The calendar says January, but it seems Louisiana did not get the memo. As I write this it’s a dreary and cloudy day with drizzle in the air. The temperature is registering a balmy, muggy and humid 68°. By the time I post it may possibly be 36°. I popped over to weather.com to verify the info, and the question on their homepage reads, “Where is winter?” Well, it’s not in Louisiana, Jim Cantore! I never know if it’s going to be allergy medicine and hot tea with lemon or iced tea with lemon and flip flops kind of day. I like a climate that can make its mind up.
It just so happens that two of my favorite vacation destinations deliver in that area. In an effort to convince my internal thermometer it is not loosing its mind, I’m going to take a couple of trips down vacation memories lane. Come on, we’re going to fabulous and sunny Las Vegas and Gatlinburg, Tennessee via Places In The Home.
Las Vegas, Nevada plays a big role in my family’s travel portfolio. We’ve been going out to our favorite desert oasis since the mid-’70s. For most of the year Las Vegas definitely lives up to its reputation as the great blow dryer in the desert. We quickly acclimate to the temps and keep moving. We have great memories from over the years. Remember this guy?
Robert Urich as the handsome and smooth private eye, Dan Tanna
Circa 1979~ My mother was approached by Robert Urich, who starred as private eye Dan Tanna in the television series Vegas$. My parents were staying at the Desert Inn where the series location was set. He invited her to be his guest on set for the day. Talk about a memory!
My lovely mother and Robert Urich on set together at the Desert Inn ~ 1979
We’ve seen the glitz and glamour of days past and the shorts and sandals scene of the current Vegas. We have stayed in fabulous hotels, witnessed hotel implosions, and marveled at the reinvention of the strip. We’ve seen fantastic entertainers and shows, attended prize fights, met many wonderful locals, and dined at gourmet restaurants, retro coffee shops and all night cafes. We do like to Vegas.
One of the best concerts we’ve ever seen was the Sheryl Crow and James Blunt concert at Planet Hollywood, August 2008. I am listening to Pandora as I type this and guess what song is playing? “Favorite Mistake” by Sheryl Crow. Love it!
Seeing a Don Rickles performance in Vegas is classic. Dave the Builder begs me not to put us on the first four rows. He fears Mr. Rickles will choose him as subject matter. The first time we saw his show was in 1990 downtown at the Golden Nugget. We were running late for the show which caused us to be seated in the very back of the showroom. Dave was thrilled! On our 2010 trip, Mr. Rickles was in town performing at the Orleans. I placed a lucky phone call to the showroom box office and scored second row seats dead in the center of the showroom. Poor Dave, he was a nervous wreck until right before show time. Thankfully, two guys were seated directly in front of us. Did Rickles pick them out? Picked them out and plucked their good-natured bones clean. Don Rickles is a class act.
Tipping our hats to The Hangover.
I took this photo of Treasure Island from the underground valet pick-up area at Palazzo after seeing Jersey Boys. Another excellent show.
Lunching at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Seafood. I love the idea of a bread basket presentation.
I went with Joe’s classic filet and grilled tomato. Delicious!
Scenes from Sunday brunch at Border Grill. Carne asada quesadilla for me.
Fish tacos ensenada for Dave. This dish rendered him speechless. That’s a nice way of saying he did not utter one word during the meal. He was busy stuffing his face with the best fish tacos he’s ever eaten.
Now we’re talking! Two half slices of dessert heaven- pineapple upside-down cake and tres leches.
The breakfast of neon champions! Note to self: make it a point to find out who is responsible for coming up with the brilliant and convenient concept of room service and send them a thank you note.
Without a doubt, The Beatles LOVE is one of the most entertaining and touching shows on the strip. The musical tour of the Beatles biggest hits celebrated in Cirque du Soleil splendor is magical.
The view of the mountains and the runways at McCarran Airport are as beautiful to me as the neon lights of the strip.
We are now leaving the 100+ temps of the desert for Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Wintertime in the Smokies guarantees brr it’s cold! fun at a relaxed pace.
We spent an entire afternoon driving through Cades Cove. The deer and turkeys came out in record numbers and the cameras were in hand.
These two very vocal and confrontational geese hang out in the parking lot at the Apple Barn Cider Mill. These two stay busy greeting the visitors.
The roaring waters throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will command your attention. They are as beautiful as they are swift, and a breathtaking sight in person.
Our tranquil home away from home.
These signs line the road home to Tennessee. For over forty years, as soon as we would spot a “See Rock City” sign we knew we were getting close to our grandparents house. Good memories.
Vacations serve a wonderful purpose, and our Las Vegas and Gatlinburg, Tennessee vacations deliver fun. They give us a break from our normal routines and comfort zones, an opportunity to reconnect with each other, step away from worries, and time to create lasting memories. I heard a commercial for Pure Michigan that says, “When we get to a place where no one knows us, we become most ourselves.” That about sums it up.
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