Where can you find medieval castles, world class wine, mud baths, and redwood forests within a weekend trip? The one and only Calistoga, California of course! Calistoga is about two hours north of San Francisco and we explore the region with the Calistoga Wine Passport which grants us access to the numerous tasting rooms. We visit the winery that helped put Napa on the map, Chateau Montelena and a medieval Tuscan style castle winery called Castello di Amorosa. The natural scenery around Calistoga includes the breathtaking redwood forest of the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.
Weekend in Calisotoga Vlog:
Castillo di Amorosa - Medieval Tuscan Castle and Winery
Chateau Montelena - Historic winery and chateau. This wine estate produces the famous sauvignon blanc which won the 1973 Judgement of Paris blind tasting competition, an event that put Napa on the map.
Wineries featured in this vlog:
Calistoga Wine Passport:
Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful destinations in California, nicknamed the American Riviera. Located along the Pacific Coast and only 92 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is the perfect weekend destination. We take the Amtrak Surfliner to Santa Barbara and explore the fun activities that the city offers, including the Cabrillo Bike Path, Urban Wine Trail, State Street, historic Spanish colonial architecture, Santa Barbara Zoo, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Santa Barbara Travel Vlog:
Here are the top 10 sights to visit during your trip:
1. Bike Rentals: One of best ways to see Santa Barbara is by bike. We rented bikes at Wheel Fun Rentals, which has hourly and daily bike rentals and a variety of fun bikes. We rode along the Cabrillo Bike Path, which is a scenic ride along the Pacific Ocean.
2. Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Enjoy the art scene at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which contains galleries of American, impressionist (Van Gogh and Monet), photographic art, and much more.
3. Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail - The perfect pairing to your visit to Santa Barbara is a glass of the local wine from the renowned wineries. Downtown Santa Barbara has many wine bars and tasting rooms where you can sample the wine from the nearby vineyards.
4. Street Art - The downtown of Santa Barbara has plentiful street art that changes all the time. Walk through the alleyways and streets to find it!
5. Santa Barbara Zoo: Santa Barbara has one of the best small zoos in the nation! Check out the exhibits ranging from gorillas, elephants, lions, giraffes, and penguins. You can even get up-close to the animals with the close encounters tours where you can participate in feeding the animals.
6. Sunday Arts & Crafts Show - Every Sunday since 1965, the city holds an Arts & Crafts show in front of the pier. Local artists display their works of art, including handmade creations and paintings of Santa Barbara. If you are looking for a unique local gift, you will find it here.
7. Santa Barbara Courthouse - One of the best things about Santa Barbara is the architecture. The courthouse is a prime example of the Spanish architecture found here, and you can even get panoramic views from the top floor of the bell tower.
8. Santa Barbara Skate Park - The skate park is located along the Cabrillo Bike Path and is a great way to catch the vibes of the local Southern California culture.
9. Santa Barbara Pier - One of the most iconic attractions in Santa Barbara is the pier. The pier is the perfect place to enjoy the ocean views and even visit a wine bar (yes - there is a tasting room on the pier) or enjoy delicious seafood.
10. State Street - One of the best reasons to visit Santa Barbara is for the food! Along State Street, you will find some of the best restaurants in town, and ice cream - including local favorite - McConnells. Many of the restaurants feature al fresco dining and entertainment.
A few months before our visit, the Santa Barbara county experienced devastating mudslides and fires. One of the best ways to support the community in the recovery efforts is through tourism and patronage of the local businesses. The community is stronger than ever and there is no better time to visit Santa Barbara. A convenient way to reach Santa Barbara is via Amtrak Surfliner, which offers service to the downtown. From the train station, you can walk or bike to each of the locations on this list.
What is your favorite thing to see in Santa Barbara? Comment below!
This weekend, we visited the Palm Spring's Modernism Week, which celebrates the city's artistic and architectural treasures. Each February, the city of Palm Springs showcase the modernist movement with over 350 events, including bike tours, bus tours, and museum exhibits. With so many events to choose from, we count down the top 5 sights to see while you are in town.
Palm Springs Modernism Week Travel vlog:
Here are the highlights from Modernism Week:
1. Modernist Architecture - Door Tour
When I heard that there was a " Door Tour " I wasn't sure what to expect. We started at the Saguaro Hotel, a colorful hotel that organized a self-guided bike tour of the city's most colorful modernist houses. They gave us a map of the houses with the most colorful doors. It was like being on a treasure hunt to find each one. The colors were painted with vibrant Dunn Edwards paint, from bright yellow, magenta, to lime green, which made for instagrammable photo opportunities.
2. Saguaro Hotel -
After the bike tour, we checked into the Saguaro Hotel where we were treated to a complementary margarita at the Jefe Bar for completing the Door Tour. The hotel is one of the most instagrammable locations in Palm Springs, known for it's brightly colored exterior, fun pool, boutique style, and modern architecture.
3. Wexler Glass House -
We also toured Donald Wexler's (modernist architect) first custom house called the Glass House. The house was done in stunning modernist style which took advantage of the beautiful view of the hills and pool.
4. Downtown Palm Springs -
This past year, the downtown Palm Springs area underwent a revitalization effort and many new shops, restaurants and hotels were added along the boulevard.
5. Palm Springs Art Museum -
Palm Springs Art Museum is one of the best was to learn about the modernist movement and view the exhibits from this time period.
We hope you get a chance to visit Palm Springs Modernism Week. It is a fun and unique way to experience the city and celebrate modernism.
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.