We have long heard of the beauty of Yosemite National Park, and while we were in that part of town, we couldn’t possibly give it a miss. The park is a World Heritage Site that spans more than 3000 km2. Well known for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, Giant Sequoia groves and biodiversity, it is a wilderness haven that attracts millions of tourists, photographers, rock climbers, geologists and biologists every year. Continue reading
Category Archives: USA
Happy 2012 everyone! I do realise that my previous post was on coffee, so I really shouldn’t be posting yet another so soon. But I am so excited about this one I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I am a lover of good coffee and a sucker for beautiful spaces and this one takes the cake on both counts. Have a look. Continue reading
Named after the founder of Venice, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is home to an incredibly eclectic collection of ultra-hip shops, restaurants and cafes. The antithesis of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, the mile-long strip in the Venice district is shopping mecca for those in search of vintage clothing, funky collectibles, quaint antiques and local art. While Abbot Kinney is not widely publicized as one of the ‘must-dos’ in LA, I rate it as one of the best ‘local’ experiences. Continue reading
Nestled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, West Hollywood (or WeHo, as it has come to be known) is one of the most dynamic parts of the region and home to some of the area’s best art galleries, restaurants, clubs, shops and beloved landmarks (think Sunset Strip).
Fairfax Ave isn’t a bad place to start off your adventures in WeHo with The Grove, Farmers Market and CBS studios all within walking distance of one another. Heck, there’s even a trendy hotel across the road! Continue reading
If you’re heading south along scenic Highway 1 from SF to LA, you’ll past the high profile towns of Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur. But go a little farther, and just 5 miles before the famed Hearst Castle, is a gem worth pulling over for. Trust me, the elephant seal rookery is the real show-stopper along Highway 1, with good reason. Mature male elephant seals can weigh in at 2 tons or more and have noses that can reach a length of 2 feet from the onset of puberty, making these massive beasts a genuine treat to watch! At the time I was there, I was fortunate to witness the the return of both male and female seals from Alaska (where they had been foraging to bulk up for several months of fasting) as well as the birthing season of seal pups. We were also treated to a spectacular sight put on by a territorial male with its thunderous hollow bellows (akin to a Harley revving up in a gym), announcing its dominance to all in its path- simply awesome. http://www.elephantseal.org/
Tip: Check the rookery calendar before going to ensure that seals have returned to the beach. There is no charge to view the seals.
Note: There is the nearby town of Cambria which you can stop by for a lovely walk around it’s main street before making your final journey down south.
The Napa Valley comprises the 5 main regions of Napa, Yountville, Oakville/ Rutherford, St Helena and Calistoga, but also includes the outlying regions of American Canyon and Lake Berryessa. Together, over 400 wineries growing varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel can be found in this “land of plenty” (Napa valley: a name derived the from the language of the area’s native Wappo Indians meaning “land of plenty”).
In addition, The Napa Valley is North America’s most celebrated rural fine wine and food destination, where country lane freshness meets the creativity of some of the world’s finest chefs – Thomas Keller, Michael Chiarello, Christopher Kostow, Masaharu Morimoto & Richard Reddington to name a few. Continue reading
Michelin stars, of course. In addition to the multitude of rock and roll hall of fame vineyards, the Napa Valley boasts a stellar line up of Michelin starred restaurants (14 stars to be exact), making this a superstar destination for both oenophiles and foodies. Not all are easy to get reservations for (no prizes for guessing which one that is), but you might just get lucky on a cold winter’s night at some of the fine establishments in the valley – I did, with Ubuntu (1 star) and The Restaurant at Meadowood (3 star). Continue reading
Mention a visit to the wine country in California, USA and Napa Valley instantly comes to mind.
I am convinced, however, that it is in the nearby town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, where you can truly find a slice of heaven in one hand (and a profound glass of Zinfandel in the other). Continue reading
h2hotel is set in the heart of Healdsburg’s historic Town Plaza, and is the newer (and more affordable) sister property of the famed Hotel Healdsburg. Entering the property is like walking straight into a Dwell magazine. You walk past the fleet of vintage bicycles, in through an enormous red door (look out for the amazing spoon installation beside the door!), and straight to the large horse-shoe shaped ‘receptobar’ vaguely separating their restaurant, Spoonbar, and the hotel’s lobby. Boundaries are very much intentionally blurred here, where the fluidity of eco-friendly design and function seamlessly integrates with the warmth of the hotel staff, allowing you to feel completely at home and at ease – welcome to h2hotel! Continue reading