Category Archives: Travel

Day Tripper: Rub Elbows with Elites in the Stunning Town of Montecito, CA

The gorgeous city of Montecito is filled with celebrities, California elites, and incredible beaches and botanical gardens. Take a day trip to Santa Barbara County where you can wine and dine by the local celebs or spend a relaxing day surrounded by nature. Here are just a few attractions in Montecito:

Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach is a gorgeous beach in Montecito. Known for its celebrity sightings and popular paragliding sport, Butterfly Beach is perfect for people watching and lounging on the beach or being sporty and trying something new. Although there are no public facilities, you’ll love the privacy and gorgeous sunsets found at Butterfly Beach. Spend an afternoon here or catch the sunset in the evening.

The Easton Gallery

A great way to know more about a city is to check out its artistic side. The Easton Gallery of Montecito showcases the artworks of local artists. Since 1990, the Easton Gallery represents contemporary landscape artists every weekend and weekday afternoons. For more information about this stunning exhibit, see more at the Easton Gallery online.

Lotusland

Lotusland is a must-see in Montecito. The 37 acres of whimsical gardens will surely take your breath away! As the former estate of famous opera singer and socialite Madame Ganna Walska, Lotusland is a collection of exotic plants, a topiary, a cactus garden, a butterfly garden, and many surprises in between. After having spent 43 years perfecting her estate, Madame Ganna Walska passed away in 1984. Her estate has been transformed into a nonprofit botanical garden that is able to help out the local community with educational programs as well as horticulture activities. For more information about Lotusland, visit them online!

Casa del Herrero

Built in 1925, Casa del Herrero is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. As a creative collaboration of design visionaries, Casa del Herrero was designed by well-known architects like George Washington Smith, George Fox Steedman, Lockwood de Forest, and Francis T. Underhill. Arthur Byne and Mildred Stapley, also known for their craftsmanship of the Hearst Castle, were a part of the creation of Casa del Herrero.

Guided, 90-minute tours of Casa del Herrero are by reservation only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Come and see Santa Barbara’s 4th National Historic Landmark, Casa del Herrero while you’re in town. Admission is $20.

Accommodations

If you’d like to stay in Montecito overnight, there are many great accommodations to choose from. Montecito Inn was built by Charlie Chaplin in 1928 and is just as plush and luxurious as it was on opening day. Book your stay at the Montecito Inn for an unforgettable night in pure luxury! If you’re watching your wallet, another option for an overnight stay is Coast Village Inn where you save a bit of money yet you’re still on the coast.

For the best way to spend your weekend, cruise up the coast from San Diego to Montecito!

Photo Credit: Brewbooks

Take a Day Trip to Oxnard, CA: A Coastal City with Historic Roots

You’ll be blown away by the amount of fun that’s tucked away in Oxnard, CA. As part of Ventura County, Oxnard is a coastal town with many charming Mexican qualities.

Take a day trip to Oxnard and stop in these quaint areas and stunning historic districts for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Hollywood Beach

Known as a hot spot for legendary stars, Hollywood Beach has definitely earned its title. The pristine sands of Oxnard’s coastline caught the eye of Hollywood producers many years ago. Since 1921, Hollywood Beach has been the backdrop of countless movies, been home to Clark Gable, and frequently visited for vacation by Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne. This stretch of Oxnard’s beaches is typically secluded, which is why the stars love Hollywood Beach so much!

Oxnard State Beach and Park

With rolling hills and public barbecue pits, Oxnard State Park and Beach is bound to have some activity during the weekend. Oxnard State Park is a great place for a picnic, flying a kite, or having a barbecue with friends. There are many other activities like volleyball, skating and jogging trails and lots of water activities in the Pacific.

Oxnard’s Historic District

The Henry T. Oxnard National Historic District is the heart of Oxnard. Known for its unique neighborhood, grand fountains, and gorgeous gardens, the Historic District offers a look back in time to 1911! Much of the neighborhood has never sold their homes, passing them down from generation to generation.

Heritage Square

Inside the Historic District you will find Heritage Square. Stop by this city block during your tour of the historic homes and indulge in the quaint town square filled with fountains, beautiful landscape, and a plethora of businesses including a restaurant, live theatre, a wine tasting room and more! You won’t want to miss Oxnard’s Heritage Square. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon.

Wine Central

You may not have heard about Oxnard’s wine background but the wineries along Venture County Wine Trail are within reach and a must-see for vacationers. Herzog Wine Cellars is a modern and stylish winery complete with a luxurious tasting bar, picturesque outdoor terrace, and of course, award winning wines. Magnavino is another favorite in the area for premium wines and their elegant tastes and complexity are a must-have for any wine snob.

Authentic Mexican Fare

Do you have a love for Mexican food? Oxnard has at least 20 Mexican restaurants within 8 blocks of one another and yet, they all thrive in this city! To eat like a local, try out La Gloria on S. Oxnard Boulevard. For cheap tacos, La Gloria is the perfect lunch during a trip to Oxnard.

If you’ve been looking for a one-day getaway from San Diego, Oxnard is the perfect fit for convenience and entertainment. From beaches to wineries, Oxnard has many fun things in store for you!

Photo Credit: Karla Campos

Begin your Love Affair with Pasadena when Visiting San Gabriel Valley

Rich with history, unique restaurants, and so many attractions, nothing compares to the charming feel of California’s Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley. Travel to these special areas near L.A., and you’ll feel transported into new and exciting territory.

It’s just a 2-hour car ride from San Diego if you’d like to explore L.A.’s beloved Pasadena. Hop in the car and spend your day in the lovely ambiance of this gorgeous town. Here are some places to see during your day trip to the San Gabriel Valley:

Old Colorado Street Bridge

This landmark is an absolute beauty! Created in 1913, Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge will be having its 100th birthday next weekend on June 22nd from 1 to 5 p.m. Join the festivities with live music, street entertainment, and lots of fantastic eats. You won’t want to miss a piece of Pasadena’s history. Head up next weekend and enjoy the jaw-dropping bridge that has been a staple in Pasadena’s community.

Horse Races at Santa Anita Park

If you want to see the marvelous horse races of Pasadena, the Santa Anita Park is just for you! You can enjoy a horse race from 10 – 5 Thursday to Sunday or you can head up to Sierra Madre, a wonderful place for a hike up Mt. Wilson Trail. The views of the San Gabriel Valley are gorgeous from Sierra Madre and Santa Anita Park, After your day of hiking or watching the horse races, mellow out with a coffee at the nearby Bean Town coffeehouse for a refreshing break from summer heat.

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will definitely impress you not only with their class and beauty, but also with the plethora of interesting, never-before-seen art pieces that will be major eye candy for any art appreciator. You’ll see works such as Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy,” the Gutenberg Bible, and a manuscript by Charles Bukowski. And, that’s not all! Many more precious art collections may be viewed as well as the bountiful gardens, forests, and nature surrounding the Huntington Library. This stop is a must for any new visitor in Pasadena.

Norton Simon Museum

If you can appreciate the wonderful works of high-class artists, you will love the Norton Simon Museum. Filled with outstanding pieces including Rodin’s 1884 Bronze Collection with “The Burghers of Calais” to begin your artful journey inside the museum. Along the way, you’ll discover works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Rafael… Just to name a few! There is also a stunning pond and garden in the back of the museum that will take your breath away. The Norton Simon Museum is open every day except Tuesdays.

Rose Bowl Flea Market

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is a hit with travelers and locals alike! Known as the world’s most unusual flea market, the Rose Bowl Flea Market draws in about 20,000 buyers and 2,500 vendors every month! Typically one Sunday out of the month, you can catch this eclectic flea market. It’s been 45 years, and the Rose Bowl Flea Market is always the best place to find a deal so come to shop or just look around to take in this truly special event.

Photo Credit: Prayitno

Travel to Long Beach for Nautical History & Resort-Style Attractions

The relaxing details and fine attractions of Long Beach make it well worth the trip up to Los Angeles County. Long Beach is a mellow beach town right on the Pacific coastline. Known as the second busiest port in the United States as well as one of the world’s largest shipping ports, Long Beach is a combination of a shipping industry as well as a tourist hot spot.

Take some time this weekend to cruise up the coast and stop in Long Beach between Orange County and LA, These are just a few of the top attractions any traveler must see while in Long Beach:

Naples Island

Naples Island in Long Beach has many similarities to Venice in Italy. The canal system is so beautiful and gondola boat rides are available on authentic Venetian gondolas all day long. Stroll through the neighborhood, stop for some ice cream, and enjoy the essence of Italy captured on Naples Island.

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is peacefully floating at the Long Beach port and it’s open to the public! The Queen Mary has been parked in Long Beach since 1967 and its 1930’s décor and teakwood decks serve as a historic museum and hotel. Haunted tales and nighttime ghost tours are also available. Learn more about the Queen Mary online! It’s a definite must-see if you’re visiting Long Beach.

Catalina Express

If you plan on staying for a few days, take the Catalina Express to the gorgeous island of Santa Catalina, just one hour off the coast of Long Beach. The Catalina Express begins its trips to Catalina Island at 6:15 a.m. with the latest trip leaving around 8 p.m. Catalina Island is great for a day at the beach, driving around the island in golf cart rentals and seeing the unique qualities that make Santa Catalina Island a hotspot for the rich and famous.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Dive deep into the depths of the ocean and explore the mysteries of the Pacific. Meet 11,000 different animals in 50+ exhibits at the swanky Aquarium of the Pacific… and it’s not just for kids! Any age will find this aquarium truly fascinating! The Aquarium of the Pacific also has a unique shark exhibit that is just stunning. Take a day trip and see all of the Pacific’s vast population of fish and animals.

Battleship IOWA

Welcome aboard the only battleship that’s open to the public! Named 2013 SSHSA Museum Ship of the Year, USS Iowa takes you through a journey of history and war from World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. The longevity of the Battleship Iowa allows you to take an adventure as a sailor of a lead ship in the last class of gunships. Battleship Iowa also hosted three presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt, see the special Captain’s Cabin where a bathtub was installed for these presidents. After almost 70 years of service, the Iowa has a very distinct history. Enrich your trip to Long Beach with a tour of this historical museum.

Photo Credit: Dance of Life Image Miner

Travel to Monterey, California’s Sparkling Gem for Wine, Festivals, & Fishing

Plan a trip and get out of San Diego for a while. But instead of stopping in L.A. or cruising to Vegas, check out the stunning coastline of Monterey County. This city has an endless list of places to explore, and the season to visit Monterey is the upcoming summer months!

Here are some great attractions to see and upcoming festivals that will surely delight all visitors looking for a relaxing break from the regular weekend routine. Loaded with history, activity, and a whole lot of fun, a trip to Monterey is a priceless vacation you’ll be boasting about for years to come.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Uncover the mysteries of Monterey’s ocean life without plunging into the Pacific. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is dedicated to assisting in marine life research and preservation. It has landed high remarks by Forbes Traveler as one of America’s most interesting aquariums. Make sure to stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium during your stay for an out-of-this-world experience.

Cannery Row

Cannery Row plays a crucial row in Monterey’s unique makeup. Officially renamed Cannery Row in 1958 to pay homage to John Steinbeck, Cannery Row is a piece of history that you must visit on your Monterey vacation. Located along the gorgeous waterfront, Cannery Row is lined with great restaurants, shops, wine tasting rooms, art studios, and special boutiques. If you’re the adventurous type, Cannery Row also offers kayaking, biking, and scuba diving at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

CANNERY ROW BLOCK PARTY, JUNE 2, 2013

Cannery Row is hosting their annual block party this Sunday, June 2nd. With live bands, games, food, and quirky entertainment, the Cannery Row Block Party is a must-see! Cannery Row is also home of the Cherry Jubilee that takes place in September!

Fisherman’s Wharf

The impressive Fisherman’s Wharf of Monterey is the heart and soul of the beloved town. Located in downtown Monterey, Fisherman’s Wharf holds the essence of Monterey with its thriving fishing industry and bay front culture. This is a top attraction in Monterey. Stop by to watch the fishermen loading up their prized fish, warm up with a bowl of clam chowder soup, and go on an adventurous ride in a glass bottom boat for a tour of Monterey’s marine life! Visit Fisherman’s Wharf online for more activities and things to do at the Wharf.

Pebble Beach Scenic Drive

Monterey County is notorious for one of the most scenic drives in the entire world! The 17-mile stretch along Highway One is considered a “dream road trip.” The 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach passes by swanky homes, world-class golf courses, the Del Monte Forest and the stunning waterfront.  You’ll see some of these monuments along the way: Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill, and Carmel Bay.

Monterey Wine Festival

There’s nothing better than a glass of fine wine in a gorgeous historic park. The Monterey Wine Festival will present hundreds of wines to taste for all wine enthusiasts June 7-8, 2013. Known as California’s longest standing wine festival, the Monterey Wine Festival will celebrate its 37th anniversary at Monterey State Historic Park. Stop by for some light appetizers, fantastic wines, and lots of chatter about the region’s greatest wineries.

Carmel Bach Festival

If you can’t sneak away to Monterey just yet, think about planning a trip to Monterey from July 13-27 for the Carmel Bach Festival. Celebrating its 76th anniversary, the Carmel Bach Festival will host classical performances of Mozart, Handel, Bach, and many others in various concerts and free events around Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel. Dive into a more sophisticated trip to Monterey when you experience this long-lived classical celebration!

Photo Credit: Ahniwa