Travel

The Pacific Northwest- Vancouver & Portland

I visited the Pacific Northwest for the very first time, just about seven months ago. I was right in between jobs and it was the perfect opportunity to visit one of my closest friends, Nat. I flew into Vancouver, just as Nat was finishing up her finals so I did have to do some solo exploring during the day. Vancouver was an amazing setting for this! I stayed in Kitsilano, also know as “Kits” near UBC. Lucky for me,  Kitsilano Beach was within walking distance, and I surprised myself by sticking to my half marathon training, getting in a couple six mile runs, running all the way Granville island ,  exploring “the couve” on foot.

VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Granville Island
Granville Island, home to the Public Market
Vancouver Biennale, OSGEMEOS
Vancouver Biennale, OSGEMEOS
Museum of Anthropology Totem Poles at UBC
Museum of Anthropology at UBC
 

Letting the #galentinesday celebration continue. Having fun doing hoodrat shit in Vancouver with @lataniecaulk

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

Yesterday I kicked the day off with a six mile run along the sea wall. Felt amazing! But now I’m terribly sore. #Vancouver A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

What better way to get to know a city than to go for a run!? #exercisevacay #vacation #Vancouver

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

Kicking off #galentinesday the right way: yoga, bacon donut, and latte with @lataniecaulk A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

After a few days in Vancouver, it was time for Nat and I to bus to Portland, to meet our third bestie, Heather. I met them in high school for the first time, and the two of them have really grown into people who I rely on. I hope we all have those people in our lives, who you can go months without speaking to, but it all just clicks, you laugh, and you reunite, picking up right where you left off.

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Once we arrived to Portland I actually hit a big life milestone and rented my first car! After a little bit of an incident going to the completely wrong side of town on the bus & turning back around again, we arrived at our cute little cottage, booked through Airbnb.

Highlights included the Kennedy School (an old school yard, that still looks like a school, but is now a bar— so Portland weird), Voodoo Doughnuts (we’re tourists after all), and Ground Kontrol (bar and arcade in one!)

But the very best thing was Multnomah Falls, about 30 miles from Portland. The three of us had a great time hiking, taking way too many selfies, catching up and it felt just as awesome as ever. 


Cheers to friendships. This trip happened a while ago, and writing this makes me smile. I really hate the #blessed hashtag, and you will never, ever hear me say “ahhhh my life is soooooooo awesome all the time; i’m so blessed,” but wow good friends are worth working for, even though trips & calls take effort!

On top of the world at Mission Peak

I was born and raised in Fremont, California, about one hour south of San Francisco. I’m not a huge Fremont fan myself but it does have its perks, one of them being Mission Peak. Some crazy awesome folks hike to the top of Mission Peak regularly. However, my lazy butt has only made the trek once and it was about two years ago when I was still living in Santa Barbara. It’s crazy how I never do things when they are nearby, and how I crave them when they are far away. Anyway, it was time to catch the beautiful scenery, challenge myself, and workout some butt and leg muscles that hadn’t seen any action for a while, so I grabbed my boyfriend who is always up for a spontaneous trip. We started with a nice stroll near the Milpitas side of the regional park. We simply relaxed and climbed a tree. It was easy for me to get up but you should have seen me trying to get down….

Then we took off for the real hike. We drove to Stanford Avenue, snagged a parking spot, and ventured off! After about 1.5 hours of what felt like the Stair-Master, we made it to the top and snapped a picture at the token landmark. Then we were off to some well-earned Indian food.

Token Mission Peak photo spot, at the very top!

Have an amazing wine country weekend in Kenwood, California

About a month ago, I was scouring the interwebs for a weekend getaway idea for my boyfriend and me. I thought wine-tasting and hiking sounded right up our alley, but I wasn’t feeling Napa. After finding an awesome LivingSocial deal and doing some research, I settled on Kenwood, California, a small wine country town between Sonoma and Santa Rosa.

I scored a great deal on an extremely cute bed and breakfast, called Birmingham Bed & Breakfast which included a home-cooked breakfast each morning. Day one we had baked apple and pear and day two, we enjoyed baked pear, croissants, and a delicious egg soufflé. While I must admit, getting to breakfast by 9AM each day was tough for me; breakfast absolutely made this place amazing. It also didn’t hurt that it was walking distance to many of the local wineries; no drinking and driving staying in this place! Here is a breakdown of how we had a great weekend in Kendwood, California in case you find yourself in the area!

Day One: 

4PM- Arrived at our Bed & Breakfast for check-in

5PM- Grabbed some Italian eats at Cafe Citti. It’s claim to fame was being featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I thought the food was pretty good but nothing to write home about. I must say their service was really friendly though and one of the servers let us borrow her phone charger!

8PM- Kenwood closes at about 5PM so don’t plan on hitting the town. We decided to make the trip to Geyserville about 30 minutes away and hit the River Rock Casino. Both the boyfriend and I made some profits! Win!

Day Two:

9AM- Breakfast

10AM- Morning hike at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. There looked to be quite a few long trail options but we stuck with a short, laid back path so we could make it in time for wine tasting. We were pleasantly surprised with the scenery and the weather couldn’t have been better for January!

12PM- Walked to  some local wineries. Luckily, we had a super-handy “wine passport” included in our Bed & Breakfast stay that gave us free wine tasting at about 40 wineries in the area. We got to get our drink on for free dollars! Otherwise, you an expect to pay between $5-15 for each stop. You can take a look at most of the wineries near Kenwood, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Glen Ellen in this Heart of Sonoma guide. Our personal favorite was our first stop, Paradise Ridge Winery, mostly because the woman Annette who helped us, rocked! She was welcoming, great to talk to, and poured based on what wines we actually like! Generous pours and no snobbery at Paradise; just my stye!

3:30 PM- Lunch at VJB. This place is a serious MUST with a cute Italian, rustic vibe. To be honest, we needed a break from wine by then, so I can’t speak for that side of things but the grub was on point! We started with some roasted red peppers and mushrooms, chowed down on a full stack of ribs, and topped it all of with some of the best gelato we’ve ever had: blackberry cabernet, alongside chocolate brownie heaven!4:30PM- More wine tasting and sunset at Chateau St. Jean. I’m not a fan of the wine there and it gives off a bit of a corporate feel but it’s a great picnic or chill out spot. I recommend it for the scenery.

9 PM- Skipped dinner because we were stuffed but grabbed some snacks and headed out to Rohnert Park for another night of gambling. We both lost all of our first nights winnings, and then some! Even though we did not go home winners in the casino, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather for January in Northern California wine country.

 

 

Paradise Less Traveled – Roatan, Honduras

Just under two months ago, I went on an amazing adventure to Central America for my first time. Long story short: I went to Vegas, came up on some blackjack, and over night, had unexpected funds to go on a trip! And so did my boyfriend after playing poker all night. This never happens but I’ll welcome a surprise like this any day.

We put our funds together and booked a spontaneous trip to Roatan, Honduras. To be honest, I had never considered going to Honduras; it just hadn’t come onto my radar as a travel destination, even though I love traveling roads less traveled. I didn’t even know where Roatan was until I saw it on a list of cheap flights from SFO. Imagine my surprise, when I searched the place on Google and saw pictures of paradise. Once you envision yourself in paradise, it’s really had to settle for anything less. Even though Roatan was a tad pricier than going to some other popular travel destinations in the U.S. (the original plan), I did the math and estimated that we’d more than make up for that with the savings on hotel and food, and the thought process was right on.

Before we actually got to be sitting on this lovely beach called Little French Bay shown above, a funny story happened. My boyfriend Zach and I actually booked our flights back to back on the same laptop, separately but together. It turns out that we weren’t too carful about making sure we had the same flights, or even dates. Epic fail. Let’s just say Zach missed his flight by around 24 hours, and just a few hours before my flight, I was panicked, crying, thinking our first adventure abroad together would never happen. After some excuses, but mostly after some fees, we made it work and we were able to both embark on this journey.

Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands, in the Caribbean. The island is split into a few different neighborhoods, including West End (fun, has bars, and affordable), West Bay (good place for beach time), Sandy Bay (think honeymoon status, too expensive, a little resort-y), and Coxen Hole (the city, the airport, the hustle and bustle).

While I didn’t come to Roatan for the nightlife scene, West End seemed like a place within our budget, but still in a good location. It was just about a ten minute “water taxi,” at $2 USD /head, to get to any of the surrounding, and nicer beaches. That is not to say West End’s beach wasn’t amazing too. It definitely holds its own.

While half of me wanted to go crazy and splurge on a nice hotel, I did the opposite and picked the number one budget hotel in Roatan, according to my friend TripAdvisor.  The place was called the Seagrape Plantation and it cost us about $65/night. If you get the chance to stay there, ask for a bungalow, which does not come with TV like the regular rooms, but DOES come with a hammock and ocean side views for the same price. Sounds like a win! The Seagrape Plantation was really lovely and clean, the staff was nice, and I would stay there again! It even has its own dive shop, if you’re into that. Just look at the views from our hotel.



Even if you are not  into diving (I am a total newbie too), Roatan is an affordable place to try and completely majestic, as it’s home to the second largest reef in the world. I had gone scuba diving once in my life, when I was around 15 years old. I knew I HAD to try it again but I didn’t realize how much my anxiety has grown in adulthood. Not only did I almost have an anxiety in the training session (I was so scared of breathing underwater), but I was also ridiculously terrible at clearing my goggles and kept coming up to the surface each time. Part of me thought I really wasn’t going to cut in underwater for 45 minutes, but the beauty around me kept me occupied and I was really proud of myself in the end. Diving is something I hope to get into in the future and it really is a whole new world.

Aside from the couple of hours we spent scuba diving, we mostly lounged around on the beach trying the local food and sipping on cocktails that we’d never heard of but now miss dearly. We even tried our hand at zip-lining. Watching the Word Cup in Honduras, during the Honduras game was also an experience. Honduras didn’t stand a chance at advancing but it was seriously fun to watch with locals and other foreigners alike.

One of the highlights for me was going to this little beach called Little French Bay. It turned out to be the windiest and coldest day of our trip, so I was nervous about things not going as I had planned out in my perfect world, but it was secluded enough that I felt like I had rented the whole place out for myself. Plus, the fact that the Caribbean water was really warm made it even more enjoyable.


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