San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury: still in bloom with flower power

Flower Power Tour IzuPrevious to my most recent trip to San Francisco, I had rarely spent more than one night there at a time, usually on my way to Napa. That all changed with my recent trip with Trafalgar Tours, which prides itself on really digging in and showing off the local flavor of a place. So our first stop (after lunch at Cha Cha Cha of course) in the Bay Area? The famous Haight Ashbury district, where flower power descended in force during a few special years starting in the late 1960s. Our fearless leader: Izu, of Flower Power Tours. The only “complaint” I’ve read in all of my research about the great Izu is that she talks too much. Well, then, if you are on a schedule, speak up — this woman could talk all day about these streets and their history… That’s how much she loves her job!

Something to think about, huh?

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Soul2Soul: my review of Tim and Faith’s Vegas show

Tim McGraw Soul2Soul Venetian Vegas

Tim McGraw: photo courtesy of Venetian

 

Country music is having somewhat of a moment here in Las Vegas. Concerts, of course, have always come through town — and Garth Brooks had a successful run at Wynn. But this month, Shania Twain opened at the Colosseum, the first country crooner to do so. And the very next week, power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill started a limited run of Soul2Soul at Venetian. As you can imagine, the Shania vs Tim and Faith debate has been a hot topic all over town! Strangely, both Shania and Faith are hitting the stage after a few years off. So these were huge nights for these two lovely ladies. But aside from that, these shows couldn’t be more different. Which one did I like best? And was I in the majority?

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Personally welcoming Shania Twain to Vegas

Abby Tegnelia Shania Twain Opening NightI don’t hide the fact that one of my favorite parts about living in Las Vegas is that I get to go to so many amazing shows. The Colosseum especially has delivered some amazing nights, from Rod Stewart‘s premiere to meeting the great Celine Dion. But one thing I never saw coming: country! Leave it to Shania Twain to make that happen. After eight years off the stage, let me tell you, she came back with a bang! Her show Shania: Still the One exceeded all of my expectations. And THEN, I was honored to co-host her “welcome to Las Vegas” party with Vegas magazine, of which I am the editor. The cover she did for us was gorgeous! This photo isn’t the best of me at all, but she looks stunning, and that’s all that matters. It was definitely HER night! Shania Twain Las Vegas is going to kill it — in fact, since all of her shows sold out, they’ve already added 12 new ones for next spring.

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My Helicopter Fetish

Abby Tegnelia

©swankydietitian

I can’t believe it was such a short time ago that I had never been on a helicopter. Now? After three trips in such a short amount of time, I can’t believe what a wonderful way it is to see landscapes such as the Las Vegas Strip. It seems like ages ago that I thought I’d been the least bit scared — but it takes off straight up and with such smoothness that it truly feels like a car in the sky, as close to the Jetsons as I’ll ever get. My most recent trip was with Heli USA, which just happened to my first also. This time, I didn’t go camping with real cowboys at the Grand Canyon Ranch, but instead opted for a nighttime tour of the Strip. And just a few weeks ago, I got another taste with Papillon helicopters. This time, how fun to see such a familiar, glitzy place from  the sky at night!

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First glimpse: Las Vegas Neon Boneyard

Neon MuseumTo who-ever says that Las Vegas Strip has no history or culture, I ask… “Are you just jealous?!” Seriously, I live in a desert town built by legally insane (kidding, sort of…) visionaries who decided that an empty Nevadan desert would be the “ideal” spot for a gambling/entertainment metropolis. In the beginning, Sin City was a modest stop for gambling along the highway to L.A. (Genius!) Even now, I can look out my office window and see the the harsh line where our city ends and the desert dirt begins. It took a solid group of artistic, forward-thinking and business-savvy souls to build a city of neon where no one thought it was possible. And now, a dedicated group of downtown historians has opened the “Neon Boneyard,” which is already internationally famous, up to the public. The collection of retired neon signs has been there for a few years, but part of its mystery was always that it was difficult to get an appointment. Now? This absolute treasure is now open to the public.  I was honored to be one of the first people to see the Neon Museum at night, lit up. The tour takes about an hour and is fascinating: There is no excuse not to go. Bring your kids, bring the history buffs, make the tourists tag along. It really is the best of Las Vegas. I will post more soon, but I wanted to whet your appetite first.

Let’s show off this neon jungle history!

Post-adventure high

Abby Tegnelia

Tired but happy

I’ve mentioned several times how energized I feel after travel of any kind, an almost post-adventure high. That touch of magic I feel by doing something new or experiencing a place far from home gets me hyped up to tackle whatever is in front of me — even if what I have next is just another day at the office. Hyper, smiley, talkative: all of those cheesy words apply. I just think that getting out of your comfort is the coolest thing. No matter how tired I am, it is a different tired, a more satisfied one than I get from beaten down by too many days at work, as much as I love what I do as a magazine editor.

Not everyone is like me.

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