adventure

Weekend in the North Bay - Pt. 1 Bolinas

I like doing wacky things sometimes, like driving up to the North Bay coast two days in a row, with two different sets of people. The drive is maybe 2.5 hours to Bolinas and 3.5 to Cazadero. Let's start with Bolinas.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

We started by heading to Gospel Flat Farm, a family run farm in Bolinas. I had never stopped here before, usually because I beeline for the beach and on the way home, it looked closed. I learned they have a 24 hour farm stand that operates on the honor system. I love Bolinas even so much more now. 

Kaaaaale

Kaaaaale

Look at all that kale! Their farm was beautiful. So many good things growing here. 

Family laundry hanging on the line

Family laundry hanging on the line

Chris and Claudine

Chris and Claudine

The reason we came to visit the farm was because of an art show title Nature Babes. I knew of one of the artists from Instagram. Chris and Claudine came along with us and as you can see, they had a blast. We were lucky to spend their 5 year wedding anniversary with them. I enticed them with the following question: "Wanna go to an art show on a farm with wood-fired pizza and wine in a small beach town and have a killer dinner and pie at the Coast Cafe afterward?"

Who could say no?

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Pretty huh? Work by  Maria Schoettler

Pretty huh? Work by Maria Schoettler

It was nice to meet Maria Schoettler in person. We follow each other on Instagram and I must say, these kinds of things make you love the internet. Her work is so lovely. The textures and colors are pure bliss.

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Aren't these pieces gorgeous? Lindsay Stripling created this diptych of an invasion of a campsite. Looks like the wolves and turkeys took over everything. 

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Emily Ritz created highly detailed watercolors with ink details. You can see the scale of this one by looking over at that window sill. The work is really insane closeup. So much detail!

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

You know I love a good A-Frame. Another one coming in Part 2 of this weekend:)

A Weekend in Tahoe National Forest

There's something about getting away from cell phone service, being under the tallest of tall trees and jumping into cold mountain waters that reinvigorates the soul like nothing else. This weekend, I went with some very good friends to camp in the Tahoe National Forest. 

Endless shades of green in  Tahoe National Forest . 

Endless shades of green in Tahoe National Forest

We basically talked about this trip loosely for a couple weeks, but we didn't even book a site until a week before. Our goal was to find some swimming holes and that's about it. We headed north on 5, then over to 80 east and finally up 49. The last time I had been camping in the area was when I backpacked to Island Lake near Grouse Ridge, which is a bit south of where we ended up. This time, we were camping between Downieville and Sierra City, two tiny towns in the mountains. If you ever head up this way, try to get all your supplies in advance. Both towns have stores, but I doubt they are open very late. 

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Our campsite was rather cozy, but we didn't have any neighbors and basically had our own private bathrooms since there are only 11 sites at Union Flat Campground. We liked the green spiky plants growing around our site and could hear the river rushing by. There are a lot of campgrounds in the area, but we stayed here because it was reservable and we were arriving late.

North Yuba River

North Yuba River

This swimming hole was at the campsite. Bryan was brave enough to jump right into the river in the morning. The rest of us were leery of the gigantic trees shading the area, so we opted to swim later at a sunnier spot. 

Shannon and I watched.

Shannon and I watched.

We loaded up the van and headed up to find a spot closer to Sierra City that the ranger suggested for us. It was a bit of a downhill, but we scoped out a swimming hole that was just perfect.

Good times

Good times

As you can see above and below, it was the most perfect and beautiful spot. Not pictured is the waterfall to the left that you can only see when you are in the water. We all jumped off this spot and swam around for the day.

Pre-jump

Pre-jump

Log rides

Log rides

We had the place to ourselves for hours before a couple of nice families showed up. Then we headed back to make the best burgers ever with kale salad and sweet potatoes. Though we may have had some beer and wine this weekend, we kept the food tasty and healthy. If there's one thing I've learned camping this summer, it's to further simplify what you bring and what you cook. 

South Yuba River Bridge

South Yuba River Bridge

The last day, we head down to South Yuba River. Even at South Yuba River, a place fairly crowded with locals and visitors, you can find spots to yourself like we did here. Just head even a little further up or down river and you're good to go. It's super beautiful and there are natural slides into deep pools. You can see the trees aren't so tall and it's a bit more dry down here. It definitely makes for warmer waters to swim in, but of course, more people. 

South Yuba River

South Yuba River

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

Take me back already! Every time I head out to the woods, it makes me feel like I shouldn't leave. I get so much clarity. I even brought art supplies with me and didn't use any of them. Just spent time with good people and stared at nature. Ahhh...

Mendocino Getaway

Sometimes I get so busy that the only solution is to just stop and get out of town. After spending weeks on boring old taxes and finances, it was time to go. Living in California, the best way to gain some peace of mind is to drive a few hours out of the Bay Area and into the country. Last weekend, I ventured north with my boyfriend to Mendocino.

Late last year, my friend Jennifer Sullivan opened her dream business, the Hopland Ale House, in a cozy and historic building in Hopland, CA. She is an excellent cook and just an all-around fascinating person. For the first leg of this getaway, I was ecstatic to visit her and enjoy great conversation. We actually arrived at night and the building was very inviting, glowing with a warm and welcoming feeling. I smiled wide, stupidly staring at the ale house. I was very proud of her. 

Hopland Ale House , run by Jennifer Sullivan in Hopland, CA

Hopland Ale House, run by Jennifer Sullivan in Hopland, CA

The building was as she described to me in conversation over the phone: brick, with pressed tin walls, exposed beams, archways and the bar inside is an incredible piece of art. Handmade by a local carpenter, Tom Carter, it moothly holds layers of different woods and is apparently much photographed by visitors. You will have to stop by yourself to see the interior. I ordered the Pastrami, my boyfriend ordered the Chicago Style Hot Dog and we shared a spinach salad with a spectacular homemade vinagrette. It was seriously incredible: fresh, flavorful and unlike any bar fare you are familiar with. We paired the food with a couple of pints of Death & Taxes, quite fitting for the just shy of April 15th trip. If you are ever in the area, it's a definite must, especially since Jennifer will be opening up the beer garden in the coming months!

id-meal, we totally lucked out because the bar carpenter, Tom Carter, and his wife showed up. Each of us ordered a slice of Jennifer's superb cheesecake and we talked about Tahiti and the visual result of grafting in woodworking, amongst other things. It totally made me want to up and move to the area.

We drove on up to Mendocino that night to our awesome cottage at the Cottages at Little River Cove. Our cell phones didn't have service. I LOVE it when this happens. In the morning, we drove to Mendocino and walked down to the beach to this view...

Mendocino Beach

Mendocino Beach

We stepped down the pathway to beach and found a man playing flute, a driftwood hut and sea caves. It was super cool and reminded me of Oregon coastal trips I went on when I was a teenager. 

A little flute to liven up the scene.

A little flute to liven up the scene.

A nicely constructed beach hut. Apparently the locals sometimes build these and have a bonfire in the evenings.

A nicely constructed beach hut. Apparently the locals sometimes build these and have a bonfire in the evenings.

After the beach we headed to Patterson's for food. The calamari and clam chowder were insanely good. Then, we headed to Dick's Place for a few hours, where Bryan put in plenty of change in the jukebox. Neil Young, Creedence, Bowie, Al Green and the like kept us company while we filled our sketchbooks.

Dick's Place, a great local bar with an ocean view.

Dick's Place, a great local bar with an ocean view.

Even the public bathroom's are quaint in Mendocino.

Even the public bathroom's are quaint in Mendocino.

All in all, after spending weeks on finances, taxes and painting under deadlines, Mendocino was just what we needed.

This little inlet led to a sea cave!

This little inlet led to a sea cave!

A sweet sunset, such a nice end to our trip.

A sweet sunset, such a nice end to our trip.