Tag Archives: beach

SoCal Mini Break: Venice Beach Boardwalk

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Venice Beach Boardwalk Skate Park

I can’t make a stop in LA without a pass through Venice.  When I was a Los Angeles resident, Venice was always a great place to be for the day, with all its color and life!

Luckily, this time, it was only a short walk away from my bungalow in Marina Del Rey to the Venice Boardwalk…

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Close enough to take in the art…

 

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And the people…

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Do a little shopping…

 

 

Take in the local flavor…

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And catch some major skill at the skatepark…

Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed. Processed with VSCO with acg presetBut, as I have experienced time and again in My California, I can never get enough…

photo-oct-12-1-34-56-pm…so, I will continue to return.

SoCal Mini Break: Beach Time

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here

SoCal Mini Break: Beach Time

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Sunset surfers in Marina Del Rey

There comes a moment in every native Californian’s life when getting to a beach is of great rejuvenating import.  Having relocated to the midwest several years ago, times arise when being on a coast line, if only for a few days, is desperately essential.

Just by luck, at the moment of my urgent need to get sand in my luggage,  I happened to be traveling through LAX on a trip.  So, at long last, I found myself in my old stomping ground of Marina del Rey for a precious few days to soak up all the beach time possible.

Marina del Rey, always delivers –  with it’s long pier…

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Steady, straight coast line…

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Beautiful sunsets…

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Surfers…

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Wall art..

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Plus, just a short jaunt away, is Santa Monica Beach and boardwalk…

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And after three days, I was not even close to having my fill…

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So, I will be back, soon … probably with that sand still in my luggage.

Next time: Venice Beach Boardwalk!

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here

 

Weekend Wedding in Monterey, California

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I was vastly appreciative to my niece for choosing to have her wedding in Monterey, California.

Mr. and Mrs.!

Mr. and Mrs!

While I doubt my wishes were high on her list in decision making, I was nonetheless both thrilled to able to share this day with her and enjoy such a picturesque place. While this was not my first time in Monterey (Mini Break in Monterey), it was my first time in the fall and with my family.  We were blessed with the perfect Monterey weekend.

Cannery Row

Cannery Row The Aquarium, Cannery Row

The Murals

Beaches and murals, Monterey, ca

The Foggy Mornings

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Being Tourists

Dippin dots on Cannery Row, Monterey

Cannery row, Monterey, california

Never pass up a weekend in Seaside Northern Californa!

FOR MORE SWEET SPOT TRAVELS: Sweet Spot travels

 

Costa Rica Part 2: No Signs Allowed!

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Costa Rica

Want to get the most out of a trip to Costa Rica? Then, I have one piece of vastly important advice for you…

Rent a car!

But wait, there’s more!

Actually, as with all unsolicited advice, there is a catch.

If you are going to follow my lead and rent a car to get around Costa Rica, (preferably one with 4 wheel drive) it is absolutely essential (in that, always put on clean underwear before you leave the house kind of way) to rent (or bring) a GPS!

Our initial reaction when the rental car salesman in San Jose, Costa Rica started urging us to also rent their Garmin GPS, was something like “Sure, gouge the tourist for more cash!” However, there was something in the earnestness of his insistence (and, the fact that Costa Ricans in general tend to be vastly straight forward about things) that made us finally relent and rent the GPS for $8 per day. It didn’t take long (about two blocks) to realize the complete and utter necessity of the gadget.

You see, the Costa Ricans, while a lovely people in general who really know how to host a traveler in their beautiful country, have a cultural abhorrence for street signage…anywere! Technically the streets all have names – the maps are loaded with them – but trying to find an actual street  sign anywhere in the towns and cities is like looking for a teenager without a phone in hand. Even Costa Ricans, when queried about this phenomena, expressed their own difficulties when travelling to a town they had never been to before.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You will get enough signage to get the general sense of your place in the world,

I think I know the way to San Jose...

I think I know the way to San Jose…

But,  other directions will look like this:

We must be almost there...

We must be almost there…

Or, come from locals (and even printed in online directions) in the form of relational positioning such as “six blocks from the Church”, or “around the corner from the store”, or “over there (points to some distant corner of the town)”. Of course, success with directions of this sort is dependent on knowledge of where the actual “church”, “store”, or “there” is located.

I think he knows where we need to go...but he's not talkin'

I think he knows where we need to go…but he’s not talkin’

By the time we had completed our first drive from San Jose to La Virgen, successfully winding our way around myriads of unmarked streets as the electronic voice told us just where to turn, we were ready to get down and kiss the proverbial feet of our precious rented GPS. (just in the figurative sense, of course – we did not want to look weird). The truth is, without the GPS we would probably still be driving in circles around the mountain towns of Costa Rica (which wouldn’t be so bad, aside from the bothersome reality of work, school and pets demanding to be fed).

About now I suppose you are asking yourself why the crazy Sweet Spot chick is encouraging you to risk driving around Costa Rica at all! Perhaps some perverted plan to send travelers randomly driving in circles around the wilds of Costa Rica?

For one reason, and one reason only – really, the only one that matters.

If you don’t get in a car and drive yourself around Costa Rica, you will miss seeing things like this:

Rio La Paz. Drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Rio La Paz. Drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Farmland - drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Mountain farm – drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Drive from La Virgen to La Fortuna

Drive from La Virgen to La Fortuna

Sheep farm between Jaco and Quepo

Sheep farm between Jaco and Quepo

Beach between Hermosa and Quepo

Beach between Hermosa and Quepo

 

Driving into La Fortuna

Driving into La Fortuna

Drive from Jaco to San Jose

Drive from Jaco to San Jose

The Defense rests.

For other posts on Costa Rica:

Costa Rica Part 1: Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer

Costa Rica Part 3: The Eco Adventures

For more Sweet Spot Travels: GO HERE

 

 

Mini-Break in Monterey, CA

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Old Fisherman's Wharf - Monterey, CA

Old Fisherman’s Wharf – Monterey, CA

Actually, the mini-break was my trip out to Northern California – a familial inspired excursion (which is a fancy way of saying, I went to visit my parents).  The Monterey portion of the trip was more like a one day jaunt when a happy circumstance arose to meet up with friends in the coastal city.   So, I guess that makes my trip to Monterey, CA more of a “micro-break” (a totally made up concept, which makes me some sort of trend setter, in my own mind anyway).

So, what does one do with friends and only one day, or rather several hours to spend in Monterey, California?  Duh, go where the food is, of course!  More particularly, Old Fisherman’s Wharf for the clam chowder!

Why is that guy’s floating head in my photo?

And in case you are one of those people who does not do any research on restaurants in advance (like me), not to worry!  For, as we walked down the wharf every restaurant offered us a sample of their version of clam chowder, daring us to consider each the best on the wharf – which made me feel a bit like Gordon Ramsay,  with cuter shoes but not near as coiffed.  Finally we settled on a restaurant mostly because they clearly had the best chowder that day, but also so I could raz my husband, who shares the moniker (ok, he is making me clarify,  “only the Jim part”), about it later.

Hey you people, get your mitts off of my samples!

Hey you people, get your mitts off of my samples!

With the remaining time, I took a walk over to the neighboring pier on San Carlos Beach.

Monterey, California

Once to the end of the pier, I found massive amounts of Sea Lions just “chillin’” in the sun. Stuffed as I was with sample clam chowder, bowl of clam chowder, bread, calamari and the most amazing oyster crackers ever, I was vastly tempted to join them…they, however, did not seem entirely receptive to the idea.

Not the most hospitable group of mammals.

Not the most hospitable group of mammals…unless you are big, brown and have flippers.

In conclusion, I came away with four pertinent pieces of information from my Micro-Break in Monterey, CA.

1. Sea Lions are major posers.

Poser #1

Posers #1

Poser #2

Poser #2

2.  If you are planning on leaving your boat or yacht in the harbor, beware!  Although the Sea Lions are vastly fastidious when it comes to leaving their rock lounge in order to shall we say, answer the call of nature,  when they get onto your boat, they are not overly concerned about it – giving a whole new perspective on “swabbing the deck” (Thank you conservationist guy who had nothing better to do than answer my stupid questions).

3. If you go to Monterey and don’t at least sample the clam chowder you should be drawn and quartered…or at least made to swab those decks.

Old Fisherman's Wharf.  Monterey, California

Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Monterey, California

4.  I will be back.

For more travel posts:  Sweet Spot Travels

Today’s Best Moment: Friday, 6/1

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Happy Friday!

May your weekend be filled with fun, laughs and sunshine.  And, may you endeavor to answer the age old question:

“How much sand really can fit in a T-shirt?”

Today’s Best Moment: Santa Cruz, CA

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Sunset in Santa Cruz,  California –  Surfers grabbing the last waves of the day. December, 2011.

Mid run to the water entrance, a surfer stopped to catch a moment of the sunset. We caught it with him.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

Image Inspiration for Looking for the Sweet Spot

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Atlantic Surf (hold the oil)

Miami Sun (gotta love it)

Excessively Gifted Sky Rats Seagulls (clearly professional)

Muffin Remnants (cause who can eat in front of such persistent wildlife)

Kinda Perfect (for the gulls, too!)