Monday, December 17, 2012

2012: Best Travel Experiences

Discovering our United States and attractions in my own backyard proved to be my best travel experiences for 2012.

Jacksonville, Florida: Spring was an ideal time to visit northern Florida. Weather was mild and sometimes rainy. A trip to Jacksonville, left me with memories of white beaches and great seafood. I highly recommend a little place in Mayport, Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant.

Scottsdale, Arizona: Scottsdale in March is ideal for sitting by the pool, gallery hopping, enjoying the outdoor Native Trails presentation and attending the Heard Indian Market in Phoenix. The Saguaro in downtown Scottsdale was a vibrant, yet relaxing place... a great base for exploring Scottsdale on foot. Later in the week I experienced the culinary delights of the Hyatt Regency. Strolling the lush grounds of the Hyatt and sitting by the pool was an ideal way to rest up after a busy week.

Taos, New Mexico: In Taos, it was a year of remarkable women. I enjoyed hearing about such special women as Standard Oil heiress, Millicent Rogers. I enjoyed a few days in lovely Taos and found a special place to dine in an old adobe church. You might want to give The Love Apple a try.

Santa Fe, New Mexico: There is so much to do and see in Santa Fe, especially during the summer. Summer is festival time! The contemporary and traditional Spanish Markets take place in July on The Plaza. Following Spanish Market is the world-famous Santa Fe Indian Market. This year's Indian Market was expanded to a week of activities including a Native Film Festival. 

Northern New Mexico: Fall is a special time in northern New Mexico. There are art tours, open studios and beautiful scenery. I especially enjoyed the High Road Art Tour and my time spent in Truchas, New Mexico. And, Fall is not complete without photographing the beautiful golden aspen in the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the striking cottonwoods on the High Road to Taos. 

Bosque Redondo (Ft. Sumner), New Mexico:  A day trip from Santa Fe, a pilgrimage of sorts, took me to the small town of Ft. Sumner and the Bosque Redondo Memorial. This area was the destination of "The Long Walk," when the Navajo people were removed from their traditional homeland in Arizona and forced to endure a 450 mile walk to Bosque Redondo in the mid 1800's.

Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico:  A December visit to Zuni Pueblo allowed me to witness part of the Shalako winter ritual. Huge 9 foot Kachinas arrived in the old village and ended their ceremonial time by having an endurance race in front of the mostly Zuni crowd. It was a memorable visit to a special place.

Portland, Oregon: After Zuni, it was off to Portland and Vancouver, WA . The Southwest has been suffering from drought and so the sight of the Columbia River, a bit of rain and the snow-capped mountains were welcome. While in Portland, I was introduced to Portland Food Adventures, an excellent way to dine around Portland, a major destination for foodies.

2012 was a year to explore both coasts of the United States and savor the food, festivals and history of New Mexico, right in my own backyard.

Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography