A Vacation In My Own Backyard – Catalina

blake-v-pavillion-hotel-catalina

The only thing more convenient than a staycation is a day trip. One of my favorite day trips in Los Angeles, CA is to Catalina Island. I grew up in Orange County,  California so going to Catalina has been preferred destination for a while!

blake-v-catalina-2

blake-v-catalina-3

The Catalina Express departs out of various SoCal ports with ample depart/return times to choose from. The travel time is approx. an hour each way and you get a view the whole time!

blake-v-catalina-4

blake-v-catalina-ramones

blake-v-catalina-6

Once you arrive on the island via Avalon Bay, the beautiful views are everywhere from Descanso Beach along the Avalon Shore to the gorgeous mountains that make up the terrain. There have been native inhabitants on the island for over 7,000 years but really, the resort vibe of the island has only developed over the last 120 years. After passing hands in ownership during the 1800’s, William Wrigley, Jr. (owner of Wrigley gum) snatched up the island, investing millions in its tourism and even building the historic Casino on Avalon.

My favorite aspect of the island is the Bison! The story goes that 14 Bison we transported to the island in 1924 for a Western movie. After filming, they left the Bison on the island and they’ve grown to a current population of approx. 150. Part of this growth is due to the Catalina Island Conservancy organization who puts forth efforts to preserve natural habitats and wildlife on the island. Furthermore, there are restrictions on automobiles present on the island. When you travel to Catalina, one of the first things you notice is there are tons of golf carts and slim to no cars. Avalon is the only city in California authorized by the state legislature to regulate the number and size of vehicles allowed to drive on city streets. Currently, there is a 14 year waiting list to own a car! Not only does this do wonders for animals populations but there is absolutely no smog around the island.

blake-v-catalina-6
Mt. Ada Bed & Breakfast

 

blake-v-catalina-island-7

There are so many things to see and do. Below is a list of some things worth checking out there:

The island has the most magical 1930’s feel. Even the store fronts and cobblestone roads feel authentic. Hope these tips help you plan your trip. Have you been? Let me know what cool activities you do while on Catalina Island!

-xo

blake-v-catalina-island-8

Continue Reading

An Overnight in Riverside – The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

river-6-1400
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Recently, I went to a fantastic yoga event at The Yoga Room in Redlands led by the inspiring Yogi Cameron. Acknowledging I’d never spent much time in the area, I thought of The Mission Inn. I’d heard of it for years but had never been, so what could have been a day trip turned into a stay at this lovely hotel!

river-5-1400
Atrium entrance to Kelly’s Spa

The hotel’s Spanish inspired architecture is really stunning, both grand and ornate. Opened in 1876, the wealthy flocked to this destination and it’s seen celebrity and presidential guests over the decades. After checking in, I perused the lovely grounds then enjoyed a gluten free Casey’s Cupcakes and glass of bubbly by the jacuzzi in the Spa area! While you can receive a number of treatments at the lovely Kelly’s Spa, there is no communal area (pool, jacuzzi, steam room/sauna room. etc) included with price of treatment or on its own. If you love that ish like I do, take note when you visit.

The wine and tapas were super delish at 54 Degrees at Duane’s, they have a great selection of enough tapas to get you full and reasonable to higher end wines. The ambiance is old-world grand within the marbled room with high ceilings. The live music was also a cherry on top.

The rooms were spacious and lovely with a retro flare, they even throw in robes! I bring my record player and various vinyl on my travels when I can. This time Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” produced hands down the perfect retro soundtrack to the evening. Sidenote: I’ve not heard or read this anywhere in my research but something about the hotel design/age/vibes gave me haunted feelings – do with that information what you will – but I enjoy that stuff so I’m throwing it out there. I most definitely have a haunted rating in my hotel reviews 😉

All of this coupled with an inspiring and educational yoga session on day 2 made for a successful getaway. Have you been to The Mission Inn? Tell me about your stay below!

-xo

 

Continue Reading

Welcome to BlakeV.com. Let’s Hang in DTLB!

Well hello and welcome to the new BlakeV.com!

On this blog I’ll be embarking on some explorations of personal fashion favorites, fabulous travel points and destinations, and the alchemy of health, wellness and chronic illness so…thanks for hanging out! I’m eager to share the things that I love, that interest me and that bring awareness to various causes that touch my life.  Let’s connect – let me know what you think here and on Insta or Twitter @BlakeVmedia

I’m a resident of Long Beach, CA and a huge fan of the Downtown area. A massive rehab to The Pike and Shoreline area in recent years makes it an excellent hang, especially on a weekday when tourists are on the dl and you have all the fun to yourself!

Other things I’m about – fall and fall fashion. Of which we don’t get nearly enough in Southern California….

Items In This Post:

  1. Shades – Forever 21
  2. Shoes – Mia
  3. Jacket – Thalia
Continue Reading