Scenes Along The Strip


Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Back in 2005, Southwest airlines had some knockout deals from the northeastern U.S. to Las Vegas. Unwilling to pass up such a bargain, I convinced my husband to pay Sin City a visit. It helps that we have extended family who live there, an added incentive to make the long flight. We enjoyed that first getaway enough to traverse the country three more times for sightseeing, shows, shopping, eating, and gambling. Las Vegas offers so many quality choices in all these venues, we’ll always find a reason to return.

I have many stories to share with you about this neon city. For now, here are a few of the G-Rated highlights:

View from the Stratosphere

On our first trip, we visited the Stratosphere on the north end of the Vegas Strip. This incredibly tall building allows visitors to view the entire city, surrounded by desert and mountains. The scene was absolutely breathtaking! I enjoy roller coasters and Hollywood Studio’s Tower of Terror, but I couldn’t fathom riding any of the attractions at the top of the Stratosphere. One of the rides shoots straight up and the other two dangle their occupants over the edge. (Are these people crazy?)

Since I chickened out at the Stratosphere, we rode New York-New York’s outdoor roller coaster on the lower-strip instead. I realize it’s tame by comparison, but we had fun without a chance of heart attack.

New York-New York Hotel

Exiting my home state’s namesake hotel, we glimpsed the M&M store. I had to check it out. I’ve never seen so many chocolate candies in one place. My chocolate loving friends would have thought they’d died and gone to heaven. I know I did. The only bad part, if you can call it that, was we had to eat our purchases shortly after leaving the store. I know what the ads claim, but these little goodies wouldn’t have survived the August desert sun on the trek back to our mid-strip hotel.

Chocolate Heaven

It may be hot outside, but inside the gambling was hot, too. We loved the slots. My husband’s favorite was The Wheel of Fortune, and mine was the Triple 7’s. Our aunt and uncle entertained us by sharing strategies for playing the penny slot machines at the Flamingo. It was lots of fun, and we were thrilled to come out ahead of the casino.

We enjoyed people-watching as we walked through the Venetian Hotel’s underground mall–complete with gondola ride.  Apparently, this place is also home to a living statue. We walked past a man painted white and in white clothing. He stood very still, rarely blinking. But I felt his stare. My husband thought the guy was interesting. I thought he was creepy. Click on the photo if you’re curious and want to see the statue in action–or non-action, as the case may be.

A Living Statue-The Venetian

One night, we took an elevator to the top of Vegas’ version of the Eiffel Tower, one-third the height of the original in France. It was plenty high enough for me, and we loved The Bellagio’s water show. I can’t think of a better way to end a post about the Vegas Strip than with this video. Enjoy!

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? If so, what are some of your G-Rated memories? If not, would you have ridden the Insanity Ride on the Stratosphere or the coaster at New York-New York? Would you have liked the Living Statue or the view from the Eiffel Tower?

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nicole Basaraba
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 07:16:17

    I have never been one to put Vegas on my to-visit list because I thought it was only lights and casinos, but this post goes to show that there are some interesting things to see. Looks like a fun escape.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:42:01

      I was surpised how many things there are to do in and near Vegas. On our next trip, we plan to take a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon and enjoy a romantic lunch for two. Doesn’t that sound fun?!

  2. jayne ormerod
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 09:00:03

    Never been to Vegas, but someday….I’m not a big fan of heights so no stratosphere rides for me! But the combination of chocolate and slots is very enticing!

    I’ve been meaning to ask you, what is the picture of on the banner of your blog? I always get this intense feeling of peace (and a desire to retire there) when I see the lovely homes with the beautiful beaches and palm trees.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:47:21

      Hi Jayne!

      You may enjoy the incredible shows in Las Vegas, too. We love the Cirque de Soleil and smaller productions. I’ve eaten some incredible dishes at reasonably-priced restaurants, too. Of course, if you like casino games, this is definitely the town for you.

      The banner photo on my blog is of Sunset Key, a small island just off Key West. The resort shown is Sunset Key Cottages (large houses, really) by Westin. I dream of staying there one day. We could meet up and enjoy a margarita together as the sun sets…

  3. Marcia
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:03:41

    Ahh, this takes me back! I lived there in the late 1990s and loved every minute of it! We lived in the suburb of Green Valley, about a mile from the south end of the strip. My late husband was an executive chef and he worked first at the Stratosphere and late at Treasure Island. I was a branch manager at a local Credit Union. The strip has so much to see, but the surrounding area is also awesome. Mt. Charleston has skiing, Nascar has a racetrack, Valley of Fire state park is gorgeous, as is Red Rock park and Lake Mead, Hoover Dam is full of power and history, and a drive through the desert to see the wild horses and burros, not to mention all the varieties of cactus is pretty special, too. I loved waking up every morning to sunshine and a view of the mountains. Yes, August heat can be brutal-up to 120 degrees some days, so a walk on the strip with chocolate in hand is not advised.
    I’ll bet you saw more than you were able to write into one post, so I’ll look forward to hearing more one day. I think you should go again…you can’t see it all in one trip. 🙂 I’ll climb into one of your bags and go with you! Thanks for bringing back memories, Jolyse!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 16:53:49

      Thanks for sharing all your memories about Las Vegas. Yes, I’ve so many more stories to write (we’ve been there three times so far) and look forward to your feedback.

      Wow, you raised fearless kids! Good for them.

      I look forward to returning, but we likely will have to wait until our daughter finishes college in two years. 🙂

  4. Marcia
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 13:09:14

    Forgot to mention, my kids rode the rides at the Stratosphere weekly and LOVED them! They were 10 and 16 at the time. I had NO desire to try it myself. In fact, they tried out most of the rides on the strip while we lived there.

  5. Catie Rhodes
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 17:31:49

    I’ve seen human statues in New Orleans. It is odd. Las Vegas is a neat, neat city. The only time we went was when we were young and didn’t have enough money to do anything cool.

    Now that we have money to do something cool, we live in suburbia. The next house is only twenty feet away. When we vacation, the only thing I want is to be quiet isolated places. We visit teeny tiny towns and find isolated places out in the middle of nowhere to just be. So you showed me some stuff I’ll probably never see. 😀

  6. Julie Glover
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 17:46:50

    My husband has had business trips to Las Vegas, and I’ve yet to be able to accompany him! Something on our calendar always gets in the way. I think the roller coasters you describe sound great! I’d probably love them. Gambling doesn’t appeal to me, but the architecture, people-watching, shows, scenic views, and, um hello!, M&M candy store would be worth the trip. Thanks for sharing, Jolyse!

  7. Elena Aitken
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 20:36:32

    I love Vegas! I’m a mountain and forest girl and I never thought I would like Vegas. In fact, i only begrudgingly went (as a surprise to my husband for his birthday) But there is so much going on in that city. I felt comfortable the entire time I was there, and I’ve since been back twice. I enjoyed it so much the last trip, I set my latest novel there – Nothing Stays In Vegas
    I can’t wait to go back this December and run the Rock and Roll Half Marathon!
    Great post and awesome way to offer a different perspective.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:15:23

      Thanks for stopping by, Elena. I was raised in the mountains myself, so Las Vegas is quite a contrast. You’re right; there’s so much going on there. Quite a setting for a novel. Congrats on the latest book, and best wishes on your marathon. 🙂

  8. alicamckennajohnson
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 21:36:25

    We went to Vegas to see the Glee concert- and while there were interesting things to see none of my family will ever go back- unless I had enough money to go to all of the Cirque du Soleil shows and stay in one of the really nice hotels. I’d rather be at the beach. I have friend who love it- but it’s just not my thing.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Sep 20, 2011 @ 07:19:32

      Hi, Alica.

      If you join the Total Rewards club (free) and use that card whenever you gamble, you’ll get “comped” for cheap nights at nice hotels. We don’t gamble that much, but have received free-$40 nights. We don’t bring the children on these getaways. I prefer the beach, too, but I adore the Cirque de Soleil shows–especially “O.”

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