Getting the Most Out of a Vacation Nature Walk

Planning a trip to the quiet of Lake Lure, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains? Dreaming of a quiet sandy beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama? Are you longing for a ramble through the lush forest pathways and jagged cliffs on Kaua’i, Hawaii? No matter which Bluegreen Resorts vacation destination you choose, you’ll have access to some of the nation’s most beautiful and exciting natural wonders.

With a little thoughtfulness and a receptive mind, you and your family can turn your quest for exercise or tranquility into a richly rewarding experience. So slow down, take it easy, and be prepared to be nature’s student.

When you take a nature walk, turn up your senses. Be alert to the trill of birdsong, the wash of a river over stones, the whispering motions of animals or insects in nearby greenery, the crunching of twigs beneath your feet. Try focusing your attention for a while on a single object: A flower, tree, or rock. Notice its texture, color, and scent.

Having a child along allows you to see nature through fresh eyes. Take the opportunity to turn your walk into a hands-on learning experience for your whole family by taking time to examine and talk about your surroundings. Keep alert for animal tracks, insect trails, spider webs, and birds’ nests. Remember to look high and low. Bring along a field guide to local birds, butterflies, or wildflowers, or take pictures for a later attempt to identify the species you saw together.

Ask your child to describe what he or she sees, hears, and feels. Start a nature journal and record your impressions and sensations, include your photographs, and note any special discoveries you’ve made.

Make sure to abide by common-sense safety rules and local regulations: Stay on marked trails, don’t take native plants from their homes, and avoid carving into trees or causing other types of damage.

Scrapbook Your Vacation Memories

If you vacation regularly at any of Bluegreen Resorts’ popular destinations, you’ve probably collected quite a few photographs, souvenirs, and collectibles that serve as permanent reminders of downtime well spent. Are these items languishing in the back of a drawer or, worse still, spilling out of cardboard boxes in a closet or garage? Keep your family’s travel memories fresh by transferring haphazardly organized souvenirs to scrapbooks—miniature travel museums designed and curated by you.

Many experienced scrapbookers recommend creating individual books for each vacation, rather than mixing all your photographs together in the general family album. This will make locating each trip’s memorabilia much easier, and will better reflect each vacation’s individual flavor.

Edit your photographs and any other memorabilia, such as brochures, tickets, or handouts from attractions, so that you use the ones most meaningful and interesting to you. Organize them chronologically or in any other way that reflects your feelings about your vacation, perhaps by theme or locale.

After you’ve chosen your items, select your background papers. You may want to have them complement the themes on each page: blue or green for a boat tour, or an elegant fleur-de-lis pattern for a tour of a European castle.

Select an album—a larger one for longer vacations, or a smaller one for a more focused display. Prepare a rough diagram or sketch showing the way you want your items to appear on each page. Two-page spreads with matching backgrounds can display a range of photos on the same topic.

You might want to do your journaling or write your captions on your computer and print them out in a preferred font. Alternatively, you could brush up your calligraphy skills and adapt the color and boldness of your lettering to your theme.

Be creative: Use maps or the wrapping from a present you received on your trip as background papers. Decorate the right-hand edge of a double-page spread with a border that matches one on the left-hand edge of the facing page. If you’ve thought ahead by snapping pictures of street signs and geographical markers, you can use these images to identify the location of each page’s photographs.

Your first page will set the tone for the album. Choose a picture that captures the essence of the album, create a title, and include other identifying information, such as the date, for that page. In a similar way, you could include an end page with an image that summarizes the entire trip.