HOLY COW what a day I had yesterday! One of which I am very eager to share with you... But I need to head out right now for a couple of hours and I just do not have the time to fill you in at the moment.
I will be back and you're not gonna want to miss this one!!
Catch you back here later today.
Howdy folks!! Backatcha after a very lovely weekend.
While my bestie cousin Tanya was traveling round trip yesterday from SoCal to Arizona and to Utah, I was here on Long Island celebrating a few birthdays.
Today, my "baby" Kelsey turns 14 years old. My goodness, I can't even fathom this idea!! It just so happens that one of her friends that she has gone to school with since kindergarden, celebrated her birthday last Thursday - also turning 14. So, yesterday, we had a lovely birthday celebration that included a few other girls and us moms. The day was delightful and it was nice to have a "normal" get together after being isolated from other parents for such a long period of time.
The nice part is that these two birthday girls have also moved on together to the same high school and just so happen to be in the same home room class for the next four years!
Speaking of the birthday girl - my Kelsey, ironically and luckily, does NOT have school today. What luck to have a day off on her birthday! I'll be taking my girl out to lunch to her favorite place, The Burger Spot and then we'll probably do some Netflix watching later on.
No big plans for the day, just spending quality time together!
Here are some memories of my girl - I featured her two favorite places - Broadway and Disney World and some other prominent moments in her life!
Happy Birthday My Sweet Kelsey!!!
Our main feature today is about Nature House, a travel accommodations booking platform for nature lovers!
Two Dutch Brothers’ Passion for Bird Watching Evolves into a
Worldwide Booking Platform for Nature House Vacations
Now, thanks to two Dutch brothers, nature lovers can submerge themselves in a plethora of outdoor backdrops around the world while enjoying the comfort of indoor amenities at well appointed accommodations amidst wide open spaces, woodlands and calming greenery. The company is Nature.house, a Dutch booking platform, founded in 2009 dedicated to finding travelers the perfect place to stay in a natural setting outside the popular and crowded holiday parks.
Brothers, Tim and Luuk van Oerle, two passionate bird watchers conceived the idea of Nature.house during a bird watching trip while university students. The challenge they encountered was that they were not able to find the right accommodations outside the crowded holiday parks.
According to Tim van Oerle, " ‘I was studying in Wageningen and my brother and I wanted to go birdwatching in the Extremadura region of western Spain. I searched and searched for a quiet house where we could do our own thing undisturbed, but all I could find was bungalows in those kinds of holiday parks."
Although they were still university students, the brothers balanced their time between studies and creating a simple holiday rental website. Their mission and that of Nature.house today is to connect people with nature.
In today’s day and age, more and more people are looking for a holiday home where they can escape the stress of daily life in the fresh air in a peaceful place within a natural environment.
From their initial idea, they have grown their company over the past decade with affiliations with more than 15,000 nature houses throughout 60 countries worldwide. Some of the most popular destinations are within Europe and include the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Today, they have 18 employees and take in excess of 120,000 bookings per year. "Seems we’re not the only ones who hate holiday parks" says Tim.
When we first became aware of this company through a friendly introductory email, we were quite intrigued with the fact that someone (in this case two individuals!) had the foresight and creativity to found a company that provided access to holiday homes off the beaten path. In the first place, both of us cousins thoroughly enjoy being close to nature and love the idea that the Nature.house site provides a variety of methods with which to stay situated outside the city and popular mainstream tourist destinations.
Nature.house is part of the growing segment of travel known as Nature Tourism. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, nature tourism is “based on the natural attractions of an area. Examples include birdwatching, photography, stargazing, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and visiting parks. These experiential tourists are interested in a diversity of natural and cultural resources. They want what is real, and they want to be immersed in a rich natural, cultural, or historical experience.”
Considering the varied tastes, preferences and subjective definitions that travelers have for what defines a natural setting, the van Oerle brothers’ platform offers a broad cross-section of accommodation types. For example, while Tanya has a more adventurous streak than Elisa and might enjoy off grid hiker cabins and glamping accommodations, both agree that unique cabins in the woods, waterside cottages and treehouses in unfrequented areas throughout Europe sounds wonderful for possible upcoming Cousins' Trips!
Nature.house Gives Back
Not only does Nature.house assist in connecting people with nature, but for each booking they receive, the company invests in Dutch nature projects, which include restoring recreational facilities. Future plans include taking this initiate to other countries as well. For us treehuggers, it is heartwarming to know that Nature.house has planted more than 1 million trees in three countries in Africa, namely Madagascar, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso. Therefore, if you decide to book through Nature.house, you can make the world a better place!
The price range of an average Nature house stay varies depending on the type of accommodation, the specific region and the length of the trip, but, on average, a vacationer might be looking at around 500-600 euros per week.
Here are three Nature Houses in different locations, each with its own unique characteristics, that exemplify some of the options availab to travelers.
The Azores, Portugal - With its interesting architecture, this luxurious cottage is wonderfully integrated into a sloping terrain with spectacular views of the sea.
Southern Sweden - For a totally unique experience, this tree house is fully equipped with hot and cold running water, an interior toilet, shower and tub, as well as a sauna! Guests have a lovely view of the Dalälvan River and the location is ideal for those who enjoy skiing and hiking, It is also a great vantage point for seeing the Northern Lights during the winter months from December through March.
Groningen, the Netherlands - Situated in a peaceful, natural setting, this cottage is surrounded by stunning walking and cycling paths and the nature reserve of ‘t Roegwold, which has a diversity of landscapes. Moreover, the city of Groningen is a 15-minute drive away and it is ideally located for a short trip to Germany or the Wadden Islands.
Whatever your favorite mode of travel style is - from bed and breakfast, bungalows, waterfront, in the woods and even agriturismo accommodations, the van Oerle brothers have built a site with a world of options for those looking to kick back and be one with nature!
- Till next time,
Elisa & Tanya