StyleOnTheCouch Travels: Big Sur

Driving along the Big Sur Coastline in my Chrysler Sebring was one of the highlights of my recent US road trip (I know, I know, there were so many!)  What had been forecast a grey and overcast afternoon for the drive between Carmel and Santa Barbara turned into blue skies and candy floss clouds that yielded perfect views across the Pacific.  The Big Sur offers plenty of places to stop and pull in to admire the views, especially around Hearst Castle, where if you are lucky you will see elephant seals asleep on the sand – at Piedras Blancas, a protected vista for the mammals.  A perfect stop off along the journey is at Carmel, on Highway 1, where you really must spend a few hours to sit and take breakfast or eat lunch in one of the many pretty restaurants in the town.

Picture above: oh so slightly overheating on a cliff top along the Big Sur.  Pictures below: al fresco dining: lunch at the delightful Carmel Food Company.

Carmel by Sea is a wonderful town, founded as a seaside resort in the 1880s and now full of pretty cottages and charming streets, quaint restaurants and delis.  (Interesting fact for you, Blog Reader: Clint Eastwood was once non-partisan mayor here).

Driving south from Carmel along Highway 1 the scenery is a stretch of craggy coastline and raw, unspoilt beauty – it reminded me of the Scottish Highlands (the Western Highlands) somewhat, albeit much much warmer.

The drive ended up at the very chic and Mediterranean style Santa Barbara.

Have you driven along the Big Sur, Blog Reader?

StyleOnTheCouch Travels: Yosemite

Yosemite park is situated across almost 1,200 miles of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada.  It offered me breathtaking views and some of the bluest skies I have ever seen.  I visited Yosemite back in September during my west coast road trip and although I only stayed one night I was totally captivated by the scenery.

Above: Yosemite falls.  Below: cliffs from the valley floor.

Below: a stop on the valley floor tour of the park.

Below: Half dome – had I stayed longer I would have liked to hike up to half dome, one of the youngest rocks in the park and probably one of the most well recognised.  This granite structure looks amazing in the sunset and can be seen from many locations within Yosemite.

Below: the imposing vertical cliff face of El Capitan.  Around 3,000 feet from base to summit, this rock is a favourite challenge for experienced rock climbers.  Apparently some (read: crazy) souls have base jumped from El Capitan – Yosemite now bans this practice.

There are several places to stay at Yosemite, including Yosemite Lodge (my home for the night), Curry Village cabins and tents and the more luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel.  Wherever you stay though you are unlikely to be inside for long – there is just too much to explore, see and do at Yosemite – a magical place to visit.

US Road Trip – San Francisco (Part I)

Back to my recent California road trip!!  I loved being in laid back San Francisco.  My heels didn’t much like the up and down streets but I enjoyed the mix of landscape (in the city, by the sea…..) and the mouthwateringly fresh seafood.  San Francisco was quite a relaxed part of my holiday and my days went something like this: walk around the city, sightsee, lunch (e.g The Cliff House), walk on the beach, ride a cable car, hop to Alcatraz, quick change at the hotel, forget not to wear heels, dinner and drinks (e.g Wayfare Tavern)…

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves in this one. I can’t wait to return someday!

Wearing: red maxi skirt from Anthropologie; classic white tee from ASOS.  Snake bracelet from Jon Richard.  Aviators: Fendi.