Travel Writing

 

Getaways in the Mountains in Colorado

On your next trip to the mountains of Colorado, avoid the usual vacation spots at the big ski resorts like Aspen and Vail, and explore some great mountain getaways off the beaten tourist path, tucked into Colorado mountain country. Whether you’re into luxury hotels, outdoor sports, art galleries or sushi, you can find some of the best of Colorado without the big crowds.

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Primitive Camping in Moab, Utah

Edward Abbey called Arches National Park the “most beautiful place on earth” in the opening to his memoir, “Desert Solitaire,” drawn on his time as a ranger there. Few who have visited Arches or the nearby parks around Moab, Utah, would argue that point. Trails and traditional campsites allow visitors to enjoy this majestic setting, but to fully embrace its rugged beauty, the adventurous leave the beaten path for primitive camping.

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Fun Places in Mississippi for Newlyweds

Mississippi is known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, the blues and Elvis Presley, with a cultural landscape all its own. From the cotton fields of the north Delta to the antebellum mansions of Vicksburg, those seeking a different kind of honeymoon destination along Mississippi’s historic Highway 61 can find everything from down and dirty blues to high society gaming, all served up with a side order of Southern hospitality.

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Hot house (of) tomato: The Tomato Place, Mississippi Restaurants

What’s better than those Mississippi restaurants that serve up comfort food made from fresh produce and home-style cooking? One that also sells the produce, quirky gifts and a little liquid sunshine with a smile.

Now, I appreciate those fancy Mississippi restaurants as much as the next gal, and the kind of gourmet food where you aren’t really sure what it is, but you know it’s supposed to impress you. But I also enjoy a slice of down-home cooking served up with friendly service, and The Tomato Place in Vicksburg, Mississippi, has garnered quite a reputation for both in these parts.

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Milwaukee Ghost ToursNashville Sightseeing: Haunted Ghost Tours

Milwaukee may be known for beer, Brewers and festivals, but travelers may find themselves flocking to the “City of Festivals” to hunt things that go bump in the night. Whether visiting during Halloween season or another time of year, try one of the city’s ghost tours for some spine-tingling fun.

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Restaurants on the Carnival Glory

Between all the swimming, sunbathing and group activities on deck, cruise guests need the occasional break to grab a bite to eat and recharge their batteries. The Carnival Glory has just what you need, whether you love gourmet multi-course dining or a fresh burger hot off the grill at any time of day or night.

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Flashback in Time in Jerome

They call Jerome, Arizona a ghost town, but the 500-600 or so live residents might disagree. The tiny town tucked on the side of a pine tree-covered mountain is an eclectic mix of hippies, bikers and assorted artists that have taken over the old copper mining site between Sedona and Prescott. But confuse it with Sedona at your own peril — most residents do not suffer the New Age crowd lightly. I was browsing one of the little shops on the main drag, when some tourists came in and asked about “vortexes.” The shop owner just glared at them and said, “No. We don’t do that here,” till they tucked their tails between their legs and slinked away.

On a summer weekend, you can expect to see the main strip lined with Harleys, and a crowd in the landmark Spirit Room bar. Supposedly haunted, the spirits usually on display here are of the alcoholic variety, served up by George the bartender, with long gray locks and a son named Grair named after the Grateful  Dead and Jefferson Aeroplane.

Could I make this up?

You never know quite what to expect on a weekend night at this bar. One night the band scheduled cancelled last minute, so the owner’s wife put on her best dress and came out to play…her accordion. For a crowd of locals and bikers. Or you might run into the Javelina club, a group of local women who meet and drink together…in pig noses. You don’t even have to be a part of the club to enjoy it – just watching the expressions on tourists’ faces when they walk in, see the group…and sort of walk back out, is priceless.

There are other great places to explore in Jerome. For dining, you could try the Flat Iron Cafe, an odd shaped building with lots of window light and a great selection of coffees, teas and baked goods.  Or go for a high end experience at The Asylum, known for its excellence in wine selections and spectacular views of the Verde Valley, which many shops and cafes overlook, creating a spectacular view at sunset.

Jerome has many artists studios and galleries, as well as artisan gift shops to browse. Whether you’re looking for pottery or antiques, you will find a great selection of gifts as quirky as the town itself.

The road is rather winding to reach the small town, with hairpin turns and some brick streets remaining, but once you get there, you can reach everything on foot, so staying in town is highly recommended.  The Jerome Hotel has many tales of hauntings and spooky legends, including the supposed death of a former caretaker before its reopening in 1994, and The Asylum restaurant is on site.

Want to do some ghost hunting yourself? The hotel runs daily tours and will even provide you with basic ghost hunting equipment: an EMT meter, infrared thermometer and digital camera. This tour is available only to guests of the hotel and can be purchased as a package deal.

Love old history? Tour the old mines museum, Jerome State Historic Park or the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. Then take a slow train around the Verde Canyon — a four hour trip with open air viewing and food and beverages available.

Jerome may be a small blip on the map, but they pack a whole lot of fun, adventure — and wackiness into one small town. You would be hard pressed to characterize it, but I suppose if forced to, one might call Jerome “Northern Exposure”…on a 60′s acid trip.

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