Henderson and Lake Las Vegas

Good morning, from Las Vegas! As I woke up this morning in my comfy bed at The M Resort, I knew it was going to be a day full of adventure and excitement. I rolled back my sheets and sprang out of bed to watch the sunrise on my balcony. After ordering room service, I relaxed on my chair and ate my pancakes as I scanned the land below. Positioned uphill from the city, I was able to see the strip from afar. I must say it was simply different being this close to the Hoover Dam, Lake Las Vegas, and Lake Mead yet still being able to see the city.

After I left the hotel, I came across another well-known hotel in the area called the Green Valley Ranch. Next to the Green Valley Ranch, is one of the best shopping malls in the area. You could only guess where I went next. Designers from Chanel to Burberry had shops in the area. Guards manned the entrances in order to protect the merchandise from thousands of suspicious shoppers. I stopped by the Coach store and decided to buy a small wristlet, for my Mom, and by Burberry to pick up a fresh bottle of cologne.  If you’re not up to buy a designer bag, then there are plenty of outlets that attract most shoppers! The streets are lined with typical souvenir shops that have multiple Las Vegas t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, magnets, and postcards.

When I was finished shopping, I decided to grab lunch at Todd’s Unique Dining. While the plates were quite pricey, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. This restaurant has a contemporary, artsy vibe and it its unique to Vegas. I ordered duck covered with pomegranate red-wine sauce, as well as sweet potatoes and it was amazing. After I was finished eating, I decided that it was time to head to the River Mountains Loop Trail.

I had an itch to explore the outdoors and work on my personal fitness while exploring this side of Vegas. The River Mountains Loop trail allowed me to do just that! I jumped on a bike rental and convinced my legs to hold up through the 36-mile ride down the path around the mountains. As I biked, I saw multiple joggers, hikers, bikers, runners, and horseback riders. This trail seemed to be the motherland of the outdoors lover. I biked through the city of Henderson to trails around Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. I was constantly reaching for my water but seeing the mountains, lakes, and the city of Las Vegas was worth dealing with the ninety-degree sun.

“River

Although this area of town is more relaxed, there are still casinos if you desire to gamble.

Las Vegas is known for the hustle and bustle of the strip, but the outskirts of the city are often forgotten. It was my goal to experience the potential of Vegas that most visitors never get a chance to see and a couple of days out here on the outskirts of town helped me to be able to do that. Tomorrow I am heading back in to town for a few more days of fun!

Downtown Las Vegas

Greetings, from Las Vegas! Today, I plan on taking downtown Vegas by storm. I’ve heard that downtown is centered around Fremont Street, which leads you through the gambling district. This street is covered with a canopy that shines with millions of lights. As I passed underneath the canopy, the neon lights and their formations grabbed my attention. Every time I turn in Las Vegas, there is always something to look at. These lights were no exception, as they filled your mind with visual excitement. I strolled along the street and came across The Mob Museum. This museum focuses on the era where Las Vegas was ruled by the Mafia. It truly offers a different perspective on this history of this area.

After I visited the Mob Museum, I traveled to the Neon Museum, and gazed at the numerous neon signs throughout the building. I never knew that so many different signs with exhilarating designs existed! I headed over to Luv-it Frozen Custard, which is a well-known ice cream parlor. The inside of the store was full of the 1950’s retro furniture and light colors. Ice cream choices ranged from vanilla to cinnamon. Apparently, almond chip and cinnamon are the town favorites, so when the parlor rotates seasonal flavors, those two always remain the same.

After I finished my delicious ice cream cone, I wandered over to the Arts Factory. This factory was once a warehouse and displays hundreds of art pieces. As I strolled through the area, I saw exquisite paintings, beautiful sculptures, and photography. There was an option to take a guided tour but when I want to explore museums, I prefer to get lost on my journey. I managed to visit the factory on a Thursday; therefore, there weren’t as many people. I got lucky!

I finished my downtown experience at the Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino. I found out that this hotel was built on the same site as the Lady Luck Hotel and Casino. Both hotel and casinos have provided a center of entertainment and pleasure throughout the years. I appreciated this casino due to its low table limits. It wasn’t like the Luxor, where you had to spend $100.00 to enter a game. You could buy your way into a game of black jack for $7.00!  That is crazy cheap! The slot machines were a big hit for the people around me, but I did not see too much money come from people playing those.

I transitioned to the pool top gaming area, where the atmosphere seemed to be a bit more open. I played black jack and poker for a few hours, but as the drinks kept coming, I found it harder to stop myself from gambling. Make sure you have someone to cut your playing off at a place like this, or you might not be able to afford the trip home!

Somewhere in the evening, I hooked up with a young lady that spent her time glued to me while I played…my own little good luck charm.  (Jury is still out on whether or not she was good luck…I made a little money, and she hasn’t called me yet to tell me that she is pregnant…LOL).  So, to take the show on the road, I found a company advertising cheap Vegas limo rental, and we took a nice limo ride up the Strip and back to her hotel for a bit at the Mandalay Bay…that’s all you get folks!

Downtown Las Vegas can be summed up in two words-sensory overload. It is a place full of fun attractions and hip casinos. If you visit downtown, there will never be a dull-moment. It’s time to for me to retire for the night. I still have another exciting day in Las Vegas ahead of me!

Starting Off in Las Vegas

Well, I escaped NYC.  I don’t know how long this marathon trip will be…3 months?  6 months?  I don’t care.  Long enough for me to experience the world outside of the chokeable air of the skyscraper dotted city!

So, I’ve chosen to start out in Vegas!  I’m going to spend a couple of weeks here and ENJOY myself!  I have written this as if it were all done in one day, but mind you this was 4 days of activity!

This morning I woke up and headed down to the spa, in order to recover from yesterday’s fun. I spent two hours at the pool soaking up the sun while floating on a raft. Tomorrow, I plan on joining the endless pool volleyball game. It’s amazing how much energy every one has, but I suppose that is why Vegas is so addicting. You just can’t get enough!

I finished up my pool time and set out to discover the south strip. I visited the New York-New York Resort and Casino and hopped on the roller coaster. The coaster winded and rolled in and out of the building and it was the perfect metaphor for my emotional attachment to Las Vegas, itself. This city pulls you in and injects you with a lively spirit. You want to explore every corner of the city and party until the break of dawn, but before you know it, it is already the next day. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement. After I conquered the roller coaster at New York-New York (hardly a taste of home…which I couldn’t care about anyways…), I proceeded to the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur. I had a blast watching the jousters run around the ring on their horses as I feasted on my chicken wings. Every time one jouster would hit the other, the crowd would scream with excitement. It was intense as the lights shined on the jousters and the announcer challenged them to duals. I think one of the best parts of that experience was wearing a crown and receiving a huge drinking cup that looks as if it should be sitting on King Arthur’s table.

Aquarium in Vegas

 

From Excalibur, I moved on to the Hershey’s Chocolate World factory. This place satisfies everyone who encounters it! The smell of chocolate floats through the air and reaches a distance of at least half a mile. It’s impossible to not have a few pieces of chocolate if you come anywhere near it! Then, I headed to the Luxor. As I approached the glass pyramid of a resort, I was immediately engulfed in an Egyptian atmosphere. As soon as you leave the lobby, you encounter its huge casino. I decided to grab a drink and observe the high rollers as they bet thousands of dollars. As I walked around, I noticed girls dancing on tables and blackjack games being played.  Yeah…I didn’t spend any time over there….right…  😉

After I left the Luxor, I traveled to Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef attraction. I was drawn to the exhibit that featured an old Aztec temple. The deep water and ruins provides a mysterious and invigorating vibe to the overall experience. As I strolled along the tanks, I saw hundreds of colorful, tropical fish and sea creatures. (Did you know that coral reefs make up less than 1% of all of the underwater surface area in the world’s oceans – YET, they provide shelter for something like 1/4 of all of the world’s marine fish!  Go ahead and check it out for yourself on Wiki.) At the end of my tour I encountered the shark exhibit, where sharks swim above and below viewers around a skeleton ship. The Las Vegas South Strip is full of excitement, casinos, resorts, pools, and other attractions. The vibe was a bit more child-friendly compared to the Center Strip, but both areas of the strip are fun to explore! It’s time to get some sleep. Tomorrow I will conquer the North Strip!