Solo Trip to Taos

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When I first got to Taos, I was in search of some beautiful scenery. I drove to the Taos Ski Valley to see what natural beauty I could find. I went on a mini hike and took A TON of photos. Here are a few of my favorites:

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There was a torrential downpour about three hours after I got into town, so I headed off to a restaurant in the historic part of downtown Taos for some Mexican food. Unfortunately, it rained for the rest of the night, so I finished my late dinner and went back to my hotel.

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When I woke up, the sun was shining and all of Taos seemed to be glowing and refreshed from the rainfall. I walked around downtown Taos for a few hours before anything was open, except the charming little coffee shops sprinkled throughout the town.

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The culture in Taos seems to be heavily influenced by religion. There were several artistic nods to Jesus and Mary painted throughout the town. These renditions were my favorite. There’s just something about bright religious spray paintings complete with modern bandanas.

Stay tuned for more Taos posts! I spoke with several locals while in town, and they shared some interesting stories with me.

Happy travels,

Maegan

Day Trip to Milwaukee

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While solo traveling in Chicago, I rented a car and headed to Milwaukee. It was mostly on a whim which is fun, but doesn’t allow for a lot of planning. I thought I could casually stroll through the streets in November and find an adventure. What I found was the cold. And the wind. I specifically remember walking towards the Milwaukee Public Market with tears in my eyes from the bitter cold thinking, “No one else is out walking because they have the sense to stay indoors!” I quickly ducked into the public market for  a reprieve from the bone chilling cold.

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Once inside, I found several people dining on the various fares while on their lunch breaks. I also found cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

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I warmed up with a bowl of clam chowder and drank a local beer, which is where I got the idea to track down a local brewery. After talking with some natives about how they love winter, I drove to Lake Front Brewery.

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I bought a ticket for the next brewery tour when I arrived. Luckily, they take walk ups on weekdays from noon to 8 PM. Tour tickets are $9 on weekdays and $10 on weekends. You have to buy your tickets online for Saturdays. With your tour ticket, you get a few tokens to try their different beers before and after your scheduled tour. Because I had to wait a bit for my tour time, people gave me their unused tokens which allowed me to sample all of their beer. My favorite was their organic Belgian white. I’d highly recommend going if you haven’t tried it. Don’t forget to get there early on Friday and Saturday nights because they get very busy.

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I got so many tokens from people ending their tours that I had to hang out in the gift shop for quite a while so I could sober up. I had a long conversation with the person working the gift shop counter. She told me that she loves snow shoeing, and the cold, and she can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

With all the craft beer, locally made cheeses, and friendly natives, I suppose I could stand the cold for a while too.

-Maegan

Impromptu Hot Springs Visit

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Colorado scenery never gets old 

After what felt like a two day, post St. Patty’s Day hangover, some friends invited my significant other and me on a quick adventure to a hot springs located one hour away. It took me all of two seconds to, maybe a little too enthusiastically, say yes. We grabbed one of our friends who also suffering from a hangover, St. Patty’s Day was rough this year, you guys, and set off.

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{Picture borrowed from http://www.dakotahotsprings.com/}

This was the ideal day trip. The drive was short but filled with breathtaking mountain views. (Side note, if the iPhone maps app takes you through a rock quarry off M street, don’t go that way. Stay on the main highway, and it will take you straight to the front gate.)  It’s $5 with an active military i.d., and $15 for couples. The pool was the perfect temperature, with a view of the distant mountains. We stayed until sunset, which cast a warm, golden glow on the valley and the mountains.

{Picture borrowed from http://www.dakotahotsprings.com/}

What I didn’t realize was that this Dakota Hot Springs, located in Penrose, Colorado, is a swimsuit optional hot springs. I am a huge proponent for body positivity and desexualizing nudity, but it was still a bit of a shock at first. You really have to be aware of where your eyes are wandering at all times. Our friends brought their kids, which was very refreshing. I really admire that they’re teaching their boys to be comfortable with nudity from a very young age. There are no phones or picture taking devices allowed, so I took no photos at all.

This was the perfect way to unwind for a few hours. We will definitely be going back, maybe even to camp there for a night or two. Check it out if you want a budget friendly, Colorado hot springs experience!