The first and foremost place I want to be right now is the Grand Canyon. I love the Grand Canyon. I have been there twice and as soon as I pass through Williams and into the wild unencumbered desert something in me changes and my soul just settles. Everytime PBS runs their Grand Canyon special I am sucked in like a child to those giant lollipops. And yes, that's me on the mule when I was MUCH younger.
My second favorite place is in the mountains of North Carolina. There is a place called Springmaid Mountain. I have been there a few times and every time I'm there, I never want to leave. There's nothing spectacular about the lodging. It's pretty generic cabin type stuff, but the mountain itself is beautiful. There's a spring and horses and it sits right on the Toe River. I swear if you go there you can not hold on to tension of any sort.
Another place I love is not nature-oriented, but I have such fond memories of spending days here that I had to add it. It is the Serpentine Wall in Cinncinnati. I'm not sure why, but there is something there that really appeals to the creative side of me. You can sit in one state and look across the river at the other state. Plus, when I was there, there was an old paddleboat that sat on the side and I always imagined what Cincy was like "back in the day."
Another non-nature oriented place was the Ca'd zan Mansion in Florida. Actually, not the mansion. I could give two flips for wealth and opulence. But when you walk around the house you are left on a patio over looking the bay (at least I think it is a bay). When you stand there, smelling the sea air, entrenched by tile and stone, you can't help but be touched by the artisans who created the mansion. The spot is magical.
Last is a place I only spent one day in. A long time ago I volunteered with the Nature Conservancy and I was sent to the Green Swamp in South Carolina. I was one of only 3 people out of a promised 10 who showed up. We spent a long hot August day cleaning up roofing shingles and tires and other garbage that idiots had illegally dumped. As my reward for working so hard I was taken into the very heart of the swamp where anyone not associated with the Nature Conservancy was not allowed to go. And I found out why. There is the middle of the swamp was an actual savannah. It was amazing, untouched and so unexpected in the coastal swamp area that I just sat there and soaked it all in, knowing it was a rare gift. Bet you didn't know there was a savannah in South Carolina. And no, this picture is not of the savannah. I didn't have my camera that day.
Sadly I live so far away from all of these places now that I am not sure I will ever see them again. And I'm sure there are more places. Heck, I've lived in 4 different states, visited 30 states and traveled to 5 different countries. But not every state or place had something that forced me by its sheer natural power to just breathe and refresh. So I'm interested to know, where's your "special" place? Maybe someone out there has one that I could actually afford to go to. I have several readers who live an hour away so I'm hoping you know something I don't know.