09 May How to Enjoy your time In the Western United States
Spring has sprung and the west is putting on its dancing shoes. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around a few states near me and enjoy activities of all kinds. I thought to myself, “why not share a little review of my favorite spots?”. So here we go, an unordered list of some of my favorite places and activities in the west. Plan a trip to one, you won’t regret it.
Situated forty-five minutes south of Salt Lake City is the little gem, Utah Valley. It’s a pocket of friendly and outgoing middle America with some surprising twists. There are tons of Utah events to check out, like little art museums and exhibits packed with the work of talented local artists. Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art features exhibits both secular and sacred. Each season the Hale Center Theater puts on some great shows (this year is Newsies). But maybe the most surprising event each spring is the Holi celebration at the Spanish Fork Hari Krishna temple. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrates the passing of winter and the introduction of spring. It is celebrated by a friendly mosh pit where handfuls of colored flour are tossed through the air. You’ll want to wear a shirt that can be stained every color of the rainbow. And maybe lay out some plastic inside your car so you can get back to where you’re staying for a shower without tie-dyeing your seats. Celebrating the turning of the seasons has never been more fun and the company so inviting.
North-Central New Mexico
Tucked away in the hills of New Mexico is North America’s oldest state capital, Santa Fe. The town has been inhabited since its founding in 1610 and remains a jewel in the high alpine desert. Arts, history, and the outdoors come together here. You can find hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering, museums, theaters, and restaurants all in one central package. My two favorite places in the area are one of Santa Fe’s best dives and a local ancient Indian ruin. When you travel here, you need to go to Cowgirl BBQ. They have the best selection of south-west food and a great location. But before you chow down at Cowgirl, you need to work up your appetite hiking around and enjoying the Bandelier National Monument. This ancient Anasazi ruin preserves petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, and markers of human civilization going back thousands of years. The quiet serenity of the canyon is priceless. The ruin is about a forty-five-minute drive away from Santa Fe, so make sure to enjoy the drive through the Pueblo area and Jemez mountains on the way.
When most people travel to California for a vacation, they stick to the south and visit Los Angeles and her environs. Beaches, the glitz, and glam of Hollywood, Disneyland. That kind of thing. I am not most people, so might I recommend some fun spots farther north. Around the Sacramento area, there is a lot of fun to be had. Apple Hill is a collection of orchards, vineyards, and growers in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There are markets held where growers and artisans come together to share the fruits of their labors (pun very much intended). For some unique hiking, check out the Muir Woods National Monument where the verdant redwoods of California can be found. This area has hikes for all levels and if just plain fun to walk through and experience nature.
So there you have it. My unordered tour of favorite places in things in the west, now that spring is upon us. The west has so much to offer for all kinds of visitors. Art, museums, theaters, and culture thrive here and in close proximity to the great outdoors. There’s something for everyone out here and I hope you all take the opportunity to come and see what makes this region my favorite place in the world.