Yellowstone National Park Lodging Begins to Open in May for the Summer Season

There are several lodging options to choose from inside Yellowstone National Park. In-park lodges include the Old Faithful Inn, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Canyon Lodge and Cabins, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, Old Faithful Lodge Cabins, Lake Hotel and Cabins, Lake Lodge Cabins, Grant Village, and Roosevelt Lodge Cabins. The summer season is quickly approaching, and some of the park lodges open in May. Lodging reservations are accepted up to a full year in advance, so it is a good idea to plan your next Yellowstone vacation as soon as possible in order to enjoy the best selection of lodging options.

Canyon Lodge and Cabins is the lodging facility most centrally located inside Yellowstone National Park. The lodge and its cabins are located near the famous waterfalls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Abundant opportunities exist near the lodge for Yellowstone horseback riding and hiking. The lodge includes a cafeteria, ice cream shop, a gift shop, and a visitor center. Hayden Valley is only a short drive away, and it offers park visitors opportunities to view wildlife including bears, bison, moose, coyotes, and other species.

The Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cabins, or Lake Hotel as it is often called, is another popular lodging choice. The original hotel was built in the 1891 and restored to its 1920’s grandeur in 1990. This luxurious park hotel rests on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, America’s largest alpine lake. The dining room offers excellent meals in a setting that includes large windows overlooking the scenic lake with snow-covered mountain peaks in the background. Wild bison often graze in the lawns around the hotel, and the facility is located a short drive from Pelican Valley, an outstanding location to view wildlife including moose and grizzly bears.

For guests who plan to visit both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (they are adjacent to one another), Grant Village is a good lodging choice. Grant Village rests on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, and is only a short drive from the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and the North Entrance of Grand Teton National Park.

Perhaps the most popular lodge in Yellowstone National Park, the world-famous Old Faithful Inn is the world’s largest log cabin. The lobby boasts a huge rock fireplace, an impressive amount of log construction, and numerous balconies overlooking the main floor. Just a short walk from the Old Faithful Geyser, the Old Faithful Inn is among the most popular places to stay in Yellowstone. There is also a dining room, gift shop, and countless boardwalks and trails that weave through the geyser basin.

In addition, there are several other Yellowstone National Park lodging options; however, reservations are accepted a full year in advance. Subsequently, many lodges can sell out in advance, especially for busy summer dates. It is always a good idea to plan your Yellowstone vacation as early as possible in order to enjoy the best selection of available lodging options.

Experience Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, located in east-central California, is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the continental U.S., and is also a very popular visitor destination. Its scenic wonders include Half Dome, El Capitan, and the magnificent Yosemite Falls. Planning a Yosemite vacation means getting to know the park and learning about the exciting activities available, as well as choosing from among the many fine Yosemite hotels.

Many of the programs offered by the staff at Yosemite National Park are overseen by professionals whose job is to entertain and inform while insuring visitor safety. Activities include rock climbing, mule and horseback rides, rafting and water sports, hiking and camping, and guided bus tours.

DNC Parks and Resorts operates as the concessionaire for most of the lodging and dining options at Yosemite. There is a wide variety of hotels and rustic lodging accommodations in and around the park. Some of the favorite hotels as chosen by park visitors include the Ahwahnee Hotel, built in 1927 and featuring 123 guest rooms and a spectacular combination of interior styles that reflect Art Deco, Native American, and Middle Eastern Cultures. The Tenaya Lodge is located just outside the park boundary, and has condo rentals for those wishing to spend several days or weeks in the vicinity. Other Yosemite hotels include the Yosemite View Lodge, a two-story motor inn near the west entrance to the park, and Curry Village, which features not only a large hotel but also individual cabins and tent grounds.

A Yosemite vacation would not be complete without taking advantage of the gift shopping opportunities in which all forms of memorabilia can be obtained. Gift certificates can be used both at the many shops in the park as well as online at websites maintained by the hotels and other shopkeepers. The park itself is full of specialized gift stores and supply shops that cater to every visitor’s needs.

Yosemite National Park is enjoyed year-round, and advance reservations are absolutely necessary for most of the major hotels and motor inns. It is advised to plan a trip well in advance, as many of the Yosemite hotels are completely booked as far as 6 months prior to arrival.

There is so much to see and do at Yosemite National Park that cannot be listed here; visit one of the many official park websites for complete details. A trip to this fabulous park will fill the visitor with memories that last a lifetime.

Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Local Stores

Ever wonder where the quaint little bookshop, or the family-run bakery disappeared to?

Chances are they’ve closed their doors due to not having enough clientele to sustain their business. As national brand chains and big box stores converge on cities and shoppers flock to them, business is lost at the smaller stores selling similar products.

The national chains have done due diligence and set pricing just right in order to undercut locally owned shops in their quest to convert shoppers. They can afford lower pricing because they are able to purchase in bulk. The small merchant appears to be overcharging, but often they are merely covering their costs. When the big-box stores become successful at monopolizing the area, they then raise their prices.

While the damage to smaller, locally owned businesses is not always obvious, the cost is high. For every job a national retailer brings to a city, other jobs are lost when a local business has to close down and let its employees go.

Every time we choose to purchase online, a local supplier is left without that revenue, revenue he needs to pay his overhead. Revenue he needs to stay open.

When we shop at national chains or online, we don’t contribute to our local economy. Instead our money leaves town and settles in the coffers of the out-of- town retailer.

When businesses can’t stay afloat, there is a trickle effect. Not only are the businesses and services they were using now affected, but the personal shopping habits of their employees also change. Hair salons, restaurants, and other services that people can no longer afford become at risk. Real estate is affected as some small business owners need to declare bankruptcy, have their homes foreclosed on, or pack up and move out of town to try again in another location.

There are many reasons to choose to shop at locally owned and operated independent retailers:

  1. They create an identity for your city. Supporting them preserves the character of your community. Local artisans have venues in which to sell unique creations, making your community a destination place for tourists. Tourists bring outside money into the community.
  2. When you shop at a locally owned retailer, your money stays in town keeping businesses open and locals employed.
  3. Shopping locally sustains a good retail mix, keeping the community from looking like a no-man’s land when developments become abandoned.
  4. The businesses feed the economy with purchases of products and services from local firms, growers, artisans, and service companies. National chains have corporate purchasing departments in another city.
  5. The money earned creates tax revenue for your community, keeping your personal taxes lower.
  6. Promoting locally-owned businesses is an investment in entrepreneurship. Stimulating innovation fuels the economy. It’s important to create ongoing opportunities for business-minded young people to flourish, and family-run businesses to continue to provide personalized service.
  7. Locally owned small businesses have well-trained staff and invested owners that are interested in keeping your business and their reputation. They know their products and want to help you find what you need.
  8. Your local shop owner may be more knowledgeable about local regulations that would be important for you to know, and may be more up-to-speed on products that fit your specific geography, climate and culture.
  9. You can usually get a recommendation from friends in town who can vouch for the products or services provided by locally owned businesses.
  10. Supporting local businesses keeps your community from getting stuck in a position where the only choice for purchases is online or in a big-box store. This is already apparent in the closure of small bookstores that have faced giants like Amazon and Indigo, who are able to offer lower prices, as well as the convenience of shopping from home. Reducing shopping to big box locations actually may reduce the selection available as you become hostage to only the products they choose to carry.

All it takes to support your local economy is to stop and ask yourself if what you are about to purchase is available at your locally-owned merchant and to shop there instead. Shopping locally-owned is a choice that helps keeps choice alive!