Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Continuing Through California

** Capitola**
Ten days wasn't nearly long enough to see the sights in California.
It is a BIG state.  A big and beautiful state.  We moved from place to place for the first seven nights and did our best to see the highlights of the area.
 After our time visiting the national parks (previous post), we headed for the Santa Cruz area and spent the night in the nearby town of Capitola.

These colorful cottages were across from the patio restaurant where we had dinner that night.

A quick walk along the beach the next morning before it was time to move on.  The homes and gardens were so pretty and the view they had of the ocean was gorgeous. 

I thought this house was particularly attractive.
I often feel a bit timid when it comes to photographing other people's homes, but Brett stood atop of a rock front & center and snapped away.  I'm glad now that he is bolder than I in that department.

The next day it was off to Carmel-By-The-Sea.
We spent time looking in the shops and had lunch in a French cafe.

Carmel is a charming little town with fun shops and interesting architecture.
Dogs are treated well here thanks to the efforts of Doris Day, a longtime resident.

Flowers are plentiful.
I couldn't pass up this window box without a picture.. or two.. maybe even three.

Clint Eastwood is a resident of Carmel and plays an important part in it's history with his Mission Ranch.  You can learn more about that here.  We were told that the restaurant was very good, but it was only open for dinner and by then we were on to our next destination.

The next destinations were found by way of a drive along the amazingly scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
We marveled about the fact that the last time we had been on this road was 1974 for him and 1977 for me.  Long before we knew one another.
Once again I was glad Brett was the driver.
I know for certain this part of the trip wouldn't have happened if it were up to me to get us there.  
When one is hanging off the side of a cliff hanging over the Pacific Ocean, it is cause for concern when the traffic comes to an abrupt halt.  The many curves in the road made it impossible to see what the delay was.  Eventually he turned the car off and we enjoyed the scenery.  I was secretly hoping we would be moving again before dark, but if we had to be stopped, what an absolutely gorgeous place to be.

In time we were moving again and soon found out the reason for the delay.
Yikes!  Not sure how that happened, but there didn't appear to be any serious injuries.

One more look from the Pacific Coast Highway drive.

We moved on to the next charming town, Cambria.
A visit to the Hearst Castle yielded many more photos.
That could make another post in itself.  Heck the ceilings alone could be post worthy, but I am reigning myself in here and showing one picture of my favorite ceiling which was found on one of the castle balconies.
We spent one night in Cambria and had dinner here.  
It has an interesting history and we were introduced to Olallieberries which we liked well enough to bring home a jar of Olallieberry jam.  Sadly we had to get on the road too early the next morning to check out the town.  I will say it did look like a fun place to explore.

Now it was time to head to the town of Summerland and the real reason for our trip to California.
There we stayed for three nights in a cute little cottage that overlooked the ocean.
Well, I should say there was a major freeway, a railroad track and the main road through town in front of us, but from where we sat, the ocean view was lovely.

Summerland is right near Santa Barbara.
We visited the wharf and had lunch one day.

 This was our first visit to Santa Barbara.
Standing on the wharf, I was struck by the way the view rose from ocean to a line of palm trees to the city rising up with the mountains in the background.  So pretty!

Another view of the city.
Lots of palm trees and Spanish style architecture.
This way you see the mountain backdrop.

And this way an ocean backdrop.

 At this point the sightseeing was over and the big day arrived.
Because I have already gone on for far too long, I shall save that for my next post.
If you have stuck with me this long you may deserve a medal.
We don't get to California very often so we aimed to make the most of it while we could.  I think we were successful with our mission, however I would have loved more time in some of those small towns :D.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

American Beauties

In the midst of tucking the final necessities into my suitcase, I watched in horror and sadness, as the most recent tragedy unfolded from Dallas, Texas on the tv screen.  This anger and hatred seems to be everywhere now dividing our country and world more each day.  
Not wanting to turn a blind eye to reality, I was really looking forward to seeking out some beauty among all of this ugliness.  Beauty in the form of two of our American national parks.

 We began our ten day journey in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.    
In a matter of moments after our arrival, we were captured by the beauty to be found in every direction.  The air was fresh and slightly crisp.  Such a welcome change from the heat and humidity of North Carolina.
All through the day people were offering to take a picture of the two of us and also asking for us to take their group pictures.  It seems that nobody wanted to miss out on the chance to be included in photos with these breathtaking backgrounds.

At one point in the journey the park ranger tiptoed up to us and requested that we be as quiet as possible.  Seems as though mama bear and her cub were having playtime and she didn't want us to disturb them.  She did say that photos were okay so I seized that opportunity.

Looking up... way, way up to the top of these giant sequoia trees I pondered how long they had been growing.  Some of them are 2000 years old.  I thought about all of the changes that have taken place in that time.

 Time spent by this waterfall was time well spent.
Far from a gentle trickle, this water gushed out at a fast pace.
Still there is something so soothing about water flowing in a natural surrounding like this.

*** America, the beautiful ***
 As we made our way out of the park, I was captured by the water rushing over the rocks at the base of the mountains.  So glad the driver offered to stop here for a spell.

Also glad that Brett was the driver as my knees would have been knocking on roads like these.

 Day two found us enjoying the sights at Yosemite National Park.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.  The attendance at Yosemite was a reflection of this celebration.

We saw a lot more traffic here, but it was easy to see why.

An abundance of natural beauty.

As far as the eye could see.
At one point in the day, I sat down on one of the strong rocks beneath the ancient trees.  I closed my eyes and breathed in a deep breath of fresh air and I prayed that all the world could know the peace I was feeling at that very moment.

Monday, July 4, 2016

In My Little Corner of America

 Still in my pj's at 10:30 this morning staring at those last two brownies.
A happy reminder of our fast-paced, fun-filled Independence Day celebration.
Since our community fireworks display was being held on the 3rd, we decided to host the family gathering that day as well.
On this dark and overcast morning, I am enjoying the fact that today can be spent in a leisurely fashion.

  vintage treasures and garden daisies ~

 We took the boat out for the first time this season.
It was nice to drop the anchor, jump in the water and float in the lake for a few hours.  Nothing like catching up with family members while treading water and watching boats and clouds roll by.

 A few years ago I won this embroidered towel at the Habitat for Humanity monthly auction.  I later learned that it had been donated by a lady that I often see at the hair salon.  She was so excited to know that I had won it and shared the story of hanging it in the powder room of the summer home she once owned in Ohio.  She said she would put it there for the 4th of July and then the house would be filled with family and friends having fun together.  She is now in her 80s and no longer owns the summer home.
While I didn't hang it in my powder room, it felt good to know it's history and be able to incorporate it into my own family's memory making moments.

This was the only cherry pie to be found in my kitchen, but we did enjoy our fill of fresh Bing cherries.  One of my favorite summer fruits.
When storm clouds began forming, it was time to get back in the boat and head for home.  Burgers, brats and hot dogs were popped on the grill.  About the time they were done cooking, the rain started coming down and then sometime during dinner it quit.
 Although the rain seemed to have moved on by firework time, we threw some umbrellas in the car (just in case).  This turned out to be a good move as ten minutes before showtime raindrops began to fall lightly.  Half way through the show it was a downpour which left the umbrellas struggling mightily to keep up with the demand.  But, the show went on and the crowd hung in there through the fabulous grand finale.  As I looked around at my fellow Americans, we were all rather drenched yet still standing proudly in celebration of our great country.  Standing united despite the storm.  At a time when our country seems so divided, it was a beautiful sight to behold.