Monday, December 23, 2013

A turkey, a Meteor Crater and 2 historic hotels

Just in time before the year ends, our last travel of 2013:

Thanksgiving this year was in Arizona, at Claudelle's house.  Daughter Jenn and son-in-law Jeff, flew in from Seattle to get some of that Arizona sunshine.  It was sunny and nice during the day with temps in 50s- mid 60s, but very cold at night, down into the 20s.

Thanksgiving Day was a beautiful warm, sunny day.  Turkey and trimmings, prepared by "chef Todd", Claudelle's boyfriend, were shared by family and local area friends.  It was a time of good food, discussions, card games and lots of dish washing ( Jenn and Jeff tackled much of that).

All too soon our week with family was over.  On our way out of town, we headed to Flagstaff and dropped off Jessica at her dorm at Northern Arizona University.  Quite cold up there, at 7,000 feet altitude, brrrr.  Low clouds/fog as we left town and headed east.

Despite the weather, we stopped at the Meteor Crater which is just about 40 miles east of Flagstaff.  Great exhibits inside, plus both inside and outside viewing of the crater.  Did you know that the Apollo astranots actually trained here from 1964 -1972, since it was thought to most resemble the moon surface? The crater was designated a Natural Landmark by the Department of the Interior in 1968.  The museum gave us a fascinating look at rocks affected by the meteor and information about other meteor crater sites around the world. There is a one hour guided tour that goes out along part of the edge of the meteor crater.  Not something we wanted to do in icy, misty fog and not something I wanted to try so soon in my hip recovery.  If you enjoy odd unusual phenomena, then this will be interesting to you.

Meteor Crater

Just a short drive away we bedded down for the night in the historic La Posada Hotel, located in Winslow Arizona.  The architect Mary Colter was hired by Fred Harvey in 1903 to design fine hotels, restaurants and gift shops along the Santa Fe Railroad lines.  She used the idea  of a Spanish / Southwest family style hacienda when designing La Posada.  Unfortunately from 1930 when it opened till 1957 when it closed, it did not do well financially. It is now a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The rooms are named for either actors, actresses, famous writers or other theatre folks.  We slept in the Diane Keaton room, which was really nice with a sitting room even.  Dinner that night was incredible with great food and great service.    Fred had osso bucco and I had a varied plate of quail, elk slices and bbq beef ribs, all delicious.  A special order of chocolate souffle to die for completed our dinner.  The dining room faces the rail line, so you get to enjoy dinner and a show as there is lots and lots of  activity on the line.  Renovations included great insulation, so you are not bothered by the sound or feel of the trains. und proof windows, so it was a show without the trains being annoying at all.  After dinner we bundled up and went out to watch a train coming our way and got a toot and wave from an engineer!

Inside and out, the hotel was decorated for Christmas, which added even more charm  to this warm and inviting hotel. The library for example had lots of comfortable seating and  a large fireplace to warm yourself after being outside. What we found especially interesting was that there were used books of all kinds, throughout the hotel, even in our room.  This contributed to the feel that it was a home, not just  a hotel.  We highly recommend this as a stop either for the night or even just for a meal.  We really loved it and will definitely do it again on some future trip to Arizona.

Mary Colter Grand Canyon

La Posada and Mary Colter

As we continued on our way home we had another historic hotel to spend the night.  This time in Van Horn Texas, about 100 miles east of El Paso on highway 10, El Capitain. Now this one did not have the same comfort and family feel to it, but it was still a really nice place to stay.  It has a Southwest style with lots of original tile, iron hand rails, arch ways inside and out and a courtyard foutain entrance.   Again, we found another really good place to eat with a varied menu.  We had a front balcony room, just under the EL C of the hotel facade sign.

El Capitan history

So, time to get this out before Christmas eve, which is tomorrow.....

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our family and friends!
Love from,
Michelle and Fred

Traveling the country so you don't have to!!!