Lake Las Vegas – Don’t be fooled

Lake Las Vegas is an incredibly sad place – and that makes me sad.  It had so much promise.

Lake Las Vegas is a man made lake and community that was severely hit by the economic downturn and recession unbeknownst to us prior to our stay.  Many properties are either left unfinished, or boarded up abandonments as a result of bankruptcy.  Despite all this, there is a beautiful Westin hotel there.

During our Wild West adventure, my husband and I decided to stay there and leave the glitz of downtown Vegas behind for a night.  And it seemed like a great idea.  When we arrived, were shocked and saddened by what we saw.

As I mentioned, the hotel was beautiful, but trying to find a restaurant for dinner was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I have a weird thing about hotel restaurants, I almost always want to get out to explore and try to find some place new and exciting or a total hole in the wall.  We finally found an incredible Italian restaurant, Luna Rossa along the water in what they call the Village of Lake Las Vegas, but it took some time to find it.

In a nutshell, what should have been a relaxing night away, was actually quite a depressing little side trip.  I hope the Lake Las Vegas area can make a comeback, but as of right now, I would not recommend adding it to your Vegas itinerary, unless of course you’re stopping by for an Italian dinner.

The Wild West Part One

So I have something really embarrassing to admit.  If you read the About Me section you’ll note that I’d only been on an airplane once before the age of 18.  It gets worse. In the United States I hadn’t been outside the eastern timezone until after I graduated college.  I KNOW.  WHAT was I doing with the first 22 years of life??*

Needless to say, with that in mind, my boyfriend/fiance/now husband and I instituted a policy to help me see the good ole fashioned USofA.  The thought was (now is) each year we take one domestic and one international trip, that way I can see all the beauty this country has to offer without sacrificing a stamp on my passport in the process (I love my passport stamps).

After much thought, we planned out a 10 day wild west road trip, starting in swinging Las Vegas.

vegasI didn’t really know what to expect from Las Vegas, and honestly, I didn’t expect to like it.  The only thing I knew going in, apart from the obvious, was that I must choose wisely when picking a place to buffet.  I had no idea that buffet culture was such a thing!  After extensive research, I decided that the Wicked Spoon inside the Cosmopolitan would be the one.  I had read that it was the best buffet in town, and as a result, Caesars spent millions of dollars to create its own rival buffet.  (Note: next time I must check out Caesars.)  After eating fried chicken, waffles, fruit, ice cream, french toast, and pancakes for breakfast (yikes!), my husband and I slowly rolled each other out of the Cosmopolitan and onto the rest of the strip.  And we walked the heck out of that strip.  I’m fairly confident my Jawbone Activity Tracker tapped out at well over 30,000 steps.  Does that undo the breakfast ice cream?  Probably not, but it certainly made us feel better!

vegas 2My husband and I aren’t gamblers, so we saw a Cirque du Soleil show (he was not to be dragged to Britney, sad face) and checked out the brand spanking new Linq.  It had just opened a few days prior to our visit and we were thrilled to be some of the first on the holy roller!  It was so new that we had the entire compartment to ourselves.  We watched the beautiful Bellagio fountains from above and just took it all in.

After a night at the MGM Grand in Vegas (which I highly recommend), we hopped into our rental car (a fab little Prius), and it was time to check out the Hoover Dam, and then march onward into Utah and Arizona.  Granted, there was a pit stop in Lake Las Vegas – but we’ll gloss over that for now, review to come later.

Stay tuned for part two, as our foray into red rocks, cacti and bucket list items are just beginning!

*Answer: Exploring the eastern seaboard.