Showing posts with label The Old West. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Old West. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

And then came Moab. . .Utah, that is.

The name Moab is a Biblical name for a land just short of the Promised Land.
The Moabites were historically regarded as the perpetual enemy of the Israelites, "God's Chosen People." Physically, the region was a green, verdant valley in the middle of a serious desert; an emerald in the sand, so to speak. Because of those similarities, our little town was dubbed Moab by Mormon settlers in the 1800's.

Sunset in Moab, Utah
Our heart rates were finally returning to normal after traveling that breathtaking section of roadway through the Monument Valley. We were headed to Moab (MOE-ab), Utah our own ‘Promised Land’ where after an eight-hour day on the road, we were ready for our two night stay in this small town. We were heading to the Fairfield Inn and Suites, just outside town near Arches National Park for this segment of our Southwestern road trip.

Fairfield Inn is dwarfed by the surrounding cliffs - Moab, Utah
At the time we decided to stay there – about two days in advance of the trip -- we didn’t know much about this small town of less than 10,000 residents nestled tucked in alongside the Colorado River in Southeastern Utah. But a bit of on-line research had convinced us it was time to visit – and to give ourselves an extra night there.

Colorado River, Moab, Utah
During the 1800’s the area around what is known as Moab served as the Colorado River crossing along the Old Spanish Trail. That 700-mile-long trail is a historical trade route that connected the northern New Mexico settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico with those of Los Angeles, California and southern California.

Moab Valley
The downtown, as with most tourism-oriented towns, is lined with galleries, restaurants and gift shops. There are dozens of retail outlets that focus on the out-of-doors, from selling gear for outdoor adventures to offering tours. The area is an outdoors paradise with whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River, canoeing on the Green River, mountain and road biking, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking and camping.

Working up a hunger and thirst:

The lone food truck in Moab, Utah
With only a single full day we packed as much into it as we could: a visit to Arches National Park, and during the afternoon we tried out the hotel’s pool area and then headed into town to explore its many stores and find a place for dinner. (There is no end to the food options.)

Moab - Margaritaville, Utah!
We chuckled at the headline in one of their tourist publications: “How to Get a Drink. . .in Moab, Utah”.  As it was a question that had crossed our minds as we set out on this route.

Utah, with its Mormon population and influence has long been recognized by travelers as a place than can be difficult to find and consume alcoholic beverages. But the times are changing even in this ‘dry land’.  The Moab Brewery – yes, a real micro-brewery in downtown Moab – is the only place in town you can buy full-strength beer to go.  Beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% can be purchased at food stores and convenience stores.

The Utah State Liquor Store is the only retail outlet that sells bottled liquor, wine and beer with an alcohol content above 3.2%. You don’t find the beverages with that alcohol content and above in grocery stores.

However, Moab now has two local wineries:  Castle Creek Winery, located at Red Cliffs Lodge, 15 miles from town on Scenic Highway (The River Road) and Spanish Valley Vineyards, just off Highway 191, south of Moab.  Both wineries have on-site tasting rooms and wine is available for sale.
La Sal Mountains - Utah
With only a day we didn’t have time to drive the scenic loop road that would have provided a close up view of the La Sal Mountains, a part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, just 20 miles south of Moab. With peaks reaching nearly 13,000 feet this alpine ranges is the second highest range in Utah. We also had to put Canyon Lands National Park a bit to the north on the ‘next time’ list.  But we did visit Arches National Park and that’s a whole post in itself.

As always, the time you spend with us is most appreciated! And another big thank you to those who’ve shared our posts on FB with your friends and family there. Hope to see you back next week.

We’ve just returned to our Stone House on the Hill in Greece where we plan to spend the fall. I know a number of you are waiting for more road trip tales from here so as soon as we finish up with the Southwest trip tips and tales, I’ll tell you about some of what the Peloponnese has to offer! And of course, I've got tales to tell 'from the hill'. Safe and healthy travels to you and yours.

Linking up this week with: 

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ghosts of The Old West

Wickenburg, Arizona continues to bring the Old West to life in its stores, on its street corners, well, . . .pretty much everywhere you look.  The City Fathers (and Mothers) have promoted the history to the point that you can stroll the streets, guided by free walking tour maps (available everywhere it seemed), and 'meet' the folks who walked these same streets more than a century ago.

One of my favorite stops was the Jail Tree, where in the late 1800's -- during the gold rush boom -- there just wasn't the time to take away from mining to build something as practical as a jail.  So, the bad guys simply got chained to what was, and still is, called The Jail Tree.

Wickenburg's Jail Tree
j. smith photo, (c) 2011
The 200-year old Mesquite tree is found in the center of town in the back lot of one of those ubiquitous modern day versions of the corner grocery that seem to be on every other southwestern city corner.  It was at the store, that I learned about the ghosts of Wickenburg.

We'd visited the tree Sunday afternoon and after that Pig Trough feast I stopped in for a bottle of water.  While paying, the clerk asked the usual visitor questions, "So. . . where are you from?  How you like the town? Did you see the Jail Tree?"   

When I said I loved the spiny old tree out back, he offered a bit more history telling me that a jail had finally been built on this same corner. Some of the holding cells metal walls were used in the store's freezer unit.  And then he added:

"And you know. . . we have a ghost.  She comes in about 12:30 a.m. It's a little girl, you can tell from her laughter.  I've been working and the bells that ring when the door opens will start ringing and I look around and there is no one in the store, but then I hear her laugh. I just said 'hello' to her one night and then I heard the bells ring - she had left."

It seemed such a nice story; and one that made me want to come back to the store and the town. It was so easy and relaxed and comfortable.  I mean a welcoming place where even the ghosts are happy and laughing! Maybe I was I caught up in another tall tale from the Old West? I am not sure, but it added to my growing list of reasons, why I love this town.  So on our next visit in addition to stopping by that store again, I am going to go in search of more ghost stories . . .

I will be signing up for Hassayampa Heather's 90-minute stroll through town so that I can hear her stories about legends and ghosts that include:  The Legend of the Phantom Coach and The Ghost of the Vernetta Hotel.  The tours are offered weekdays at dusk (is that beyond too cool?) and on weekends during the day and again at dusk. 

If you are planning a visit and want to sign up, call (928) 232-9691 or check the tour website, Wickenburg Ghosts.


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