Tag Archives: Romantic

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!

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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.

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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,

Crystal

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Take a River Cruise with Scenic Cruises

27 Oct

I have got to do this…Take a River Cruise with Scenic Cruises

Of course I am sure there are a million reasons why I (and you too!) should float through Europe on a luxury hotel, but I will make it easy and give you the reasons why you HAVE to do this!

Let’s do this David Letterman style:

The TOP FIVE reasons to a take a river cruise with Scenic Cruises are…

5. Make new friends.

The intimacy of the luxurious fleet of ‘Space-Ships’ gives ample opportunities to meet new people from all over the world  and share a once of a lifetime vacation.  You never know how many lifelong friends you may meet!

4. Discover hidden gems.

Do you love to find new things that most others don’t take the time to discover? ME TOO!  Well, Scenic Cruises will make this easier for you.  Go where others may not venture because you will be floating to your picturesque destinations via luxury ship as opposed to planes, trains or automobiles!  The staff at Scenic Cruises has also taken special care in selecting their destinations to make sure they are like no other!

3. Choices, Choices, Choices.

Want to spend your day on a inclusive excursion (you heard me right – all excursions are included in the price of your cruise) with an experienced guide, riding an electric bike through quaint towns, relaxing in the sun on one of the many decks?  The possibilities of what to do are endless and the choice is all yours.

2.Personal Butler.

Need I say more?  Feeling parched and need a drink – have no fear your personal butler will be by shortly with a complimentary beverage.  Think this is the only luxury you will enjoy on your cruise?  Think again!  Rest our head on egyptian cotton linens, bathe with L’Occitaine amenities, use a Nordic walking stick while you are out exploring, listen to your personal GPS tour guide , enjoy a complimentary in-suite mini bar, have a friendly customer-oriented staff at your fingertips and of course taste world-class cuisine daily…just to name a few!

1.  Experience a  sunrise is a new spot each day!

How many people can say that each day of vacation they were able to see a truly new sunrise?  The best part about this is that it comes with no effort to you thanks to the itineraries of scenic cruises .  Just lay your head down at night and while you are dreaming you will be whisked to a new destination in your luxury coach. Nothing excites me more than the fact that each morning I will start my day off with a sight I have never seen before!

OK, so who is ready to go? ME ME ME!  I can already see myself sipping tea after a peaceful nights rest waiting anxiously to go and explore each day!

Happy Cruising,

Crystal

Little Italy Mercato – San Diego, Calif.

11 Nov

You have got to go here…Little Italy Mercato, San Diego, Calif.

Who doesn’t love a good farmers market?  I am here to tell you that in my opinion the Little Italy Mercato is the best farmers market I have been to in Southern California…

…and here’s why (in no particular order)…

Best view! Located just a few blocks from the ocean, it is blessed with an amazing spot to call home.

Samples!  Come hungry because there are tons (more than I have ever seen) of amazing fresh samples to delight in.

Local Products!  I know this may be obvious – but the variety is top-notch and so unique.

Music!  What a pleasant way to shop while listening to the sweet sounds of local artists.

Fresh fruits and veggies!  I would not be doing the market justice if I left out that fact that of course they also have hundreds of different fresh fruits, flowers and veggies to offer shoppers.

Fun (my favorite part)!  This market provides a perfect way to spend a day doing something fun with your friends and family.

With over four city blocks of fresh product, the Little Italy Mercato is somewhere you have got to go.  So, next Saturday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., grab your besties and head to San Diego.  May I suggest making a day of it?

Happy Mercatoing,

Crystal

Beacon Hill Park – Victoria, B.C.

7 Oct

You have got to go here…Beacon Hill Park – Victoria, B.C.

Everyone visits Central Park when in New York City and Golden Gate Park when visiting San Francisco, but I am here to tell you that there are some awesome smaller parks just waiting to be discovered in cities all over the world.  One of those parks that is a must visit is Beacon Hill in Victoria, B.C. Located just a few minutes on foot from the Inner Harbour (where you most likely entered Canada via boat), Beacon Hill Park is worth the trip! I have to admit that the initial reason I chose to visit was so I could go to the children’s farm (more on that later). I was pleasantly surprised by how un-ordinary this park was.  To my eyes wonderment…it was like stepping into a fairytale.  The trees, the bridges, the wildlife were superb!  I was enchanted.                                                                                                                                    These are just a few examples of the wonder that was at every turn! Not only was there lush green all around, but the flowers were literally like beacons (excuse the pun) waving you over to take a closer look. It was honestly so fun imaging you were in a a different time…so spend some time dreaming and getting swept away!

When you are ready to get back to reality, head towards the Children’s Farm! The farm is a great place for kids of all ages to explore – for a small donation of $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children (CAD $), it is an extreme value.  There are peacocks, mini-horses, chickens, donkey’s and goats OH MY!  While it is not very big, there is tons of stuff to see!

Aside from the animals being so cute and cuddly, the people who worked there were so friendly and willing to answer any questions or help with anything!

Don’t let the name fool you, this farm isn’t just for children’s and I highly suggest you call your inner child and invite them to play.  On a side note, the farm closes during early fall and winter so check the website before you go.

Are you asking yourself…is that it?  NOPE, but I am tasking you with going and discovering the rest on your own. So do yourself a favor, put on your walking shoes, pack a snack and go explore Beacon Hill Park – you will be glad you did!

Happy Beaconing,

Crystal

Victoria Beach – Laguna Beach, Calif.

26 Sep

You have got to go here…Victoria Beach – Laguna Beach, Calif.

I am sure many of you have heard or been to Laguna Beach, Calif., but have you stepped off the beaten path and been to Victoria Beach ,or better yet seen the Victorian Tower?

Located off Victoria Drive and Pacific Coast Highway, Victoria Beach is dubbed “The most private public beach in Laguna”.  Parking is hard to come by (pay extra attention to signs to make sure you don’t get a ticket or get towed), but trust me when I say this beach is worth the extra time to find a space or the extra walk you may need to take.

Here is a sneak peek to keep you interested…

OK, so the first adventure – the staircase!  Just kidding, it really isn’t as bad as it looks.  It is quite pretty and there is a bench along the route to stop and take a breather.

Once you get to the bottom, make a right.   You will see amazing tide pools (remember this is a natural habitat so please don’t touch).  Luckily the tide was low and I saw the most amazing starfish ever!  Be on the look out as you never know what you may see…

Take your time to explore – you have all day.  Once you are ready, head towards the castle (you can’t miss it)…you heard me!  OK, so it isn’t really a castle, but it sure looks like one.  Built in 1926, this Rapunzelesque Tower is something straight out of a fairytale.  Originally it was used as a staircase to the beach by the owner above, but now it sits as a beautiful piece of scenery to enjoy.

It’s really an awesome structure and to think it is still standing almost 90 years later.  You can walk around it and take in all the sights it has to offer.  I loved sitting next to it, just gazing out at the ocean – dreaming of what it was like in 1926…

Want to see more?  Well, then you will have to go here!  Grab a towel, some lunch  and head on down! Another secret, this beach is hard to find so there are rarely crowds.  It is a nice place to spend a relaxing day with your friends and family.  It can be your little secret hide-a-way (wink, wink)!

Happy Castling,

Crystal

Tom’s Farms – Corona, Calif.

1 Aug

You have got to go here…Tom’s Farms – Corona, Calif.

Need a romantic date idea or just something fun to do with the whole family?  Well, look no further than Tom’s Farms in Corona, Calif.

Don’t let the name fool you, there is so much more to be discovered than just food.  Since 1971 this family destination has been pleasing all who enter its doors.

You will enjoy Tom’s Farms if…

…you love to eat!

With restaurants, snack stands and ample space to picnic after you grab some yummy delights from the Wine and Cheese Shop – there is something for everyones taste buds!

Fresh Salsa!

…you love fresh food!

Tom’s Farms has a produce market, wine and cheese shop, sweet shop , and a gourmet popcorn /fudge factory.  With thousands of local products from strawberries, to jams, to breads, to dried fruits, to cheese, to wine – you get the picture – you are sure to leave with your arms full!

…you love to shop!

No, I’m not just talking about food.  A huge home store filled with hand-crafted furniture, art and country goods is also located on the property.

…you like to have fun!

There are attractions for both kids big and small.  Trains, mining, magic, tractor rides, photo opportunities…the list goes on and on!

…you like to spend the day getting away from it all.

The thing I like best about Tom’s Farms is that it feels like you are out in the country, in a small town, where there isn’t a big city for miles……………

Happy Farming,

Crystal

Hold on, I’m not done yet.  Located just a few miles from Tom’s Farms is a hidden oasis – Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa.

You will only like it here if you enjoy relaxing.  The price of admission includes usage of numerous pools, saunas, mud baths, exercise classes, and yoga just to name a few.  If you have a whole day,  plan on visiting both places – you won’t be disappointed!