48 Hours of North Coast Bliss

California, Travel

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

 

Keep Tahoe Blue

California, Travel

“…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!

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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.

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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!

 

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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!

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

Take Care,

Lucia

McWay Falls

California, Travel

“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.

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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.

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

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Take Care, Lucia

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

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So Much For The City

California, Travel

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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Follow my Instagram for more adventure pictures @floralcalifornia!

Take Care,  Lucia

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5 Easy Hikes in the Bay Area

California, Travel

Seth and I love to get out and explore during the weekends – and of course give Bayla a chance to be free and roam around. We typically have activities planned in the evening so we like to get easy hikes & sightseeing in the morning. One of the great things about the Bay area, there are so many great hiking options – beach trails, marshlands, open space preserves, mountains, foothills – you name,  it is here!

1. Joseph D. Grant State Park

Just south of San Jose – we took the Dutch Flat Trail to the scenic overlook. Beautiful views of Silicon Valley and beyond.

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2. Castle Rock State Park

Located west of Saratoga in the Santa Cruz mountains – this spot is one not to miss! It has tons of Douglas-fir, and madrone forests intertwined with sandstone rock formations. Just amazing!

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3. Fremont Older Open Space Preserve

We hiked to Hunter’s Point, a 3 mile loop through woods and grasslands and sweepings views of Silicon Valley at the top!

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4. Coyote Ridge

This is an area of protected land between the Santa Cruz mountains and Sierra Nevada mountains near Anderson Lake. It is a major wildlife corridor, and home to the bay checkerspot butterfly and abundant amounts of wildflowers. My coworkers and I received a docent led hike from Santa Clara Open Space Authority and it was such a treat to see this stunning land.

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5. Slacker Ridge

A easy hike in the gorgeous Marin Headlands  with breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Pacific Ocean. This peak is a few back from the main attraction of Battery Spencer, and is a hidden gem from the tourists. Seth and I were all alone on the mountain top just taking in the views. Bring layers – the hike up gets steep but the wind at the top is seriously fierce!
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The Bay area is FULL of hiking options, anyone out there know of some really great spots?

Xo, Lucia

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