Monday, March 30, 2015

3.30.15 Vacation...all I ever wanted...

At the Continental Divide in CO
This year, spring break wasn't much of a "break" for us.  With all of the kids now out of the house, it was just another week - or so I thought - until I started seeing posts on Facebook and Instagram from my friends who still have kids in school.  Suddenly, I was filled with envy and wanderlust - ok, that might be a bit of an overstatement - but it did make me think about past vacations, and that seemed like a good subject for a blog entry.

It's not news to you, dear reader, that I bring home jewelry, not tee shirts, as souvenirs from my travels; and two of the most beautiful places we have ever visited are Estes Park, Colorado and the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

While I am no fan of winter, it is nice sometimes to escape the heat of a Texas summer.

A few years ago we opted to do just that, spending a wonderful week in Estes Park, Colorado.  We stayed in a lovely condo, with the Estes River running past, and lots of shops and restaurants - including a wonderful coffee shop just below us - nearby. 

We could sit on the deck and listen to the river flow over the rocks, and the sound of the aspen leaves rustling in the wind.  I can still close my eyes and hear that almost musical sound.

I really wanted to find a piece of jewelry to that returned me to that wonderful place, so I went walking around "downtown" Estes, asking in each shop "do you carry the work of local jewelers?"  I was lucky to wonder into Alpenglow Images and Accents, and found this aspen leaf necklace by local artisan Michele Brouwer, who takes impressions of local foliage and creates jewelry in precious metal clay.
Bougenvilla in Kailua

A couple of years later, I decided we were going to Hawaii.  It was the summer before my 50th birthday, and I suspected (because of their ages, and the upcoming ends of their terms in college or high school) perhaps one of the last times it would be relatively easy to get everyone in the same place at the same time for more than a week.
Birds of Paradise at
Nat'l Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific

So we went, for 10 days, it was amazing! The thing that struck me the most about Hawaii was the colors - everything was more vivid and intense than anywhere I had ever been. The gorgeous foliage was everywhere! 

Plumeria leis at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Once again, I was on a quest to bring home of jewelry representative of the fabulous local flora.  The flower most associated with Hawaii, and used most often in the making of leis, is the plumeria.

On the recommendation of a friend, I visited a wonderful shop, Island Treasures Art Gallery in Kailua.  It was here I found my souvenir - a silver pendant with the plumeria blooms and a dark blue freshwater pearl.

So, while I'm not going anywhere for a while (except maybe to the grocery store), I can wear my vacation jewelry, close my eyes, and conjure up wonderful memories of the beautiful places we have visited as a family.

Until next time.

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