Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Favorite Places I've Visited In The US

Thursday arrives again in advance of Friday and not a moment too soon.  Although weekends don't real equal the kind of relaxation and downtime they did when I remained part of the work force, as an author I work weekends too.  I try, however, to take a little more time to do things I like and want so I look forward to the end of the week like everyone else.

For this week's Thursday Thirteen I thought I'd list some of my favorite places I've been within the United States with a few words on why or what appealed to me about the spot.

In no particular order - meaning number one isn't necessarily more a favorite than number thirteen - here we go:

1.  Shreveport and Bossier City in Louisiana, the twin cities on the banks of the Red River.  My interest and fascination may have begun with Johnny Horton, who remains one of my favorite singers in my ecclectic music world but once I set foot there, I loved it.  My husband and I used to talk about moving there - it's familiar country for him with Louisiana born parents - but it hasn't happened and although it may never happen, it's a favorite place to visit.

2. Hermann, Missouri.   This picturesque little town along the banks of the Missouri River in the fertile region know as the Missouri Rhineland is another favorite.  It's in the center of wine country, ringed with vineyards and it has a distinct European feel.  In the oldest parts of town many of the buildings have an Old World style.  With multiple wineries, several within the city limits, it's a great place to go for wine tastings.

3. Memphis.  I love Memphis.  It resonates with its own raw energy and personality.  From Beale Street to Graceland to the Pink Palace, Memphis rocks.  Where else in the world can you find a hotel (The Peabody) where ducks draw a crowd to watch them parade?  Memphis barbecue is tasty too but then I'm loyal to KC style but I will say that Dyer's Hamburgers is outstanding.  What else could anyone expect from a place that moved their decades old grease with them when they shifted to a new location!!!

4. Orange Beach, Mississippi.  This public access free beach on the Gulf Coast near Gulf Shores is a beautiful beach and a favorite.  It's perfect because it's not crowded, offers a fantastic view out to sea, and has the white sands that remind you of sugar.  One of the best places to go to the beach in the South in my book.

5. San Diego pier.  Switch oceans and go west.  I loved the San Diego pier because it goes way out into the Pacific.  In my twenties on my first trip to California I sat at the far end of the pier on my last night before returning home to reality awed by the sense of infinity.

6. The Lou or the more traditional name - St. Louis.  Biggest city in my home state, the Lou offers up the Gateway Arch and so much more.  I love Laclede's Landing with the cobblestone streets and air of the past, both Cathedrals, and the mix of cultures.  There's a lot to see and love in St. Louis.

7. Wichita Mountains near Lawton, Oklahoma.  While Lawton is home to Fort Sill (Geronimo is buried there and I've been to his grave on post) it's also a wide open town, rugged and more than a little rough around the edges.  Outside town though, the wide prairies sweep far to the horizons with scenery that looks like a classic Western movie.  There are buffalo and more - including Mount Scott. 

8. Leadville, Colorado.  The majesty and beauty of the Rocky Mountains always speaks to my heart in a very special way.  Although I like Denver and Colorado Springs just fine, Leadville is off the beaten path.  It's a small town whose glory days in the silver mining heyday is long past.  History abounds there which appeals to me and the Tabor Opera House is fantastic.  Views of the mountains and the drive through the Rockies to get there are supreme!

9. Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Just a hundred miles away, Tulsa is almost in my backyard and I love the place.  It's my favorite small big city.  Built in the early oil booms of the 19th century, Tulsa exudes an energy that can't be duplicated.  From the downtown to the old neighborhoods where The Outsiders was set to the art galleries, eateries, and Fitzgerald's, my favorite Irish pub this side of the Atlantic, Tulsa makes the list.

10. Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  This Victorian village sprung to life because of the many springs within its' city limits.  In the 1800's, the ill and infirm traveled here to drink the waters in the hopes it would improve their health.  The narrow winding streets that climb up and down Ozark mountains are filled with Victorian homes and the downtown is one of the best preserved in the nation.  That same downtown has shops galore with all kinds of specialities from Arkansas diamonds to fudge.   It's home to several vintage hotels that are worth the trip from the Basin Park Hotel to the grand lady of the Ozarks, the Crescent Hotel which crowns the top of a peak, ghosts and all.

11. Dodge City, Kansas.  "New" Dodge City is just a American town with stoplights, Wal-Mart, McDonald's and all the junk of the 21st century but the preserved old town is something to see.  It's small but you can imagine cowboys riding in off the range to raise a little hell and I like the place.

12. Natchez Trace.  This historical road was one THE main route between Nashville to Natchez.  It's a scenic way to travel with little traffic and history all along the way.  If you want to see real country, the real South, leave behind the highways and freeways for the Natchez Trace.  You're never all that far from a town when you crave modern comforts but you'll feel like you are.

13. Rich Mountain.  This second tallest peak in all of Arkansas towers over the small town of Mena in southern Arkansas and is part of the Ouachita National Forest.  At the top, the Queen Wilhelmina Inn crowns the summit with a fantastic view.  Even on the hottest July day it gets cool in the evening and by morning the place is wreathed in the clouds.   It's also the setting for my newest release, A Time To Love.

Visit all the other Thursday Thirteen posts here:

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