Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suggestions for Marge's Trip Westward

From Christi:

Marge is preparing for an August road trip out West & has asked me for suggestions since I've “done” the trip before & spent quite a bit of time in New Mexico. I've come up with just a few fun stops but we would love to hear from you if you have any further suggestions.

On the way, she is traveling through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and then back from New Mexico through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, & our home state of Tennessee.

She wants to stop at the Arch in St. Louis. I also suggested Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL, just outside of St. Louis & of course the incredible St. Louis Zoo. Ted Drewes frozen custard is an important ritual, as well. I've never done anything very exciting in Kansas, I'm afraid to report. Mostly hotels & chain restaurants, so ideas for Marge are very welcomed.

In Colorado, Denver is fabulous & I love the Denver Art Museum. Traveling south a stop in Durango might be nice & then a quick dip in the mineral springs of Pagosa Springs, a quaint little mountain town. She'll reach the Continental Divide heading toward New Mexico & hopefully stop to take a photo at the sign. Colorado is absolutely breathtaking.

Northern New Mexico boasts Abiqui's Ghost Ranch, a spiritual retreat & the former home of famed artist Georgia O'Keeffe. The stark landscape of this mountainous desert region is awe inspiring. From Ghost Ranch a trip over to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is worth the drive to this remote spot, truly an oasis in the desert. Taos is filled with incredible art galleries, the Kit Carson home, & possible Julia Roberts or other celebrity sightings at any host of wonderful eateries. (I like the fresh trout at the Historic Taos Inn.) You truly feel like you are in the real “West” in Taos. From Taos to Santa Fe a must-stop is the Sanctuary at Chimayo, a holy site over 300,000 pilgrims visit every year. It is one of the most magical & sacred places I have ever encountered. Today Chimayo is also known for its famous weavings, art, & artisan wares, as well as fabulous New Mexican cuisine at Rancho de Chimayo (closed for renovations, darn it!) or Leona's Restaurante de Chimayo. Leona's cooking is so popular, you can now purchase her famous tamales in some stores in the region. Next, on to Santa Fe for spa relaxation, rejuvenation, & sight-seeing around the Plaza including free walking tours, opportunities to purchase artisan jewelry on the square, the O'Keeffe Museum. If you want to take a day trip from Santa Fe about 20 miles northeast to Pecos, the Pecos Ruins are part of the National Historic Park system boasting the Cicuye Village a quadrangular pueblo, believed to have been home to more than 2000 aborigines. Just down the road in Pecos is Our Lady of Guadalupe (Benedictine Monastery) home to both monks & nuns as part of a double monastic community. Visitors are welcome for daily mass & prayer services in their chapel or to walk their massive grounds along the Pecos River. Can you tell I love New Mexico?

Headed back through the northernmost tip of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon is a site to behold. Called the “Little Grand Canyon,” this magnificent landscape just suddenly appears out of nowhere as you travel about 20 miles off the interstate. You feel as if you have been transported back in time, envisioning dinosaurs, along with invading Spaniards. (not at the same time!)

Oklahoma City's National Memorial Site & Museum is said to be an incredibly moving experience. The William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park is in the River Market area of downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. That might not be Marge's cup of tea but I thought I would at least mention it.

Feel free to share your thoughts or ideas, as I have rambled on way too long for a blog post. Cheers, Christi.


Anonymous said...

I'm originally from Kansas, so I can suggest a few things. It depends on her route however. If she is taking I-70, that will take her through the capital in Topeka. She might want to take a tour of the capital, since it does have some interesting murals. Also a stop in Lawrence to see KU and go to Wheatfields, would be nice. There is also the Kansas City art Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

If she is going farther south, or doesn't mind a detour, then go to Hutchinson and see the Cosomosphere and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. Go a bit further south and you get Wichita with the Mid-American All Indian Center, they have a nice museum along with The Keeper of the Plains sculpture. Wichita also has the Museum of World Treasures, Wichita State University (walking tour to see outdoor art and the art museum on campus), Wichita Art Museum (current traveling exhibit “Las Artes des Mexico”), the Wichita History Museum and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Who says the heartland has no culture.

Christi said...

Great, thanks! I hope you didn't infer that I thought Kansas had no culture or nothing of interest...I just did not know what to recommend. My visits have been to friends and/or for a quick overnight stay when I was traveling. Thanks again! Christi

Anonymous said...

Hi Marge,

Please consider stopping at the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Butterfly Pavillion in Westminster while your are in the Denver area. The Gardens are not far from the museum and I think you would enjoy them. Denver has a multitude of attractions, but these 2 suggestions are pretty simple and do not require "dress up." Enjoy your trip!

Amy said...

I wish I had read this post earlier! Near Silver City, NM the Gila Cliff Dwellings are amazing. I hope your trip was fantabulous!

Marge said...

You read it right on time! My trip earlier had to be cancelled. We are *hoping* to leave Nashville Sunday, Sept 13th for two weeks. That, of course, is depending on the stars and all the planets being in the right positions, and everyone holding their mouths right!.