Hit the Road Jack! My Travel Adventures in Key West, Santa Fe, & Joshua Tree

Key West Sunset//The Spicy RD Gorgeous Key West Sunset…

This travel post has been long overdue in coming, seeing as I soaked up the sun and sea air in Key West in early February, bundled up in snowy Santa Fe and Taos in late February, and shimmied over big bad boulders in Joshua Tree in early April.

Did I mention it’s May.

May 30 as I am writing this.  Almost June to be exact!

I thought about skipping this post altogether, but I promised you {way back when…}, that I would share my travel photos and adventures with you,and I never go back on my promises.


Plus, in case you hadn’t realized it already, I have the travel bug.

Big time.

So, for those of you who have the bug too, here’s some travel inspiration {and travel tips!}, from me, to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Key West, Florida

Hemingway House, KeyWest//The Spicy RDI hoofed it through town {over 14,000 steps to be exact!} on our first full day in Key West, while poor Mr. Spicy attended his conference at our pretty hotel, The Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina resort.  My first stop was at The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in the heart of Old Town Key West.  Although Mr. Hemingway is long gone, his six-toed cats still reside here. Trust me, when I tell you they are VERY well cared for.

Colorful Key West//The Spicy RDOne of the things I loved about Key West the most, besides the gorgeous beaches and spectacular February weather, was all the glorious color, not only in the architecture, but in the people as well!

Colorful Phone Booth, Key West//The Spicy RDI spotted this colorful phone booth on one of my many walk through town, and had to take a photo!  Perhaps someone who had to make a phone call had one too many drinks? Hmmm….

Key West Parade//The Spicy RDLater in the week, after Mr. Spicy’s conference was over, we spent an afternoon eating and drinking our way through town.  It was divine ๐Ÿ™‚  And, one of the best places for people watching {and parade watching} was on the balcony of The Bull and Whistle Bar, where I enjoyed sipping a couple of Dark and Stormy’s.  Did I say it was divine???

Great fresh seafood spot in the Florida Keys: Key Fisheries//The Spicy RDWe spent out next-to-last day on the road, the wind blowin’ in our hair, driving through the Florida Keys in our rented Mustang convertible.  Pretty snazzy, huh? Lucky for us, Stone Crabs were in season {a first for me}, so we stopped off for some fresh seafood at Key Fisheries Market and Marina in Marathon.  Serious yum!

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys//The Spicy RDOur final stop was at this beautiful beach at Bahia Honda State Park.  It was so nice to be able to swim in February in the 70 + water temps in Key West, while the ocean temps here in San Diego were hovering around 58 degrees!

Heading to Key West?  Here are my tips on where to stay, what to eat and drink, and where to go…

Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico

Lots of vertical! Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico//The Spicy RDThis was my first time skiing in Taos, and it was a blast!  My family and I travelled with 2 other families for a fun week of skiing and chilling out at our rental house in the town of Taos.  The weather was great in late February, and the terrain was challenging to say the least.  See that “Don’t Panic” sign in the photo?  Well, sometimes there was reason to panic!  If you’re a skier, you know how a black diamond on one mountain is a blue square on another, and a double black is sometimes doable, depending upon the mountain?  Well, a double black at Taos is serious business, and something I wanted no part of! Mr. Spicy, on the other hand, took Big Tex down one of those double blacks, and let’s just say he is very lucky they both came back unscathed.  Very lucky indeed ๐Ÿ™‚  Here are some more photos and highlights of our trip which included an afternoon stop in Santa Fe on our way back to the airport…

Bavarian Lodge, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico//The Spicy RDThe Bavarian Lodge on the mountain was a fun place for lunch and to take a little breather from all that skiing…

Snowball Fight in Taos//The Spicy RDIt snowed overnight on our last evening in Taos, so the kids LOVED waking up to the makings of a perfect snowball fight day. One of the boys in our group {not mine :-)} decided it would be fun to run around the snow in his socks. Needless to say his feet were kind of chilly the rest of the day!

Loretto Chapel Santa Fe//The Spicy RDOur first stop in Santa Fe, after lunch, was at the Loretto Chapel with it’s “mysterious staircase” which you can read more about here.  Miraculous staircase or not, it’s still a pretty chapel to visit!

Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe//The Spicy RDWe also stopped at The Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi to take a peek~another lovely place to visit!

Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico//The Spicy RDAfter that, we ended our afternoon in Santa Fe with a little shopping. Well, the girls that is. The” big” boys sat down for a beer, while the younger ones had hot chocolate and played a little pool ๐Ÿ™‚  I definitely want to get back to Santa Fe sometime soon for a longer visit!

Heading to Taos or Santa Fe?  Here are my tips on where to stay, what to eat and drink, and where to go…

Joshua Tree, California

Cottonwood Campsite, Joshua Tree//The Spicy RDIt’s hard to believe that, after living in Southern California almost all of my life, this spring was my first time visiting and camping in Joshua Tree National Park.  I honestly fancy myself more of a mountain {or beach} camper, than a desert camper, but Joshua Tree is truly a MUST place to visit.  My family, friends and I visited Joshua Tree in early April, and I’m thinking it was one of the best times, weather wise, to visit.  If you’re planning a trip in the summer, I’m pretty sure it will be scorchingly hot ๐Ÿ™‚

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree//The Spicy RDAfter waking up at our campsite, Saturday morning, we went on a drive through the park, with the Cholla Cactus Garden being the first stop on our visit.  Very cool place!  Just a word of warning…Do NOT touch the cactus.  Remember the boy in our group who had a snowball fight in Taos in his socks?  Well…..Do not touch!!!

Bouldering fun at Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree//The Spicy RDAfter the needles were removed, we made our way to the Jumbo Rocks campground for some serious bouldering fun!  I’m the “big kid” in the middle ๐Ÿ™‚

Wildflowers, Joshua Tree//The Spicy RDSince it was springtime, we got to see lots of pretty wild flowers in bloom!

Bouldering fun at Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree//The Spicy RDAll-in-all it was a fabulous adventure!!!

Heading to Joshua Tree?  Here are my tips on where to stay, what to eat and drink, and where to go…

  • Stay: We stayed at the Cottonwood Campground which was the only spot that had availability on a Spring Break weekend.  It wasn’t a bad spot, but I recommend snagging a spot at the Jumbo Rocks Campground if you can, for spots with lots of shade from the shadows of the boulders!
  • Eat: Cook it yourself!  If you want a little ice cream treat to cool off, there is a Foster’s Freeze not far from Joshua Tree, in nearby Twentynine Palms.
  • Do: Hiking…Biking…Bouldering…Wild Flower Viewing…Star Gazing….You name it!  There are lots of things for the whole family to enjoy, and the best part yet?  There is no Wi-Fi inside the park!!!  Learn more here

Whew!  This was a long post, but so many adventures I wanted to share with you…

Now it’s YOUR turn!

Where have you travelled to lately?  What are your travel plans for this summer?  What’s on your travel bucket list??? Here’s what’s on mine!

As always, I love hearing from you! Please join the conversation, and, if you enjoyed the post, I’d love it {and truly appreciate it!} if you stumble, tweet, pin, or share the post.  And, if you haven’t done so already, be sure and sign up for my monthly newsletter, Delicious News, and you can enter to win a copy of this gorgeous Mighty Spice cookbook in my May issue.


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  1. EA you are living life to the fullest and it’s an inspiration. I have been to the keys but never to Santa Fe. I bet I would love it though we are not skiers. We drove by Joshua Tree when we visited The Grand Canyon years ago but never stopped. I love the desert anywhere in the world. It’s so powerful. I gasp as I look at the boulders. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Is it a coincidence that I love your recipes/food choices and these are 3 places I want to go? Hmn. I would love to do both Santa Fe and Taos. Travel…we’ll be in VT a bunch this summer, Calistoga/SF for 4th of July, Croatia in August and I am speaking in Sun Valley in Sept (all concentrated as we ski all winter/no travel). We were in Tulum in March, you’d love it there, have you been? Travel bucket list…love it we have a world map with push pins in our house.

  3. Loved seeing your holiday snaps! The ones from Joshua Tree are especially intriguing. Love the wild desert flowers in bloom. For some reason I have a soft spot for deserts (and high plains, and desolate Scottish mountains too), I guess because I grew up near the beach. My daughter is in Italy with a friend’s family while Mr A and I will go to London for food, food and more food! I am also going there for the Food Blogger Connect meet-up, which is the biggest food bloggers conference in Europe, so that’s my big summer treat! But Edinburgh (my town) comes alive in August with its various music, comedy, book and ‘the arts’ festivals so we will stay put and enjoy ourselves here. Have fun with your lovely family this summer.

  4. Ahh, I love traveling vicariously through you! All those places would be on my travel bucket list though I’d be apres-skiing vs. skiing and probably just day tripping vs. camping ๐Ÿ™‚
    As soon as hubby is employed again, need to plan next destination trip -it’s been too long since I’ve left the country!

    1. Not a skier or a camper, huh? That’s ok ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a big fan of apres ski myself, and can only take a couple of nights in a tent! Fingers crossed you get to go on a bucket list trip soon!

  5. This post makes me SO homesick. I loved Hemingways place and visited often when I lived in Florida. I loved the urinal story and the cats and well, everything about Key West from the sunsets to the pie.

    1. Loved visiting Hemmingway’s house too, and the cats were everywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ Wish I could have tried the Key Lime Pie, but I couldn’t find any gluten-free options. Must make some this summer!

  6. So jealous!!

    These look like wonderful trips.

    My summer travel won’t be *quite* as exciting… although I do leave for Alaska in just a couple of weeks. Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that one ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. They were all so much fun Regan ๐Ÿ™‚ Alaska? Now I’m jealous too! Definitely on my travel bucket list. One day…

  7. fun trips I think Joshua tree looks fun ๐Ÿ™‚ love your adventurous spirit

    1. Thanks Rebecca! Your travel adventures always inspire me too ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a wonderful time in Scotland!