NYC

I love New York City.

I love New York City in the summertime.

I’d say my love affair with the city coincides perfectly with my love affair for my hot, humid southern United States weather. I don’t travel north until after the spring thaw because I don’t do snow. So we’ve gotten in the habit of going to Manhattan during the Fourth of July to see the fireworks on the East River, and to soak up the hot city weather. Just like I like it.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

The Appalachians run through North Carolina on their stretch from Georgia to Maine, and they’re our go-to mountains. Down south, they’re lush and filled with bugs and snakes and humidity. They’re nothing like the Rockies, which we experienced firsthand last month. And while I love our local range, I must admit that I also loved our adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Red Rocks Park

One of the places my adventurous son and I visited while we were in Colorado (me for the Romance Writers of America conference, him for the adventure) was Red Rocks Park in Morrison. My boys are big Dave Matthews Band fans, and he always plays at Red Rock Ampitheatre, so it was a given we’d at least check out the scenery. The amphitheater itself is cool, and while Jackson Browne was playing the evening we were wrapping up our hike, we were too hot and sweaty to have one iota of interest in sticking around.

The park is beautiful, well-marked and a great way to spend an afternoon. Since Denver is the mile-high city, you start off any adventure nearby at a pretty good elevation. Red Rocks Park is at 6,450 feet above sea level, and is spread over 738 acres. It’s a National Historic Landmark, with sandstone ledges, monoliths, dinosaur tracks, and fossil fragments. Like I said, it’s pretty damn cool.

Denver, CO

I had a great time last week in Denver for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. I found Colorado, in general, to be quite lovely. Denver was just a functional city, and while fun, it was no Barcelona or NYC. All the same, I had a lot of fun.

My son tagged along to do a little adventuring while I was conferencing, but during my downtimes, I was able to get out in nature with him. We grabbed a Lyft to take us out to Morrison, so we could hike around Red Rocks Park. Another day we tried a new-to-us car sharing service, Car 2 Go, rather than our usual ZipCar when we drove up through Boulder and Estes Park to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. They’re all Mercedes, so we transported to and from hiking in style. By far, our favorite places in Colorado were away from cities. Here’s some memories from around Denver and Boulder.

Washington, DC

I travelled outside the norm last week, taking my mom (whom everyone calls “Rah-Rah”) to Washington DC. She turned 70 this year, and it was her first trip to our nation’s capital. It was a whirlwind adventure, with just two full days on the mall, but we had as much fun as if we’d been there a week.

For several years in a row, my husband had training in DC, so our adventurous son and I tagged along. We can navigate the Metro like the badasses we are, and I love the frenetic pace of the government workers. But this time, I visited a couple of things I haven’t been to because (a) no kid with us and (b) Rah-Rah isn’t the avid hiker we are.

For as long as I can remember, mom wanted to see the First Ladies Gowns exhibit, over at the National Museum of American Art. So we went, and it was lots of fun. You could visualize how tall or short, or busty (many of the wives of the formative fathers era of the nation were short and busty) the wives were, and get a little background on them. My favorite first wives, more for their public service while in office, are: Hillary Clinton, LadyBird Johnson, Rosalyn Carter, and Michelle Obama. We also went over to the National Portrait Gallery to see the new Kehinde Wiley portrait of my president, and while we were there, we got to visit the portrait of my personal hero, Jimmy Carter. President Kennedy’s portrait was also pretty tight. The National Air & Space Museum was, as always, my favorite, but the food court was closed. boo, hiss.