Spanish Style Gardens & Doors

Do you have a special local spot you gravitate towards when you need an escape from the bustle of daily life? For me, it’s the Spanish-influenced gardens and artisan shops at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. Every season brings different blooms and lush green vegetation thanks to our mild California climate.

Read More

California Winter Wonderland

A series of rainstorms have rolled into the San Francisco Bay Area this week. After a fairly dry and sunny month of February and early March, we are cheering the rain on! The hills and fields are bursting with the growth of new grasses in glorious shades of green – our version of a winter…

Read More

Unworldly Beauty at the Alviso Salt Ponds

One late summer day, I headed to Alviso Marina County Park for my usual walk on the trails around the tall grasses of the saltwater marshes. The day was sunny and breezy without a cloud in the sky. The onshore breeze kept me cool and put me in the mood to explore beyond my comfort…

Read More

The Sweet Taste of Satisfaction

While I’m not Greek, I’m married to a Greek, and love all things Greek, especially Greek food. It’s an annual tradition for us to celebrate my birthday with a classic Greek meal of grilled lamb chops with baklava for dessert. Ah, the sweet taste of satisfaction when I bite into a juicy, medium-rare lamb chop…

Read More

Bay Area Coastal Towns

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, we have the pleasure of hosting many family and friends from across the states and overseas. Of course, San Francisco and Napa Valley always top the must-see list for first-time visitors. Never the less, we manage to lure our guests on a tour of our favorite…

Read More

Street Scenes: Historic Downtown Pleasanton

One of my go-to places to meet friends for lunch is downtown Pleasanton. It’s located about a half-hour north of San Jose when the highway isn’t clogged with work traffic. Main Street is lined with plenty of places to eat, cafés, and boutique shops. To walk down Main Street in Pleasanton is to take a walk…

Read More

Bayside Canning Company Blues

There can be an uneasy beauty in scenes of decay and crumbling structures. Places once teaming with life now abandoned and weathered by decades of sun, wind, rain, and neglect. Places we often pass by and ignore as they’ve become a fixture along our route to somewhere else. For me, that place was the former…

Read More

Wintertime at Sandy Wool Lake

Yesterday we took a much-needed walk in nature. Off we went to Sandy Wool Lake hidden in the foothills of the Diablo Range at Ed R. Levin County Park. Wintertime is the best time of year to visit the park when temperatures are cool, and the dry, golden brown grasses of summer turn green during…

Read More

Waiting for “The Shining”

An eerie calm before the storm at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California. It’s not the Stanley Hotel from the movie, “The Shining,” but it sure looked and felt like it on this ominous day.

Read More

Jibboom Street Doors – Truckee

Behind the finely restored Commercial Row of shops and restaurants in Old Town Truckee lies Jibboom Street notorious in the late 1800s for bootlegged alcohol and brothels. The town attracted gamblers, prostitutes, pimps, and gangsters, many of whom ended up in the town’s jail at the far end of the street, known as Main Street…

Read More

A Blissful Afternoon at the Menlo Allied Arts Guild

What’s not to love about the Menlo Allied Arts Guild? This lovely property hits the spot with Spanish-influenced architecture and gardens, artist shops, and Al Fresco dining at Blue Garden Café. Shop for handmade items at the Artisan Shop where proceeds go to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Yesterday, I headed to the Arts…

Read More

A Closer Look at Carmel-by-the-Sea

The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea offers an unusual mix of European, Spanish, Bohemian, whimsical, and California style architecture. Each shop, restaurant, or gallery has a unique character brought to life by the tremendous attention paid to the architectural details used to “dress” the buildings. Take a stroll through the photos below to get a small taste of…

Read More

The Spanish Portal at Mountain Winery

Drive up a narrow, winding road in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to enjoy wine tasting, expansive views of Silicon Valley, or the famous Concert Summer Series at the Mountain Winery. The Concert Summer Series is held in a modest-sized concert bowl. The concert seating area overlooks the Paul Masson wine cellar rebuilt…

Read More

In the Mood for a Little Parisian Ambiance?

Head to the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto to take a stroll down the Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche. A mural of an eighteenth-century Parisian street scene by artist John Pugh spans a large wall on a side walkway in the shopping center.     In the mood for a French pastry and a cup of…

Read More