A look at the family-owned Hofsas House located at Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Peace by the Ocean: Hofsas House

A look at the family-owned Hofsas House located at Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Every year, I head somewhere for my birthday. Or at least try to. It all started in 2009 when I was in Atlanta and working in PR. I took the first trip of my adult life — a two week excursion to Croatia — seven years after my first foray into solo travel, which netted me about one month of backpacking with a far-too-heavy backpack around Europe.

If you’ve been reading this site since its infancy, then you know Croatia was the catalyst for all things d travels ’round.

I digress.

Birthday.

Americas California Hotel Reviews Reviews Featured

A Weekend at Laguna Beach’s Pacific Edge Hotel

Escape reality at the oceanfront Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach. An in-depth look at the property.
“I had to close the door a little more,” Kyla explains to me our first morning waking up at the Laguna oceanfront hotel, the Pacific Edge Hotel. “It was too loud.”

In this case, being too loud is a blissful problem to have since she’s referring to the sound of the Pacific Ocean crashing feet outside of our balcony.

In fact, in the early morning hours I awaken simply to listen to the waves crashing outside of our room.

It’s been a stressful few months and this mini-vacation is exactly what I need to unwind and unfurl myself from my desk long enough to breathe in some deep, salty air breaths.

I lay in my king bed, silent. Listening.

It’s a soundtrack that could be playing at a spa, but it’s real life. 

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Let’s Get Lost

Let's get lost
“What do you want to do now?” he asks as we stand in the parking lot of the foot massage spa somewhere in the Valley.

“I don’t care,” I respond. Because, really, I don’t. All that matters is that I am spending time with my friend in his home.

We stand there, in the early summer evening, wondering what to do. We’d already been biking in Santa Monica, wandered around the impressive Fairfax Flea Market …

“We could go on a drive and just get lost,” I suggest.

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Adventures in Biking from Santa Monica to Venice Beach

Biking in LA
It’s a little green monster, that bike in front of me.

“Where’s the brake?” I ask, scanning the handlebars for the metal clutch to prevent me from bashing into people, or giving me the ability to slow down.

“You back pedal,” the man says, tossing me a look of ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, lady.’

I stand there, surveying the bicycle as my friends begin to climb on their own set of two wheels.

It’s only been two weeks since I re-learned how to ride a bike, and the biking I have done has been through the rural roads in Delaware, not bustling California beach cities. For nearly 15 years, I’ve had a fear of bikes. A  totally rational feel, I assure you.

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The Bacon Bloody Mary Love Letter

D + BBM = ❤

Dear Bacon Bloody Mary,

I had never fathomed such a lovely start to a morning until a recent and gorgeous July Sunday in Napa Valley.

“Here,” Kristin had said when we discussed our post-winery breakfast between she, Abby and I. “The Boon Fly Cafe.”

She read some reviews, and the three of us were off to the cute little farmhouse-style restaurant.

BBM, I never knew you,  such a lovely treat existed. But there, in the air dining room of Boon Fly Cafe, I saw your first mention, written neatly in white chalk on a blackboard.

Bacon. Bloody. Mary

My eyes lit up.

Bacon. Vodka. Tomato. Yes. Please.

And so, we sat down and ordered.

I knew the moment I laid eyes on you … Your crunchy bacon goodness in a sea of spicy tomatoey cocktail. Heaven.

I don’t think I could have paced myself if I tried.

Oh, bacon … You were perfection. And, when dunked into my drink, little crunchy bite after little crunchy bite … There was little I could do to keep from finishing you off before my eggs were served.

And yet, I tried.

And when you were gone, I savored every last bit of the remaining drink. The cold spicy sweetness rolling over my tongue, down my throat.

Oh, BBM. I love you so.

Cheers to being the best momentary pause in Napa wine drinking history.

Yours truly,

D

In case you need more photos of the most adorable breakfast spot in Napa, Boon Fly Cafe, located at Carneros Inn …

Americas Blog California Travel

Photo Essay: Napa Valley

This wasn’t really one of those take-heaps-and-heaps-of-photos-trips (and no, it’s not because I was all glassy-eyed drunky in Napa … cause I wasn’t … for realsies).

But, in case you want more Napa pics, here are favorites from our day of wine tasting, starting with The Golden Gate Bridge:

Crossing through the thick fog on the Golden Gate Bridge ... en route to sunny skies and warmer temps

The lush Domaine Chandon:

The famed champagne's grounds

 

The start of the tasting

 

Visitors enjoying the gorgeous afternoon weather.

 

If you didn’t see the last post, after Domaine Chandon, we stopped in to Peju for a quickie tasting:

Peju's entrance.

 

From inside to out ... the grounds of Peju

The airy lobby of Peju.

The colorful stained glass of Peju's tasting room.

Learning about Peju wines.

And then, we’re off to Caymus for our tasting at the rustic building:

Learning about Caymus.

Oh-so good.

Caymus' vineyard.

Post-wine yummy at Gotts Roadside Diner:

They had everything, even grilled cheese.

After checking in to Chardonnay Lodge, the three of us continued our wine-lovingness at Oxbow Market.

Gott's #2. Nearby Oxbow Market.

Oxbow Market ... right around the corner.

The whimsical cows of Oxbow Market

Oysters ...

There was wine to go with all that cheese.

 

Americas Blog California Travel

Photo Essay: Chardonnay Lodge

Chardonnay Lodge is many things. One of which is adorable. So adorable, in fact, that I put together a little photo essay of all of its adorable-ness.

Our adorable corner room.

Roses at the entrance.

The little garden up front.

A little vineyard to enjoy on property.

One day, these delicious little grapes will be all grown up ... and in a pretty bottle. Hopefully in my wine glass.

Perfect for an afternoon/evening sipping new purchases.

Paris Room AKA our room.

The sleeping area. And hand-painted wall.

 

The extra room. And the robe mannequin.

Yes. I took a photo of the tub. There are two. This one rocks.

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