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The Big Move: LA to Nashville (Part One)

Moving to Nashville was a big deal! We lived in La Crescenta, California, for twelve years, and it was a LOT to pack. We had so many fabulous parties at this house and made so many beautiful memories. It was very emotional for me to say goodbye to our home.

Melanie Mills, her husband Nick and daughter Solaris

My best friend Amber is my realtor and has been with me through all the houses I've bought and sold. After purchasing this home, I went through an insane divorce, so there was that energy there too, and it was time for a change! Amber stayed with us till the end to say goodbye and was just as emotional. We took one last stroll through the house, and I definitely had a good cry.

Melanie's house in La Crescenta California

We had literally finished loading the second truck the day we were to start our cross-country drive. Since the moving trucks were gonna take a minimum of two weeks, we decided to make the transition a fun family trip.

We had our Honda Pilot filled to the brim with Stan, our taxidermied peacock's head over my shoulder and tail shooting back over all the luggage. It was pretty hysterical and made for great Snapchat posts, and was always a fun topic with the valet guys along the way. Solaris' Prius was also packed up to the brim, including Bella & The Guv'nor, our two dogs. I drove the Honda with Solaris while Nick drove the Prius with the pups.

Melanie's dog lounging in the backyardMelanie's dog in the backyard

We love to travel, and we love hotels. I'm a bit of a hotel snob, and the hotel experience is very much a part of the overall experience of the cities we travel to. The challenge was finding places to our taste that could accommodate two large dogs. With the help of our incredible travel agent, we were all set and off to Palm Springs.

Quick Stop in Palm Springs.
We stayed at The Kimpton. I love this hotel, we've stayed here before. Modern, clean with comfy beds. We got there at sunset, perfect for our view looking out toward the famous Palm Springs San Jacinto Mountains. This hotel visit was a big deal as it was our dogs' first. I was really nervous about how they would act in the lobby, with guests, and in the rooms. Bella is a sweet lamb but big and wants to say hi to everyone. The Gov' is a Bullheaded English Bulldog. Of course, the first thing he did was piss in the lobby! Overall they were good, just nervous and excited themselves.

The Kimpton

Palm Desert is one of my favorite places to go. I love the beautiful mountains and the loving healing energy that comes from them and the desert. The hotel sits in the middle of a plaza near the Palm Springs Art Museum, with incredible outdoor art installations scattered all about. It's nice as you get a bit of the museum experience without having to go in. We took a nice walk among them, grabbed dinner to eat in the room, and crashed. We were all exhausted!

Palm Springs Musem

Solaris and I are breakfast girls and love a good hotel breakfast. Nick would rather sleep in. We had the best, most decadent, delicious breakfast and coffee at the Juniper Table, perfect for the long 6-hour drive to Sedona.

Next stop, Sedona!
None of us had ever been, and wow! How stunning! I'd always wanted to go for the red rocks and the vortexes. Driving in was breathtaking. We couldn't help but laugh and feel a bit like we were on the Cars ride at Disneyland; they did a good job making it look like Sedona on the ride.

Melanie and Solaris in Sedona

We stayed at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock. We had breathtaking views of Bell Rock from our room. And the two nights that we stayed were stunning with the warm April breeze. The hotel has a great restaurant. We enjoyed martinis and had dinner at the fire pits with live music. Just dreamy!
Hotel view in Sedona
The highlights were hiking Bell Rock with the dogs, shopping for crystals, seeing the Chapel Of The Holy Cross, and visiting our family's historic house.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Our hotel was on the outskirts, and to get to town was only about two miles, but it took over an hour to get through town because of all the traffic on a two-lane highway! Regardless, the view was worth the traffic.

The Chapel Of The Holy Cross is very unique and so gorgeous. It adds an extra heavenly feeling set amongst the beautiful rich blue sky and red rocks. The homes in this area and along the road are huge, expensive, and unique. They are fun to look at as you sit in the traffic.

I'm a huge crystal collector and try to meditate with them daily. I travel with them, our cars have them, and my new home has my own alter room. I knew that there would be a lot of crystal stores here, and there were plenty! We were referred to one on the opposite side of town next to an alien tour guide shop. Nick didn't think we could, but I stuffed huge crystal rocks, a singing bowl, and a statue into the car!

On the last day in Sedona, we visited The Frye Smoke Trail Ranch at Sedona. This was the home of my great grandma's brother, Jack Frye. He founded TWA and his wife, Helen, was the former Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. The house is now a historical site. The rest of the trip consisted of massages, walks with the dogs, and hanging at the resort.

See you in Tucson.
After a three-and-a-half to four-hour drive through Phoenix, we hit the high desert, which was stunning! I couldn't wait to see the Sonoran Desert in bloom, and we caught the tail end of it. The bright yellow cacti flowers were a treat with the classic Saguaro Cacti. I'm very connected to the energies of the deserts; as I mentioned before, something there goes deep in me, filling me with tranquility.

Tucson

This was a one-night stop. We were referred to the unique Lowes Ventana Hotel. This hotel has a Frank Lloyd Wright feeling, a rock building decorated with a southwest early 90's vibe in grays and purples with starry carpets. They have an impressive collection of indigenous rocks and minerals too.

Our hotel balcony was against the Catalina Mountains making us feel like we were one with the environment. Totally trippy yet very cool. We went for a sunset dip in one of their many pools out by the golf course and were treated to hearing a concert of Bach from a local opera choir performing outside. I don't know what it was for, and we couldn't see it, but wow, was it magical. Solaris stayed in finishing up her finals online while we had a lovely outdoor dinner under the stars. It was as dreamy as it sounds.

Cactus

In the morning, we let Nick sleep in as usual and took the dogs for a mini hike on some manicured trails up the back of the property. There was a lot to read about the local plants, reptiles, animals, and some really ancient Saguaro cactus. A treat is that they also have an 80-foot naturally carved waterfall, but they maintain its flow. Solaris and I had a yummy hotel breakfast and were ready for the next leg of the trip. This was an excellent stay. I wouldn't mind returning to stay for a few days when the desert is in full bloom.


Stay tuned for the second leg of our trip and more adventures from the road...

 

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