“There’s Black Jack and Poker and the Roulette Wheel…”

How has it been a week since I was gallivanting around Las Vegas and getting ready to see my second Killers show in the month of August? Time really does fly when you’re having fun, working on your tan and eating fantastic food among friends and family- but I’ve been home for a couple of days and am only just now getting around to going through the hundreds of photos and videos I took during my recent vacation as I sat down to recap the whole experience.

I had last checked in from San Diego, prior to making the long but gorgeous drive through the desert back to Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon- where I had then met up with Andrew and the kids, who were visiting from Maryland- shortly after I arrived on the Strip. They were also in town for The Killers show at T-Mobile arena (the kids’ first concert!) on Friday night- but we had a few other “firsts” to scratch off the list before then.

We took the kids to the top of the strip via the High Roller– which offered breathtaking, panoramic views of Las Vegas and the surrounding deserts and mountains. The observation wheel moved slowly enough where everyone could take it all in and snap some fantastic photos- but fast enough where we could maneuver the kids out of there when they started to get a little antsy at being enclosed in a glass bubble for a little longer than I think they anticipated.

After that, we made our way to Peppermill– Kelsey’s favorite restaurant- so the kids could experience it for the first time. I think they were most impressed that they could get bacon, eggs AND French fries all in one order- but the fake trees, mirrored ceiling and velvet booths also seemed to be a big hit.

Given that it had been a long and excruciatingly hot day for everyone- we opted to call it a night after dinner so we could all get some much-needed water and rest- and reconvened the following day (Friday) for lunch and to prepare for The Killers gig.

Friday was spent keeping the kids in air conditioning for as long as possible before we made our way to T-Mobile to find and take our seats. We ate gelato, played in the arcade in the ‘New York, New York’ casino- won a couple of prizes (see: candy) and slathered on some sunscreen just as the doors to the area were opening.

T-Mobile were able to provide us with headphones to protect the kids’ hearing- which I think helped make what could have been a loud and potentially scary experience for them way more comfortable. They were fascinated by the lights and the crowd- and were adorably attentive during Johnny Marr’s opening set. By the time The Killers took the stage- Archer was out cold- but Haven remained awe-struck. I was holding her up for a better view during the show and at random intervals she was swaying along/waving her hands. Also, the confetti? Big hit (nicely done, Steven!)

But, they are still little kids- and as the night wore on and they both became increasingly tired- Andrew and I carried them out of the venue to get them to back to their hotel and in bed so they could get a little rest before their flight home the following morning. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for them. I was so, so happy- and I know Kelsey would have been, too.

And although they were heading back to Maryland on Saturday- I still had a couple of days remaining in Vegas- and a few more adventures.

My friend Troy arrived in Vegas late Friday night, post-Killers gig- for a couple of days of off-the-strip sight-seeing- although we did a little of that, too. On Saturday morning, after grabbing coffee and breakfast at eggslut (forever my favorite)– we made sure to stop by the Conservatory at the Bellagio to see their most recent display- which was stunning- before we headed over to what would become *the* destination of the weekend.

The only things I’d ever heard about AREA15– a vast, glow-in-the-dark indoor art museum and immersive experience- came by way of social media. I’d driven by the place at least a hundred times during past visits to Vegas but never had the time to stop and check it out- but given admission was free (certain exhibits/experiences, dining, merchandise, etc. do cost money, of course) and it was air conditioned inside- Troy and I decided that we’d spend our Saturday evening there poking around and avoiding heat stroke for as long as possible.

And as cool as the entire place was- it was the Meow Wolf Omega Mart experience that absolutely floored us in the best way possible. A wild, bizarre, totally immersive “choose your own adventure” style game that I can only compare to ‘Sleep No More’ with a more PG-friendly and neon storyline/scenery- we were in there for hours- with each room/floor and twist in the story blowing our minds more and more. By the time we’d reached the end of our chosen storyline and had picked up some commemorative gear in the mart- we’d already been texting everyone we knew to check it out ASAP. It was beyond our expectations and worth the extra cost to experience it first-hand!

Once outside and getting re-acclimated to both normal colors and the Nevada heat- Troy and I wrapped up Saturday night with some of the best street tacos and quesadillas we’d ever had via the Vito’s Tacos truck outside.

Sunday was, unfortunately, Troy’s last day in town since he had to head back to Orange County and work the following day- and we decided to work off some of the late-night taco tummies we’d accumulated the night before with a day spent in the Valley of Fire State Park.

After another visit to Peppermill, of course.

And we did not do a ton of hiking/time spent outdoors at Valley of Fire- since it was well over 100 degrees outside and we had been warned it could be fatal to attempt anything strenuous- but we did drive through so many beautiful areas and, when we did briefly exit the car- we kept to the shade as much as possible.

The park was absolutely stunning. I was truly speechless for most of the day as we passed sprawling rock formations, huge mountains, canyons and the occasional wild goat along the roadside. I would absolutely love to go back during a cooler time of year and do a little more exploring- but I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to see more of the area other than the Visitor’s Center this time around.

And with my flight back home departing on Monday- Sunday night was spent packing and finally getting around to checking any e-mails that had come in while I was away. A quiet night in was just what I needed, really!

I had such an absolutely amazing time- and got to see so many of my favorite people across the span of the week I spent in both San Diego/Vegas. I’m so grateful for this trip and I cannot wait to go back (which will likely be in 2023 at some point!)

But with Labor Day just a couple of days away- along with a long weekend- I’m very excited to begin the transition into Fall and some Autumnal events/travel a little closer to home!

‘Til next time!


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Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a blogger and a radio personality with a makeup and shoe addiction based out of Boston and the Pioneer Valley. These are my (mis)adventures.

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