I want to be a tree,
rooted and sure in my earthy ground,
reaching out to the sun with my branches,
tantalizing the world with my blossoms,
winking at the birds with my fluttering leaves,
providing homes to birds and squirrels and possums.
I want to be a tree that is, that just is,
exactly a tree
and only that
perfection of trunk
and long roots
glorious leaves which almost sing when the wind blows through them.
And when I die,
when my roots grow weak
and they loosen from the ground,
when the day comes that I can no longer stand straight and tall,
I want to be blown over by the wind
and land hard and fast on the ground
to become regal but hollowed-out homes for other creatures,
feeding the earth with my remains,
and know that my life mattered because I lived.
Upon first arriving in Lake Havasu City, it seemed like any other dusty desert town in Arizona, in need of a good hose-down and a fresh coat of paint. The town was incorporated in the early 70s and it looked like it hadn’t been touched since.
But first impressions are often wrong and this one definitely was. Just below that dusty surface is a whole treasure of experiences to be had.
For starters, there’s the London Bridge. You read that correctly. Lake Havasu City is the proud owner of the original London Bridge. It was brought brick by brick from London to Lake Havasu by Robert P. McCulloch, a chainsaw magnate and the town’s founder, to act as a draw for tourism–and it worked! There are boat tours, walking tours, and Segway tours, all based around the bridge as a focal point.
We were there to walk the 5K in the annual London Bridge Half-Marathon and 5K. The race trail took us over the bridge twice and we got to see other parts of town as well.
The lake is what really brings people to the area, though. It is a big boating community, so you can bring your own, rent one, or take a tour on one. We were told by several locals that Lake Havasu is the second-most visited place in Arizona, thanks to the lake. The Grand Canyon is the first, of course. But for the lake, the bridge probably wouldn’t be there either. It is a reservoir lake, made up of water from the Colorado River which is contained by the Parker Dam.
Since the water is why people visit the area, most of the activities revolve around it, but boating isn’t the only way to experience it. There are hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, and ultralight aircraft tours. Hikers can explore the surrounding hills. Gamblers can check out the casinos. Campers can roll out their tents and sleeping bags in one of the campsites dotting the lake. If you like lighthouses, take a tour that points out the many replicas of North American lighthouses around the lake. There’s lots to do.
Did you know that this town of just over 50,000 people is also home to three pretty spectacular breweries? One of our favorite things to do while in Lake Havasu City was the brewery tour we took through Arizona Brewery Tours. Mike Moreno, Regional Salesman for Northern Arizona at College Street Brewerhouse and Pub was our tour guide. He made us feel like VIPs as we rolled from brewery to brewery in our private SUV. Mudshark, Barley Brothers, and College Street all made us feel like honored guests as the owners and brewmasters shared their stories, served tastings of their current offerings, and showed us where the magic happens.
Let this be a lesson. Don’t let the “vintage” look of a place fool you, especially this place. Lake Havasu City is a first-class charmer. Whether you’re there for the gorgeous lake, the London Bridge Half Marathon and 5K, the busy brewery scene, or any of the other activities around town, this is a place worth visiting more than once.
Lake Havasu is known for its lake–a reservoir of the Colorado River. It is also known as a Spring break party town with boats so jammed into the lake that you can walk from one to the other without a life jacket. Who knew, though, that it could boast a peaceful and enchanting sunset cruise as well?
Last weekend, my husband, parents, and mother-in-law took one of the most memorable cruises any of us have been on, thanks to Captain Kenny Samp at the Sunset Charter & Tour Company.
Every person on the boat agreed–our three hour cruise melted into one of the most peaceful, satisfying experiences we could remember. Captain Kenny’s sunset tour left us feeling like we had been in a sweet dream filled with rippling water, beautiful vistas, and enchanting stars.
To see more photos of our sunset cruise, watch the slideshow below.
KEEN footwear is encouraging everyone to get out and play for at least 10 minutes today. Take a picture of your fun, upload it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #TAKE10, and you could win a pair of KEEN shoes!
If you don’t have a dog, volunteer at a rescue organization and walk some dogs who need it most. Better yet, adopt one of those dogs if you have the love and time to give a sweet pooch. You’ll receive far more from a rescued dog than you can ever give.
2. Invite a friend to coffee, and then walk there together.
Or, if you’re in Austin, Texas, walk to Gordough’s for a giant, made-to-order donut, then see if either you or your friend can finish one together.
3. Play tourist for a day in your own town.
Put on some shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and sandals with black socks, and go check out the sights! Don’t forget your camera!
For those who live in San Diego, there is always a reason to get out and play, but for those who are only allowed short visits, how do you pack all of paradise into a single weekend? Below are five ideas on how to get the most out of a weekend of play in San Diego.
1. Take a tour with Another Side of San Diego
If Another Side of San Diego doesn’t have a tour to fit your interest, time frame, and preferred mode of transportation, it doesn’t exist! Whether you’re in the mood for history, art, nature, food, or even beer, they’ve got a tour for it. Not only that, but you can pursue your interests by Segway, on foot, in a hot air balloon, on horseback, on a bike, or even in a boat! As long-time resident of La Jolla, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”
To explore their tour options, visit their website. To book a tour, you can use their website or call them at 1-619-239-2111.
2. San Diego Botanic Gardens
To get outside and get away from it all, head up to Encinitas and visit the peaceful San Diego Botanic Gardens. There you can walk to the music of nature: birds chirping, lizards rustling in the brush, lacy bamboo swooshing in the breeze. Find a bench alongside the waterfall in the Tropical Rainforest, close your eyes, and listen to the sound of water carry all your troubles away.
On Saturdays at 10:30am, the gardens provide docent-led tours of the splendid variety of plants living in each section. Also, check their calendar for classes and other events, such as making your own succulent art work or cooking with an opera singing chef.
3. Take in a play at the La Jolla Playhouse
If you’re in San Diego to explore the beauty of their outdoor paradise, but you wouldn’t mind taking in a play while you’re there, you can combine the two by attending a Without Walls play through the award-winning La Jolla Playhouse. Over the last year, their Without Walls program has literally led audiences out of the theater and through garden paths or into the intimate surroundings of cars and martini bars.
If there isn’t a Without Walls program running when you visit, it is still worthwhile to see one of their plays with traditional-style seating. It should be stated, however, that none of their plays can be considered “traditional”. Better words might be provocative, cutting-edge, soulful, and unforgettable.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
With two locations to choose from and plenty of docent-led tours available, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego you can discover just how much you have in common with contemporary art. Take, for example, the current exhibit downtown by local artist Margaret Noble entitled “44th and Landis”. If you’re used to art being oil paintings hung on walls, you may wonder what you can get out of her paper dolls hanging from the ceiling and the wild noises crashing from her handmade speakers. But stop and look at the paper dolls. Listen to the sounds. Suddenly, you see familiar things, like the logo of a Peeps Marshmallow box or the chase of Ms. Pacman through a maze. You hear familiar sounds that take you back to 1982, when you lived for Space Invaders and chased the ice cream truck on your bike until it stopped.
If you didn’t grow up in the 80s, you may still connect with the artists that use light and space to evoke a feeling. Whole rooms are devoted to the sensations and emotions light can have on us. And, if that doesn’t do it for you, then perhaps you will marvel at the wall that breathes or connect with the massive iron heart that looks like a prison.
San Diego is not only charmed with sunny weather and stunning ocean views, it is home to more than its share of talented chefs, fresh produce, and inspired craft beer brewmasters.
If you only have time and budget for one special restaurant, go without delay to Georges at the Cove in La Jolla. Chef Trey Foshee has won tons of awards for his California Modern cuisine, including the San Diego Chefs Hall of Fame and the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. There’s a reason for all these accolades. His food is consistently knock-your-flip-flops-off delicious; the kind of delicious that you remember and dream about weeks and months later. Even vegetarians can get in on the making of great food memories because they offer an entirely vegetarian menu and many of the dishes can be made vegan.
Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling 858-454-4244.
If you go to Encinitas to visit the San Diego Botanic Gardens for an afternoon of peaceful retreat, spend your evening having dinner at Union Kitchen and Tap just down the road. They offer a variety of high-end tavern food (including vegetarian and vegan options) and they offer about 20 craft beers on tap, many of which are locally crafted.
Depending on what time you go, reservations may not be necessary, but if time is of the essence, it may be worthwhile to secure a table by giving them a call at 760.230.2337(BEER).
Where to stay
Hotel Parisi in La Jolla offers elegant and convenient accommodations for almost any sized group and any length of stay. The main sights, restaurants, and shopping opportunities are located just beyond the doorstep of this hotel.
Hotel Parisi also offers Parisi Apart, corporate apartments decked out with full-sized refrigerators, microwaves, silverware and dishes for travelers needing extended stays or those wishing to eat meals in the comfort of their own apartment.
The convenience of this hotel does come at a price, however. Prices start around $300 a night for a basic room and go up to over $400 a night for the extended stay apartments. Parking is an additional $15 per night and other fees may apply.
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless.
How do you like to spend time in San Diego? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas! With your help, we can put together a comprehensive list that will help others plan their weekend at play in San Diego!
KEEN’s Worldwide Recess Day isn’t for another week, but I thought I’d get a jumpstart by playing on the rocks in La Jolla, California.
Stay tuned for more photos from my weekend at play, along with tips and ideas for how you can enjoy “The Jewel” of California!
Don’t forget to upload your photos to Twitter and Instagram on September 14th with the hashtag #TAKE10, for a chance to win a pair of shoes by KEEN footwear! And, although I can’t offer you a pair of shoes, I would still love to see what you’ve got planned for recess, so be sure to go to my Facebook page and post your photos there too!
How will you get out and enjoy being a kid again on September 14th? Send in your ideas and I’ll post them here!
For more excitement, upload a picture to Twitter or Instagram on the 14th with the hashtag #TAKE10. You may win a pair of shoes from KEEN footwear! KEEN will announce one winner every hour.
Jet Planes and Coffee is not affiliated with KEEN footwear and will, therefore, not be giving away shoes. We do love a great opportunity to get outside and play, though, so get out there, have some fun, and share your experiences!