Just Gotta Get Away (Part 1)
September 13, 2013

Just Gotta Get Away (Part 1)

National Geographic gets better and better every time I check it out. This time what has affirmed my love of Nat Geo is its ongoing series called “Long Weekends Like A Local.” In this, National Geographic outlines great places to visit for a three- or four-day weekend trip. Since summer is about to its end, many people now plan for the shorter trips like this. What a great idea for National Geographic to provide some in depth info on options across the country. Thus far it has outlined seven great places for a long-weekend adventure, and the page promises to add more.

Let’s take a look at these seven based on region.

West By Southwest

In the West, Nat Geo has described three places: Taos, New Mexico, Telluride, Colorado, and Jackson, Wyoming. I am really pleased to see these three already on their suggestions of great places to visit for a long weekend. I have spent much time in each of these three places at various times of the year, and I attest to their greatness. Each one offers beauty and activity well worth a visit. Here’s a quick overview from north to south.

Jackson, Wyoming

I couldn’t have said it better than Nat Geo: “Jackson is the king of adventure towns. Located in the Jackson Hole Valley, it’s nestled between two ski resorts, with a third (Grand Targhee) located just over Teton Pass. Grand Teton National Park­—home of the 40-mile-long Teton Range, the Snake River, and numerous lakes—is just 13 miles north of Jackson, and Yellowstone National Park is less than an hour beyond that.”

This means that Jackson is stock full of activities. As the locals told National Geographic, their favorite activities include boating at Jackson Lake in the summer and tram powder skiing in the winter as well as tandem paragliding, but there are plenty of other activities to do for those with other interests.

Telluride, Colorado

Most of us know Telluride because of its film festivals (namely the Telluride Film Festival) and its skiing. But it also provides the perfect setting for hiking, biking, climbing, and paddling. Plus, it hosts other famous festivals in both film and music. Telluride is simply a city surrounded by some of the most serene vistas our country has to offer. Additionally, it stands up to most adventure get-away cities across the globe.

Taos, New Mexico

Now, I must admit that I am partial to Taos. Not only am a native of the Land of Enchantment (though transplanted to Oklahoma), I have spent so much time in Taos that it is almost a home away from home. Like the other two West By Southwest (yes, I am playing on the Alfred Hitchcock movie as well as the festival in Austin.) locations, Taos has much to offer to the outdoorswoman and man. It sits atop the high desert enveloped by the Rio Grande Gorge and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, so naturally it has much in the ways of hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, and rafting, but what separates it from Jackson and Telluride is its connection and whereabouts in regards to the Pueblos. Taos is privy to Pow Wows and other traditional dances and cultural ceremonies. On top of that, it is very near Bandelier National Monument. With a short trek, visitors can see Pueblo ruins and petroglyphs.

Did I mention its beauty?

I can definitely see why National Geographic would suggest these three places as great long-weekend visits. Stay tuned for the other places already mentioned. And check back to the Long Weekends Like A Local page for upcoming options.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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