I just had the pleasure of being a guest at the luxurious Walnut Beach Resort.Walnut Beach Resort is a waterfront haven overlooking Lake Osoyoos in sunny South Okanagan, which is located in Canada’s desert wine country, about a five hour scenic drive from Vancouver.
It was originally built to be private condos before deciding to turn the three-storey building into a resort which is run like a stylish boutique hotel.The lakeside rooms are all one or two bedroom designer suites with kitchenette and balcony. And a most comfortable bed. Our suite was pristine, the service was excellent, the poolside restaurant had a variety of mouth watering dishes or if guests prefer to do their own thing, there are several barbecues set up alongside the pool area for them to use.
Normally there is a private sandy beach but at this time the water was high so most of the sand was covered.
Local things to do include wine tours, championship golf, water sports or just lying by the pool guilty or a swim in the lake.
It’s a chic, comfortable place.
My only complaint is that I wish we stayed there longer. Which only means I’ll have to go back!
We all need to recharge. Sometimes all it takes is just a change of scenery. A couple days spent away is good for the soul.
And you don’t have to travel very far to do so. It could be an adventurous road trip within a day’s drive. Here in British Columbia we’re very lucky to have an abundance of places to visit; all unique and super natural.
For this little vacay we chose Nelson Kootenay Lake and spent a few nights at the super relaxing Prestige Lakeside Resort with a room on the boardwalk overlooking the lake. With two restaurants; West Coast Grill, sushi, a great little coffee shop called Junipers & an in-house spa, we didn’t have to leave the property at all. Even a long off-leash dog walking area closeby.
Although Nelson is a quaint town known for friendly people, good eats, cute little shops, hiking trails and a story. It’s a calming part of British Columbia famous for its mix of culture, adventure, history and spectacular scenery. A rare metropolitan mixed with mountain lifestyle. It has been dubbed the number one small arts community in Canada.
A brief history about Nelson: Kootenay is a native word meaning “water people“. Carbon dating provides evidence of a race of men and women who lived, hunted and fished along the shores of Kooteney Lake as long back as when the pyramids of Egypt were being built. These earliest inhabitants, drawn here for the abundance of fish, wildlife, berries and fruits, were later called the Kootenay Indians.
The town of Nelson is renowned for its impressive scenery, lively events, vibrant and inviting downtown, big city dining, and collection of restored heritage buildings and has been voted best ski destination with award winning powder snow and top lake. It boasts a tiny city with a big personality.
Where will you plan your next getaway?Photos: d. king
It’s all about the simple things; sunshine and resort style living. A mimosa here and everywhere there. A nice pool. A mimosa by the pool.
A place to escape to when the weather starts to turn for the worst. A playground for those who like to golf, hike or swim. Or just take it easy or go listen to live music. There’s a lot of happy people here. A lot of folks from Vancouver and other parts of Canada. Happy hour is a biggie and there’s plenty of good dining everywhere.
There’s the Palm Springs International Film Festival which is just ending and attracts Hollywood’s biggest stars to flog their films or just show up and party.
There’s Modernism Week in February. An annual signature event and celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. With more than 250 events including the Modernism Show & Sale, Signature Home Tours, films, lectures, Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, tours of Sunnylands (to some extent regarded as the “Camp David of the West”), classic cars, modern garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more…like Martinis on the mountain.
Then there’s Coachella (my sister is excited about going for the first time), the annual Valley Music & Arts Festival. As of this spring Beyoncéwill make history yet again as she will be the first woman of color to headline Coachella. EVER. She is also the first woman in ten years to headline the festival (the last woman to headline was Bjork in 2007).
There was “Oldchella” which was the fitting nickname for the festival’s official title “Desert Trip.” It appears the nickname came about because headliners such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones and The Who average about 72 years in age. But can these guys still rock or what? Nobody seems sure how annual this festival might be. There is talk of it dying off.
But you can count on “Opera in the Park” a premier cultural event in April held at Sunrise Park. The concert of arias draws thousands of people from all over Southern California (& beyond) in a celebration of great opera music with a professional orchestra. You can take a picnic lunch – how great is that?
There’s the usual art markets, *antique markets, **vintage markets & the Thursday night street fair. Free street parking is a bonus. There’s even a free bus or “buzz” Thursday through Sunday that’s also dog friendly as is the rest of P.S.
There’s other places of interest you can drive or bus to within a few hours driving distance like: Los Angeles & San Diego if you miss the ocean or more traffic. A little longer than that and you can find yourself in Las Vegas or Arizona. So there’s plenty of variety and no excuse to be bored.
So I went ahead and bought myself an early birthday gift. A little pied-à-terre right smack in the middle of exactly where I want to be. A perfect location. Something so unexpected and unplanned…yet ideal. As I’m writing this I’m spending my first night in the new place after having rented in the area for two weeks prior to this with a short hotel stay prior to that. I’ve been coming here for several years and what’s funny is that this time the trip was going to be a short one. I just wanted to take in the film festival and be back before the end of January. There were reasons why it had to be cut shorter than usual….however you never know what life will throw your way. Now I’ll stay a bit longer than planned. And have a set place to come back to.
In another sense…I fully expected this to happen! My horoscope said that it’s my year to charge ahead, make bold changes for progress & success. The Sun-Pluto conjunction in January empowers and emboldens my sign all year long.
2016 was such a downer year for multiple reasons. We lost so many amazing people and of course the election craziness. Here’s to new growth and positive change.Not just for me, but for everyone. We have to take our sunshine where we can get it. And orange juice doesn’t quite cut it.
*an antique is “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at least 100 years ago.
**The term “vintage,” when used in a way similar to the term “antique,” refers to items that are over 50 years old, but less than 100.
Photos: d. king
The shops at thirteen forty five is a collective of luxurious shops in an iconic E. Stewart Williams designed building. 1345 N. Palm Canyon DriveHome Sweet Away from Home! Have you been?
I’ve been there on a few occasions. I loved the red rock canyons so much that I tried to replicate the desert colours for the interior of my home. I believe I succeeded.
What To Do: Stay at the Enchantment Resort, try Diamondback Rattlesnake cakes and Cactus Fries at The Cowboy Club, take a UFO Night Tour (for something different…c’mon where else can you find something like this?) and drink biodynamic organic wine at Chocola Tree. Depending on your interests, you can also sign up for a weekend of healing, like this one offered by Hope Yoga.
When I saw it scribbled on a Lululemon bag I questioned why on earth is this advisable (like why would anyone want to scare themselves?) but in any case I actually did something that scares me last Sunday.
Considering I’m claustrophobic, don’t like small planes, have a fear of heights and am always up in the air about flying in general……I conquered my fears(temporarily perhaps) and embraced my private flight from Vancouver over to dinner in one of Vancouver Island’s best kept little secrets. It’s not the first time I’ve been on a small plane but like anything else what you tend to fear is fear itself. It helps to have an experienced pilot who is also a friend who previously ran a chartered airline business with a bigger plane to fly movie stars around. When he decided to downsize to a four seater he made sure the seats and headsets were very comfy. Luckily the flight was very smooth both ways.
The flight began at 5:00 p.m., lasted about one hour on the way over (as the pilot decided to take us a different route and fly between two huge rocks we refer to as “the lions.” Four of us enjoyed spectacular scenery along the way, a great dinner and another enjoyable flight at dusk which took less flying time to get back.
Rio has one of the most spectacular settings of any city I’ve ever been to.No matter which direction you turn it has the most magnificent scenery. Dramatic and breath taking. It’s a city famous for its beaches but there is also plenty of culture, great food and of course year round mild temperatures. The people are vibrant.
I was lucky to have had the opportunity to visit on several occasions while living in São Paulo. The flight is less than an hour and it made a perfect getaway.
At the time I didn’t have Instagram on my phone so when I saw these photos published in Allure Magazine (a popular womens beauty magazine to do mostly with makeup & skincare) I found them well…alluring to say the least.
With the Olympics starting this Friday in Rio and a friend who has just left to volunteer I thought it would be perfect timing to share Instagram photos and a couple of my own of this fabulous city.
1. Pão de Açúcar
Sugarloaf Mountain, as it’s known in English, gets its name from its shape and is one of the most iconic stops in Rio. You can start your day by taking the cable car up to the top of the rounded peak. But don’t wait until you get to the top to take out your camera—the panoramic views from the car are just as impressive (and Insta-worthy!). People have been enjoying this breathtaking ride since the bubble-shaped cable car opened in 1912—it was even featured in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker.
2. Christ the Redeemer
This landmark is one of the most recognizable symbols of Rio. Standing 125 feet tall, it’s practically impossible to miss. The sculpture is located atop Corcovado Mountain, and it’s listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This is definitely a place where playing with a camera drone pays off, allowing you to capture both the sculpture and the city at its feet. A view like this can definitely leave you feeling #blessed.
3. Ipanema Beach
Spend the afternoon sunbathing on the steamy shore of Ipanema Beach. This world-famous beach is located in one of the most affluent neighborhoods of Rio. Pack a big sun hat and a teeny bikini and get ready to sip coconut water while the hustle and bustle of the city melts into sea foam. All you have to do is wait for sunset’s magical light to capture the shadows of sunbathers and the mountains in the back.
4. Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
The Rio Botanical Garden is a tropical jungle you can get lost in and still easily find your way back to the city. The beautiful greenhouse, many gazebos, and flowing fountains are complemented by the lush nature that surrounds them. Find your way to the Avenue of Royal Palms located within the garden. This long road flanked by enormous palm trees makes it easy to spend hours taking amazing photos.
5. Mirante Dona Marta
Who doesn’t love a good panoramic view? Located inside the Tijuca Forest, this lookout offers one of the most all-encompassing views of Rio de Janeiro, covering everything from Christ the Redeemer to Sugarloaf Mountain and the city in between. If sunset photos of this amazing skyline leave you wanting more, the observation deck also functions as a helipad, from which you can take thrilling helicopter tours of the city. Be sure to carry an extra set of memory cards for your camera just in case.
Of course the city has its well documented down side with poverty and corruption which should not be forgotten amid the natural beauty and the thrill of the games.
Like take a tour bus or be the tour guide? It can be lots of fun. I had the pleasure of re-discovering some fabulous places when a friend visited who I have not seen in over 20 years.
I first met Masako in the early 80’s when we both lived and worked in Tokyo. We became fast friends. I knew she was someone I wanted to keep track of because she’s really smart, funny, hard working (international investments), well traveled, a nature lover, caring and curious. In other words, the perfect friend.
When I moved to Vancouver and Masako moved to London, England we continued to stay in touch. Since that time she came to Vancouver once to visit me and I visited her once while I went to take in London theatre with a girlfriend from New York. I was in London more recently but unfortunately we were not able to meet up. She’s a single mom of a very bright 14 year old boy who speaks fluent French and is also an avid tennis and golf player. She dropped him off at Stanford University in S.F. for a 3 week math tutorial and spent time there before visiting me. She never stops. But we managed to pick up where we last left off as if no time had passed. That’s when you discover time is a moving and so much has happened but you’re still the same person. Almost as if time has stood still. When we first met I was calling my mom in Montreal every day to check in and get her advice on everything from cooking to the men I was dating.
So during her stay I too felt like I was on holiday. Vancouver and its environs has an abundance of picturesque places to see but we had to narrow it down. Two nights we visited Whistler with a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Masako went peak to peak on the lookout for wildlife (specifically bears) while I took in the Audain Art Museum and wildlife at the Scandinave Spa. All amazing by the way. There was a cute Canada Day parade in the village and the VSO gave a free outdoor concert in the evening. We ate well too.
The day after we got back we took the ferry to Victoria. The first time she was here we went directly to Butchart Gardens. This time from Victoria we were picked up and boated to one of the charming little gulf islands. A car-free little gem of an island called Piers where a friend has a stunning ocean front home where little Jack (the J.R. terrier) resides when I’m not looking after him. We met several interesting locals in the evening at a barbeque. What I’ve noticed is that island people are artists, musicians, writers, photographers, actors and zoologists. I was talking to a man who takes people on treks to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas (a guest had just come back and said they were so close that one gorilla brushed right by him) and also to Churchill, Manitoba to see the Polar Bears (who are now starting to mate with grizzlies should you want to know this fascinating piece of information). He met Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees – a person I’m in awe of and would love to meet. Future trips to consider. Sidenote: Lowland gorillas and polar bears are sadly on the endangered list.
The next day we boated to Saltspring island (separate post to come) while seeing many seals (not bears, but still...)
In Vancouver we stayed mostly local biking around a couple of times, eating out and also cooking at home. Next
time the Okanagan and Tofino is high on the list of places to take Masako.
I’m not sure when the polar bear trip will fit into schedule; certainly not in the summertime.
By the way, you are guaranteed to see these gorgeous giants in close proximity.
And my friend just left but I already miss her
Photos: (moments in time) d. king Photos: (airport, kits beach, boat) kind stranger
It’s officially barbeque season and even though I’m no authority on how to barbeque, I can manage a pretty mean homemade rub and barbeque sauce. But my thoughts are elsewhere right now. It’s on cobalt water and wearing a white bikini while walking barefoot on white sand (in a perfect world). Long days and margaritas are part of the picture. Yes, I love culture and nature….
Museums are nice. Nature hikes have their place, But when it comes to vacation, I also want a beach, dammit. It’s not only for the pure beauty and relaxation, there is so much to discover beneath the sea.
*Talk-show host Ellen said she flosses her teeth with more string than the bikinis.
Over time I snorkeled in the Philippines, Hawaii, French West Indies, Cayman Islands and the Red Sea; scuba dived in the Bahamas, Mexico and all over Jamaica. It was all I wanted to do for a long period of time. I met lion fish, parrot fish, nurse sharks, sea turtles and almost everything in between and it was my favourite finding Nemo world. But I also got to appreciate that we need to protect – our vast eco system.
So on this post, nine vacation places in the world every sand-worshipper needs to take once in her lifetime.
Set just off Florida’s Fort Myers beach, Captiva is known for its jaw-dropping sunsets, due to its westward-facing direction and unobstructed horizon toward the Gulf of Mexico. When visiting my uncle I ran here with my dog Jia Jia at sunset. Ahhh those days….
This hippy-bohemian beach enclave on the Mayan Riviera is a family-friendly town that offers hotels and all-inclusives at every budget. The beach, less crowded than those of nearby Cancun, has soft, white sand and water so clear and calm, you can see tiny fish swimming by. (It’s also pretty close to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, if that interests any budding historians in your brood.) I’ve been here twice – this beach ruined me!
If you love snorkeling in the Caribbean, you owe yourself a trip to this hidden paradise, nicknamed the Philippines’ last frontier. Arguably the best site for swimming and diving in the world, the aquamarine waters of Palawan are home to over 1,600 species of fish. You’ll see everything from starfish and seahorses to sea turtles and sea cows (that don’t say “Moo”).
And let’s not forget the capture:
OK, a Bora Bora trip probably doesn’t come cheap, but I’m told there is seriously no better spot for romantic relaxing than secluded Matira Beach. The only public beach on the island, Matira stretches from the Hotel Bora Bora to Matira Point. Think: palm trees, thatched-roof huts and translucent water. At low tide, you can even wade right out to the coral reefs.
I’ve been meaning to do a travel post since my last holiday but it’s been so crazy lately that I ended up having to hire a friend to go around Italy to capture some nice shots for this post.
Well that’s not exactly true. It’s just that a friend got to go to places in Italy that I’ve not yet been to and took some remarkable photos and of course she had the most amazing time. Because as she puts it “when you need a ‘spiritual’ lift, there’s no better place than the sights and delights of Italy!”So much history, so much art, so much fashion, so much food, so much style, so much…….everything.
I agree. Twice I’ve been to Italy but never made it to Rome. Crazy, right? I’ve seen Milan, Venice and almost every quaint little corner of Tuscany including Florence. On my second visit I had to make a choice for a little side trip either to Rome or to Florence. Because of my timing situation I chose Florence.
Florence is smaller, there’s lots of fabulous famous art everywhere and it’s such a beautiful, walkable city. I need to make a separate trip to Rome. And then I need to go to Lake Como and Capri. Sooooooon!
These pictures will whet your appetite for your next viaggio molto bella.
Colleen’s impression: It’s all about colour in Italy. From pastels to brights, the shops are springing up in splendid colours.