Vacation Memories of Sunny Las Vegas and Snowy Gatlinburg

My mind is on vacation memories, especially on this supposed winter day in January.

I popped over to to verify these weird Louisiana temperatures  and the question on the homepage reads, “Where is winter?”

Well, it’s not in Louisiana, Jim Cantore!

I never know if it’s going to be an 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.

Las Vegas Temperature Paris

Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

In an effort to convince my internal thermometer it’s not losing its mind, I’m going to take a couple of trips down vacation memories lane.

Bellagio fountains

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.

Dan TannaRobert Urich as the handsome and smooth private eye, Dan Tanna

We have great memories from over the years.

Remember this guy?

The year was 1979, and my mother was approached by Robert Urich, who starred as private eye Dan Tanna in the television series Vega$.  

My parents were staying at the Desert Inn where the series location was set.

Mr. Urich spotted my mother on the patio of the villa my parents were staying in, and he walked up to her, introduce himself, and 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.  

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

One of the best concerts was the Sheryl Crow and James Blunt concert at Planet Hollywood, August 2008.

I am listening to Spotify as I type this and guess what song is playing?

“Favorite Mistake” by Sheryl Crow.

Love it!

Sheryl Crow

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 could not contain his relief.

On our 2010 trip, Mr. Rickles was in town performing in the Orleans showroom.  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 which ran interference for us as comedy targets.

Did Rickles pick them out?

Picked them out and plucked their good-natured bones clean.

Don Rickles was a class act.

Don Rickles

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.

Treasure Island Las Vegas

Lunching at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Seafood.

I love the idea of a bread basket presentation.

bread basketDave the Builder ordered Joe’s famous scallops and roasted corn.

The reviews are in, and Joe’s gets a rave!

Joe's scallops

I went with Joe’s classic filet and broiled tomato.

filet mignon

Scenes from Sunday brunch at Border Grill.

Carne asada quesadilla for me.

Border Grill Las Vegas

Fish tacos ensenada for Dave.

This dish rendered the man speechless, and that ain’t easy.

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.

fish tacos

Now we’re talking!

Two half slices of dessert heaven- pineapple upside-down cake and tres leches.

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.

room service


In and Out Burger

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.

Mirage Hotel

The view of the mountains and the runways at McCarran Airport is as beautiful to me as the neon lights of the strip.

McCarran Airport

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.

Ober Gatlinburg

We spent an entire afternoon driving through Cades Cove.

Cades Cove

The deer and turkeys came out in record numbers, and photographers with cameras were as well.

Smokey Mountains

wild turkey

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.

Apple Barn Mill

The roaring waters throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will command your attention.

Our quaint, cozy, and tranquil home away from home.

Johnson's Inn

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.

See Rock City

Vacations serve a wonderful purpose, and our Las Vegas and Gatlinburg, Tennessee vacations deliver fun.

A vacation, staycation, or getaway gives us a break from our normal routines and comfort zones, and gives us an opportunity to reconnect with each other while making lasting vacation 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.”

Beautifully stated.

Love your style!







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