Literary travels

There seems to be a new genre of travel that has yet to be discussed in this forum, and that is, literary travels. There’s a book (and blog) called Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West that seems to be getting some attention. Novel Destinations, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, is a book for people who share a passion for reading and travel, and the only I can think is, for the millionth time…why didn’t I think of that book idea?! I know I’m only 17, but I think I’m ready to write a book, if only people would stop stealing my ideas…

And so prepare for my version of… ,

Literary Travels with Lacee Low

This week: Literary Travels in New England

1. The Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of the Alcotts (as in, Louisa May, of Little Women fame).
2. Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of Henry David Thoreau and place of inspiration for his (and others’) writings. HDT lived at Walden Pond from July 1845 to September 1857.
3. Longfellow National Historic Site, Cambridge, Massachusetts – The home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was originally occupied by General George Washington during the Siege o Boston. Less then 100 years later, Longfellow took a room in the residence now bearing his name.
4. Robert Frost Stone House Museum, South Shaftsbury, Vermont – Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” while he lived here on a hot June morning in 1922.

Stay tuned next time for…The Literary South!
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Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


Related Travel Guide Topics:

Evolving into a nomad chick…

My friend Robert told me that the Portland Japanese Garden is not to be missed, so I’ll add that to my itinerary. He’s offered to take me through Smith Rock State Park since he lives nearby.

Also, I’m thinking that I should rent a car to drive up to Oregon and then fly back to Phoenix, otherwise it’s just too many hours driving by myself. Speaking of which, I’ve been doing some research on women traveling alone. First of all, I’m reading Women’s Travel Writing 2008, which seriously makes me laugh and cry on every page—I’m so easily moved it’s ridiculous.

Found a great site with advice for solo women travelers — maybe i just like the ring of it, nomad chick—could that be me?

Alive and Safe and maybe never going whitewater rafting again!

I seriously posted that last post and before I signed off (like a minute later) I already had an email from my mom telling me that I’d better be safe and email or call her when I get back. (Mom, PLEASE don’t sit by the computer all day waiting for me to write…..seriously, aren’t you supposed to be working??)

And so, here is just a very short post for all my dear readers: rest assured, I am safe. New River Gorge National River (didn’t swallow me up as I thought it would). Though I think rafting just may not be my thing.

First of all, the rapids weren’t even so bad (supposedly). I think they were a level 3 or something, which are “wimpy” rapids. We had a simulated “flip over” as soon as we got in the boat, and even that left me screaming and splashing around for dear life—mind you, we were in 2 foot deep water.

But MAN, I have never seen such peer pressure. The other people in the boat FORCED me to stay on the boat, saying that I’d be ok and that we “probably” wouldn’t flip over anyways. And they were right, kinda. No one flipped over…but me…three times! But, as goddess is my witness (that’s for you mom, I know how much you love that), I would not allow that frothy, glistening water to win our raging battle. And so each time I fought, and each time I came out on top, stronger than the last time.

By the time we got to the last rapid, people were actually laughing so hard and not focusing on the rapids at all, that our whole raft capsized throwing us all into the calm of a patch of river that was just near a truck that was waiting to load us up and take us home.

Ryan says I’m a good sport. Or sportess—he’s making fun of me.

It should not go unmentioned, however, that my brush with death was nearly worth it due to the breathtaking scenery that surrounded us. A little before and little after, we hiked through the area and I really took the most amazing pictures of cascading waterfalls flowing off of sandstone cliffs.

And then I remember that this is why I needed to get out of the city. To try new things and to experience the divinity of nature. And that is what I found here—that is what I keep finding.

Even this house that we’re staying at. They have acres of land and children and animals who all seem so happy and at peace with their surroundings. They open their home to travelers and allow them to taste from sweetness of their lives. This is family. This is something great.
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Martha’s ready to get away again! (just need a little advice…)

I happen to have accrued a lot of vacation days from work. I haven’t taken full vacations for the last 4 years and since we have a cumulative vacation day policy, I’ve got about a month left that I can still take this year. I get a little crazy about it actually. As I was writing that I was thinking, wow, if I don’t take them this year, then next year I’ll have SIX weeks. But I’ve got to break that habit, otherwise I will NEVER GO ANYWHERE, and I’m done living like that!

So I think starting on the Thursday before Memorial Day I’m going to drive up to Oregon for a 2-3 week roadtrip. Why Oregon, you ask? Well, why not? I’ve been reading up on things to do/see in Oregon, so I’m starting to get some ideas for us there and there are also a few places along the way that I’ll check out (like Red Rock Canyon in Nevada). Most of all, I’m going to bring my journal (which is really my laptop) and I’m going to get some writing done. I have drafts of poems and short stories that I’ve written in the past (some as far back as 20 or 30 years ago!) and I’d like to devote some serious time to getting them in better shape to share with the world, in one way or another.

I guess I just want to throw out some of my ideas and see if anyone has suggestions. I’ve heard amazing things about Mt. Hood National Forest and Golden-Silver Falls State Park (is it wrong to choose a place based on it’s name?), so I’d like to make sure that I at least get to these. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. Maybe also Crater Lake National Park.

Browsing through other people’s trip itineraries online, I’ve come across this trip which looks like a good few days trip around Portland, which is something I’d also like to do. Any other “must do’s” in the area?

I figure that if I do stop at Red Rock Canyon, I’ll go in Vegas while I’m in the area, even though it doesn’t quite fit into the theme of my outdoors traveling itinerary…Though I just checked mapquest and it’s a 20 hour drive from Phoenix to Portland, but that’s going up the California Coast, not going through Nevada as I had wanted and I don’t want to go TOO far out of my way. Has anyone done this trip before?

Westward, ho!

Confession 1: I stole a road sign. I know that is totally wrong and completely not my style, but there were 2 deer crossing signs about a foot away from each other and one of them was all crooked and about to fall down and they MUST have put the other one up to replace the old falling down one and it really was just hanging by a thread (like a metal thread, what’s that called?) and it was like 2 a.m. and we had been driving for so long and there it was.

Confession 2: I am totally geographically challenged. I went out on this road trip thinking we would just zip from one city to the next and then from state to state to state until we ran out of states. But it takes a freakin long time to get from place to place!

Last I wrote, we were in Pittsburgh, which was fun. We spent a lot of time by the Alleghany River and took the cable car up Mount Washington where we got a breathtaking view of the city—and a taste of where teenagers who want to make out go to get away from their parents. Hung out with Jackie for a few days and caught up and she got to meet Ryan who she loved (who wouldn’t?), and not that I’m insecure, but I do always love when my friends like my boyfriends. Jackie lives in the “Strip” district, which has a noisy outdoor market and some trendy nightclubs (that I wouldn’t step foot in, of course) that kept me up late and woke me up early, but at least it seems like a really lively place. Very colorful and bursting with life.

We left late last night, drove for a loooooong time (getting lost a few times and stopping for that deer sign — I seriously don’t know what we were thinking) and then crashed at a friend of Ryan’s from the Rainbow Family in Glen Jean, West Virginia. I haven’t really gotten a chance yet to explore—we’re going out as soon as I get off the computer to New River Gorge National River to do some serious whitewater rafting. I’m actually a little scared b/c aren’t some of the biggest rapids in the world in West Virgina? And apparently we’re not allowed to leave the area before going to Gauley River National Recreation Area.

Wish me luck…

Oh, btw, I have no cell phone service here, but I’ll probably check my email again before we leave—we’ll probably be here for a few days, at least.

Ok, ok, I’m going!
Peace!