A magical time in a retro place. I can get onboard with that!
Although Moab has changed greatly over the last few years, it still retains that sleepy Americana vibe--especially in winter! It was nice to reconnect with the small town of my childhood this time of year, when Main Street isn't humming with the whine of ATVs.
It is a town central to the National Parks and we were able to stop into Arches (twice!), as well as Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands.
A lot of the restaurants and shops were closed for winter, but there are enough things open to make do.
I was thrilled to finally visit the Hole N the Rock home museum. It was ridiculously cool. I've stopped by for years but never actually made it on the tour until this trip. It wasn't hard to convince my husband to do it, as it combined all things nerdy that we love into an epic 5,000 square foot home that's basically a 1960s time capsule. The couple that lived there were an artist husband and his jewelry-making wife, Albert & Gladys Christensen. They were living the dream!
They don't allow photos on the tour (and I didn't want to upset the friendly ghost of Gladys) but here are some pictures I found online to give you an idea of the absolute wonder of this place.
It's basically the world's first zero emission home! And the fact it is carved into the sandstone means the temperature is self-regulating, so it's always about 67 degrees. The seafoam green kitchen was my favorite, but the giant bathtub carved into the rock was a close second. Seeing what one couple could make with their own hands was a rush of creative inspiration.
If you look above the "K" in the photo below you can see the top of the chimney poking out of the rock!
As far as the nearby parks go, I highly recommend Dead Horse Point. It is a state park, rather than national, and it is right up against Canyonlands so if you're already going to Islands in the Sky, there is no reason to not stop into Dead Horse along the way. The vistas are jaw-dropping. No matter how many times I go, it still takes me breath away and gives me vertigo, in that order.
Like all of the red rock I saw on this trip, I can attest that the view was 10x better with a dusting of snow. It gives more depth and perspective to something so BIG it is easy to lose a sense of scale.
It was strange seeing Canyonlands so very empty, and awesome to do a bit of offroading in the winter. Every time I visit Canyonlands I am blown away by how huge this park is and how much diverse land it encompasses!
I was also (finally!!!) able to visit Newspaper Rock!
One of the largest collections of petroglyphs in one place, Newspaper Rock is incredible because it was contributed to by 6 different Native American cultures, spanning 2,000 years (Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, & Pueblo). It is protected by a large overhanging rock and is gorgeously stark, as they carved the symbols through the desert varnish!
It was so special to have time alone at this site to muse on the meanings of the pictographs and the people who created them. I left feeling very inspired and grateful I was able to check this long-standing item off of my bucket list.
I can't wait to capture all of this inspiration on the canvas.