Archive of ‘California’ category

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Now that it’s getting windy and cold, and snow will be here soon, I find myself looking back at my warm, sunny California trip. Of course, a trip to the sunshine state wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.

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For me, the best part was driving across the bridge!! It’s such a long bridge, so it takes a good amount of time to cross it. I loved it!

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The view from the lookout point was okay, but super crowded. So we headed up to one of those hills that you see in the distance and took some shots from there.

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The view was much better and less crowded, but oh so so cold. It didn’t feel like July at all!

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The boy made me stay on the hill while he composed the perfect shot. Brrr! Apparently, this was the clearest that it had been in weeks. San Fran is a foggy place!

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Elephant Seals get their beach on in Cambria

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Elephant seals are so funny and bizarre! This was one of the highlights of my California trip- seeing hundreds of elephant seals just hanging out on the beach in Cambria. No biggie. They just live here. Check out the video at the bottom to see how aggressive they can be, and the weird sound they make!

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Wanna see them? Head North on Highway One and follow the signs, just before you get to Cambria.

Cambria Shores Inn

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The Cambria Shores Inn felt like home, and we were sorry that we only had one night to spend there. As you pull up to the inn, you can see the Pacific ocean right across the street. Big Muskoka chairs are set up in front of the inn for you to enjoy the view.

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The view from your back door!

 

My comfortably appointed room had a soft bed with a reclaimed wooden headboard, a fireplace, a small kitchenette and a little patio to watch the sunset on. The bathroom was the best! It had a small tub and a large glass shower, with an awesome shower head. I also loved the view of the ocean from the patio.

The room cozy touches, like a basketful of books, small artworks on the wall and my favourite- a notebook beside the bed! The notebook was filled with notes from people who had stayed in that room before. The notes were funny, touching and intimate. It was something that I’ve never seen done in another hotel, and I loved it.

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In the morning, a treat awaits you. Included with your day is a basket of breakfast. It gets left outside of your door in the morning. It’s filled with fresh orange juice, fruit, yogurt and small baked goods. Perfect to sustain you after you return from your walk on the beach.

Moonstone Beach is a beautiful beach with a lovely boardwalk. When the tide is out, you can visit the tiny tidal pools and find sea creatures inside!

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The Cambria Shores Inn is also dog friendly! You can travel with your pet and they even have doggie treats. If you aren’t a dog, that’s okay. They also have people treats! In the evening, enjoy a fresh-baked brownie.

Cambria is the perfect place to stop on your road-trip from San Francisco to L.A. It’s halfway! With its tide pools, elephant seals and friendly accommodations, it makes perfect sense.

Cambria Shores Inn is located at 6276 Moonstone Beach Dr  Cambria, CA 93428

Alcatraz Night Tour in San Francisco

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The eerie Alcatraz Island looms from the mists on the shore from our perch in the boat. “The weather may be mild right now”, warns our tour guide, “But on the rock it’s a whole different story. It’s colder there.”

We were incredibly lucky to be able to nab a seat on the infamous Alcatraz Night Tour ($37). It actually sells out weeks in advance. When we were lining up, I noticed a sign saying that tours were sold out until July 25th. (It was only July 2!)

This night tour includes a live narrated boat tour around the island; guided tours from the dock to the main prison building; and special programs and presentations that are offered only at night.

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Alcatraz is eerie, that’s for sure. The tiny island has been home to a military fortification, a military and federal prison as well as a light house.

The abandoned prison has become a tourist attraction, even though the last inmates were here over 50 years ago. This is due to its infamous inmates (The Birdman of Alcatraz and   Al Capone, to name a few) and being the set of many popular movies.

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The island is maintained today by the National Park Service. It has become a bird habitat. When we were there, lots of adorable baby Western Gulls were there. Look how fluffy they are!

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We walked up a hill while the sun was setting and heard stories about the history of the island. When we got inside, everyone was given a self guided Alcatraz Cellhouse audio tour. This award-winning audio tour is voiced by correctional officers and inmates who lived on the island.

The tour led us all around the facility. It was creepy, fascinating and a little heartbreaking all at once. Listening to all of the stories while standing in the places that they actually happened- shivers!

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After the audio tour, the special programming began. That night, the hospital/infirmary was open to visit. It was super creepy but very interesting to see! After wandering around there, I joined the talk about past inmates that have successfully escaped from Alcatraz.

Of course, this really depends on what you define, “escape” as. Did they get out of the prison? Yes. Did they make it to freedom? That’s debatable. I like to think that they did.

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The Alcatraz Night Tour is a very unique, can’t miss experience. If you’ll be in the San Francisco area, go and book your tour! The earlier the better. Not into seeing it at night? They have day tours as well! Thank you to  San Francisco Travel.

The Elan Hotel in L.A.

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The Élan Hotel is a fantastic boutique hotel in West Hollywood. (Nicknamed, WeHo, much to my delight.) Not only are the rooms incredibly comfortable, and with ample plugs for your electronics, but it also comes with free continental breakfast and is in a great location for shopping and dining.

elan3 Android Photos 20131 The room was very clean and a good size. The bathroom had a nice selection of toiletries and the soap was really interesting. Because the middle of the soap is the most wasted part, the Elan removes the middle.

The hotel participates in a great program called Clean the World. The program takes partially used lotions, shampoos, etc that are left in hotel rooms and reuses them. The reused products get donated to shelters and people in need. Pretty cool.

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In the morning, head down to the bright lobby to enjoy your complimentary continental breakfast. The meal includes pastries, coffee, various teas, yogurt, cereal and more.

After breakfast, go shopping!

In West Hollywood, you are close to some cool shops. Notably, Flight 001, What Katie Did and Tokidoki. If shopping malls are more your thing, then you’ll be pleased to discover that shopping center The Grove is down the street, (shopping, movie theatre and restaurants. Sprinkles, anyone?) and mega mall Beverly Center is a mere 5 minute walk away.

The Elan Hotel is actually quite tiny (only 2 floors) so it’s amazing to see the attentiveness and comfort of a larger hotel. No wonder they are #5 on TripAdvisor with a 91% rating!

Take a look! Élan Hotel 8435 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90048

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