“Pic of the Week”, November 27, 2015. The Cabins, Valley of Fire State Park

02 Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (107)

These are “The Cabins” in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.  Three small rooms were built from the local sandstone in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who did a lot of similar work in the parks and remote regions of the country during the Great Depression (‘make work’ projects, like trail and road construction).  These cabins were used by travelers for camping stays in Valley of the Fire, but have been abandoned.  I couldn’t find any good information on how long they were used, but it’s clear when you visit that they’ve not been inhabited for some time.  While the setting is beautiful, I think the summer heat would have been unbearable to many — …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 20, 2015. The Venetian, Las Vegas

60 Las Vegas 2015. Venetian and Palazzo resorts (12)

Las Vegas is often described as the “Disneyland for adults”.  Like Disneyland, the city does a great job of creating a variety of illusions and immersing you into them.  Unlike Disney there’s emphasis on adult entertainment in the form of gambling, alcohol and much more if that’s what you’re looking for (we weren’t).

I especially enjoyed our visit to the Venetian, a resort that tries to recreate the atmosphere of Venice, Italy.   From the winged lion of Venice, to canals and gondolas, to enjoying excellent coffee and gelato on St. Mark’s Square, one might argue that it’s the next best thing to being there.  It was fun, anyway.

Here’s some of that looks like.

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (122)

Tired of the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas?  Had enough of the concrete canyons and smoked filled casinos of Sin City?  Not sure if it’s day or night (there are no clocks allowed in Vegas casinos)?  Then you should do what I do as often as I can when I visit Vegas — make a trip to Valley of Fire State Park and escape into the beautiful desert world that comprises much of Nevada.  No neon lights, no massive buffets, no dancing fountains (in fact, little water anywhere)!  Beyond usual Mojave desert landscapes, Valley of Fire has wonderful and interesting rock formations that alone are worth the journey. The park is is located 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Las Vegas and …

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Dessert anyone?

07 Bellagio 2015 dessert

I’m quick to confess — I’ve a weakness for dessert, especially of the oven-baked or gelato kind.  It’s nothing new, an affliction I’ve had for as long as I can remember, making me very sympathetic to the, “Let’s eat dessert first” crowd.  Fortunately, I don’t have a gluten allergy or diabetes (or I’d need to make some major and unwelcome adjustments).

Of the buffets I’ve visited in Las Vegas, my favorite is the Bellagio’s Sunday Brunch spread, which I always head back to when I’m in town on a weekend.  There are dozens and dozens of delicious hot and cold food items ranging from salads to sushi to carved ham and turkey, far too many choices for even a shutterbug like …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 24, 2015: Hats

60 Las Vegas 2015. Venetian and Palazzo resorts (38)

While strolling through the shops at the Venetian in Las Vegas, we came across a hat shop which had some of the most unusual hats I’ve seen in some time.  Elaborate, feathery, colorful, highly decorative — the kind of had you might expect to see atop Kate Middleton.

 

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Downtown Las Vegas

16 Downtown Vegas 2015

Las Vegas is one of the most loved — and despised — travel destinations in the world.  Some folks bask in and are energyzed by its non-stop action and adrenaline, the gambling, the booze, the neon lights — everything you imagine when you think of Vegas.  Others visit once and never want to set foot in the city again.  I’m sort of in between these extremes.  I enjoy Vegas, especially if I’m there to meet friends or family, but only for short periods of time (a weekend visit is about perfect for me).

There are two main regions to Vegas that attract very different visiting clientele.  “The Strip”, or Las Vegas Blvd, has completely transformed itself these past 25 years: from …

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Pic of the Week, March 13, 2015: Fiori di Como, The Bellagio

28 Bellagio 2015 chandelier

Las Vegas is well known for its glitzy and glamorous megaresorts.  Of these, the Bellagio resort stands out for its beautiful architecture and art.  Famous for its musical fountain show on the Strip and its wonderful Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Bellagio resort also has a noteworthy chandelier in its lobby that’s impossible to miss and deserves close study.

Known as Fiori di Como, this beautiful glass sculpture was crafted by famous artisan, Dale Chihuly, whose studio is in Seattle.  Comprised of 2,000 hand -blown glass “blossoms”, these colorful plates have been carefully arranged to form an elaborate three dimensional mosaic.  This work of art was installed in 1998 and has been enjoyed by millions.

 

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“Pic of the Week”. December 21, 2012. Holiday exhibit, Bellagio Conseratory, Las Vegas, Nevada.

December 21, 2012 001

One of my favorite stops in Las Vegas is the Bellagio resort.  Not only is it an elegantly designed building, it features the world’s best water fountain show, a wonderful Chihuly constructed chandelier in the lobby, a great Sunday brunch, but especially a delightful Conservatory and botanical gardens.  The Conservatory has exhibits that change every few months and I’m especially fond of their Fall (Halloween) and Winter (Christmas) themed displays.  These exhibits are clever and beautifully executed.  The hotel and it’s Conservatory was prominently featured in the popular Oceans 11 movie.

This photo shows a small part of the Christmas display.   The two polar bears were both made of mostly …

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