What can I say about this year? Not much good, and I’m glad it’s over. I’ve had more disappointments this year than the year before, if that is possible. But, even though my happiness level took a beating, I did manage to get in a little bit of traveling. And that is where I’m happiest lately. Hopefully, this year, I can increase my happiness level and get out a lot more to see more of this country and the world. With that said, here are my favorite and best Raulersongirlstravel photos of 2021.
This year, my first trip happened to be a press trip to Indianapolis that I worked for from participating at IMM (International Media Marketplace) earlier in the year. This was my first time participating in this event, and I was overwhelmed with the excitement of potentially working with so many tourism boards and companies. Hopefully, more will come out of this in the future. My trip to Indianapolis was wonderful. I stayed in the historic downtown Union Station Crowne Plaza and was wined and dined with fabulous food, museums, and art. In my article, you can read more about all the cool things to do in Indianapolis.
Greenville, South Carolina
Whenever I need to get away, a trip to South Carolina to visit my aunt always brings balance back to my crazy life. On this trip, I spent a lot of time exploring Greenville and all of the fabulous restaurants this foodie town has to offer. When I visit new places, I love taking tours to get to know the area, and this time I took three separate food tours. When I left to come back home, I was happier and definitely had a very full stomach from all the delicious food I ate while visiting. You can read more about it in my 10 Hidden Gem Restaurants article, and you can even read more about Greenville here.
After not celebrating my huge milestone birthday, I decided to set out on an epic road trip out west to visit my friend in Arizona. On the way, I worked with several tourism bureaus to figure out accommodations and things to do in these new cities. The first one was with VisitTulsa. I still have to write up about this and the rest of my road trip, but Tulsa was a fun city to visit overnight. I visited the magnificent Philbrook Museum of Art, the Woodie Gutherie Center, and ahha Tulsa. I even got to see the Play Tulsa Music Fest on Guthrie Green before eating at one of their fabulous restaurants.
Gallup, New Mexico
Gallup, New Mexico, was my second stop on my road trip out west. I stayed at the historic El Rancho Hotel, where all the movie stars stayed when filming in the area back in the day. The town was full of street art, authentic Mexican restaurants, and the coolest trading post I’ve been to. I was also able to spend some time hiking the trails at Red Rock Park to see Church Rock. Gallup is a great place to take a break if you drive out west and explore Route 66.
A quick stop in Amarillo had me exploring the Cadillac Ranch, Route 66, and downtown antique shops. The highlight of my visit happened to be walking into an art gallery and finding a guy who makes gorgeous art out of the spray paint chip remnants from the Cadillac Ranch. I bought a beautiful bracelet that showcases all the wonderful colors from the cars swirled onto a pendant.
I spent a week exploring Flagstaff working with Discover Flagstaff tourism bureau, and participating in a travel writers workshop. Flagstaff was such a surprisingly fun town that I had never visited before. There are so many things to do here, activities, over 200 restaurants, eight craft breweries and counting, lots of street art murals to find, haunted places, many National Parks in the area to explore, and experience an official dark city that you might not know where to begin. With the town being so close to the Grand Canyon, you could easily stay here and take a day trip out to the canyon and spend the rest of the time exploring this lovely town.
I was beyond thrilled to explore three very different National Monuments in Flagstaff. I got to see the varied landscape of Arizona all in one day while visiting Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Wupataki National Monuments. Everyone got a kick out of my giddiness when I stepped out of the van onto the black volcanic sand at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. It was like walking on the moon and such a surreal experience in Arizona. I have so much to share about Flagstaff and will be sharing tons of stories of my experience while I was there. In the meantime, enjoy these photos showing a snapshot of what Flagstaff is like.
Auld Macdonald Farm Arabians
Spending time on my friend’s horse ranch always brings a smile to my face. I mean, how can you not smile when you are looking at these amazing beauties! I had a great time working with the horses and meeting the new horses that have made their home here. I can’t wait until I return to welcome in three new baby horses in the spring.
It may have been a campy, touristy thing to do, but I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Tombstone for a day. I watched the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, explored the haunted Bird Cage Theater, saw the gallows at the historic Courthouse, walked under the world’s largest rosebush, and spent some time wandering through the Boothill Grave Yard. Sometimes being a tourist can be quite fun, and Tombstone is a wonderful place to do that.
Chiricahua National Monument
On a rare day when we had some free time working with the horses, Janet, Esther, and I took a road trip to explore another National Monument in Arizona. Although when we got to Chiricahua National Monument, we couldn’t explore it as the roads through the park were blocked from the storm the night before. Esther decided to take us on a drive on a nearby mountain pass through the Chiricahua’s to have lunch at Portal Peak. The drive through the mountain was amazing with its views and seeing all the animals. The bummer thing is that when we got over the mountain, we found the Portal Peak lodge restaurant to be closed. However, a guy recommended a place in Rodeo, which turned out to be a wonderfully quirky place to eat.
Mesilla, New Mexico
On my road trip back home, I made a stop in La Cruces, New Mexico, to explore the neighboring artsy Mesilla. Exploring Old Mesilla is like walking into the past with Billy the Kid escapades told everywhere. The Basilica of San Albino anchors the downtown area, and surrounding the gazebo is plenty of art galleries, jewelry stores, restaurants, shops, and even a cool book store. I enjoyed lunch at the haunted Double Eagle Restaurant, although no spirits were found while I was there. This is one town that I would love to go back to again.
White Sands National Park
The White Sands National Park was an unbelievable experience to have. Right in the middle of a sunny, hot New Mexico day, I was walking around white sands, which looked like snow. It is so surreal and reminded me of being up north, where they have huge amounts of snow piles that you drive through. This National Park gave off the same vibe minus the getting sand in my shoe. What a beautiful nature area to photograph!
Roswell, New Mexico
Yep, as a Sci-Fi fanatic, I had to make a stop in Roswell. I wish I could go on a tour of Area 51, but alas, Covid sucks, and no tours at this time. I have to go back sometime. While I was there, I did go to the UFO museum (Yes, I do believe!), did some alien gift shopping, and explored some lovely art museums in town. You are bound to see aliens while here as they are everywhere, from street art to the McDonald’s restaurant. You can’t miss them!
I was so worried that I would miss the fall colors since I was out west during September and October, but I was grateful Mother Nature let me see a bit of color back home for a week before the leaves fell. I do love experiencing all the seasons. This year, most of my travel was in the one epic road trip to Arizona and back, and I spent part of it on Route 66, which gave me a craving to do the entire Route 66 drive someday. I hope you enjoyed looking at my favorite and best Raulersongirlstravel photos of 2021. Which ones did you like? Were there any particular locations that you would like to visit? Do you have any suggestions to add to my future travel destinations? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. I hope we all have a great 2022!