California Road Trip! Five Days of Driving, Dining and Fitness!

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Road trip! Grab your friends and hit the road to see America in all its beauty. This time our travels took us to Los Angeles; Hint: L.A. is so much more than the Hollywood sign and star spotting! We started our stay in Santa Monica walking the boardwalk and the galleria; listening to indie musicians and sampling some excellent fish tacos. We then made our way to Playa Verde and enjoyed sweeping views of greater LA’s city lights from this hillside community. We joined friends at Basha and enjoyed fabulous Asian inspired appetizers and something that will make me take a trip back, sauteed chilli peppers, at Rancho Palos Verdes resort.

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The next day we hit the road towards our scenic Pacific Coast ride to San Francisco. Our first stop was the hilly Calabasas which is home to many bold face names. We had dinner at the romantic woodsy, old Hollywood feeling Saddle Peak Lodge and enjoyed the huntsman inspired tasting menu and signature cocktails. Everything was delicious. We were served fresh oysters, followed by Spanish octopus, which is amazing, and pardon me for saying this but kinda like tender white meat chicken but only better. This was followed by scallops, venison, Elk, an out of this world pasta with truffle accompanied by pretzel bread, and a divine butternut squash soup. We ended the meal with a buckwheat brownie. This meal was so amazing that its worth the hilly climb to Calabasas. And yes we’ll most definitely be back to experience the full menu. (see our pics on Facebook) After dinner we made our way to San Luis Obispo and spent the night in a charming bed and breakfast The San Luis Creek Lodge. Our cozy room even had its own fireplace and a luxurious bathroom, and our door opened up to a gorgeous view of the mountains. The following morning we enjoyed a generous continental breakfast that included pancakes and eggs made to order. Along the path towards San Francisco my travelling companion ran along the local beaches and enjoyed scenic views. He loved that on foot he got a chance to see sites that could not be reached by vehicle. cal2016_seal We continued our drive along Big Sur with a brief stop to view sea lions lounging along the rocks. We also took a quick look at the state park. The park has more than 80 miles of trails and has a number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments, many animals (deer, raccoons, an occasional bobcat), and several types of birds — including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and California woodpeckers. Who knew California had such diverse experiences from beaches to mountains in under 30 minutes. As we continued our drive to San Francisco our final stop was Monterey and the Portola Hotel and Spa. Portola-Hotel-And-Spa-At-Monterey-Bay-photos-Room After three hours of driving we were so happy to plop comfortably in our impeccable room with a king size bed. We loved the warm cookies generously offered by the charming and attentive staff. Fitness is a lifestyle for us so when we travel we are always looking for great paths to run and superior gyms. Monterey and The Portola offers both plus a swimming pool and spa facilities. frenchtoast_AMG The next leg of our adventure was spent with family with brief stops in Vallejo where we discovered Momo’s Cafe and the best French toast in the world. This coming from a woman who hates French toast! This diamond in the rough is worth a special trip to Northern California to experience their all day breakfast and this funky little cafe. See more pics on Facebook. Photos: Amanne Media

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Maureen Martin