Destination: Mission Ranch, Carmel

The brochure perfectly describes it.  Ocean sunsets, sheep filled pastures, rocking chairs and award winning grounds.  Piles of pillows and a cozy fire.  Serenity and Relaxation.

Photo: d. king

On my side trip to Carmel I was taken to the charmingly historic Mission Ranch, one of the most spectacular spots on the Monterey Peninsula.  It is a sight to behold with meadows stretching to the south which join the wetlands and Carmel River Beach.  The exquisite views are unrivaled.  Point Lobos, a scenic coastal natural reserve featuring a variety of sea life, wildlife, hiking trails and a whaling museum can be seen in the distance across the bay. Mission ranch is a place unto itself but close enough to the town of Carmel-by-the sea.  You might just want to stay put because there’s also a great restaurant with a view and nightly live piano bar.  On Sundays their live jazz brunch was voted “best brunch” by local newspapers.

The truck was driven by Clint Eastwood for his role in Bridges of Madison County.  d. king

A little history:

In the 1850’s, the property became one of the first of the early California dairies.  The creamery, which supplied the county with cheese and butter, now houses the restaurant.  The barns were used for hay and milking.  The ranch has had some 17 owners.

The Ranch now encompasses 22 acres. Originally it consisted of 160 acres and was owned by Juan Romero, a Native American who is believed to have lived in the village next to the Carmel Mission.  In 1852 he deeded the property to William Curtis, a Monterey storekeeper, for $300.  The Martin family, who owned the Ranch for 60 years, also farmed potatoes for the Sierra gold miners.

The Ranch operated as a private club, an officers’ club for the Army and Navy during World War II.  At that time the windows were occasionally blackened against a possible Japanese landing.  It had a rollicking reputation, with dance bands and a lively bar scene.

In 1986 Clint Eastwood bought the Ranch, rescuing the property from an impending fate as a condominium development. Once again, Dirty Harry to the rescue! He sought out the best craftsmen for renovation, who have replicated moldings, door frames and hardware to match the style of the original buildings.  Each structure reflects a different architectural period: from the 1950’s feel of the restaurant and dance barn, to the century old Martin farmhouse.

The one time Bunkhouse is the oldest structure on the Ranch.  It’s nestled among historic cypress and eucalyptus trees, as well as newly planted gardens, which adorn the entire Ranch.

Sure beats the old bar he used to own in Carmel “Hog’s Breath Inn” although I’m told the artichoke soup is to die for.

Can’t wait to go back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Destination: L’Hermitage Hotel

Being a tourist in the town where you reside can be a dream if you make the right connections.This charming boutique hotel is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver amid excellent shopping and dining. It’s luxurious with a relaxing ambiance.

Salt Water Pool

The large corner room was very clean with a huge bathroom and really comfortable beds.

Room with a view (sort of)

The efficient staff was very helpful in making recommendations on where to eat and places to see (even  though we were already quite familiar).  They have several bikes on site which you can reserve for four hours at a time so cruising through Stanley Park with a pitstop at English Bay Cactus Club was a breeze.

En Route, Air Canada magazine has this to say:

With kitchens equipped with Bosch appliances and staff that greet you by name in the hallways, L’Hermitage feels more like a chic European pied-à-terre than a hotel in downtown Vancouver. What we loved The hotel welcomes four-legged friends with Torre & Tagus ceramic bowls, cozy cushions and a walking service. If you only have one night Enjoy the sun while sipping a Nespresso in a velvet armchair in your suite’s private solarium overlooking the saltwater pool.

We think it’s worth spreading the word.

788 Richards Street, 778-327-4100

http://www.lhermitagevancouver.com/

 

 

 

 

Destination: Osoyoos, B.C.

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.

Osoyoos from a distance

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!

www.walnutbeachresort.com

Tell them I sent you.

Photos: d. king

 

Monday Mood Board #4

QUAINT – WINSOME – WILD

I always thought it would be great fun and somewhat adventurous to live on a houseboatafter knowing someone who did.  Then I decided it might be even better to live on a tugboat in the forest across from a lake.  Something like this would do.

Driving Above Christina Lake, British Columbia

Old fashioned fun

We like to keep on truckin
child size vanilla
Really good borscht at The Borscht Bowl in Grand Forks, B.C.
Really good Thai at Benja in Keremeos, B.C.  Good local fruit too.

 

 

Yes, we saw a big black bear close to the road.  Too close for comfort actually.
Then a curious moose we call a cow

Dogs just want to have FUN. And they know how to keep COOL on a HOT day.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Self Care Sunday: the Getaway

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.

nelson2
On Route

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.

Destination: Prestige Lakeside Resort, Nelson, B.C.

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.

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Our location

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.nelson6

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.

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Happiness can be a change of scenery

Where will you plan your next getaway?nelson4Photos: d. king

Travel: Sedona, Arizona

Have you ever been to Sedona?
sedona2

The setting is pretty unreal.  It’s a perfect location for mountain biking (our crew covered some ground and some dirt) and of course hiking.  Or you can just….be.

If you’re looking for a quiet spiritual experience to usher in the changing of the seasons, tranquil Sedona provides the perfect setting. Many people believe that the Sedona area is sacred, and that it’s “the center of vortexes that radiate the Earth’s power.”

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.

Temperatures (October): High, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Low, 52.sedona1

 Ahhhhhh   Have you been?  

Destination: RIO

Rio has one of the most spectacular settings of any city I’ve ever been to.rio1No 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.

 Pão de Açúcar
Pão de Açúcar

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.

Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer

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.

One of my photos taken from a helicopter ride
One of my photos taken from a helicopter ride
 Ipanema Beach
Ipanema Beach

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.

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

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.

 Mirante Dona Marta
Mirante Dona Marta

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.

my photo
my photo looking towards Ipanema

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.

Leave you wanting more?

Source: Julie Cid for Allure.com

Travel: On the Road Again – Part Two

Remember the post where I declared my love for the Vintage Airstream Trailer? vintage-airstream That was 10 days ago although it seems like months now. airstream_-_matt_4_500 - Copy

I found out that many travel companies are getting on board the vintage trailer bandwagon: In November, rental company Airstream 2 Go partnered with Texas boot-maker Lucchese (love them too – bought a pair in Nashville) on a custom itinerary through the Lone Star State, which includes a trip to the factory and a pair of custom boots.

mathewairstream - CopyAirstream says it’s selling five times as many trailers as it did in 2009, spent $6 million on a new office space, and recently hired 130 new employees. Sounds like the making of a major comeback story.

CHECK THIS OUT:

If you’re not the road trip type but want to experience the Airstream lifestyle for a night or two, here are five firmly planted and beautifully decorated hotels for your next vacation.

El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas

 El Cosmico Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico
El Cosmico
Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico

There is probably no place more appropriate to situate a trailer than Marfa, the art-centric, holistic desert oasis of the Southwest. El Cosmico offers tepees, yurts, and, most important, several models of trailers that are sparsely decorated but seriously cozy. There’s a minibar in each but, intentionally, no Wi-Fi.

AutoCamp, Santa Barbara, California

 Autocamp Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp
Autocamp
Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp

This tiny Airstream-based hotel is made up of five vintage trailers, some of which come equipped with flat-screen TVs, large bathtubs, and Malin + Goetz products. Each trailer also comes with two beach cruiser bikes for getting around the camp.

Hotel Daniel, Vienna, Austria

 Hotel Daniel Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel
Hotel Daniel
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel

Nestled in the garden just outside the boutique hotel, one silver Airstream trailer is available as a room option for guests. The 172-square-foot space was created by interior designers specializing in yachts and has a sleek, minimal feel. It nods to the experience of being out on the open road, but is in the middle of a busy urban center.

Italy Airstream, Venice, Italy

Italy Airstream Park Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park
Italy Airstream Park
Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park

The website touts this as “the first Airstream park in Italy,” and it’s certainly the first of its kind on the Adriatic Coast. Recently opened in April, the six Airstreams each sleep up to four people, with a shaded canopy bed outside. It’s 30 minutes to Venice by car, or you can take a longer two-hour ride to reach the Dolomites. There’s also a beach just outside the park.

Caravan Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Caravan Tokyo Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo
Caravan Tokyo
Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo

For those looking to skip the Ritz or the Park Hyatt for something a little more low-key, Caravan is the place to stay in Tokyo. It’s a single trailer that sleeps two, parked near the bustling Harajuku neighborhood in a mixed-use office complex. It’s a fantastic example of innovative, smart Japanese design, with a gray exterior, modern pendant lamps and paper stools inside, and a wooden outer deck and lounge area.

I know this is not the same thing but….

It's what I have for now
It’s what I have for now and it’s more easily transportable.  I’ve made many meals in this rig including once in Texas a fully-cooked Christmas dinner.  It’s true! Coffee anyone?

Source: Vogue Magazine Article (by Brooke Bobb) 5 Airstream Rentals That Trump Traditional Hotel Rooms

Modern Furnishings
Sleek, Modern, Comfortable Style

 

Lifestyle: Laguna Living

LAGUNA BEACH IS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S PREMIER COASTAL DESTINATION IF YOU LOVE SURF, ART, HEALTHY FOOD AND A LAID-BACK NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL ATMOSPHERE.laguna13

It’s where I met Aristotle, a handsome 34 year old native New Yorker who blurted out “I love you” within a minute of meeting me.  I immediately fell for him but he was living with someone else. Then, when I left hesitatingly he said “later baby.” Such is life. I saved his photo for last.laguna10laguna11

This seven-mile stretch of sand and surf is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.  It offers a year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beachgoers. 

A re-cap of my second visit to Laguna Beach and certainly not my last.20160111_151324
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Some Abstract
Some Abstract
Sign Posts
Artful Sign Posts
Sapphire's fine coffees, cheeses, wines & prepared foods.
Sapphire’s globally inspired fine coffees, cheeses, wines & prepared foods. They cater too.
Surfer dude. My drawing from a from photo I took.
Surfer dude. My drawing from a photo I took.

SHOP LAGUNA

The main shopping street
The main shopping street
Design mixed with surf and upscale boutiques
Design stores mixed with surf and upscale boutiques.  Lots of ART Galleries.laguna1

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The best salads, rice bowls & gelatos
The best salads, rice bowls & frozen yogurt.
This is Michael. He's the friendly official "unoffcial" greeter of Laguna.
This is Michael. He is the friendly official “unoffcial” greeter of Laguna.
Aristotle
This is Aristotle, my 34-year-old looker that talks back!

 

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Photos: d. king