television-free) guest cottages and suites, two 18-hole championship golf courses, six tennis courts and a 100-acre spring-fed lake with water sports, including fly fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, in addition to the brand new Alisal Fitness Center & Spa.

Cowgirl Bootcamp is offered:

• November 9-12, 2009

The Cowgirl Bootcamp is $2,450.00 based on double occupancy, including tax and service charges. Additional per person and suite rates are available upon request.

The Cowgirl Bootcamp package includes:

• Studio accommodations with wood-burning fireplace for three nights, four days
• Cocktail receptions each evening
• All meals including wine with dinner
• Private winemaker’s presentation
• Gourmet picnic lunch at Alisal Lake
• Daily horseback rides
• Rope and barrel racing lesson at Alisal rodeo arena
• Traditional hat shaping at Alisal Lake
• Line dancing instruction
• Archery lesson
• Nightly live entertainment in Alisal’s Oak Room

And… a gift basket filled with western amenities on arrival (since who doesn’t love a little swag?)

Giddy Up Girlz. These boots were meant for riding.

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