Tag Archives: Spectacular Views

Point Lobos State Reserve – Carmel, Calif.

31 Jul

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.

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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,

Crystal

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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Oatman, Az.

13 Jun

You have got to go here…Oatman, Az.

Welcome

OK, there are only two words that you really need to know when describing Oatman – WILD BURROS (more on them later)! And I have to say they are AWESOME…here is a sneak peek…

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Nestled in the hills of Arizona, 30 miles south of Laughlin, Nev., off Historic Route 66, Oatman was once a gold mining town that dates back to the 1800’s.  At one time the town produced the most gold in the whole state.  DSC_0029

Today it is a cool western town filled with kitschy stores, saloons, history, beautiful scenery and of course – WILD BURROS! DSC_0033

I suggest you allot at least a few hours to take a step back in time and explore. There is plenty to do…why not take in an Outlaw Show, do some shopping, send a postcard, smash a penny, view some art or visit a mine?

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AND that’s not all…stop in the Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their honeymoon night, for a Sarsaparilla (or an adult beverage) and ask about the history of the dollar bills that are placed on every open surface of the bar.
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And there is still more fun to be had…you guessed it – WILD BURROS!  Left over from the gold mining days, these furry animals still roam and rule the streets today.  They are every where you turn and I loved it. Some stores even sell carrots so you can feed them!  CAUTION – these are wild animals so be careful.


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Some days I feel like life passes me by because of the hustle and bustle of today’s world, but I am so glad that there are still places like Oatman that allow you to slow down and just enjoy some simple fun!

Happy Burroing,

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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Muir Woods – Mill Valley, Calif.

12 Jan

You have got to go here…Muir Woods – Mill Valley, Calif.

Do you think this view is worth $7.00?

Beautiful!

I do, and I promise you  will too!

Now you may be asking yourself…where can I find such a beautiful sight? The Muir Woods of course!  Located less than an hour north from San Francisco is this majestic National Park full of redwood trees.

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Before we go any further I have two big tips for you!!!  1. Go early – I mean it.  The parking is FREE and close parking is limited so unless you want to take a shuttle or park off-site I recommend you go right when the park opens. 2. Bring a sweater. Even on the sunniest of days the park is primarily shaded so you will want something to keep you warm.

OK, now that we got that covered let’s have some fun.  The entrance fee for the park is $7.00 for ages 16 and older and 15 and under are FREE!

When you enter pick up a map as there are several trails that you can take.  If you want to challenge yourself there are options for you, but a nice family stroll can also be achieved.  We decided on the loop around the park and started in the canyon and then took the hillside on the way back to change up the scenery – I highly recommend this!

One of my favorite parts of the walk is entering the Cathedral Grove.  The park asks that you remain quiet when entering so that you can become one with nature and just enjoy being amongst its beauty.

Really take the time to enjoy what you are seeing around you as you never know what cool things you will discover!

You can even be silly in nature!

Another thing I love about this park is that it is good for the whole family, so don’t be afraid to invite the whole crew for an awesome day out!

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OH and don’t forget the best souvenir ever – a smashed penny! DSCN8685

So what will you see other than trees might you ask?  Well first off they are some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring trees that you will ever see, but there is also a lot of history about the park to be learned (No, I am not going to tell you about it – you must discover it on your own!).

Happy Woodsing,

Crystal

P.S. Are you hungry?  Well, I have some options for you!  You can eat at the cafe in the park or take a lovely drive north on Highway 1 and stop in Stinson Beach, a quaint little town with a lot of character. I recommend eating at The Lunch Box.  They have fresh sandwiches/salads/treats and you can take it over (or they will actually deliver it to you) to the park right across the street for a picnic!

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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