The Road Less Traveled

by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets.  His wisdoms stated in such simple fashion speak to me, unadorned and yet filled with meaning.  Of all his poems, I love The Road Not Taken most of all.
Although he speaks of life's journey rather than just travel, those lines within the poem resonate for me -

Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
  - Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)

I love travel whether it's a vacation or a day trip or business travel.  I adore getting out onto the open highway or taking to the sky to head to a different destination.   Family members used to joke that I must have inherited some Gypsy genes because I was born with wanderlust and the urge to travel anywhere, anytime.

I have been many places in my lifetime but as the years pass, I discovered that I love the off the beaten track places most of all.   When I drive, I prefer to take the older two lane highways instead of the interstates and the freeways.  Those roads offer far better scenery, a true taste of Americana, and a window into the past. 

In my home state of Missouri, I enjoy St. Louis.  I've been to the top of the Gateway Arch and in Kansas City, I've been everywhere from downtown KCMO to the Royals baseball stadium.  But the places I prefer most are lesser known, like the little German city of Hermann, Missouri on the banks of the Missouri River between Jefferson City and St. Louis.  Hermann is known for its many wineries and for its unspoiled picturesque small town charm.

In Arkansas, there is much to see in the capital city of Little Rock but I like the little unspoiled places like St. Mary's Catholic Church in Altus, Arkansas.  The surrounding area of fertile valleys features more wineries but I like the windswept mountain top where St. Mary's crowns the summit.  As a Catholic, I love to visit and find that being alone in the cathedral style basilica is a wonderful experience.

Another Natural State favorite is the Victorian village, Eureka Springs, tucked away in the rugged Ozark Mountains.  With some of the most preserved Victorian architechture in the United States, Eureka Springs is a delight to visit in any season.

I like natural places with power and beauty....places like the mysterious Caddo Lake in east Texas and the waterfall at Dripping Springs State Park on the eastern edge of Oklahoma.

I like life in the slow lane and traveling to places that many people don't even dream exist.   In Oklahoma, although I love Tulsa like a second home and enjoy the bright lights of Oklahoma City, I like the Holy City of the Wichitas more.

Closer to home where I live in the far southwest corner of Missouri, I like places like these.....little known spots that I cherish

Or this favorite view from King Hill, rumored to be a Native American holy spot, in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri

Like Mr. Frost, I like the road less traveled by and it has made a very big difference to me.
Vacations can take me far from home, around the country or across the ocean.  Or they can lead me to secret places that touch my soul.

Har-Ber Village on the shores of the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Grove Oklahoma

Many of the places that I've visited and that I love find their way into my novels and my stories.
I think I hear the open road calling me now......


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