My Favorite Places to Walk…

maverickforchristmasIn my soon-to-be released book, A MAVERICK FOR CHRISTMAS, the hero and heroine take a walk in the snow before and after they go sledding.  I remember as a child, walking down the street where I lived with the snow falling, feeling so peaceful.  I didn’t want to be out there a long time, but it was almost a surreal experience.  imagesCALM7D44

I don’t really like to exercise, but I do like to walk.  That’s a good thing because the first two years of my college career, I attended Virginia Tech and I had to cross a drill field several times each day to attend classes.  I didn’t realize it, but I was “exercising”.Smile   How do I know this?  I recently revisited one of my favorite hikes to the Cascades Falls in Pembroke, VA.  It sounds like a very reasonable hike.  Two miles up.  Two miles down.  When my husband and I decided to take the hike this past weekend, I thought it should be cake.  Same as a big day at an outlet mall, right?


I forgot about all the climbing and steps.019

Multiply the steps from the above photo X 20!!!  I became acquainted with the harsh reality of my lack of physical fitness.  Despite my embarrassing lack of stamina, I was determined to make it to the top to see the magnificent falls.  Because they are what makes the hike worth the climb. 

With a few breaks, I made it and the Falls were as beautiful as ever.  If I decide to do this hike again, I’ll definitely prepare (train) for it better!  026

I have other favorite places that I have walked.  DiamondHeadUp I loved walking Diamond Head in Hawaii because I did it with my parents and my young children, and the view was amazing.    I love walking the FLAT sands of Myrtle Beach, SC.  023  I have so many memories from there and the ocean is healing and amazing to me.  I enjoyed walking in Paris, Rome, Bellagio and Florence.  I find a walk in Times Square fascinating and stimulating. 

Sadly, the one place I walk that I don’t find at all fascinating is …. on my treadmill.Smile

What about you?  What are some of the favorite places you have walked?



Please watch for A MAVERICK FOR CHRISTMAS, available October 18!

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30 Responses to My Favorite Places to Walk…

  1. Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    I love to walk the beach at our cottage, espeically in the early morning when it is quiet and you can hear the lap of the waves as they hit the shore… In the winter I like to walk through our park… Watch the way the snow has fallen in the little valleys and slopes..

    I already have your book on my next Harlequin order…

    • leannebanks says:

      Thank you Kathleen!:) You made my day. I’m closing my eyes and can almost hear that lap of the waves. It’s such a wonderful sound and snow can be so beautiful (as long as I don’t get too cold!) Thanks for sharing! xo, Leanne

  2. kris says:

    Over the summer, we were in SanFran and did a private tour of Muir Woods. We hiked 3.5 miles. After walking all over up and down SanFran the previous day and the following day, I was so done with walking. We took cabs everywhere on our last day in the city!

    • leannebanks says:

      Did you love Muir Woods? I think that’s such a mystical place. I almost think those trees could talk. But I’m with you on too much of a good thing. And I’m back to my less scenic walk today — treadmill. Good for you getting a cab! Thanks for conjuring that picture for me. I loved Muir Woods so much I once mentioned it in a book. xo, Leanne

  3. CateS says:

    Early morning or early evening on any beach are a true pleasure for me.. And strolling thru Brown County in Indiana for the fall foliage is always a treat…

    • leannebanks says:

      Cate, I enjoy walking so much more when the weather cooperates. This Fall, our weather has been a dream. We saw Fall colors this past weekend because we were in the mountains. Here in Richmond, we’re still waiting our turn.:) Thanks for sharing!:) xo, Leanne

  4. kylie brant says:

    Reminds me of the time I went to Oregon to research a book and had my daughter (back to nature girl) take me hiking through the Willamette Forest, up Castle Rock to the falls, etc. I figured no problem; I walk 4 miles several times a week. Uh, yeah and *flat* ground. My muscles were weeping and my heart was pounding out of my chest! But I got there. No resting for me. Beautiful area…that made it all worthwhile!

    • leannebanks says:

      Kylie! Flat ground is so important! That may be why I like walking on nice hard sand with a breeze. I know what you mean about the heart pounding. I was just hoping mine wouldn’t explode in my chest! Thank goodness it was beautiful and how wonderful that you went with your daughter. THANKS for your story.:) xo, Leanne

  5. Cindy Gerard says:

    Love the photos, Leanne. The Falls is a beautiful place. I love walking too … so much that I hiked the Grand Canyon one year. 11 miles down, 11 miles back up. Grueling, painful, exhausting – live altering. I trained for that experience and still could have used a LOT more conditioning.
    Walking in Iowa this time of year is beautiful and exhilarating. so many pretty colors.
    Congrats on the new release! I can’t wait to read it..

    • leannebanks says:

      Cindy I was SO impressed (and kinda horrified) when you did that!:) But it gave you such a feeling of accomplishment, didn’t it?:) Thanks for sharing.:) xo, Leanne

  6. Marilyn says:

    My younger son lives in Asheville, NC and when I visit him we always go exploring. Usually it involves a short hike somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway. One time we hiked about a half mile of the Appalachian Trail. So now I can say I hiked the AT. LOL! When I visited two months ago we climbed to the top of Clingman’s Dome. It’s the highest spot in Tennessee and while the path is paved, it’s steep. I had to stop a lot to catch my breath both due to the steepness and the thinner air. I’m seriously considering going to the Smoky Mountains by myself for Christmas to stay in a B&B with a spa package. It would be nice if it snowed, but the snow has to be gone by the time I have to leave. LOL I want to go see Biltmore House decorated for Christmas. It’s a hike to walk all over that place too.

    I walked through Muir Woods, too, the summer RWA was in San Francisco. It’s AMAZING!


  7. leannebanks says:

    Marilyn, I love that you hike with your son. I bet you’ve been treated to a lot of beautiful views. That’s my fave thing about taking a hike — I’m a fool for a great view.:) The Smoky Mountains at Christmas sounds wonderful!!!:) Thanks for popping in Sweetie!;) xo, Leanne

  8. Carole Fiore says:

    I love walking the beach but since I don’t live near the beach anymore, I’ve been walking the bike trail in St. Marks, its part in the national forest and its so pretty. I have a thread mill, but like walking outside more. I find that its peaceful and I can look at nature and praise God at the sametime!

    • leannebanks says:

      Carole, I bet that bike trail in St. Marks IS beautiful! When I’m on deadline, I sometimes have to think about how long it’s going to take me to get to a place that offer a beautiful walk! But good for you finding one for yourself!:) Thanks for sharing! xo, Leanne

  9. Candace Schuler says:

    I love walking in cities. Big cities. Paris. London. New York. I can go for miles and miles. Strolling down the fashionable Champs-Élysées or in the art district of Montmartre… wandering through Greenwich Village or Shepherd Market in Mayfair… poking into musty secondhand bookshops and funky clothing stores and avant-garde art galleys. And people watching! I love the people watching. Plus, when you get tired, you can sit down in some little café and have a restorative glass of wine or cup of espresso.

    • leannebanks says:

      Candace, this all sounds wonderful!:) There are so many different flavors, colors and smells to a city. And I’m with you on the people watching. All kinds of stories come to mind when I watch people!:) I’ll take a glass of wine, too. Thanks for the great description!:) xo, Leanne

  10. michelehauf says:

    Looks like it was worth any aches, pains and groans that accompanied the hike! I don’t love exercise, but I should walk more. Wish we had some trails in the neighborhood, but alas just a freeway close by. 😦

    • leannebanks says:

      Michele, we don’t have trails in my neighborhood either. And I hate to sound anti-social, but I prefer not to have to chat while I’m walking! So I don’t walk much in my neighborhood. xo, Leanne

  11. Kristine says:

    I love to walk! There are so many places I love walking at, too! And even more that are on my bucket list of places I will some day walk! Some of my favs are any hiking trail in the Smokies (Clingman’s Dome, Laurel Falls, Cades Cove, etc.), the Turkey Creek Walk in Niceville (Florida), several hiking trails in Cherokee (North Carolina), Ferry Park– here in my hometown of Fort Walton Beach (which my oldest and I walk every day before starting school), and without a shadow of doubt the French Quarter in NOLA (where the sounds and smells take me back to my childhood and my late grandma’s kitchen, and there’s enough culture to give you whiplash). I also love walks that serve to bring awareness to important causes. I just did a walk to end illiteracy this past Saturday. I’ll do another for arthritis in December, and then my favorite– Relay 4 Life– in the spring.

    • leannebanks says:

      Oh, wow, Kristine, I LOVE YOUR LIST! You make me want to go all of those places! One of my favorite memories was walking through the French Quarter on a Sunday morning. Music playing and the morning made everything seem so fresh and full of possibilities. And wonderful point about walking for causes. I did a Relay 4 Life for my 40th birthday. THANK YOU for your wonderful post!:) xo, Leanne

  12. Heather L says:

    Congrats on the upcoming new release, Leanne!

    Walking is my prefered form of exercise, and I try to get out around my neighborhood a few times a week, 2-4 miles each time. The way my neighborhood is set up, a literal “walk around the block” is 2.25 miles, but my favorite route is closer to four. It’s a good workout, given the hilly terrain in my area.

    I also love to walk up to the Arboretum (about a mile from where I live) once or twice a month, though I think I overdid it yesterday (four hrs wandering woods and prairies trails). Despite being right off the Beltline, there’s such a feeling of peace there…of tranquility…and you never know what you’ll see. Right now, both prairie and woods are a riot of color with changing leaves, and the New England Asters are in full bloom. I saw wild turkeys twice last week, a small herd of deer, and — hands down my favorite — two red-tail hawks reeling together overhead against the bluest October sky imaginable.

    • Leanne Banks says:

      Thanks Heather! You are a REAL walker! Good for you making a regular practice of it. The hills are what do me in!:) Don’t you love it when you can find that place of tranquility? It just feels like it cleans out your soul. I can see why you try to get up there so frequently. It sounds BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xo, Leanne

  13. Janet Pepsin says:

    Favorite city walks… well, anywhere in Rome. It is such a walkable city. Or how about the length of the Champs Elysees in Paris, from the Jeu de Paume to the Arc de Triomphe, past all the quintessential French cafes.

    Like you, I think beach walks rule! The flat sands of Sandy Hook, NJ, out to the end overlooking the Manhattan skyline is another of my favorites. Speaking of Manhattan, how about the Village?

    Here in Monmouth County, we have an excellent park system, and any one of the parks affords great hikes…wildlife, reservoir, bike paths, along the bay in Atlantic Highlands. This morning, I walked 4 miles with a friend, and even though it was on residential streets, it didn’t matter. The company is what made that walk special!

    • Leanne Banks says:

      Oh Janet, you’re making me want to go back to Rome AND Paris! Sigh. Good for you on the walk with a friend. You started out the day and the week in a GREAT way! Thanks for the post! xo, Leanne

  14. C-Jay M says:

    I used to walk a LOT when I was younger; I was very interested in the race walkers in the Olympics. Our family used to camp, so I’ve been all over the US and Canada. I think we went on every nature trail there was: Take only a picture, Leave only a footprint. 🙂 One place I really enjoyed was the hike to the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde Nat’l Park. We have a lot of beautiful forests in Wisconsin, so took the kids out walking a lot. Now I’ve got a bum knee, so stick to slower walks on flat surfaces, usually around the neighborhood — or in the mall. 🙂

  15. Stephenia says:

    I always loved walking on the beach in San Diego, in the wet part of the sand where the water comes up and tickles your feet. Also in the boardwalk on Mission Beach, so many fun people to watch. My hubby used to surf cast and I’d walk up/down the beach. We used to travel up to Big Sur and hike around in the parks there, the trees are amazing. I also loved walking the tidepools in Okinawa on the East China Sea, poking around for great shells to take home. Washington DC has some great parks along the Potomac and the mall area between the monuments is a great spot too. My daughter and I loved walking through London and Paris when we took our trip there. There is always so much to see in a city when you’re walking and not just zooming in a vehicle from point A to point B.

    • Leanne Banks says:

      Stephenia are the beaches in San Diego usually warm or soft? I like walking in the surf too. I took my prissy little dog with me last time I visited the beach and she didn’t mind getting her feet in the surf either!:) I would love to do that Big Sur hike. So cool that you got a chance to enjoy Okinawa. I don’t think that one’s in my future, but I sure like hearing about it! xo, Leanne

      • Stephenia says:

        I remember the San Diego beaches as being warm, we lived there 10 years, but I was younger and at the time it was just so cool to be in California and close to the beach, that it didn’t matter if it wasn’t. The water can actually get pretty cold, most of the “real” surfer guys wore wet suits alot. But when you’re just walking the beach (watching the surfer guys) the sand is warm and toasty, smiles.

  16. Leanne Banks says:

    C-Jay, love it that you have such cool memories of all the camping and hiking your family did. Good for you!:) I know what you’re talking about with the knees. Mine are still pretty good, but I sure do notice them a LOT more than I once did!:) I bet those Wisconsin walks were beautiful. Very green. I WALKED a half-marathon a few years ago and really saw the value in the techniques the Olympic race walkers use! Thanks for your comment, darlin’! xo, Leanne

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