The Landsby – Solvang, Calif.

5 Sep

You have got to go here…The Landsby – Solvang, Calif.

Usually I write about places to go and see, but I was so impressed with a little boutique hotel that I just had to honor it with its own blog post.

Located in the quirky, but oh so cute town of Solvang, The Landsby is the perfect hotel for a girls weekend, a romantic night or just an excuse to get away and eat great food.

When looking for a cute hotel just to spend one night at while passing through town, I stumbled upon The Landsby. It looked quaint in pictures and got rave reviews so I said, why not.  When we arrived the first thing we noticed was how great the service was.  The second…SUPER cute, but simple decor.

It made me feel more like a guest in someones home, rather than a number at a big hotel chain.  After receiving our keys I knew that this was going to be a great stay…


This is a saying that resonates with me and I loved this small, but personal touch.

When we unlocked our door, we were immediately greeted by lots of light and again, very simple but inviting touches.

Not only was there a bag of lavender on our bed, but there was a ocean noise machine, a huge bathroom and plenty of space to relax.  Our view was the lovely town of Solvang and I couldn’t have been happier.  What I was really surprised by was that this awesome room was the least expensive one on the property.  I can’t even imagine what the other rooms looked like (there is even one with a loft).

The last thing (and most important) I want to talk about is the FOOD.  We were actually on our way  out to dinner when we got to the lobby and it smelled so good, we stayed for Happy Hour.

The prices were great and the food was out of this world.  They have a great selection of local beer and wine as well. It also doesn’t hurt that they play awesome music.

I was sad to leave the next morning, but happy to have discovered such a gem that I know I will be visiting again.

A couple of other things…they don’t offer room service, but have PINT service.  In the evening you can order a pint of local ice cream and have it delivered to your room.  Also, fresh continental breakfast is included with your stay.


Happy Landsbying,


Roar & Snore Safari – San Diego, Calif.

15 Aug

You have got to do this…Roar & Snore Safari – San Diego, Calif.

Who doesn’t dream of seeing majestic animals on an African safari?  Well, I may have  a closer alternative for you!

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers a Roar & Snore Safari on select weekends throughout the year. This experience gives campers an opportunity to sleep amongst some of the most beautiful creatures on earth while getting to take part in exclusive programs.

Your first decision – what tent to pick. There are three options that range from $140 to $220 per person.  We chose to glamp (glamorous camping) and I am not going to lie…it was AWESOME!

Our tent came with a bed, fan, outlets, a deck with chairs and sat right on the edge of the African Plains. Everyone time I went outside (no matter what time of day or night) I was graced with the beauty of an animal grazing the vast area. Here is a sneak peek of what you will see…


I firmly believe whatever tent you pick, this will be an experience you will never forget.

Speaking of the experience…from the time you check-in to the time you leave, you are hosted to non-stop activities, like up close and personal interactions with animal ambassadors who aren’t normally seen by the general public.

BUT, my favorite things were the night and early morning walks that gave you access to the animals when they are the most active (and there are no other guests around as these walks were outside of park hours).

It was so awesome to see the elephants playing under the moonlight, baby tiger cubs wrestling with their mom and of course the lions waking up and greeting the first visitors of the day. Talk about feeling like a V.I.P!

How could this be topped…how about s’mores?


Oh, I forgot to mention, we went to adult only night, but they have family night and even a Girl Scout night, so there really is an event for everyone.

A few tips:

-Dinner, snack and breakfast is included and is actually pretty good!

-It is a late night and early morning, but the sights you will see will make up for the lack of sleep.

-Speaking of lack of sleep…another thing that is included is ROARING!  YES, the lions roar all night and it is so rad!

This isn’t an inexpensive trip by any means, but it is a worthwhile outing that needs to be experienced at least once.

Happy ROARING and not so much snoring,





Point Lobos State Reserve – Carmel, Calif.

31 Jul PL12

You have got to go here…Point Lobos State Reserve – Carmel, Calif.

It’s no secret how beautiful the drive on Highway 1 is between San Luis Obispo and Carmel, or the fact that everyone knows they HAVE to stop in Big Sur.  While Big Sur rightfully deserves the praise it gets, I am here to tell you that there is another magnificent place that must be visited along the way – Point Lobos State Reserve.


Located in Carmel, Point Lobos is a playground for nature lovers.  With miles of hiking trails (for all skill levels – most of their trails are ADA accessible), tide pools, beaches and even scuba diving there is something for everyone.

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As if these pictures don’t you make you start planning your vacation now, there is more.

There seems to be magic around every turn, from the fairytale scenery to the majestic hidden coves…your eyes will be on overload.

This is just a small portion of what this state park has to offer.

Here are a few tips:

-Get there EARLY, parking ($10 per car) is limited.

-Buy the trail map, it well worth it.

-If you have all day, spend all day.

-Pack a picnic lunch and bring plenty of water.

-Join a docent on a walk.

…and the best tip of all…keep your eyes open!

We spotted 3 sea otters in the span of two hours.  There are no pictures of these furry creatures as they are something you need to see for yourself.

Happy Lobosing,








California Tower – San Diego, Calif.

29 May DSC_0927

You have got to go here…California Tower – San Diego, Calif.

Every museum has something special that drives a person to visit, but the San Diego Museum of Man has something extra special – a tower that you can climb that hasn’t been open for 80 years!

The California Tower, which boasts 360 degree views of San Diego last saw footsteps in 1935.


The tour takes approximately 40 minutes and does require climbing 7 flights of stairs (including 1 slightly steep spiral staircase), but the view and the tour through history is so worth it.

Don’t worry, the tour guide stops at each landing to give you time to take a breath (if you are relatively good shape this will be a breeze for you), talk about the tower and let you enjoy the view.


Once you hit the top, be prepared to be wowed and enjoy views that most people don’t get to see.

You are only allowed 15 minutes at the landing, but I found it was plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the moment. There are even several benches to take a rest on.


For an additional $8 on top of the museum admission you can take this journey that not many get to. My recommendations: DO IT!, get your tickets in advance and go early.  Balboa Park gets very busy as the day goes on so beat the rush.  OH and there are so many cool museums and things to do in Balboa Park so plan to stay all day…my favorite thing to do is bring a picnic as there are also tons of great places to relax.

Happy Climbing,



Yellowstone Bear World – Rexburg, Idaho.

14 Sep

You have got to go here…Yellowstone Bear World – Rexburg, Idaho.

Trips don’t always tun out as they are planned and that is OK!  When bad weather re-routed us through Idaho to Yellowstone National Park we were lucky enough to be able to visit Yellowstone Bear World and truth be told it is one of the best memories I took home from our trip.

The anticipation while waiting for the gates to open killed me, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.


                    OPEN OPEN OPEN

I interrupt this blog to insert a word of advice, there are two very cool experiences you can partake in: feeding bear cubs (yes, you heard me right) and feeding all the animals on the grounds from a raised vehicle. RESERVE EARLY!  Unfortunately we were too late to reserve on-line so as soon as we arrived we headed straight to the sign-up desk near the petting zoo to see if there were any last minute cancellations.  Luckily there were and I couldn’t wait to feed the animals.

While we waited for our tour to begin we couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the bear cubs at play.

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I LITERALLY could have stayed there all day and watched them, but alas it was our turn to load up and set off on an adventure.

For just $25 (for up to 7 family members – not a bad deal if you ask me) you are loaded in a raised vehicle and given food to feed the animals as you are driven through the park.  Butterflies were rampant in my stomach as I had been wanting to do something like this for so long.

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The tour is approximately 45 minutes, led by a docent and there are several stops along the way to feed the animals. I can’t say this enough – DO THIS!  Not only do you learn so much, it is immensely fun along the way.  They had to pry me off of the tour…

BUT, the fun didn’t end there…there is also a petting zoo, a store filled with goodies and snack shack that sells bear shaped french fries (I know this sounds so touristy, but they were actually delicious and I wish I hadn’t shared them!).

Oh wait, did I forget to mention the best thing – you can drive your own car right by bears, bison, moose, and wolves just to name a few.  For $17 per adult (everything in this blog is included with this price except the extra experiences and bear fries:)) you can drive your car through the park as many times as you would like, no two drives will ever be the same.

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Bear World is another example of awesome things that may not be your destination, but are an important part of the journey!

Happy Bearing,



Golf Gardens – Catalina Island, Calif.

26 Jan

You have got to go here…Golf Gardens – Catalina Island, Calif.


I am a firm believer that you are never too old to do anything, like play mini golf!

On a recent trip to Catalina Island my husband and I got a sudden urge to swing the clubs. Located just steps from the main drag is a really fun and unique miniature golf course.


So what makes it so different you ask?  All the holes tell you a story or a little tid bit of history about the island. Most people know that there are wild Buffalo on the Island, but do you know why.  Well, you can find out while trying to get a hole-in-one!

Another very cool thing is that the holes themselves are designed around the history you learn. If you want to discover more, I guess you are just going to have to go play a round for yourself!

Oh another thing – it is cheap! Just $9 for an honest to goodness fun time.

So grab your loved ones young or old and head to Golf Gardens next time you are on Catalina Island, you won’t want to miss this hidden gem!



Happy Golfing,




Chatsworth House – Derbyshire, UK

19 Jan

You have got to go here…Chatsworth House – Derbyshire, UK.

Who would fly 5,000 miles to take a picture?  This girl!  Boy am I glad that I followed my heart, because what I got was so much more than a photo.

Mr. & Mrs. Darcy

Mr. & Mrs. Darcy

Ever since I saw the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice I knew that I had to make it to Pemberley (all you Mr. Darcy fans out there know what I am talking about!) and in 2013 I finally got my chance.

So, I’m not going to lie…my trip to the United Kingdom was planned (mad props to Anne Marie at Across the Pond Vacations for all your help) around Chatsworth House.  Yes, I was excited to see London and Edinburgh, but really it was this place that I had been dreaming about that gave me butterflies.  All I knew about it was from a movie and through planning I was blown away by how amazing it really was.

First, lodging…where to stay?  On the grounds of course, above a pub – yes please!  The Devonshire Arms at Beeley is a car ride, walk or bike ride away from Chatsworth House. You choose your own adventure.

Hands down, this was one of the best places I have ever stayed.  It was in a picturesque village, the food, rooms and staff were all phenomenal. When I get stressed, I often picture myself having a pint on their patio while watching sheep graze nearby.

Are there other things to do around Chatsworth House you ask?  Absolutely!  It is located in the Peak District, which is a nature lovers dream.  Cycling, camping, hiking…the list goes on.  We couldn’t help but strap on our walking shoes and go exploring.  I recommend you stop by the Farm Shop first stock up on some fresh local provisions first!








With goodies in hand, we set out on the first trail we found, to enjoy the local wildlife and take a breath to enjoy life.  I know it may seem cheesy, but for as long as I live, the moment I spent sitting by the river having a picnic with my husband and my best friend will forever be one of the best.




As if life couldn’t get any better…it was finally time to go and explore Chatsworth House.  I have two big tips for you.  Plan to stay all day (one day may not be enough for you) and buy the Discovery ticket, which includes the house, garden and farmyard as you must see it all.

OK, in a nutshell, there is art, magnificent gardens, trails to explore, cute animals, a human sundial, fountains, shopping, yummy restaurants, and happiness!  OH and a hedge maze…a legit one.  It took us 45 minutes (rookies!) and it was a blast.  The research I did before hand did not do this place justice and I had 1000% more than anticipated.

Another thing I loved was the fact that there was so much open space to just lounge and take a moment to soak all the beauty in.

The moral of this story is…everyone has their Chatsworth House, so whether it is near or far.  GO!!! You never know what other awesome things you will discover and I promise once you set eyes on your dream place for the first time your life will change forever – I know mine did.

Happy Chatsworthing,


P.S. Any P&P fans out there recognize this?