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5 Adventurous Activities For The Whole Family

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Quik Shade

Camping With The Whole Family

Your adventurous spirit does not have to become a distant memory once you start a family. There are several fun and adventurous activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family, regardless of the age of your children. Everyone can easily enjoy each of these five activities, although there might need to be some small modification for very young children.


Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors as a family. There are a variety of camping opportunities, including staying in tents, recreational vehicles, trailers, cabins, or lodges. You just need to find a beautiful outdoor area and enjoy sleeping in the wild. You can also include other fun outdoor activities such as hiking or tubing in the river. You can do a trial camping run in your backyard to see how well your children handle sleeping outdoors before scheduling a larger event.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing or snowboarding trips can be fun for the whole family. Generally, children can begin to take lessons for the full skiing experience around age three, but they can enjoy playing around in flat terrain on skis and boots before then as long as they are fairly stable on their legs. Even if you have children not yet able to walk, your family can enjoy a skiing or snowboarding trip. You can go sledding, snowshoeing, or just ride a gondola up the mountain, as well as trade off babysitting duties while the rest of the family enjoys skiing or snowboarding.


Kayaking is another fun activity for all ages. Until your child is experienced and old enough to kayak by his or herself, you will want one adult with every child in a kayak. If you kayak on smooth water and have a lot of experience yourself, you can take a child of any age in the kayak with you, as long as you take safety precautions such as a lifejacket. In rougher water, such as the ocean, you may want to wait until your child is a little older. It is important that you teach your child water safety and that they can swim before taking them kayaking, especially in rougher waters. You can also go canoeing, tubing, or rafting with your whole family, depending on the water activities available to you.


Hiking is something that anyone can enjoy. There are a variety of trails that can be convenient for all skill levels, including very young children. When you are taking your children hiking, you should keep in mind their endurance, and the possibility you may have to carry a child for some of the distance. As your children grow, you can go on longer and more intense hikes, including extended backpacking trips that include overnight camping.


Geocaching is one of the latest crazes that people of all ages enjoy. All you need is a GPS enabled smartphone and you can go treasure hunting all over the world, including in your own hometown. There are specific geocache, or containers, hidden in special places. You use your GPS device to search for the container hidden in the area. Typically, once you find the geocache, you leave it. However, if you want to take it, you are expected to leave something of equal or greater value for others to enjoy. There are a variety of geocache types, including the traditional containers, a mystery or puzzle cache, multi cache that has multiple locations, and EarthCache that tells about unique natural features of the area.

With these five adventurous activities, you and your whole family can enjoy spending time outdoors together. You can start doing many of these activities when your children are young with some modifications, and then continue to build on the activities as they grow up. 

photo credit: Frank Vincentz

Top Ten Items To Get For The Outdoorsman In Your Life

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Outdoorsman Must Havephoto credit: TOMediaCO via photopin cc

Sleeping Bag Onesie

It takes the normal mummy sleeping bag and turns it into something that can be gotten around in. It has openings in the top for the arms that can zip up, the opening for the face so, you know, you can breathe at night, and the bottom is made of two slots to slip your legs in to. Then, they separate via zipper at the bottom so you can get up and walk around! Sure, it looks strange, but it is probably pretty warm and great for getting up out of the tent in the morning and heading over to the campfire without even getting out of your sleeping bag.

The BioLight Camp Stove/Charger

This is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. Have you ever been on a camping trip or a long hike, and your MP3 player runs out of batteries? Ever wanted to cook something AND charge your MP3 player at the same time? Well, that didn’t occur to use either, but hold the phone! With the BioLight Camp Stove/Charger, you can cook the can of noodle soup AND charge your MP3 player from the energy the heat creates at the same time. Just wrap that cord in foil so it doesn’t melt.

The Pocket Shower

This is something several people would have wanted a long time ago. This is a simple bag you will with water and hang from the branch of a tree, then twist the nozzle at the bottom and take a shower!

Fire Crystals

This isn’t something that is necessarily essential for survival, but it is pretty cool. These are little crystals that you throw in the fire and they change the colors of the fire. Tell a ghost story, and at the best part, throw some of those in and make those you are with think you have magical powers.

Inflatable Tents

Yes, they exist, and they are for the lazy. But that’s alright. These are basic tents that have no stakes or poles, and you just fill them up with air and you have some sturdy shelter for yourself out in the wild.

A canopy

This is something simple that most people overlook, wish they had when they were out camping with the family, tell themselves they are going to get once they get back down the hill, and then forget about once they get home. Get a canopy! Not ideal for backpacking, but when you’re in a campsite with the family, the kids are off on a hike and it is time to relax, you’d wished you had a canopy to set up the chair underneath so you can get back to that good book as opposed to trying to find some shade from a tree.

The Waterproof Solar Lamp

Now, one might ask… a waterproof solar lamp would be charged by the sun, but if it is waterproof, which prevents rain from damaging it, then why would the sun charge it if it is raining? Take into account those backpacking trips where you fall into the river, or a sudden rain hits (as it can in certain parts of the country) and then dissipates quickly. Waterproofing isn’t only for the rain. This thing charges in about 5 hours time, so leave it out during the day, which then leads to about 15 hours of light.

Solar Fire Starter

This simple and yet effective item is a small reflective plate with a fork poking up out of the middle of it. It looks like a small satellite dish. You put some small firestarter material in teh fork, holding it up to the intense UV rays that the dish reflects, which eventually causes it to light on fire.

A Flashlight That Lights the Way Ahead and the Path at Your Feet

For lack of a better name, this item is made to might up the path ahead of you and what is down at your feet so you don’t trip over roots are rocks while you walk at night.

Glow in the Dark Tape

This is useful for more than just camping, but is ideal for putting on things like zipperheads to the tent, your flashlight, your shoes, and maybe even laying out a path from one thing to another so you can see your path at night. Who knows?

10 Ways To Make Use Of Your Summer Vacation Time

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Go to the Beach
The summertime is the best time to go ahead and take a trip to the beach, with the sun and the cool offshore breeze to make one feel relaxed. Don’t forget your sunscreen, because we all know what a bad sunburn feels like. Pack up the family and invite some friends, bring the chairs, a good book, some food, maybe the boogie board… and don’t forget to bring a canopy or two to keep the sun off of you and provide a nice shady space for people to come back to.

Go For a Hike
Who doesn’t like to take a day and get away from the craziness of the city life? Going out into nature can be extremely therapeutic for you, and provide some good memories to go back to when a day at the office gets to be a tad too stressful.

Visit Some Museums
With the way the year seems to fly by and we use the weekends to relax, things like going to a good museum and seeing art or learning about something important in history seem to go by the wayside. Take some time to go out and see a local museum, learn about local history or see some good pieces of art that may affect you in a positive way.

Go Camping
When going for a hike just doesn’t cut it, try taking a trip out into the wilderness for a few days and really unwind from a busy schedule. Going out into the wilderness and experiencing the quiet, the wind through the trees, more stars in the sky than you’ve ever seen before at night, campfires, so on and so forth… all that will help one to really get back down to the ground, Make sure to pack accordingly- do some research on this if you’re inexperienced. The elements can be brutal out in the wild, especially the sun, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and maybe that canopy you’ve been meaning to make use of.

Visit a Resort
Although expensive, going to a resort and taking some time to really relax and have yourself be provided for is a great way to feel like you’re on top of things. Take the family to a remote or expotic location and kick back, enjoying the good food, the spa, extracurricular activities and the quiet.

Attend a Music Festival
Summer is when all the great music festivals come out and rock the town for a few days. Not only is there music, but food, things to buy and entertainment are abound. Music festivals are springing up everywhere across the country and you can easily find one that fits your tastes.

Visit Family
The years fly by and people get older. Family is important and if yours is scattered across the country or the world, make sure to take some time and go see them. The work year is busy and people seem to have less and less time for family. Make sure to take a week or two and go see them while you still can.

Visit Friends
Same with visiting family, friends can be some of the most important people in your life. Make sure to take time to see them and keep the friendship alive. Wherever they may be, go there and not only will you get to see your friends but experience a new place as well.

See The Country
On the same coin, going out and visiting places in the country where you live is something everyone should do. Too many people stay confined to their local areas and never branch out, trying and experiencing new places. Our country specifically, the United States is massive and has so many good places to go out and see. Try it out!

Try Something Daring!
Do you have a bucket list? Ever wanted to try something like hang-gliding, rock climbing, bungee-jumping, sky-diving… any of those? The summertime is a great time to get out there and try those things out. You only live once and what a story you’d be able to tell your friends if you went out there and did such adventurous things.

7 Overlooked East Coast Camping Destinations

Posted on: June 6th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Camping Destinations

photo credit: stevecadman via photopin cc

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia

Claiming parts of the Appalachian Mountains, these two national forests stretch from one end of VIrginia to the other, and then down into parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. These parks are one of the best places to go if you’re looking to view some of the beautiful fall colors, spot some exotic birds or lose yourself on some beautiful, winding trails that take you to secret places to rest.

Lily Bay State Park, Maine

Located on the Eastern Shores of Moosehead Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Northeast, Lily Bay State Park is a beautiful location where one can go fishing, enjoy a 2-mile trail along a beautiful swimming beach, go boating, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and ice fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, New Jersey

Encompassing 3200 square acres of wilderness, the Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, this nature preserve is a great place to get away from the craziness of the New Jersey city life. WIth over 20 miles of hiking trails, year-round camp sites and locations to hook up the camper, this place will give someone a good sigh of relief when they arrive.

Myrtle Beach State Park, South Carolina

Located in a rustic beach setting, Myrtle Beach State Park offers 312 acres of shady, wooded areas in which one can go hiking, fishing, swimming in the ocean, and even hook up the camper if one wanted to. There are recreational piers, an interactive nature center and a tourist area known as the Grand Strand located nearby for anyone who might want to venture around and see what the place has to offer.

Anastasia State Park, Florida

The best time to camp in Florida is during the winter months. This is when it is coolest and the weather is the best for camping, as opposed to the rest of the year when it can get quite hot and humid. Anastasia State Park features 1600 square miles of wilderness, a large beach great for those long walks, a tidal salt marsh, coastal and upland maritime docking, and also an archaeological site where stone was mine to build a nearby fortress many years ago, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

Blue Spring State Park, Florida

One of the larger campgrounds in Florida, Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2600 acres of land. It includes one of the largest springs in the state. Blue Spring is a dedicated Manatee refuge, and is host to one of the largest and still growing populations of West Indian Manatees. The St. John’s river goes through the park, which affords people the opportunity to fish, swim and canoe. In the spring itself, people can enjoy 73 degree water and go swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Lake Waramaug, Connecticut

For those who think that the beauty of Connecticut lies in the shores of the Long Island Sound or maybe along the banks of the Connecticut River (such as in the town of Essex), then please consider Lake Waramaug. Tucked quietly away in the Litchfield Hills, surrounded by low, quiet hills, this place is one of the most tranquil, cherished campgrounds in the state. With a total of 77 campsites located near the banks of the lake, one can take a small walk over to the waters to go fishing for bass, swimming in the clear water or take the canoe out for an early morning paddle. This is a great place to get away from it all and we recommend you go and visit it someday.

How To Survive In The Outdoors For 24 Hours

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Going out into the wilderness for fun and adventure is something that many of us very much enjoy doing. It is a relaxing and meditative way to get away from the hustle and craziness that is the life in civilization. But sometimes, going into the outdoors for an extended period of time or for something like a very long hike can have hazards to it.

There have been many cases throughout history of people heading out into the wilderness and getting lost, some of them unfortunately never coming back. If only they knew a few things about living in the wilderness for a short amount of time, just a few different skills one can pick up and prepare for easily, then they may have been able to make it out alive.

The Outdoors

Be Prepared!

Being prepared is the key to survival in the wilderness. Ask any Boy Scout about this and they will surely give you an ear full. When preparing to leave on a trip, take into account all that you might come across, including an extended, unexpected, stay.

For the purposes of this article, it would be difficult to put into detail every single thing one should take in order to be fully prepared. But here we will outline the most essential pieces and ideas that one might need in order to be fully prepared.


Taking enough water for at least two days is a good idea. Yes, it’s heavy, but if you consider the idea of being sparing, only drinking a small amount when thirsty as opposed to large gulps, then you can make your water last a long time. Taking a water purifier is also a good idea just in case you run out. They are not really that big, nor heavy, and the water that comes from them is at least safe to drink. It may not taste great, but it will work. Taking small bits of food in a good quantity, like trail mix, energy bars, and other small things like that will help you be able to stay nourished for a good time, although starving to death in 24 hours has probably never happened.

The Elements

Keeping away from the elements is one of the most important factors when it comes to staying alive in the wilderness for 24 hours, because that is what will do the most damage. If it is hot and sunny, be sure to take sunscreen with you and know where to find shade during the day.

Take two plastic trash bags with you as well. They are compact enough to be stored in the bottom of a daypack, and will either keep the rain off of you when it starts to get wet, keep the sun off of you if utilized properly (like in a scenario where one is in the desert) and keep you warm at night.

Taking a flashlight and glow sticks are a good idea for illumination at night and possibly signaling down someone else for help. The last thing someone wants to have happen is twisting an ankle or falling down an unseen slope when moving around at night.

Be Smart!

Speaking of, when people get lost, their first instinct is to start looking for the way back, which usually gets someone more lost. If you are lost and it is getting dark, then just stay put and wait for the light to come back before trying to figure out where you are.

Some people may think that climbing a tree and trying to look around is a good idea, and in some cases it can be, but one, it is dangerous. If you fall out and break something, this is only going to make things worse. Second, most of the time if you get to the top of a tree and look around, all you see is other trees. The best way to “get up high” and see where you might be is to find a tall hill or ridge where you can get a vantage point.

Hopefully these few tips and pointers will give you an idea of how to be able to survive in the wild for at least 24 hours. Be prepared, take the elements of where you are going into consideration and don’t make things worse for yourself. If someone would like to be able to know more about this, there is a plethora of information on the web, as well as classes and books designed to help people know more about this very subject.

10 Activities To Add To Your Bucket List

Posted on: May 21st, 2014 by Quik Shade


Everyone has a list of things that need to be tried before passing away from this world. For everyone it’s different, depending on what has already been done and what someone’s interests and desires are. But if you find yourself lacking in this list, not really too sure what to think when it comes to doing things before you die, then here is a brief list that should help you out.


There is a big world out there, full of fascinating people and places for one to experience. And traveling somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to drop a lot of money to do so. It all depends on your comfort level. There are cheap flights and deals on airline tickets that you can keep an eye out for, as well as inexpensive hotels and even hostels all across the world that afford comfortable living.

Go To A Resort

Who doesn’t like to be pampered a bit? Going to an all-inclusive resort is something that is definitely worth the money, and it is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. There are numerous places to go all over the world that offer things like massages, horseback riding, tennis lessons, nature hikes, so on and so forth.

Go Skydiving

The rush of skydiving is something that no one forgets. Who likes to jump out of a perfectly good plane and fall at terminal velocity? Someone who has a bucket list might. Despite what most think, the safety involved in skydiving is extremely thorough, so much to the point that people usually take a few day classes beforehand just to make sure everything is down pat.

See a Concert

Going out to see your favorite band perform live on stage is something that you will cherish as a memory for a long time. With the crowd and the showmanship, the noise and the electric vibes, going to see a concert (or two? or three?) is as awesome experience that leaves your ears ringing and your heart thumping.

Attend a Music Festival

Instead of seeing one concert, why not go to a place where you can see several all in a row? Music festivals are great places to see and meet a variety of interesting people. And not only is there music, but food and activities and dancing as well. Here are some tips to stay cool while you’re there.

Scuba Diving

The beauty of the ocean is one of the most wondrous things that one can experience in nature. This is also something that you will not soon forget. Make sure to take along one of those underwater cameras to capture sights and moments that you will love to remind yourself of later.

Take a Cruise

Again with the pampering! Cruises are one of the most leisurely and adventurous things that somebody can do for themselves. There are a variety of places that one can take a cruise to. And with the offshore traveling and on-boat activities, going for a cruise is something that will be worth remembering.

Rekindle Old Friendships

Using the internet, a very rewarding thing you can do is reach out and find old friends to get back into contact with. Sharing old memories and making new ones is a special thing that we should all do while we still have time in this life.

Go Back To School

Have you ever wished that you knew how to draw or play the guitar? Have you wanted to know the full history of this culture or that country? Colleges are a great place to pick up knowledge on things you always wish you had known. Go back to school to pick up some knowledge on things that you would like to get to know before you die.

Pick Up A Hobby

One thing that tends to shorten the lifespan of people, especially those who are retired, is boredom. Make sure to stave it off by doing a hobby, something that you think you might enjoy or have in the past. This is a great way to keep yourself active and stimulated by doing something creative. 

photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery via photopin cc

Get More Than Fresh Air From Outdoor Activities

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Quik Shade


Getting into the outdoors and taking a breath of fresh air is one of the healthiest things that someone can do for themselves. Going for a long hike or riding your bike through the mountains does more than just invigorate your body, it eases the mind and the soul. Going in groups is a great way to have a bonding experience with others, especially with people like your family.

When going for a hike or a camping trip, try to appreciate the beauty of the natural world that is around you. Make sure to admire the peace and quiet that exists away from the bustle of city life. City life can be hectic and stressful what with the traffic, long lines, constant noise, and other stressed out, hyperactive people. Living a constant city life with all those environmental stressors can actually decrease one’s lifespan. So, get out of there as much as you can and escape to the outdoors where relief from stress exists in plentitude. It will help you get grounded and back to your normal self so that you may go back and be able to face the world with a clear mind.

Take Pictures

Take as many pictures as you can and review them often. The memory of the natural world and revisiting the ones you made while out in nature will help you return to the serenity that you experienced while out among the natural world.

It might be beneficial to start journaling, and take that journal with you while you are in the outdoors and make entries daily. After you have come home and made a few more while back in society, read back on them and compare how your mind was before and after taking a trip into the wilderness.

Diversify where you go as well. There are countless places to visit here within the United States, all of them offering something new and different for you to experience. There are regular local campgrounds and hiking trails, and then there are national parks and preserves, just to name some. What with the deserts, forests, beaches and prairies that we can find in our country, one will have more than enough places to visit in one lifetime.

Set Aside Time

Make sure to set aside some long periods of time during the year to take longer trips- don’t just go for day trips all of the time. The longer you are away and enjoying the outdoors, the better you will feel during and after. it will go fast, sometimes too fast, and you’ll look back on it and wonder where the time went.

There are groups designed to bring together the adventurous type of person to go into the outdoors with. Don’t go by yourself; find a group of people who are like minded in the interest of the outdoors and stick with them. This is a great way to make friends or maybe meet someone special.

Take care when going into the outdoors though. For many, it is out of their element, what with being away from society and all. There are hazards to be taken into account when going out into nature. The elements are one of them. When camping, we are out of the safety of a climate controlled environment, so be prepared for very hot and very cold weather.

Camp Prepared

If camping in a camping site, take extra blankets and clothing for those cold nights, and have a canopy or two ready for those hot and sunny days. In some places, the temperature variation from night to day can be drastic. For example, while camping in a place like Joshua Tree, California, out in the desert, it has been known to happen that one can cook an egg on a rock during the day and have a water bottle left outside of the tent freeze at night.

Being prepared and ready to absorb the fruits of nature will make your going outdoors more than just a leisurely trip- it will turn it into a special experience that one will enjoy remembering, hungry to have more of it. 

photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

The Top 5 Family Resorts For Summer 2014

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by Quik Shade

The Top 5 Family Resorts For Summer 2014

It’s difficult to really choose where in the country one might want to go for a nice vacation. If you’re aiming at a resort, the field gets even more overwhelming, what with all of the choices that are out there these days. It is an expensive proposition, trying to decide exactly where to stay and how much you can spend. You don’t necessarily have to fly to Jamaica or other exotic locations in order to have a good time. Here is a guide to some of the best places to take the family in the country, some of them being in places that one might not have expected.

Tyler Place Family Resort, VT

Nestled comfortably next to the shores of Lake Champlain in northwestern Vermont, this resort is one of the few that enjoys having a staggering 90 percent return rate of the people who choose to stay there. It is a family run resort that was set up back in the 1950’s and was one of the pioneers of having an all-inclusive set up for their customers. The best kind of all-inclusive resorts have a large array of activities offered in far away picturesque places. This fits that description.

Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, GA

This is the kind of place that one should take the family if you really wanted to get away from it all. Reached only by boat, this humble little place only can accommodate a maximum amount of 32 guests at a time. It was a private hunting lodge built in 1917, but opened up to the general public in the 1970s as a resort. The lodge is within a 10,000 acre nature sanctuary, so you are bound to come across a large array of wildlife. If you take the family here, prepare yourself for VIP treatment. Rates include meals, snacks, and all beverages; naturalist-guided hikes, kayak tours, fishing trips, reptile safaris, and evening owl prowls; boat transfers to and from the island; and unlimited use of the island activities and recreation gear.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Steamboat Springs, CO

If you’re into the rugged kind of getaway, with rolling fields and high mountains, horseback riding and hiking, then this is the place to go. Here, one can learn to ride horseback, herd cattle, watch the kids compete in a just-for-fun rodeo (which we hope doesn’t include actual bull-riding!) and then unwind after a long day of great activities in their private jacuzzi included with your private cabin. Rates include meals and all beverages; horseback riding; guided hiking, biking, and fly-fishing; river rafting and kayaking; kids’ and teens’ programs; evening barn dances and rodeos; and shuttle service to and from Steamboat Springs.

Travaasa Austin, TX

Moving more into the natural side of things, this resort is what is known as a holistic retreat house. Located on the edge of the 24,000-acre Balcones Canyonland Preserve. It’s the kind of place where you can go for a gorgeous hike, take a cooking class, have a massage, and enjoy a gourmet farm-to-table meal all in the same day. Leave time to chill in the infinity pool, which delivers a panorama of the hill country landscape. The rates include meals, snacks, and nonalcoholic beverages; challenge course, yoga, culinary, and other group classes; and a $125 resort credit good toward spa treatments, a private class, or golf.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, FL

If you’re looking for more of the classic paradise kind of getaway, then head to Club Med Sandpiper Bay down in Florida. Club Med is one of the most world-famous all-inclusive brands of resorts. This place boasts one of the best kids programs and a full-service nursery, as well as having a circus school where kids can learn the art of being a clown, and a full-on tennis academy. The setting on the sandy banks of the St. Lucie River is perfect for kayaking, sailing, and paddleboarding.

The Best Outdoor Markets In America

Posted on: May 14th, 2014 by Quik Shade


A good outdoor market is the kind of places one can find the best produce in town and some odds and ends that aren’t sold anywhere else. If you haven’t experienced one of these, then it is highly recommended that you drop by one at some point and take it all in. Here is a guide to some of the best outdoor markets in the country, so find one near you and head on over.

Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, CA

Every Wednesday and Saturday year-round, this outdoor market can be found in famous Santa Monica, CA. Drop on by to pick up honey from Bill’s Bees, fruit from Avila and Sons Farm, mushrooms from Clearwater Farms and bison from Lindner Bison.

There are some great places nearby to visit and get some food, such as sushi spot Sugarfish and bistro-style Fig Restaurant. The markets also offer cooking classes for those who feel they need to brush up on their chef skills, as well as green-living workshops and gardening seminars for adults and kids alike.

Green City Market, Chicago, IL

Held in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, this market starts its outdoor activities on the 5th of May. Held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the market focuses on local and sustainable food, with 55 diverse stalls filled with more than 20 varieties of plums, elk and tamales.

Well-known local chefs, Dale Levitski from Sprout and Rick Bayless from Topolobampo, will perform cooking demonstrations throughout the summer, so head on over to watch them perform their expertise. And on May 12th, you can head on over for the Green Street Market Barbecue, where you can sample barbecue from top restaurants and locally made beer.

Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University, OR

Portland itself has seven large outdoor markets, all of them notable in their own right, but the biggest and the best on to visit is the one held on the campus of Portland State University. Running from March until December, the Saturday market features more than 160 vendors selling local, in-season items like kale, radishes, carrots and scallions.

And keep your eye out for the new kids on the block that show up to the market to sell their wares- Temptress Truffles will sell locally harvested mushrooms and huckleberries along with truffle butter, oil and salt. The local chefs start coming out and showing off their skills at around 10 AM, and the kids can get their hands dirty with lessons from the students who attend The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland.

Nashville Farmers Market, TN

Having started back in the 1800’s, this open air market boasts a good reputation, solidified by time and effort on part of the locals. It is hosted in three separate areas:  the Farm Side with most of the food vendors, the Market House with restaurants and a café, and then the Flea Market that sells crafts like pottery and jewelry.

Head over to the food stalls to get your hands on some tubs of chèvre from Noble Springs Dairy and spicy kettle corn by Moose Head Kettle Corn. The market is held all year round, so check the seasonal calendar that they have to see what is coming up. Check out the Night Market on June 15, when the market stays open after hours starting at 6:30 p.m. Restaurants will provide special menus, and Market House merchants who normally show on Saturdays will open up.

Union Square Greenmarket, New York City, NY

This is one of New York’s most recognized open air markets, and it happens every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in Union Square Park. During the market’s peak season, expect to find 140 vendors from around the region selling everything from dried lavender sachets to emu and ostrich eggs.

Cooking demonstrations take place every week, and on Mondays, kids can stop by the Greenmarket Youth Education Station and get a tour of the local market, meeting farmers along the way. And on May 30th, Fishmonger Stephanie Villani and chef Robin Puskas will teach you how clean, fillet and cook sea trout.

photo credit: ginnerobot via photopin cc

5 Summer Activities That Can Bring Your Family Together

Posted on: May 9th, 2014 by Quik Shade


Summer is a time when the kids are off school, the weather is great and people are getting out and doing things, enjoying the sun while it lasts. Summer is a great time to get the family together and go out and do things together, making great memories and getting closer to one another. 

There are a variety of things that families can do together during the summertime, and usually not during the winter due to the cold and the rain and whatnot. Here is a list that should help you get some ideas.

Go Camping!

Summer is a great time to get out and go camping out in nature while the weather is still tolerable. It is hard to find a good camping site in the winter due to the cold, rain, snow, all depending on where you live.

There are great camp sites all across the country that are open to people who want to get out and enjoy nature. Seeing as you would be camping in the summer, it is going to get hot and sunny. So, being a canopy or two to set your chairs up underneath so that you can get some shade while at your campsite.

Remember to take into account that you are in nature among the animals, who love your food, so take care to keep your food properly protected against those critters, small and large, that might come by at night to raid your ice chest. Lastly, don’t forget the sunblock!

Off To The Beach!

The beach is one of the best places to go to during the summer, but sadly, not everyone who lives in the United States has access to the coast or a large lake. But for those of you who do, make sure to take plenty of sunblock and a canopy as well to stave off the power of the sun. Set up your chairs underneath, read a book, watch the kids play and enjoy the sound of the surf while on your day at the beach.

Go for a Hike!

Again, as it is with camping, there are plenty of places to go for a nice day hike with the family, even if you live in a large metropolitan area. All it takes is a short drive to the nearest woods or mountain range to find a good place to put on your daypack and head out for a hike with the family. Bring the dog, too! They sure love to go out and find all the interesting things to sniff. Make sure to take plenty of water and wear sunscreen too, as well as maybe a light lunch for that halfway point.

Go To A Music Festival!

Summertime is when most of the music festivals that happen across the country are taking place. There are festivals for every type of music genre out there, and you are sure to find one that is suitable for the whole family. Again, seeing as it is summertime and it gets hot and sunny out in those big open fields that music festivals commonly take place in, make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, as well as bringing a canopy with you, if you are allowed to bring one in to where you are going.

Tailgating Fun

Summertime is also the time for sports, the kind that you can go and have a tailgating party at the stadium before heading off to the big game. Bring that barbecue and the folding chairs, plenty of food and cold beverages, and that canopy too, because it is going to get hot in those parking lots.

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