Vegas views – beyond The Strip

By Judy Berman

Casinos, gambling, the shows, the night life. That’s what many think of when they first hear “Las Vegas.” But on The Strip and off, there are many delightful surprises.

On our recent mini-vacation to Vegas, we visited Bellagio. The Fountains provide a light show of water and music. A mesmerizing attraction found along Las Vegas Boulevard. But it’s not the only beautiful site here.

To escape the desert heat, we walked thru blocks of gaming tables and stores to view  the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

The art gallery will feature Claude Monet: Impressions of Light through Jan. 6, 2013. It showcases 20 works by Monet and eight other canvases by Impressionists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Camille Pissarro and Eugene Louis Boudin.

A carousel, egrets, a blue and white sailboat, and soaring balloons bring back memories of a carefree summer at the seashore in the Northeast. They are featured in the Summer Garden display of flowers and plants, part of Bellagio’s Conservatory that opened May 21st and will end on Sept. 8th.

Get off The Strip and check out the sites outside Vegas as well. One morning, we had breakfast at Mt. Charleston Lodge which is 7,717 feet above sea level. It’s about 50 miles outside of Vegas at the end of Highway 157.

From the restaurant’s deck, we breathed in the fresh mountain air and enjoyed temperatures about 30 degrees cooler than in the city. The restaurant was overshadowed by mountaintops. It was surrounded by views of juniper, pine trees, aspen and rustic log cabins. (Photo on left: Mt. Charleston)

Had we been in the mood for a walk, there were 50 miles of marked trails. Tempting, but we decided to linger over breakfast and enjoy the view. (Photo: I’m with my brother, Hank Fiet, at Mt. Charleston)

If it’s desert areas you are hankering for, Dry Lake in Clark County off Interstate 15 might quench that thirst. At a distance, it does look like there’s a lake up ahead. But there was no water on that terrain the day we visited.

The Dry Lake, at 2,096-feet elevation, is about 20 miles outside of Vegas. It’s where my Dad used to walk his dogs in the predawn hours before the sun was blazing and scorching every living thing in its path. (Photo below of Dry Lake)

Sometimes, it’s when you go off the beaten path that you make the richest discoveries. That’s what we found in Vegas.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Main photo: Dave Berman and I at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas

  1. What a great post – thank you! I’ve been to Vegas once, and wasn’t thrilled with it. But my husband wants to get me back there, and these spots will be my saving grace! Looks like you had a wonderful time! Great photos!

    1. AA, I wouldn’t mind returning to Mt. Charleston Lodge for dining and its amazing views. While in Vegas, you might want to visit Death Valley. It has many wonderful features. Read “Off the Beaten Path, Nevada” by Heidi Knapp Rinella for a guide to unique places. I have the 5th edition.

    1. Thanks, Paprika. My brother lives in Vegas, so we go there about once a year. Bellagio’s changes out its gardens about 4 times a year. It’s always a delight to see what they do. We’ve seen Scotty’s Castle and several other sites in Death Valley – very cool.

  2. Vegas is a fascinating place to visit. We’ve been there four or five times and are always amazed at the non-casino-ish attractions that occur there. Because of the casino money, they really do bring in the best the world has to offer. And wow, Monet and Pissaro. I would love to see that art.

    1. We go to Vegas every year because my folks – now, only my brother – live there. So we’re always looking for something non-casino-ish to do. Michael, I love Monet. I have several books on his art and have visited his home in Giverny. I was really excited to discover his work was on exhibit while we were there.

  3. My first reaction to the photo at the top of the post? Your husband bears a striking resemblance to John Voight, Angelina Jolie’s dad. I’m assuing that’s your mate, not someone who’s from Vegas…and stays in…Vegas? 😆

    Immediately on the heels of that thought? My daughter was there last weekend for a dancer friend’s wedding, outside of “the strip.” Fate steered me toward your post today. That and your generous comments on my blog.

    My daughter enjoyed her time in the “other” Vegas. So much so that I’m encouraged to take a trip back to see the area for myself. Difficult to believe there’s anything to Vegas but the strip. Not that we didn’t enjoy all the glitz and noise Las Vegas offers, but a little normalcy is always nice too.

    aaahhh…vacation…gateway to fantasies…away from reality…housework, cooking, laundry…

    1. Dave, my hubby, will be tickled that you think he looks like Jon Voight. We were fortunate that some woman came up and offered to take a photo of us on our IPhone. Otherwise, we’d have been busy snapping each other solo at various spots – until my brother, Hank, joined us. (Still, I always laugh about this, thinking of the movie, “European Vacation,” where a random person offers to take Chevy Chase’s family’s photo … and then runs off with the camera.)
      There are many cool spots to see in Vegas and outside. Mt. Charleston Lodge is one of my brother’s favorite retreats. This year was our first visit there.
      Hugmamma, I hope you get out to Vegas soon. Just wait until summer’s over. It’s really blasting hot now.

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