Those Someday Goals https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com Changing a Life, One Goal at a Time Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:10:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Plan a Stay at The Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs, CA https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/21/palm-springs-resort-monkey-tree-hotel/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/21/palm-springs-resort-monkey-tree-hotel/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:11:53 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7263 The Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs, California is a delightful boutique resort that leans into its Mid-Century Modern roots while offering numerous amenities. From…

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]]> The Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs, California is a delightful boutique resort that leans into its Mid-Century Modern roots while offering numerous amenities. From the fast Wi-Fi to the saltwater pool, this place will charm you whether you are here for pure relaxation or work.

When my birthday came around in March, Andy and I were once again looking for a fun road trip that wouldn’t be so arduous that we would be exhausted when we got there. We have thoroughly enjoyed our visits to Palm Springs, California, so we started looking for hotels and resorts there to see if there was somewhere new that we wanted to explore. And there was – The Monkey Tree Hotel.

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
Andy — just chilling at The Monkey Tree

The Monkey Tree Hotel Overview

If you love all things Mid-Century Modern, the design of The Monkey Tree Hotel will delight you. They really lean into their history, and yet still make everything feel up-to-date. The hotel is fabulously clean, offered free parking, had numerous amenities and was a quick drive to downtown Palm Springs.

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The owls are everywhere in the Jungle Room!

The Jungle Room

There are lovely queen and king rooms, including one with a kitchenette, but we opted for The Jungle Room. As the name would suggest, this space has a light-hearted animal theme. From the macramé owls on the wall to the monkey climbing down a planter, the hotel was clearly having fun with the space. We chose it not only for its tempting Roman bath, but because it had a private yard attached to it. We knew we were going to have to work while we were there (yea, speedy Wi-Fi!), and this little yard oasis was the perfect place to do it. It also had the most lovely bistro lights strung across it, so at night the backyard seemed magical. If you want to dance under the stars, this is the place to do it. Plus, the twinkling lights illuminate the step-down bath inside, which inspired more than one soak!

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
We loved working (and dancing) in the private yard that comes attached to the Jungle Room.
Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The step down bath was fantastic — particularly at night when the twinkle lights were on.
Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The Jungle Room is quite large, and we took advantage of the welcome box and the lovely private yard.

The Jungle Room is in the section of the hotel that used to belong to the owners. It was part of a larger home that then became fused with the rest of the hotel. The same is true of “The Apartment” and “The Living Room,” a common area where people can enjoy the continental breakfast, the fireplace, games, etc.

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
Yes, that is a woven monkey climbing down the planter in the Jungle Room.

Hotel Amenities

The hotel offers many amenities: a saltwater pool, a whirlpool, sauna and cold plunge/exercise pool. In the winter, the fire-pits are going, and there is a misting system to keep you cool when the Palm Springs weather scorches. We were there in March – so the weather was perfect. We were delighted by the continental breakfast, the sangria happy hour and the fact that there was a common refrigerator filled with cold beverages (which we took full advantage of while we were working outside).

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The refrigerator has free cold drinks, including soda and water. The bar was set up for a sangria/happy hour that is also a fun way to wind down, particularly when it is hot in Palm Springs.
Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The Lounge by the bar and cold drinks refrigerator (also near the pool)
Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
The Monkey Tree offers several ultra-cool spots to lounge in, an exercise pool, a main pool and a whirlpool.

You can book a massage in your room, and they offer daily gym passes to a local gym, but we didn’t take advantage of these amenities. Next time!

Monkey Tree Hotel, Palm Springs, Mid-Century Modern, California
I love the tree lights on the property and how even the exercise pool glowed.

Location

The Monkey Tree Hotel is near downtown Palm Springs, but not in it. You will have to drive if you want to sample the restaurants and shops that help define the city. But it is also far quieter here than downtown. It allows you to rest or work without the party atmosphere that can hit in other areas of the city, particularly during Spring Break.

Impressions

We loved the resort, and not just because there were no additional resort fees (although that always helps). The staff was super friendly, the hotel was immaculately kept, and the location was ideal. We would absolutely go back to enjoy The Jungle Room (and that backyard) again. Now, we just need to plan our next trip to Palm Springs, California to do it.

Pro Tip: The hotel is geared toward adults. Kids under the age of 14 are not allowed on the resort property.

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https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/21/palm-springs-resort-monkey-tree-hotel/feed/ 0 Playing the 30-Day Minimalism Game: Week 2 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/17/playing-the-30-day-minimalism-game-week-2/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/17/playing-the-30-day-minimalism-game-week-2/#respond Sun, 17 Nov 2019 16:45:48 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7242 Today is officially Day 17 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. And I’m still playing – which I find incredible given that I thought I would…

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Today is officially Day 17 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. And I’m still playing – which I find incredible given that I thought I would run out of energy, unnecessary things and interest around Day 8. But no! I’m still playing, and, to date, I have donated, sold or trashed 136 things.

Many of the donated items were clothing pieces. I gave away some beautiful sweaters that just never worked on my body or in my location (for instance, today will be 90 degrees). I got rid of shoes that didn’t fit my feet, no matter how much I tried to stretch them. I also donated numerous books to the Little Lending Library in the neighborhood so others could enjoy them.

The process has been an intriguing one of discovery for me. For instance:

I discovered that we have an abundance of office supplies. Nobody needs that many binder clips unless they are teachers, small business owners or artists on a mission.

I discovered that I have a sentimental streak about other people. Now that my mom has passed, it is harder to get rid of things she gave me, or I associate with her, even if they are small things. But I’m ruthless about my own history. I just don’t care about my grad school grade reports, papers or other paraphernalia.

Despite that, I still can’t bring myself to donate my wedding dress. I loved my wedding dress. I have fantasies about getting it dyed a different color and shortened so that I could wear it something fancy. But even though it has been cleaned and sits in a specially designed preservation box, I’m too attached to it to donate it.

I seem to pick up pamphlets, brochures, maps and guides whenever we travel and keep them for years. I suspect I keep them because I think I’m going to do a series for the blog that would require them (like our “Population Under 200” series), but I never use them. Not only did I recycle them, but I have vowed to pick up fewer of them from the start.

I need to find better ways to donate or recycle certain items. Is there really no place that could use the zillions of cables, plugs or other electronic paraphernalia that sits in a big plastic bin in our utility room? Listing them all on eBay seems tricky, as I’m not sure we always know what they originally belonged to or the name of the item. Still, it seems like a waste to throw them into electronics recycling. So, instead, they are still sitting in our utility room.

I’ve discovered that I have some lovely clothing items that I’d like to sell, but going to ThredUp now is ridiculous. They pay the sellers cents (literally, they paid me $0.32 for a new shirt) so that the buyers can get great thrift deals (and the company makes money, obviously). But at this point, I’d get more if I hosted a garage sale. If you know of better options, please shoot them my way.

I’ve already become more mindful of what I bring into the house. I had already stopped buying things to make me feel better years ago, but I find myself wanting less, too. Before I make a purchase, I really do run through the “do I need it?” series of questions. And that’s a win no matter whether I finish the game or not.

And now, for a small selection of pics of items that have left the building this week:

I’m decluttering magazines, including ones that talk about decluttering — which seems appropriate.
I’m pretty sure I can get rid of all the summer clothing sale magazines (although it is 90 here today).
Very old maps that are in no way useful anymore — out!
Why did I feel the need to keep old shoe boxes?
So many beaten up folders!
Random items were in a bag that used to be in my Jeep. I finally went through them.
More magazines getting recycled.
This chocolate that Andy brought home was amazing. But I have a photo of the box so we can remember the name — we don’t need to keep the box. Out!

What about you? Are you still playing? I post my decluttering efforts every day on Twitter @PLSteffy. Come join the fun!

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Playing the 30-Day Minimalism Game: Week 1 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/07/playing-the-30-day-minimalism-game/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/07/playing-the-30-day-minimalism-game/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2019 18:57:05 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7197 With November sliding into my DMs like a surprise visit from a multi-level marketer, I realized that it was time for an overhaul in several…

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With November sliding into my DMs like a surprise visit from a multi-level marketer, I realized that it was time for an overhaul in several areas of my life. Health matters and work have gotten most of my attention, and our apartment shows it. My husband has already gotten started with his clean-out, but I needed a little extra motivation. So, as of today, I’m playing along with the 30-Day Minimalism Game.

What is the 30-Day Minimalism Game?

It’s a pretty simple game, designed by The Minimalists to help you reduce your clutter and embrace the things that you love, use and need. Nearly all of us have stuff we do not need, and that clutter requires energy (if it is just to keep it clean) that we could be using elsewhere.

The rules of the 30-Day Minimalism Game are pretty easy to follow. The Minimalists explain it: “Each person gets rid of one thing on the first day of the month. Two things on the second. Three things on the third. So forth and so on.” 

Boom! It couldn’t be easier, right? Well, there are some challenges in there. For instance, getting rid of one thing on Day 1 is pretty simple. Day 2 seems pretty easy (I see two things in front of me in my office that could go right now). But on Day 30, that means there are 30 things that I have to get rid of that day, before midnight. Yes, before midnight. In fact, every day, your items need to be donated, trashed or sold before midnight.

That midnight deadline means that I can’t store things up somewhere for the “someday I will donate this” option that often means a thing stays in our utility room or my office for a year. This is both good (yea, stuff is gone!) and bad (unless you have a garage sale, it’s pretty hard to sell things off in one day). It may take some planning.

If you just can’t imagine getting rid of 30 physical things (or 20, or 15), you can stop. Yes, you will technically lose the challenge, but you will still have gotten rid of some unwanted stuff in your home, and that’s a win.

Need more details? Watch this video from The Minimalists and then check out #MinsGame on your favorite social media channels to post pictures of your clean-outs and to connect/compete with others playing the game.

My Day 1 Item:

My Day 1 item was an old white duvet insert. It was in good condition, but it didn’t fit our current bed, and we had long ago gotten rid of the duvet cover (and ended the wrestling matches involved in putting that one the bed). Nobody wants to fight for covers, and this one was just barely covering the top of the bed.

Given that there were some small bleach stains on it, I didn’t feel comfortable donating it to Goodwill or similar. Instead, we found a pet food and supply store (Pet Food Express in Beverly Hills) that accepts items like blankets and towels for their rescue and shelter support work. With all the fires going on in California right now, and the number of normal animal rescues each year, it sounded like a great solution.

Day 2

On Day 2, I got rid of my one-time favorite flip flops. These saw a lot of pavement and much sand over the years. Alas, the polka dots have worn off and an uncomfortable groove has taken over the base. I’m not sure why I kept them for all these years, other than nostalgia.

flip flops minimalism

Naturally, this started an internal debate about whether or not the shoes counted as one item or two. While, technically, I think they count as two items, I also tossed a pen that didn’t work anymore just in case.

Day 3

I wore a pair of Black Steve Madden shoes for YEARS that gave me blisters every time I wore them. I always thought I could stretch them out, and my blue pair were a delight to wear. So, I kept trying. For YEARS!!! Happily, they were part of Day 3’s decluttering along with a neck pillow that I never got a cover for and never used. Gone!

Day 4

Day 4 saw me staring at empty wine bottles. One was from a recent trip, but the others were bottles we enjoyed and wanted to remember. I also live with the belief that one day I will use these wine bottles as very cute vases. That never happens. So, on Day 4, out they went.

Day 5

On Day 5, I thought I’d take a look at some of the memorabilia I had stuffed into an organizer. While it was in the right place, it seems that I merely organized stuff that made zero sense to keep. So, on Day 5, out went some travel memorabilia and three maps from a trip I took to LA in 1997. Given how much my street alone has changed in the last two years, I feel good about finally letting those maps go.

Day 6

Day 6 saw me continue my purge of maps; this time I jettisoned a road atlas from 1996. I also donated a number of books that I enjoyed, but knew that I would never read again. There is a lovely Little Lending Library not far from here, so I placed them in there in hopes of someone else delighting in their discovery.

Day 7

Day 7 was hard. I was already struggling with the idea of getting rid of another seven things. The decisions were getting tougher. I turned to my drawers. Here, I found several t-shirts, regular shirts and one sweater that were not part of my rotation. The sweater was particularly tough because I love the color. But it is wool and short-sleeved and the window to wear that number here in Los Angeles is very small. I’ve probably only worn it once since I bought it. Hopefully, somebody else will find more use for it.

That was my first week. If you don’t want to wait for the weekly round-ups here, feel free to follow me over on Twitter. I post my decluttering there using the #MinsGame tag each day.

How about you? Are you playing the 30-Day Minimalism Game?

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Taking a Wellness Break at Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/05/taking-a-wellness-break-at-two-bunch-palms-resort-in-desert-hot-springs-ca/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/11/05/taking-a-wellness-break-at-two-bunch-palms-resort-in-desert-hot-springs-ca/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2019 06:04:44 +0000 /?p=7061 Two Bunch Palms resort is an intriguing blend of spa amenities, inspiring views and spacious hotel rooms and suites in Desert Hot Springs, California. There…

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Two Bunch Palms resort is an intriguing blend of spa amenities, inspiring views and spacious hotel rooms and suites in Desert Hot Springs, California. There is a lot to like at this hot springs resort just outside of Palm Springs but check on the status of the massive construction project before booking.

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
The grounds at Two Bunch Palms were under construction, but many of the views were still lovely.

Andy and I were in desperate need of a wellness retreat last October. He floated the idea of finding a hot springs spa near Palm Springs, California as a way of relaxing and getting our minds in a peaceful place. We decided to splurge on the luxury Two Bunch Palms resort.

We are big fans of taking wellness breaks at the hot springs resorts around California. We did The Spring in Desert Hot Springs, Tecopa Hot Springs and Benton Hot Springs in the last few years, and we’d happily return to all of those places. Two Bunch Palms was the first really big splurge, but we wanted a place that was no more than two hours away and that offered amenities that didn’t require us to leave the resort to eat, particularly if I didn’t feel well. 

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
The cool swimming pool at Two Bunch Palms

Hotel Accommodations

Andy booked us a suite at Two Bunch Palms, and I have to say that it was lovely. Massive renovations were going on at the resort, but this suite felt like it had already been updated. The bed was incredibly comfortable, the living area made it easy to work and the bathroom had a deep soaking tub and pebble-floor shower that were delights. There was a patio that would have been great for writing, but the construction noise during the day kept us inside. We did light the fire pit to enjoy the desert evening.

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California, Suite
Andy looking out at the view from the suite at Two Bunch Palms.
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California, Suite
The living room of our suite at Two Bunch Palms
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California, Suite
The living room and mini-bar were favorites, and a terrific place to work.
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California, Suite
The bed was super comfortable!
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
The bathroom had a fantastic soaking tub and pebble-floor shower.

Pros: Very large and comfortable with amenities like mini-refrigerator, coffee/tea maker, robes, slippers and robust air conditioning (much appreciated in the desert during the day even in October). 

Negatives: The suite did feel private because it was down the hill from the main buildings, restaurant, spa, the shared hot springs tubs and the Grotto. That meant we were walking through a lot of dirt and sand to get up to the main area – not to mention crossing a lot of construction traffic to do it. I was lucky in that I still had enough energy and mobility to make the walk, but if you have any mobility issues, you will want to choose a room closer to the action.

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
More views of the construction and hints of what was to come.

Also, when you arrive, they now require you to use valet parking, so don’t leave anything behind in your car because it would take some time to retrieve it. To get down to the suite we were in, we were taken by a golf cart, which can take some time.

The Restaurant

We loved the restaurant. The place was not crowded, so we enjoyed fairly attentive staff, and it was easy getting seats. There is a lovely spot over by the fireplace that was enticing, but, in the end, we always chose to sit near the windows because the views were impressive. 

Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
The dining room of the superb restaurant at Two Bunch Palms

The Spa

I was gifted a massage at the spa, and I was simultaneously excited and nervous to do it. It was the first time I had to tell a stranger that I was dealing with serious health issues. I did it because I knew that we were going to have adjust some of my positioning to avoid certain areas. I’m not going to say that was an easy experience, but the massage therapist made the adjustments, and I’m so glad that I did it. I’m not sure I knew exactly how much stress I was carrying – although I suppose that isn’t a surprise. I highly recommend going into the spa to make your reservations. 

Two Bunch Palms, The Grotto, Desert Hot Springs, California

The Hot Springs Pools

One of the best things about the hot springs here at Two Bunch Palms is that each of the mineral baths are set at different temperatures. For those of you who love super-heated tubs, you can have them. For those of you who love slightly cooler mineral baths, you can have them, too. 

My favorite area was actually not a tub at all, but the Grotto. Surrounded by palm trees, the Grotto feels secluded even though there are other people with you. It had a cooler side and a hotter side, but both were easy to tolerate. Towels were hung up in a changing area, which was also equipped with hooks for your hotel robes. There were spots with loungers to relax but we mostly dipped in and out of the Grotto before and after other plans. 

We only tried one of the other very hot pools. Andy loved it, and it tended to only be for two people, so they are great for couples. However, they are directly below other rooms, so they were usually taken by people who were walking down from those hotel rooms. 

Pros: Numerous mineral pools without the typical hot springs smell (no Sulphur). The Grotto was wonderful!

Negatives: The construction noise was off-putting, particularly at the smaller baths. Picture yourself settling back into a tub and then hearing the grind of buzz saw. I’m sure that once the construction is finished, the area will go back to a bit more relaxing. One note—please don’t bring your portable devices to listen to music while in the baths. Other people are there, and they don’t want to listen to it.

Another negative – we are early risers and love going for a soak to start the day. Unfortunately, all the tubs are cleaned in the morning. While I appreciate their cleaning efforts, it was sort of a bummer not to be able to get into any of the tubs in the early morning.

Two Bunch Palms, The Grotto, Desert Hot Springs, California

I loved the Grotto at Two Bunch Palms.
Two Bunch Palms, Hot Springs Pool, Desert Hot Springs, California
One of the hotter pools
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
Two of the hotter tubs at Two Bunch Palms

The Grounds

Even with the construction, the grounds at twilight were beautiful.

Two Bunch Palms, Duck Pond, Desert Hot Springs, California
The duck pond at Two Bunch Palms at twilight.
Two Bunch Palms, Duck Pond, Desert Hot Springs, California
Ducks!
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
Sunset on the walking path at Two Bunch Palms
Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs, California
Two Bunch Palms at sunset

Overall Impressions of Two Bunch Palms Resort in  Desert Hot Springs, CA

Two Bunch Palms resort is full of possibilities. The hotel spa is a delight, the restaurant is terrific and the hot springs/mineral pools can be relaxing. But they are clearly going through some growing pains. The construction will probably result in even more beautiful grounds, but I would check before booking to be sure that it is finished. 

The hotel is very expensive, and they were in no way helpful about giving discounts when we complained about some of the difficulties that the construction presented. And, at the time, there was no warning on the website, so we went in blindly. Also, I have heard a number of complaints about trying to find a manager on-site to address issues, as well as complications with short-staffing. We did run into the issue with finding a manager, but it wasn’t until we were leaving, so it didn’t impact our stay.

Would I go again? Hard to say. I so enjoyed elements of it that I might be tempted. But it was very expensive, and we would want assurances that the construction and some of the other issues have been resolved before doing that. There are so many spa hotel options in and around Desert Hot Springs and nearby Palm Springs that we’re more inclined to try somewhere new until these growing pains are resolved.

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Find Harmony near Cambria, California https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/28/find-harmony-near-cambria-california/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/28/find-harmony-near-cambria-california/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2019 06:02:55 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7183 Harmony, California is just minutes from Cambria but has a rich history all of its own. With a population said to be between 8 and…

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Harmony, California is just minutes from Cambria but has a rich history all of its own. With a population said to be between 8 and 11, this tiny town on the Central Coast welcomes all visitors to its glassworks, winery, chapel and picture-perfect views. We were destined to include it in our series on towns with a population under 200.

I can’t tell you how many times Andy and I have driven by the sign for Harmony, California on our way to nearby Cambria on the Central Coast. We were intrigued by two things: its reported population of 11, and its tempting winery. So, when we decided to spend several days in Cambria, it seemed only fitting that we finally explore Harmony.

Love Cow Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
The Harmony Love Cow!

Harmony, California History

Harmony was founded in 1869, and it grew around the active dairy in town. While that might not sound like an exciting beginning, the early days saw feuds between the dairy farmers, a shooting death and an eventual truce. The truce in 1907 saw a flurry of activity and the growth of places like the feed store, post office, a school, the blacksmith and more.

The dairy was famous in the area, catching the attention of William Randolf Hearst as he traveled to the ranch/castle. With his interest came the interest of his famous friends also making their way to the castle in San Simeon.

Alas, the dairy moved to a bigger town, and Harmony declined. Most businesses closed except for the post office. There have been some starts and stops over the years to restore Harmony to its former glory. I can’t say that it’s a bustling center of activity now, but there are plenty of reasons to visit. And we can’t help but hope that great days are ahead.

Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
This history of Harmony, California painted on the side of a building

Harmony Glassworks

Would you love to learn glassblowing techniques? You can learn with the best in Harmony at the Harmony Glassworks.  If you’d prefer to admire rather than create, it is also a fantastic place to shop for vases, sculptures, jewelry and more. Andy bought me a lovely ring with shades of blue glass that is both delicate and bold. It’s one of my favorite pieces from our travels.

Harmony Glass Works, Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
Harmony Glassworks will tempt you with their beautiful vases, jewelry and more.

The Glassworks also stores the typical souvenir pieces, like sweatshirts and t-shirts. Yes, I have a t-shirt with the population sign on the front as proof of our journey.

Harmony Chapel

You can feel the romance here, can’t you? If you want a ceremony and reception with a Western vibe (or a wine country theme to go with the Central Coast location), Harmony should definitely be in the running. You and your guests could stay in Cambria (which is about two minutes away) and come into the town for the celebrations. When you look at the photo, can’t you picture people spilling out of the chapel into the town for an outdoor reception? It’s a bit of a romantic notion, but if you are talking about weddings, romantic ideas seem fitting.

Harmony Chapel, Weddings Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
I can only imagine how fun a wedding would be in Harmony, California.

Harmony Cellars

We first heard about Harmony Cellars when we were on our honeymoon in Paso Robles, California (it’s an easy drive). The owner of High Ridge Manor told us that we had to try their wine, so it had been in the back of our minds for the last two years. 

Harmony Cellars wine tasting Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
While wine was on our minds at Harmony Cellars, the cute dog got Andy’s attention.

I’m delighted we took his advice. It’s a charming place with a popular wine tasting room, ample outdoor seating (complete with bucolic views) and a great event space (there was a birthday party and another event on the weekend after we arrived). Also, it’s dog-friendly, so if you are traveling with your furry best friend, you can still enjoy this place.

Harmony Cellars Wine Tasting Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
Time for a wine tasting at Harmony Cellars near Cambria, California!

Loads of foodstuffs can be bought here to pair with the wines, and there are many souvenir items for sale. The wine tastings are very popular, but they handle the volume with good humor. The winery has a club, and they do ship nationwide. They have twilight hours on Fridays during the summer, which combines charm and delicious pours. Their wines change all the time, but I was a fan of the dark berry goodness of the Petite Sirah and the chocolate/cherry notes of the Treble. They have whites and roses as well, but my heart (and taste buds) lean toward red wines.

Harmony Cellars, Wine Tasting Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
Harmony Cellars has loads of outdoor seating, perfect for events
Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200
The views of Harmony, California from the patio of Harmony Cellars.

So, if you find yourself going up Highway 1 toward Cambria, California, consider visiting the picture-perfect town of Harmony. You may find yourself tempted to return to this town of population 11 (or 8) again and again.

ThoseSomedayGoals.com Harmony California Near Cambria Population Under 200

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Where to Find the Best Halloween Decorations in LA [2019 Update] https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/19/where-to-find-the-best-halloween-decorations-in-la/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/19/where-to-find-the-best-halloween-decorations-in-la/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2019 07:00:50 +0000 /?p=6838 Update October 28, 2019: This area in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California is currently under evacuation orders because of the Getty fire. Please…

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Update October 28, 2019:

This area in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California is currently under evacuation orders because of the Getty fire. Please check conditions before setting off to explore the decorations and obey all standing fire orders. Thanks and be safe!

 

Update October 19, 2019:

Those amazing people on Crescenda St in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California are once again doing Halloween BIG! In addition to many of our returning favorites, this year display has a noticeable increase in the creepy, crawly and Pennywise (yep, there are a lot of truly diabolical looking clowns). Scroll on for a couple of pics from this year’s display (there is so much more to see in person) and take a look at last year’s extravaganza. Then get in your car and drive to what has to be the best Halloween decorations in Los Angeles!

Where are the best private Halloween decordations in LA?

Crescenda St in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, 90049. Drive north on North Barrington Ave. from Sunset Blvd. Make a left onto Crescenda St. Et Voila! You are there.

Pro Tip: There are layers upon layers of decorations here. Be sure to look behind the main display — you’ll be amazed at what you find!

 

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

BestHalloween Decorations In LA

 

Original Post, October 2018

Are you looking for truly macabre Halloween decorations in Los Angeles? Thanks to a friend’s tip (shout out to Michele and Larry!), Andy and I discovered the horrifying wonders of Crescenda St in Brentwood (take North Barrington from Sunset, and you can’t miss the turn). If you love all things Halloween, this is your spot.

Best Halloween Decorations in LA

Why is it special? It’s entire block of horror-inspired scenes. Some are original set-ups that dig into childhood fears (and childhood toys) to inspire awe. Other tableaus evoke very specific classic films (and yes, The Exorcist is one of them).

The decorations appear to be the doing of one very festive house, and they run the entirety of the block. There is parking, but please be careful as people are constantly stopping and walking toward the decorations to check out the details.

We went at sunset, but you can tell that the Halloween decorations have lighting staged for nighttime. There is a rope so that people don’t get too close, but you can see every detail from the curb. And don’t forget to look up – you’ll be stunned by the size and scope of the giant ghouls, warriors and devils swooping down from the treetops.

It was impossible to take photos of everything with the time we had, but here are a few of my favorites to get you inspired to go check out the incredible display of Halloween madness here in LA.

For scale, Andy is in the corner, and stands at 6’3″. That’s how huge those statues and floating apparitions are!

Have you seen any memorable Halloween displays in Los Angeles this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Sampling Fine Wines at Blue Door Winery https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/17/sampling-fine-wines-at-blue-door-winery/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/17/sampling-fine-wines-at-blue-door-winery/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2019 07:30:49 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7125 Blue Door Winery is known as an “urban” winery with locations in San Diego and Julian, California. The “urban” designation means that they buy grapes,…

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Blue Door Winery is known as an “urban” winery with locations in San Diego and Julian, California. The “urban” designation means that they buy grapes, rather than have a vineyard on the property. Their grapes come from Santa Barbara County and areas in and around San Diego County. If you love well-structured red wines, you need to give their vintages, including an enticing sangria, a taste.

Blue Door Winery Julian California
The patio of the Blue Door Winery in Julian, California

We could see the tempting Blue Door Winery from the living room of the Honeymoon House at the Julian Hotel. We had earned ourselves a well-deserved mid-afternoon writing break, so we decided to enjoy a bit of wine and a bit of pie (in that order). We walked across the side street and joined in the fun.

The Julian wine tasting room was run by Gabby, who was utterly charming and wildly knowledgeable. We opted for the five wines tasting (which ended up being free because we bought wine), with a surprise sample of the sangria at the end of it all. The space has a lovely outdoor patio and an open interior room that would be great for events.

Blue Door Winery, Julian, California, Wine Tasting
Blue Door Winery in Julian, California

We went at about 2:30, which meant that there was only one other couple in the tasting room at the time. Perfect! I love not feeling rushed when sampling new wines, and you can’t beat getting the chance to really talk to people who enjoy learning and talking about wine.

Blue Door Winery Tasting Menu, Wine, Julian, California
The Blue Door Winery tasting menu in Julian, California

We tasted a Nebbiolo, Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There wasn’t a bad wine in the bunch, but we had three favorites. Andy and I aren’t pros by any means, but if you are curious about our notes on our three favorite wines, keep reading.

Blue Door Winery Julian, California, Tasting Room, Wines
Let the tasting begin!

2017 Blue Door Nebbiolo

Andy and I both fell a little in love with this Nebbiolo. It was light, but still complex. I got cherry and maybe raspberries on the front end. We both felt like there was a bit of floral/rose petals to it, but it wasn’t as “rose” forward as a lot of Nebbiolo wines can be – which is a good thing because I tend to run away from wines that are too heavily floral. This ended up being one of the two wines we purchased. Not going to lie – we’ve already had this bottle since coming home. It was as delicious sipping it on our couch as it was in Julian (which you guys know isn’t always the case when the glow of the tasting and the trip wears off).

Blue Door Winery, Wine Tasting, Julian, California
Yum!

2016 Blue Door Petite Sirah

This Petite Sirah was the other one of my favorites, and it was our second purchase. With a bit of pepper and a bit of spice, this is a rich wine that we loved. I got some chocolate from it (but when don’t I think about chocolate), and Andy thought that maybe there was some sort of berry/blueberry quality. I believe this is an “old vine” Petite Sirah, but I was so focused on the sips that I may have misheard that. This one is still in our wine refrigerator. It’s still too hot here in LA to really enjoy this kind of rich red wine, but those days are coming soon to Southern California.

2017 Blue Door Cabernet Sauvignon

I was worried about this one. For me, California Cabs can be real face-huggers. They have been bred big and bold, and they can overwhelm me. But we were thrilled from the first sip with the 2017 Blue Door Cabernet Sauvignon. It was much more mellow than I anticipated. It was just released in June, and it was a treat. The grapes came from Fallbrook – east of San Diego. The alcohol content is 14.5%, so you will feel it. Tastes of black currants on the nose, and Andy got hints of mocha. I think I tasted some vanilla, but your palate may lead you in a different direction. As an aside, when we asked Gabby which wine would go best with an apple pie tasting, she picked this one. If we had the budget to buy three wines, we would have brought this one home, too. Next time!

Related Articles: Check Into the Charming Julian Hotel

Related Article: Things to Do in Julian, California (Other Than Apple Picking)

Blue Door Winery Tasting Menu, Wine Tasting

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Things to Do in Julian, California (Other than Apple Picking) https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/15/things-to-do-in-julian-california-other-than-apple-picking/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/15/things-to-do-in-julian-california-other-than-apple-picking/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:00:30 +0000 https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/?p=7110 While Julian, California is traditionally known as the hot spot for apple picking (and apple pies) in late September and October, there are still loads…

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While Julian, California is traditionally known as the hot spot for apple picking (and apple pies) in late September and October, there are still loads of things for you (and your family) to enjoy if you are visiting out of season. From a gold mine tour to wine tastings, there is something likely to inspire in this town near San Diego.

Julian Apple Pies Tastings

The days for u-pick apples may be ending (check here for the latest u-pick schedule), but the days for tasting all the different pies that Julian has to offer is just starting. If you find yourself in this historic Southern California town in the fall (or anytime), there are a few places you need to try: Mom’s Pie House, the Julian Café & Bakery and the Julian Pie Company.

We’ve had Mom’s pie before, and it was very traditional and utterly delightful. It’s also extremely popular (check out the line the last time we went). So, if you are concerned about getting in, you’ll be happy to know that there is a Mom’s satellite shop just outside of town in Wynola (off of Highway 78).

Julian Pie Company, Apple Pie, Julian, California

This time around, we taste-tested the pies at the Julian Pie Company. I got the Dutch Apple with the crumble crust, and Andy went with the Original Apple (with loads of whipped cream). We took our slices out onto the charming patio to enjoy the late afternoon sun along with our treats.

As you may notice in the pictures, the patio is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your well-behaved pet along. As for the pie, I devoured mine, and gave it two thumbs up – or I would have had I slowed down enough to give those thumbs up. Likewise, Andy found the tarter pie delicious.

Julian Pie Company, Apple Pie, Julian, California
Andy chatting with the dogs (and their owners) on the patio of the wonderful Julian Pie Company.

Honestly, this town knows how to do pie, so anything you order is going to be incredible. We haven’t been able to narrow down our favorites yet, so, clearly, we need to set up some sort of blind tasting to make that work. We are both willing to make ourselves available for those efforts.

Blue Door Winery

The Blue Door Winery was ideally close to the Julian Hotel (they also have a tasting room in San Diego). In fact, we could see it from our living room window in the Honeymoon House. This made it somewhat difficult to concentrate on writing as the afternoon rolled around, so we decided to incorporate a tasting into our afternoon break. Gabby, a wonderfully knowledgeable person working the tasting, took her time explaining the various options and even offered us a taste of their ice-cold sangria after the main wine portion of the event was finished. I’ll give you a full rundown of the wines in another post, but here is a hint of how things went down: we bought a bottle of the Nebbiolo and the Petite Sirah.

Related Article: Sampling Fine Wines at Blue Door Winery

Blue Door Winery Julian California
The patio of the Blue Door Winery in Julian, California

Restaurant Hopping

There is no shortage of places to eat in Julian, California. From kitschy comfort food to fine Italian, there is a little bit of everything. As we were getting spoiled on the riches at the Julian Hotel in the morning, we only had a chance to sample a couple of the other restaurants in town.

The Miner’s Diner offers an old soda shop feel with a modern touch. The portions are large, the service is friendly, and if you love feeling like you stepped back into time, this is a great place for you. Keep an eye out for the miniature train that runs through the back of the adjoined eating areas. Kids should enjoy the place! Also, I hear the ice cream floats and sodas are fantastic.

Miner's Diner Julian California Restaurant
Far back in the corner there was a miniature train running through the restaurant.
Miner's Diner Julian California Restaurant

Julian Café & Bakery is in the middle of town and leans into the town’s gold mining past. From the boots on the wall to the singed menus in the windows (the original building once burned down), you’ll have a chance to learn more about the area and the café’s part in that history. The food was delicious, plentiful and very popular. Be sure to get to lunch there early before the crowds come in. We sat by the window and people watched before finishing up the meal. I went with my traditional club sandwich, and it was wonderful (everything seems so fresh here). And, also, it became a writing break snack later because there was too much food for me to eat in one sitting.

Julian Cafe and Bakery Restaurant

Historic Marker Hunting

As I mentioned, Julian, California was once a gold mining town. The original commercial buildings, private homes and the hotel all have a story to tell. The weather was beautiful when we were there, and we took a late afternoon/early evening stroll through the town and some side streets just to read the markers. You’ll learn about the families that lived there and the businesses that thrived. You can also stop in at the Town Hall to get more details on how to find each one and about the activities in town.

Julian, California Town Hall
Julian, California Town Hall
Frary House Julian, California
This cute dress shop is just one example of the shops that inhabit these historic homes and buildings.
Julian, California
Julian, California

Museums and Tours

Does visiting a historic gold mine capture the imagination? You can tour two of Julian’s original mines with a guide daily through the Eagle Mining Co. You can also pan for gold, see some antique equipment, and pet some farm animals at the Julian Mining Company. If you are staying at the Julian Hotel, the mines are just up the road. There is also a Pioneer Museum in town that will both entertain and educate, no matter the age of the visitor. 

Beyond all of these things, there are tons of shops, beautiful scenery, new craft breweries and farms that allow berry picking and other adventures, depending on the season.

Julian, California
Julian, California

Pro Tip: As you are heading out of town, stop at the Julian Station for a taste of the Julian Hard Cider. We brought a growler of the Harvest Apple, and we wish we had brought more back. It is effervescent, light and so refreshing. It’s not too sweet, and if you are inclined toward hard apple cider at all, you love this.

Julian Hard Cider Julian, California
It might be worth visiting Julian just for this hard cider!

Things to Do In Julian, California Near San Diego

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Check Into the Charming Julian Hotel https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/08/check-into-the-charming-julian-hotel/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/10/08/check-into-the-charming-julian-hotel/#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2019 23:36:16 +0000 /?p=7068 Built in 1897 by former slave Albert Robinson and his wife Margaret, today’s Julian Hotel honors the memory of its original owners with charming hotel rooms and cottages, thoughtful amenities and an ideal location in the midst of Julian, California -- one hour and twenty minutes from San Diego.

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Built in 1897 by former slave Albert Robinson and his wife Margaret, today’s Julian Hotel honors the memory of its original owners with charming hotel rooms and cottages, thoughtful amenities and an ideal location in the midst of Julian, California — one hour and twenty minutes from San Diego.

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House

I was pining for a taste of fall in Southern California. I have been longing for the kind of autumn I used to have when growing up in Ohio. Unable to get back there this fall, I started thinking about places that could give me that fall flavor without having to get onto a plane. And then Andy and I remembered Julian, California.

Make no mistake; we still stand by the idea that a Saturday in October is only for those who love crowds and are genuinely determined (as we wrote after our first visit). However, a mid-week writing retreat sounded like exactly what we both needed. So, we packed up our laptops and our good intentions to get some serious work done on our thriller script and headed southeast.

We booked two nights at the thoroughly charming Julian (Gold Rush) Hotel. Ideally set in the middle of all the action in Julian, the hotel grants visitors the perfect perch from which to explore the town. How perfect? We were there for two days and never moved the car. And the world-famous Julian apple pie is only a short walk away.

The History of the Julian Hotel

Thought to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California, the Julian Hotel began on the foundations of the Robinson Restaurant and Bakery, the first successful business of Albert Robinson, born into slavery in Missouri, and his wife Margaret (nee Tull). Margaret’s parents gifted the couple land in Julian – the same land that now houses the Julian (Gold Rush) Hotel. As it went from restaurant to hotel, its influence grew. The hotel became a social hub for everyone from gold rush settlers to visiting senators. If you want to read more about the history of the Julian Hotel, read their website and an excellent piece over at Black Past.   

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
We loved reading the historical markers around town.

The Common Rooms

From the moment you step into the hotel from the gracious front porch, you feel like you have stepped back into time. No electronic swipes or check-ins here; you meet an actual person (and she was lovely). We got a little bit of history, some advice about things to do and the tips about their delicious two-course breakfast and delightful tea. The front rooms are filled with cozy seats, games, books and historical photos. It’s too bad we weren’t writing historical fiction because this would be the place to do it!

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
The beautiful front room near registration
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
Andy investigates the Julian Hotel.

The parlor is dotted with tables boasting parlor or board games. It also offers tempting books and fascinating glimpses into Julian’s past (both the town’s and the hotel’s). We loved listening to songs from yesteryear over breakfast and chatting with other travelers at tea. I didn’t hear anyone giving the 1914 Kayton piano a go, but it is there waiting. As they mention on the website, you are dining at “linen covered tables in the same room once frequented by historic figures such as James Joyce and Lord Curzon.”

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
The lovely parlor in the Julian Hotel

Julian Hotel’s Honeymoon House

Andy and I knew that we need a quiet space to work while we were in town. After taking a look at the website, we booked the Honeymoon House. Not only would it give us privacy and provide a relatively quiet place to work, but it had a delightful living room with a work/dining table perfect for our cause.

Pro Tip: Book directly through the Julian Gold Rush Hotel during the week for some terrific, discounted rates.

While set slightly apart from the hotel, the décor carried the theme of days gone by in it. My favorite touch was the fireplace/stove in the living room. While the temperatures were still in the low 70s last week, the evening temperatures were already down in the low 40s at night. As October goes on, you will be very grateful for that fireplace!

Our second favorite thing was the super-speedy Wi-Fi! Seriously, that was something we were not expecting, but it came in very handy.

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
The living room of the Honeymoon House, including our fireplace!
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
Our living room had this great table, perfect for working.
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
Yes, that is a claw foot tub!
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Honeymoon House
The dressing room was very convenient!

Hotel Amenities

As I mentioned earlier, when you book your stay, either in the main hotel or in the cottages, you will get a chance to enjoy their two-course breakfast in the parlor and afternoon tea. Breakfast ran from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and it was delicious! From the homemade granola cereal to the eggs Florentine and waffles, we loved every bite. They will ask if you have any food issues, and you should definitely tell them (they will adjust as they can). I forgot to tell them about my lactose sensitivity, but they bagged up my homemade granola for a snack throughout the day (which we happily enjoyed). Do not miss their date raisin nut bread!! I think we’d make the two-hour-and-forty-minute drive from Los Angeles just for that.

Afternoon tea is also in the parlor. Scones, coffee cake, pastries, pound cake, cookies, fruit and more are waiting for guests every day. Andy made a beeline for the tea, and I sampled the lemonade. Tea runs from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. It can be a social hour, or you can take your drink and nibbles to your room or out onto your deck chairs/porch to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine.

Overall Impressions of the Historic Julian Hotel

While the leaves on the trees had not yet started to turn in Julian, California, it ended up being the escape that Andy and I both needed. We got some solid work done on our script, and we still had time to enjoy the hotel and the sights around town.

Everyone at the Julian Hotel was lovely, from the woman who greeted us at registration to the person who brought us breakfast. Everything felt cozy and welcoming – exactly what you want when visiting a historic town. The location is incredible – everything you want to do is close to the hotel.

The only downside is that when you are stuck on what your heroine should do in a scene, you will look at people heading into the Blue Door Winery with envy. I’m just kidding – you’ll feel an urge to go whether or not you are stuck on a scene (and yes, stay tuned for our article on the Blue Door Winery).

Have you made your plans to visit the Julian Hotel yet?

Related Articles: Sampling Fine Wines at Blue Door Winery

Related Article: Things to Do in Julian, California (Other Than Apple Picking)

Julian Hotel San Diego California Historic Hotel Front Room

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Enjoy Family Fun as the Salmon Run at Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/09/28/enjoy-family-fun-as-the-salmon-run-at-taylor-creek-in-south-lake-tahoe/ https://www.thosesomedaygoals.com/2019/09/28/enjoy-family-fun-as-the-salmon-run-at-taylor-creek-in-south-lake-tahoe/#comments Sat, 28 Sep 2019 06:28:15 +0000 /?p=6853 Update: The Fall Fish Festival is October 5-6, 2019. It’s the best time of the year to visit. Beyond spotting the vibrant Kokanee salmon, there…

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Update: The Fall Fish Festival is October 5-6, 2019. It’s the best time of the year to visit. Beyond spotting the vibrant Kokanee salmon, there are numerous activities for the entire family planned at this festival at Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe. It’s educational, fun and free!

Spotting the Kokanee Salmon

Are you looking for a nature-filled fall activity that works for the entire family? It may be time for you to head to South Lake Tahoe to visit Taylor Creek. Not only will you experience some breathtakingly beautiful scenery on the trails that run through the park but if you time it right, you’ll be able to see the Kokanee salmon spawn.

At the suggestion of Andy’s family, we walked through the park in October last year. The weather was crisp (South Lake Tahoe is a world away climate-wise from Los Angeles) and fall was clearly in the air. I just wanted stand there and take deep breaths – enjoying the clean, peaceful feeling of the place, despite the Saturday crowds.

We knew we wanted to walk the trails and see the Stream Profile Center. Most areas are easily navigated even if people have mobility challenges, and we loved being able to look out over the water to see the fish, as well as spotting the animals in the trees.

You can start in the Steam Profile Chamber, which allows you to see the salmon and other fish in their natural habitat through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, or finish there. We actually began our explorations on the Rainbow Trail.

Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe
Andy by the Rainbow Trail at Taylor Creek in South Lake Tahoe.

The Rainbow Trail loops through the marshland and along Taylor Creek. It runs for about .6 of a mile and felt like easy terrain to me (and I can be a wuss about these things). It can be quite crowded on the weekends in the fall, but we had no difficulty getting spots near the water to see the salmon.

When we came out, we looped back toward the Visitor Center and decided to walk out to some of the vista points along Smokey’s Trail to get a feel for the mountains beyond the park. I admit that I fell in love with some of the views. The extraordinary colors reminded me of paintings I used to see when I was a child, and I can’t imagine ever getting tired of seeing these sights.

The park is closed during the winter and early spring months as the snow descends on South Lake Tahoe. The Visitor Center, trails and the Taylor Creek Steam Profile Chamber are all free!

 

South Lake Tahoe, Taylor Creek, California, family travel

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