Home more of a feeling than a place

One of the things I have lamented about missing the most since moving from Southern California to Nevada is the diversity of activities and environments within an hour or so’s drive.

I loved the fact that there were beaches, deserts, mountains and museums not too far away. There was always something to do or somewhere to go.

This past weekend, however, I had a “light-bulb moment” and realized that many of those same things could be experienced here, and often at a shorter distance from my home or without traveling at all.

Just in the course of 2½ days, I experienced so many different things that I realized the diversity I had been missing was here all along. All I had to do was open my eyes — and heart — to it. I don’t know how I missed that for so long.

For years, whenever I yearned to find a beach I would pack up the car and the family and head south, which was both time-consuming and expensive. But I considered it a form of therapy. I find it extremely relaxing and spiritually invigorating to sit by the ocean and watch the waves crash upon the shore. And while there is no ocean shore nearby, there are beaches and beautiful bodies of water to sit beside.

Just a short drive from Boulder City is Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The park has beaches and ample places to sit and admire the sparkling water. The best part: It’s just minutes away. I can relax by the shore and sleep in my own bed at night.

Plus it is located in the desert, so there really is no need to drive far to experience a different kind of environment. Often, all you have to do is turn around. There are great trails to hike and places to picnic. In fact, it has more than 2,300 square miles on land and water to explore.

It also has a wonderful visitor center filled with information about the park and with displays and exhibits that can sort of double as a museum.

But if you really want to visit a museum, Boulder City has a great one inside the Boulder Dam Hotel. It’s dedicated to the history of the city and building of Hoover Dam and filled with great exhibits about the people who made the city and the hardships they endured, as well as the engineering marvels and dangers involved with building the dam.

The mountains aren’t far away either. There are trails in the surrounding hills, and Mount Charleston is less than an hour away. Temperatures are cooler there, providing a place to escape the summer heat or take advantage of winter snow.

The places and activities of home are just part of what I missed. Truly, I think it was the people I left behind.

Fortunately for us, we live in one of the most popular areas for visitors.

Guest rooms are practically de rigueur in every home, just sitting and waiting for some long-lost relative or friend to call up and say, “Hey, I’m coming to Nevada and was wondering/hoping/praying that I could stay at your house.”

Even if they don’t stay at my house, I often get phone calls and messages to meet up with a friend from back home who will be in the area for fun or business and hope I can squeeze in some time to visit. I also have made many new friends here, and with each passing day those bonds grow stronger. Maybe Dorothy Gale had it right all along. There is no place like home — no matter where that home happens to be.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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