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Backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade Mountains

Blog post and photos by Michael J. Shymanski

In recent years, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) has exploded with popularity, seeing hikers from all over the nation to trek the trail that runs from Canada to Mexico on our west coast. While the trail goes through various mountain ranges and all types of land, one of the best stretches is from Snoqualmie Range to Stevens Pass, a seventy-five mile stretch without crossing a single street.

Hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome

LOCATION: Yosemite National Park, California

California is home to some of the most iconic parks between its coasts, deserts, forests, and mountains, but Yosemite National Park is its most recognizable and beautiful, especially under the façade of Half Dome. Even entering the valley under the granite giants, Half Dome is the most striking with its sheer face and looming above the others. The view from the bottom is something, but the gorgeous hike and the final vista from the top are the things that stay with you.

Dromoland Castle – Ireland

Built in the 16th century and finished in 1835, Dromoland Castle’s gothic architecture caught my eye as places to stay. I later learned that they had won a Michelin star in 1995 and many celebrities had stayed there, from Nelson Mandela to Johnny Cash, from Rey Juan Carlos I to Muhammed Ali.

While it’s not as modernized as Ashford Castle, it was equally as beautiful, relaxing and impressive.. and better yet, more affordable!

Ashford Castle – Ireland

When we think of Ireland, we tend to think of good beer, the witty and happy locals, and the lush green landscape with castles, like something out of a fairy tale. And, if you know me, you’ll know that I love castles with their charming medieval architecture and breathtaking gardens. For my birthday and babymoon, my husband and I were treated to stay at some of the best castles in Ireland. Thus our grand adventure begins with Ashford Castle, a stunning and majestic place where magical meets luxury. 

Best of Point Reyes In One Day

You know those places that are such a photographic spot, that all locals adore, that is a hit on Instagram and that you can’t miss. Since the moment I got to know about the Cypress Tree Tunnel of Point Reyes, I was determined to visit this place. So, my husband and I set out for an adventurous day and headed to Point Reyes National Seashore. Our stops: Cypress Tree Tunnel (Yeayyy), Point Reyes Lighthouse, Shipwrecks and Saltwater Oyster Depot for dinner.

Filoli Gardens

LOCATION: Woodside, California 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love love gardens. Today I’m here to share with you my latest “discovery” – Filoli Gardens. To be honest, till very recently I had never heard of this place, even though I live 30 minutes away. Shameeee! Now, with spring at the door and flowers blooming everywhere, I had one thing on my mind: gardens. I started asking my friends for recommendations, and Filoli Gardens came up. Immediately I went online to check the place out, and three days later there I was.

Anthropologie in Palo Alto – Retail Therapy

Now, it’s good to point out that I’m not a shopaholic, I don’t know tons about clothes brands or follow the latest fashion trends. However, I do appreciate good quality clothes, and I do love when I enter a very welcoming and friendly store that simply inspires me.

Today’s post is about that – lifestyle and inspiration – the new Anthropologie store in Palo Alto.

The Best View Point of the Golden Gate Bridge, including Kirby Cove Beach

I absolutely love the splendor of the Golden Gate Bridge, the sense of freedom it makes you feel, the vibrant nature that surrounds it. No wonder my first post is about her!

Opened in 1937, The Golden Gate Bridge is a three mile long (4.8 km) crossing that links San Francisco Bay and Marin County across the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is without a doubt the most recognized symbol of San Francisco, and possibly the most photographed bridge in the world. As such, there are tons of viewpoints and photographic angles that you can try and have a peak of the bridge.

Winter Snowmobiling in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers tons of wonders, and it’s definitely one of the top destinations in California. The lake is it’s own iconic beautiful landmark, and during the winter.. Well, expect A LOT of snow, some great ski resorts to enjoy, and an array of other winter sports. Snowmobiling is one of them!

If you are heading to Tahoe during the winter months, from November through April, one fun activity to be considered is snowmobile. The adventure is a little pricey, but totally worth it!

Napa Valley – My top 3 must-see wineries

Charm and romance in stunning countryside. Relax at a spa, enjoy amazing food and wine tasting, or just go exploring the surroundings. Whatever your reason to go, Napa offers it all!

A conveniently short drive away from San Francisco, tourists and locals often include a visit to Napa Valley as part of a trip, weekend away, or day out.

One of Napa’s main attractions is its wineries and the wine tasting they offer. Today I’m indeed here to talk about exactly that… wineries and tasting. There are 400 plus wineries with tasting rooms in Napa Valley. I know, it can be quite overwhelming as the choices are endless (or so it seems), and as you drive through the valley, embracing the surroundings and the beauty of the vineyards, you also wonder where you should stop.