coastal living

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Northern California in all of its gloriousness welcomed us with blue skies and warm sunshine. Our weekend home was the Heritage House Resort in Little River, and it gave us the perfect jumping off spot for exploring areas further north than Sonoma County usually does.

Anderson Valley

On the way up to the Mendocino Coast, we stopped in for a beer tasting at one of our favorite breweries, Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a quick flight and a wander around.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

I love the brewery’s commitment to the environment and the fact that they are solar-powered. We buy their beer whenever we can find it in the Boston area, and it was amazing to be able to try so many different beers.

Their use of the Boontling language is also fun!

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

 Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Their Blood Orange Gose was perfect for the sunny day and just a really delicious beer. They all were!

When we left Anderson Valley, we headed to the coast, where we spent the rest of the weekend on as many cliffs, beaches, and trails as possible.

Mendocino Coast

Our exploring took us to Mendocino Headlands, where the sea sparkled, then into the fog further north at MacKerricher State Park, where we found dozens of bobbing seals at Laguna Point. They were hard to capture on my phone, but I was pretty excited (jumping up and down excited) to see so many seals in one place.

Mendocino Coa Northern California Laguna Point California

The park had plenty of paths for us to get some exercise in before we stopped to eat and taste beer again.

The Tap Room,Fort Bragg California

The Taproom is a must-visit if you ever get to the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area. Even before it opened, people were lining up by the door, and we knew we’d made a good choice.

The space was super cute and cozy, and we quickly decided to share a beer sampler to get a taste of all that North Coast Brewing had to offer.

beer tasting at The Tap Room

We’re huge fans of Old Rasputin, and we ended up loving every beer on the tray, even the IPAs, which we often don’t like.

The Tap Room beer

We paired our beers with this insanely good ceviche and homemade chips plus plenty of fresh California avocado. . . heaven!

The Tap Room, Fort Bragg

At the suggestion of some locals, we then headed across the street to Pacific Star Winery for a splash of their It’s All My Fault, a delicious blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc,  and Roussanne, named because of the fault running directly beneath the winery.

Pacific Star Winery

The tasting room was so vibrant and beautiful, filled with local art and lovely regulars who were ready and willing to give us recommendations for the area, including sending us to Roundman’s Smokehouse for all sorts of incredible smoked meats, fish, and cheese. I love meeting people when we travel!

Pacific Star, Fort Bragg California

Glass Beach was another one of their recommendations. Glass Beach is a former dump, which, thanks to the trash dumped there years ago, now offers an abundance of sea glass, in addition to stunning views.

Northern California

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Our time on the Mendocino Coast was simply spectacular, peaceful, and delicious. It was also too short, but I think a lifetime in such a beautiful place would even have you asking for more!

 

Read more travel posts about Northern California on my travel blog post page.

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Tags: Anderson Valley, California, coastal living, Mendocino, Northern California, travel blog, wine, wine tasting

March is on the horizon, which means St. Patrick’s Day, spring, daylight, and all sorts of other happy things are on their way. Since I took about a million photos on our last trip to Ireland, I thought that in the spirit of things to come, I would crank out one last Galway post, with pretty things to look at as we dive headfirst into the weekend. It has been A WEEK A MONTH. Sit back, grab a cup of tea (or a pint!) and come with me on my last Ireland blog post until we visit in July!

Need more travel posts? Visit my travel page!

Quays Galway Floor

{The beautiful upstairs floor of the Quays bar in Galway}

O'Grady's Barna

{Seafood platter for lunch at O’Gradys on the Pier in Barna}

Barna Galway

{Beach wandering in Barna}

 

Barna {Out for a walk near Rusheen Bay}

Galway Sunset

{Sunset walk on Rusheen Bay}

Rinville Galway Sunset

{Sunset on Galway Bay}

Leenane 

{Gorgeous Leenane in Connemara}

 

Galway

{The Long Walk, Galway}

Galway Ferris Wheel

{From the ferris wheel at the Galway Christmas Market}

Hotel Meyrick {The coziest day drinking Irish coffees at the Hotel Meyrick in Eye Square Galway}

Galway Bay diving board

{View from the Salthill diving platform}

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Tags: Boston blogger, coastal living, Galway, Ireland, Ireland blog posts, Travel, travel blogger, travel bog

Ireland is always one of my travel highlights for the year. If you missed my 2016 travel recap, you can read it here.

When we visit Ireland, it’s always to see family and friends and favorite places in Galway; it’s a city you just can’t miss, and surround Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way are dear to our hearts for many reasons. We also usually try to take a side trip, either in Ireland or somewhere else in Europe. In the past, we’ve done Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, and others, in addition to stays in Connemara and Sligo in Ireland. On our November trip to Galway, we headed north to Achill Island in County Mayo, and it was just the little getaway we needed.

Our home on Achill was the absolutely lovely Achill Island Hotel (Óstán Oileán Acla in Irish), situated in a place with 360 degree mountain and sea views. It was a simply stunning, quiet, peaceful location.

Achill Island Rooms were cozy and comfortable, country-style decoration with all of the modern conveniences you could want, including WiFi and a great big soaking tub, which I took advantage of after our drive from Galway through Connemara. 

Achill Island Hotel We visited Achill in November, which is sort of off-season, so one of the attractive features of the Achill Island Hotel was a restaurant on-property. It meant we didn’t have to search for what might be open when we arrived hungry in the evening!

seafood casserole

Not only was it convenient, but it turned out to be incredible. Compliments to the chef for some really delicious meals that utilized Irish ingredients like famed local seafood in my seafood medley dish. It was chock full of flavorful seafood atop mashed potatoes, maybe the best I have had.

Even in my stuffed state, I had to have an Irish coffee to finish the meal. It’s kind of an unwritten rule when we visit Ireland.

Irish Coffee

With full bellies, we decided to head out into the cool night for a walk along the main drag in Achill, which was quiet, with only a few people out and about. The most noise we heard was from sea birds in the sea next to the hotel, feeding at low tide. A few locals were putting Christmas lights on the stores, and it was just a very peaceful and good feeling all around. It also helped immensely to get some fresh air.

Before we retired to our rooms for a couple hours of chatting, we headed back to the hotel pub to try their local beer.

Achill Island Hotel

Brewed with seaweed, this Achill beer had a nice richness to it, and of course that hint of sea salt on the finish. It was really good, and it’s always fun to see what local products are being made around Ireland. Craft beer has really picked up, as has craft gin. 

Achill Irish Beer

After our cozy night in, we woke up to a stunning, calm day on Achill, with the below views out our bedroom window and the windows of the hotel’s breakfast room.

 Achill Island IMG_0276

Clew Bay

We stopped and admired the views for some time before checking out and taking off to explore Achill and more of the breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way for the day.

Achill Island is less than two hours from Galway and very near to Westport, another favorite town in the West of Ireland.  It will make you feel like you are a million miles from everything.

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Tags: Achill Island, coastal living, County Mayo, food blogger, Ireland, Mayo, Travel, travel blog, wild atlantic way

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