Nantucket Island,the Gray Lady

The car rattled over the old cobble stone road and I made my way into the historic town of Nantucket. Tourists stroll along the sidewalks dripping with dense flowers in window boxes. I’m fresh off the red eye from San Jose to JFK and then JFK to Nantucket so feeling a little tired. The smell in the air is a mixture of fresh roasted coffee and the ocean.ย  I’m in love.ย  I find my way to Union Street and into a tight parking place on the Union Street Inn property and sigh, I finally feel like I’m on vacation. The hotel is a mid 18th century B&B and it’s lovely.ย  One of my favorite parts of the town are the cobblestone roads and the brick laid cross walks. It’s like stepping back in time. Here are a few photos from my first day on the island…

 

I’ll write more on the hotel in a separate post. But now I want to take you through the town with my photos. I wish I could send you the smell of fresh cut grass and sea roses. Here are some photos from my first day ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Breakfast in Carmel

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I’m sitting outside, I can’t hear the crackling of the fire in a large fireplace. I have my cup of joe and waiting for my breakfast. It’s a beautiful day even with the overcast. I’m about an hour from home and it feels like another world. On this trip I’m eating at the Village Corner California Bistro.

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After this huge breakfast I will NEED to take a long walk along the beach…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Moss Beach Coastal Farmers Market

IMG_9687.JPG I just left the Moss Beach harbor area and about 2 minutes south is a fabulous farmers market. Packed with local produce and very reasonable prices it’s worth the stop. You’ll find baby bananas…

IMG_9683.JPG Large and small local artichokes

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IMG_9684.JPG Gilroy garlic and a while lot more! I’m starving so off to Carmel for breakfast and a walk along the beach.

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Death Valley: Rhyolite Ghost Town and Other Places to See

Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley California
Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley California

If you’re joining me we’ve been exploring Death Valley, California, and we’re on my last post. We just left Scotty’s Castle and now we are off to Rhyolite Ghost Town – which is located just over the Nevada state line. (Quick note – In 1908 Rhyolite was the third largest city in Nevada.)

After I checked into The Ranch which is where I stayed, I decided I’d drive over to the Ghost Town. It was about 4:30pm so I was hoping I’d have enough time to get there and back before the sun went down. I didn’t want to get stuck in the dark with no cell phone reception, all by myself on the back roads of Death Valley. (EEE!) Just a quick note – when you see that your destination is only 18 miles – it’s not a quick 18 miles if you’re in the Death Valley State Park. First, the speed limit ranges from 50-15mph and you have to watch for the signs. Even though you feel like it’s just you and a few rattle snakes, I actually saw a police officer pulled over on the side of the road handing out a ticket. Yikes!

I got to the ghost town around 5:30pm and I was all by myself. Well, me and the ghosts. I walked around and shot some photos and kept a keen eye out for rattle snakes (yes, I am confessing one of my fears). It’s actually just a lot of old, deserted buildings, but here is one of the most interesting ones to see – it’s called the “Bottle House“. The photo below was taken in 1906. It is believed that Mr. Kelly is the man in the doorway. According to a government report Mr. Kelly used between 25,000 and 30,000 bottles building the house. Now I have to wonder- where did he get 25-30,000 bottles for God’s sakes? Either he was a heavy drinker, or had a bunch of friends who were heavy drinkers. Or, maybe Mrs. Kelly hit the bottle(s) after finding how she was going to live in a house of bottles???? Anyway, food (or drink) for thought. The house has a double bottle foundation, three rooms with a door and window exiting each room. (Original Photographer Unknown)

Bottle house 1906 in Death Valley, California
Bottle house 1906 in Death Valley, California

And here is my photo of this house:

My photo of the bottle house taken in 2013
My photo of the bottle house taken in 2013

As I strolled through the falling down, boarded up homes one thing I love to do is try and imagine what it was like when the homes were new, and the people were just moving in. What were they wearing? Eating? What kept them awake at night? (wondering where they would find another 1000 bottles?) It was a bit eerie to be there by myself. It’s not like shopping at Nordstrom and you’re the only one over 20 in the sassy junior department…should I be shopping on another floor? Or seriously, should I head over to a more sophisticated department where I will find people with shirts that actually cover their belly button??? No, in Death Valley, there is NO ONE around…no cars and no cell phone reception (and nowhere to shop!) Makes me shutter just to think about it.

Death Valley Ghost Towns
Death Valley Ghost Towns

As I walked around I did I did find this old truck interesting. If you look in the first photo in this post (above), you’ll see this truck out behind the building.

Old truck from Death Valley Ghost Town
Old truck from Death Valley Ghost Town

And here is a closer view (photo below). Quick note, I did walk up and peak inside, and scared myself to death when a bird flew out! I obviously am not that man on the reality show who gets dropped off in the desert with a broken match, 1/2 a Snickers bar and a cup to collect sterile urine. No, not me. I somehow managed to have an ice cold Coke Zero and some Red Vines waiting for me in my air conditioned car… That’s it for Death Valley. I just did a trip to the Hearst Castle yesterday so I’ll be posting on my amazing visit soon. If you click FOLLOW you’ll get my post via email.

Death Valley Ghost Town - Antique Truck
Death Valley Ghost Town – Antique Truck

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Other Places You Might Visit in Death Valley

There is a lot to see in Death Valley. I didn’t see everything but here are some other places that you might want to consider:

  • Salt Creek Interpretive Trail (this is where you can see the Pup fish)
  • Mosaic Canyon by Stovepipe Wells Village (You can stay here too but I would recommend The Ranch per my earlier post:
  • Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail (nice hike)
  • Volcano crater trail (up by Scotty’s Castle)
  • The racetrack (This looks very cool! These huge rocks move on their own. You do need to have a jeep to get there and it’s a full day adventure)
  • Eureka Mines (which is an old gold mine)
  • Wildrose (beautiful views)

The best thing to do is go to the Visitor’s Center in Furnace Creek and have them help you. I hope you enjoyed visiting Death Valley with me!

Here are some past posts on Death Valley in case you missed them:

Death Valley Road Trip! https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/10/death-valley-road-trip/

Death Valley CA Overview & Travel Tips: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/18/death-valley-ca-travel-tips/

Death Valley Road Trip: Ghost Towns and a Sunset: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/10/death-valley-road-trip-ghost-towns-and-a-sunset/

Death Valley: Dantes View: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/19/death-valley-dantes-view/

Death Valley: Zabriskie Point: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/23/death-valley-zabriskie-point/

Death Valley: Badwater, Lowest Pt in N. America: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/24/death-valley-badwater-lowest-pt-in-n-america/

Death Valley: Where to Stay: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/25/death-valley-where-to-stay/

Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/26/death-valley-scottys-castle/

Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle

Scotty's Castle in Death Valley, California
Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley, California

I love castles and ghost towns and Death Valley has both. I was a little surprised to learn there is a castle in Death Valley, so I’ll start by telling you about that.ย ย It’s a little off the beaten pathย and you’llย truly feel likeย no one is around as you coast along the desert road to your destination.ย As you get closer you can see anย oasis in the Grapevine Canyon which is located in the northern part of Death Valley. As if it’s a mirage, you’ll take a corner and find palm trees, green foliage and the tips of the castle off in the distance. Yes,ย nestled in that oasis is a castle that will take you back to the Roaring ’20’s and Depression ’30’s.ย  It was a wealthy matron’s vacation home and a “man-of-mystery’s hideout. When you visit this place you will step back in time.

View into the courtyard at Scotty's Castle in Death Valley
View into the courtyard at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley

As you enter through the gates (above) you’ll find yourself in a courtyard.ย  Throughout the grounds and home, everything is pretty much original….The furnishing, clothing, kitchen, rugs etc.ย ย Here’s a Reader’s Digest version I took from the National Park Service Website: “Walter Scott (below) was an accomplished horseman and eventually was engaged as one of the rough-riders for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.

Walter Scott aka Death Valley Scotty from National Park Service Website
Walter Scott aka Death Valley Scotty from National Park Service Website

Although his engagement with the show lasted for twelve years, it was only seasonal employement. When not fully engaged with the show, Scott would return to Death Valley and pick up odd jobs. His connection with the area became so well known that eventually Death Valley Scotty became his nickname. Scott left the Wild West Show after a disagreement with Buffalo Bill in 1902 and began a new profession that brought him even more fame and riches – gold prospecting. He convinced several wealthy businessmen that he had a claim to a fabulous gold mine in Death Valley. One of the investors, Mr. Johnson gave thousands of dollars to Scotty over the next several years. Unfortunately, a number of calamities prevented delivery of the gold.

Undaunted, Mr. Johnson finally decided to take a look at the gold mine on a personal tour of Death Valley. Scotty took Mr. Johnson on a grueling trek by horseback through Death Valley. He figured a few days in the desert would be too much for the city slicker whose health had been permanently by a near-fatal train accident in his youth. Surprisingly, Johnson loved Death Valley so much that he stayed nearly a month, and his health improved dramatically in the dry, sunny climate. Although he never saw Scotty’s mine, and was most certainly being swindled, Mr. Johnson did not seem to mind. He had found riches in the desert far greater than those that glitter.ย  The two men began a lifelong friendship that would change the history of Death Valley forever. Albert Johnson bought property in Grapevine Canyon and eventually built what became known as Scotty’s Castle, which you can visit today.”ย ย Here are some historical photos I found:

scotty DeathValley_ScottysCastle_1928Welte_JLewis01

That's Scott in the middle. The room is exactly like this today!
That’s Scott in the middle, Mr and Ms Johnson on either side. The room is exactly like this today!

Here are some past posts on Death Valley in case you missed them:

Death Valley Road Trip! https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/10/death-valley-road-trip/

Death Valley CA Overview & Travel Tips: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/18/death-valley-ca-travel-tips/

Death Valley Road Trip: Ghost Towns and a Sunset:ย  https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/10/death-valley-road-trip-ghost-towns-and-a-sunset/

Death Valley: Dantes View: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/19/death-valley-dantes-view/

Death Valley: Zabriskie Point: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/23/death-valley-zabriskie-point/

Death Valley: Badwater, Lowest Pt in N. America: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/24/death-valley-badwater-lowest-pt-in-n-america/

Death Valley: Where to Stay: https://photogirltravels.com/2013/04/25/death-valley-where-to-stay/