roadtrip

west texas adventure

Last month, I (against all wishes) turned 30.  Sigh.  The age I’ve been dreading since hitting 25.   Not trying to over dramatize it, but seriously, I WAS NOT looking forward to it. AT ALL.  (You can read all my lovely thoughts about that here.)  What better way to welcome in a new decade than a weekend trip to the quiet, desolate, and immensely beautiful area known as West Texas?

I had heard how awesome Big Bend National Park was, and could not wait to see it for myself.  That was my top priority.  And it did not disappoint whatsoever.

Big Bend overlook

I only wish we had about 3-5 more days to explore.  We had enough time for one hike along the Chisos Mountains.  Here’s some pics from the Lost Mine Trail:

Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Pano Big Bend Foggy Morning Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Views (edited)

It was about a 3-4 hour hike.  There are signs everywhere about mountain lions and bears inhabiting the area, so chalk up a couple more points for me in the facing fears department.  (I’m becoming a pro at that lately.) And a random sign about ancient swamp creatures.

Big Bend Swamp Creatures

We headed over to Marfa, which was so much different from what I expected.  It’s like a ghost town until you dig beneath the surface.  There’s all these random warehouses that look abandoned at first glance, and then boom, you walk in and an art gallery appears before your very eyes. There’s such a great underground community of makers, shops, and restaurants.

Marfa downtown edited

Mirth Marfa  Marfa warehouse

marfa sign

The most surprising and impressive art display was the Andy Warhol art exhibit we stumbled upon.  There were 3 larger than life paintings from his Last Supper collection.   (We weren’t allowed to take pictures – but I did find this pic online.)

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Source: Ayn Foundation

And of course, no trip to Marfa is complete without making a stop at the Prada.

prada marfa instagram - nataliya borener

We spent a little time in Alpine.  Mainly in the form of treasure hunting at a nearby antique shop.

southwest style Building Art in Alpine, Texas

Our last stop was Marathon, Texas.  With a population of less than 500, blink and you may miss it.  It was so incredibly charming, and home to the Gage Hotel.  As soon as I got there I was mentally booking my next trip.

The Gage Hotel The Gage Hotel beautiful landscaping The Gage Hotel Courtyard Rooms

Overall I’d say the whole 30th birthday thing was a success! Love surrounded me from friends and family near and far, and I got to spend time with that one person that knows me more than anyone else (besides God I guess) and still loves me (yes, he must be a saint!).

Hope you enjoyed a few of the many pictures from our West Texas adventure!  Happy Friday! xo

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10 places, 5 states, 8 days: southwest roadtrip guide

The week after Christmas we spent 8 days traveling to California and back.  By car.  That’s over 50 hours driving.  You may think I’m crazy, but it was one of my favorite vacations ever.  It was my first time to the Southwest.  And through those 8 days I covered more ground than some people do in their lifetime.   I drove through the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.  I got to see the Saguaro Cactus, which is native only to the Sonoran Desert.  I hit all 4 seasons.  Felt the warm Cali sun and played in the snow all in one week.  It was a mix of things.  It was life changing.

Southwest Roadtrip Guide - Vim & Vintage Blog

 

1. Scottsdale, Arizona

I loved Scottsdale. Beautifully landscaped, impressive bike trails, gorgeous mountain views.  Make sure to check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Taliesin West and Old Town.

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2. Jerome, Arizona

Blink and you may miss it.   It’s that small.  Off the beaten path, you’ll find a hillside artists’ colony that may be one of Arizona’s best kept secrets.  Jerome popped up on the map as a mining village, and is now home to some great art galleries and boutiques.  Ghost lovers take note:  word is it’s haunted!

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3. Sedona, Arizona

Gorgeous red rock formations.   Photos never do any justice.  We were just passing through, but I want to go back, explore, hike and shop in this colorful town.

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4. Flagstaff, Arizona

Not even a couple of hours north of Sedona we hit snow!  If you love skiing or sledding, this is your place.  In recovery from my initial shock, it was hard for me to believe we were in Arizona still!

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Drive on the other side of the mountain and you find grassy plains of nothingness.  Sometimes a whole bunch of nothing can really be cool.

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5. Grand Canyon and Historic Route 66

Doesn’t really need much of an explanation.  A must see!

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6. Laughlin, Nevada

We don’t have much footage but Laughlin is like a desert oasis.  This casino town is built on the river that borders Arizona and Nevada.  Rumor has it that it’s one big party in the summer, with jet skis, boats, and of course gambling.    Here’s a pic I found online of it’s high season:

Harrah's in Laughlin

(source)

 

We stayed the night at the Golden Nugget.  I’m not too much of a player (I just crush a lot), but I played Black Jack for the first time and turned my $5 into $50 in 5 minutes. This creeped me out and we left.

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7. West Hollywood, California

We stayed in WeHo for 2 nights at the Farmer’s Daughter & loved it.  I did my happy dance after eating heavenly Chicken & Waffles at Tart.

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To sum it up, W. Hollywood was lots of excellent food, trendy vintage boutiques, and great design shops.  The picture below is from my favorite, Style de Vie.  Check it out. It’s awesome.  Just saw a couple weeks ago Lonny named Style de Vie one of their “Next Big Names”.

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8. Pasadena, California

If the Rose Parade or Rose Bowl wasn’t already on your bucket list, you should add it right now.  What a great experience! (It helps when your team wins of course.)  I had been to LA a few times before and never realized just how cool Pasadena is.

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9. Los Angeles Beaches, California

This trip we hit Venice, Santa Monica, Manhattan, and Redondo.

IMG_6405The first two pics are from quirky Venice.  Probably one of my favorite places in existence.  Everyday it’s different – you never know who or what you’ll see.

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The next 2 shots are from the Manhattan Beach Pier.  It was my first time here.  Definitely won’t be my last.

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Next is Redondo Beach.   We spent some time walking the boardwalk and checking out the harbor.  The boardwalk has a pretty amazing arcade in it.  I rode the Tilt a Whirl and felt 13 again. But then I got off and almost threw up.  Some things are not better with age.

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10. White Sands National Monument – Alamogordo, NM

Ever since Boyz 2 Men shot the video for “Water Run’s Dry” at White Sands, I put this landmark on my Bucket List.  Because if B2M does it, it must be cool.  And it surpassed my every expectation.  It was truly amazing.  Can you believe it’s the largest gypsum dunefield in the world?  Just one big white beach in the middle of nowhere with a mountainous backdrop.   Bring the family and play on the dunes, or bring your camera and become an instant photographer.

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