Best Indoor Water Parks

FamilyTravelFiles.com recently published their list of the Best INDOOR Water Parks in the U.S.  This is guaranteed winter family fun!

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee. This indoor water park has over 7 acres of water park extravaganza!  Including a wavepool, waterslides, tubing and wading pools for the little ones. 

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee
Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee

Wisconsin Dells as always had the corner market on family fun. Kalahari Waterpark a variety of indoor magic from surfing and lazy river floating to a water rollercoaster and flume rides.

Kalahari Water Park
Kalahari Water Park

Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin, New Jersey is where its at! The Largest indoor waterpark in the state includes family rafting, extra long body slide, water obstacle course and a toddler lagoon.

Lizard Lagoon
Lizard Lagoon

These are just 3 of the top indoor water parks that the FamilyTravelFiles.com recommends. Check out the rest of their list for more info. 

Adventure Family In Motion

 

Nevada City, California Food, Friends and Great Weather

Recently we had the opportunity to return home to the Nevada City, California area for a visit.  While we truly wish a longer stay (permanent) would have been in the cards, it just is not at the moment.  We still have high hopes of living in this town in the near future and crave the eclectic area packed full of great food, lakes, mountain bike trails and cool festivals.

Nevada City
Nevada City

If living in Nevada City, CA is not something you are able to do, the next best thing would be to visit.  Hopefully our whirlwind trip pictured below will help you see the high points, but this doesn’t even start to capture the super cool stores and amazing outdoor activities surrounding this area.

Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City

This trip was really focused on spending time with friends, however in our free time, the below restaurants and locations are a must!

Nevada City
Nevada City

Breakfast started a small New Orleans themed place call Ike’s Quarter Café.  Ike’s prides themselves on local ingredients and a variety of gluten free, vegan and healthy food options.  Numerous different types of locally baked bread, waffles and creations are available.  Ike’s is CASH only, has outdoor seating and allows “dog parking” just outside the entrance.  Get the Gasserhouser and thank me later!

Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe

The craft beer scene is alive and well in Nevada CityJernigan’s Tap House & Grill has brought the “tap house” and burger joint theme to town and are doing a great job supplying a HUGE selection of craft beer.  Go to Jernigan’s, select a few different beers to try in a tester flight and have a giant burger; makes me smile just thinking about it.

Jernigan’s Grill & Tap House
Jernigan’s Grill & Tap House

The afternoon was spent shopping and sipping on coffee from Cafe’ Mekka. We walked the streets poking in shops, window shopping and people watching. The weather was spectacular for mid January. We stopped at Pioneer Park and let the little lady run laps around the spacious park.

Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Nevada City
Nevada City
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City

The evening called for PIZZA in with friends.  North Ridge Restaurant has great food as a whole, but they make pizzas that are to die for!  North Ridge is a great family place with a huge variety of food and some nice beers on tap.

The following day we had lunch at Lefty’s which sits on a super quaint creek and has the BEST outdoor seating in the town.  The “SOP” burger is where it’s at, paired with one of the multiple craft beer options available, you can’t go wrong at Lefty’s.

Finally not a restaurant, but definitely a must visit location is Ol’ Republic Brewery.  When Ol’ Republic came to town we were ecstatic.  Nevada City needed a quality place to hang out and have a locally made beer in a family friendly environment.  Ol’ Republic does not serve food, however they allow you (and encourage you to) bring food in from one of the many local dinning establishments close by.

Nevada City is a town with loads of character; a real must see of Northern California.  We have traveled all over the world and Nevada City, California is on the top of my list as one of the most versatile towns with great food, shopping, beer and incredible outdoor fun.  Go check it out!  

Adventure Family In Motion

Top Travel Blogs

According to the Huffingtonpost.com Overland World Traveler and Writer Michael Hodson, these are the Top Travel Blogs to Discover!

1. Fox Nomad by Anil Polat. Anil is a very well traveled, technology savvy adventurer.

2. Fevered Mutterings by Mike Sowden. Being from the UK, Mike has a great “Brit” sense of humor in his writing.

3. Johnny Vagabond by Wes Nations. Wes offers beautiful photography and great adventure stories of his travels.

4. Canvas of Light by Daniel Nahabedian. According to Hodson, Daniel is the “Best travel photographer on the internet”.

5. The Aussie Nomad by Chris Richardon. Chris offers candid backpacking advice.

Enjoy this great list of travel blogs! Thanks Michael Hodson!

 

Adventure Family In Motion

Which type of cyclist are you?

What type of cyclist are you?

Here are some great facts from the infographic:

– Cycle 20 Miles a day reduces the risk of heart decease by 50%!!

– Portland, OR is the FRIENDLIEST city for cyclist! #2 Minneapolis, #3 Boulder, CO!

– Orange County, CA has the highest sales of fixed gear bikes!

 

20140129-105954.jpg

Credit for infographic goes to http://www.verticalmeasures.com/content-marketing-2/bike-culture-its-personalities-infographic/

 

Adventure Family In Motion

Surly Big Dummy AKA “Silverback Gorilla”

We have added another bike to our stable.  This rounds the number out at 8 bikes for the wife and I which is a ridiculous amount of bikes to our NON-CYCLING friends… Our cycling style has changed within the last few years based on the birth of our little girl.  That takes us to our current addition.

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

The Silverback Gorilla (Surly Big Dummy) was ordered specifically from our favorite bike store, Carytown Bicycle Co.  They have a very well thought out program where you bring your bike in and they clean it up, tune it and list the bike on eBay.  The profits (minus eBay fees) are turned into a store credit with Carytown Bicycle Co.  The shipping, tune up and listing is all done by the bike shop, you just show up and spend your newfound credit!

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

We turned a super fast Scott Plasma Pro Tri bike into a steel 50lb cargo bike!   You couldn’t have dreamed of 2 different bikes.  Honestly, you couldn’t have told me a few years ago (before my beautiful daughter) how much my life would change with her arrival.  So the change in cycling platform is not so crazy.  I’ve always thought a utilitarian platform like the Big Dummy would be cool; I just needed a reason to have one.  Well, now we do.

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

 

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

I’m excited to put a Yepp seat on the back and scoot around with our baby on the back.  I’ve already rolled to the grocery store, my CrossFit Workouts and just fun jaunts around the neighborhood.  The bike rides great and puts a huge smile on my face.  I’m stoked to be able to build this bike into an awesome on/off-road family touring machine.  Additions include, Jones loop bars, Dynamo hub, Brooks saddle and a Yepp seat.  Stay tuned for future rides and upgrades.

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

 Cheers

Adventure Family in Motion

 

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy

 

Adventure Family In Motion

Five Inspirational and Motivating Reads

If you are anything like me, in between your planned and un-planned adventures, you are dreaming of future trips.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  We don’t have the ability to sit still and let the world pass us by.  It’s ok!  So in between those crazy outings, consider reading some of the below books I’ve found inspirational.

 

 

By: Conor Grennan

 

Little Princes
Little Princes
Very good book about how a vacation can turn into a life-changing event and how we should all look for opportunities to make the world a better place.  Conor helps us realize the enormous possibilities in front of us, if we are just willing to try something different.

 

 

By:  Nancy Sathre-Vogel

 

Twenty Miles Per Cookie
Twenty Miles Per Cookie
Great read about a family who jumped on a triplet bike and spent a year biking 9300 miles!  I like books like these; it helps to put “crazy” ideas like this in perspective.  Maybe my family will take off on a yearlong bike adventure and write a book someday.

 

 

By:  Barbara Savage

 

Miles From Nowhere
Miles From Nowhere
This is a CLASSIC cycling story.  Originally written in 1983, this book set the stage for many cycling stories to follow.  The pictures of the gear they used are entertaining compared to current high-tech bags, bikes and shoes available now.  Lesson learned from this book; you don’t need new fancy gear to do something awe inspiring.

 

 

By:  Joe Kurmaski

 

Mud Sweat Gears
Mud Sweat Gears
Family cycling books are some of my favorite stories to read.  It helps to read about how other families overcame difficulties and prevailed on trips nobody thought they could do.  Mud, Sweat and Gears is written by Joe Kurmaski (author of Metal Cowboy and Riding Outside the Lines) and takes the same funny and well written stories he is known to produce and includes his family in the mix.

 

 

By:  Phil and Susan Ershler

 

Together On Top of the World
Together On Top of the World
This book was one of the first books my wife and I read together as a couple.  Gentlemen, you will enjoy the excitement of this mountaineering based story and your wife will appreciate the love story angle…. Everybody wins.  Good read about a motivated couple.

 

I’ve shared a few of my favorite reads, please provide additional books for all of us to consider during future armchair traveling sessions.
Adventure Family In Motion BANNER

 

 

 

10 Best Rails-to-Trails

TravelLeisure.com has come up with a list of the top 10 best rails to trails!

1 – Bizz Johnson Trail

30 Miles from Susanville to Westwood California.

Susanville, CA is 208 miles north of San Francisco.  Start at the 1927 train station and dont stop until you get to the 25-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan at the trail head of Westwood. The trail crisscrosses over the Susan River Canyon 12 times. It weaves back and forth through the forest.

2 – Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway

20 Miles from Mineral Wells to Weatherford, Texas

Starting 40 miles west of Fort Worth the trail winds past horse ranches, longhorn pastures and meadows of wildflowers.

3 – Katy Trail 

225 Miles St. Charles to Clinton, Missouri

Covering nearly the entire state of Missouri, the Katy Trail is the longest rail to trail that runs east-west. This trail covers portions of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

4 – Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio

68 Miles Milford to Springfield, Ohio

The trail travels along the Ohio’s Little Miami River. Start at the southern end in Milford and bike down stream for an easy ride.

5 – Pinellas Trail, Florida

35 Miles St. Petersburg to Tarpon, Florida

This is an easy ride along the Gulf of Mexico. Make sure to be in Clearwater at Pier 60 in the evening to enjoy the artist.

6- Virginia Creeper Trail, Virginia 

34 Miles Abingdon to Whitetop, VA

Take a shuttle to the top of the states second highest peak. Cross waterfalls, small towns and ride along the waters edge. This downhill ride is a quick decent to the bottom.

7 – Capital Crescent Trail, Washington DC

12 Miles Georgetown – Silver Spring, MD

This trail is flat asphalt-and-crushed stone that overlooks the Potomac River and the C&O Canal. Beware, this trial is heavily congested with runner, rollerbladers and dog walkers.

8 – Island Line Rail Trail, Vermont 

13 Miles Colchester to Burlington

On the north end,  this trail extend three miles into Lake Champlain on a narrow causeway. The southern section runs along the waterfront in bike-friendly Burlington, VT.

9 – Switchback Railroad Trail, Pennsylvania

18 Miles Jim Thorpe to Summit Hill

In the western Poconos, head to the former mining town of Jim Thorpe. The trail was once the route used to carry coal down to the barges on the Lehigh Canal.

10 – Elroy-Sparta State Trail, Wisconsin

32 Miles Elroy to Sparta

This is the first rails to trails in the Nation! It has three tunnels along the trail so bring a flash light!

The gift of Adventure

Now that the craziness has pasted from the holidays, we have been discussing how blessed we are and how loved our child is by the outpouring of amazing gifts from family and friends. Now that she is getting a little older and enjoying the process of unwrapping gifts it makes Christmas so exciting just to watch her!

We have been discussing our traditions as a family. With the baby only 21 months old, we can start establishing our own family traditions. One of those traditions we would like to implement is a holiday experience.

We have talked for years about going on a volunteer vacation. Giving back with a to service to others. We are very excited to make this a priority in our little family.

“Materialism is taking a backseat to experiences, ” says Darren Humphreys, owner Travel Sommelier, a safari and gastronomic travel company.

We have one year to start making a change in how we celebrate the holidays. We have 365 days to ingest this idea into our immediate families. How do we tell them to only send minimal gifts and if they would like they can help contribute to our holiday experience instead? It sounds greedy. It sounds ungrateful. But we would rather show our little girl that its not about opening 15 million presents at 5:00am on Christmas morning.

Its our job as parents to show her empathy, raise her to be respectful and show her how to be humble. In 2014 we would like to enjoy a new tradition, a Holiday Experience.

Quote from USA Today

Charlottesville, VA

Today we jumped in the van mid afternoon for an outing to Charlottesville Virginia.  We really enjoy checking out historic downtown areas and seeing what eclectic shopping and food we can find.  The goal on all our trips is to find something for everyone in the family!  Today was no different.

 

First order of business was food and a BEER.  We stopped at the South Street Brewery in downtown Charlottesville.  We found easy parking directly across the street (not always easy for us in the Urban Adventure Van).  Inside the brewery you find all the character you would expect from an old brick building. The bartender was very welcoming and knowledgeable.  The atmosphere was laid back and even had a nice warm fire going in the center of the establishment.  The beers were all top notch (we shared a sampler to insure we had the opportunity to try them all) and finally settled on the Expresso Stout as our favorite.  Cool place, GREAT vibe and good beer.
iPhone Show
iPhone Show
Nose Kisses
Nose Kisses
Tattoo
Tattoo

 

Show
Show
After we had filled our bellies it was time to check out the local shopping at the Historic Downtown Mall.  The area is closed to vehicle traffic and provides a quaint walking area with all local stores.  There are clothing stores, jewelry shops, coffee bars and our little girls favorite find of the day, the Virginia Discovery Museum.
used books
used book store
Bike Parking ONLY
Bike Parking ONLY
Family
Family
Adventure Family In Motion goes to Charolettesville
Adventure Family In Motion goes to Charlottesville

 

Chalk Wall
Chalk Wall
Vintage Dress
Vintage Dress
Bathrobe
Bathrobe
The Virginia Discovery Museum is a hands on children’s dream come true!  We turned our little lady loose and let her touch, climb on and color to her hearts content.  At $6 per person, it was a bargain, keeping her attention and allowing her to blow off some steam. It is always a treat to watch your child as they interact with other kids their age.
building
building
science
science
trains
trains
music
music
games
games
slide
slide
games
games
coloring
coloring
After we just couldn’t handle anymore fun at the museum,  we headed back to the street for one last pass before our trip home.  Along the way we stopped at Splendora’s for a coffee and some gelato.  WOW, gelato is a serious treat!  We tried the Salt Carmel gelato and were very pleased with the choice.  We’ll be returning to Splendora’s for another shot at the multitude of combination possibilities.

 

The afternoon in Charlottesville fulfilled our constant quest for new and exciting locations.  We checked out a cool brewery, did some shopping, took a ton of photos, hit a kids museum, and discovered gelato!  Not bad for a quick afternoon adventure.  We will be spending more time in this cool town very soon.