Park City, Utah

Park City

Travel, USA Travels | February 23, 2016 | By

This post (like all the others lately) is a bit delayed but I wanted to have a memory of our fabulous trip to the Park City snow!  Park City is a beautiful scenic mountain community filled with activities, award winning restaurants, a lively action-packed calendar – in addition to its two world-class resorts Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort.  Considered part of the Wasatch Batch, Park City is a mere 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and hosts the famous Sundance Film Festival every year where the streets are lined with celebrities and transformed with pop up shops and parties!

Sundance...a little early but the sign is up!

Sundance…a little early but the sign is up!

If you’re a skier, you’ll be in heaven at Deer Valley Resort that revolutionized the ski industry by being the first North American ski resort to provide the first-class service comparable to a five-star hotel with a variety of lodging, an award-winning ski school and 300 annual inches of powder snow along with state-of-the-art snow making.  If you’re a snowboarder, Park City Mountain Resort will be more up your alley.  The resort combined with neighboring Canyons Resort in July 2015, creating one powerhouse ski/snowboard resort encompassing 7,300 acres, 300+ trails, 38 lifts, seven terrain parks, 14 bowls, six natural half pipes, one super pipe and one mini pipe. Non-skiers and snowboarders can ride the Quicksilver Gondola for a killer view!

Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive South
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-1000

Park City Mountain Resort
1310 Lowell Ave
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-8111

Riding on the Quiksilver Gondola

Riding on the Quiksilver Gondola

I love the snow!

I love the snow!

The adventure lovers out there will love visiting the Utah Olympic Park to experience Utah’s Olympic legacy!  Guided tours of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games venue are available daily and you can explore both the George Eccles 2002 Olympc Games Museum and Interactive Alf Engen Ski Museum.  The Park is a year-round U.S. Olympic training site for athletes of all ages training for Nordic Ski Jumping, Freestyle Skiing, Bobsled, Skeleton and Luge.  You can even take the ride on the Winter Comet Bobsled and experience what it is like to fly down the Olympic track in a bobsled!

Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway
Park City, UT 84098
(435) 658-4200

Fresh snow!

Fresh snow!

Love on the lift <3

Love on the lift <3

We got lucky and had fresh snow on the ground and blue skies for our day on the mountain (especially appreciated after getting skunked the last few years at our local mountain).  We had a great day journeying from Park City to Canyons and back and getting some quality time with everyone on the ski lifts.  We didn’t stop all day and it’s safe to say I couldn’t move by the last run, a sign of a successful snowboarding day!

Fun day of boarding!

Fun day of boarding!

After a long day of snowboarding (or skiing), THE spot for apres ski is no doubt No Name Saloon and Grill, Park City’s oldest and most popular bar.  The signature red-brick saloon with pub grub on Main Street features killer bison burgers and an extensive beer and whiskey menu.  Come for a drink on your way off the mountain or dance the night away!

No Name Saloon and Grill
447 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-6667

Beer lovers will also love Wasatch Brew Pub at the top of Main Street.  A local favorite since 1989, Wasatch became Park City’s first brewery, since prohibition, in 1986.  Wasatch was one of the first craft brewers in all of the U.S. and continues to brew award winning beers year after year.  Their pulled pork sandwich is also crave worthy!

Wasatch Brew Pub
250 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-0900

If you’re a whiskey fan, don’t miss High West Distillery and Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870’s and the only ski-in gastro-distillery in the world.  Located at the bottom of Quittin’ Time ski run and next to the Town Lift, this intimate gathering spot serves small plates of nouveau Western fare and of course their own small-batch, mountain-crafted, award-winning whiskeys and vodkas!

High West Saloon
703 Park Ave
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-8300

The shopping on historic Main Street in Park City is second to none.  Whether you’re in the market for a new fur mankini or merely just window shopping, Main Street is home to every type of store you can imagine.  From the latest fashion trends to unique art galleries from local artists, you can browse for hours with pit stops for a delicious cappuccino or cocktail in between!  The Red Velvet Mocha at Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse is to die for and they have thousands of used books to browse along with eclectic gifts and souvenirs.  Too cute!

Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse
738 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-3140

Big Sur and Central Coast Road Trip

Travel, USA Travels | December 2, 2015 | By

Having grown up and lived in California my whole life, I’m not exactly sure how it’s possible that I’ve never been to Big Sur.  To my parents’ credit, they did plan a family trip there…but alas, it was on their road trip for my college graduation and I was neck deep in finals.  We decided that we had to take advantage of living near this breathtaking rugged stretch of California’s central coast – and conveniently combined it with a venue scouting trip!

We left San Diego at the crack of dawn and drove straight into the world-renowned Carmel, a town that has charmed artists and celebrities alike with its picturesque white-sand beach and European-style village packed with restaurants, shops and art galleries.  We made it there before the sun came up and stopped first at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands which was absolutely beautiful but a little too small for our needs.  I got my first glimpse of the beauty we were about encounter with turquoise capped waves slamming into the cliffs below us.  We then started the dramatic journey down Highway 1 along the jagged cliffs pummeled by surf line to Big Sur, providing the most stunning views of any coastline I have ever seen. 

Beautiful Big Sur Coastline

Beautiful Big Sur Coastline

The Big Sur Bakery was recommended to us as a “must” but I found it to be overpriced and a bit overrated…the avocado toast was over $20 (which they were out of) and apparently wheat toast is only delivered on certain days!  Not that day…I settled for a mediocre $7 muffin.  We made our way to the Ventana Inn, across the street from the famous Post Ranch Inn which was also beautiful but too small for our tastes.   For a refreshing drink with an insane view, stop at the reknown Nepenthe restaurant…pricey but the atmosphere can’t be beat!

Nepenthe Restaurant
48510 Hwy 1, Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2345
$$

The most iconic photo of Big Sur is that of the 80-foot McWay Waterfall as it cascades onto the sandy shore in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  One of the shortest hiking trails in Big Sur, Mcway Falls should be seen by anyone traveling along Highway 1…trust me, it’s easy.  We did it in flip flops!  The trail is a mere .64 miles on a flat and wide path that provides both southern and northern Coastal views.  After parking, walk directly west back towards Highway 1 and look fo the sign to the Overlook/Waterfall Trail/Pelton Wheel straight ahead.  You’ll head down short wooden steps, proceed along a wide path and then through a round tunnel under the highway.  Once you emerge facting th ocean, turn right and walk along the path for several yards until you see the falls.  Breathtaking! 

McWay Falls

McWay Falls

We continued south to visit one of the most beautiful venues I’ve seen – Point 16.  Point 16 is absolutely magical with 180 degree views of the coastline and the “loo with a view” that can’t be beat.  If the logistics were not an issue (distance from LA, 1 hour bus ride from closest hotels, etc.), this would be our dream venue!

Point 16...A Dream!

Point 16…A Dream!

Me and Harley enjoying the view

Me and Harley enjoying the view

There are several different Big Sur lodging options from camping at Fernwood to the magnificently opulent Post Ranch Inn if you end up spending more time there.  Many choose the “glamping” option to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area without having to rough it TOO much.  We decided to continue our trek down the coast but for the adventurous, you have plenty of options to choose from whether it be tent camping  to lounging in a luxurious room with a butler!

Fernwood Resort (range of options from camping to motel)
47200 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2422

Big Sur Lodge (3.5 stars)
47225 CA-1, Bi Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-3100

Ventana Inn & Spa (4 stars)
48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2331

Post Ranch Inn (5 stars)
47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2200

Road trip!

Road trip!

We continued our drive down the beautiful California coast past the stunning rock formations and sunning elephant seals at Piedras Blancas down to Cambria, a lovely seaside town in San Luis Obispo County.  We checked in to our adorable room at the Firestone Inn and went down to catch the gorgeous sunset at Cambria’s famous Moonstone Beach.  We worked up an appetite collecting the semi-precious jasper stones of all colors scattered all over the beach (hence the name “Moonstone”) and headed into town to check out Robin’s Restaurant, an eclectic East village restaurant serving made-from-scratch international cuisine that came highly recommended to us.  The setting at Robin’s is romantic and unique and the fusion of Asian, Mexican and Indian – absolutely mouthwatering.  We started out with crispy calamari with a spicy aioli and tried the enchiladas and chicken curry…we were not disappointed!

Robin’s Restaurant
4095 Burton Drive, Cambria CA 93428
$$
(805) 927-5007

Firestone Inn at Moonstone Beach (3-star)
6700 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria CA 93428
(805) 927-8661

Catching the sunset in Cambria

Catching the sunset in Cambria

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

If you have the time, arrange for a tour of Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s famous estate, only 6 miles from Cambria!  We didn’t have time since we had to continue down the coast on a serious scouting mission but I hear this sprawling state historical monument is definitely worth the visit!

Hearst Castle
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon CA 93452
(805) 927-2020

Burlington/Stowe, Vermont

We forged the trek cross country to Vermont this past weekend for a wedding and while I knew it would be pretty this time of year, I wasn’t fully aware of the beauty I was in store for!  We took a red eye flight from LAX to JFK…then hopped on a 1+ hour flight to Burlington.  I had scoped out a highly ranked breakfast spot for us in the heart of town for when we landed – Penny Cluse Café – with supposedly amazing egg and chorizo tacos with black beans and avocado and it did not disappoint.  Their home fries and banana bread are also out of this world.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourselves subject to a 30 minute to 1 hour wait for a table but you’ll appreciate that time to wander the adorable and bustling cafes and shops of Burlington’s main square!

Penny Cluse Café (Burlington, Vermont)
169 Cherry Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 651-8834
$$

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Charming Burlington town square

Charming Burlington town square

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The Ben and Jerry's factory is SO CLOSE

The Ben and Jerry’s factory is SO CLOSE

With bellies full, we embarked on the scenic hour drive up to Stowe.  We arrived at our hotel and were in awe of the pristine and majestic beauty of the Stowe Mountain Lodge.  The quintessential New England resort, you could definitely feel the beauty of the mountains and the charm of the surrounding town and can only imagine how beautiful the resort would be covered in snow.  Located at the base of Mount Mansfield, the resort is the only ski-in/ski-out lodging in Stowe, boasts farm-to-table dining at their Solstice Restaurant and has a plethora of shopping options at The Shops at Stowe Mountain Lodge (including the Beanery coffee shop that just happens to have THE best breakfast sandwiches in town). Take the gondola up for skiing in the winter and for zip-lining and hiking in the summer!

Stowe Mountain Lodge (Stowe, Vermont)
5781 Mountain Rd, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-3000
$$$$

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge

We settled into our king suite with a fireplace, kitchenette and bathrobes then decided to tackle a Smugglers’ Notch hike that we had read about that ends at the beautiful Sterling Pond.  We drove up to the Smugglers’ Notch Park visitor center and parked (well at least half of the car) at the base of the trail.  The hike is about 2 miles on a well-maintained yet vertical trail…look for the 2” x 6” blue blazes to mark the trail.  Make sure you reward your efforts with a refreshing dip in the pond!

The hike to Sterling Pond

The hike to Sterling Pond

We made it to Sterling Pond!

We made it to Sterling Pond!

If there’s one thing that’s a given in Vermont, it’s that they sure like their Heady Topper.  This American Double IPA is packed with hops and while it’s not the strongest or bitter double IPA, you’ll get a hint of orange, tropical fruit, pink grapefruit, pine and spice hops in every sip.  It is unfiltered and contains 8% ABV and because it’s sold only in limited production, it sells out within days or hours of being released.  You’ll most likely see a silver can of Heady Topper being dranken at every restaurant table in Vermont…we even saw someone drinking it at 8 am with breakfast!

The Alchemist Brewery
35 Crossroad Rd, Waterbury, Vermont 05676
(802) 244-7744

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Wedding time!  The ceremony and reception were held at the bride’s beautiful family home up in the mountains of Stowe.  Escaping the forecasted thunderstorms, we had the perfect sunny weather for a beautiful romantic ceremony by the pond.  The wedding was flawless and we danced the night away to music by the groom and friends…and of course Heady Topper galore!

The beautiful ceremony site

The beautiful ceremony site

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

Cousin time!

Cousin time!

You cannot leave Stowe without buying some maple syrup…and eating at one of THE best places to get a salad or sandwich.  Ever.  Green Goddess Cafe makes the most amazing “create your own” colossal salads  served in huge wooden bowls with mouthwatering dressing (think maple balsalmic, jalapeno cilantro lime and their signature green goddess just to name a few).  Their double peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie isn’t too bad either!

Green Goddess Café (Stowe, Vermont)
618 S Main Street #2, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-5255
$$

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe