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Things to do in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona 2007 051 Nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, Sedona, Arizona is truly one of the prettiest cities we have visited. Life in red rock country seems to move at a slower pace, and the city offers great places to relax, shop, view spectacular scenery, and eat. Sedona is a dark sky community which means there is an ordinance against light pollution. On clear summer nights, the Milky Way can be seen arching across the sky from horizon to horizon! By day, the red rock scenery is enchanting, and to make it even better the city averages 278 days of sunshine per year. Sedona is a great year-round destination, but we particularly like to visit during the early fall. Sedona is:

  • An ideal place for a couple’s getaway, girl’s trip, or bachelor/bachelorette weekends.
  • Perfect for a long weekend or extended stay.
  • A hub for several national parks and other attractions.

This 117-mile airport-to-destination road trip starts from the closest major airport located in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix has a large selection of hotels, resorts, RV resorts and campsite options for overnight stays. Attractions in Phoenix include: a zoo, an aquarium, water parks, museums, hiking trails, and golf courses. Click here for more information about accommodations and attractions: Visit Phoenix. Sedona 2007 055

Getting to Sedona

From Phoenix, take I-17 north. Drive time: 2 hours.

Bonus stop: Montezuma Castle National Monument. See an ancient apartment complex tucked high into the side of a cliff. Then drive 5 miles north to see Montezuma Well, a sinkhole fed by natural springs and also surrounded by ancient cliff dwellings. A 7-day pass is $10.00 for adults (which also allows entry to Tuzigoot National Monument) and children 15 and under are admitted free. For additional information, here is a link to the National Park Service website: Montezuma Castle National Monument.

Montezuma´s castle in Arizona
Montezuma Castle. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Continue on I-17 north to Highway 179 north to Sedona. Note: Highway 179 is Red Rock Scenic Byway, a designated All-American Road, which takes travelers through some of the most picturesque scenery in the country.

Destination: Sedona, Arizona

Sedona 2007 129 The town of Sedona grew up from farm settlements along Oak Creek when the first homesteaders arrived during the mid-1800s. Near the turn of the century, a man by the name of T.C. Schnebly arrived and made his home where the ever-popular Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village sits today. In 1902 the industrious Mr. Schnebly applied for the first post office in the area, and it is his wife, Sedona, for whom the city is named.

Accommodations:

While we can’t list or recommend the numerous hotel options in Sedona, we can say that accommodations in Sedona will cost anywhere from $170.00 per night to over $500.00 per night. From basic rooms at Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express to championship golf resorts and luxurious spas, Sedona has an accommodation for almost everyone’s preference and budget.

Dining:

Meal options can range from inexpensive American fare such as burgers and brews at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill to high-end dining featuring prime meats and seafood at Rene. There is even a McDonalds which finally opened in Sedona after years of negotiation with the city over its famous golden arches. The city said the bright yellow sign did not meet its ordinance which keeps structures and signs from detracting from the natural beauty of the surroundings. Sedona won, and the McDonalds was constructed in a Southwestern motif with turquoise arches. We’ve been told it’s the only McDonalds in the world that doesn’t have golden arches on the building. And while we’re talking about places to eat, be sure to go to the Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits in uptown Sedona and order the cactus fries – you won’t be sorry!

Sedona has long been recognized for having mysterious cosmic forces that seem to emanate from the rocks. The forces are known as vortices. To quote Roger Naylor (RogerNaylor.com), vortices are “…swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy.” While some consider the entire area around Sedona a vortex, certain areas are said to have stronger powers than others. People often ask how many strong vortex sites there are, but the answer depends on who you ask. Some of the most popular higher energy areas are said to include Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, and Courthouse Butte. Visit Sedona and decide for yourself if the vortices really do exist.

Our Top 10 favorite things to do in Sedona:

Sedona 2007 067 1 – Hop on a trolley. Want to take a tour of the city and get some helpful information about the area? Sedona Trolley has you covered with 55-minute tours starting at $23.99 for adults and $15.99 for children 12 and under. Several tour options and times are available. Do this first for the best introduction to the city. Here is a link to the website: Sedona Trolley

2 – Shop. Tlaquepaque (Tuh-lockee-pockee) Arts & Shopping Village is a can’t-miss venue featuring shops, galleries, a chapel, and restaurants. The beautiful courtyard setting has an Old Mexico vibe with plenty of shade trees, colorful flowers, and a bubbling fountain. Visitors will want to spend a few hours strolling through the shops and galleries followed by a relaxing lunch or dinner on the patio at one of Tlaquepaque’s restaurants.

A glimpse inside the Tlaquepaque Chapel. Tlaquepaque is a popular wedding venue.

We recommend spending time in uptown (aka downtown) Sedona too. There are many stores and restaurants that offer a wide range of shopping and dining options. Word of caution: the Merry Christmas Sedona shop may be hazardous to your budget. With so many beautiful things to buy, it’s hard to choose just one – or ten! And don’t forget about the cactus fries and other great food at the Cowboy Club Grill & Spirits.

3 – Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Inspired by the construction of the Empire State Building, Arizona sculptor and rancher, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, commissioned the construction of the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Initially, she sought to build the church in Budapest, Hungary in the 1930s, but with the outbreak of WWII the plans were scrapped. In the early 1950s Senator Barry Goldwater helped Staude get a special use permit to build the church on Coconino National Forest land. The gorgeous church was completed in 1956.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

4 – Enjoy the scenery at Red Rock State Park. If there really is something to that vortices thing in Sedona, then this place might just have it! We experienced peaceful calm – an almost spiritual feeling – at this park. Hike one or all of the trails or simply find solitude along the banks of Oak Creek. This park is also an excellent picnic destination.

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Cathedral Rock as seen from Red Rock State Park

5 – Take a pink jeep tour.  The tour company, known for their signature pink vehicles, can arrange a variety of off-roading adventures, hiking tours, and trips to the Grand Canyon, among other exciting experiences. We highly recommend the 1-day, Grand Canyon tour to the south rim. Here is a link to their website: Pink Adventure Tours.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

6 – Drive through Oak Creek Canyon. Embark on a scenic 14-mile drive on State Route 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona. This is a slow road because of the corkscrew twists and turns, but the scenery will take your breath away! While the northbound drive is beautiful, we recommend driving south from Flagstaff for the best views.

7 – Play at Slide Rock State Park. Visit this scenic park in Oak Creek Canyon featuring a natural rock water slide. Go to play in the water, go to hike, or go for the scenery in this historic park.

Sedona 2007 174
Slide Rock State Park

8 – Gaze at the stars. There are several astronomy tours available in Sedona, and the state parks host them periodically too. Learn about the constellations and take a peek into outer space through their telescopes. We recommend Sedona Star Gazing – Evening Sky Tours. Here’s a link: Evening Sky Tours.

9 – Watch the sun set. We love a great sunset (or sunrise), and Airport Mesa is the place to be in Sedona just before the sun goes down. Here’s one we were lucky enough to capture. Sedona 2007 044

10 – Take a side trip to a national park:

  • Grand Canyon National Park is 2 hours north of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Petrified Forest National Park is 2.5 hours northeast of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Page, Arizona and Lake Powell are 2.75 hours north of Sedona via US Highway 89.
  • Tuzigoot National Monument is 30 minutes southwest of Sedona.
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument is 45 minutes northeast of Sedona via Flagstaff.
  • Saguaro National Park is 3.5 hours southwest of Sedona via Phoenix and Tucson.

Now that we’ve given you our top 10, we should add that Sedona has so much more than what we’ve covered. There are numerous hiking trails for all levels of hikers, with Cathedral Rock Trail and Devil’s Bridge Trail being two of the favorites. Additionally, climbing and bouldering are popular in Sedona, and guided climbs can be arranged through several companies. ATV rentals and tours are available for those who want to have a little off-roading fun. There are several mountain biking trails as well as motorcycles to rent for wind-in-your-hair rides through the red rocks.

As you can see, Sedona has something to delight every visitor. While we can’t guarantee anything, we’re pretty sure you will love Sedona as much as we do!

*This is an update of an original post from September 22, 2018.

Sedona 2007 078

Click to see more exciting Arizona destinations:

Grand Canyon National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Monument Valley Tribal Park

Thank you for joining us for our recap of Sedona!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022              

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Things to do in San Antonio: River Walk

San Antonio is one of the most historic cities in the United States, having been founded in 1718 when a Spanish expedition established the Mission San Antonio de Valero, now known as the Alamo. Soon after, a presidio (Spanish fort) named San Antonio de Bexar was established nearby and became the foundation of the city of San Antonio. The settlement served as the seat of the Spanish government in Texas until Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, and at that time San Antonio was home to about 2,500 residents. Today, San Antonio boasts a population of over 1.5 million making it the seventh largest city in the U.S. 

While San Antonio has grown by leaps and bounds, the modern city has managed to hold on to its roots. The culture, the history…it’s all still there, and San Antonio’s residents are proud to share it with their visitors. The River Walk is a great place to begin a tour of San Antonio, and what makes it even better is staying a few nights at one of the beautiful hotels right on the river. 

 A cruise on the San Antonio River is a must, especially for first time visitors who want to get an insider’s view of what the River Walk has to offer. The typical cruise will take about 35 minutes. General admission for narrated cruises cost $13.50 for adults and $7.50 for children. Shuttle boats, which are used to get up and down the 15-mile-long River Walk, cost $20.00 for a one-day pass, and multiple-day options are also available.

Museums, shopping, live entertainment, beautiful hotels, and upscale as well as funky bars can all be found on the San Antonio River Walk. Then there’s the outstanding food! Of course, everyone’s favorite in San Antonio is Mexican food, and there is plenty of that to go around.

There’s something special about sitting outside in the festive atmosphere while enjoying a cold drink and watching the other tourists cruise leisurely by on the river boats. We can’t recall ever having a bad meal on the River Walk, and we’re particularly fond of Casa Rio for Mexican food. It’s pictured at the top of the post with the pretty umbrellas. If traditional American fare is what you’re craving, try Dick’s Last Resort. Touting themselves as the shame o’ the river, Dick’s serves up some pretty good “grub and brews” by the rudest servers you’ll ever encounter. They’re a chain, rudeness is their schtick, and eating there can be a hilarious experience. 

See an interesting timeline about the development of the San Antonio River Walk here: https://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/about/our-history/

We love San Antonio any time of the year, but spring is our favorite time to visit. (That’s probably because we went there together in the spring for the first time when we were teenagers.) Summer temperatures can get pretty high, but the mild fall weather can be very nice. We’ve also visited there in December, and even then, the weather was comfortable for sitting outside. 

Nightlife abounds on the River Walk too. From laid-back dive bars to the rowdier dance halls as well as English and Irish pubs, everyone will find a place to eat, drink, and dance the night away. People ask if it’s safe, and we say yes – with some conditions. First and foremost, travelers should always be aware of their surroundings no matter where they are. While we feel safe on the River Walk at night (we have seen police officers patrolling on bikes and boats as well as on foot – day and night), we would not venture into darkened or unpopulated parts of the walk or any parts of the downtown area at night.  

This pretty stone bridge is now known as Selena Bridge. A scene from the movie Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez was filmed on this bridge.

The pretty bridges, the peaceful green-hued water, and the lush trees and plants make this the ideal place for a stroll anytime – day or night. Pop into the shops at Rivercenter, visit an art museum, stop in at one of the bodegas, browse the street vendors’ wares, and check out the restaurants’ menus, most of which are posted on the patios or entrances. Warning: it is very difficult to choose just one place to eat or just one souvenir! 

Tower of the Americas

Did you know that San Antonio was the site of a World’s Fair? HemisFair ’68 was held from April to October 1968, and today visitors can still visit HemisFair park which is just a short walk from the River Walk. The iconic, 750-foot Tower of the Americas is still a thrill for visitors who want to ride the elevator to the rotating restaurant at the top for great food and great views. The park also has a playground and splash pad for the kids, giant chess and checker boards, as well as flowing water features, fountains, walking paths, and green spaces. The park, a designated San Antonio Historic District, is also home to several State Archaeological Landmark buildings, and the Tower of the Americas has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wondering what’s near the River Walk for kids to do? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:

  • Eat a great meal (they have a kid’s menu) and play arcade games at Dave & Buster’s – on the River Walk at Rivercenter
  • Have some fun building something and riding the rides at Legoland Discovery Center – on the River Walk at Rivercenter
  • Spend an afternoon at HemisFair Park’s amazing playground, giant sandbox, and splash pad – 0.9 miles
  • See what’s in the sea at Sea Life San Antonio Aquarium which is located close to HemisFair Park – 1.2 miles
  • Check out the hands-on interactive exhibits at the DoSeum – 2.8 miles 

Other exciting San Antonio attractions for the entire family: 

  • Get up close and personal with animals at the San Antonio Zoo – 4.5 miles
  • Extend your animal adventures to Seaworld with its sea life exhibits and Aquatica water park all in one place – 20 miles
  • Enjoy the thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park – 23 miles

La Antorcha de la Amistad

In addition to the attractions we’ve listed, there are numerous cultural, historical, and art museums in San Antonio. Many public art installations can be found around town too, such as the La Antorcha de la Amistad (Torch of Friendship) by Mexican artist Sebastian. The 65-foot, lipstick red sculpture was a gift to the City of San Antonio by the Mexican government in 2002 and represents two cultures and languages merging together as one. The sculpture is hard to miss in the heart of downtown, and glimpses of it can be seen from the River Walk.

If outdoor sports are your thing, there are several highly rated public golf courses in San Antonio. Fishing, swimming, and boating can be found at beautiful Canyon Lake located 1 hour north of the city. The San Antonio Spurs NBA team as well and a handful of other semi-professional and college sports teams provide plenty of excitement for sports fans. San Antonio also boasts botanical gardens, historic residential districts, historic churches and other historic buildings, as well as a market district. The UNESCO World Heritage Site: San Antonio Missions Historical Park is a national park site that should not be missed.

Read our post about the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the Alamo here: https://oneforthemoneytwofortheroad.com/2022/06/01/san-antonio-missions/

As you can see, there truly is something for everyone in San Antonio. If you’ve never been there, we hope we have inspired you to visit, and if you have been there, go again! The city has so much history and culture to offer, and besides that, it’s just so much fun. Did we mention the food?

We’re going to close the post with some interesting facts about the San Antonio Express-News building which is located a couple of blocks from the River Walk.

Home to the San Antiono Express-News newspaper for more than 90 years, this beautiful Art Deco building was opened in 1929. The newspaper’s parent company, Hearst Corp., moved the newsroom and printing operation to other sites in 2020 and put this building on the market for sale. What intrigued us about the building was not just its historic beauty, but the bas-relief panel above the door. (What can we say…we love art!) It was sculpted by none other than Pompeo Coppini, the same artist who created the stunning Alamo Cenotaph. The carved stone panel (shown below) features images representing labor, education, enlightenment, truth, and justice. It is our understanding that in March 2022, the building was sold to a property development investment group from Austin. We will be anxious to see what they do with this fabulous property.

Thank you for joining us in San Antonio! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Tower of the Americas and La Antorcha de la Amistad photos courtesy of Henry Becerra. 

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National Route 66 Museum

Where is it?

On Route 66, of course! Actually, it’s on a stretch of the original Route 66 in Elk City, Oklahoma. We plan to drive the entire route someday, but we’re settling for bits and pieces for the time being. This turned out to be a nice little piece of the route.

What’s it about?

It is a complex of five great museums all in one place. They include:  the National Route 66 Museum, National Transportation Museum, Farm and Ranch Museum, Blacksmith Museum, and the Old Town Museum which contains the Beutler Rodeo Hall. All sections are worth the stop. Below are some shots from the Route 66 Museum where there are different vignettes depicting what travelers would have seen in each of the eight states along the Mother Road.

We suspect there may still be some places like this one in New Mexico and Arizona, live rattlesnakes and all!

Crusin’ through the great state of Missouri. Gotta love those vintage cars!

“Are we there yet?”

Who napped in the back window on family vacations? Was the motel pool your entire reason for living? How about stopping at Stuckey’s for a pecan roll and a cheap souvenir? A&W root beers and burgers in the car anyone? Remember when motels had stationery and post cards in the rooms? And then there were those real live “trading posts” with that horrible-tasting rock candy and “authentic” turquoise jewelry. Oh, and Reptile Village, but our dads wouldn’t ever stop. Those were fun times, and this museum really brought back the memories for us, although some of it was way before our time.

Outside in the sunshine, we walked around the “old town” exhibits and looked in all the windows. Below are a couple of shots.

Wonder what the gas prices were back in this gas station’s heyday?

More of the old town. Each building is furnished with items the businesses would have had way back when, and all can be viewed through the storefront windows. There’s even a country doctor’s office complete with creepy medical instruments.

We fell in love with the sculpture (below) in front of the Old Town Museum. The museum building had once been the home of a family who owned department stores in western Oklahoma. The first floor depicts how some of the early residents would have lived. The second floor is dedicated to the the Beutler family who own a ranch north of Elk City and have raised champion rodeo stock for almost 100 years. This museum was worth the admission fee by itself.

His name was Commotion, and he was the Beutler brothers three time world champion bucking horse.

“Commotion” from a different angle. It is a beautiful bronze sculpture by T.D. Kelsey of Guthrie, Texas.

Click here for an interesting read about this multi-faceted artist: https://www.tdkelsey.com/the-artist

The museum complex admission is (currently) $5.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-16. Children 5 and under are admitted free. For AAA members and people over 60, it is $4.00. (We paid $4.00 each, but we’re not saying which discount we got!)

In closing, we would recommend a stop here for travelers who have a couple of hours to spend. And if you’re already traveling the Mother Road (or even I-40), a stop here is a great way to get out of the car for a time, take a relaxing stroll through the complex, and learn something new while you’re at it!

Thank you for stopping by our site, and we hope you come back again for more road trip stops, Quick Stops, Wish We Were There Wednesdays, and lots of other good stuff. We appreciate you more than you know, and we would love to hear from you so feel free to comment below. We can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @KellyeHefner.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

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10 Amazing Things to See and Do at Big Bend National Park

Who doesn’t love a national park? How about a road trip? A visit to Big Bend National Park gives you the best of both worlds! Big Bend is one of two national parks in Texas, the other being Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and both are vastly different. The Guadalupe Mountains are the remains of what was once a massive underwater reef. The Big Bend area was the edge of an ocean back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Today, we are sharing our top ten things to see and do at Big Bend in random order, so let’s get going to one of our favorite national parks!

1. The Chisos Mountains

Casa Grande peak as seen from Chisos Basin is one of Big Bend’s most iconic sights

The Chisos Mountains lie entirely in Big Bend National Park. The rugged Chisos were formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, and erosion has sculpted them into the beautiful hills and peaks we see today. Emory Peak, at 7,835 feet above sea level, is the highest peak in the range. Black bears, mountain lions, a variety of smaller mammals, reptiles, bats, and birds make their homes in the Chisos Mountains.

The well-maintained Chisos Basin Road carries visitors seven miles through an interesting variety of flora and spectacular mountain scenery. The road ends at Chisos Basin where visitors will find a visitor center, campgrounds for RVs and tents, the Chisos Mountains Lodge (the only commercial lodging in the park), a restaurant and gift shop, as well as an assortment of trailheads for all levels of hikers. The Window serves as a pouroff when water needs to drain from the Chisos Basin and surrounding areas during heavy rainfalls

Park visitors flock to the Window for dramatic sunset photo ops. The 5.6-mile out and back Window Trail originates at Chisos Basin. (Note that the trail has a 900- foot elevation gain on the return.) Another trail – Window View Trail – is easy and wheelchair accessible. In our opinion, there are many places in the park that are perfect for watching the sunset and sunrise, but the Window certainly provides a unique photographic perspective.

2. Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon

The breathtaking eight-mile-long Santa Elena Canyon features 1500-foot cliff walls that frame the Rio Grande River as it meanders through the big bend of Texas. The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is a fairly easy 1.4-mile out and back hike originating at a parking lot on Santa Elena Canyon Road. The trailhead is approximately 44 miles (1+ hour drive) from the main visitor center at Panther Junction.

View of the canyon wall from the trail

Local outfitters are available to arrange a variety of river trips ranging from one to three days on the Rio Grande and through Santa Elena Canyon. (Note that a backcountry permit is required by the park for overnight trips.) The river forms the border between the U.S. and Mexico. While there is no requirement to have a guide in order to float or paddle the Rio Grande, we highly recommend using an experienced outfitter.

3. Fossil Discovery Exhibit

As we mentioned, Big Bend National Park lies in an area that was once the edge of an ocean. The Fossil Discovery Exhibit showcases some of the creatures that inhabited the area millions of years ago including sea life and dinosaurs. Kids and adults alike will enjoy exploring this open-air museum space which is located approximately eight miles north of the Panther Junction Visitor Center.

Over 90 dinosaur species have been discovered at Big Bend, some of which are unique to the park.

4. Wildlife Viewing

Javelina aka Collared Peccary

Big Bend National Park is home to a large variety of wildlife. In addition to those that live mainly in the Chisos Mountains, many other animals and birds live within the park’s other two ecosystems: river and desert. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to photograph all of the animals that we have seen at Big Bend, but we have been lucky enough to capture a few. We have spotted Barbary sheep, fox, coyote, hawks, and many other birds, just to name a few.

Doves
Rattlesnake

5. Hike, Walk, or Backpack

Big Bend offers a wide variety of hikes to choose from – 79 trails in all – and rather than try to describe them, we are listing a couple of links that should provide complete trail information:

View from Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail
  • Off trail hiking is allowed
  • Backcountry requires a permit
  • Backpackers and primitive site campers are required to have a permit

If in doubt, always check with the park before setting out on any lengthy or overnight trek. Stay conscious of the weather conditions including high temperatures in late spring, summer, and early fall.

6. Scenic Drives

There are over 100 miles of improved, well-maintained roads in Big Bend. The most popular road is the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive which is a 30-mile-long road that takes visitors through some of the most diverse and scenic parts of the park and ends at Santa Elena Canyon.

Mule Ears peaks as seen from the pull-out along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. There are many places to pull out and view beautiful scenery from Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

But wait – there’s more! Spectacular scenery can be viewed from all of the paved roads in the park so driving any of them is a thrill. Note that the only gasoline available in the park is at Panther Junction. 

The Sierra del Carmen seen from Park Road 12 southeast of Panther Junction
View from Chisos Basin Road
South view of the Chisos Mountains from Park Road 12
River view from the Rio Grande Overlook

7. Terlingua Ghost Town

Terlingua is a gateway community to the park but does not lie within the park boundaries. The entrance to Big Bend is approximately 8 miles from Terlingua, and it’s another 22 miles (30+ minute drive) to Panther Junction Visitor Center.

The Starlight Theatre is a restaurant that serves up good food and drinks with live entertainment

And…Terlingua isn’t quite a ghost town in traditional ghost town terms. People do live there, and there are some thriving businesses including a few restaurants and area hotels. Visitors will certainly experience ghost town vibes while walking through the cemetery and when viewing the crumbling buildings in the former cinnabar mining town.

Terlingua Cemetery
Terlingua

Terlingua is a great place for a couple of hours of roaming and eating if a break from the park is on the agenda. The history of the town is interesting as is the history of the cemetery. Funky souvenirs of all kinds can be purchased at Terlingua Trading Company which is next door to the Starlight Theatre. Terlingua is also the site of the famous Terlingua International Chili Championship which has taken place there on the first weekend of November since 1967.

8. Lajitas

Lajitas is a great place to stay for visitors to Big Bend and is located approximately 12 miles west of Terlingua. While some regard Lajitas as a town, we can’t bring ourselves to call it that because it doesn’t have a post office. It used to have a post office, but it closed in 1939. Lajitas does, however, have a mayor – a mayor who is a goat, that is, and his name is Clay Henry.

We can only assume that the guy with the horns is the Honorable Clay Henry, and the other goat is Mrs. Clay Henry, the First Lady of Lajitas.

Lajitas is actually home to the fabulous 27,000-acre Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa. Touted as one of the best and most beautiful golf courses in Texas, Black Jack’s Crossing is a premier course that attracts amateur golfers and pros alike. The resort is located on FM 170 along the banks of the Rio Grande between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Also known as the River Road or Camino del Rio, FM 170 covers 114 miles between Terlingua and the border town of Presidio and is considered one of the most scenic drives in the state. The Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa features modern, well-appointed hotel rooms with an Old West vibe, as well as a multitude of amenities and activities for the entire family. A general store and a gated RV campground are also located within the resort. Charter air services are available from Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. For further information, here is a link to the resort’s website: https://www.lajitasgolfresort.com/

9. Stargaze

Photo by Philippe Donn

Pack your telescope! Big Bend is an international dark sky park. In fact, Big Bend has the darkest skies of any national park in the lower 48 states. The park hosts various programs such as star parties, ranger talks, and moonlight walks throughout the year. The summer months are the best time to view and photograph the Milky Way.

10. Cross the River Legally

The only port of entry in Big Bend is across the river from Boquillas del Carmen, usually referred to as Boquillas. A former mining town, Boquillas struggles today as a tourist destination for visitors to Big Bend.

Boquillas, Mexico

Visitors must have a passport and will pass through customs when returning to the U.S. River crossings are done by small rowboat or on horseback, each for a nominal fee. An additional fee ($2.00, last we checked) is required to enter the Maderas del Carmen Natural Protected Area where Boquillas is located. There are a couple of cantinas in Boquillas that serve food and drinks as well as a few places to buy souvenirs and handmade goods. Tours are available for a fee, though a guide is not required in order to explore the town. U.S. currency is accepted in Boquillas, but only in small denominations.

For further information about Big Bend, click this link to the park’s website: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm

Windmill. Historic Sam Nail Ranch, Big Bend National Park

Those are our top 10, though we barely touched on the park’s features and those of the surrounding areas. Below we have listed some additional things to know if you’re planning a trip to Big Bend.

  • Unfortunately, people have been led to believe that Big Bend is not a safe place to visit. We believe it’s very safe. We are more afraid of encountering a rattlesnake than having a border issue there. Travelers should always be aware of their surroundings no matter where they are.
  • Early spring and late fall are great times to visit Big Bend, but those times are when the park experiences the most visitors. With that said, it is an enormous park with plenty of room to spread out so crowds shouldn’t be a problem.
  • There are several campgrounds at Big Bend. RV camping with hook-ups book up fast so make reservations as far out from your visit as you can. The same goes for booking a stay at Chisos Mountains Lodge.
  • The park is remote so cell service can be very hit and miss.
  • The closest major airport is in Midland/Odessa, Texas which is approximately 242 miles (4+ hour drive) to Big Bend.
  • Alpine, Texas is 82 miles (1+ hour drive) north of Big Bend and serves as gateway city to the park. Hotels, restaurants, and the Museum of the Big Bend are all located in the pretty city.
  • Marathon, Texas is 73 miles (1 hour drive) north of Big Bend and serves as another gateway to the park. The historic Gage Hotel is the centerpiece of Marathon and delights visitors with its 27-acre Gage Garden botanical area and fine dining at the 12 Gage Restaurant, among other amenities. Shopping, art galleries, additional restaurants, a museum, and a city park can also be found in Marathon.
  • Marfa, Texas is home to the Marfa Lights, Marfa Prada as well as other art installations, and the historic Hotel Pisano. Marfa is located 30 minutes west of Alpine on US 90, and approximately 1.5 hours from Big Bend National Park.
  • Fort Davis, Texas is approximately 1.5 hours from Big Bend and features Fort Davis National Historic Site.
  • Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas’ biggest state park, is located approximately 13 miles west of Terlingua (20 minutes from Big Bend National Park) and is home to 238 miles trails for a variety of uses. Off-roading, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking are just a few of the activities that visitors to Big Bend Ranch State Park can enjoy. Click the link for more information: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big-bend-ranch

We could go on, but we’re going to close the post here. Our purpose in posting is to give our readers a comprehensive overview of the places we visit. We hope that we have inspired you to visit the U.S. National Parks because they really are our country’s best idea. If we can help you with planning your trip or answer questions, please leave us a message in the comments section below.

Happy, safe travels, y’all!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022                                      

Featured

Quick Stops – New England

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Sunflower getting ready to unfurl her petals

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Just get in the car and we will be on our way!

First stop: Windsor, Vermont

Where in the world is it?

Windsor, Vermont lies along the banks of the Connecticut River on the eastern border of the state. The quaint town is about 68 miles south and east of Montpelier.

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Steeple of the Old South Church in Windsor (Congregational – 1768)

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Old South Church Cemetery

Windsor is the birthplace of Vermont. In 1777, the Constitution of Vermont was adopted here, making the Vermont Republic a sovereign state. Vermont joined the United States in 1791. Windsor was also the capital of Vermont until 1805 when Montpelier became the capital.

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We saw these wonderful old barns in Windsor and found ourselves wishing we knew their story.

Second stop: Carroll Homestead

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Where in the world is it?

The Carroll Homestead is in Acadia National Park.

The 45 acre Carroll farm was settled by the John Carroll family in 1825. Here the family grew hay, maintained gardens, and also raised animals. The last members of the Carroll family vacated the house in 1917, but they continued to farm the land. The property was acquired for Acadia National Park in 1982. We wouldn’t call it a major attraction of the park, but the house itself is architecturally interesting. Besides, we wanted to see as much of the park as possible so we made a quick stop. Unfortunately, the house wasn’t open when we visited, but we’re sure that the seeing the inside would add a lot to a visit here.

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It’s a fact, Jack!

Many of the New England churches with the tall white steeples are/were Congregational Christian churches. Although Congregational churches can be found in many countries around the world, the roots of American Congregationalism grew from the religious beliefs (and most likely the political beliefs) of the Puritans of colonial New England. Some view Congregationalism as a movement rather than a denomination. Congregational churches are governed independently by each church’s own congregation. Today, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, the United Church of Christ, and the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches carry on some of the traditional Congregational beliefs and practices. Harvard College and Yale College (originally, the Collegiate School) were established for the purpose of educating and training Congregational clergymen. And, now you know…

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road. 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

RV Tips and Tricks: Our Favorite Campsite Dinners

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In preparing for camping trips – most of ours are weekend or long weekend trips – we try to prepare as much food at home as we can before we leave. Who wants to spend all weekend cooking when there’s hiking, and photography, and sights to see? In our experience, convenience foods are the way to go, especially if prep time is limited. The following recipes utilize as many convenience foods as possible and can be pre-prepped at home to save a lot of time at the campsite. Each recipe serves four but can be easily adapted for more hungry mouths, or minimized for less servings. Our trick is to go ahead and cook the extra to enjoy as leftovers later. Bon appetit!

Main Dishes:

Lemon Basil Garlic Grilled Chicken

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  • 1/2 c lemon juice, fresh or concentrate
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic – use more or less as desired. (We use the kind in a jar.)
  • 2 T chopped basil, or more if desired
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts without rib meat

Place the first four ingredients in a zip lock bag. Seal bag, squeezing out air, and gently knead/shake to mix ingredients well. Add chicken breasts, reseal, and knead/shake to coat chicken. Place the sealed bag into another zip lock bag to ensure against leaks during transport to the campsite. Marinate in refrigerator or cooler until ready to grill (at least two hours) or up to 24 hours if kept properly chilled.

Dispose of marinade, and grill chicken over medium heat 5-7 minutes per side until done.

Close-up of Salad in Plate

Serve with grilled corn on the cob and tossed green salad.

Variation: Cut grilled corn kernels off of the cob and add to salad along with the sliced or diced grilled chicken.

Tips:

  • Make two batches of the marinade. Use one to marinate the chicken breasts and the other for salad dressing, adding a dash of salt and pepper or other preferred seasonings to the dressing batch – sometimes we add a teaspoon or two of sugar or sugar substitute. Do not reuse the marinade that contained the raw chicken.
  • Chicken may also be baked in the oven (350 for 30 minutes) or sauteed in a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until done.
  • Leftover cooked chicken breasts may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Pork Tenderloin Two Ways for Two Meals

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  • 3 Hormel Lemon Garlic or Peppercorn Pork Tenderloins
  • Two bottles of Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce (or any favorite BBQ sauce)
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hamburger Dill Pickle Slices
  • Sliced or chopped onion

Place the tenderloins in a (lined for easy clean up) crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or prepare according to label directions. When done and cool enough to handle, tightly wrap one and a half of the tenderloins in foil, then place in a gallon size zip lock bag in the refrigerator.

Meal one:

At the campsite, heat the foil wrapped tenderloin in the oven, over a campfire, or on the grill at medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes, until heated through. Slice into medallions and serve.

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Serve with canned ranch style beans and potato salad or coleslaw. Try the Fresh Express Coleslaw Kit or make your own with the leftover cabbage and carrots used in the soup below. And, if you want to get really fancy, serve medallions on top of mashed potatoes. (We like the Simply Potatoes brand that can be heated in the microwave.) Spoon jarred Heinz Pork Gravy with a splash of red wine added while heating or Heinz Homestyle Mushroom Gravy – with a few fresh or canned mushrooms and a splash of white wine added while heating – over the top of the meat.

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Meal Two:

Take the other one and a half tenderloins and shred the meat. We cut them into chunks and put them in a food processor or beat with a hand mixer to shred. The meat can also be shredded with bear claws or forks. When the meat is coarsely shredded, place in a lidded Tupperware type bowl and add the barbecue sauce to taste, mixing well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Heat in a pan on the stove top, grill top, or in the microwave and serve on buns with hamburger dill pickle slices and onions. Take along the remaining BBQ Sauce to serve with the sandwiches.

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Serve with chips and fruit for an easy dinner or lunch.

Tips:

  • The shredded barbecue mixture freezes well. Thaw in refrigerator or cooler then reheat. This (or sloppy joes) is our go-to meal for the first night at camp, especially if we’re arriving late in the day, and it’s perfect for when the weather isn’t conducive to outside cooking.
  • If using jarred gravy, doctor it up with extra pepper, garlic or onion powder, fresh or dried herbs, or sprinkle in a few sliced green onions, including the tops. Add small amounts at a time and taste as you go.

Foil Packets

  • 2 packages of Hillshire Farms 14 oz Polska Kielbasa or other smoked sausage of your choice sliced into 1/2″ thick coins and divided into 4 portions.
  • 1/2 head green cabbage sliced into thick chunks and divided into 4 portions
  • 8-12 small red potatoes halved, divided into 4 portions
  • Onion sliced into 4 – 1/4″ inch thick – slices
  • Butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper or Season All
  • Pam or other non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 – large (at least 12″ x 12″) squares heavy duty aluminum foil
Hillshire Farm® Polska Kielbasa Smoked Sausage Rope, 14 oz.
Spray foil squares with Pam. Then layer, starting from the bottom, 1/4 of the red potatoes, onion slice, 1-2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 of the sausage coins, and top with cabbage. Season to taste. Fold the foil over the sides, then fold down the top, creasing to make a slightly loose packet, but don’t smother the food. The packet needs a little space inside to allow the food to steam. Place the packets on the grill over medium heat. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until everything is heated through and potatoes are fork tender.
Several sections of lemon. Macro

Variations: Layer 1/4″ thick potato slices, uncooked hamburger patty, sliced onion, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Add butter, season to taste, and cook 45 minutes to one hour. Try salmon, lemons, and asparagus, or shrimp, lemons, and broccoli. Or go vegan and use only fresh veggies. The sky’s the limit with these little gems, so try your own variations. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

Tips:

  • Look for Hillshire Farms Sausage on sale at Walmart, then stock up. It is also fantastic for breakfast!
  • Foil packets are super versatile, and we love the “fix it and forget it” way of cooking. All ingredients can be cut up at home and placed into zip lock bags for transport to the campsite, however, we do not recommend slicing potatoes until they are ready to be cooked as they can turn an unappetizing gray color. The packets can also be cooked in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done.

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Wondering what to do with the leftover cabbage? Make this:

Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 2 – 32 oz boxes of beef broth (use only 1 box if choosing to use V-8 juice for additional liquid)
  • 2 – 4 cups original V-8 juice or other V-8 variety of choice, optional for additional liquid
  • 1/2 head of cabbage chopped into chunks
  • 3/4 c shredded carrots
  • Large onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1/2 of 1 small package fresh green beans cut into 1″ pieces – use the other half as a side dish later
  • 2-3 medium zucchini cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 T Better Than Bullion beef base, optional, but recommended for slightly thicker, beefier stock
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t minced garlic (we use the kind in a jar)
  • 1/2 t garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t onion powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Note: if using Better Than Bullion, taste soup before adding salt,

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil over med-high heat until just tender – about 5 minutes. Add beef broth and other ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Serve with: sandwiches or warm buttered bread for a light and easy dinner.

Variation: Add cooked pasta, cooked stew meat, or cooked meatballs for an even heartier soup.

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Side Dishes:

 Grilled Corn on the Cob

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 4+ T butter or margarine, divided into 4 portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle each ear with salt and pepper, then place 1 T (or more if desired) butter or margarine on each. Wrap individually in foil and place in a gallon size zip lock bag. Store in refrigerator or cooler. When ready to cook, place on grill over medium/high heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the kernels are tender. Remember to turn them occasionally so they don’t burn. If charred corn is preferred, unwrap during the last 10 minutes of cooking time and place ears directly on grill, continuing to turn occasionally.

Grilled corn cobs on wood background. Free Photo

Serve with: additional butter and/or garlic herb seasoning, or garlic and/or onion powder, smoked paprika, or other seasoning of choice.

Tips:

  • Corn may be cooked in boiling water on a stove top until done. Cooked ears will keep well in a refrigerator or cooler for a day or two and can be wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven or on the grill. If reheating in a microwave, wrap in a damp paper towel and place on a microwave safe plate.

Grilled Veggies or Fruits

Fresh halved ripe tomato viewed close up at an oblique angle to show the juicy texture of the pulp
  • Halved (longways) zucchini or yellow squash or both – grill cut side down
  • Onion, thickly sliced
  • Cabbage, thickly sliced – think of them as cabbage “steaks”
  • Bell pepper
  • Beefsteak or Heirloom tomato halves – grill cut side down
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Pineapple rings
  • Peach halves – grill cut side down
  • Pear halves – grill cut side down
  • Apple halves – grill cut side down
  • Grapefruit halves – grill cut side down
  • Any other fruits or vegetables of choice

Brush will olive oil and grill over low-medium heat until cooked/heated through, then season as desired.

Variations: cook any of the above in a foil packet, turning occasionally, until done. We like to add butter and a dash of Worcestershire sauce to our onion packets. The grilled fruits are wonderful with a little butter and brown sugar for an easy side or dessert.

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Super Simple Salads

Prepare these easy salads at your campsite:

  • Bagged salad from the supermarket. Add any variety of vegetables, cheeses, and fruits of choice, or eat it as is. Red or green grapes, strawberries, and mandarin oranges are great on green salads.
  • Sliced avocado and halved grape tomatoes with coarsely ground salt and lime juice.
  • Cut a head of iceberg lettuce into four wedges. Top each wedge with creamy dressing of choice, such as ranch, blue cheese, green goddess, thousand island, etc. and sprinkle with bacon bits and shredded cheese.
  • Jarred marinated artichoke hearts mixed with any combination of halved grape tomatoes, black and/or green olives, pickle slices, baby corn, and cut up pickled okra or other pickled vegetables such as beets, asparagus, carrots, and green beans.
  • Halved grape or cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, onion, and basil, mixed with store bought balsamic glaze and a little olive oil. Best if prepared 24 hours before serving so the flavors can blend.

That’s going to do it for this post, y’all. Come back soon for more RV tips and tricks, campsite recipes, road trip ideas, and awesome destinations. If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post. In the meantime, happy eating!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road – or at a campground! 

Mike and Kellye

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⇒Tossed Salad Photo Credit: Jill Wellington

⇒Grilled Corn Photo Credit: “https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by jcomp – http://www.freepik.com

⇒Halved Tomato and Sliced Lemons Photo Credit: freefoodphotos.com

⇒Bell Pepper Photo Credit: Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re6/1d21115b”>Visualhunt</a&gt;

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true products, vendors, and venues. Our suggestions are for places or products that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited or used personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

San Antonio Missions

Our visit to the Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park took place on Palm Sunday. What a wonderful day to see the historic mission churches and celebrate their history! In addition to the Alamo, there are four missions along the banks of the San Antonio River which compose San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Each of the mission churches are still active parishes today. As proud Texans, we hope you will enjoy our tour of the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in our state. 

 Our first stop was the Alamo. 

The Alamo

Mision San Antonio de Valero. The Alamo (which means cottonwood in Spanish) is located in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Contrary to what most believe, the entire compound, what is left of it, is the mission. The building pictured above is the mission church which is universally recognized as the Alamo. Built by Spanish missionaries, the church and mission date to 1718. The Battle of the Alamo took place here in 1836. Although the Mexican army won the battle, it was significant in the events leading to Texas gaining independence from Mexico. The mission was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The Alamo is included as part of the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site, though it is not part of the national historical park. The Alamo is owned and managed by the State of Texas. 

Travel tip: no photography of any kind is allowed inside the church.

Beautiful tree on the mission grounds. We had to wonder what this tree has witnessed in all of its years here. Just under the bottom branch in the center-right of the shot is the mission’s water well.
This building, which is located on the mission grounds, houses “The Alamo: A Story Bigger Than Texas” exhibit featuring artifacts from the Alamo and the Phil Collins Texana collections. While there is no fee to enter the church building or grounds, there is a fee to enter this building, and advance tickets are recommended.

Free timed tickets are required to enter the mission church and can be obtained from the kiosk in Alamo Plaza or online at: https://www.thealamo.org/visit/calendar/alamo-free-timed-entry

Travel tip: we got our exhibit tickets and timed entry tickets for the church online and included them as part of our itinerary to save time upon arrival.  

The Alamo Cenotaph (south side)

The Alamo Cenotaph is a monument commemorating the Battle of the Alamo and honors those who fought in the battle. Its actual name is Spirit of Sacrifice. The stunning sculpture by Texas artist Pompeo Coppini is sixty feet tall, forty feet long, twelve feet wide, and stands adjacent to the mission at Alamo Plaza. On the east and west sides, the bas relief sculptures depict the leaders of the battle. Names of some of the Texans (then known as Texians) who fought there are engraved into the granite near the base. The monument was dedicated in September of 1940.

West side
East side
North side

And speaking of historic buildings, we are including some interesting facts about the Emily Morgan Hotel which interests many who visit the Alamo.

The Emily Morgan is a registered Texas Historic Landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977

Opened in 1924 as a medical arts building with doctors offices and hospital facilities, the building served its original purpose until 1976 when it was updated to house modern office spaces. In 1984 the site became the Emily Morgan Hotel. In 2012, after undergoing major renovations, it became a Hilton Doubletree Hotel but kept the name Emily Morgan. An unusual feature of the exquisite building is its gargoyles depicting different medical ailments. The building sits just north of Alamo plaza so its grounds, which were once part of the mission, saw the deaths of hundreds of men. The hotel is said to be one the most haunted places in San Antonio. 

Ever heard the song “Yellow Rose of Texas”? Legend has it that Emily (West) Morgan was the Yellow Rose of Texas. Read all about it here: https://officialalamo.medium.com/who-was-the-yellow-rose-of-texas-750c95617241

San Antonio Missions

Our second stop was Mission Concepcion which sits in a residential neighborhood a few miles south of San Antonio’s downtown area.   

Full name: Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion

Mission Concepcion, which dates to 1755, is the only unrestored stone church in America. As with all of the Spanish missions, its purpose was to convert native people to Christianity and integrate them into communities where they could be taught trades and farming in order to become self-sufficient. The mission was originally established in east Texas, however the Franciscan priests, who wanted to bring the native people into Spanish culture, chose to move away from the French influences of what is now Louisiana. This site of Mission Concepcion was chosen in 1731, and it took about 15 years to complete the buildings.

Mission Concepcion. Note the water well in the left-center foreground. Each of the missions have a similar well.

The mission church and convento (building complex where missionaries, visitors, some residents, and the parish priest resided on the mission grounds) boast of their 250-year-old frescoes which are beautifully preserved today. The outside of the church was also once painted with bright colors, but those have been erased over time. Interestingly, the stone for this mission was quarried on its own grounds. While the Mission Concepcion church was constructed in the Spanish Colonial style, some Moorish features were also incorporated, such as this pretty archway and stairwell outside of the church. This nook was so unexpected, we had to wonder if it was original to the mission.

Because services were being conducted while we were visiting Mission Concepcion, we were unable to enter the church.

Our third stop was Mission San Jose. The national park visitor center is located here and provides helpful information about all of the missions. 

Full name: Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo
Founded in 1720, the San Jose Mission and Church were completed in 1782. We arrived just as Palm Sunday services were ending.
Luckily, we were able to get a picture of the beautiful sanctuary, though the church was crowded with parishioners and other tourists. It was the only one of the mission churches that we were able to photograph inside.

Mission San Jose was our favorite of the four missions. It is also the most restored, with the majority of the restorations having been completed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which gave unemployed young men work relief during the Great Depression. Approximately 80% of the church is original.

Convento and water well. The white edges above the stone arches are where roofs once were.
Housing for the native residents of the mission. Each home has two small rooms and a tiny fireplace. Eighty-four of these “apartments” encompass the mission grounds.

San Jose Mission was touted as the Queen of the Missions. While it was not constructed as a fort, the mission was said to be as secure as any fort of the day, thereby protecting its residents against attacks by hostile outsiders.

Granary completed in 1755 and restored in the1930s

Our fourth stop was Mission San Juan, which was a little disappointing at first glance because we thought the church was new. Once we began our trek around the mission grounds, we found out we were wrong!

Full Name: Mission San Juan Capistrano

Similar to Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan’s humble beginnings were in east Texas in 1716. The original mission, Mission San Jose de los Nazonis, was established to serve Nozonis Indians in the area, but the mission failed, so it was reestablished in its current location in 1731 and renamed Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission suffered misfortune in its new location too. Epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles killed many of the natives. Attacks by hostile bands of Apache and Comanche Indians also plagued the mission. These adversities caused some of the inhabitants to leave mission life behind and return to their nomadic lifestyle.

Mission San Juan Church dates to 1772 and is the mission’s second church. The stone walls were covered in plaster in 1984, and other preservation measures were completed in 2012.

Construction of a third church was begun in 1775 but was never completed because of the decline in the population of the mission.

Unfinished church dates to 1775 with some restoration in the mid 20th century

The native people who built and lived at this mission were farmers of food and fiber. They also made tools and cloth which, along with the crops, enabled trade that helped sustain the community. By 1762, about 203 people were residing at the mission. Remains of several farm tracts and an irrigation system can be found near the mission, as well as a dam which is not open to the public. The national park operates a demonstration farm for visitors today, using the same irrigation system (acequia) and growing the same types of crops.

Convento, restored in the 1960s

Our fifth and final stop was Mission Espada which was our second favorite of the four San Antonio missions. 

Full name: San Francisco de la Espada

Mission Espada is the oldest of the Texas missions, having been founded in 1690. As with other missions it was established first in east Texas but was reestablished in its current location near the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731.

Mission Espada Church, completed in 1756

The residents of Mission Espada made bricks, some of which can still be seen in the mission’s structures. Residents of Espada also made tiles, wove cloth, made tools, and raised crops and livestock.

This arched entryway to the mission shows the brickwork
Ruins of some of the original mission buildings

Espada also had an aqueduct which still exists today and diverts water from the San Antonio River to the mission and its farmland. A portion of the aqueduct is pictured above as it crosses Piedras Creek, and below is the acequia (irrigation canal). This acequia is still used by people who live near Espada.

For more information about San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, click here: https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm 

That’s going to be all for this trip. We are thrilled that you stopped by our site, and we hope you return again for another great road trip, Quick Stop, Wish We Were There Wednesday weekly post, or a travel tip or two. We post for you, and we would love to hear about your road trips so feel free to leave us a comment below. Please like our site and become a follower so you never miss a post. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Until the next trip… Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022  

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Feathers and Fur – The Sequel

We’ve got more feathered and furred animals for y’all from our latest Texas Hill Country road trip. Enjoy!

Trees full of buzzards. We have no idea what they were doing. Probably just waiting for their next public service project. Did a U-turn on a skinny little backroad to photograph them. Don’t tell anybody, but we’re kind of intrigued by buzzards.
We’re not real sure what longhorns do these days except lay around and wait for somebody to take their picture… At least they posed even if they didn’t smile. (We know the correct word is “lie”, but we don’t really care about proper grammar when we’re talking about lazy cows.)
Mrs. Cardinal! We were excited to get a picture of her because we don’t see that many girl cardinals. When we do see one, they are too busy to sit still long enough for us to get the shot. Isn’t she a little darlin’?
Not exactly what you’d expect to see on a Texas ranch, but there it is in black and white…
These little birds are so cute – until some interloper tries to eat from the same feeder, then all heck breaks loose, and the little beasts turn into dive bombing, raging, fighting machines! Is its tongue out? Are their beaks like straws? Do they ever stop flying long enough to sleep? Hello…any hummingbird experts out there?
Now this is what you’d expect to see on a Texas ranch – the LBJ Ranch specifically. If you look closely, you’ll see that it has a number on its horns. We want to know how they get them to sit still long enough to be numbered. Wait…do cows sit? If you have ever seen a sitting cow, raise your hand.
Neither feathered nor furred, it is a ‘dilla butt! Armadillos might have some fur somewhere, though. Have any of y’all ever picked one up and looked?
This is a fish. It does not have feathers or fur either, but it does have fins.
These sheep…
We think you’re a real handsome guy, but we’re not lady turkeys… sorry 🙁
You don’t see too many bison around central Texas, but here’s one at LBJ State Park in Stonewall. Still think they would stink. Not getting close enough to find out…
Just a plain ol’ mallard, but we thought he was pretty. And he let us take his picture. And he hangs out on the San Antonio River Walk… so, yeah…
Some of y’all might think this is a weird picture – we do. But how often do you get a cell phone shot of a White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth at a grocery store? Uh-huh, that’s what we thought…

Thank you so much for stopping by! We hope you will come back again for more road trips, Quick Stops and other good stuff. Subscribe to become a follower so you never miss a post – just hit that button on the right side of the page. Likes, shares, and comments are very much appreciated.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

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Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island is a place that we have wanted to visit for years. Once we heard about the wild horses that make the island their home, we were raring to go. And, yes, it lives up to the hype! The National Park Service has done an excellent job with maintaining the roads, facilities, and beaches.

Our first stop was the visitor center where we got some information about the island, bought our requisite Christmas ornament, and picked up the park brochure. Then we drove over the Verrazano Bridge to get to the island.

For information about the national seashore, click here: https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm

Not long after we drove in to the park, there was a pony jam which was very similar to the bison jams we have encountered in other national parks. Everyone wants to stop and take pictures, and if the horses are in the road, well, you just have to wait because this is their turf!

Some believe the wild horses that live on Assateague Island, which lies in Maryland and Virginia, and its neighbor, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, are the descendants of horses that came from a Spanish galleon ship that sank offshore. Others believe that farmers who lived nearby turned their stock out to graze on the islands to avoid paying heavy taxes on them. Whether these theories are true or not, it is known that the horses have been on the islands for about 300 years. In Maryland, the horses are owned and managed by the National Park Service. The horses in Virginia are owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

No, we weren’t as close as it looks. We obeyed the rules, kept our 40 foot distance, and used the zoom.
Parking lot picnic!

Approximately 80-100 horses live on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, and they are considered wildlife. There is no veterinary or human intervention toward their care, except for birth control. Their short legs and stocky bodies have evolved to enable them to easily navigate the sand dunes and walk through the marshes on the island. They appear to be bloated due to the fact that they drink twice the amount of water as domesticated horses because of their salty diet.

For a super interesting short film about the Assateague horses, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44KhYh3LVLU

Absolutely beautiful!

The beaches at Assateague Island are beautiful, too. There were no crowds on the day we went, and everything was clean including the beaches, the changing facilities, and showers. We were impressed.

View of the dunes from the boardwalk leading to the beach
We encountered several people who were surf fishing. We never have surf fished (probably because we live about 500 miles from the nearest surf) but they looked like they were having a great time. Crabbing is also allowed at this park. Other things to do here are hiking, biking, and camping.
Not a scrap of trash to be seen! We don’t know if this is one of them, but we encountered several “No Trash” parks on this trip. In those parks you pack out all of your own trash, and there are no trash cans. What a great idea! Someone should have thought of it sooner.
Check out all the passengers on this horseshoe crab
Did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around longer than dinosaurs? It has been estimated that horseshoe crabs have been on earth for 450 million years. That means they survived the ice ages! Their bright blue blood is vital to the medical industry as it is used to test vaccines for contamination. Who knew?

Assateague Island National Seashore abuts Assateague State Park in Maryland. The horses also have free reign in this park, and the facilities and beaches are great here too.

Assateague State Park beach
Beach grass at Assateague State Park. The grass controls erosion. Without it, the dunes would blow away.

This ends our visit to Assateague Island. We hope you enjoyed your visit and will come back again soon for another fun destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We will leave you with one more shot of the horses, this time standing in a marshy area. Doesn’t the one in the middle have spectacular coloring?

Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Rivers

Big Thompson River near Loveland, Colorado

We seem to have a thing for rivers, well, for all water really. Maybe that comes from living in a dry part of the world where our rivers, which are few, usually only have a trickle of water in them. Or, maybe it’s just because when we’re near a flowing river we’re enchanted by the beauty of our surroundings. Regardless of our reasons, we hope you enjoy this wet and wonderful look at rivers.

Colorado River, Arizona
Little Missouri River, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
The Virgin River flows through Zion Canyon, Zion National Park, Utah
The Yellowstone River flowing through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
View of the Rio Grande from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, New Mexico.
Gunnison River, Morrow Point, Colorado
Rio Pueblo de Taos. Bet you can guess where this one is. Did you know it’s a tributary of the Rio Grande?
The Colorado River meanders through Canyonlands National Park
The Rio Grande flows through Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas, and is the dividing line between the U.S. and Mexico.
Steam rises from the Madison River on a cold morning in Yellowstone National Park.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please come back again for more fun places, road trips, tips and tricks, Quick Stops, and Wish We Were There Wednesdays. Become a follower so you never miss a post! We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

Happy hump day, everybody!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

Featured

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Sitting right on Baltimore’s inner harbor near an industrial area on the edge of downtown is Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It was during the War of 1812 that a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key penned the now famous words. He had been aboard a US truce ship on the river while witnessing the battle between the Americans defending Baltimore at Fort McHenry and the British navy. The British had sailed up the Chesapeake Bay after burning Washington and filled the river with its ships aiming to capture Baltimore. After the battle in September of 1814, Key was inspired to write the poem when he saw that the garrison flag “yet waved” by the dawn’s early light over Fort McHenry. The poem was set to an adapted tune of an 18th Century European song called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, and in 1931 “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the National Anthem of the United States. Did you know that the original title of Key’s poem was “The Defense of Fort McHenry”?

A smaller replica of the original garrison flag, which bore fifteen stars and fifteen stripes and measured 30′ x 42′, flies over Fort McHenry today. The original flag, made by Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore at the request of the fort’s commander, Major George Armistead, now resides in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Fort McHenry was built between 1798 and 1803 and is named for James McHenry who hailed from Baltimore and was George Washington’s Secretary of War. During the Civil War, the fort was used to hold prisoners of war, but it was primarily used as a prison for pro-succession Maryland residents. During World War I, the grounds around Fort McHenry were home to 100 buildings composing a 3,000 bed hospital. Called General Hospital 2, which was one of the largest in the US at the time, it was used to treat wounded from the battlefields of France. Fort McHenry is the only national park site that has been designated as a shrine.

Prison cells at Fort McHenry
These cannons swivel on a round track so they can be aimed in different directions
These cannons are aimed toward the harbor. Baltimore’s harbor is actually the Patapsco River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Inside the fort
Outside the fort
Sallyport (entrance) to the fort

We’re going to call this trip done, but in closing the post we want to leave you with a couple of cool shots at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is where the Baltimore Orioles baseball team plays, and the stadium is next to M&T Bank Stadium where the Baltimore Ravens football team plays. Both fields are in downtown Baltimore.

Eutaw Street Entrance
The great Babe Ruth was a Baltimorian who was born just a few blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In fact, his father once owned and ran a bar that sat about where the ballpark’s second base is located today.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please come back again soon for another great destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We appreciate your shares, likes, follows, and comments! Until the next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Random Places

Today we’re taking a random places road trip, and we are so happy to have you along for the ride. Enjoy!

Pike Place Market, Seattle. Established in 1907, it is the oldest running farmer’s market in the U.S. The original Starbucks opened here in 1971.

The Green Monster left field wall at Fenway Park, Boston. The reason the wall is there? To keep people from watching the game for free. In 2003, 269 barstool seats and 100 standing room only spaces were added to the deck on the wall, however tickets for those seats are hard to come by. By the way, the scoreboard on the Green Monster is still updated by hand. Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912.

Smokey Bear’s gravesite, Capitan, New Mexico. The idea of a fire prevention mascot was conceived in 1944 when the National Forest Service came up with a character called Smokey Bear. In 1950, a black bear cub was found badly burned after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest. The firefighters who found him named him Smokey. A popular living symbol of fire prevention, Smokey made his home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. until he died in 1976. He was returned to Capitan where he was buried in what is now Smokey Bear Historical Park.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Nashville. Home of the Midnite Jamboree, which started right after the Grand Ole Opry show was over on Saturday nights. Ernest helped many artists get their start right there in that store until 1974 when the show was moved to another venue. The Midnite Jamboree was moved back to the store in 2021. Tubb was born in Texas, 35 miles south of Dallas. He performed and wrote songs up until his health required him to quit in 1982. He died in 1984. In March 2022, it was announced that the store is being sold and the Midnite Jamboree would be ending.

Geographic Center of the U.S. The actual survey marker is 22 miles north of town, but Belle Fourche, South Dakota does a great job of letting people know it’s close by.

UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico. Occupying a 1930s era movie theater, the museum was opened in 1991. In addition to the exhibits, mostly about the so-called Roswell incident, they also have a gift shop that carries things like bumper stickers that say, “I Like Aliens, They Taste Just Like Chicken”, and other gotta-take-one-of-these-home souvenirs.

Granary Burying Ground, Boston. Established in 1660, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are all buried here, along with some of Ben Franklin’s family members and victims of the Boston Massacre, among others. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people are buried in this small cemetery, though there are just over 2,300 markers.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, Nebraska. Site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch, which was his home from 1886 to 1913. This beautiful barn was built in 1887 to house his purebred stallions and other livestock that lived on the 4,000-acre ranch. His mansion is shown below.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s home at Scout’s Rest Ranch

Reflections on the Colorado River, Moab, Utah. Did you know that the Colorado River Basin is part of eleven national parks? The Colorado River also flows through seven states, two Mexican states, and it forms a partial border between Arizona and Mexico.

Provincetown, Massachusetts. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower landed first at Provincetown in 1620 where the men on the ship signed the Mayflower Compact. The compact was a document whereby they agreed to self-rule the colony they were set to establish in the New World. After finding no fresh water in the area, they sailed across the bay to Plymouth, and the rest, they say, is history.

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado. Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, opened the hotel in 1909. In the 1970s Stephen King visited the hotel and was inspired to write his novel The Shining. Today, the Stanley Hotel claims to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country with none other than Freelan and his wife, Flora (among other spirits) roaming the hallways. We toured this stunning hotel, and even went in the basement, but we didn’t see any paranormal activity – or Jack Nicholson!

That’s going to do it for today. Thanks so much for joining us on our random places road trip. We hope you will return to our site again for more sights, scenery, trips, tricks, and tips. Be sure to sign up to be an e-mail follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Tell your friends! We want to be friends with them, too.

Happy hump day, everybody!

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Welcome to the home of Dwight D. “Ike” and Mamie Eisenhower. How befitting that a distinguished military leader and the 34th president of the United States, would make his home next some some of our nation’s most sacred grounds at Gettysburg.

We had made reservations to tour the house but were notified shortly thereafter by e-mail that the house had been closed due to Covid – very disappointing. Since the grounds are open to visitors, we decided to stop by and see the property anyway. Fortunately, we arrived in time to join a ranger talk which was extremely interesting and took the sting out of not getting to tour the house. The farm, which was visited by several world leaders and other dignitaries, is only 10 minutes from Camp David and 30 minutes from Washington by helicopter. This would have been an extreme convenience to the president.

This is the only house that Ike and Mamie ever owned. Due to many military appointments at home and abroad, Ike becoming president of Columbia University, and living in the White House, the Eisenhowers only used the property as a retreat. They lived here full time after the end of his presidency.
This is a view of the back of the home
Ike’s backyard putting green, installed as a gift from the PGA. It cannot be seen in this shot, but the flag reflects the five stars of his General of the Army rank.

The property immediately surrounding the house includes a barn, a guest house, a tea house, greenhouses and gardens. Interestingly, there is also a helicopter landing pad just beyond the road in front of the house, but it’s simply a mowed-short patch of grass on the lawn.

Barn adjacent to the house and attached garage that still holds some of their personal vehicles. A secret service office was located on the opposite end of the barn. Ike was the first president to have lifetime secret service protection for himself and his wife after leaving office.
Guest House
This is the second farm where Ike’s champion Angus cattle were bred and raised.

We saw many farms that looked like this one in Pennsylvania, particularly the Amish and Mennonite farms in and around Lancaster County. We fell in love with the white barns, silos, and pastoral settings, all reflective of a simpler life that is probably anything but simple.

Beautiful soybean crop and view from the house. The National Park Service leases the land to a local farmer who also tends to the cattle that live on the farm today.

For additional information about the Eisenhower National Historic Site, click here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm

To view the Eisenhower National Historic Site collections, click here: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/eisenhower-national-historic-site

Virtual tours of the house are found here: https://www.nps.gov/eise/learn/photosmultimedia/videos.htm

That’s going to be all for this trip. Thank you for joining us on our journeys. Please join us again for another great destination. Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Churches

Intricate details on the historic Trinity Church, Boston.

If you have followed our posts, you’ve probably noticed that we love churches – especially historic ones. Today we’re sharing a few of our favorites, and we hope you love them too. Enjoy!

Another detail of the Trinity Church in Boston – love the gargoyles!

Trinity Church, Boston. Built 1872 – 1877.

Mission Church, Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico. Built in 1717.

Old North Church, Boston. Built 1723.

Quechee Church, Quechee, Vermont. Built in 1873.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona. Built 1954 – 1956.

Ruins of the San Jeronimo Mission Church at Taos Pueblo. Dates to approximately 1706.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1907.

The Cathedral of Saint Helena, Helena, Montana. Built 1908.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Built 1869 – 1887.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist (also known as The Mother Church), Boston. Built 1894 – 1906 with later additions.

Chapel at Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Maryland. Cemetery established around 1808.

San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas, New Mexico, built in 1760.

Grace Methodist Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built 1873 – 1878.

Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you will come back again for more great road trip destinations, Quick Stops, WWWTWs, and some tips and tricks. Become a follower so you never miss a post – just hit that SUBSCRIBE button on the right-side of the page. We will not share your information with anyone!

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wish We Were There Wednesday: Sunrises and Sunsets

Sunrise over Lake Mackenzie, Texas

Who doesn’t love the breathtaking beauty of a pretty sunrise or sunset. We sure love them – that’s why our signature photo on this site is a sunset. We’ve shot most of ours in Texas, mainly from our own yard or neighborhood, but we’ve been lucky enough to shoot some in a few other places, too. It’s just about being in the right place at the right time and making ourselves get up early enough to catch the sunrise. All of these are aim and shoot shots, no filters or enhancements were used, and some were taken with our phones. We hope these brighten your day!

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Bar Harbor, Maine sunrise

Winter sunset from our front yard.

Sunrise shot from our street

We’ve posted this Sedona, Arizona sunset before, but it’s so beautiful we wanted to include it again.

West Texas sunrise. Had to sign this one because it’s so pretty.

Sunset shot near Amarillo, Texas

Taken from the window of a plane, we captured this between-the-clouds sunrise somewhere over Mississippi.

Sunset before a storm – our front yard.

Fall sunrise taken about a mile from our house

Another beautiful Texas sunset shot from Decatur, Texas

Sunrise near Saguache, Colorado

Thank you for viewing our post! We hope you will return again for more WWWTWs, Quick Stops, road trip destinations or a few tips and tricks. Join our family of followers here so you never miss a post! We can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

Featured

Quick Stop: Zion Episcopal Church

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Where in the world is it?

Zion Episcopal Church is in Charles Town, West Virginia. The town was settled by Charles Washington, the youngest full brother of George Washington, around 1780. At the time, Charles Town was in Virginia, as West Virginia did not become a state until 1863. Charles Town is the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, and lies in the Shenandoah Valley.

About Zion Episcopal Church

The original building was constructed around 1815, but another larger church was built on the site and was completed in 1848. Tragically, the second church building burned. The third church building was dedicated in 1851 and is the building that exists today, though the steeple wasn’t added until the 1890s. Perhaps most significant is the church cemetery. Approximately 70 of George Washington’s relatives are buried here, many of whom were born at Mount Vernon. Resting beside the Washington family members are other prominent historic figures and townspeople. According to the church history, approximately 85 to 90 Confederate soldiers and two Revolutionary War officers are also buried here.

 

We were able to walk through the cemetery and read many of the grave markers. Some of them are so old, however, that the words on them have been erased by time.

We identified the markers of quite a few members of the Washington family, and we were surprised by how many were named George

During the Civil War, the church was seized by Union soldiers for use as a barracks and later as a hospital. The soldiers did so much damage to the interior that it had to be completely renovated after the war.

One last view of Zion Episcopal Church surrounded by its cemetery

And now you know.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021