Thursday, July 8, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Trinidad

On the Colorado-New Mexico border in southern Colorado, the city of  Trinidad is nestled at 6000 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Once, Trinidad was a major stopping point on the Santa Fe Trail, on which William Becknell made the first known trading expedition between Missouri and Santa Fe. In its Wild West Days, Trinidad was home to and visited by many famous men, including Bat Masterson as Town Marshall. Wyatt and Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday arrived in Trinidad right after the Gunfight at the OK Corral. In 1826, a young apprentice saddle maker called the city home. You know him as Kit Carson. Today Trinidad is home to several museums ranging from art museums to the Koshare Indian Museum, as well as good fishin' and camping at Trinidad Lake State Park. Also on the outdoors agenda is a round of golf at Cougar Canyon, named by some as one of the Top Ten Courses You Can Play in the US. There is also ample opportunity to do some shopping while in town. I have passed through Trinidad countless times, and let me tell you that's it's a beautiful town with a little something for everyone. So, the next time you head for Denver, be sure to exit at Trinidad on I-25 and spend some time. It's a real neat place.

Maine Minutiae : Augusta

I have been doing these posts on Maine for a few months now, and have written very little about where I live - Augusta . Augusta, the State Capital of Maine, is a town of about 18,000 people which makes it the third smallest capital city in the US (just ahead of Montpelier,VT and Pierre,SD). The first Europeans to explore the area did so in 1607. It wasn't until 1629 that English settlers from the Plymouth Colony first inhabited the area. About a mile and a half from where I type this sits a National Historic Landmark, Fort Western. Built in 1754, Fort Western is the oldest wooden fort in America. The Kennebec River runs through the middle of Augusta and has some pretty good fishin' (I caught my first smallmouth bass there). The Kennebec starts north of here at Moosehead Lake and runs 150 miles southward and eventually empties into the Gulf of Maine.
Despite its status as the state capital, Augusta often plays second fiddle to the larger cities of Bangor and Portland, however, there are, comparatively speaking, as many things to do here as there are in the other two cities - shopping, outdoors activities, nice parks, movie theatres, some names-you'll-recognize eateries, etc. I like living here in this safe, clean and friendly city and I'm certain that you'd love to visit Augusta.

Texas Tidbits : Marfa

The first time I heard of Marfa,  located in the Chihuahuan Desert in Far West Texas, was from WBAP-TV (Ch.5) Weatherman Harold Taft when I was a little boy of no more than four. It seemed like every night during the 10 o'clock news, good ol' Harold always mentioned Marfa as the hottest/coldest spot in Texas for that day/previous night. I know a mess of my old friends in the Metroplex are saying to themselves right now, "I remember that!" After I grew up and moved away form DFW, I learned of the Mysterious Marfa Lights.  Where do these lights come from? Ask any of the 2400 folks who call Marfa home and you'll probably get 2400 different answers. The stunning scenery of the Trans-Pecos area attracts thousands of  visitors and scientists every year to view the lights. Neighboring Big Bend National Park only adds to the remoteness and mystery of the Trans-Pecos region. The natural beauty of the Marfa area was the setting for one of the most famous movies ever - Giant, starring James Dean (his last movie), Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and Dennis Hopper. Marfa has an interesting history  as well. I am sad to say that the Trans-Pecos is the one part of Texas I have never been, but you can bet the farm I'll be taking the wife and kids there when we visit Texas. See the sign in the pic above? We'll explore all those places as well (my maternal grandmother grew up in Alpine). I'll go out into the desert and simply let my imagination run wild about Panch Villa roaming the area early in the 20th century (Villa and his men "visited" my Grandmother's house when she was a child), John Wayne movies and the Marfa Lights. Now that's a plan.

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