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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Places to go when you just can’t pay for gas anymore!

I just read an article in USA Today that will definitely appeal to everybody: about great car-free places to visit. CAN YOU BELIEVE GAS PRICES?! It’s to the point of unbearable where I don’t even know if I’ll ever make it back to Massachusetts with any money left in my bank account! So the clincher, of course, is that you have to GET to these places; but at least once you’re there you can park your car and make good use of your feet for a couple of days. Here’s where they recommend going:

Enjoy!

Best Florida Beaches and State Parks

I don’t BELIEVE so much time has passed since I last wrote. I think I last left you on my way to Rainbow, which was so long ago, that I can’t even begin to write about it except to say that it was awesome—a truly beautiful experience in a beautiful place, with beautiful people. I’ll write more about it later. While I was there I wrote in my journal (like the old fashioned paper type) so I’ve got things to say, but not now. Quick update: Ryan and I finally made our way back east to good ol’ Massachusetts (my parents missed me…awwww), but just a week later we got back in the car and drove down to Florida, which maybe isn’t the smartest thing to do I the summer because it’s a freakin’ sauna down there (oh, and it rains quite a bit!) but we’ve been staying cool, camping out a lot where there are cool ocean/gulf breezes, drinking a ton, and crashing at the occasional cheap motel when it’s just too painful.

Meanwhile, I came across some great lists while I was researching where to go next and thought that since summer in Florida stretches on forever, these should be quite up to date even in a few months from now. So here ya go!

From Associatedcontent.com: The Best State Parks to Visit in Central Florida During the Summer:

From Placesaroundflorida.com: Best Florida Beaches:

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Weekend roadtrip out of New York City

I have been too busy to breathe—I feel like I spend every second working that I’m barely getting a chance to hang out with Matthew these days and I’m barely getting to spend time with my new roommates, which isn’t good. So this past weekend, to try and rectify this time crunch, my roommate (Jeanie) and I planned a mini vacation getaway with Matthew and Bram (her bf) to Jeanie’s parent’s beach house in Southampton. We had so much fun—I think it was what we all needed: to spend some quality relaxation time away from the hot (and a bit rainy lately) city and to lounge around in a gorgeous house by a gorgeous beach and get to know each other a little better.

But we weren’t TOTALLY lazy. On the way out to the beach we stopped at Boomers where we made a bit of a scene on the go-kart tracks (we were asked to remember how old some of the children were around us…) and we played some mini golf. Friday night and Saturday we drank a lot of wine and grilled some burgers and really were totally lazy. and Sunday on the way home we stopped at another cheesy family park, Splish Splash, where we caused another raucous, which was worth every second of the lifeguard yelling at us. I know I sound like I’m 15 again… I’ll act more like a lady next time, mom, I promise….

Now I’m back in New York City and got back just in time to run to Central Park where my amazing friend Amy had secured us both tickets to see the last show of Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park and it was with Lauren Ambrose (Clare of 6 Feet Under fame) so if you know me….you know I was happy. -)

And now…back to work. blah.
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Literary Travels with Lacee Low… The Literary South

I’m from the South (Virginia/North Carolina) so…I don’t know. I’m definitely not an expert b/c I’ve barely been to any of these places, but I guess I feel some kinship or something to these writers b/c in school teachers always stress that they’re from the south and we’re from the south so we can “hear” what they’re saying better than other people. I don’t know if that’s true.

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum – Richmond, Virginia (FYI, there’s also an Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, and the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, but those aren’t quite South.)
  2. Booker T. Washington National Monument – Hardy, Virginia
  3. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West, Florida
  4. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park – Cross Creek, Florida
  5. Heritage House Museum and Robert Frost Cottage – Key West, Florida
  6. Margaret Mitchell House and Museum – Atlanta, Georgia

Happy travels!
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NEED to GET OUT of Richmond!!

I’m taking a break from my “Literary Travels” to say this: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So going to Philadelphia for the summer didn’t end up working out b/c my grandparents decided to move out of their house and into an apartment so everything is in boxes and my grandfather had hip surgery and my parents thought it would be too much if I were there—even though I think I could’ve been a big help. So instead I’m HOME, in Richmond, which is NOT where I want to be. AND I’m a stupid counselor at that stupid camp that I SWORE I wouldn’t work at again. AND my parents are driving me crazy. Maybe most teenagers are used to that, but since I go to boarding school and generally see my parents for AT MOST two weeks at a time, but usually a lot less, spending THE SUMMER home is extremely daunting. And it’s only been a month so far…
The only silver lining of this dark, dark cloud is that my parents are letting me take one of the cars up to Philly to visit my grandparents after their big move, which is in a few weeks, after the first session of camp is over. And I’ll be stopping in Baltimore on the way to visit a friend from school. I’ll probably be gone for 10-12 days total…more if I can convince the authorities…
The only solace I have while I’m still here is Short Pump Town Center Mall, the Library of Virginia, and Kings Dominion. And I guess I have a few friends stuck here too. We all bitch and whine together. What else are friends for?

Almost in Wyoming

I don’t believe that I’ve been traveling for as long as I have and had not heard of couchsurfing until last week. So first of all, Ryan finally came back from Boston and flew into Kansas City, Missouri where I was dutifully waiting to pick him up, it was late and I had made my first couchsurfing arrangements and we went and stayed at the Leehy’s—an elderly couple who keep a guest room available for travelers passing through town. I love this concept and I can’t wait to get home (wherever that may end up being) and opening up my couch for crashing. The next day we woke up really early and drove straight to Omaha where we stopped back at Tiff’s (twice in one month, Tiff—and you say I never visit…!). I told her about couchsurfing and she’s now signed up to have random travelers crash at her place.
Tomorrow we leave from here and head straight home to Pinedale, Wyoming for the Rainbow Gathering. Came across Karin Zirk’s blog which gives over important info on the hows and wheres of the Gathering this year. Apparently it’s cold at night and the cops are already on our case—but that’s not something Rainbow warriors can’t handle, right? And about the cold, before we left Kansas City, we stopped at Metro North Shopping Center and bought some extra hats, scarves, and blankets. We spend a crapload of money—but it is for family after all!
Looks as though the Gathering is just near Bridger-Teton National Forest.
I can’t wait to be home! See you there!

Home Sweet Home – back in Phoenix, Arizona, and happy!

I had such an amazing trip, but it is good to be home. I was away for a month—do you believe it?! It flew by so quickly.

Last I left you, I was in Portland, Oregon, museum and park hopping, meeting interesting people, and relaxing. You know, when I used to travel, I’d always come back home a few pounds heavier; but this time, I’m proud to say, that I’ve actually lost a few pounds. For once food wasn’t my focus, but movement and activity. I must’ve walked from one end of Portland to the other, several times! I even went ice skating (at the Lloyd Center Mall) – something I hadn’t done in years! The Oregon Zoo was another blast from my past—when’s the last time I was at a zoo? I can’t even remember!

But it wasn’t all bustle and activity—staying at the Avalon Hotel & Spa, I ended up getting my second, third, and fourth massages of my life. Oh, dear—I really indulged, didn’t I?

But the highlight of it all was Smith Rock State Park, as I knew it would be. Robert was an amazing guide and showed me all there is to see. He’s a rock climber, as are many of the Smith Rock locals, and while he knew there was no way anyone was going to tie me to the side of a mountain, he showed me where some climbers were rappelling and it was quite a sight! The things people can do with (or TO!) their bodies is sometimes breathtaking.

And now I’m back home, and it’s like I’m seeing Phoenix for the first time. It’s not like I went off to see these beautiful things, great cities and the great outdoors, from a place where that doesn’t exist. On the contrary—I’ve got those things so close to my very own home, and rarely even notice them. Well not anymore…Phoenix, Arizona, here I come!
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