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California Tower – San Diego, Calif.

29 May

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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

Crystal

 

Golf Gardens – Catalina Island, Calif.

26 Jan

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

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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.

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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!

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Happy Golfing,

Crystal

 

 

Historic Route 66 – Amboy, Calif.

21 Jun

You have got to go here…Historic Route 66 – Amboy, Calif.

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OK OK OK, so this blog isn’t really about going to Amboy, it is more about not being afraid to go off the trail a little bit, yes it may take you a few extra minutes…but what does that matter when you’re discovering something new?

You can accomplish this one of two ways, do a little research (on blogs such as mine:)) before you head out on a trip to see what may be along your path or watch for signs and when you see something interesting…GO!

When heading home from a trip to Arizona recently we looked to one of our favorites sites – Roadside America and picked one place to veer off the straight and narrow.  Our choice this time…Amboy. This town, like so many others along Route 66 were very popular until the freeway was built and it took most travelers and business away from them (think about the movie Cars). But thankfully Amboy and Roys Motel & Cafe have been preserved so that they may also serve as a history lesson to the lucky visitors who decide to make a visit.

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In addition to a museum, Roy’s is also a working gas station still and sells snacks and drinks to weary motorists.

No, this isn’t as flashy as a theme park or as captivating as looking at the Statue of Liberty ,but it is still spectacular in it’s own right.  You never know what memories you are going to make when you decide to take a chance and try something new.

OH, if you do ever find yourself in Amboy – look out for the shoe tree…it is pretty awesome!

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Happy Amboying (or whatever roadside attraction you find yourself at),

Crystal

Descanso Gardens – La Canada Flintridge, Calif.

18 May

 

You have got to go here…Descanso Gardens – La Canada Flintridge, Calif.

Don’t you love when you discover something new in your own backyard?  I do!  That is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago when I spent a lovely day at Descanso Gardens.

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Located in the beautiful neighborhood of La Canada Flintridge, Descanso Gardens is 160 acres of glorious flowers, trails, and vistas that can be explored by the whole family!  If you just want to stop and smell the roses or strap on your hiking boots – this place is for you.

Love flowers?  Feel free to stroll through the Rose, California Native, Lilac and Japanese gardens (just to name a few)!

 

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While the flowers were gorgeous, they weren’t may favorite part of the day.  The best part were two things I discovered that were totally unexpected – TRAILS & TRAINS!

First, let me start with the trails – I had no idea that there were going to be so many little hiking opportunities around the property.  My advice, take the unbeaten path because you never know what wonders you will come across.  Please remember one thing, there is poison oak so be careful!

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I was also super excited to learn that you can ride around a portion of the grounds (for an additional $3 – which is totally worth it!) on a 1/8th replica of a diesel train called The Enchanted RailroadYES, big kids can ride on it too!

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If I haven’t mentioned enough to keep you occupied, trust me there is much more to see!  A historical home, expansive lawns to relax on, hidden benches to spend a moment with your loved ones, a bird observation deck  and the list just keeps on going…

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If you need to take a break for some food there is a cafe on-site or feel free to bring a picnic and eat at the tables just outside the entrance.

OH did I mention you get a day full of adventure of only $9??? You can’t beat that!  Trust me, Descanso Gardens is a place you have got to go to!

Happy Gardening,

Crystal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve – San Diego, Calif.

9 May

You have got to go here…Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve – San Diego, Calif.

Do I have any hikers in the house?  WELL, I have just the place for you.  If you have not hiked Torrey Pines then you have been missing out!

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With a multitude of trails, there is something for every skill level (for a challenge – park at the lower lot and hike up the hill, down the beach trail and north on the beach until you are back at your car).  

We chose Razor Point to Yucca Point to Beach Trail and back up Broken Hill.  Not only was it a great workout, we saw wildlife, flowers and breath-taking views along the way!
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What I also love is that there are tons of cool places to stop and take pictures along the way!

The basics: There is a $15 per carload fee to enter (totally worth it), great for families (visit the visitor’s center for a history lesson), bring plenty of water – and a picnic if you want!

Happy Hiking,

Crystal

P.S. If you want to make a weekend of it, may I suggest the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla?  Great boutique resort with fabulous food(BEST margarita ever), relaxing pool/spa (rent a sun bed -you won’t be disappointed) and top-notch service!

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International Cottages – San Diego, Calif.

6 Jan

You have got to go here…International Cottages – San Diego, Calif.

As a Southern California native I have been to Balboa Park many times but had never had the chance to visit the International Cottages – man was I missing out!

Welcome!

Established in 1935 the cottages were set-up to promote understanding between nations.  Today, 32 countries open their doors every Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. to give visitors a glimpse into a traditional home, a history lesson and an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone of a different culture.

And that’s not all that is inside…every cottage offers snacks native to their country (please bring small bills as tips are greatly appreciated for these treats!) so bring your appetite!

Oh wait there is more…some countries even have activities for you to partake in!

In addition to the open houses every Sunday each country hosts a lawn program each year that highlights music and dance from their part of the world.

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It doesn’t stop there, there are also several other events held throughout the year such as an Ethnic Food Fair and International Christmas Fair just to name a few!

I forgot to mention the best part – all of this is FREE!!!  So bring your friends, bring your family and spend the day immersing yourself in other cultures.

Happy Cottaging,

Crystal

Angels Flight Railway – Los Angeles, Calif.

24 Jun

You have got to go here – Angels Flight Railway – Los Angeles, Calif.

Want to do something totally out of the ordinary and super inexpensive in downtown Los Angeles?  Why not take a trip on Angels Flight Railway?

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For just $1.00 roundtrip you can take this historic (originally built in 1901) incline railway named “The Shortest Railway in the World” between Hill Street & Grand Ave.

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I can’t explain it, but there is something so fun about riding one of these cars between all of the giant modern buildings that make up the downtown skyline.

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While the trip is short, there are plenty of things to do on both sides of your journey.  Why not start at the Museum of Contemporary Art, then take a ride on Angels Flight Railway down to Grand Central Market for some lunch?  There are endless possibilities of adventures that could be had…

Angels Flight Railway is open from 6:45 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. 365 days of the year, so there is no excuse not to take a ride. Believe me, no trip to downtown Los Angeles is complete without a visit to this unique landmark.

Happy flying,

Crystal