We were greeted at our campsite in the afternoon by this very friendly squirrel. He was not shy at all. I gave him some grapes which he devoured. I offered him a strawberry and he turned his nose up and just sat looking at me. I offered him a grape tomato and still nothing. I found he had a taste for Asiago flatbread chips! These he loved. I watched as he turned the chip around munching on the edge. He seemed to be smiling with delight. He’s by far the fattest and most friendly we have. Heather said he reminded her of the smiling Buddha so that’s his name. He’s come to visit every afternoon usually around three. He’s never come in the morning. I don’t know if he’s sleeping late or just making his rounds.
Oh I forgot to mention that he’s very neat! After each grape or chip he cleaned his mouth. Maybe he was just cleansing his pallet between flavors!
Blue fairies dance on lighted wings
Searching the forest for magical things.
If you look you surely see
Blue fairies dancing beneath the tree!
Lobby of MGM, our home for the week. I forgot how crazy and over the top this town is. It’s almost sensory overload, but it’s an absolutely magical place to be! Jeff and Ashley had the framing expo so Dan, Tristan and I met them for lunch at Wahlburgers. It’s the burger place owned by the actor Mark Wahlburg and his brothers. The burgers were big and juicy and we were fueled for the afternoon.
We rode the monorail to the end of the line and to the Mob Museum. It was fascinating. So much history. Some of the exhibits were very graphic, but unfortunately that is part of history.
The monorail runs through most of the strip and it’s the easiest way to get around.
This is the actual wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. When the building was torn down, each brick was labeled and stored. The museum purchased it from the family. I didn’t realize that the opposing mobsters dressed as policemen and acted like they were going to make an arrest. They had no resistance and they lined them up against the wall and shot them with machine guns! The red paint on the wall marks the bullet holes.
Below are some of the bullets and a tommy gun on display.
The museum is located in the old post office/courthouse where the trials led by Estes Kefauver, the senator from Tennessee were held. He was responsible for leading the fight against the mob.
Last on the stop is a speakeasy, and of course some liquid refreshment!
We ended the day in old downtown Vegas. That is where the original casinos were. A few of them are still there. It is an absolute feast for the senses. The lights are mesmerizing. There is a zip line that runs above the street. There’s a crazy light show in the ceiling! People dressed in bizarre costumes and there is any kind of street performer you can imagine, and some that you wouldn’t dare to imagine. We had a great meal at the Chicago Brewery, then hit the slots before heading back to MGM.
The Chicago Brewing Company is inside Four Queens Casino. It’s known for its wood fired pizza and beer. Yummy. I almost forgot to take a pic of the pizza!
We left Nashville Sunday morning with Jeff, Ashley and Tristan, headed for Las Vegas. I haven’t been there since the mid 1980’s when my dad, The Greek, ran junkets from Nashville to the fabulous Dunes Hotel. The Dunes is gone now and so are most of the old hotels. I was a bag of mixed emotions. I was looking forward to seeing the new Vegas, but the little girl in me was missing my daddy and remembering the fun we had bringing a plane full of gamblers to the town that never sleeps. There are still a couple of the old places, the Flamingo and Caesar’s Palace are still kicking. I was not disappointed but I do miss the good old days when Elvis was singing and the Rat Pack was still around.
If you remember, Brad and Brigid, our traveling mascots, were so upset they didn’t get to go to Mexico that they made sure to stow away for Vegas.
It’s Dan’s birthday so he and Jeff ventured out to the strip while us girls did a little shopping.
The M & M store was incredible. They had every flavor except my favorite, white chocolate peppermint. The white chocolate cheesecake however was a fair substitute.
Later we went to the MGM buffet. You must go to a buffet in Vegas. It’s like everything else here, really over the top. But, I think you can eat and drink all you want because at the end of the day my Fitbit registered 17,738 steps! Pretty good!
After dinner we strolled down to the Bellagio to watch the water show and just soak in the crazy atmosphere that is Las Vegas. While walking dan came across some lonely UT cheerleaders and since he was wearing his big orange shirt, well, he had to stop and say hello. Afterwards back to MGM for a nightcap and rest up for another adventure tomorrow!
Below is the view from our room. That’s New York New York across from us.
More beautiful skies in Isla. Dan and I took a drive over to Madeira, art and food for lunch. The burgers are rated best on the island. They did not lie! The smashed baked potato with a secret sauce was the perfect side. I shopped a little and we walked across to catch another glimpse of the Caribbean Sea. Look closely at the rocks below and you can see our shadows!
Can we grow aloe this big at home?
We walked next door to Sunset Grill for dinner. Everyone had the Greek Island fish and I had grilled chicken. We shared a key lime pie. Perfect finish to the day with a nightcap at Skull’s and off to bed.
Thank you Phil Martin! It was an awesome trip and an unforgettable 35th anniversary!