Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finding 2014 Dia de Los Muertos Celebrations in the Southwest U.S.

With it's proximity to Mexico, there is no wonder that the southwest U.S. is rich with Day of the Dead observances. There are many celebrations to choose from in 2014.

What is Day of the Dead or, Dia de los Muertos? At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Catholic feast of All Saints Day (November 1st) was combined with the traditions and festivities that were long-time customs of the indigenous people. 

While traditions may have changed in different geographical locations, the religious (Catholic) fact is that November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls Day.

Our current Dia de los Muertos has evolved from these traditions. You may see people decorating an altar in their home with sugar skulls, flowers, candles and photos of those who have passed. I'll be looking for celebrants in the local Catholic cemetery where it is traditional to clean and decorate the graves of family members.

A wonderful place to be during Dia de los Muertos is in Oaxaca, Mexico where the festivities take on a colorful carnival atmosphere. If you can't be in Mexico during the colorful and reverent display of love for the departed, you can enjoy these festivities in the American southwest.

Tucson: The weird and wonderful All Souls Procession is not to be missed. The University area and downtown area will be alive with the departed, ghosts and skeletons in a procession where visitors can join in. The All Souls Procession  is Sunday, November 9th, 2014.

Here are more 2014 Day of the Dead observances:
Sedona, Arizona  Celebrates at Tlaquepaque
November 1-2, 2014
Join Tlaquepaque in Patio del Norte and Patio las Campanas  to make an offering at the Celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Music, food and beautiful altars will be on view starting at 4:30 p.m.
Free to the public. More Information:

Phoenix, Arizona Day of the Dead at the Desert Botanical Garden
Now - November 2, 2014
Exhibition of Ofrendas
- View Ofrenda or Offering installations by local and renowned artists at the Garden.
October 30, 2014 

Cuisine and Culture of Día de los Muertos
- A deliciously interactive evening as the garden unveils the secrets and cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos. More Information:

Santa Fe, New Mexico - Museum of International Folk Art
Saturday November 1, 2014
Dia de Muertos  Ofrenda
5:00-7:00 pm

The public is cordially invited to join us in making the Community altar "Ofrenda" in the Outdoor classroom. Bring a picture or other memento you do not need back to add your loved one to the community altar. Enjoy music by Mariachi Buenaventura and refreshments. The FREE event is for all ages.

Sunday November 2, 2014

Dia de Los Muertos
Day of the Dead
1 to 4pm

Decorate Sugar skulls, make memory boxes/muertos nichos, enjoy live music and Aztec dance performance by Danza MeXiKa and sample pan de muerto. All by Museum admission, New Mexico residents FREE every Sunday.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Plaza Mercado
Saturday, November 1st
Los Muertos Fine Art Works is celebrating withe the ‘Los Muertos’ Day of the Dead Art Show & Celebration on Saturday, November 1st from 2 to 8pm at the La Fontana Flamenco Studio in Santa Fe Plaza Mercado. It will be an afternoon and evening filled with art, live performances, refreshments, raffle prizes and a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Liz's Travel News and Views: Razor Clamming Time, Go Wild in Portland, Sad News About Jackalope

Here are some suggestions for travel and fun in the western U.S. With the leaves turning and storms a churning at the coast, it's a great time to brave the weather and have some outdoor fun.

Go Razor Clamming on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula
I loved being out at night carrying a lantern and joining in the clamming fun. Official Clam Tides will continue all winter long!  Check the State Department of Fish and Wildlife website for the most current information on digs.  There are many scheduled in November and December.  Clamming on the Long Beach Peninsula is incredible, challenging and fun for the whole family.

At Adrift Hotel, they will even help provide you with the ultimate clamming experience.  You can purchase a clamming package when you reserve your room for only $20 dollars extra. The package includes a 3 day license, use of their clam gun, net, and a lantern for the night clammer. Kids are only a $5 add on.
For more information please contact Adrift Hotel at or call  360-642-2311

Go Wild in Portland, Oregon
Readers worldwide have fallen for Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Portlander Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir reached the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club reboot. The story’s film adaptation, set for a December 2014 release, has already earned critical acclaim and Oscar buzz for star Reese Witherspoon. Create your own wild adventure and prep for the premiere with these Portland-area activities.
Danner's Mountain Light Cascade Boot for Women

Buy the boots
Strayed’s well-worn hiking boots are a major plot point­ in Wild — they even grace the book’s front cover. Fans can buy their own retro, red-laced boots at REI, where the author bought (and famously returned) her own shoes 20 years ago. Made in Portland by iconic heritage brand Danner, these boots, which Witherspoon dons in the film, are definitely keepers. Each pair also includes a Mount Hood-themed sew-on patch to decorate your trekking gear. (The boots are also available online.)

Hit the trail
Sure, you could attempt the entire 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl Strayed — but Portland offers a handy shortcut. Many of the trail’s best Oregon sections are just a short drive from town, including Mount Hood and the historic Timberline Lodge, the Columbia River Gorge and Cascade Locks, where the Bridge of the Gods provides an emotional ending to Strayed’s journey.

Read the book
Available from

Jackalope as I remember it.
Santa Fe's Jackalope in Transition  
You'll still find some interesting things at Jackalope, a beloved import store on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. But the owner is transitioning to a vendor only model. That means some of our favorite employees have gone and the people we enjoyed seeing my no longer be there.

Darby McQuade, too, has moved on. I'll miss seeing
McQuade’s on-premise home with 150 white pigeons roosting on the second-floor balcony and his friendly face. He founded Jackalope after beginning his business selling pottery out of the back of his truck on the Santa Fe Plaza.

I remember strolling the grounds, enjoying a visit with the resident donkeys and listening to music played under the huge tree near El Mercado.

While Jackalope will remain, I just can't believe it will have the same spirit. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Liz's Travel News and Views - Cranberries, The Bachelor, Halloween Happenings

The site of recent filming of The Bachelor TV Show
It's a very romantic spot at La Fonda
Sometimes there are interesting tidbits to share between articles. So I decided to do a little newsy blog entry when I have enough of interest to share:

Santa Fe Bachelor Filming
They're busy filming an episode of  the TV Series, The Bachelor, in Santa Fe New Mexico. Rumor has it that one segment is being filmed on the beautiful terrace at La Fonda overlooking Santa Fe's venerable Cathedral Basilica St. Francis. I've been on that terrace and the adjoining ballroom and think it is a very romantic place. It is filled with flowers and has a tiled fountain.  The series is due to air early next year.

Washington Cranberry Harvest
I recently returned from the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington. Cranberry harvest was in full swing. A relative newcomer to the cranberry farming scene, Starvation Alley Farms, is taking the culinary world by storm with their organic Cranberry for Concoctions. Of the 1700 acres of cranberries in production  on the Long Beach Peninsula Starvation Alley Farms is the first to succeed at achieving the challenging USDA Organic Certification. You'll find their specialty juice at local farmers markets and at some of the finer bars in Portland and Seattle. 
Even dogs enjoy the cranberry harvest on the
Long Beach Peninsula of Washington

I purchased a bottle and have been having a great time mixing it with soda water produced by my home SodaStream home soda maker. It's delicious and healthy.

This is an ideal time to get to the Long Beach Peninsula and see the cranberries being harvested. It's close to the end of the season. More Information.

Halloween Hauntings
Meanwhile, closer to my home you can enjoy some Halloween fun in Portland, Oregon. Offered by Portland Walking Tours, the Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour (Thursday–Sunday, $9-29) doubles as a Ghost Hunting 101 crash course for prospective paranormal investigators. Guests wield electromagnetic field meters and other ghoul-detecting gear while venturing to the top three haunted places in the city, including the infamous Merchant Hotel. Along the way, certified ghost hunters explain how they distinguish between hoaxes and hauntings, demonstrate paranormal documentation tactics and classify different types of hauntings. The early tour, starting at 7 p.m., is family-friendly, while the more expensive (and scarier) 10 p.m. tour is for adults only. More Information.

Want to enjoy brews with your ghostly apparitions? The Haunted Pub Crawl from BeerQuest PDX (Oct. 10–Nov. 2, $45-49) unites fun-loving specter-seekers on a tour of Old Town Portland. With its cobblestone streets and beautiful 19th-century buildings, this district is steeped in history and is purportedly home to a sizable ghost population. Imbibe up to seven drink samples, including award-winning brews from Old Town Brewing, while experts deliver nonstop doses of goose bumps. More Information.

Meanwhile in Washougal, Washington, just across the river, you can enjoy a brew with your favorite Zombie friends. The Zombie Brewfest  takes place on October 25th at Doomsday Brewing in Washougal. Wear your best Zombie attire.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Long Beach Peninsula of Washington: Kite Surprise

We took a walk along the Discovery Trail accessing it from our B&B, Boreas Inn. Although there are many things to stop and see along the trail, this sight stopped us in our tracks. The huge round kites were spinning in the wind. Long Beach is famous for its International Kite Festival. However, as we found out, you can be surprised by kites year 'round.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Portland's Goose Hollow Neighborhood - Where real geese once roamed

Bronze Goose at the Kings Hill MAX stop in Portland

When riding Portland's MAX light rail you never know what type of art might be seen along the way and at the stops. This bronze goose welcomed us at the Kings Hill/Salmon Street stop. Of course I wondered, why a goose?

This is the Goose Hollow neighborhood. The name Goose Hollow comes from the early days of Portland.  Women raised geese in the low-lands and gulches of the area in the West Hills foothills.  Here's a great history of the Goose Hollow area

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding Fall Foliage in Arizona

It's fall foliage time in Arizona. A favorite place to go is the Arizona high country. Fall foliage peaks between late September all the way through December.  Here are some places where you can hike and sightsee in the Arizona autumn wonderland. Be sure and bring your camera!

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Located east of Phoenix off highway 60, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is known for their Fall Foliage Finale on Thanksgiving weekend. Aspen and maple leaves have fallen in the San Francisco peaks and Catalinas by mid-November, but the true grand finale of autumn foliage in Arizona is at the Arboretum in November, with peak color typically during Thanksgiving weekend. More on the Boyce Thompson Arboretum's Fall Foliage. Also, watch their Facebook Page.

Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon
You'll find fall foliage in Oak Creek Canyon any time between October and December. You'll need to check with the Visitor's Center.  You'll enjoy fall foliage at the right time throughout Sedona.  There is nothing better than a vista of the Red Rocks and fall leaves.

The Flagstaff and surrounding areas offer a variety of fall colors from late September to early October. Expect to see an abundance of red, orange and yellow leaves. There are Aspen groves and deep canyons. More information on fall in Flagstaff.

Coconino National Forest
You may see Fall color in Coconino National Forest as early as mid-September.

Kaibab National Forest
There are a number of scenic drives on the Kaibab National Forest that provide great opportunities for viewing fall colors. Watch carefully as you drive along forest roads; you may catch a glimpse of a Kaibab squirrel amongst the golden aspen, or a flock of wild turkey along a meadow’s edge.
National Forest Fall Information Page