Friday, September 23, 2011

Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada was much more interesting than Catalina.  We took a bus tour to La Bufadora, a marine geyser about 19 miles south of the city.  

The road leading up to the blowhole is lined with flea-market shops filled with assorted goods, pharmaceuticals, and knockoffs which are not as regulated south of the border.

The most fun we had was horseback riding on the beach, something I'd always wanted to do.

The authentic tacos were wonderful.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Catalina Island

Our first stop on the cruise was Catalina, a small island off the coast of California.  Just months before she was discovered, Marilyn Monroe (then known as Norma Jeane Dougherty) lived here with her first husband, who was stationed on the island during World War II.

There was an exhibit at the local museum featuring pictures and diary entries from the year that she lived on island.  It was interesting to see glimpses of 1940's fashion as modeled by the future icon.
MM at 17.  Note the round theater/casino in the background
The same theater/casino today
Seaside canopies

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cruisin' on Paradise

My two sisters and I just finished our annual reunion in California.  This year we went on a cruise from Long Beach to Catalina Island to Ensenada, Mexico.  It was a pleasant way to vacation since the lodging, transportation, and meals were all taken care of; all we had to do was relax and enjoy ourselves.

The food was abundant and delicious, although much of it was "buffet quality."  Our favorite meal was lobster and the best dessert was tiramisu.
Not as pretty as my tiramisu, but delicious nonetheless.

The best part of the cruise was meeting new friends.  It just so happened that we were assigned to the same dinner table as a beautiful family from Washington state.  The daughter Ashlyn (who looks like Cameron Diaz) just finished Pioneer School.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hilton Head Island

On our way back from Savannah, we stopped at Hilton Head, South Carolina, to spend some time on the beach.
It was the only beach I'd ever been to that had deck chairs and porch swings.

The area had a laid-back feel with a hoity-toity vibe, but it had great thrift shops and seafood.
Crab and shrimp salad

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Georgia On My Mind

View of Reynolds Square from hotel
My husband and I just got back from a road trip to Savannah, Georgia.  The city of Southern hospitality is uniquely beautiful; the streets are lined with old oak trees draped with Spanish moss and the antebellum homes have so much character.

The downtown area is laid out on a grid system with park squares every few blocks.  This spot was where Tom Hanks sat on the famous park bench in Forrest Gump.

We stayed at an elegant historic inn which faces Reynolds Square.  There was a wine and cheese reception when we checked in, which was nice after nine hours on the road.  The hotel also featured nightly turndown service, which was new to me.

Planters Inn

The period decor added to the charm of the room.