It took a couple of days to get used to being back on the East Coast with the time zone difference and the colder, rainier weather- but I’m feeling a little less groggy and a lot more productive now that I’m getting back into the swing of my usual every day routine- but oh how I miss being in the desert and cruising around Las Vegas!
Up until last week, my most recent trip to the West Coast had been in October of 2020 for a week split between Nevada for Kelsey’s memorial service and California to decompress by the beach for a day or two. Typically, I try to return to the area every couple of months- but with the ongoing pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccination rollouts still very much up in the air here in Massachusetts- cross-country travel hasn’t exactly been easy this past year.
Having finished up the bulk of my work and tying up some loose ends at my office in March, however- I opted to take some time off for the first time in what felt like forever and head back to Vegas for a week to unplug, unwind- and spend some time with my extended family and friends after we’d all quarantined for the days/weeks leading up to my getting into town.
For most of my trip, I stayed with Andrew and the kids. Although I video call with them when I can, or often see photos/videos of their daily adventures- I’m always blown away by how much they’ve seemed to have grown whenever I come face-to-face with them. Haven, for example- is taking swimming lessons (and is already a WAY stronger swimmer than I’ll ever be) and Archer- who was still trying to crawl the last time I’d stayed over- is now running and climbing on everything.
And they both have so much of Kelsey in them. Haven’s personality is just like hers- whereas Archer could be Kelsey’s twin. Being around them brings me so much joy and peace- if that makes any sense. I know Kelsey would be floored by how extraordinary they both are and with what an amazing job Andrew is doing each and every day.
My days at the house were spent playing outside, watching cartoons, eating Andrew’s amazing cooking, going to Haven’s swim lessons- and daily coffee runs that took me all over the suburbs of North Las Vegas- which I absolutely love.
The only time I wasn’t with Andrew and the kids were the couple of days I headed to the strip to meet up with Troy- who had driven in from California to visit. We hadn’t seen each other since his surprise return visit to Massachusetts back in November, and he had never been in Vegas before- so I was able to be a tour guide of sorts. Although there was a ton of stuff we couldn’t get to in just 48 hours- I made sure we got to see the essentials for any first-time visitor.
During the first day, I took Troy around the strip- including the conservatory and the fountains at the Bellagio (which we had a bird’s eye view of from our room near the top of the Cosmopolitan next door,) Caesars Palace, the breathtaking lobby at the Venetian, and the strip of shops and restaurants that lead to the High Roller Ferris Wheel at the LINQ. I also made sure he enjoyed the biggest lunch imaginable at Peppermill– and his reaction to the portion sizes and the décor was pretty perfect.
For our second day of sightseeing, and despite our feet kind of hurting from all the walking we had done the day and night before- Troy and I headed out to Seven Magic Mountains on the outskirts of Vegas after we had grabbed lattes and breakfast at Perk Up Coffee Shop while en route. It was unbelievably windy out in the desert- which worked out well for us- because there weren’t too many people crowding the rocks. We were able to snap some incredible photos and take in the surroundings before we decided to get back on the road.
Before Troy had arrived in town, we had agreed to go somewhere neither one of us had ever been before so that we could experience it and see it for the first time together- and that destination was the Hoover Dam. In just about an hour after we’d gotten back into the car and dusted the sand off of ourselves, we arrived in Boulder City, Nevada to take a self-guided tour around the dam. It was just as, if not more windy than it had been at Seven Magic Mountains- which can be a little disorienting when you’re walking across the dam and looking down very, very far- but I kept a death grip on my phone and took some seriously stunning photos of the surroundings. The place is amazing- and I can’t believe I’d never seen it until now!
Upon returning to the strip following our tour, Troy and I dressed up fancy for dinner (and tiramisu!) at TREVI in Caesars Palace before I brought him to the grand finale of our two-day tour- Fremont Street. It wasn’t at all what he expected- so I had an absolute blast watching him take it all in for the first time.
When Troy and I parted ways the following morning so he could go back to work, I headed back to North Las Vegas to spend my final couple of days in town with Andrew and the kids. For my last night before I flew home, we grabbed dinner at Kaizen Fusion Roll & Sushi and I got to watch one more desert sunset.
Even though I’m ready to plan my next trip out there (hopefully within the next couple of months. Can a girl get vaccinated, already?)– I just wanted to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Andrew for being an incredible host and friend, Haven and Archer for keeping me on my toes and making sure I stayed active every day- and Troy for being a good sport and game for anything while experiencing Las Vegas for the first time.
Leaving the desert is always extremely difficult because I truly love it there- the scenery, the weather, and the people I know there- but here’s hoping that once this pandemic is either over, or at the very least under control- I can potentially make it a more permanent place to stay!