Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Healthy is Your (Vacation) Home?

1. Use this quick, fun quiz to determine how to make your home healthier. Also is a great way to evaluate a vacation rental. I learned that 60% of the lead in my home can be reduced by wiping my shoes at the door. Another good reason for taking shoes off altogether when indoors!

2. Coupons for green products at Seventh Generation. While I don't find the cleaning products work any better than mild dish soap and water or baking soda, I like the bleach free feminine products.

3. One of the few blogs I actually read every week is Healthy Child, Healthy World. They do more than regurgitate the same old information available everywhere in the media and regularly have fresh, new ideas.

4. International listing of smoke-free lodging, mostly hotels. The founder is working to create state laws for smoke-fee apartment buidlings and condos.

5. For your mental health, counteract the negativity of the media and economy with this Marianne Williamson message, "No More Lack." You are not at the effect of other people's thoughtlessness.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Foliage Travel Deals on Vacation Rentals

Five Reasons why you'll love the magic of the Tennessee mountains.

1. September through December 2009 you can save 10% on vacation rental homes near Butler. Holidays excluded.

2. The brilliant color of the leaves in October rivals those in New England. The second and third weeks of October bring the most color, but even into early November, muted burgundies, rusts, and browns make the mountainsides glow.

3. The first weekend in October is the National Story Telling Festival in Jonesborough -- don’t miss it!!!

4. Watauga Lake is called the third cleanest lake in the US by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). 80% of the lake is surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest and best of all, there is no large industry or agriculture within miles. The best time to visit the mountain lake is September when the light slanting over the surface ripples elicits a WOW response.

5. Mountain Lake Vacation Rentals are smoke-free and do not use scented candles or air fresheners. Drinking water comes from 605’ deep in the mountains. And proceeds from the cans they recycle go to the Humane Society.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Safe Water Neglected at Expense of Public Health

The last thing you want to think about on vacation is being exposed to poisons and toxins. But with contamination in the US drinking water, it is not only possible, but probable.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a shocking investigation of widespread pollution in America’s waterways, and the effect of contamination on the health of millions of US citizens. It is an eye-opening account of how big coal and other industry giants often treat our public waterways as a dumping ground for chemicals and waste, compromising the safety of unsuspecting consumers, and about the government’s inability to do anything to prevent it.

The findings are startling: An estimated one in 10 Americans read more at Healthy Children Blog.

What you can do:

  • Check your destination for water pollution before you visit to see if you need to bring a filter or stay in a facility with filtered water. Sedona, AZ, for example, has no violations and good drinking water. Annapolis, Md, on the other hand, has violations all over the place. The New York Times has a national database of water pollution violations that is more comprehensive than those maintained by states or the EPA. Using an interactive version, you can look up any community, including your vacation spot, to find out which areas have been cited as polluters or fined.

  • Use a filtered-water pitcher, from companies like Brita or PUR Water or a portable filter like those REI sells for hikers. While I'm not crazy about adding more plastic to the planet, our health comes first.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall Wildflowers in Surprising Places

There’s no time of year in Florida when something isn’t blooming but it seems that Mother Nature saves the best for last. Fall brings an explosion of wildflowers so if you’re a flower lover this is a great time to visit! Blooming in the pinelands are vanilla plant, deer tongue, several varieties of goldenrod, tiny elephant’s foot and the incomparable pine lily. The scrub is awash in blazing star, palafox, wireweed, red basil and goldenaster. In swamps and wet areas you might see climbing aster, string-lily and water lilies.

Look for wildflowers in parks and other public lands. Species and bloom times differ so it’s check in with staff about what's blooming at places you plan to visit. En route, check out waysides and ditches along country roads.

State parks and county parks offer free walks sometimes with an experienced botanist. Another source of information is, which lists wildflower hikes around the state.

Florida Native Plant Society members freely share accurage information and stories. Thei meetings and field trips around the state are open to the public.

Serious botanizers will want Walter Kingsley Taylor’s book on Florida wildflowers, "Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities and The Guide to Florida Wildflowers."

By Guest Blogger Fran Palmeri

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chic Cheap Vacation Rental Travel Deals

Looking to house swap Sedona, Arizona for London in 2010. Email details.

$86 a night Florida Vacation Rental, St. Augustine, FL. Minimum stay required, Sept/Oct 2009. Call 410-562-2281 or email for details.

For Vacation Rental Home Owners--Is your home smoke and fragrance free? Green? A healthy home? You can post your rate specials on this blog for free. We offer it as a courtesy to our 2292+ readers who are looking for cheap chic vacation homes. Email your posting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bark About It: Cheap Flight Finder

Automated searches on the big online agencies like Expedia and Travelocity often miss low fares and skip some airlines (Southwest). finds amazing deals missed by automated searches. Their website says they're the only online agency tracking all airlines and showing promo codes airfares.