Farmhouse Inn | Forestville, CA

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There is a reason I titled my site No Ordinary Resort, it was my intention from the beginning to feature distinctive, boutique style hotels that offer personalized service, unique locations and experiences, and represent a one-of-a-kind property. And although I have larger properties listed on my site, The Farmhouse Inn falls into my initial concept precisely. This property may be small in size but it is huge in heart, style and luxe abundances.

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17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach

@2015 Susan Edel

In my opinion, I think everyone should take at least one trip to Pebble Beach in their lifetime, it’s the most gorgeous place on earth! Pebble Beach is a gated community on the central coast of California with a rugged, rocky shoreline highlighted by white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters. It’s a beautiful sight.

@2015 Susan Edel

There is a $10 per car entrance fee if you are not in possession of the coveted badge that residents flash when they enter, however, you can get in without paying if you have reservations at one of the luxury hotels or restaurants within the gates.

You ask “why would I want to pay $10 to enter these gates?”…because it costs less than a movie and the scenery is out of this world! $10 will transport you into a fairytale setting that will stay with you for a lifetime.

@2015 Susan Edel

Once you enter the gate, all you have to do is follow the red-brick (lined) road called The 17-Mile Drive. The 17-Mile Drive is…well, a 17-mile long scenic loop through the very affluent community of Pebble Beach. You are given a map at the gate and the wonderful aspect of this is you can sightsee at your leisure and stop at any or all locations you want to.

The road meanders through neighborhoods with mansions whose driveways cost more than the total value of all my belongings…

…follows the stunning Pacific coastline…

…and passes many famous sites such as the Lone Cypress (the iconic symbol for Pebble Beach),

@2015 Susan EdelBird Rock (hard to see the birds on the rock but they are there),

@2015 Susan Edeland the world-renowned golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

And these guys may not be the most affluent residents that reside in Pebble Beach but they certainly are the cutest! How adorable is that family of Geese?

While in the area, I highly recommend stopping by one of the three luxury hotels, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and/or Casa Palmero, for a meal or better yet, an overnight stay. During my stay at Casa Palmero (post here), I took advantage of the Lexus test drive vehicles on property. I reserved the convertible model and let me tell you, there is no better way to see the stunning homes and all the beauty of Pebble Beach than in a convertible!

@2015 Susan Edel

This is a great way to spend the day!

Casa Palmero | Pebble Beach, CA

@2015 Susan Edel

Welcome to Heaven! Alright…welcome to Pebble Beach but this is certainly as close to Heaven as anything on earth!

Pebble Beach, California is a world-renowned destination, and for a very good reason…it is located on the most stunning coastline of Central California; it offers mild weather year-round; and it has the distinction of being the only gated city in the world ~ to say that this is an affluent community would be a serious understatement.

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Bodega Bay, CA

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, a fun little road trip is to head north on Hwy 1 to the small town of Bodega Bay. Many of you will be familiar with Bodega Bay because of it’s Hollywood history. This small town is where Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie The Birds was filmed with Tippi Hedren.

DSC_7090The original schoolhouse and church still stand proudly in the midst of town.

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This tiny town now cashes in on its Hollywood legacy and you will find fun references to the movie throughout town.

Tippi Hedren comes to town every Labor Day and will sign autographs for a small fee that go towards her exotic animal sanctuary, The Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve. The County Store sells many signed photos and I found some great reproductions of Edith Head’s costume designs for the movie. I’m really kicking myself for not purchasing one now.

If you’re feeling adventurous, continue heading north on Hwy 1 along the stunning Pacific Ocean. It’s a fun drive on the windy road and you will see such beautiful landscape.

And who doesn’t love coming across old barns?

If you drive north to Jenner, you will spot a huge Totem pole and I highly suggest stopping at the Timber Cove Inn for lunch, you may even want to make this a pit-stop for the night…however, let me make this very clear – ask for a renovated ocean view room – trust me on this one! The view is spectacular from the dining patio…

…and you may even spy a movie star. Kathleen Turner sat at the table next to me, no mistaking her with that sexy, deep, raspy voice.

If you take the time to explore this area, you will be surprised at how much history there is in these tiny little towns and the original structures that still stand. There was a time in the late 1800’s that these towns were thriving communities and it’s fun to discover the history of the area.

Explore. It’s good for your soul. Happy traveling!

Yosemite Valley

I have visited many of the major U.S. National Parks, but I have to say that Yosemite National Park will always hold a special place in my heart. It may be because I have many childhood through current memories here but it is also because of its exquisite beauty.

Whenever I enter into the park, it never fails to take my breath away. One of Yosemite’s iconic views is entering through the South Gate and driving up to Tunnel View (below) which offers a breathtaking moment.

@2014 Susan Edel

It’s a must-stop photo-op to capture Yosemite’s most famous scenery ~ El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall.

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Once you arrive at the Valley Floor, the wonder of this park only becomes more awe-inspiring. The slide show below gives you a glimpse of the extraordinary beauty of this park.

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All this beauty is breathtaking and then you arrive at the crème de la crème…the Ahwhanee Hotel. The rich history, gorgeous architecture and warm furnishings and feeling this lodge exudes brings me and everyone who enters it such pleasure! Click on any image to enlarge.

A visit to Yosemite Park is a must! This natural wonder of the world is should not be missed.