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FREE Fun in Las Vegas: 4-Letter Friday

Christmas lights Beth Ellyn Rosenthal eXp Realty Las Vegas Henderson

I know it’s not politically correct to say Merry Christmas, but I’m going to do it anyway! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This weekend is all about getting ready for the big day. Who has time to par-tee? (That’s for next weekend.) But I am going to give you some suggestions that are FREE and peaceful, since you probably have maxed out your credit cards by now.

Buckle up ’cause here we go.

Stroll Through the Christmas Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolates (Henderson)

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The Ethel M Christmas Cactus Garden Photo by ME

Psychologists say the holiday season is one of the happiest AND the most stressful time of the year. They suggest exercise, meditation or whatever to destress.

Well, what does it say about me that I destress at the Ethel M Chocolates Botanical Cactus Garden?

The Cactus Garden is three acres featuring 300 different kinds of plants that need little or no water. Half are cacti and succulents native to the Southwest with the rest desert trees from all over the world.

Someone easily planted these plants in 1981 next to the factory where Ethel M actually makes all its chocolates. Forty years later, they are gigantic.

They must offer sky high pay rates for the death-defying labor because someone wraps these cactii in Christmas lights. If I wanted to murder someone, I would push them into one of these cactii. Their thorns are thick and sharp as knives. Kevlar is no match for these things.

Which makes the visit to the Holiday Cactus Garden Lights so magical. You walk along the paved path and look up at the sparking lights on plants that seem to reach to the twinkling stars. It’s delightfully cold (as opposed cyclone bomb cold) which makes the experience exhilarating.

This is the 29th year of the festival. The Garden is closed Christmas Day but today Friday it’s open from 5 to 10. Tomorrow the times are 10 to 8.

New Year’s Day is the last day before those fearless folks have to take off all those Christmas lights from the snarling-thorned cactii.

Every year the Holiday Cactus Garden Lights tour has been FREE. But this year Ethel M is asking for a $1 donation which they will split evenly between HELP of Southern Nevada and Three Square, two local charities.

Here’s what’s really not FREE: All those delicious chocolates awaiting in the factory store. You have to keep me away because I would go into diabetic shock with all those delectable delights about. If you don’t want to spend any money, don’t go inside!!!!!!!

Hike the Union Pacific Trail and Watch the Trains (Henderson)

You can almost touch the trains! (the now demolished Fiesta Henderson casino is in the right corner.) Photo by me!

Since the weather is absolutely gorgeous today versus the rest of the country (I spent all morning lining up a plumber in Dallas since two of my properties already do not have running water. That means frozen pipes and floods when they break. Merry Christmas to all ye plumbers! But I digress), get out and walk off that stress. The current Las Vegas sky is a Magritte white-cloud blue.

One of my favorite urban hikes (versus those in Red Rock Canyon or Lake Mead National Recreation Area which will rival anything anywhere), is the Union Pacific Railroad Trail. Be warned this is NOT the most picturesque urban hike in Las Vegas. But it has one thing the others don’t: twains!

The railroads have to buy the right of way to build their tracks. For example, the Rio Grande Trail in Basalt, Colorado near my loft is probably the prettiest I know. It’s built on the the Aspen branch of the former Rio Grande Western Railroad. The trains stopped running in the 1990s. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bought it and paved it for biking and hiking trails.

The city of Henderson took a different approach here, since the trains are running. It paved a 12-mile path along the working train tracks. When the trains come, you are so close you can almost touch them.

Like lights on cactii, I find trains magical. I love to watch them hustle by, whistles blowing.

Sometimes the path veers from the train tracks and meanders through Henderson residential neighborhoods.

The best place to see the trains up close and personal is at the trail head at East Paradise Hills and Dawson Avenue. There’s plenty of parking. The other trail head is Green Valley Parkway and North Pecos Road.

The path is paved so it’s easy. No elevation gains!

Merry Christmas, Las Vegas. (Oops. I did it again.)

((hugs)) BETH Ellyn

YOUR Las Vegas Real Estate Concierge

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I am the founding Nevada State Managing Broker
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Hello from the Las Vegas Real Estate Concierge. I am a real estate broker. Doting mother. Pioneer Yalie (graduated in the first class of women.) Wild yam cream creator. Zumba fanatic. Dog lover and service dog handler. But most of all I love Las Vegas. Come visit

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