Napa Valley Vibes

Our west coast crew took a trip up to Napa Valley, California to celebrate a batcholor/ette weekend! It was absolutely perfect weather. Here are some snapshots from the trip!

IMG_7040IMG_7043IMG_7050IMG_7069IMG_7080First stop was Andretti Winery – we tried some unfiltered Cabernet straight from the barrel, it was one of my favorite wines of the day!IMG_7092Second stop was a quick tasting at Pine Ridge Winery, a classier upscale winery. My favorite was the Syrah blend.IMG_7101IMG_7119IMG_7124IMG_7142IMG_7143Matt & Audra – soon to be bride & groom!

Artesa Winery was on the top of my list of wineries to visit in Napa, the pictures explain why. 360 panoramic views of Napa Valley’s wine country, unbelievably beautiful!

IMG_7200Stopped at this adorable & popular brunch stop leaving town – Alexis Baking Company.

IMG_7205

Sunset drives through the winding rows of grapes vineyards are absolutely stunning, highly recommend a trip Napa Valley region any time of year!

Take Care,

Lucia

48 Hours of North Coast Bliss

I had Glass Beach on my list of California must-see for a while, so I decided booked us a hotel in Fort Bragg! We drove up early Saturday morning, and headed straight for Russian Gulch State Park for a hike.

If you know me, hiking up a mountain to a waterfall is so gratifying. The sound of the rushing waterfall is one of my most favorite things. We hiked about 7 miles out and back on the Fern Canyon Trail.

It was much more lush and green than the Bay Area, the ferns and moss covered rocks were absolutely beautiful.

DSC_1190

DSC_1136

IMG_4664

DSC_1155

We headed to the other side of the park where it meets the ocean – incredible! Once again there are no words for the California coastal blues. Just pure magic.

DSC_1196DSC_1220

DSC_1245

DSC_1223

Our hotel was nearby in Fort Bragg, so we continued up Highway 1 and settled in at the Sand and Surf Lodge right around 4pm when the sun shines in so beautifully, our room faced the ocean – it was great treat! This was our view!

DSC_1258

I was in hurry to get to Glass Beach and it was perfect timing for sunset, we grabbed our camera and wandered our way about a mile or so and found heaven.

IMG_4826

If you are ever near Northern California, I highly recommended stopping here! People in the 30s and 40s use to throw their trash here and they way the currents move it brings it back to this same spot. Really fascinating!

Watching the sunset here ranks in my top of my life’s most treasured moments.

IMG_4760

We found ourselves at North Coast Brewing Company Taproom where we had a lovely seafood dinner. The next day we got up early and took Bayla for a walk along the coast, and ended back up at Glass Beach, I wanted to do some more beach combing! It was around 9am the the tides were low, I spotted a red shell on the ground and got to grab it and realize it was what I had been looking for – a beautiful abalone shell! I was ecstatic!

IMG_4876IMG_4831

It was a quick trip, so we packed up and headed to brunch at Eggheads – highly recommended, the food was amazing! We wandered around the shops in downtown and picked up some goodies at Mendocino Chocolate Company. Our last stop was another one of my favorite things, lighthouses!

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse lies south of Fort Bragg and about a mile north of Mendocino. It was about a mile walk along the costal bluffs. It was early afternoon and very few people were out, it was a peaceful walk. The majestic red roof against the blue water was so stark and stunning.

DSC_1323

IMG_4949

IMG_4879

IMG_4852DSC_1374

Sometimes you need to escape far from Silicon Valley. Looking for a beautiful, serene and absolutely stunning place? Drive 4 hours north to find the tiny quaint coastal towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg – you will not be disappointed! Nature is always the best refresh for the soul.

Take Care,

Lucia

 

Chinatown, San Francisco

We decided to ring in the 2016 Chinese New Year at one of the largest celebration outside of Asia, in San Francisco’s Chinatown!

If you are looking for some interesting sights and sounds and tons of great food, stop by Chinatown for a visit!

We entered Chinatown at the infamous Dragon’s Gate, located at the intersection of Grant Ave and Bust St.

DSC_1071

We wandered down Grant Ave admiring all the red decorating and popping in little shops selling all type of Chinese themed goods. It was around noon so we decided to grab some lunch at Hunan Home, I had the delicious seafood fried rice.

DSC_1081DSC_1137DSC_1180

Chinatown is situated in the middle of San Francisco’s Financial District leaving you with views of the towering buildings, the Transamerica Pyramid here is the tallest building in San Francisco at 853ft.DSC_1115We decided to wait in the 35 minute line for the prized egg custard tarts from Golden Gate Bakery. Talking the the local in line is well worth the wait. This hours here vary drastically, so always call ahead. They were so worth it, fresh out of the oven – so warm and flaky!

DSC_1120DSC_1121DSC_1124

There is an abundance of great food in Chinatown especially bakeries, I could not believe there was a Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco. It is a small space and you do not get a tour, they are just there to sell you different types of fortune cookies. Though there is large machines pressing out the cookies and then they get pressed into a round mold for folding. We took a final stop for coffee and mooncakes at Eastern Bakery and then headed to the parade!

DSC_1186DSC_1192

DSC_1204.JPG

We saw the start of the parade at the cotton candy sunset was setting on the City. It was a beautiful day and Chinatown is always a fun spot to explore!

Happy Year of the Monkey!

Take Care,

Lucia

Year One – Wild California

Wow! 2015 is gone just like that – what an incredible year it was! It was our first year living in California, 3,000 miles from where we met, our home in Raleigh, NC. I became fully dedicated into a job focused on protecting and preserving the environment – which is very rewarding and something I am truly passionate about! Seth and I explored and adventured all over Northern California – it was a truly remarkable year of change; full of new faces and places. So many absolutely special sites and sounds, my heart is so full and grateful. Here are a some of my favorite visual highlights from 2015!

Cheers to a happy, healthy and nature-filled 2016!

 

 

Keep Tahoe Blue

“…at last the Lake burst upon us—a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still! … As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”

-Mark Twain, Roughing It

I have been wanting to visit Lake Tahoe for a while, Seth’s birthday was coming up and decided October in Tahoe would be a nice surprise.  We stayed at an adorable retro cabin!

DSC_0934 DSC_0957

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, the Airbnb was a 5 minute walk to the lake – amazing! The best part was we got to take Bayla along with us, she love going to any type of water and luckily South Lake Tahoe is very dog friendly.

DSC_1049 DSC_1096

 

 

 

 

 

It took us about 8 hours from San Jose to get there Friday evening because of traffic. Oh well, we found it and settled in and stayed up late hanging out and talking. The place was so cute and retro it was perfect!

The next morning Seth and I woke up at 8am because Bayla was begging to go out, she knew we were somewhere special. We took the 5 minute walk (or 10 with picture taking) to the lake and there are just no words for its beauty. The street feel like a small mountain town but being out on the lake felt like a completely different planet, so  serene and quiet and the water so clear and blue – absolutely incredible!

 

DSC_1091    DSC_1082

We decided to go kayaking on the lake, whew that water was freezing! We had to take our shoes off and wade in the shallow water until we both get in. It was so fun! Seth was the better one at paddling, I was admiring the blue water and the mountains in the distance it was magical!

Later on, we adventured over to the Emerald Bay area – just wow! So pristine and still – really remarkable. We went on a short 2 mile hike, Cascade Falls, the views were specular – Lake Tahoe is truly a special place!

DSC_1016  DSC_0959

An absolute must see if you’re traveling through California.

Take Care,

Lucia

Cabo de Pinos National Seashore

The Point Reyes peninsula is a well defined area, geologically separated from the rest of Marin County and almost all of the continental United States by a rift zone of the San Andreas Fault, about half of which is sunk below sea level and forms Tomales Bay. The fact that the peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than the east shore of Tomales Bay produces a difference in soils and therefore to some extent a noticeable difference in vegetation. A Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sighted and named “Cabo de Pinos” (Point Reyes), but missed the entrance to San Francisco Bay, a lapse that mariners would repeat for the next two centuries and more, due to the mass amount of fog that characterizes San Francisco and Marin.

We took a Saturday trip to Point Reyes National Seashore because I always hear about its beauty – and wanted to see it for myself. Luckily, every foggy turn was incredibly vast and purely amazing.

We first stopped at the Cypress Tree Tunnel, who doesn’t love a tunnel of trees?!

DSC_0851  Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Then made our way down the 308 steps to the lighthouse – WOW!

DSC_0899   DSC_0911

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The fog and intense winds off the ocean made the infamous cypress tree slant in one direction! We took a short hike to sea lion overlook and saw a few babies on the beach! We also got to see deer, elk, a fox, cows and many different birds! We stopped by the  shipwreck on our way out – what gorgeous sites and interesting fauna and flora this place has to offer! Overall this is a great day trip for anyone – we cannot wait to come back when it is a clear sunny day and maybe spot some whales!

DSC_0930 DSC_0965

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset   Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

This place is truly a slice of heaven! Do you have any favorite spots around Point Reyes?

Take Care,

Lucia

IMG_1514

Outside Lands Replay

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

We got settled in to our Airbnb in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and biked to Golden Gate Park. It was a gorgeous sunny day in San Francisco’s west side, which is not very common but much enjoyed, I LOVE the houses and the colors and the vibes, San Francisco is my spirit animal.  We got to Golden Gate Park and it was lush and green, there was laughs, smiles and crazy festival fashion – it felt like home. We laid in the grass and listened to Leon Bridges then headed to the main stage and sang along with First Aid Kit. We moved up to get close for St. Vincent – oh my god! I saw her last year but she never fails to disappoint – she is such a BADASS! Wilco played next, one of me and Seth’s favorite bands. Always a fun time singing along to Americana classics with them.

IMG_0783

IMG_0794

IMG_0835

 

 

 

  IMG_0885

We woke up Saturday and biked to see Twin Peaks, it was early show around noon – wow it was incredible. These guys are young and full of angst! Later that day, we got to see two of my favorite bands – Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala! Tame Impala was my favorite show from the festival – the lights and visuals were excellent! The night ended with the rowdiest crowd of the festival – Kendrick Lamar!

DSC_1091

IMG_0894

 

 

 

We saw Givers, Benjamin Booker, Odesza. Elton John came on and played all his classics – it was a short set but throughly enjoyed!

We grabbed our bikes and headed home after a whirlwind weekend in the city of music and hills and love. Anyone planning on going to OSL 2016?

Take Care,

Lucia

IMG_1437

McWay Falls

“Ah, life is a gate, a way, a path to Paradise anyway, why not live for fun and joy and love or some sort of girl by a fireside, why not go to your desire and LAUGH…”   

We had some visitors in town from DC. We decided to get them away from the city life and reconnect with nature. We took a trip down to the California coast to show them the magic that is Big Sur. If you only have one day to spend in Big Sur, I recommened heading to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which has the breathtaking McWay Falls and also redwoods and canyon hiking with ocean views – all which make up the Big Sur experience. We took the Ewoldsen Trail, a 4.5 loop that first traversed cool and shady scrub underbrush. I loved how the light beams through the magesitc redwood canopy.

DSC_0658 DSC_0661As we contiuned uphill, we would chase glimpses of the beautiful blue water. We saw a group of people coming down and mentioned they just was a condor soaring in the sky, at the top of the canyon. While walking along to ridge at the top of the canyon – I stopped the condor! It had an least an 8ft wingspan with a large white stripe on the underside of its wing. It was a magnificent site! There was a large wildfire in 2008 and burned through a lot of the Big Sur region, you can still see remnants of char, yet these giants have grow through the burns.

DSC_0700 DSC_0701

DSC_0709 DSC_0710

After the hike, we ventured down a 1/2 mile path to see McWay Falls, an 80ft waterfall that drops into the ocean. It’s so beautiful from every angle. The colors of the water are the truest shades of turquoise you will ever see. It is hard not to be entranced my the vibrant water, salty air, serene simplicity. I could really just sit and watch the ocean all day here.

DSC_0774 DSC_0775

DSC_0778 DSC_0785

We stopped to eat at Nepenthe, our all time favorite place with the most remarkable lunchtime views.

DSC_0795

Take Care, Lucia

P.s – You won’t remember that weekend spent watching Netflix – go climb that mountain. Never stop exploring!

DSC_0689    DSC_0726

Sunshine Daydream

The Grateful Dead reunited for a 50th anniversary Fare The Well tour. Seth and I got lucky and scored tickets to both nights at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The core four members were present – Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir; they were joined by Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, pianist Bruce Hornsby and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. The first night, they gave out thousands of roses at the beginning of the show – it was incredible. On Saturday, it started to slightly drizzle then a giant double rainbow came out and the sky exploded into a fiery orange – we all knew Jerry was there. Some of my favorites were Uncle John’s Band, Sugar Magnolia, and Brown Eyed Women – classics.  Here are some outtakes from the weekend. Cheers to all you Dead heads out there – the crowd was wild! Great weekend – good times.

Processed with Rookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9925  Processed with Rookie

IMG_9801         Processed with Rookie

Processed with Rookie   Processed with Rookie

Processed with RookieIMG_9928

Take Care, Lucia

IMG_9929

So Much For The City

jack-kerouac-quotes-sayings-live-travel-do-not-be-sory

The coast was calling and we had to go! We woke up super early Saturday morning and traveled down the Pacific Costal Highway 1 – between the winding foggy mountains and the breathtaking Pacific Ocean. If you ever have the chance to take a drive down the PCH – do it! It is absolutely amazing. We headed to Andrew Molera State Park in the northern part of the Big Sur region. We decided on a 9 mile loop traversing a varied amount of terrains – it did not disappoint – the mystical fog, walking along the coastal bluffs – highly recommended!

DSC_0084   DSC_0087

DSC_0096    DSC_0118

Crossing a creek is always fun to begin a hike! We hiked through gorgeous oak groves at the beginning and then went straight uphill for about 2 miles. After the elevation gain, we came to a small redwood forest. Wow! Seeing and touching and experiencing these magnificent giant trees in real life is truly remarkable.

DSC_0121    DSC_0131

DSC_0124   DSC_0135

We finally reached the crest of the mountain – seeing straight down the coast for miles and the foggy mountains behind us was just breathtaking.

DSC_0148   DSC_0144

DSC_0162    DSC_0163

The diverse flora and fauna in California is so fascinating to me! The wildflowers are exotic and brightly colored, it is really fun to learn about!

DSC_0193  DSC_0235  DSC_0223DSC_0187

DSC_0283    DSC_0259

Walking along the cliffs of the ocean is just gorgeous, the landscape changed from mountain chaparral to purple needle grass lands. We worked our way down the to ocean. It was so gratifying the climb a mountain, reach the fog, traverse through various terrains and end up at the ocean in just a few hours. Amazing!

DSC_0290   DSC_0293

We decided to grab some lunch. Luckily, it happened to be the most beautiful restaurant we have ever been too. Along the PCH, Nepenthe, a family gem tucked away literally on the side of a mountain, with an extraordinary history.

DSC_0328   DSC_0323

We ate at Cafe Kevah part of Nepenthe which serves brunch, it was delicious! This place is highly recommended for family, dates, out of town guests, or anytime visiting in Big Sur. Stunning scenery and great views, nothing better.

DSC_0320   DSC_0332

A stop at the famous Bixby Bridge is a must – the shades blues of the water are stunning!

DSC_0393

Follow my Instagram for more adventure pictures @floralcalifornia!

Take Care,  Lucia

quote-on-the-road

%d bloggers like this: