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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Tomorrow I head back home to CO after spending the last week and a half with my family.  Though I had a fabulous visit, lots of fun day trips, hours of laughter and some of the best sleep and food I’ve had in months, I’m looking forward to getting back to David, the dogs and my ol’ routine.

Because I love to take photos and because we visited some of my favorite places in New England, I wanted to share with you a few more more snapshots of what I love about this area in the late summer…

Fresh picked peaches at Roger's Orchard, CT

Fresh picked peaches at Roger’s Orchard, CT

The sound of crashing waves…

Happy salt air sunflowers, RI

A trip to my favorite, kitchy food store, Stew Leonard’s – (if a carnival and a grocery store had a baby, this would be it…so much fun and lots of laughter and good food enjoyed!)

Seaside shops, RI

Lots of water, lots of boats

Branches loaded with almost-ripe apples, CT

Hot air balloon festival in my hometown

I’ve eaten more fresh lobster and clams this last week than I have in the last year +

Late afternoons (when everyone is leaving) is my favorite time at the beach! At the border of MA/NH

Apple cider donuts…soooo good!

Sweet cruisers are the best mode of transportation in sleepy seaside towns (though scooters are pretty great too!)

More boats in the Newport harbor, RI

I had a great time and now I’m ready to go back.  Happy twice. ;)

p.s. please know that I do not have any ads on my page – WordPress sometimes adds them at their discretion and to completely prevent them, I’d have to pay close to $100 a year.  And because I don’t have ad revenue on this page, I don’t make any money from it, so it’s not in my budget to “prevent” them either, but this is not me putting up ads.  They usually show up at the end of a post (and it seems most often when people view on Google Chrome), so please just skip them.  Thanks for understanding!!

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As a kid growing up in CT who spent most weekends from April to October camping on the Rhode Island shore, I fell in love with a little known gem off the eastern coast known as Block Island.  As the smallest state’s smallest municipality (in terms of population), this island 13 miles off the Rhode Island shore is a much, much smaller cousin of the well-known destination off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard.  But what it lacks in size and activity, it makes up in tranquility and charm.

Via ferry service, I’ve made this trip many times before, though the last time was about 10 years ago and very brief as David was extremely motion sick and we got back on the boat only a few short hours after arriving.  This time my sister, younger niece and I made the trek via high-speed ferry (which looks like a catamaran on crack!) and arrived in just over an hour and feeling great.

My niece Sarah had never been to the island and determined to see every last bit (the island is only 3 miles by 7 miles), we opted to rent scooters instead of bikes (and being a hot, humid day, we were thankful to have made this choice by day’s end).

We had so much fun zipping around the island, pulling over every 5 minutes to grab photos of the beautiful beaches…

Capture seaside buildings…

And even a couple lighthouses…

Did I mention scooters are the way to go?  ;)

I’ve decided that I’m going to get a scooter some day…maybe not while we live in the mountains, but some day…mark my words!!

We enjoyed our lunch at this spot and had a hard time leaving with the view; our food for the day was typical seaside fare on the East Coast: clams, clam chowder, scallops and peel-n-eat shrimp (okay, so maybe those last two aren’t from around here, but it’s still fresher than what I can get in Colorado!), gelato and fudge. *Insert happy sigh here*

And 12 hours later, with sunburned skin, salty lips and barely open eyes from the day full of sun and sea air, we sang to the island in a slow, sad, nostalgic tone as the ferry pulled away from the dock.

Goodbye…farewell…to you I bid adieu…and you…and you…and you and you and you…Goodbyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Block Island.  I ♥ you.

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It’s been nearly a month since our nieces spent the week with us and though a bit after the fact, I wanted to share some photos of our trip to Mt. Evans, a popular spot in Colorado.

Although Mt. Evans is only 15 miles away from us as the crow flies, it takes almost two hours to drive to the entrance at the base of the mountain and another hour to get to the summit as we’re talking mountain passes here and the roads zig zag back and forth (not to mention that when you get close to the summit, you’re looking at frightening drop-offs, thin roads with 2-way traffic and no guard rails, so it’s slow going).

The day started off rough, we left late around 10 am and around 11 we pulled off to give the dogs a break and everyone a stretch and Sierra, our older, Cushings-disease, arthritis and hip dysplasia pup jumped out of the car before we could grab her (we always lift her in/out of our SUV); long story short, we had to turn around and make it back down to the nearest town and go to the emergency vet.  We returned back home deflated and concerned about our pup who, turns out, tore her ACL when jumping down.  David stayed home to keep an eye on Sierra and our oldest niece didn’t want to make the long drive back up now that it was almost 2pm and it would mean a very long day.  Our youngest niece, however, was insistent that we go back up, even with inclement weather predicted.  So her and I jumped back in the car and made our way back out.

The first major point of interest on the way up to the summit is an area loaded with bristlecone pine which are said to be the oldest living things on Earth.  The ones on Mt. Evans are an estimated 1,700 years old!  It started to pour and hail here, but Sarah, in the poncho above, made the best of it!

These bristlecone kind of look like large scale bonsai trees, right?

Summit Lake, at the base of the summit, is another great place to stop.  You’ve never seen clearer water!  The altitude at this point is 12,830 feet and there are a couple of hiking trails in the area that lead to breathtaking views.

Sarah was in awe of the view and a fun travel partner, especially being a teenager; she was game for anything!

Nearing the summit we saw about a dozen or so mountain goat…

The sun came out!  (actually, the weather was pretty manic – a rotation of rain, hail and sunshine every 15 minutes or so all day long).

Once we got to the parking lot at the very end of the road, we trekked up the rocky trail to get to the tippy-top…

And we made it (14,258′ above sea level).  It was quite chilly up top (in the high 40′s) so I threw on David’s hoodie for good measure!

This is the view from the summit of the road below.  Steep!  It was sunny at the top, but clouds surrounded nearby.  As we started to descend, it got stormy again…

But the beauty of the commingling of rain and sun is a rainbow…or two!

We didn’t get home until 8pm or so, but it was still a fun adventure.  This is the closest “fourteener” to Denver, so if ever you’re in the area, do check out Mt. Evans!

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Since my parents were up for 9 days during Thanksgiving, I tried to plan local trips to keep everyone from getting cabin fever.  Unfortunately it was too cold for my thin-blooded Florida snow bird parents to do anything in the mountain communities, so we decided to do visits more on the Denver side to take advantage of the warmer weather at the lower altitude.

I get my love of nature from my Dad so figured he’d enjoy a trip to Roxborough State Park at the base of the foothills where slanted red rocks pop out of the ground.  I have always wanted to go and am SO glad I went; it’s my new favorite place!

When we first arrived, it was overcast and the temperature was dropping.  My parents were obviously a bit chilly…

David and I were right at home in the cool weather…

Unfortunately no dogs are allowed so we couldn’t bring the pups to romp around, but it was a good 5 mile round trip trail so it would have been too much for Sierra’s arthritis anyhow.

Towards the end of the trail, there was an option to go up an alternate trail for a spectacular lookout where I captured this shot:

By the time we got up there, the sun had burned off the cloud cover and it was warming up nicely.  We packed a lunch with us, so here’s where we enjoyed a nice, quiet picnic.  Divine.

Feel grateful to live relatively close (1 hour) to such beauty.  Can’t wait to come back after a good snow and capture some snow covered red rocks!

Here’s to wishing you a good Monday :)

 

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Sorry I’ve been MIA for the better part of this week!  I had a great time trekking with my sis; we returned Saturday night and she sadly left on Sunday.  I then had to crank out 15 orders awaiting my attention and I’ve just been trying to give my lil’ shop some much needed attention since it’s been a bit neglected this fall.

Anyhow, I can’t help but share with you some last round of pictures of our trip…I’ll combine in collages so you don’t feel like you’re flipping through dozens of someone’s vacation photos… ;)

When we reluctantly left Taos, we took the “High Road” out – no, literally, we did!  It’s a GORGEOUS scenic route between Taos and Santa Fe and felt a bit like we were being transported from CO mountains…through a Tuscan countryside…then onto AZ dessert landscapes.  Bizarre changes of scenery, yet stunning all at once.

On our way, we stopped at El Santuario de Chimayo to visit a very old, quaint church (my sister is a devout Catholic and me, well, I just appreciate the art of religious icons, especially old ones).  There were several other chapels on the grounds with beautiful sacred heart icons, which I just love.

After our visit, as well as some tamales at Leona’s, a local icon in it’s own right, we made it into Santa Fe and just soaked up the beautiful weather on the Santa Fe Plaza…

And we visited more churches, including the oldest church in the U.S., the San Miguel Mission which is said to be the oldest church in the U.S. built between 1610 and 1626 (which appropriately sits across the street from the oldest house in the U.S., built in 1646).  That’s my petite 4’11″ sister fitting perfectly inside the petite doors!

We fell in love with the beautiful adobe architecture, especially against the azure blue sky…

And enjoyed the beautiful artwork, sculptures and galleries on the famed Canyon Road…

Oh, that sky…There was beauty everywhere you looked.

And with great hesitation, we needed to make our way back to Colorado…with no car radio and no cell service to stream music (we sang our hearts out and shared funny stories…what sisters/girlfriends do best!)

But the sadness of leaving the beauty of the Southwest was quickly replaced by the awe of the sunset on the CO mountains…

My sister and I, being set 2,000 miles apart, try to make our sister’s getaway an annual event and next year, my sis has her eye on Sedona, AZ.

More red rock and blue skies.

And I can’t wait.

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Even though I’ve been home since Friday night, I couldn’t resist sharing with you the final round of Colorado fall pictures from our recent trip to Crested Butte.  We decided to make it a full day on our trip home and drove along more scenic passes which I want to share with you.

We made our way up to Mt. Crested Butte (a ski resort only a couple miles outside of Crested Butte) and headed toward Gothic, a very strange little town that looks like it’s straight out of a horror movie set.  The area is home to boarded up mining cabins and also home to the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab where the signs indicate that they conduct “very sensitive research” and you’re not really allowed to walk anywhere but on the road and dogs are strictly forbidden.  David and I have a running joke that they are making zombies in that lab (in all seriousness, their site says they study ecosystems and climate change in a high altitude environment, but I still think it an eery place that I’m happy to drive through with a full tank of gas!)

Zoe, aka “Bug” was always very curious whenever I hopped out to take a photo.  She also liked to bark at the cows we drove by and as such, this next section is called “free-range”:

 

The cows have it tough around there, huh?  I actually loved coming across them and seeing them traverse the mountainside (and not in feed lots) is a beautiful sight in my book!

This picture isn’t really a great one as I was shooting toward the sun, but one I wanted to show you the skinny two-way road with some serious erosion (not seen here, but trust me on this!) and also note the snow off to the right.  This is last year’s snow believe it or not.  This spot has year round snow, like a glacier and someone was skiing it when we drove by!

Once we finished our trip through Gothic, we started to head home using our usual alternate route from which we came using Cottonwood Pass – another beautiful drive.  David took over driving while I hung out in the passenger seat with the little guys.  If you know anything about pugs, then you know that they’re lap dogs and when we travel, they fight for space on the lap of the passenger; so here they are in all their cuddled up, pugs-in-a-blanket glory.

A storm was a’brewin’ but we escaped with only a couple rain drops and made a couple stops along the way…

And finally we made it to Park County (and yes, this area in particular is what inspired the show “South Park”)…this is about an hour from where we live and I call it “Big Sky Country” as it is just that…wide open prairie butting up to mountain ranges.  I think the expansive space is quite lovely in its own right.

I call this post “final take” not only because it’s the final take on our trip, but it will likely be the final take on fall.  The really sucky thing about living in the mountains is that the time between summer and winter is about 2 weeks.  For example, it was in the 70′s last and this week and obviously the  leaves are turning, but they are forecasting snow for this weekend!

Luckily my sister is coming into town next week (so exciting as we usually only get family visiting us once a year and my sis hasn’t been up in a couple years).  However, she’s only staying a night before we rent a car and do a free-spirited road trip through New Mexico (a place she’s always wanted to visit), so you can expect more landscape photography coming down the pike!).

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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…knows what she’s doing.  We decided to get up at 5am this morning to catch the sunrise over one of the many mountain ranges.  Mother Nature doesn’t disappoint.

We took the same scenic drive and captured shots from the other direction and to a rising sun…

and came across “woodland cows” as David calls them…free-range cows that traverse the mountain-side and roads…

But then we split off to Ohio Pass a bumpy, seemingly one-laned goat trail down a steep mountain range before it opened up to beautiful pastures…

And more cows…

Such beautiful land.

And then, we came across this sprawling ranch that went on and on…and as if it couldn’t get any better, I spotted it’s barn, which too me, looked like a dream house!

Isn’t it just beautiful?  My shabby-chic-vintage-farmhouse dreams have manifested in a barn (but I could retrofit that baby no problem!)  Trouble is, when I got home and googled the ranch, turns out that the property extends for 2,600 acres and recently sold for more than $10.9 million.  Ha!  I just want the barn…and the view…. ;)

View back into town of Crested Butte, courtesy of the hubby!

It’s our last night here (already) and though I’m sad to leave a place we love, I’m also looking forward to getting home, to my own bed and a regular routine (pups are acting wonky this week and I’m barely getting any sleep!).  Sure was nice to visit though…and dream…

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Oh…I’m in my happy spot.  Or I should say we both are as David loves Crested Butte as much as I do.  Renting a house and having our pups gives us a sense of what it would be like to live here and it’s such a happy thought.

Yesterday, we didn’t do much but unwind after a rough night of sleep with anxious pups, walked the main street, hung out at the indie cafe/bookstore, got sushi take-out and enjoyed the weather (70′s, sunny and dry).  Here’s the view from the house we’re staying at:

As my good friend Peg would say, “doesn’t suck”…not one bit. ;)

Today though we packed a picnic…

Our picnic spot

and headed out on Kebler Pass an incredibly scenic 20 mile road through nothing but aspen groves…

and multiple mountain ranges…

It’s just stunning (and this is just one of several scenic drives around here!)

The dogs enjoyed time hiking around and exploring…


It’s my favorite time of year, in my favorite spot on Earth and the weather is perfect.

So. stinking. happy.


Hope you all have a place that you can call your happy spot!

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Panoramic shot of Sedona (line in the middle is solar glare - I had my lil' point and shoot)

Man, we pounded the pavement this weekend and I’m beat!  But we had a great time and took in a lot of sights, including our trip to Sedona yesterday which is frankly all eye candy.  Constantly uttering, “look at that!” and “oh, this is just so beautiful!” we tried to take in as much as we could before returning to Phoenix for the day so my girlfriend could return to work today and I could catch my flight back home.

View from the visitor's center

If you’ve never been, Sedona is beautiful red rock country and is said to be the sight of many energetic vortex sites where it’s said that many can feel a healing energy.  Though we didn’t have the time to inspect too many of these spots, we did manage to ride the typical tourist route and take in the views during our quick jaunt.

So, being that it’s photo Monday, I’ll shut up now and let the pictures spell it out for you ;)

Not bad for my lil’ point-n-shoot camera (my nice camera took an unfortunate fall a while back and I need to take it in to get fixed).  But I do love my Sony cybershot!

Have a great Monday!

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I was fortunate to go to Saguaro National Park yesterday – a beautiful place just northwest of Tucson where the saguaro cactus sprout seemingly everywhere.  It was beautiful, but sad.  Sad in that it was a Saturday, we were one of two groups in the visitor center and when we returned to the park later in the day to do the highly touted sunset loop (which I’ve done twice before, once 20 years ago, the other time 12 years ago), we were the only one on the entire road save for one other vehicle.  On a Saturday.  In a national park.

It’s no wonder these parks are in trouble!  Luckily my girlfriend did her part and paid the $80 for an annual NP park.  It’s up to us to support these gems because the government certainly can’t.

Perhaps it was the heat (which admittedly I succumbed to like no way I ever have in my life – my face was purple from just being outside a couple minutes; I was extremely nauseous and had a pounding headache.  I was beyond hot.  I was feeling ill).  Luckily once I got in a cool place, I was feeling much better.  But hoo-wee, that heat is nasty!

We did get a moment to visit Mission San Xavier del bac – a Spanish-style white church that pops out of the dessert floor and a place I’ve once visited before (and wanted to share with my girlfriend).

We both share a love of old architecture and an appreciation of religious icons (though neither of us are religious) so this was the perfect place to satisfy both!

We then made our way into downtown Tucson for dinner at the suggestion of a friend who once lived there.

 

We made our way back to the park for our sunset loop before the 2 hour drive back through lightning and a light dust storm to Phoenix.  It was one heck of a scenic day.

Today we head to Sedona *fingers crossed it’s cooler*  Meanwhile David is texting me about how cool it is at the house (in the 50′s).  Though there are charming (?) elements to the desert, you’ll never catch me living here!!  I like the cold, thank you very much!

Hope you’re all having a great weekend (and that those of you on the East Coast are staying safe!)

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