Feel-good Friday: Where am I?

Recently I spent some time in a charming little town.  From the following photos can you take a guess as to which city I visited?

 

If you look up “charming” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it not only has references to strong attraction, but to spells and magic.  Sometimes you don’t have to go too far to find it.

 

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Life&Style: on two wheels

Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul

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Came across a cool find in Sonoma, California that had nothing to do with wine. I was on the lookout for a coffee shop.scooter3scooter6

 Something  reminded me of driving along for miles on a very long stretch of road with nothing in sight except for dirt in Marfa, Texas.  At the time, my husband who was driving the VW Camper casually said “I think there was a Prada store back there.”  Me, almost asleep in the back seat: “Whooah…go back, go back – just to make sure it’s not a mirage you’re seeing.”  It wasn’t.

So you can imagine my interest and surprise to discover just at the very moment I wanted a cup of coffee and some scooters (after some wine tasting in Sonoma) a café pitstop to end all pitstops.

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And again; a drive-by which happened so fast that I had to say “whooaa…what was that back there?  It looked like a really cool vintage scooter shop and I caught signage for coffee…(I have a sharp eye for certain things if I’m not sleeping) go back, go back.”

And there it was…scooter heaven with a latte on the side.

It’s everything I was looking for in a bike shop/café and to top it all off they serve you breakfast right there while you wait for repairs.  You can buy vintage vespas…and I found the helmet I was looking for.  A nice rare find with excellent coffee.scooter2

SORENTO IMPORTS HAS SONOMA COUNTYS MOST DIVERSE SELECTION OF NEW, USED AND VINTAGE MOTOR SCOOTERS! THEY ARE AUTHORIZED DEALERS OF GENUINE, ADLY, PEIRSPEED AND LANCE POWER SPORTS. THEY ALSO STOCK USED SCOOTERS AND DIRT BIKES WITH A LARGE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE VESPAS, LAMBRETTAS, CUSHMANS AND OTHER CLASSICS.

THE FULL SERVICE REPAIR SHOP OFFERS EVERYTHING FROM SCOOTER AND MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE TO FULL RESTORATIONS SPECIALIZING IN *SIDE CAR INSTALLATIONS AND CUSTOM MOBILE FOOD AND UTILITY CARTS.20160127_14182020160127_141838

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*Next time I’ll bring my scooter to have them install two side cars – one for each dog.

Photos: d. kingvespa1

Website: http://www.sorento-imports.com/

My Scooter board on Pinterest:

 

Travel/Treasures: Dream Destination – Jake’s

When you just want to RELAX with no outside interruptions – the very essence of a perfect vacation…you might want to go to Jake’s Treasure Beach, Jamaica.jakes1

Jamaica is a great place to unwind but when you think of places to travel in Jamaica what usually comes to mind?  Is it fast paced and touristy Montego Bay, Ocho Rios for newlyweds and honeymooners or Negril for miles and miles of white sand beach and many all-inclusives? 20141005_193909

When I travel I love to explore places off the beaten path and find little hidden treasures. If you drive for one hour outside Montego Bay you will find a beautiful tropical countryside with breathtaking views of fishing villages, beaches, centuries old great houses, natural waterfalls and wetlands.  You’ll find the South Coast of Jamaica.20141005_193605

Stumbled upon this stylishly funky hotel/spa by accident while driving along the South Coast. It’s a world away from the island’s  high-pressure resort towns. 20141005_193409 A welcome opposite of Ocho Rios while still maintaining tropical charm with a beautiful low-key seafront setting and lovely gardens. The brightly painted cottages stretch along the water’s edge, in the sleepy settlement of Treasure Beach in south-west Jamaica. Centred on a lovely open-air dining ‘room’, the pool and Dougie’s bar, Jakes has really lovely, raffish Jamaican charm.

The Bar
The Bar

The PROS:

  • Friendly staffers who know every guest by name
  • On-site art classes for everyone, all ages
  • Daily yoga and Pilates workshops
  • One of Jamaica’s best spas
  • Excellent restaurant with fresh, locally produced Jamaican fare.
  • No nearby tourist attractions or nightlife20141005_193718

 THE CONS:                                                                                                                        Remote location on the South Coast                                                                                  No nearby tourist attractions                                                                                                No nightlife                                                                                                                          Coarse black-sand beaches less desirable for swimming                                                    A  hike – two hour drive ($120 by taxicab) from Montego Bay’s airport                                No in-room TV, phone, or Internet

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In a NUTSHELL:

With just 30 hippy-chic cottages in secluded Treasure Beach, Jake’s is a member of Bespoke Hotels, a trendy, luxury hotel group. Guests come to unplug — there’s no phone, Internet, or TV in the cottages (but there are CD players and CD’s in each room with an extensive CD library). The black-sand beaches aren’t Jamaica’s most impressive, but the Driftwood Spa, on-site painting classes for all and yoga/pilates workshops, and excellent locally prepared food make this a particular favorite.20141005_194217And that is exactly why I recommend Jake’s.

And if you’re lucky there may be some other hidden treasures…but we can’t discuss them here.  If you catch my drift wood.

Photos: d. king                                                                                           http://www.jakeshotel.com/

Travel/Lifestyle: Stone Town, Zanzibar –  a step back in time

dhow2Like legendary Timbuktu or Kathmandu – the name alone is almost reason enough to make the trip.

Exotic Zanzibar is a maze of narrow streets, winding alleys, bustling bazaars, crooked passages and crumbling houses with overhanging balconies. But there is romance a plenty on this island with collectible antiques, local wood carvings, spice market and historical hotels.

but then there's this hotel - the Manta Resort if you're looking for James Bond type experience of staying underwater.
but then there’s this new under water hotel – the Manta Resort if you’re looking for a James Bond type experience…and who isn’t?

Zanzibar Door 3From Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, we boarded a ferry boat to lengendary Zanzibar and spent the day wandering around exotic old Stone Town.  The name is appropriate considering all the old stone walkways.Zanzibar Window 2Zanzibar window 1

Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar where little has changed in the last 200 years (except for the hotel above). The original owners of the many grand Arab houses vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork. You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. The symbol of Zanzibar is the dhow boat (photo above).  Many of these boats can be seen along the shores ferrying people around the island and taking fishermen out for the day’s catch.

Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.Zanzibar fruit stand

The market is a great place to visit even if you don’t want to buy anything. It is a vibrant place where everything under the sun is bought and sold. People bring their produce here from all over the island, and other people come to buy things they can’t get in their own villages. Of special interest is the huge selection of brightly coloured kangas (worn by the local women, it is a rectangle of pure cotton cloth with a border all around it, printed in bold zanzibar1designs and bright colours) and the auctions that are held regularly.  I brought back many colourful striped scarves and two chunky neckpieces not normally my style (shown here in photos).

a chunky turquouse/coral/amber neckpiece
old turquoise/coral/amber choker

jewelryzanzibar2

Zanzibar – an Island Tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTPhCjQvQc0

Source: Zanzibar.net and the book called “1,000 places to see before you die” – a traveler’s life list by Patricia Schultz.

 A MAZE ing!
A MAZE ing!

 Have you been?

 

Photos: Lisa King (except for Manta Resort).