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Use juicy in-season fruit for a summer salad recipe served best on a patio. Created by Paula Lambert, founder of the Dallas based Mozerella Company, and our supreme authority on all things involving cheese.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the orange juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified.
Makes about ½ cup vinaigrette
1 fennel bulb
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled and segmented
4 ounces field greens
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Remove and discard the stalks from the fennel and very thinly slice the bulb. Place in a large salad bowl and add the onion. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss to coat, set aside and marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Peel the orange, removing the bitter white pith. Using a sharp knife, slice between the membranes to release the orange segments; set aside.
Just before serving time, add the greens and oranges to the fennel, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until the greens are well-coated. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place one-eighth of the shredded cheese in a mound in the skillet. Cook until the bottom is browned, several minutes. Use a spatula to remove the cheese from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat to make 8 fricos in all.
To serve, divide the salad among 4 salad plates and top each with 2 fricos. Serve immediately.
I saw ‘The Big Villa Sleep Out’ advertised a few months ago and instantly knew I had to be part of it, no matter what. I applied immediately, committed to raising the minimum £100 sponsorship and then, and only then, did I read a little bit more about what was involved.
Quite simply, for the ‘Sleep Out’ – you were required to be ‘homeless’ for the night and spend the night in a sleeping bag and away from home comforts. The event was going to be held at Villa Park; organised by the Aston Villa Foundation and all money raised would be used to support the charities for homeless people in and around Birmingham.
Well, how can you not be part of it?
Panic Sets In
On the day of the event (Friday 18th May) I started to have a few doubts; a few ‘what if’s’ and a sudden moment of regret. I’m the girl who doesn’t do camping in any shape or form, so what makes me think I can cope sleeping rough for the night? We arrived (my lovely friend Trish was also taking part) at 9 p.m., signed in and grabbed our cardboard. Yes, we had the luxury of cardboard and initially took one large piece each, before realising that everyone else had 3 pieces. Huh?! We scanned the concourse that was going to be home for the night and noticed that everyone else had made cardboard tents – ahhh, we get it now.
The Foundation staff organised icebreakers, a quiz and a tour of the grounds to pass the time but this was now about 11p.m. on a Friday night – not a time I usually see to be honest. Most Friday’s nights I’m asleep on the settee, mouth open and dribbling long before Graham Norton comes on at 10.30 p.m. Unfortunately, directly above us was the hospitality suite, in full swing with a very loud party – so should we have even wanted to sleep, it’s safe to say we couldn’t. ‘Wonderwall’ being ruined by many drunken people is not exactly music to drift off to.
Hot Chocolate = Life
Cardboard helps cushion against the hard ground.
After yet another hot chocolate, we decided (at 1a.m.) to try and get some sleep. Wriggling into a sleeping bag under a cardboard tent that is very precariously balanced is no mean feat – and even worse when you get a horrific cramp in your toes. Of all the things I had planned for (the cold, being uncomfortable, away from my bed)…Cramps? Nope. I wriggled back out of my sleeping bag like some deformed ninja; my toes cramping now in both feet and incredibly painful. More by luck than skill, the tent stayed intact and I massaged life back into my feet whilst cursing quietly under my breath.
For the next few hours, in between dozing, I got sciatica in my hip, the sleeping bag rolled down under my bum, the generator went off (very bloody loudly) every 20 minutes and the guy in the next tent snored (also very bloody loudly). I wasn’t cold per se but when I finally decided I couldn’t lie on the floor any longer (05.30), I left the relative warmth of my sleeping bag to have a stretch. And then, despite my layers of clothes, I was freezing!
Gratitude Floods My Senses
As I stood on the terrace of the Trinity Stand, I was suddenly overcome with gratitude. Who am I to moan about sciatica, a noisy generator and somebody snoring? It was for ONE NIGHT ONLY. One night! Homeless people live like this every night. They have to put up with much worse on the streets. We were lucky; we were glamorous homeless people – we had toilets, hot drinks, food, each other.
Whilst we may not have been totally homeless for the night, we did raise money and more importantly awareness of other people’s situations; situations they shouldn’t be in. Why are people homeless at all – it’s 2019 for goodness sake!
The experience was different, unique and without a doubt, something I would do again in heartbeat. Even though I didn’t get nearly the sleep my fitbit reported!
Regardless of your industry, competition will always be ready to overtake you. When business is doing well there can be a tendency to settle in and go with the flow. But if your competition is paying more attention to changes in buying habits, trends, demographics, technology or any number of other changes going on in the marketplace, they’ll leap ahead. So rather than succumb to the danger of the comfort zone, each new season is a perfect time to evaluate change and foster business innovation. Whether your organization is large or small, what’s important is that you keep innovating.
Six Ways to Spur Business Innovation
Establish a brainstorming forum
Set up specific times when employees can openly express their thoughts about everything from how your internal processes are operating to the actual products/services you provide your client base. Create a welcoming environment for ideas to be freely expressed. Here, no idea is too ridiculous. Sometimes an idea that seems off base can be just the thing to prod a new idea that really works. Stay open to everyone’s input, regardless of position or age. Hold all criticism for post evaluation. If you’re not the person to facilitate openness, get someone who is. The main thing is to make the environment safe so that everyone feels comfortable to contribute.
Who are the clients you have the longest, trusted relationships with? The ones who love you? When is the last time you reached out to reinforce those valued relationships? When is the last time you had a cup of coffee with them and asked for help with referrals? In a survey of women business owners asked what they do to remain positive when there are challenges, 92 percent noted they counted on networking and building relationships. It’s important to never lose that edge.
Sometimes the way to make the pie bigger is to share with others who have a vested interest in your success. Are there other people you could partner with, in or out of your specific area of business? Others are experiencing the same changes that you are and are likely looking for new money opportunities as well. Often, if you help others make money, you’ll make money, too.
Review what failed
Look at things that have not worked in the past—whether it’s an internal process or sales technique. Often looking at what didn’t work, evaluating why and tweaking it just a bit, creates a solution in what may have previously been a problem.
Likewise, just because something seems to work now, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, augmented, updated…or more importantly, applied to another area. Sometimes the things we think are fine have actually passed their prime and caused us to be complacent, which leads to decline. Walt Disney said, “When you blend the old with the new, you get new again.” What old success might work better if you blend it with the new?
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
With today’s constantly change, chances are most of your customers are going through similar challenges. What kind of excuses are you hearing? What lessons can you learn through them? Dig beneath comments to unearth what’s really being said and use that information to be their problem solver.
Leaders Seek Constant Improvement
Successful business leaders take time to look into the future, think innovatively and gain an edge on their competition proactively. They excel by identifying new needs to meet. They constantly seek to grow. Are you one of these leaders? If not, it’s time to take the time to spur business innovation.
Perhaps you’ve always been the organized type, or maybe you’ve embraced the “get organized” trend and decided that the clutter in the spaces where you live simply has to go.
Either way, visions of beautiful, organized spaces might be dancing in your head. If so, they’re definitely not alone. Each of us experiences about 60,000 thoughts a day, likely leaving your brain more cluttered than any of your living spaces!
So before you rely on a newly organized home or office to provide the peace and calm you’re hoping for, try going back to basics and taking a look at your mind.
Signs of an Unorganized Mind
Those 60,000 thoughts a day are coming in and you sift through them, filing some here, putting some there and keeping lots of them front-and-center—allowing them to loop over and over in your mind.
If your mind isn’t organized, those 420,000 thoughts a week (nearly 22 million a year!) are going to cause chaos, stress and overwhelm.
Stress and overwhelm don’t feel good, and they cause us to become irritable, procrastinate, make poor decisions and indulge in destructive behaviors such as overeating, overdrinking and overspending.
If we allow our minds to get cluttered with all of those thoughts, the negative effects will definitely show up in our lives.
What to do With All Those Scattered Thoughts
Imagine your mind as a house, with special rooms for certain categories of thoughts. What rooms do you have in your house?
We all have a space for subconscious thoughts—those that we rarely recognize—that enable us to walk and talk and brush our teeth with little mental effort. There are also rooms for memories, judgments and grudges, self-talk, future plans and dreams, appreciations and more. Many of us might have an entire room set aside just to answer the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?”
Take a look at your thoughts and make time to categorize them carefully. It’s the same as organizing your house. Is each thought useful? Is there enough space to store it? You get to choose which thoughts to keep and which to let go.
When you take a tour through the house in your mind, are there rooms that you’d rather not enter? Are there some in which you’ve been hoarding thoughts that are no longer serving you? You must ask yourself if you want to keep living in the same house with the same rooms with the same thoughts that just keep piling up and weighing you down.
Go into those rooms.
Let go of those thoughts.
Make space for new perspectives, ideas and goals.
When you make a practice of doing this, you’ll see positive effects in your life. Imagine how you might redesign the house in your mind with carefully selected thoughts that are positive and that serve you. When you bring in a new thought, do it deliberately and purposefully. Make sure it’s useful and good.
Want to keep your mind organized and clutter free? Declutter each day with a journaling exercise called a thought download. Use a pretty journal or a simple sheet of paper and take five minutes to write down your thoughts—anything that comes to mind. Then read what you’ve written, with curiosity and without judgment.
This exercise allows you to release unwanted thoughts and see the value of those you’d like to keep. It also reinforces the idea that all of your thoughts are optional.
Think of it like this. Imagine that you’re cleaning out one of the closets in the house in your mind. Take out everything, then only put back the thoughts that are satisfying, healthy and positive.
Get out your journal and get to work. You’re the caretaker of the house in your mind. Put in the effort to make it beautiful.
Stand out this summer with these unique styles from animal to oriental, these tropical prints turn heads, taking their inspiration by mai-tais and lush jungles. These pieces sing of vacations in Bali. Even if you’re not leaving your office, you can still put the chill-factor of summer into your wardrobe while you watch your countdown clock to vacation hours kicking in, dreaming of your toes in the sand and surf.
Whether you’re looking for a unique dress or a exceptional piece of jewelry the fashion items below will add an extra exotic touch to your style.
Bored with your go-to drink? Amp up the festivity of your next pool party – even when it’s a party of one. Get adventurous by trying new summer cocktails.
You start celebrating with your eyes, so take the time to use your special glasses (plastic if near the pool!), ice them down and add pretty garnish. Shake all non-fizzy liquids if possible. It makes the drinks colder, adds show appeal and tones your arms.
Our Prime writers share their favorite summer cocktails to refresh your repertoire. Cheers!
Blueberry Mojito Pitcher
by Danielle Dayries:
“Yes, a pitcher! it is hot here in NOLA!”
Mash blueberries and strain.
Muddle with a big handful of mint.
Juice several limes & add.
Mix in silver rum and sugar/simple syrup.
Pour into glasses and top with soda water.
You can use either fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries. Mash the berries up until they’ve released their juice. Then pour the juice and berry skins through a mesh strainer and set the juice aside for the moment.
Next, take a big handful of mint leaves and lightly muddle them in the pitcher, just enough to bring out their flavor but not enough to make them bitter. A simple press and a turn or two is enough.
At this point, juice the limes and pour the juice into your pitcher. Or if you have a hand juicer, squeeze straight in. Then pour in the blueberry juice, rum (1/2 cup), and sugar syrup (make ahead and keep in the fridge!).
Give everything a stir and add some ice to the pitcher. Then add the soda water.
Serve the mojitos in tall, ice-filled glasses and add whatever garnishes like blueberries, fresh mint, basil leaves, an umbrella, etc..!
by Janice Sharry
“Can also make a big pitcher! Everyone will want more!”
4 bottles Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
2 cups Licor 43
1 cup limoncello
1 Sliced orange
2 cups of raspberries and/or blackberries (also can use blueberries)
3 bottles sparkling wine like Prosecco or Cava
Combine the wine and liquors. Place mint leaves at bottom of each glass and add a few berries and one orange slice. Fill glasses half full. Before serving, top off with sparkling wine.
A Splash of Pina Colada
by Nancy Weiss:
“It’s a lighter version of a pina colada. There aren’t exact measurements as a group of friends and I just made up drinks for fun after a round of golf.”
Coconut Flavored Rum
Splash of pineapple
Carrot Ginger Margarita
by Debbie Johnson
Shake together and pour over ice:
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. carrot juice (easy to buy fresh squeezed in the grocery)
1/2 oz. lime juice (again, fresh squeezed from the grocery)
1/2 oz. ginger syrup (we make ours from agave nectar and heat it with some grated fresh ginger)
The sudden onslaught of twinges, tweaks, aches and things that suddenly go *ping* can seriously make us question that whole “age is just a number” philosophy.
I’m a distance runner, so being in some amount of pain somewhere nearly all the time isn’t that unusual for me. However, having pain that interrupted my ability to run or was painful enough to make it difficult to get comfortable during the rest of my day – that was new.
Bodies get tighter as we age: muscles reduce in size, meaning what’s there has to work harder. Tissue is drier and less flexible, making it more vulnerable to injury. As a result, hamstring pulls in particular are quite common in older women who run, as this 51-year-old can personally attest.
A hamstring pull (literally, stepping off a curb to dart over to the post office and feeling it go *ping*) derailed my running for several months and made a fun relay race with friends into a constant worry that I wouldn’t be able to run my legs, so to speak.
I dialed the running way back, slowed down, and things got better. But the tightness and soreness never quite went away. I lived in fear of the next *ping.*
I tried it along with their CBD and Turmeric Relief & Recovery Capsules. The tightness went away after just a few applications of the cream and just yesterday morning after my run, I realized for the first time in nearly a year, my hamstring didn’t even cross my mind (which is a weird visual but you know what I mean) the entire run.
The cream is cooling, especially post-shower, so be ready for that, but it absorbs quickly, doesn’t make a mess, and best of all, it works. It has a pleasant, mild smell and even if you slather your entire body in it, it won’t set off alarms at your next required drug test at work.
I work for a company that helps women in menopause, and aches and pains are extremely common for this demographic. So I contacted Sagely Naturals Cofounder Kerrigan Behrens to learn more about how and why their product works.
What is CBD?
Doesn’t it have something to do with marijuana? Yes, cannabidiol (CBD) comes from cannabis and hemp plants, Kerrigan told me. No, CBD will not get you high (the ingredient in marijuana that performs that function is THC). It’s a naturally occurring compound with relatively few associated side effects and it’s rapidly gaining in popularity for everything from sleep promotion to anxiety relief. And when CBD is sourced for products such as Sagely’s, it comes entirely from hemp plants to ensure there’s no THC present.
How does CBD relieve joint and muscle pain?
The pain in joints and muscles is from inflammation, Kerrigan said. Exercise literally tears you down leaving little micro-tears in muscle tissue. The repair to those tissues is what makes muscles grow bigger. It’s a fascinating process, but it can be painful, especially if you overdo it at the gym or on the track.
The good news is, those parts of the body that hurt also tend to be rich in cannabinoid receptors, meaning it’s easy for the body to access and utilize CBD’s inflammation-soothing qualities.
And that appears to be what CBD does, though we don’t entirely understand the mechanism yet. Nor are there large-scale studies that verify that CBD works at all, but certainly the anecdotal evidence – like my test, for example – is that CBD effectively relieves pain.
And in even better news…
The products I used definitely help relieve pain but the promise of CBD, particularly for women in their prime years, is even more exciting. Many women have found that CBD helps them sleep better and reduces anxiety, two of the most challenging symptoms of menopause.
Is CBD safe?
Classified by the FDA as a “Controlled Substance” until 2018, CBD hasn’t gotten a lot of study, so it’s good to approach with some caution. If you’ve been warned not to drink grapefruit juice because of possible interactions with medications you’re taking, be sure to check with your doc before adding CBD, as it can have the same effects.
Probably the biggest concern around CBD is that it’s considered a “supplement” by the FDA, and thus gets far less regulation and oversight than pharmaceuticals. If you get your CBD from a less-reputable source, the ingredients and amounts listed on the label may not match what’s actually in the bottle.
As a runner, I’m pretty cautious about what I put in and on my body. I felt entirely comfortable with Sagely Natural’s products. I continue to use the cream and the capsules, more as preventative measures than to manage any existing issues. If you’re interested in adding CBD for pain to your menopause-management tool kit, I suggest talking with a menopause expert physician or nurse practitioner who can help you understand how to use it and how it might interact with medications you’re taking.
Want in on a bigtime beauty secret? One of the biggest up-and-coming beauty hacks is broccoli seed oil. It’s the perfect ingredient in a prime woman’s skin care routine, because it’s helpful to mature skin that’s looking for added hydration and a more youthful appearance by way of the resulting plumping.
(Yes, yet another ingredient that seems to belong in the kitchen. However, that’s the beauty of organic skin care!)
Basically, broccoli seed oil provides a natural deterrent to free radicals (otherwise known as pollution particles), which are responsible for a lot of the ‘damage’ to our skin, but are often overlooked as a concern with the conversation typically revolving around sun damage.
Boosts Hydration By Activating Ceramides.
Linoleic Acid, targets ceramide synthesis. Ceramides are the structures that tell all the other the skin cells what to do, and also helps create a protective layer that visibly ‘plumps’ the skin. (So, ‘plump’ is a weird word, right? Can we all agree on this?)
May Offer Skin Cancer Protection
According to the chemist Marie-Veronique Nadeau. the oil can help protect against skin cancer. “Broccoli seed oil contains sulforaphane, a compound which mobilises cellular defences that protect the skin against UV damage,” she said in an interview with Fashionista.
Plus, Oprah loves Sunday Riley! When she included the brand’s ‘Good Genes’ on her Faves List last Christmas, the oils sold out in an instant.
‘Juno’ Provides All Sorts of Healthy Stuff to Fight The Effects of Aging
Vitamin A, an antioxidant that is most used in retinol products. Retinoids cause a reaction for many women, so this is a natural source of that magic ingredient that is effective without side effects.
Fatty acids Omega-9 and Omega-3, for hydration.
Contains Vitamin C, which helps with collagen production, aka “Goodbye, wrinkles…”
This blend is an antioxidant-rich superfood facial oil, including blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, wild carrot, black cumin, and grape oils.
How To Use
The added bonus with broccoli seed oil, as if it needed one, is its usefulness in a variety of applications:
It’s perfect for use on damaged hair, tame frizz and flyaways, split ends, dry scalp or other related issues.
Topical source of sulforaphane which has antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory effects.
You can put it in smoothies, or salad dressing a few drops at a time to aid in its anti-inflammatory effects.
Aids in relief and prevention of razor burn.
Micro-spa treatment for cuticles and nails.
(See our recommendations at the bottom of this article for the best pure broccoli seed oil by Telia Oils, and even a lip balm!)
Reviews from real women, over 50, if you’re not convinced yet:
“How wonderful it is to find a product that does what it advertises. I use this oil every night (after my retinA) and I wake up with clear, rosy, bright, moisturized and unblemished skin. How great is that?” cindyfn
“This is a lovely, effective oil that smooths nicely over serums without pilling, and works well daytime with moisturizer cream. It just plain ‘boosts’ my serums and daily moisturizer.” DLThorne
“I have combo skin that is very sensitive. I have tried a few oils and this one is my favorite, I finally went with the big bottle. Many products cause irritation and even hives on my skin. I recently started using retinol and put this oil on top to prevent over drying and irritation.” –anonymous
Moving into a second career is a joy, but also complex and stressful. I went from businesswoman to writer. Gulp. You may be going in the opposite direction: from artist, say, to managing a non-profit or becoming a fundraiser or board member. Whatever your transition, it’s bound to feel exciting, difficult, weird, complex, incomprehensible, and joyous. Sometimes all at the same time. Here are a few tips I hope will help as you ride the rollercoaster.
Remember, This Is New
New is always challenging. Thrilling, maybe, but also hard, especially if you’re going from being knowledgeable, even expert, in your former field to being a novice in your new one. You’ll likely miss feeling like a pro, having people ask for your advice, or even just knowing what the heck you’re doing. This is par for the course. Get used to it. Enjoy the learning curve, if you can. Trust that, no matter how bewildering it may seem at first, there will come a time when you really do know what you’re doing.
Give yourself a break and expect that you’ll ask a million questions, feel uncomfortable at times, even feel dumb. You’re not dumb, though, you’re simply inexperienced.
As I struggled to learn how to write fiction, something I’d expected would be a slam dunk, I reminded myself I was a “baby novelist.” Eventually, I became an adolescent novelist, and later on my novelist self grew up. At the beginning, though, it helps to lower your expectations of performance. Babies take in massive amounts of new data, process it, make mistakes, and develop tons of new skills. They’re great role models!
I’m sure you’ve been told how helpful goal setting is; that it’s hard to meet a target if you don’t know what it is. Second careers are a marvelous case in point. You may feel like you’re floundering around trying to absorb all the new stuff coming at you for the first several months. So instead of passively being buffeted by whatever comes your way, assign yourself goals so that you can feel you’re taking charge.
You might decide that, for the first week, your goals are figuring your physical way around a new place, assigning faces to names, and getting all the right forms filled out. Or you might use the first week to build a plan for success in your new endeavor.
For the rest of the first month you might decide to understand your colleagues’ skill sets, to get a firm understanding of the organization’s financial picture. Or, to meet your new clients, to create weekly goals-whatever makes sense to you. Then pick a larger goal or two for the second month, and the third. At the end of each day, or week-if that feels more right to you, ask yourself what you did toward achieving your objectives.
And here’s a key point: write down what you’ve done, daily or weekly. I find I forget what I’ve done in a whole long week, so I keep notes daily. At the end of three months, you might want to set longer term goals, feel you’re comfortable enough to give up setting goals, or find it’s such a helpful practice you’ll continue on setting short term goals that take you toward successfully mastering your new career.
Some of us find it harder to ask for help as we grow older; personally, I find it easier because I’m more aware of how much each of us depends upon other people to succeed. In either case, while everyone knows your new to this, you have a wide-open window to ask for help.
Creating your own road map can help you feel secure while you navigate a new career.
If you don’t have colleagues to turn to, look for a course in your subject matter, either online or in-person. Read books. Follow the developments in your new field. Join associations in your new industry. Attend conferences. In other words, reach out for as much training and broadening of experience as you can. Intend to become expert at your new endeavor, and, with time and effort, you will.
Enjoy Something You’re Already Good At
While learning a new field, new skills, a whole new career for heaven’s sake, it can tend to take over our lives. But we aren’t babies at everything, are we? You might be great at bridge, or soccer, or painting.
Make sure to set aside time from the absorbing new career to remind yourself you’re a fully grown woman with other interests and proficiencies. Enjoy them! In my case, I took up hiking. In the process of climbing 48 mountains, I offered myself the sense of success I yearned for while progressing from baby novelist to mature writer. Concrete wins, wherever they come from, boost our self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when we’re taking on the brave, bold stretch of a second career. Happy challenges!
Looking for a new adventure on a budget? Let’s stay in the United States and tour some of the treasures our beautiful country has to offer. One of the cheapest and most fascinating ways to discover the U.S. is to explore National Parks. National Park system does incredible work protecting the most important American sites and presenting them to the public in a wide array of meaningful experiences. Described below are a few parks whose purposes range from natural preserves to historical events and literature.
Tip: If you know that you will be visiting many national parks during the year, consider purchasing the America The Beautiful Card.
For Incredible Nature, Explore National Parks!
If traveling with children, don’t forget to ask for the Junior Ranger Booklet, which will surely enhance the young traveler’s visit. Check back at the Visitor Center at the end of the day for your reward!
Our National Parks are incredible resources to learn about the nature and history of the United States. Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are obviously on everyone’s bucket lists. Yet, there are many lesser-known gems worth a visit. Whatever your passion, many locations will sparkle interest and enthusiasm.
Budget Idea: Camp to Better Enjoy the Parks
To fully appreciate the parks, one should camp there. Gazing at the stars through giant redwoods, waking up with deer grazing around the tents, chatting around a campfire while grilling smores, and observing the sunrise over sandstone arches are priceless. They are also experiences unique to the United States. Of course, it will be less comfortable than spending the night in a hotel, and the accommodations are limited, but you will certainly have fun memories to bring home.
If you plan to camp at a national park located near a big city, make reservations as early as possible, even if you plan a trip in the wintertime. Indeed, we had trouble finding available campsites during Christmas vacation at Joshua Tree National Park and at Pinnacles National Monument during MLK weekend.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Do you want to climb one or two volcanoes? Head to Lassen National Park, a magnificent park nestled in the aspen and pine forests in Northern California. The hike to the top of Lassen Peak, an active volcano in the Cascade Range, is long and strenuous, yet absolutely worth the effort. From up here, the entire park is visible; forests, lava beds and the park’s other craters. To the North, Mount Shasta looks majestic, covered in a blanket of snow.
Near Cinder Cone
Cinder Cone, on the other side of the park, looks completely different. Although this volcano is only 700 feet high, its ascent is difficult because of the loose tiny pebbles of lava rock, crumbling under the feet. Once at the top, the reward is astounding. In addition to the reddish grey double rim crater, breathtaking views over the colorful Painted Dunes and the Fantastic Lava Beds welcome the climbers.
Various shades of blue, green, red, gray and brown clash against each other in a festival of colors. From afar, the dunes and the cinder cone appear soft because of erosion and the landscape is undeniably cold and unwelcoming. Only a few plants are able to grow in these mineral hills. Yet life abounds all around; the forest surrounds the volcano and it protects bears, California red foxes, deer and many other species.
A visit to Lassen isn’t complete without a hike to the Sulphur Works at Bumpass Hell. A beautiful trail winding through a rocky landscape leads to an odoriferous geothermal basin. Splattering springs, fumaroles hissing from sulphur vents, and boiling mud pots surround visitors. Here, the Earth’s powerful energy overwhelms the senses; the basin is smelly, noisy, and colorful. Don’t expect Yellowstone of course, but Bumpass Hell is nonetheless remarkable.
Bumpass Hell at Lassen Volcanic National Park California.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park
The landscapes at Indiana Dunes, on the shore of Lake Michigan, might not be as impressive as the Lassen volcanoes but they are diverse and nevertheless engaging; dunes, wetlands, forests, and prairies await your visit. Numerous trails lead visitors through solitary marshes, passing by sunny clearings. Everywhere wildflowers abound. Hidden in the high grasses, frogs croak and sing, small birds chirp overhead and waterfowl fish and swim in the ponds. Bird watching is especially spectacular during spring and fall migration.
Most of the trails are short and rated easy to moderate. Climbing dunes is, of course, more strenuous but enjoying a sunset over Lake Michigan from the top of a dune is an unforgettable sight.
Explore National Parks in Philadelphia
Are you able to travel to Philadelphia by train? You probably won’t need your car there since many sites are located in the historic downtown. During our stay, my family and I booked a room near the university campus and used public transportation every day. Uber came to our rescue once, and only because we decided against waiting for the bus under pouring rain.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Discover Philadelphia, Capital of the United States. Many of the historical attractions are part of the National Park system. Most notably, Independence National Historical Park contains important sites relating to the creation of the United States. Go back in time by walking through the old cobbled streets, following in the footsteps of our forefathers, from Independence Hall to Benjamin Franklin’s house and workshop.
Sample lunch or dinner at the City Tavern, which serves traditional 18th century dishes, deliciously paired with the “Ales of the Revolution”. Be sure to leave room for dessert! You might not walk off all the calories while visiting Independence Park, but this gastronomical stop surely makes the experience more satisfying!
Germantown White House
Better than the Presidential Mansion ruins located in Independence Park, the Germantown White House transports visitors back to George Washington’s time. Park rangers use compelling stories about George, Martha, and their grandchildren to help visitors grasp the way of life at the end of the 18th century. We also learned about the slaves who worked for the family. Indeed, the intertwined stories, pertaining to famous revolutionary episodes or to basic household concerns, really grab the attention and imagination.
I have been fascinated by Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories for decades and I couldn’t go to Philadelphia without visiting his home. Poe only lived in this brick house for a few months, and unfortunately, there aren’t any mementos from his stay. While the old house is mostly intact, it is now surrounded by modern buildings and warehouses. It is mostly empty of furniture, and is a showcase dedicated to Poe’s works. Setting the stage, a raven statue greets the visitors outside. Down a decrepit staircase, the dark basement is the perfect setting for The Black Cat.
E. A. Poe’s House – Basement
E.A Poe’s House
Nearby the Poe house is also the burial place of the poet, which is open to the public and free. It’s a beautiful cemetery nestled in Baltimore.
Baltimore’s Westminster Church. Edgar Allen Poe died in 1849, the church was built in 1852. This marker was erected in 1875 when his grave was moved about 200 feet.
The National Park Agency administers many sites all over the country. When planning a road trip, or visiting a specific city, look into the list of nearby parks and monuments. Don’t hesitate to take a detour – you will seldom, if ever, be disappointed. Everywhere, passionate park rangers share their knowledge tirelessly. With a bit of advanced planning, exploring National Parks is truly a rewarding experience for everyone.