4 Instagramable spots in Venice, California

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Venice California, originally called “Venice of America,” was founded by millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town, 14 miles west of Los Angeles. Over a century later, the street named about the founder boasts some of the trendiest eateries, retail stores, and real estate in the area.

#1 – Abbot Kinney

In 2012, GQ Magazine dubbed Venice’s bustling main street, Abbot Kinney, “The Coolest Block in America.” The Boulevard is packed with great places to eat, drink, shop, and people-watch. Grab a coffee at the Tom’s Flagship Shoe Store and an unforgettable cone at Salt & Straw while you meander in and out of the unique, but high-end stores. Be on the lookout for a handful of striking murals to snap a selfie in front of. Did you know one of the restaurants, Felix Trattoria, was just named one of the top new restaurants in the country from Esquire magazine?

#2 – The Canals

The waterways beautifully intersect the residential neighborhood, as you’ll enjoy the luscious greenery, home architecture, and animals. Spend an hour one morning getting lost through the pathways.

#3 – The Boardwalk

Did I mention people-watching before? Ah yes, it is epic at the boardwalk. Check out the roller disco, the street basketball games, and the locals near the beach. Stay for the sunset.

#4 – Superba and The Rose Cafe

We’ve got you covered here for brunch and dinner, and we certainly will not disappoint your taste buds. Make reservations at The Rose Cafe and sit in one of the outdoor areas. Order the Rose Cup (or two) and a variety of the small plates for an amazing date night experience.

Our Venice Beach vacation was one for the books. We will be back, and when we do we look forward to spending time in another fun and unique VRBO. We did end up renting a car because we knew we would want to visit other places like Malibu. But to get from our abode to downtown we did use Uber quite a bit, and Ashley ended up getting $20 in cash back by using her Ibotta App.

Venice Beach is the home to some of the most amazing street art we have seen, so keep those eyes peeled and be sure to snap a selfie and post to instagram! Feel free to tag us @MartiniWithinReach if you find an Instagramable backdrop!

Enjoy your Travels!

3 Reasons To Visit Tahoe Sailing Charters

Lake Tahoe Blue

 

*Disclaimer- We were compensated 1 ride with Tahoe Sailing Charters, but all opinions are our own!

While visiting Lake Tahoe have you ever seen boats exploring the vast beauty of the lake and wanted to join the voyage adventure? We felt that way too before discovering Tahoe Sailing Charters out of Tahoe City. Here are our top 3 reasons to book your sunset cruise today!

#1 – The Service

From the moment we reserved our spaces and throughout the time until we stepped foot back on the dock, the ownership, management, and staff were five-star. They were welcoming, friendly, informative, and professional — did we also mention they are outstanding bartenders onboard (drinks are included)?!

#2 – The Customers

When booking a sunset sail excursion there can be ambivalence about the other joining guests. Are they going to be snooty? Obnoxious? With an intimate setting and only about 15 others onboard, a few irritants can swiftly turn the boat southbound. All of the customers were friendly, willing to take photos of other guests, and open to discussion of life and the surrounding sights. We even made some future travel friends from Salt Lake City!

#3 – The Sights

A calm summer day on Lake Tahoe for a Sunset cruise is picturesque. I mean Ansel Adams in color picturesque. The deep blue water, the snow capped mountains, the shoreline homes, and the massive trees are truly beautiful to experience. Not pretty enough for you? Oh yes, don’t forget the sun setting over the mountain range to cap off your evening of unforgettable sights.

Fun Fact: 

Lake Tahoe holds 39 trillion gallons of water, which is enough water to cover the state of California to a depth of over two feet!

Tahoe Sailing Charters has been operating as Lake Tahoe’s premiere sailing charter operation since 2004. They are committed to providing a fun, safe experience for all who wish to enjoy the spectacular lake and mountain views. Check them out at http://www.TahoeSail.com

Truckee & Tahoe in a VRBO

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When searching for a weekend destination, what is the ultimate factor in locating a place to fall asleep at night? Do you search for name-brand hotels, which are likely developed in the city-center, a close proximity to nightlife, entertainment, and restaurants? Do you rather search the opposite, seeking a remote campsite far away from cell phone service, where the only illumination you will find are from the stars above?

Where you ultimately decide upon staying likely involves many factors, and I’ll argue the hotel/campsite/house you choose offers the best “experience” in how you value your time. When you are able to plan a vacation or even a weekend away, every minute of that stay should be something you want. Choose wisely and your weekend can be magnificent. Choose on a whim, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t get the most out of your visit.

In recent years homeowner’s and travelers have comfortably joined forces with businesses like Airbnb and VRBO, or Vacation Rental By Owner. These allow rentals, much the same way hotels are reserved and paid for, to private residences in worldwide locations.

A stay in Truckee, a short drive to Lake Tahoe, was my first VRBO experience.  I located a wonderfully furnished home about two miles from I-80 and booked the stay for a Friday-Sunday weekend away from Sacramento.

The two story house is masterfully constructed on a hillside, equipped with all of the features of a five-star hotel (minus the doorman), including a functioning fireplace, expansive deck for lounging & reading, with well designed and functional furniture. The decor is professionally handpicked and adds immense character to an already charming residence. At night, take a blanket to the deck and mold into the wooden outdoor chaise lounges. Converse under the stars (and/or bistro lights) and breathe in the cool mountain air. Check the calendar, read the reviews, and book a stay for yourself.

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Lake Tahoe will be featured in all of the magazines, but don’t sleep on Truckee. Main street is a charming and quaint place to shop (see Bespoke and Atelier), dine (see Marg’s Taco Bistro), and discover cool coffee shops (see Dark Horse Coffee Roasters).

We ventured to Lake Tahoe on Saturday morning to locate Secret Cove, a hidden beach area, lakeside. The drive was quick and scenic, maybe 25 minutes from Truckee. Parking was a cinch and the hike was easy, the air was crisp, and the scenery was delightful.

 

Secret Cove is picturesque with sparkly blue and turquoise water, hidden from the populated beaches just a few mies away. Bring a picnic lunch, a book, and good company.

Wherever you decide to travel, make it a place you truly enjoy staying, and ensure it  contains many features that you value and desire. Lake Tahoe is one of the most precious and gorgeous places on the planet. That being true, you may find a lot of value staying in Truckee and experiencing the charm it offers, and taking day trips into Lake Tahoe.

 

Timber Cove, Jenner California

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The ocean always provides a reprieve from life’s stresses.  Nearby lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams can also have a calming effect, but an escape to the ocean, specifically the Pacific Ocean, seems to provide the ultimate calming of daily worries.

Embark towards Jenner on Highway 1 for picturesque, stunning landscape views. Amidst the curvy drive you’ll discover Timber Cove, which reopened its doors in 2016 with remodeled and upgraded designs, features, and amenities.

The oceanside property is perched on 25 acres above the stunning Sonoma Coast. The resort offers a true connection to nature with many hiking trails, including numerous benches to relax and embrace the encapsulating views. Done with the hiking? Return to the delicious farm-to-fork restaurant for a bite, play some games including billiards, bocce ball, ping-pong, or just relax with a book in the Great Room.

Did I mention Timber Cove was featured in the May 2017 Conde Nast Traveler Hot List for the year?! The international publication features the Best Hotels in The World and in their 21st annual listing, only had 4 hotels featured in the state of California.

90 miles from San Francisco and 134 from Sacramento, make it a unforgettable weekend away and explore the magnificent coast of Sonoma County and California.

Visit the Timber Cove website for more detailed information.

21780 HIGHWAY 1 JENNER, CALIFORNIA, 95450 1.707.847.3231

 

Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch

Los Angeles can be overwhelming; too many people, too many cars, too much (it can seem) of everything. Sometimes you even get fed up with the monotony of warmth and sunshine, yes SUNSHINE, and want a change of weather and seasons much of the country experiences. While weekend trips to Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, or Northern California can help you escape, I challenge you to locate some of the best local LA gems to repair your frayed weekly nerves. I found one in Malibu.

Tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains you’ll discover a playground of charmingly manicured grounds of the Calamigos Ranch. While the Malibu you know likely involves lofty descriptions of the beach, surfers, the colony, Pepperdine, and the pier, the Malibu you should also get to know involves an oasis among trees, paddleboats, barbecue aromas, and life-sized board games. Get to know the Malibu Cafe.

Brunch all day with the chicken and waffles and explore the property, (that has multiple bars) order, and sip on a tasty margarita aptly  the ‘Clooney’. Walk and talk while experiencing a  ‘placemaking’ dream come true with multiple instagrammable moments throughout. How many places have you visited that have an outdoor pool table with rustic chandelier overhead? This is my first.

Write your dream on the ‘Before I Die’ chalkboard, snap a photo in front of the #MalibuCafe signage, or crop your crew in the larger than life picture frame with the same hashtag. Grab a game of ping pong, chess in the life-sized edition, or tic-tac-toe. Challenge your partner to a game of corn hole and make the loser solely power the paddleboat ride.

You know LA. You know the stresses. Take a drive on the PCH to The Malibu Cafe for a chic atmosphere and delicious meal.

327 Latigo Canyon Rd., Malibu, 90265
818-540-2400

 

36 Acres in Sonoma

The Napa Valley is the main wine growing region of the the United States and one of the major wine territories in the world. Marked by it’s luscious landscape and Mediterranean-style climate, the Bay Area boasts one of the premier viticultural regions around the globe. Needless to say with over 400 wineries in the valley, it’s pretty understood if there is fertile space, the land owner would obviously harvest the soil and produce full-bodied Cabernets or buttery Chardonnays, right?

Cornerstone Sonoma and the Gardens perch on 36 gorgeous acres off of Highway 121 in Sonoma. The property is not perfectly aligned with rows of vines like much of the surrounding rolling hills; it is a unique vintner’s Disneyland complete with spectacularly manicured gardens, one-of-a-kind boutique style shopping, a mouthwatering restaurant, three sip-and-savoring wine tasting landmarks, an urban craft distillery tasting room, and a test kitchen from Sunset Magazine. Can’t find enough to do?! The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau has a visitor’s center onsite to help educate you on your next exploration.

We look forward to seeing you soon at Cornerstone Sonoma!

 

 

 

8 Hours in Yountville

Plug Bouchon Bakery into your preferred smartphone application. It’s okay, go ahead, I’ll wait…

See, it’s not that far away at all. Sitting in Midtown, Sacramento, Yountville is 69 miles away. Without traffic it’s about an hour drive. Think about all the ways you spend a few hours in the day, either productively utilizing time or watching television? One episode of the Bachelor is two hours; you can basically make it to Yountville and back in the time you’ve invested in a bad show.

I understand. The tv entertainment is simple, easy and mindless, and if you actually took my advice and drove to Yountville (which you may not know exactly where it is), you really wouldn’t know where to visit and what to experience.

That’s where we come in! I’ve loved the day-trips to Yountville for the past few years. It’s close to home, but not that close, far enough away where you actually feel like it’s a getaway. It has a clean and quaint atmosphere filled with friendly people, beautiful surroundings, and delicious bites. (Caveat: you can spend the entire weekend in Yountville if you’d like. However, as you’ll discover, the hotels are incredible, and with incredible things, come a price tag . The market dictates weekend fares somewhere in the $300-$1000/night range, depending upon luxury).  Below are some fun ideas on ways to spend a day in Yountville!

Bring

A bike. Reading material. Golf clubs. An appetite.

10:00 AM. BOUCHON BAKERY

Plan your trip to arrive around 10:00 am. You’ll beat much of the I-80 traffic, which over the past few years has become stuffed with drivers in too big a hurry to remember how to navigate freeways properly. Or ones that know how to drive the speed limit. Avoid those traffic stresses if you can, as it’s best to start a relaxing day with a smooth drive.

Park on the street or in the lot across from the aforementioned Bouchon Bakery, near Bottega (a great restaurant in it’s own right). Haven’t heard of Bouchon? Well, it’s from the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, and we’ll get to (the outside of) The French Laundry later. If you aren’t familiar with The French Laundry, it’s been named the “best restaurant in the world” (yes WORLD) in 2003 and 2004.

Divulge in dessert for breakfast if you’d like, or grab yourself a coffee/pastry combo and enjoy the morning outside in the crisp Napa air. Grab your reading material and perch in the courtyard. You can lose yourself in a good book, or people-watch the growing line of  sweet-toothed patrons seeking baked goods.

11:30 AM. VINTNER’S GOLF CLUB

Make a quick skip over Highway 29 towards Domaine Chandon and locate the Vintner’s Golf Club. They have a nice, roomy driving range to relieve that weekly stress. Get a bucket of balls and hit away with the mountains in the distance.

1:00 PM. BARDESSONO

When Bardessono was developed it was one of three LEED platinum certified hotels in the world. If you enjoy design and architecture, this place is for you. Snuggle up inside to the bar or sit in the calming outdoor area, surrounded by fire-pits and water features, grab a cocktail, and relax. Fall asleep in the hammock if you need the rest. You can always order lunch or a small bite from the friendly staff, as they offer bar food or a sit down restaurant.

2:30 PM. YOUNT MILL ROAD

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Unhook your bicycle and head out for a relaxing ride on Yount Mill Road. Expect to encounter very few vehicles, as this is a side-road that connects back to Highway 29. While you won’t see too many people on your 5 mile round trip ride, you will see vineyards, some cattle, creeks, mountains, and views for days.

4:00 PM. FRENCH LAUNDRY GARDENS

As you return back into town, locate Washington Street, which acts as main street through the small town. Head towards The French Laundry and enjoy a scenic walk, passing by wine tasting, real estate, and art opportunities.

Upon arrival The French Laundry sits beautifully with a very innocent identification sign out front. You could easily pass by and not even know the famous restaurant is there.

Directly across the street is an impressive garden, aptly named The French Laundry Garden. Wander through and marvel at the ultimate farm-to-fork features, with seasonal produce sprouting in beautifully manicured grounds.

5:30 PM. R&D KITCHEN

A day of activities leaves an empty stomach, which can easily be solved at R&D Kitchen. There are four R&D locations and three are in California — Newport Beach, Santa Monica, and Yountville. The fourth is in Dallas, Texas. R&D Kitchen is the mastermind of the Hillstone Group, which also brings you delectable restaurants such as Bandera, Rutherford Grill, and Houston’s, to name a few. Sit outside and enjoy a beverage in the large courtyard, or snuggle up to the indoor or outdoor bar. Eat breakfast-for-dinner with an amazingly light omelet.

After dinner, the choice is yours. If you’ve booked a night in town, you’re best options are going to be Bardessono, North Block Hotel, Hotel Yountville, or the Napa Valley Lodge. All are various forms of greatness, and all will cost a pretty penny. The nice thing is you can enjoy a dessert from a handful of locations and make the drive back home.

A day trip to Yountville can incorporate many of the finer things around from design & architecture, cuisine, views, wine, art, and hotels. Make the most of Yountville with your budget as you can be frugal along the way, all while enjoying many locations. You can also divulge in a weekend away for a special occasion and you will not be disappointed. Recommendation: give it a try for the day, find out what you like, and plan ahead for a future visit and when you do be sure to tell them Martini Within Reach sent you! Perhaps we will see you there!

*Bouchon Images from @bouchon_bakery, Golf from @maxwell__connor, Bardessono from @Martiniwithinreach and @BardessonohotelYount Mill Rd, French Laundry Garden at The French Laundry, and R+D