Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

The Beach House, Exquisite Waterfront Hotel in Hermosa Beach, CA

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I have a special love for this hotel where I’ve stayed many times. I actually never knew there was a beach front hotel in the Manhattan / Hermosa Beach area until my Mom and I happened upon it about 20 years ago. We were out for a walk along the Strand and there it was.

Since then, it’s my go-to place when I want to escape since it’s a 5-6 hour drive along the coast from where I live in Northern California. About two weeks ago, I was heading to Long Beach to meet my Mom and sister to visit Catalina Island. On my way home I pulled over and stayed the night at the Beach House Hotel in Hermosa Beach. Let me tell you a little bit about this special hotel and the area that surrounds it.

I lived in Manhattan Beach years ago and loved it. There are a bunch of small ocean-front towns that string along the cost…Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Long Beach and on and on. The coolest part of a lot of these beaches is that they have a walkway that allows you to easily walk or ride your bike – listening to the waves, dodging the seagulls, viewing elegant yards of the massive homes and of course stopping at top notch restaurants and bar. Voyeurism at it’s greatest! Before we get to the strand, let’s visit the hotel, The Beach House in Hermosa Beach.

This is a view from my room so you can see that you are right on the water. There are no roads with crazy traffic that you have to look over to see the ocean. No, you’re just there with only The Strand to cross before you can put your feet in the sand. When you enter the hotel you’ll find a beautiful lobby. I can remember my sister waiting on one of the couches on one visit and that was so special. And my Mom and even my childhood friend Anne. At night you’ll find the fireplace burning which is always nice on chilly coastal evenings.

The rooms are wonderful and are actually small suites with kitchenettes, a fireplace (gas now, but I can remember when you could burn a duraflame log!) Not all rooms face the ocean but some have partial views. If you’re in a full ocean front you can open the sliding doors, pour yourself a glass of champagne and watch the volleyball players, bike riders and people strolling along the strand while relaxing on your deck.

Here are some of the images of the hotel room. I always ask for a corner room if possible so you get a window in the bathroom. They can’t guarantee it but they always try.

Once you’ve dropped your luggage off and put on your walking shoes, you’re ready to explore! Let’s take a walk along The Strand…

Manhattan Beach Home along The Strand

If you go, make sure to take good walking shoes. Once you park you can get everywhere on foot or by bike. Let me know if you go! If you’d like to see more of my blogs on that area they are listed below. Cheers! Photogirl

Taking Flight: Manhattan/Hermosa BeachΒ CA: https://photogirltravels.com/category/california/manhattanhermosa-beach-ca/

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Escape to One of the Oldest Towns in Connecticut and Stay at the Exquisite Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa

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When planning a trip do you pick the hotel as the destination? Or the location as the destination? I’m going to tell you about a resort that IS the destination and a place you should add to your bucket list. Nestled on the Northern Connecticut coast in one of the oldest towns in New England, you’ll find the Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, a resort that will allow you to escape the craziness of life. Let me tell you a little bit about our stay with this beautiful inn and how it stole our hearts.

To back track just a little, my Mom and I went on a mother / daughter trip back east starting in Boston, then off to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and then onto northern Connecticut. Staying along the coast we were able to stay at some beautiful places. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa was our last spot and one of our favorites.

As you enter the hotel you’ll be immediately impressed with the luxurious lobby. To the left you’ll find the welcome desk and beyond the glass doors at the end of the lobby is a beautiful harbor, waterfront restaurant and bar.

What I remember most when we first arrived was the bellman named John. What a delight he was during our entire trip! In fact, everyone was nice. Scott at the welcome desk and Candace were all amazing. Unlike the large hotels, this is a family owned Inn so the service and amenities are first class.

Let’s first visit the rooms which are beautiful, and large! We looked at a few rooms and decided on the water front room with a king size bed. Mom could have done cartwheels in this room and even in the bathroom, yes – it was that spacious! πŸ™‚

Our room (#201) had a balcony which overlooked the harbor and restaurant. We sipped wine, sparkling water, played cards and even had the pleasure of watching a wedding. It was especially beautiful at night with everything lit up including a cozy gas fireplace located down by the water.

We ate at the restaurant which is right by the water. What fun to watch the boats, people and have a really fabulous meal. That’s Mom and me eating fish and chips and salad. Mom wants to make sure everyone know we were sharing.

The grounds are lovely. There are two women who manage them and being gardeners ourselves, we were impressed. There’s also a spa and you’ll see the entrance below. You’ll be amazed at all the flowers, exotic plants and beautiful walkways.

Finally, the harbor. What a gorgeous area to walk around and see including a lighthouse you can rent and actually sleep in. They also have 3 saltwater pools, one we could see from our room.

If all of that wasn’t enough they love dogs!

On behalf of my Mom and me, thank you so much John, Candace, Scott and the rest of the team at the Saybrook Point Inn, Marina and Spa for a wonderful stay! We will definitely go back. If you decide to visit this beautiful inn please tell me about your visit! Cheers!!!! Photogirl and Mom XO

Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa website: www.saybrook.com

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End of the Day

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It’s 7:40pm and the end of the day here in beautiful Los Gatos CA. I’ve been making homemade pizza and tonight had a hot steaming piece with some fresh arugula and an avocado out on my swing watching my birds. What a nice end to the day…πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—.

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Nantucket Island,the Gray Lady

The car rattled over the old cobble stone road and I made my way into the historic town of Nantucket. Tourists stroll along the sidewalks dripping with dense flowers in window boxes. I’m fresh off the red eye from San Jose to JFK and then JFK to Nantucket so feeling a little tired. The smell in the air is a mixture of fresh roasted coffee and the ocean.Β  I’m in love.Β  I find my way to Union Street and into a tight parking place on the Union Street Inn property and sigh, I finally feel like I’m on vacation. The hotel is a mid 18th century B&B and it’s lovely.Β  One of my favorite parts of the town are the cobblestone roads and the brick laid cross walks. It’s like stepping back in time. Here are a few photos from my first day on the island…

 

I’ll write more on the hotel in a separate post. But now I want to take you through the town with my photos. I wish I could send you the smell of fresh cut grass and sea roses. Here are some photos from my first day πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Vegetarian BACON Lasagna!

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For those of you who know me – you know I LOVE bacon. I’ve been in this relationship since I was a child. It wasn’t one I had to constantly work on. Β No, no, no… It seems to always just be there. In my drawer, at the store, on a plate on my desk….So it just made sense one day, bacon would be the perfect 5th food group –Β in lasagna! And hence it was born… My special Vegetarian Bacon Lasagna.

I hope I’m not posting this too late for those of you trying to decide what to cook for Super Bowl Sunday. As I sit at my desk it’s early morning on that exact day. I’m sure men and women had sleepless nights, tossing and turning, and dreaming the color of the team they are hoping to win. But as you check your email, Facebook, Linked In pages – wrapped under your covers, I hope this will give you the perfect recipe. Imagine sitting in front of the TV with a huge plate of steaming Bacon Lasagna, ice cold beer in your hand, watching your favorite team play. This recipe is packed with fresh vegetables, multiple cheeses and a few surprises, capers being one.

My Vegetarian Bacon Lasagna Recipe

Your shopping list:

  • Package of bacon – cooked so it’s crispy (pre-cooked, microwave ready, or standard is fine)
  • Lasagna noodles – 1 box – I like the kind you don’t have to boil but if you like to boil then go for it
  • Ricotta cheese – larger sized container
  • 2 eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Jar of capers
  • Vegetables: Whatever you like but here are some ideas: These are ones you’ll want to sautΓ© first: Eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic. I also love spinach but don’t cook it first. You’re just going to layer it raw.
  • Pasta sauce: Either make it yourself or get a jar. I like Newman’s tomato basil
  • Can of chicken broth to sautΓ© things in
  • I think that’s it

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How To:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • First I prep everything, sautΓ© onions, add sliced zucchini, mushrooms and whatever else you think you’d like
  • I slice the eggplant into thin discs and sautΓ© them with a little chicken broth
  • Cook the bacon (I guess you could cook it first and then use the oil to sautΓ© the veggies but that just doesn’t seem quite right)
  • Prepare the Ricotta cheese by adding 2 eggs and mixing it up
  • Once everything is ready, you just layer. I put the pasta sauce on first, then the noodles, then the ricotta cheese, veggies, bacon, other cheeses, a few capers, spinach, a dollop of sour cream.
  • If you use the no boil noodles you need to make sure they are by something moist (pasta sauce or ricotta cheese)
  • The last layer should have pasta sauce and cheese on top.
  • Save out a few pieces of bacon to put on top

Cook!

  • Cover with a sheet of non-stick foil and place the dish on a cookie sheet. I do that so that if it bubbles over, your oven still stays clean
  • Bake at 375 degrees for around 30-45 minutes. It’s hard to say because it depends on how large your baking dish is. It should be bubbling. I also take the foil off when it’s ready and let it cook just a bit longer to brown the top.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes to let everything absorb together
  • Put your bacon garnish on
  • Voila! You’re done!
  • Serve with a fabulous red wine or super cold beer!!!Β  And of course, GO NINERS!!!

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