Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon
You don’t have to wait until next fall to catch some of nature’s most breathtaking autumnal colors, said Andrea Sachs in The Washington Post. Just outside Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon national conservation area provides a 198,000-acre blank canvas for a rainbow of hues. There are ample hiking opportunities, but the highlight to me is a scenic 13-mile driving route that “wiggles around sculptural rock formations that shift in shape and color like a giant lava lamp.” Autumn in New England isn’t the only color theme: “The Red Canyon wears a Breton shirt of red, mauve, and gray stripes. The Lost Creek area parades the shades of an exotic garden: shiitake-mushroom brown and Japanese-eggplant purple.” A ranger told me that Native American legend has it that the largest rocks were painted crimson when a warrior killed Nevada’s last bear, spilling blood everywhere. A nice story, but it doesn’t explain the rest of the land’s colors.
Cincinnati’s renaissance district
Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood went from wasteland to upcoming locale in just a few short years, said Susan Glaser in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Recently, I met up with a group of fellow writers there at a bar called the Lackman. We raised a glass to new restaurants, shops, and the renovated Washington Park, an eight-acre oasis that once again has become a meeting place for locals and out-of-towners. A decade ago, a resurgence of Ohio’s most historic German neighborhood seemed impossible. Over-the-Rhine had first fallen on hard times during Prohibition, which crippled its beer-brewing industry. Street crime and drug traffic rose during the long decline that followed, culminating in 2001’s race riots. But a turnaround was spearheaded by a nonprofit development organization funded by many of the city’s big businesses. Though the neighborhood still has a ways to go, what’s been accomplished “is nothing short of amazing.”