Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

DSC_0352

Jane visits California

We had so much fun while Jane was in town! I made sure she got to see all the important places, well, at least the ones you can fit into a 48-hour visit.

Meg and Jane at Bodega Headlands

We first walked around downtown Petaluma, went in all the antique shops and furniture stores. After lunch at Petaluma Pie Co., we drove out to my favorite spot at the Bodega Headlands.

Meg, Jane and Auntie in front of the mission at Cline Cellars

The next day we went to Della Fattoria for brunch to gear up for the day. We met Auntie and Tio at Cline, where Jane tasted a broad range of wines, and then we toured the grounds while walking her through our wedding day in 2010. After reenacting the big day, we all ventured over to Sonoma for a birthday BBQ, and then finished off the evening with truffle fries from EDK.

Meg and Jane, having a good time!

It was a pretty fabulous 2 days!

Happy Birthday Jane, I hope you’ll come back and visit us again soon:)

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

There are an endless number of beautiful views in Sonoma County. I tend to gravitate toward the ocean and the coastline, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. This shot was taken from the beach along the Central Coast. We were on our way down to Avila, one of our favorite spots in California, and we came across a beach full of elephant seals. It was sunset, my favorite time to be out on the coast, and the weather was fantastic.

Flora

One of the beautiful things about California is the many varieties of flora you can find throughout the state. My two favorite areas are the wine country and the coast. Both beautiful. Both peaceful. But while the wine country continues to grow in both agricultural and economic development, the coast remains largely untouched. Thanks to the California Coastal Commission, established in 1972, and the Coastal Act of 1976, the use of land and water in the coastal zone is carefully planned and regulated. As a result, the coast north of San Francisco continues to be undeveloped, and flora continues to flourish.

Flora along California Coast at Bodega Headlands

This is a shot from my mini-hike at Bodega Headlands back in November. Since I am usually focused on pictures of the ocean and of sunset, I thought this would be a nice addition to my photographic repertoire. Given, the ocean is still in the background, but these red finger-like plants were simply too interesting to ignore.

Watching The Sun Go Down

I have a fascination with sunsets. That much is clear. But finding the perfect sunset? I’ve found a few, and this one comes close. But I’ve never worked as hard to find a gorgeous sunset as I did on Thanksgiving this year. To make room for our big turkey dinner, we hiked up the ridge above Shell Beach. Pismo Beach was to the South and Avila Beach was to the North. It only took 2 miles and about 600 vertical feet, but we finally found the perfect spot. Our reward? A 2010 Roche Syrah, and a beautiful sunset.

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Sunset 3

Happy sunsetting.

Sailboats in Morro Bay

Continuing our journey south along Hwy 1, we stopped in Morro Bay for a wine tasting overlooking the water. We were so excited when we discovered the magnificent formations between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo called the “Nine Sisters.” This chain of volcanic peaks/hills ranges from 576 ft. (Morro Rock) to 1,559 ft. (Bishop Peak) in height. Morro Rock, the smallest of the nine, is the rock you see in the picture below. It sits out in the bay, overlooking the ocean, and is a beautiful place to sit and watch the sunset. Since you all know I love a good sunset, I thought I would share this beautiful scene with you. The sailboats are for Pud:)

Happy sunsetting.

The Power of Nature

I have just completed a major chapter in my life. Working on a campaign is both exhilarating and exhausting, but besides the amazing work experience, I learned a lot about myself through the process. One of my favorite pastimes remains the same… I still love sunsets overlooking the ocean.

Just before the last push of the campaign season, I posted a few photos of my “zen” places. Well, yesterday I went back to one of my favorite spots on the California coast: Bodega Headlands. My visit felt bittersweet. It wasn’t my first visit, and I’m sure won’t be my last, but it had a different feeling about it. Having just finished this incredible experience, my world suddenly feels like it has a huge hole in it. But as much as I am unable to see a clear picture of the immediate future, I felt a wonderful sense of peace. I had warm surroundings, a beautiful view, and of course, my camera in tow.

No matter what I have going on in my life, I will always be humbled by the beauty of nature, and the ocean in particular. It is so powerful, so artistic. Here is what I captured.

And as the sun begins to set…

After it sank below the horizon, the clouds were perfectly aligned to paint the sun’s fiery colors….

Redwoods and the California Coast

My husband’s younger brother, Derek, was out for a visit last week. It was his first time to California. Naturally, I wanted him to see the ocean, and maybe a few of the wonders the California Coast has to offer.

We started our day driving out D Street to Point Reyes Station. We turned South on Hwy 1, and down the coast we went. There is always a lot to see when driving the coastline, but here are a few of my favorites.

First, the view looking north from Muir Beach Outlook.

Next, we walked through Muir Woods, which is absolutely one of my favorite places out here. The trees are like giants. Some of them were even standing long before we declared our independence from Britain. Amazing.

I continue to be amazed at how much beauty surrounds us here in California. The views are stunning, the open spaces vast, and the magic of the redwoods truly humbling. I hope you are able to visit these amazing places, and appreciate them as much as I do.

Oh, how I love the California coast…

There is something magical about living near the ocean. Knowing that I can drive a short distance and stare out at the open sea, well, that is one of the reasons I love living here. With everything going on in life, sometimes I just need to clear my head. Somehow staring out at the ocean gives me a sense of peace. It’s like meditating.

These are a few of my favorites from the California coast. We have Bodega Bay, Point Reyes, Muir Beach Outlook, and Stinson Beach. Can you tell which is which? (If not, you can just hover over the picture and a description will pop up.)

There are so many great places to take beautiful photographs here. Who knows what I’ll stumble upon next!

A Day on the Coast: From Meg’s Camera

Oh the joys of living in California! While it’s difficult over the holidays to be so far away from family, we are fortunate this holiday weekend to have family come to us. It helps us enjoy a balance of living in a beautiful place and maintaining our strong connection to our loved ones. Plus, it’s a fabulous place to come visit!

It has been a beautiful Easter weekend, with Mom and Terry out to visit from Kansas City. They arrived Thursday evening and we all had a yummy dinner at home. Then we rested up for our weekend adventures.

For our first day of exploring, I took Mom and Terry for a day on the Coast. We first drove from Petaluma out to Point Reyes Station. Of course, there are a million things to see along the way. The first of these many sites was an old tree perched up off the road. We have not yet identified the specific type of tree, so if you are familiar with it, please comment below.

Our next stop along the way to Point Reyes Station was the Nicasio Reservoir. It is quite a beautiful setting, a huge expanse of water in the middle of Western Marin County, with beautiful rocky hills and windy roads all around.

Finally, we reached Point Reyes Station. We parked the Jeep and walked around the little town, which I believe has a population of only a few hundred, but it is surprisingly lively for such a small place. The main street has several cafes, a bakery, bank, general stores, and even an old saloon. It only took us 30 minutes to walk around the entire town, but you could easily spend hours exploring every nook and cranny.

After acquiring a particularly delicious cup of chai from Bovine Bakery, we departed from Point Reyes Station and headed up Hwy 1 toward Bodega Bay. I don’t think I’ve ever driven this stretch of Hwy 1 before, but it is a very windy road! The scenery is beautiful, of course, and the weather was sunny. What a great day for a drive.

Once we reached Bodega Bay, we popped into the Tides and looked out at the bay. Even though we were still full from our delicious breakfast earlier that morning (Mumsy makes amazing onion and mushroom scrambled eggs), we still made the executive decision to get ourselves a crab sandwich. So off to the Spud Point Crab Shack we went, and one long line and 15 minutes later, we had our crab sandwich in hand. It didn’t last long.

Since we were already part way around the bay (the crab shack is near the Bodega Bay marina), we ventured the few more miles up to Bodega Head to look out on the ocean. What a wonderful setting. It was mid-afternoon, the sun was shining, and even with the constant whipping winds, it was positively beautiful. We walked down to the beach and watched the waves breaking on the surrounding rocks, reflecting on our fabulous day.

Our next adventure? Well, touring the wine country, of course!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Easter weekend. We are sure enjoying ourselves out in sunny California.