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Where has March gone?! Blogging and reading blogs has taken a back seat to working and travel, and I am back for a bit to share some of our recent Northern California adventures, not entirely in order.

My husband had a conference in San Francisco, and it turned out I had a work event just a few days after, which meant I should just go for the whole week, which is exactly what I did, and it was pretty amazing. More on that soon.

For the weekend we decided to step outside of our Sonoma County comfort zone and headed north to Little River to stay at the stunning Heritage House Resort and Spa on the Mendocino Coast. I discovered the resort via Instagram, and they kindly extended me a media rate for our two night stay. See for yourself how incredible our experience was. . .

Heritage House Resort Little River California

After a beautiful drive through Sonoma County and into the redwoods, we arrived at Heritage House, which is nestled along the coast with the most jaw dropping views.  It’s rustic and sweet and fits right into the natural beauty surrounding it. This is a true getaway, which is exactly what we were looking for.

Little River CA hotel

Heritage House Little River

Our room was spacious and had a feeling of simplicity and complete zen. A bottle of wine from local Navarro Vineyards was a welcome treat and kind gift from the hotel’s General Manager. We actually opted not to do much vineyard-hopping on this trip and loved being able to try local wines on property.

Navarro Wine

While we did some exploring of the Mendocino Coast, we spent a good amount of our time just being on the property of Heritage House. Can you see why?

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House Resort Little River California Heritage House Resort Little River California In addition to acres of high coastline for watching the sunset (with the absolutely delicious Navarro Wine), we also had a private beach for the resort, and we soaked up some sun while listening to waves crashing. We got so lucky with the weather every single day on our trip.

Heritage House Resort Little River California  hotels in Little River, CA

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Pacific sunset

Pacific Ocean

Please just take me back.

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Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House has numerous dining options within driving distance, but we opted to stay in for dinner, dining at their 5200 Lounge and also stocking up on yummy cheese and meats for snacks on our deck.

Heritage House Resort Little River California

 

The lounge was cozy and relaxed, with a great wine list, and one of the best burgers we had ever had. We spied on the food that came to tables around us, and it definitely looked like you couldn’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Heritage House Resort Little River California

Heritage House Resort Little River California Between the views, the comfortable rooms, delicious food on-site, and plenty to do in the area, with the amazing option to do nothing, Heritage House blew us away, and we wished we had stayed longer. It will absolutely be a place we return to. While we love Sonoma County, we were so happy to have ventured a bit beyond on this trip.

Thank you to Heritage House for taking such good care of us!

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Tags: California, hotels, Mendocino County, Northern California, resorts, Travel, travel blog

I sometimes think that if it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t remember half of the things we do in a year. I love going back and being able to remember exactly what we did, ate, and saw during a certain time of year. It’s been the most consistent journal I have had in my adult life, and hopefully making it public has been entertaining and informative to others! As I sat down to start writing this post, I thought to myself that we didn’t do too much in 2014, but going back made me realize what a full year it was from the very start and just how much good happened.

2014 was an interesting year. We spent a large chunk of it legally chasing after a shady plumber who took lots and lots of money and did a hack job on our house. We hoped to leave that in 2014, but the legal system had other ideas. You can really get away with anything if you’re slimy enough, we’ve learned. If you’re looking for a plumber in the Boston area, feel free to contact me so you know who NOT to choose.

That situation has been tough, but this year has been about so much more. We saw our families a ton, with two visits to Ireland and multiple guests from Ireland, as well as a nice long visit from New Jersey family and lots of short trips there. We got to help out in our first Sonoma grape harvest, had many boat dates, and genuinely grew closer to many great people in our lives. It was a full, rich year, and we have so many memories to be thankful for.

Below are some of my Best of 2014 moments in food and travel. Please share one of yours in the comments!

 

Aniar –  My belated birthday dinner in Galway was definitely the best meal of the year. Service, ambiance, and local Irish ingredients make it easy to see why this restaurant has a Michelin star. How many ways can I tell you to get yourself to Galway, then go to Aniar?

Aniar Galway

 

Red Fish Grill, Coral Gables, Florida – We kicked off 2014 with a trip to Miami. With the winter we had, it turned out we needed every second of warm sunshine we soaked up while there. We stayed at the Sonesta in Coconut Grove (highly recommended, full disclosure, I work for Sonesta Hotels.)

Red Fish Grill

 

Owenmore Restaurant at Ballynahinch Castle – You know how I feel about the Irish countryside, if you’ve been reading for any amount of time. There is an indescribable beauty and sense of calm; it changes me in the best ways ever. We got to spend a day in the country, followed by a delicious dinner and overnight at Ballynahinch Castle, a place my husband’s family has been visiting for years. They knew so many people it felt like home, and I will always remember relaxing by the fire into the wee hours of St. Patrick’s Day morning.

Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynahinch Castle Owenmore Restaurant

 

Wine Country Weekend Lunch at Davis Family Vineyards – A year is not complete without a visit to Sonoma County. Through blogging about wine and travel, I have met some great people and had amazing opportunities, and this year was no different. We kicked off this wine country trip with a glorious wine lunch at Davis Family Vineyards. Sonoma Wine Country weekend has so many great events (including our starlit night of dancing at Rodney Strong), and I would definitely recommend checking one or two out if you happen to be there during the events.

Davis Family wine

 

Sonoma sunset

 

The Girl and the Fig and all the Sonoma County wine tasting – Okay, pretty much every moment of our Sonoma trip was my favorite. This post summed up some of the food and wine experiences we had in Napa and Sonoma. Our Flipkey wine country cottage is really worth checking out too.

Girl and the Fig, Sonoma

Travel to Long Island Wine Country – From tasting by the ocean in the beautiful Kontokosta Winery tasting room to chilling out at Noah’s in Greenport, having copious quantities of oysters and bubbly at the Blue Canoe, and feeling at home at Bedell Cellarsour getaway to the North Fork was one of my favorite weekends of 2014.  The North Fork is so easy to get to from Boston, and we are definitely planning a 2015 visit.

Kontokosta Winery, North Fork

As we look back at 2014, we are planning our 2015 travel, including the biggest trip of our lives. . . a 12 day safari in Tanzania! I have been to Africa once before (Tunisia during college), but this is going to be very different. Sleeping in a tent amongst lions and elephants and other animals? SO exciting and so very far out of my nerve-laden comfort zone! It will definitely be an adventure!

 

Your turn – what was your favorite food/travel moment of 2014? Do you have any 2015 travel plans or dreams?

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Tags: best of, California, cocktails, Connemara, Dining out, Food, Ireland, North Fork, Sonoma, Travel, wine, wine country

Monday is a good time for dreaming of travel, don’t you think? I’m excited to share that Flipkey is holding a contest in conjunction with their new virtual tours. They are asking bloggers to write a post about which of three virtual tour locations, Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, or Miami, the blogger would choose to enter to win a $1,000 Visa gift card.

I love to write, and I love to travel, and I love to write about travel, so I thought this would be a fun contest. I have been to Miami (and would totally go back, especially to stay at the Sonesta in Coconut Grove). I have been to Phoenix and would like to explore more.

But the sound of Lake Tahoe pretty much just grabs at my wanderlust in a much bigger way. You know I love California. My first Flipkey experience was at our Sonoma wine country house rental; the experience was an amazing one, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Lake Tahoe has a lot going for it, including its proximity to wine country, gorgeous natural beauty, gigantic blue lake

The Flipkey Virtual Tour of Lake Tahoe won me over completely.

Emerald Bay

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This photo of Emerald Bay takes my breath away; I can imagine it being spectacular in all seasons.  I am a country girl at heart, and smelling the pines, hearing the lake lapping its shores, and being able to see endless sky would be my paradise.

 

Bear's Landing

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Similarly, Bear’s Landing looks like pure bliss. I want to hike for hours and swim and kayak and water-ski, then relax in a hot tub or in front of a fire in one of the many beautiful Flipkey rentals.  I might even learn to ski in snow, depending on when we visited! Lake Tahoe looks like a true getaway, which is why it is my choice.

Your turn, if you had the choice, which would you visit, Lake Tahoe, Miami, or Phoenix? Why?

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Tags: California, contests, Flipkey, Lake Tahoe, Take me there, Travel, travel blog

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