Bodega Bay

Located on the coast in Sonoma County  is Bodega Bay. The bay itself is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. While visiting the area we happen to stay in The Bodega Bay Lodge right off the coast highway.

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There’s plenty to do in the area, hiking, birdwatching, crabbing, whale watching, visit tidepools, local food and wine, and beautiful views to take in. There wasn’t much exploring this trip. I stayed on the hotel property for a conference I was attending and didn’t have a chance to see much. The hotel was peaceful and quiet by a marsh and by the beach.

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I went on a walk and saw beautiful flowers throughout the property.

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and trees creating canopies over the road.

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Cabrillo National Monument

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Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. On September 28th of 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo stepped off his ship and became the first European to set foot on the west coast of the United States. The site has a museum telling the story of this 16th century exploration.

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The views of the city are lovely. As you can see it was a bit foggy/hazy when I was there.

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The two-mile Bayside Trail takes you through one of the last remaining remnants of coastal sage scrub habitats in the world. The Coastal Tidepool Trail provides views along the ocean leading to the tide pools.

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Be sure to stop by the old point loma lighthouse! It may not look like much from this photo, however it is one of the original eight lighthouses on the West Coast. It’s been restored and refurbished to portray life in the 1800s. There is an adjacent area for the Assistant Keeper’s Quarters.  Interactive exhibits tell the story of the Lighthouses of Point Loma.

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Spiral staircase in the lighthouse

 

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California’s first mission

Marking the birthplace of christianity on the west coast, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is the first of California’s 21 Missions. Founded in 1769. Today the mission is also a cultural center for people of all faiths and walks of life.

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The Church on site does hold mass, I however only stopped by as part of the nominal fee self guided tour. You can see the reredos in this photo, a typical wooden structure with niches for holding statues in mission style architecture.

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reredos

The grounds and properties are well maintained.

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Mission Façade

I’ve purposely not included every single I photo I took, in order to save you some beautiful surprises should you stop by for your own visit. Just when I thought the tour was over, there were Archeological Ruins near the fountain towards the end of the tour.
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Mission Dam at Mission Trails

Mission Dam is nationally registered landmark, and is also the starting point for several hikes. It’s a great spot for bird watching and relaxing. The park is composed of 6,800 acres and gives us a glimpse of what San Diego was like prior to the arrival of Cabrillo in the San Diego Bay in 1542.

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The area is very centrally located and encompasses both natural and developed recreational acres. Think rugged hills, valleys and open areas. It’s no wonder this area is called the “third jewel” of San Diego.

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The area provides an opportunity to explore the cultural, historical, and recreational aspects of San Diego. The park was originally used by the Kumeyaay people [Native Americans]. The mission dams story is that it was built as a way to store water for the Mission San Diego de Alcala. The visitor center is worth a look and is state of the art.

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At one point Mission Trails was also home to the southern portion of Camp Elliott, an area used for artillery, anti-aircraft and machine gun training by the Marine Corps. After World War II the camp was developed and eventually turned over to the Navy, further down the road ownership was transferred out of military control via land exchanges. Now Camp Pendleton and twentynine palms are used as a training bases.

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The World Famous San Diego Zoo

Exploring San Diego in Dec 2013

Another quick post more photos…less of the blah blah blah.

The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park [which is also a great area to explore] in San Diego, California housing over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. There’s plenty to see, and you could easily spend a whole day at the zoo. It’s a great experience for adults and kids alike. Today was just a quick visit due to time and logistic constraints. No need for tears 🙂 as I am fortunate to have been plenty of times being that I grew up in this beautiful city.

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Asian Elephant

One of my favorite exhibits is the elephants. They are beautiful creatures. They are majestic and humourous. The baby elephants [which I wasn’t able to grab a photo of] are always my favorite to see.  Their antics bring a smile to my face.

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The reindeer were out and about. It was late afternoon and their spot was cast in shadows making it difficult to get a better shot.

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Bleeding hearts

The zoo isn’t just animals, there’s plenty of plants, flowers and the like to decorate the grounds.

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The Endangered Chacoan Peccaries were roaming around their habitat. They reminded me of the wild javelina’s I saw in Sedona, Az. Pretty much all the photos I took that day were affected by shade due to the timing.

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Mr. Meerkat

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The Water Conservation Garden

A quick entry with mostly photos, exploring San Diego in the late fall – December 2013.

The Water Conservation Garden is a lovely series of beautiful themed gardens, displays, and a butterfly pavilion [open in spring and summer]. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon for adults and kids alike. You can do a self led tour, or if you prefer group tours those are offered gratis on Saturdays at 10AM.

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We came on a non saturday so self led tour it was. The property has nearly six acres of displays that showcase water conservation through gardens such as a native plant garden and a vegetable garden. The gardens include information and how-to displays such as mulch and irrigation exhibits.

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There is a small area with a playhouse and dinosaur learning for children. Despite being for children it was amusing to walk through.

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Along the path you will find exhibits, sculptures, topiaries, and ideas to create your own water conservation garden or cute ways to spruce up your patios.

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I am a sucker for succulents. I love their beauty and I am amazed at how just when I think I have seen them all, I discover a new species. I just love the firey look here. Must be the aries in me.

Campfire Crassula

There is a gift shop on the property but we decided to take a pass. They had some cute boho decorations but alas living in a small apartment I have nowhere to hang such beauties. One day…one day.

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The Iron Horse

Exploring Sedona in the Fall 2013 – Day 4

Train stations used to be the bustling hub for travellers in small towns here across America. Those times may be gone but they are certainly not forgotten as we take a ride on the Verde Valley Railroad. We arrived a tad early to explore the depots “Boxcar” gift shop to fulfill requests from coworkers. While awaiting our train departure we visited the small museum located in an actual renovated boxcar called the “John Bell Museum.” The artifacts are over a century old. It’s interesting to see if you are killing time, but not something you need to specifically go out of your way for IF you are short on time, or weren’t planning to take the train ride. If you are a train enthusiast well then I bet you’d enjoy stopping in :).

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The John Bell Museum

We choose the first class package, and once aboard the fully restored vintage train, we enjoyed refreshments, lunch, scenic views from not only our seats but the viewing decks as well. The outside deck hosts or attendants if you will, shared history geology and wildlife information. They were friendly and snapped a few pics of us on the deck. The inside was living room like seating. Comfortable and a nice treat. Music played, the hosts were warm, friendly and engaging. They narrated the journey and provided interesting historical information and humour along the journey. Valets poured drinks and provided appetizers and lunch.

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As the train continues along its course into the canyon we watched the scenery pass us by. There is an abundance of high-desert rock faces, trees, shrubs,scrubby brush and such that you can only view from this train ride. Our journey took us from Clarkdale to Perkinsville. We watched the beautiful fall colors pass us by and took in views of the verde river. The tracks go through the Coconino National Forest and Prescott National Forest. These protected areas made for a lovely adventure train tour.

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Exploring Sedona in the Fall – Day 2

November 2013

The Tardis takes us back in time to a day of spectacular views, on day two of our fall trip to Sedona in 2013. I had the opportunity to take a Safari Jeep Tour, however while awaiting for the tour to begin I found myself enjoying the company of a scarlett kingsnake. Very sweet creature.

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scarlett kingsnake friend

 

We choose to take the vortex tour, and we visited several spots all of which had great views.  The vehicles at , are quite rugged. Most of the vortex’s are easily accessible with a regular vehicle, but the last one [Schnebly Hill Road] is where you really need that off-roading vehicle.

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view from the vortex tour

Some of the trees grow in these spiral like patterns due to the vortexes. I felt like it was a stronger vortex spot compared to the rest of the site. Our guide on the trip was knowledgeable and humorous. The jeeps had coolers on board with ice-cold water. We hiked a bit and meditated in the crisp clean air before driving back to the Jeep Safari Tour office.

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Juniper Tree swirling vortex growth

As the day progressed we visited other local Sedona sights. We Stopped by Uptown Sedona for a snack and admired the painted sky.

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Uptown Sedona

We drove to airport mesa and enjoyed the views at dusk.

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Airport Mesa

Eventually we ended up at Tlaquepaque for dinner at El Rincon, and admired the fall decorations. The food at El Rincon is muy deliciouso. It’s a must visit if you’re in the area.

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Talquepaque Fountain

 

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Exploring Sedona in the Fall – Day 1

November 2013

Taking a trip in the way back machine. Two years ago to November of 2013. We found ourselves in Sedona Arizona, one of my favorite places in the world to be. We “kneaded” some food so we stopped in at Wildflour Bread Company. We enjoyed the spectacular views of the red rocks, and a bright n beautiful glass sculpture as we sipped and ate.

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Sculpture at Wild Flower Bread Company

 

“Time to get out muscles moving” we told our hosts and off to bell rock we went. Bell Rock is a popular tourist attraction, and located just north of the Village of Oak Creek, about 10 mins south of Sedona in Yavapai County. The hike is easy at 3.6 miles. My senior citizen parents even enjoyed the hike. As you walk along the path there is much scenery to enjoy.

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Bell Rock

With the sun high overhead, and our breakfast well-worn off, our energy stores were feeling depleted. It was time for a break. We had some snacks then took a drive over to the historic ghost town of Jerome. After leaving the car park we found ourselves at the Jerome grand hotel, sauntering into the Asylum of the hotel.

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The Asylum

 

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Narragansett Bay and Beavertail Lighthouse

November 2013

It was the fall of 2013, in November to be exact. Another road trip found us driving to the north side of Rhode Island to our destination of Narragansett Bay. For those interested there are plenty of water sport recreational opportunities to take advantage of. We walked around the area and came across some sort of art installation project.

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Art Installation

We wandered some more and found ourselves by “The Coast Guard House”.  Walked along the sea wall. Hindsight 20/20 I didn’t realize the place was a restaurant, I was more enthralled with the building itself since it was unique looking.

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The Coast Guard House

Sallied forth to the beavertail lighthouse, It was built in 1856, and is located on the southernmost tip of Jamestown Rhode Island. Walked the grounds but weren’t able to actually go inside that day. The museum was closed sadly.

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Beavertail Lighthouse

 

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