Tag Archives | green travel

Mountain Apple Picking at the Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina


by Jennie

Before we left for our fall family trip to North Carolina, we made a list of all of the fun things that we wanted to do. The list encompassed all of our yearly must-do activities with a few new activities added in as well. I told the mister that the one thing I would like to do is visit a mountain apple orchard. He said to keep your eye out for one while on one of our many long drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Towards the end of our vacation, we still hadn’t come across an orchard, so I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Then, one morning I thought we were headed towards another hiking adventure when the mister pulled off the main road down a very steep turn off. When I looked up I saw the Historic orchard at Altapass in front of us! Hooray! He was so excited to surprise me with this special treat and we ended up spending most of the day there. Read on to check it out.


After browsing around in the Altapass Orchard shop, and stopping to listen to a group performing mountain music we decided to venture out into the orchard. There are several different trails that you could take throughout the orchard, and of course we picked the longest one! We ended up so far into the orchard that all of the visitors (and there were a lot that day) seized to exist, we were completely alone. We were able to observe all of the beautiful butterflies floating throughout the orchard and even came upon a buck who was happily munching in the apple trees! He darted out of there too fast to catch him on camera.

There were so many different types of apples, small tart ones, and huge juicy ones that barely fit in the misters hand. It was really cool to visit an orchard that has been around for more than 100 years!


We walked so far that our trail eventually took us into a forest, it was still part of the orchard but so far removed that we didn’t even realize it was there until we were in it. We munched on apples as we walked (we paid for them later!), chatted and just had a wonderful time. By the time we made our way back to the apple-stand, almost everyone was gone except the employees. We bought a couple of root beer floats and sat on the deck relaxing after our 4 hour hike through the orchard. It was pretty amazing – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

+ The Historic Orchard at Altapass
Milepost 328.3 between Mt. Mitchell and Linville Falls.

The Top 9 Health Benefits of Ginger – Grab Some Today!

ginger health benefits

by Beth

Ginger is an incredibly versatile food that has been used by many cultures for thousands of years. From Africa to China,from Nepal to the Philippines, it is a root that is used in food and drink, ranging from ginger sodas to curry dishes. There is a reason why this amazing root is so widely used.  In addition to being a delicious ingredient, it also offers many serious healing properties.  Let’s take a look at 10 of my favorites:

1. Ginger contains the minerals zinc, chromium, and magnesium, which have been proven to increase circulation and help regulate body temperature.
2. Ginger aids digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes, from both the stomach and pancreas.
3. Ginger has been proven to be more effective than dramamine at settling the nausea associated with motion sickness.  To this end, it can also assist pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness.
4. Ginger has been shown to have antibacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, helping to cure sickness and alleviate pain. Just 1/4 inch thick slice of ginger, either cooked in food or prepared in a tea, has been shown to significantly reduce the pain from arthritis.
5. Ginger inhibits the growth of cancer cells, both ovarian and colorectal, as shown by studies executed at the University of Michigan and Minnesota, respectively.
6. In certain parts of the world, women claim that ginger mitigates the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps.
7. Ginger can help stimulate the appetite.
8. Ginger acts as an anti-flatulent.
9. Ginger can treat constipation.

As you can see, the benefits of consuming ginger are quite numerous.  Before you decide to grab Dramamine, Tylenol, or the antibiotics, try some ginger out first and you may be pleasantly surprised at the result!

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: 4 Contigo Stainless Steel West Loop Travel Mugs

ContigoContigo makes the only reusable bottles and mugs that you will need, period. We use ours every single day, starting with filling our Stainless Steel West Loop travel mugs with coffee, tea and cocoa in the morning to re-hydrating all day and at the gym with our Addison bottles.

I was excited to hear that Contigo just launched their newest collection of Stainless Steel West Loop Travel Mugs. They are available in 7 fantastic new colors (my fave is the grayed jade), and even boasts a lifetime guarantee.

The West Loop travel mugs keep iced drink cold and warm drinks hot! Just press the front button to sip, and when the button is released, the lid seals once again. When it comes to cleaning, the easy clean lid makes it a snap: just twist off the lid, press a button to expose the lid mechanism, and place it in the top rack of the dishwasher, or wash by hand.

Here’s a goody for all Sweet Greens readers, receive 20% off your order of your next Contigo mug with the code WESTLOOP20 – valid through October 31, 2014.

Want to try out a Contigo Westloop mug for yourself? How about four! Jump over to Contigo and leave a comment telling me what your favorite mug color is – and one lucky winner will win a 4-pack of Contigo Westloop Mugs!

Happy Independence Day!

Hello, Friends! We are still in the Florida Keys enjoying our family summer vacation. We have been spending our mornings paddleboarding and our afternoons snorkeling and beach-combing. We even spent one entire afternoon relaxing – which means the mister and dogs took a nap, Eben drew and read and I caught up on a little blogging! It was so nice, especially since we spent the entire day before paddleboarding, snorkeling and kayaking (my arms are sore!)

We are still trying to decide how we want to spend our 4th of July evening. Some years while in the Keys, we have visited a nearby town for a 4th of July celebration with fireworks and patriotic music on the beach, other years we have hiked to the top of the old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge and watched a different type of fireworks display, bio-luminescence in the ocean below! To be honest, the latter is my favorite! I have my fingers crossed that is what the boys want to do tonight! And of course, sometime today we have to stop by the marina to pick up an ice-cream cone to cool off!

I hope you are spending the long weekend eating watermelon, sipping lemonade and maybe even snoozing in a hammock with someone you love!

Happy 4th of July!