An Art Lovers Guide to New York

New York is a diverse city, offering something for every tourist. Since the Roaring Twenties, in particular, the city has been one of the epicenters of American culture and, as such, has produced countless pieces of art, whether it be in the form of music, theatre, or literature. 

If you’re looking to immerse yourself within American culture, New York will have you covered. Here are some of the places to go if you are a lover of art and happen to be visiting, “The City That Never Sleeps.”


Things to Do in Nazaré

Nazaré is a popular seaside town on the Silver Coast in the Oeste region of Portugal.  It is most famous for its giant waves which attract world renowned surfers during November, though the historic fishing village offers many other interesting things to do.

The Nazaré Canyon

One may wonder how the quiet surf of the summer turns into monstrous 100-foot waves in the winter.  It is due to the Nazaré Canyon.  The Nazaré Canyon, some 16,000 feet deep and Europe’s largest underwater canyon, is located just a few hundred feet offshore.

Several elements combine to contribute to the big waves in Nazaré.  The canyon’s depth causes waves to move toward shore with more speed than the waves on the shallow continental shelf.  Some of the fast-moving waves surge out of the deep canyon and combine with waves on the shallow continental shelf.  The result is a section of the wave which is effectively two waves stacked on top of each other.

The huge amount of water brought to shore is sometimes sucked back into the combined wave increasing its size even more.  Adding Atlantic storms and wind patterns to the mix, Nazaré ends up with some of the largest waves in the world.

us at obidos

A Day in Óbidos

History of Óbidos

Óbidos, located about an hour north of Lisbon off the Silver Coast, is one of the most well preserved and picturesque medieval villages in Portugal.  Its castle walls encompass a labyrinth of narrow roads which wend between whitewashed homes with red tiled roofs.

Over the years, Óbidos was famous among royals.  In the 13th century, King Dom Dinis gifted the village to his wife, Queen Isabel. The tradition continued for centuries.  Additionally, King Alfonso V and his cousin Princess Isabella of Coimbra married here at the ages of 9 and 10.  Consequently, Óbidos earned the nickname Village of Queens.


Wyoming Road Trip

Well, it is that time of year again.  Time to wrap up my summer of van life.  This summer I spent six weeks on the road, most of it in Wyoming.  I really love Wyoming.  It is such a hidden gem.  It’s hard to believe it has the lowest population of the 50 states.  That’s probably why I like it because you get to enjoy the solitude of nature!

Small Towns in Wyoming

I spent the majority of my time in Buffalo, Lovell, and Jackson Hole with a short stint in Red Lodge, Montana, a few days in Cody and Ten Sleep, a day near Pinedale, and a day near Saratoga.  I also enjoyed a brief bit in Denver seeing my family and friends. I drove nearly 5,00 miles, though probably only about half of that was in Wyoming.

I failed to snap my token state sign in costume, but that gives me a reason to go back.  I already have some places for next year as a pit stop to and from Canada.

Of the small towns I visited in Wyoming, I preferred Buffalo.  I loved its quaint downtown, colorful history, the size of the city, and the plethora of outdoor opportunities.  It really stood out above all the other towns except Red Lodge, Montana, which I have previously visited. 


Hiking Lakes Trail

Well, I left Wyoming with a bang!  I couldn’t be happier with my final hike of the summer.  Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is a hidden gem! I can’t believe I overlooked this place when I lived only 3 hours away in Denver.  The Lakes Trail is fantastic.

Towns Near Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

The biggest city closest to Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is Laramie, Wyoming, approximately 45 miles east.  Fort Collins, Colorado is about 1.5 hours southeast and Denver 3 hours.  As a result, day trips are good options, though camping along with mountain cabins dot WY-130.

Additionally, two very small towns flank both side of the forest, Saratoga to the west and Centennial to the east.  Centennial is equipped with a small general store and a restaurant.  Saratoga is much bigger.  It has a gas station, some restaurants, hot springs, a museum, a grocery store, and a nice dog park. 

view on pole creek trail

Hiking Pole Creek Trail

Pole Creek Trail is located in the Bridger Wilderness near Pinedale, Wyoming.  It is the main starting point for popular backpacking loops in the wilderness.  As a result, there is a huge parking area, pit toilets, and a basic campground at the trailhead.

After two days of consistent rain, I wondered if hiking the Pole Creek Trail to Elklund Lake was worth it with the collection of people in the trailhead.  It might have been the most people I had seen preparing to hike during the entire month I have spent in Wyoming. That said, it is not like a Colorado 14er or any other popular hikes near Denver when you can’t even find a parking space after 7am.

Additionally, I got a later start than usual and I hiked on the weekend…two things I avoid to enjoy the solitude of nature. Anyway, most people in the parking area were loaded down with heavy packs and were definitely prepping for a backpacking trip.  Donning just a day pack for a long day hike to Elklund Lake, I was able to stay ahead of the traffic.


Things to Do in Jackson Hole

Did you ever wonder what the difference is between Jackson and Jackson Hole?  Well, Jackson is the city and Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley.  Regardless of if you are staying in town or at Teton Village there are many things to do in Jackson Hole.


Beartooth Highway Scenic Drive

The Beartooth Highway was completed in 1936 and is one of the most scenic drives in America.  It connects Red Lodge, Montana to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park while climbing to 10,947. 

The Beartooth Highway travels from lodge pole pine forest to alpine tundra as it winds through some of the most rugged areas in the lower 48 states.

With 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in the surrounding Beartooth Mountains, Beartooth Highway features spectacular views, hundreds of alpine lakes, magnificent wildflowers, and a plethora of wildlife.

lost lake

Hike to Lost Lake

The hike to Lost Lake is located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest very close to Red Lodge, Montana.  The paved trailhead with pit toilet, marked on AllTrails, is no longer the starting point.  The flood from a year ago has washed out the bridge, and it is difficult to cross the creek that feels more like a river at this location.  As a result, the once 10-mile hike is now 13 miles.