Category Archives: Adventure

Celebrate Disney100 at Disneyland Resort

Disney100 California Adventure at Night

Just in case you didn’t know, I’m a total Disney geek. Not much can stop me from my annual visit. When I was in grade school, my parents would take me out of school for a “doctors appointment”; after all, a day at Disneyland is just what the doctor ordered.

When I had my daughter, it gave me an excuse to finally head to Disney World, take a Disney cruise, and spend a week with my parents at Disneyland Paris. When I skied in Japan, I checked out Tokyo DisneySea.

While I nursed a cracked metatarsal, I scooted my knee scooter to Disneyland. When I broke my leg, I got the electric kind and cruised between Disneyland and California Adventure like it was a ride in itself.

I went to Disney World during the pandemic, right after it reopened, just to see what that was like.

Time To Celebrate Disney100

Disney has been there for me. So I’m excited to be there for them as they celebrate 100 years of storytelling. This year, Disneyland kicks off “Disney100.”

Disney100 Special Look

The official Disney100 celebration kicked off this past January 27, 2023, at Disneyland but the party will eventually spread to Walt Disney World Resort April 3 and other international Disney Parks. With the fanfare comes new nighttime entertainment, “The Magic Happens” parade and a new fireworks show, along with special character costumes, décor, food, drink and merch. The newly reimagined Mickey’s Toontown is now open and there’s also the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride that just opened. (I did that one at Disney World. It’s fun but would be better if there were hidden stories within the story so that each time you ride, it’s different.)

Disney100 Difference

Because there is no standard color for a 100-year anniversary, Disneyland Resort will be decked in platinum from the banners and bunting on Sleeping Beauty Castle to platinum statues and medallions throughout the resort. Even Mickey and Minnie mouse will host shimmering new looks for Disney100.

The coolest thing of all -at least for me- will be the Disney 100 Years of Wonder at the Disney Gallery on Main Street. The new installation will be filled with Disney images, original artwork, and animated exhibits that helped bring Walt Disney’s vision to life. These features will show us how Disney animated films transitioned from screen to Disneyland Resort attractions, park experiences, and beyond. There’s a museum like this at Disney World and there’s never enough time to explore these treasures of Disney magic.

Also, during the celebration EVERY TICKETED guest will get to download their ride photos for free!

What to Eat at Disney100 graciously provided a (nearly) complete list of all of the Disney100 specialty treats:

Lemon Tea Cake at Alien Pizza Planet Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Alien Pizza Planet 
  • Lemon Tea Cake: Lemon curd, lemon zest glaze, and a fresh slice of lemon (New) 
Blue Bayou Restaurant 
  • Celebration Cake: Pecan brownie, chocolate truffle mousse, red berries, and milk chocolate mousse glazed with chocolate ganache and topped with a star (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27)
Minnie Mouse Apple and Minnie Cake Pop at Candy Palace, Candy Kitchen and Pooh Corner in Disneyland
Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen and Pooh Corner (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Minnie Apple (New)
  • Minnie Cake Pop (New)
Galactic Grill (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Platinum Trifle: Layers of chocolate cookie crumbles, cheesecake, cherry compote, chocolate cookie mousse, and crème fraîche chantilly with crunch pearls and a chocolate piece (New) 
  • Old-Fashioned Cream Soda: Sprite, cherry, and blue cotton candy gourmet syrup served frozen and topped with whipped cream and purple pixie dust (Glow cube available) (New) 
Potato and Cheddar Cheeseburger along with Lemon Chiffon Pie at Hungry Bear Restaurant at Disneyland Pakr
Hungry Bear Restaurant 
  • Potato & Cheddar Cheeseburger: 1/3 lb angus chuck patty, green chile, and bacon cheddar sauce with spicy crispy potato planks on a brioche bun (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Lemon Chiffon Pie: Classic lemon chiffon pie with graham cracker crust topped with vanilla chantilly cream (New) 
Platinum Trifle at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland Park
Jolly Holiday Bakery Café 
  • Platinum Trifle: Layers of chocolate cookie crumbles, cheesecake, cherry compote, chocolate cookie mousse, and crème fraîche chantilly with crunch pearls and a chocolate piece (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27) 
  • Lemon Tea Cake: Lemon curd, lemon zest glaze, and a fresh slice of lemon (New) 
  • Mr. Banks Shortbread Tart: Caramel and chocolate ganache in a shortbread tart, purple-colored white chocolate mousse, sea salt, edible silver stars, and silver crunch pearls (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27) 
New Violet Pretzel and Sparkling Grape at Refreshment Corner at Disneyland Park
Refreshment Corner (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Violet Pretzel: Cream cheese-filled pretzel drizzled with salted vanilla cream and lavender sugar (New) 
  • Sparkling Grape: Sprite with grape syrup topped with a candy strip (New) 
Disney 100 Churro at Town Square Churro and Tomorrowland Churro at Disneyland Park
Town Square Churro and Tomorrowland Churro (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Disney100 Churro rolled in cherry sugar drizzled with white icing and topped with purple and silver pearls (New)
French Onion Dip Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta at Disney California Adventure Park
Disney California Adventure Park
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
  • French Onion Dip Pizza: Mozzarella, Gruyère, caramelized onion, and sliced roast beef served with a side of beef au jus (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Lemon Chiffon Pie: Classic lemon chiffon pie with graham cracker crust topped with vanilla chantilly cream (New) 
Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff and Trolley Treats (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Minnie Apple (New)
  • Minnie Cake Pop (New)
SNICKERS Sundae at Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream
Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • SNICKERS Sundae: Butter-pecan ice cream topped with chocolate shell, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and SNICKERS bar pieces served in a waffle cup (New) 
Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Platinum Trifle: Layers of chocolate cookie crumbles, cheesecake, cherry compote, chocolate cookie mousse, and crème fraîche chantilly with crunch pearls and a chocolate piece (New)
Flo’s V-8 Café
  • Lemon Chiffon Pie: Classic lemon chiffon pie with graham cracker crust topped with vanilla chantilly cream (New) 
Platinum Blue and Old-Fashioned Cream Soda at Hollywood Lounge in Disney California Adventure
Hollywood Lounge 
  • Platinum Blue: Rum, blue curaçao, DOLE pineapple and sour mix (New) (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Old-Fashioned Cream Soda: Sprite, cherry, and blue cotton candy gourmet syrup served frozen and topped with whipped cream and purple pixie dust (Glow cube available) (New) 
Disney 100 Cocktail at Lamplight Lounge in Disney California Adventure
Lamplight Lounge – Boardwalk Dining and Lamplight Lounge (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Disney100 Cocktail: Empress Gin, pea flower, honey, lavender, and lemon juice garnished with an edible flower (New) 
Magic Key Terrace (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Celebration Cake: Pecan brownie, chocolate truffle mousse, red berries, and milk chocolate mousse glazed with chocolate ganache and topped with a star (New) 
Pacific Wharf Cappuccino Cart 
  • Lemon Tea Cake: Lemon curd, lemon zest glaze, and a fresh slice of lemon (New)
Platinum Trifle at Pacific Wharf Cafe at Disney California Adventure
Pacific Wharf Café (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Platinum Trifle: Layers of chocolate cookie crumbles, cheesecake, cherry compote, chocolate cookie mousse, and crème fraîche chantilly with crunch pearls and a chocolate piece (New)
Steamboat Willie Shake at Schmoozies in Disney California Adventure
Schmoozies (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Steamboat Willie Shake: Cookies & cream shake with whipped topping and chocolate creme-filled cookie ears (New) 
Prickly Paloma cocktail at Sonoma Terrace at Disney California Adventure
Sonoma Terrace (Available beginning Jan. 27)
  • Prickly Paloma: Tequila, prickly pear and grapefruit ginger beer (New) 
Disney 100 Magic Key Refillable Popcorn Bucket featuring Walt and a variety of Disney characters at Disneyland
  • Disney100 Magic Key Refillable Popcorn Bucket (New) Available at the following: 
    • Popcorn Carts on Buena Vista Street, Grizzly Peak, and Pixar Pier 

When To Go To Disney100

Disneyland hasn’t announced an end date yet but those in the know are predicting that it could last through the first half of 2024, giving you enough time to plan your vacation. If you can avoid summer break and school holidays, you might avoid the crushing crowds of late but sometimes you don’t have a choice. If you want more info on best times to travel, best deals to be had, and where to stay, head over to Get Away Today. The girls there have all the answers that are out there right now. Plus, they can hook you up with that “buy 4 days, get an extra day free ticket deal” or a free hotel night.

Adventure Like a Celeb in South Lake Tahoe

south lake tahoe mansion

Seen “Top Gun 2: Maverick” yet? South Lake Tahoe has been the backdrop for an array of blockbuster movies, sitcoms, and reality TV series that showcase Tahoe’s famous turquoise water, snowcapped mountains and towering pines. So when the production for Maverick wanted to build a military base that had a runway between mountains, the Lake Tahoe Airport came into play. Production built platforms on the side of a mountain for helicopters to bring in the equipment needed to shoot that epic military base/fighter scene three years ago.

Did you know that classics like “The Godfather Part II,” “City of Angels” and “The Bodyguard” were also filmed in the region? “We live in a magnificent place that translates well to the big screen and we look forward to sharing it with the world,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “News of the celebrity stays has inspired visitors to spend time here living vicariously like a star.”

Book a trip to south lake tahoe



Living like a star begins with palatial accommodations. The Sherman Estate is a sprawling 15-acre property providing stunning lake views, hot tub, indoor pool, movie theatre, game room, fireplace, expansive kitchen, multiple outdoor lounge spaces, and wet bar with 17 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms that can host up to 40 guests. It’s no wonder that casts of Real Housewives and Kardashians stayed there as well as filming locations for the rose ceremony of the ABC’s The Bachelor. The property is in high demand and now requires a minimum stay of 30 nights with rates starting at $9,000 per night. In addition, Bliss Experiences/Lake Tahoe Yoga/ offered private yoga sessions for casts staying there.

ABC’s The Bachelor season 22 with Arie Luyendyk Jr. featured his accommodations at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, and the women were nearby in Stateline, Nev. at a Buckingham Luxury Vacation Rental. Preview of the episode: In season 10, Dr. Andy Baldwin, a navy lieutenant, used the Black Bear Lodge (at the time Black Bear Inn) on Ski Run Boulevard for a romantic date.

Bally’s Lake Tahoe (formerly MontBleu) Edgewood Tahoe, Hard Rock Hotel, Harrah’s Lake TahoeHarveys Lake TahoeLake Tahoe Resort Hotel, and The Landing Resort & Spa have housed numerous cast/crews during shoots. As the official host hotels for the American Century Championship during the annual celebrity golf tournament, Harrah’s and Harveys have welcomed hundreds of sports and entertainment stars.


The possibilities are endless to create a memorable, romantic getaway like casts/crews did in Lake Tahoe. Here’s a snapshot of activities they experienced while filming during the fall, early-winter and late-spring seasons when more privacy calls:

Aerial Adrenaline: Catch a glimpse of the snowcapped peaks with scenes from “Top Gun 2: Maverick” via helicopter tours, which take flight year-round from South Lake Tahoe Airport. Feeling daring, try Sky Combat Ace and experience pilot-for-a-day with the Top Gun package, aerobatic maneuvers over the Lake Tahoe landmarks shown in the movie, including Emerald Bay and Maggie’s Peak.

Get over the water with parasailing at Zephyr Cove Resort like “The Bachelor” did on their date followed by a picnic at Baldwin Beach. Another iconic date included Arie and his suitor with a horseback ride through Camp Richardson Corral to Fallen Leaf Lake. Spoiler alert there’s not a hot tub along the trail but many accommodations do offer hot tubs for guests.Dinner at Hard Rock’s Park Prime followed by a concert inside the hotel was another special evening. Casey Webb, Travel Channel series, “Man v. Food,” recently visited Cold Water Brewery, Artemis and Fox & Hound. Other dining establishments for cast/crew included Edgewood’s Bistro, Brooks’ Bar & Deck, and Riva Grill.

south lake tahoe lake
Courtesy Tahoe Blue Wave

Tahoe Blue Wave mesmerized casts of both RHOBH and Kardashians. Camera crews utilized outfitters Tahoe Sports and Lake Tahoe Boat Rides to make scouting and filming possible. Camp Richardson Resort’s marina was the headquarters for “Modern Family” boats, jet skiing, canoeing, while the Marian Duplex and cabin were transformed for parts of the episode. During winter months stars were skiing/snowboarding at Heavenly Mountain Resort snow tubing and ice skating at Edgewood Tahoe.

“You can’t buy the kind of exposure these various films and shows earn,” added Chaplin. “Through the El Dorado County Film Commission and our local partners, we continue to generate buzz and garner millions of impressions of our incredible destination.”

For a guide to South Lake Tahoe film locations check out the El Dorado County Film Commission’s movie map.


The Sierra Rose was used in the filming of “Modern Family” with Camp Richardson Resort & Marina as the headquarters; the houseboat is actually up for action: here. Credit: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Covid-19 Travelers’ Remorse

Delta Airplane in the air

I’m getting on a plane tomorrow. I’m terrified. The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t even close to being over but, you see,  three months ago we thought the ‘moment’ would pass. We jumped on a deal to fly to Boston for less than $200 and a no questions asked cancellation policy. We figured since we always visit Ryan’s family in the summer, this craziness would be over by July and we could get back to business as usual. If not, we could cancel. I never considered Covid-19 Travelers’ Remorse.

Well, it’s not back to normal and we didn’t cancel. Ah, the price of one’s life; or the fragile human ego believing it won’t be enslaved by a virus. Summer is travel time; contagions be damned. But, please, don’t use us an the example. Traveling right now is the stupidest thing you could do.

Stay-at-home orders are once again spreading as fast as the disease, with states/cities implementing two-week, self quarantines for travelers. I don’t know about you but I’m not interested in a three-week vacation where most of it is spent in lock down like the one in Hawaii. Currently, Massachusetts and Utah have no restrictions but with the sharp rise in cases in the beehive state it wouldn’t surprise me to come home to a quarantine. 

Will you get on a plane or even roadtrip this summer? And once you get to your destination, can a hotel really be any safer than that plane? According to an article on POPSUGAR, “This risk comes from interacting with fomites — objects or surfaces that are likely to carry infection — or interacting with infected people. The risk in a hotel environment could come from interacting with hotel employees, such as front desk staff or housekeeping staff, or with other hotel guests.” There’s the public you pass on the stairs, the elevator, the restrooms, business centers, gyms, pool and dining areas. Free breakfast? Fogedaboutit. Then there are the little danger zones you might miss – that doorknob, tv remote, alarm clock button, pens you used to sign in with, the railing, the elevator button.

But Marriott says they’re COVID safe!? Those “enhanced cleaning regimens” the big chains speak of are a smokescreen to lure you back into their beds.  Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only essential travel is advised.  You’re risking infection and/or spreading the virus on your return. Like a spy in a Netflix show, you’re never safe- airports, gas stations, rental car counters, and cafes. Boy, does this scenario suck for the warriors like me.

Have I succeeded in scaring anyone? If you all stay home then I can travel safely!

Wearing masks and social distancing is like wearing an expired condom- it may work; it may not. At least there’s no hotel for me. But I’m still bringing wipes, hand sanitizer and my mask, staying six feet away from the kid brother who has been out regularly partying with friends at the beach and you all can go ahead and go to that restaurant without me. I’m a cancer survivor with a normally shitty immune system. Not that I’m constantly sick but, yeah, cancer.

So, here I am about to board my Delta flight. Unlike the shitshow happening over on American and United, my middle seat will be empty and everyone will be wearing masks. This may be my first and last flight of the year. Just saying. 

Here’s some interesting advice from that POPSUGAR post, if you are planning a hotel stay, “ask for a room that no one, not guests nor housekeeping staff, have entered in the past three days” so “viral copies are deactivated before you arrive”. HA! Good luck with that request.

Utah’s Unique Museums- Two Steps Forward One Cool Step Back…In Time

utah museum

It doesn’t take long for an inquisitive visitor to Park City to hear tell of the little resort town’s storied past. The remnants surround you; of the silver mine boom and bust, the historic structures that pepper Park City Mountain and multi-colored “shacks” built into the hillsides. Eventually, history buffs find their way to the unique museums like Park City’s for a nostalgic immersion of all things turn of the century.

Museums are often overlooked in small towns but some of the most fascinating artifacts are curated by locals with a passion for everything from bullets to bugs and they can’t wait to show you around. Here are some of the more unusual collections found in Utah.

Tom Whitaker’s Cowboy Museum- Ol’ Tom Whitaker, the founder of the Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry Gathering, opens his Cowboy Museum in Midway to the public only twice a year- during the Gathering and on the Fourth of July. But if you just can’t wait to walk through time into the railroad room, Indian and cowboy room, western brothel housed in a restored pioneer cabin, then send him an email. Tom and wife Linda are happy to show you around. Even the exterior with cactuses and windmill from Iowa reflects the wild west. Free Admission 510 N. River Rd Midway next to Midway Memorial Hill.

Heber Valley CAF (Commemorative Air Force ) Wing Air Museum  The Utah wing of the national non-profit aviation association exists solely to immortalize the big birds of WWII and share the past with plane buffs. The focus of this museum is on aircraft like the Boeing PT-17/N2S Stearman but volunteers will graciously tour you through displays on women in aviation and commercial aircraft as well. You can also book a ride in a bi-plane if you plan ahead.

CAF Hangar on the Russ McDonald Field, Heber Valley Airport. Open Thurs.-Sun. May 1- Oct. 31. 435-709-7269

Price Museum of speed (SLC) – For those with a thing for wheels over wings, there’s this ode to vintage race cars. The more than 30 international speedsters housed in this downtown Salt Lake City space either won or placed well in renowned events like the Grand Prix and Le Mans and date back to 1904. Ogle the 1929 Bugatti 35B Racer and 1938 Mormon Meteor III by appointment only. 165 E 600 S; Salt Lake City, (801) 906-0157.

Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage – The west was won by John Ford and John Wayne if you ask the curators of this museum inside the Red Cliffs Lodge in southern Utah. The area served as a backdrop to cowboy classics like Wagon Master, Rio Grande, and Son of Cochise and hosted golden era stars like Rock Hudson, Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara and more. The self-guided, free unique museum displays memorabilia like movie posters and costumes from the early films to the present, all shot in the Moab area. When you’re done looking around, cozy up to the Castle Creek wine bar, also inside Red Cliffs, for free wine tasting from noon- 7 p.m.  The museum is open 8 a.m.- 10 p.m. (866) 812-2002.

Photo by Tricia Simpson

Western Mining and Railroad Museum–  The Denver and Rio Grande railroads established Helper, Utah, as a hub for coal miners and their families in the late 1800s and their story continues to be told through the exhibits housed in the Old Helper Hotel building, built in 1913. You get three stories plus the basement of railroad and mining memorabilia, as well as exhibits on the company store life and the war years. The third floor is said to be haunted. Free tours upon request, Mon.- Sat. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Utah State Railroad Museum – This one is for the kiddos, fantasy conductors and general train buffs. Outside Union Station is a free exhibit of full-sized rare locomotives and autos including a gas-turbine train. Inside are more displays and stories of the development and construction of the transcontinental railroad. Union Station, 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, Utah. (Inside) $5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Sat.

Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum– Yes, this is Utah so there must be an authentic Utah Cowboy Hall of Fame. It’s tucked inside the heritage museum amid the exhibits that honor artists, entertainers, musicians, ranchers, and writers that celebrated those true western values.  Union Station, 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, Utah. $5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Sat.

utah museum

John M. Browning Firearms Museum– Also inside Ogden’s Union Station is a tribute to Mr. Browning and his original firearms from mini pistols to sporting rifles. Winchester, Colt, Remington have all based their guns on Browning’s designs. Give yourself time to wander among the tremendous array of guns and family history. Union Station, 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, Utah. $5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Sat.

Art Robinson Transport Museum – When you love trucks as much as Art does, you set up five barns’ worth of all makes, models and years. This truck fancier’s paradise is a must see and houses such lovelies as a ’72 Brockway and a ’44 Mack.  875 W Main St., across US50 from the Robinson Transport Yard, Salina, Utah.  435-529-4354.

Goulding’s Trading Post Museum– This small museum in Monument Valley tells the story of trading post days, the corralling of famous western films of the time, as well as Navajo tribal art history. For anyone visiting the area, old west film buffs and John Wayne fans (they show classic John Ford films in the Movie Room), take an hour from your day for a free self-guided tour. Inside Goulding’s Lodge, 1000 Main Street Monument Valley, Utah. (435) 727-3231.

John Wesley Powell River History Museum– Ever heard of Lake Powell? Well, this compact but unique museum in Green River celebrates the explorers who first discovered and mapped the Colorado and Green rivers and canyons in Utah, and all things related- geology, navigation, environmental impacts. There are photos and interactive displays, as well as dinosaur replicas and fossil records in the basement. Admission is $6. 765 East Main Street, Green River, Utah. 435-564-3427. Open daily in the summer.

Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum– The irony for this free educational “life science” museum is that the large collection of animals aren’t alive. The taxidermied zoo impresses with full-sized giraffes and a bull elephant. There’s also a touch and feel area for kids and free weekly shows with live animals at 7:30 p.m. Open Mon.-Sat. 645 E 1430 N, Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University. (801) 422-5050

Click here for more unusual things to do in Utah.

Guest Etiquette- The Door Is Always Open?

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Why is it when you hit a certain age you’re expected to stop crashing on people’s floors? I prefer friends’ houses to hotels. They are warmer, cozier, and more entertaining. I haven’t seen your enchanting face in ages except on Facebook. I know guest etiquette; don’t you want to see me in person?

Of course, it’s usually cheaper to stay with friends and I am a frugal sort but that’s not the point. If I’m not staying with you, you might not see me. That would be terrible. Maybe that’s what you’d prefer.  Wait, seriously? What kind of friend or sister are you??

In the summer, it’s relatively easy to make other arrangements when friends are unaccommodating. You can sleep in your car if you have to. But the gray, chill days of winter make it too damn cold for car camping and let’s be real here, winter camping is not all it’s cracked up to be. However, when the most expensive part of any road trip is that heated roof over your head you can’t blame a person for looking up old friends for a place to crash.

Ironically, “you’re welcome to stay here,” is one of those phrases thrown out by anyone and everyone much the same way a passerby utters, “How are you?” or “Guzentite.” Ninety percent of the time, they don’t really mean it.

I got called to Los Angeles last minute over a holiday weekend and my so-called friends and relatives scattered like roaches. There was not a vacant room or couch to be found. I had to suck it up and stay at a crappy motel…. for nearly $200 a night! Turns out, “You’re welcome to stay here,” really meant “we want to sound gracious but please don’t ever ask.”

WTF? Was I an awful guest? I felt like exhibited best guest etiquette  – cleaned up after myself, took my hosts to dinner, brought a welcome gift, stripped the bed- but maybe I was missing something.

I took to the street and asked the masses if they could offer any advice to their future guests what would it be? Some flat out said, “Stay at a hotel.” Real helpful, Guys. Still, their responses demonstrated that I need not take empty invites personally. Most “grown-ups” just don’t want you staying in their neat and well-ordered home. Since my home is far from well-ordered I guess I love having friends visit. 

More productively, here’s some guest etiquette compiled from gracious homeowners on how to be the best guest possible.

Ask For House Rules Up Front-

When your friend says (and means) that they would love to have you, not only thank them but ask for their expectations so there’s no weirdness once you arrive. This allows your host to lay down some boundaries of what you can do and when. They can make their expectations clear and you can choose if that works for you before you ever cross the threshold. Shoes off when you enter? Quiet after 9 p.m.? No surprise guests? No drinking? Is it ok to walk around in your pjs? Understand and honor those expectations.

Your Vacation Isn’t Theirs-

Many hosts hate the expectation that they have to drop everything and show you a good time. Guests assume since they’re on vacation their friends can take unlimited time off, so make sure you let your host know you’re psyched just to have a place to sleep and you can entertain yourself.

Be Tidy-

You’re not staying in a hotel where the maids enter every day to fold towels and vacuum. Put on a neatfreak hat during your stay even if you are the ultimate slob. Keep your “stuff” contained in its duffel, fold your own towels and make your bed. If you cook or use the dishes, clean them and put them away. Your goal is to make the place look like you aren’t there.  “A good guest will ask if you need anything or if they can help in any way,” said Park City, Utah, host Deb Dekoff. “We allow them to help out. It makes for a nice stay for everyone.”

In addition, help with cleaning up after meals, strip the beds when you leave and bring your own towel.


Buy and eat your own food and while you’re at it cook or treat your hosts to at least one dinner if you can. Your friends aren’t expecting anything lavish. They know you’re staying with them to save money and dining out – especially in a resort town – could cost you as much as a hotel night. Buy the groceries, make dinner for all and do all the cleanup. That’s just as good if not better than a night on the town on you.

Figure Out Your Own Transportation-

Budget for a rental car or Uber if you’re not near public transportation. Ask for the best place to park if you have your own car and respect the answer. Do not park on the driveway means don’t park on the driveway.

Bring a Token of Appreciation-

Does your friend have a thing for whiskey? Coffee? Chocolate? Surprise them with a welcome gift or send them a thank you treat after your visit. “I had one guest get me an orchid-of-the-month for three months. I loved it as I don’t have plants,” said Tammy Manassa. “Repeat guests don’t buy me gifts but take us to dinners but I don’t expect it so it’s fine with me if they don’t buy anything. It’s not about this. It’s about sharing our home with people we care and want to be with.” Still, a little gift, maybe some “real beer” if you’re coming to Utah, goes a long way when trying to keep the door open for future visits.


Leave yours at home unless the host begs to see your four-legged baby. But do treat the hosts’ pets like they are royalty. Offer to petsit or take them on walks. “Be kind to my animals and you’re always welcome back,” said one local. If you are allowed to have your dog, make sure you pick up poop, offer to clean carpets if there’s an accident (which you better hope doesn’t happen) and replace items that may get chewed.


Your friends are not your babysitters. If you want a night out without those chillens, hire a sitter. Even better, if your friends have kids, you be the sitter and give them a night out.

Be Entertaining-

Visiting friends should be a lively time of bonding. Don’t hide in your room and avoid those moments whether they involve cocktails and boardgames or watching a movie.

Don’t Outstay Your Welcome

Let your hosts know exactly how many days you intend to stay. No matter how awkward it might be to ask for a place for a week, it’s even worse if you say, “I just need something for a couple of nights” and you’re still there on night three. Your hosts have things to do, places to be and possible other guests to host. They need to make plans and not worry the whole time about when you are leaving. Get out of their hair when you say you will. Don’t ask for extra days once you’re there. If they offer, great but most hosts don’t want to be rude so they will say ok if you ask. You just won’t be welcome again.

If you find yourself in my position where you think you are an amazing guest and your friends just don’t see it, there is an alternative. is a network of vagabonds and boondockers who are looking to pay it forward. They spent years roaming the globe and crashing on couches and they want to repay the favors. It’s free and it beats AirBnB if you don’t mind living with strangers for a beat. Just remember to mind your Ps and Qs. If all goes well you will have new friends to host you the next time around. And if it doesn’t you will know why as the hosts are allowed to review their guests.

And most importantly….

Repay The Favor

If some generous homeowner has hosted you- once, twice, three times, whatever- don’t be surprised when the tables are turned and they decide to come for a visit themselves. Be ready with fresh sheets and open arms. A zillion excuses like “this is not a good time,” “the catsitter has the place that weekend”, “if only you had given me more notice” tagged with “you can find another place to stay, right?” will only get you crickets the next time you ask for bed space. 

Creative Thank You Gift Ideas

The best gifts are the thoughtful ones that show you “get” your hosts. A friend let me stay at her house while she was out of town but there wasn’t a single guest pillow in the place. I bought two and left them for her. Another time I noticed all of my friends’ coffee mugs were chipped and mismatched. I set them a nice set of four mugs when I got home.


If you’re a coffee drinker not only should you bring your own but bring an extra bag of your local java to gift. Here, there’s Park City Coffee Roaster but if you are anywhere near Hood River, Ore., or Jackson Hole, Wyo., you better bring a bag of Stoked Roasters or JH Coffee Roasters. Both delicious packs of perk.


There are so many brands and labels that your hosts will get a kick out of. Help them discover your local favorite like High West Distillery’s Rendezvous Rye or Gramercy Cellars Syrah. Nothing says, “Thanks,” better than a bottle of wine or whiskey. Or a six-pack or two of craft brew like Durango’s Modus Hoperandi IPA. Just make sure your hosts imbibe.


One gift people love but seldom buy for themselves are house slippers. Acorn makes some of the best; you will earn accolades when presenting the fun, cozy, classic slouch boot. It’s the perfect winter gesture when you’re sitting around the fire toasting to good times. BTW, you don’t have to be right on the money with sizes but try to find out beforehand rather than guessing.

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