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

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/

The Beautiful Town of Duxbury MA

I’m still blogging about my wonderful trip back east with my sweet Mom. The first day driving down to Cape Cod we found a quaint town called Duxbury in Massachusetts. If you’re in the area (note the map below) this is a must see town. I recommend visiting the Harbor area and a bakery called French Memories. The food was fabulous and one of our favorite places to eat! Here’s the harbor….

And photos from the French Memories bakery!

Hugs from Photogirl and Mom!!!! XOXOXOXO

We’re off to Martha’s Vineyard!

Located off the coast of Massachusetts is one of my favorite places to visit. Noted as a New England summer colony, it encompasses quaint harbor towns, five lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland.

I first visited the island with my sister and her daughter who was 6 months old at the time. To give you a perspective of how long ago that was, she just turned 21. This time I went with my Mom as part of our mother / daughter east coast adventure. So how do you get there? Either by ferry or air…we opted for the ferry ride. Let’s take a look at our adventure together!

If you plan a trip you’ll want to make sure you get ferry reservations. The above photo is from our car. When you drive on you’re packed in like sardines. I have no idea how the guys do it. Once you park, you make your way up a flight of stairs and there is an area where you can sit. It was cold and windy when we went so we sat inside. Otherwise, you can get a chair and enjoy the sun sea! Link to make reservations: https://www.steamshipauthority.com/

Above is my sweet Mom passing the time on the ferry. If I had been a really good daughter I would have packed food and drink. The Steamship Authority leaves from Woods Hole and arrives in either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. It takes about 45 minutes, the ride is really fast. You can take your car and I highly recommend you do. There are so many places to go and you’re limited if you don’t have wheels. When the wheels of our car made contact with the island we headed to Edgartown, which was once a whaling port with historic houses, restaurants, shops and even an classic snack shack. Here’s a map from Wikipedia so you can see the main towns on the island.

Edgartown also has one of my favorite places to stay, which my sister and I found years ago, called the Harbor View Hotel.

When you arrive you’ll first see a large wrap around porch where you can sip wine and look out over a beautiful walkway which will take you to the Edgartown lighthouse. Before I show you some photos of the light house let me share some historic photos that will take you back over 100 years.

As you can see, the hotel has kept it’s charm. Below you can see the historic hotel just before sunset. If you walk around the back you’ll find a lovely pool area along with beautiful walking paths to additional rooms.

The rooms are lovely and with a recent remodel the bathrooms are the best! Some with views of the ocean, others with views of the pool area and gardens. Below is a view from our bathroom if you can believe that! I checked outside and had my Mom stand in the bathroom clothed of course and I couldn’t see in. Feel free to close the blinds, I just wanted you to know I did the “test”.

Room service is available if you want to relax in your room and enjoy the view!

Let’s take a look at the island. Again, I recommend to bring a car as it gives you a lot more flexibility to see the sights. A few spots you should visit include the following. Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury. That’s Mom sitting on the owner’s lap. The store is fabulous with incredible finds.

Morning Glory Farm on the outskirts of Edgartown is fabulous!

There are so many cool places to see on the island. The Grey Barn and Farm was wonderful!

The Behind the Bookstore was such a beautiful restaurant where you can sit under the trees, hidden away from the world!

The Atlantic had THE BEST MUSSELS!!!!

Mom with her absolute favorite…a root beer float! Even better when you can eat it by the water.

Let’s go back to the hotel and take a walk to the Edgartown lighthouse. There are multiple paths that take you down. They all converge onto one path that takes you by the water.

I’d like to thank Elizabeth Rothwell, Chris Bird and the amazing team at the Harbor View hotel for the lovely stay. The service is amazing and you’ll feel like you never want to leave. And all the wonderful people on the island. Everyone was so nice. On behalf of my Mom and me we want you to know how much we appreciated everything! Photogirl and Mom πŸ™‚ XO

Want more on Martha’s Vineyard? Don’t stop now, click on the links below!

Getting to Martha’s Vineyard: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/19/7243/

Sunrise walk on the Vineyard:  https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/22/sunrise-walk-on-the-vineyard/

Menemsha Fish Market Lobster Lunch:  https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/20/menemsha-fish-market-lobster-lunch/

Breakfast among the flowers:  https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/20/breakfast-at-among-the-flowers/

Feeling the love expresso love coffee:  https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/21/feelingthelove-espresso-love-coffee/

Nashaquita Pond:  https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/19/nashaquita-pond-on-marthas-vineyard/

All photos Β© Copyright 2019 Shelley D Spray.  All rights reserved.

Continue reading “We’re off to Martha’s Vineyard!”

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

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

Summer on the Cape at The Elegant Chatham Bars Inn

When you think of summers on the Cape what comes to mind? Cool breezes, tennis whites, docksiders and fine sandy beaches? So true, but the the Olde New England charm is amplified if you take a hard turn off Edgartown’s Main Street, dotted with shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and tourists…and head into the quite, tree-lined neighborhoods. As you stroll away from the crazy streets packed with tourists, you’ll find lawns sweeping up toward historical mansions that will take your breath away.

You’ll also find a historical inn known as the Chatham Bars Inn or, CBI as the locals call it. Build in 1914, the CBI offered wealthy travelers from Boston and New York a luxurious setting.Β  Coming in by horseback or Buick B25s, they could escape the heat and find solace on the cool beaches that surrounded the resort. CBI history

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Today, you’ll find the charm of the inn, interlaced with the historical beautyΒ  from the turn of the century, providing a relaxing break from the stresses of the world.Β  Away from the hustle and bustle of Main Street, where tourists crowd in and out of shops, the resort allows their guests to relax in peace while still being able to walk to town. As you enter the hotel you’re surrounded by subtle elegance.Β  A fire burns day and night bringing a warming touch to the large gathering room.Β 

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The reception area holds accents from the past and you’ll find the actual welcome desk used in the early 1900’s (at least I think it’s the original one).Β  Imagine the families arriving, hot and tired from the long ride from Boston…and there you stand in the same spot over 100 years later.

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IMG_5404The rooms are lovely and if you can get one with a balcony you’ll be delighted with comfortable chairs to take in the sweeping view.Β 

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As you leave the main hotel you’ll find exterior buildings along with an ocean-front restaurant. We ate at a table located by the beach and had a really delicious lunch.Β  Dinner in the tavern was equally good and the mussels were one of the best meals we had on the entire trip.Β 

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Continuing your walk along the winding paths, you’ll find the pool area and chairs nestled along the beach. It was a little overcast and cold when we were there, but the weather added to the relaxing ambiance of the hotel. Our visit was in late May so the spring flowers were in bloom and the air smelled of lilacs.

After a night of playing cards (Mom beat me almost every time!) we woke to fresh brewed coffee and a brisk morning walk. Below you’ll see Mom noting how high the snow must get by the markers found on the fire hydrants! Breakfast was amazing and included in the price of our room.Β  As you walk through the french doors you’re met with the smell of fresh baked pastries, dishes overflowing with fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, along with hot selections.Β 

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After breakfast we were off to catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyards. Imagining what the inn looked like in the 1900’s I came across this image and found there was a dock you could stroll along to get out to the sandy beaches. Now, there is an elegant pathway that takes you along flower lined beds. Chatham Bars Inn – we truly loved our stay! Thank you!

Then….
And now!

To view the blog on Martha’s Vineyard please check back!

All historical photos were found on and are property of the Chatham Bars Inn website.

All other photos are copyright 2019 Shelley D Spray. Images can not be used, all rights reserved.

End of the Day

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’—.