New York Fall Foliage

Sure New York City is mostly cement and buildings, and sure in the winter whatever trees there are have shed their leaves and just look sad. And sure the summer is so hot and sticky (or rainy, like this summer) that whatever trees and flowers there are are overlooked on your run from the train to your air conditioned office. So, now that it’s fall, let’s make sure that we take advantage of the beauty in New York City’s fall colors that is so often overlooked during the rest of the year! There are so many scenic drives, beautiful hikes, botanical gardens, and other New York fall foliage options that can be explored before it gets cold and wet and the train to office dashes begin again!

There are more parks in New York City than people realize. Obviously there’s Central Park and Prospect Park, but there’re so many more, too! Check out Alley Pond Park, Forest Park, High Rock Park, Inwood Hill Park, the Staten Island Greenbelt, and Todt Hill. The best viewing time for these is the end of October through the first half of November. And the best way to appreciate them is with a bike, a picnic, and some good friends (in my opinion at least).

Going to botanical gardens is another way to appreciate the cool weather and changing colors of autumn:

You’ve only got a few months before it starts getting cold…so go have a picnic in the park and enjoy the beautiful weather!
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Literary Travels with Lacee Low… California

John Steinbeck is from California and is one of my favorite authors. I read Of Mice and Men a thousand times and I would love to go to California and explore his legacy. For example, Steinbeck practically discovered Monterey, California—well, not really, but he made the city a well-known landmark in “Cannery Row”. You can visit Cannery Row (the street) and even visit Doc’s Marine Lab, set up by Edward Flanders Ricketts (“Doc” in “Cannery Row”). Tours are available. (Henry Miller also hung out there a lot.)

Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) also lived in Monterey (Steinbeck actually lived in Salinas, which is just next door). He lived at 530 Houston Street and you can visit—but beware, because people say it’s haunted!

Other literary figures from California include poet Robinson Jeffers, who built the Tor House, hidden away on a rocky knoll overlooking Carmel.

The Eugene O’Neill House (National Historic Site) is located in Danville, California. I don’t really know so much about him, other than the fact that he is a playwright who lived in pretty solid isolation at his Tao House, a 5100 square foot hillside home. He wrote The Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten while he was living at Tao House.

Nearby is the John Muir National Historic Site, in Martinez. He was a writer and a naturalist from the 19th century.

Then, of course, there’s San Francisco, home of the beatniks. Timothy Leary and his posse hung out at the Golden Gate Park, where he coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out”, while introducing the widespread use of LSD. (I just read The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test.)

That’s it for now…until next time!

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Indianapolis and Pennsylvania road trip!

So this definitely was NOT my first pick for a travel destination, but Matthew (yes, we’re still together, despite what you thought 🙂 –you know who you are!) is swapping cars with his brother for some reason that I don’t really understand but apparently it was something that they agreed on like 5 years ago. So…I figured I’d come along for the ride. We’ll be driving there, swapping cars, and driving back, staying in Indianapolis maybe but then driving back through Pennsylvania. We want to do some camping in the Poconos and go to Hershey Park. Then we’ll be having a very romantic night and day at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. We’ll also spend one night in the Laurel Highlands, see of the Frank Lloyd Wright stuff in the area, and then explore some back roads on the way back to New York City. Continue reading

Vermont Fall Foliage and More

Today is Labor Day and its time to plan this falls activities. Fall Foliage Trips are perfect for this year’s economy. For most of us, there are great Fall Foliage destinations within a tank of gas. Here are some favorites:

New England Fall Foliage

Mid-Atlantic Region

Rockies

And last but not least, for our fans in the South – Virginia Fall Foliage is at its best in the Western part of the state, in the Shenandoah, Blue Ridge and (further south) Smoky Mountains.

Phoenix is TOO HOT!

It is just so so hot in Phoenix that my time off from work is rarely spent outside beyond the short walk to my car. So I’ve compiled a list of great air conditioned spots to hang out in Phoenix. Drink lots of water and have fun!

  • Metrocenter is a great mall in Phoenix. I usually head straight to Macy’s with my coupons or to Bath & Body Works where I always spend too much time and money. When I go with a girlfriend, Ruby Tuesdays and the movie theater are generally on the list.
  • Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa – I’ve mentioned this one before and now I’ve finally gone and checked it out…WOW! I’ve become a spoiled spa goer!
  • Phoenix Art Museum is another great indoor spot. This is a huge museum with a great collection, and a nice café.
  • Arizone Science Center – I’m not such a science museum goer, but this does happen to be a very good one so I’m putting it on the list.
  • Heard Museum – A unique collection of Native American art. This is a great place for visitors (but who would visit Phoenix in the summer??) because it truly epitomizes the southwester spirit. Definitely go to the café while you’re there.
  • Paradise Valley Mall is another great mall (again with a Ruby T’s) and provides good solace from the heat. And I’ve been known to drop by their morning walking club…
  • Cerreta Candy Company is a unique place to head when you need a change of scenery. A great place to bring kids, this candy factory offers free tours Sundays through Thursdays. Watching the chocolate flow is just mouth-watering.

Stay cool!
Martha
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Affordable Theme Parks

When you’re on the road on a limited budget, the last thing you’re gonna do is drop $50-$70 for a few hours stop at an amusement park. And yet, stopping for the day (or for a few hours) at a theme park is sometimes exactly what you need to get that stiff sitting-in-the-car-for-too-long feeling out of you. A place where you can let loose and get all that pent up energy out.
Here are some reasonably priced theme parks in the country, $25 and less, where you and your kids, friends, parents, significant others, or whoever can go for a whirl without spending all your gas money. Prices are approximate for general admission and reflect the adult and children’s price, respectively. Some places charge more for special activities or rides.

Here are a few I came across in my searches. If you know of more, help out us struggling roadtrippers and post more affordable options!

Top Luxury Resort Spas in the U.S.

I was afraid this might happen. Ever since my first massage at the Mirage Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, and then my subsequent spa treatments at the Avalon Hotel & Spa in Portland, I’ve been ACHING for more! I want another hot stone massage and I think I’d benefit from a facial a week. And my hands would look so much nicer if I just took care of them. I don’t want to indulge too much, but I think at my age, after spending and saving so conservatively for 60 years, I should not feel guilty at the occasional indulgence. Now I just need to figure out what “occasional” really means. Once a week? Month? Year? I’m thinking month.

Fodors lists these ten spas as the 10 Top Luxury Resort Spas:

Well, I think it would be unreasonable to visit all of these spots, but at the very least…I’m calling the Arizona Biltmore right now to make this month’s appointment! Does anyone have any other recommendations in the greater Phoenix area?
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