It has been raining often in Northern California these last few weeks and as such it has really put me in a planning mood.
Here are a few awesome resources that I have found for planning your next beercation!
From Noble Brewer a really cool beer map where you can search for beer by location, additionally they have put together their list of top 5 beercation locations. I am providing this as a basis for your exploration, however I don’t necessarily condone their choices. Not to be rude but if I am going to San Diego I would go to Mother Earth, Toolbox etc… so I suppose I would really go to Vista NOT San Diego. This article did give me some new ideas though… Lincoln, Nebraska? Asheville, North Carolina?? I really need to do some traveling… SO here is the thing use this as a guide – then search the beer map for options do some google searches and put together your own itinerary.
I also found this interesting list of top 25 cities for beer drinkers so you should probably consult that as well! A little surprised that San Francisco is 19 … but we will take it.
While you are on your travels, beer sure to be on the look out for these 2017 beer trends. What do you think about these trends? Are you excited / annoyed? I have to say I love the intrigue of a good field beer or sour but the flavor better be right if I am going to keep coming back for more!
At this point, you might be thinking how can I take a vacation surrounded by beer? Won’t that be unhealthy? WELL… according to Men’s Health, yes that is right we are taking advice from Men’s Health, “Moderate beer consumption may help you maintain your levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.” Maybe all my beer consumption is what led to my high levels of HDL at my yearly physical…
At any rate, I hope these fun links have given you a little bit of inspo to start crafting your next trip!
Generally speaking when I am going to plan a vacation, I like to pick a place where I can eat good food, drink good drinks, be active ( in some capacity) and maybe throw in some time by the fire or on a hammock!
Palm Springs is a place that I had not been to since becoming an adult and as a Northern California dweller it takes a bit more to get there than from LA or SD. So when one of my Best Friends suggested we take a trip there for her birthday I very enthusiastically said , “YES”!
There was one caveat though… we were going in SUMMER! You might be thinking who in their right mind goes to the desert in the summer? Well people who love a good deal, and in the summer, Palm Springs has amazing lodging deals.
We took off from foggy San Francisco in the morning and landed in Palm Springs at potentially the hottest part of the day… walking off the plane was a rude awakening to say the least.
We assumed (wrongly) that we would be able to get a rental car since its summer… no one is in the desert right? Well without a rental car to our names we would have to uber/lyft/taxi/shuttle all around town.. which turned out to be a good option. The shuttle is great! Highly reccomend looking into it when you are there as a form of transportation.
We stayed at the Saguaro. If you aren’t living under a rock you have already seen its brightly colored, palm tree laden grounds all over instagram.
I would reccomend staying at this hotel if you LOVE to party all day and into the night… the pool parties are very popular here but also extremely annoying if that isn’t your steeze.
If I were to go back I would potentially stay at the Parkeror The Ace.
Once settled at our hotel we took a car service to Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway . We had booked a tour prior to arriving which I reccomend if you are interested. I haven’t made it to Graceland yet, so being somewhere that The King lived was a magical experience. It is hard to believe that this home is owned by a couple ( who are selling btw). To me, it seems like this house should be a museum. It is amazing though how little has been updated. The home maintains its original charm and finishes.
After our tour we were famished and in need of a bite to eat! Another note about Summer is that places close in the middle of the day/ or for the season so be prepared to not get to try all the places you have dreamed about on yelp/instagram.
Ready for day two! We started the day off with a breakfast reservation at Norma’s at the Parker ( ohh lala! ) Another summer tip – wake up early and nap during the hottest part of the day! Not rocket science!… but I thought I would share all the same!
After an amazing breakfast we strolled around the Parker grounds. Beautiful!
Next stop! Saturday morning Famers Market! and look what we found … Beer Tasting! I love to try some good local beer on all my trips so when we found Coachella Valley Brewing Co – I was stoked! Purchased a few beers for back at the hotel where we were headed for some R & R.
For dinner we headed to Birba. We went before the dinner rush and were able to be seated without a reservation.
Our meal and drinks were beyond! I highly, highly reccomend.
Then onto Tropicale, at this point of the night the air is balmy but cool enough for outside sitting and walking.
One final drink and some live music at the Amigo Room.
Day 3! Ready to indulge … yet again.
Elmer’s is a chain.. but a highly recommended chain so off we went to try it out!
After our filling breakfast we went to Moorten Botanical Garden. We thought it would be early enough to beat the heat… but we weren’t. We thought we were going to pass out after walking around, but it was beautiful!
After lounging pool side for the majority of the afternoon we got ready for dinner and drinks!
We went to The Purple Palm for drinks, I tried the Rio Rita with Ghost Pepper! Delish!
For our last lunch we hit Sherman’s Deli in Palm Springs – what a delight! It was so delicious.
After our meal we headed back to our hotel and off we flew back to the Bay! I had an amazing time in Palm Springs – the aesthetic, the food, I loved it all! I will definelty be back… would I go again in the Summer… tbd.
Looking for a quick weekend get away from the Bay Area? Look no further than Calaveras Big Trees State Park area.
At only 2.5 hours from Oakland.. its as easy to get to as Santa Cruz and definelty worth the drive!
The higher you climb the more snow you see! For a coastal gal like me snow is really exciting and my inner child gets really excited… even if it is a light coating on the side of the road.
We lucked out last minute and were able to reserve a cabin for week of… always great to check and see if there have been any late cancelations!
Enjoying a milk stout after unloading the car… very tiring. ha
Quick hike before sundown! Really beautiful to see the sun go down through the trees.
Wood stove fire place… perfect place for S’MORES! Don’t think I have ever stuffed my face with more s’mores. Here are a few trail options that you will probably want to check out before heading out! As always with State Parks and National Parks I love asking the rangers for their personal tips and tricks!
After a day of snow-hiking a brewski is much needed! AND everyone thinks so… Snowshoe was packed! Staff is friendly but be prepared to wait with a big group or for dinner! You can get beer to go in a growler or bottles. Not the best beer I have ever had.. but I am a beer snob. I will say that it def helped hit the spot after a day of ‘hard work’.
Our little cabin had a full kitchen so we were able to make dinner and breakfast which was awesome!
On our last morning, my Friends made probably the most amazing French Toast I have ever had with their homemade sourdough bread. How can food bring such joy and then sadness when you realize you can’t have it everyday!
I also was able to do a lot of weaving over the weekend which was really nice! It was great to sit by the fire and all have our individual tasks going.
One more hike before the short but windy road home!
Such a cool weekend! Really glad we were able to take a last minute trip into the Mountains for some snow play and R&R. Winter is steadily becoming one of my FAV seasons.
A little more information about visiting Calaveras in the snow.
The Warming Hut – Open weekends and holidays from Thanksgiving through late March 12 pm—4 pm. Get your hot chocolate or warm up by the fire. Pretty crowded but cute idea.
Snowshoe Tours – Offered on Saturdays and some holidays at 1 pm. Bring your own showshoes or borrow a pair of ours. Meet at Warming Hut.
On Your Own – Snow play is allowed in the North Grove area. Build a snow person, ride a sled, or simply marvel at the beauty. Bring your own cross-country skis or snowshoes and travel the North Grove trail or the 3.5 mile loop out the park road and back through the campground.
On Saturdays at 1:00pm we offer a guided hike through the North Grove area of the park. Come enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the park while learning about why this place is so special. The hike is approximately 1.5 hours long and is open to all family members (except dogs).
In the event we have enough snow in the park the hike will be a snowshoe hike. Some snowshoes are available for use on a first come, first served basis. Snowshoes are available for rent in the town of Arnold located three miles west on Highway 4.
The cost of the hike is free with paid admission to the park; meet at the Visitor Center and wear appropriate footwear. For more information, please call the Visitor Center at (209) 795-3840 or (209) 795-7980.
You may be going into this post thinking… The Narrows in the Winter?? It must be freezing and well you might be right… It would be cold without the proper gear.
We were recommended Zion Outfitter by a local for having the best Narrows Gear. Like I mentioned in my previous post – the staff is super friendly here, they fixed a crampon that I didn’t even buy from their store! Great service.
Another important tid bit is that you need to start as early as possible… I know its hards but it will make your experience so much better! Towards the end of our hike icicles were dropping which is terrifying.
The park ranger told us that a man got a perma dent in his head from an icicle falling on him. So set your alarm, get your booties in gear and get in the water early. You will also see way less people. We saw maybe 10 total while we were in the Narrows and a whole slew of people were coming in as we were leaving.
Falling icicles, no thanks…Get an early start – no melting ice!
Also… an amazing resource was a post from Just a Colorado Gal about her experience hiking The Narrows in the Winter. Great inspiration!
We found this map super helpful … well super helpfulish. I think we were walking faster than it guestimated. At any rate helpful to have!
All geared up! So cute and so dry!
I wasn’t expecting how much walking there would be outside of the water… many areas you could walk on dry ground.
Another potentially helpful tip would be to bring extra gloves… I fell in within the first 5 minutes so one of my gloves were wet the entire time. Actually, not terrible but if this would be a deal breaker for you… and you are falling prone than bring extra gloves. I think I fell a total of 3 times … maybe 4. haha
The views were truly unlike anything I have seen before. It was outer-wordly.
They say the camera adds 10 pounds… but I might say 20 lbs in this photo!
The best hydro sneaks – kept our feet SO dry!
If you prepare for The Narrows in Winter you will have an amazing experience. This will be an experiencing I remember for the rest of my life.
We woke up to negative degree temps in the morning so none of us were all that interested in getting outside for sunrise! We did however attempt to make coffee outside on Chelsea’s campstove… not the best idea… apparently propane does not work well under these cold temps. The propane was sputtering out which lead to huge flames. We decided to pack that up, get hotel lobby coffee ( not bad if you take a bite of peanut butter granola bread first) and head to Bryce and the visitor center to learn of any trail closures.
If you have snowshoes this would be a good place to bring em out, alternatively you can rent them out in town at the hotel/restaurant/store. Side note : Bryce has the best looking park rangers I have ever seen… not sure why they all ended up in Bryce but it was a nice surprise.
Again we started at Sunrise, walked down to Queen’s Garden then to Navajo Trail, side stepped to Wall Street, then on to Peekaboo Loop, Bryce Point and back up to Sunset then across the rim to sunrise. There were a lot of people around the rim but once you started hiking the trails were pretty desolate. We ended up hiking for about 6/6.5 miles 4/4.5 hours. Again, layers are a great idea. We got really warm while hiking but once we got into the shadow of a hoodoo it would get chilly.
Another day of crampons and hiking poles! Highly reccomend. 100% needed these for the way up sunset! People were slipping and falling left and right.
Bryce is 100% one of the most amazing places I have ever been. It is beautiful beyond comprehension. Just looking back through these photos I am shocked that I experienced something so amazing… these aren’t photoshopped. They were taken by me on an iphone it is pretty remarkable.
Once we were done with our hike we decided to head towards Zion so we could start the next morning in Zion. On the way we made guacamole in the car… not the most driver friendly snack!
No campsites at Watchman Campground in Zion! Every other campground we had been to was empty.. but Zion was fairly warm, somewhere in the 40s, so everyone was out in droves. If coming around new years I would highly reccomend booking ahead or being able to wing it like us!
I won’t get into details… but we ended up having to finish cooking our dinner in a parking lot. Some of the best food I have ever eaten! Once we finished dinner we decided to head into Springdale and try to figure out where to stay.
Much to our surprise, right outside the park we encountered a shining sign with the words ‘Brew Pub’ – we looked at each other and Chelsea pulled in the parking lot. Our server was really nice and gave us tons of helpful advice. Such as trails we should go on, where to rent our Narrows gear etc. All the beer on tap is less than 4% per Utah law, but for 4% it ain’t half bad!
Our server also told us we could head to the Bit & Spur if we wanted some higher alcohol beers… so off we went and were pleasantly surprised by the local beers we sampled.
Looking forward to a good nights sleep before a day of exploring Zion. Since we arrived at night we were looking forward to what we would be greeted with upon sunrise.
Sunrise in the Canyon! One of the most special sunrises I have ever experienced. Very few people out on the rim and for good reason… it was an icy tundra out there. Our phones kept turning off because they were so cold, we kept trying to warm them up so we could take some photos!
Don’t mind my sweatpants… we literally jumped out of our sleeping bags, packed up the car and bounced.
Photo Cred to the random foreigner smoking a cigarette. Thanks.
It is so hard to capture in a picture the shadows and shifts in light and color. It is such a unique and beautiful experience.
Naturalist John Muir described Grand Canyon: ” In the supreme flaming glory of sunset (Can I impose… sunrise?!) the whole canyon is transfigured as if the life and light of centuries of sunshine stored up in the rocks was now being poured forth as from one glorious fountain, flooding both earth and sky.”
I look very bundled and it was cold but probably not that cold!
Once you leave the Park at Desert View you enter into Navajo Land. You will see many road side stands and also paths for lookouts and paths. Get off the road and explore – another adventure awaits!
Stopped in Cameron. Basically, a couple buildings one of which was a massive gift shop with a fine dinning restaurant in the back… since that looked like the only place to get coffee we asked if we could sit at a table and write our post cards. They obliged and we spent a lovely time in their beautiful dinning room. Great view of the surrounding landscape.
We set our GPS for Antelope Canyon to check out and see what all the hype is about. From our online research it appeared that you had to pay a fee to take a tour to the slot canyons at Antelope both Upper and Lower.
We are not tour people so we knew we weren’t really interested in that but we were hopeful that we might be able to pay to go onto the Navajo land but make our own tour!
If you are a professional photographer OR fancy yourself one maybe it would be worth it for you to go, but for myself it just wasn’t worth it. There are a few different companies but a gentleman working at Kens Tours told us about ‘Waterholes Canyon’. Two miles south of Horseshoe Bend – if you have gone over the bridge you have gone too far. There is a fence with opening and it is likely you will see other cars parked to the side of the road.
There were maybe 5/6 other people milling about so we were able to see where to head down into the canyon. We spent about an hour walking through the canyon – SO awesome! Very few people around which made for a cool, meditative experience.
About thirty minutes before sunset we headed back over to Horseshoe Bend. Woah! What a difference – a ton of people were surrounding the famed bend. We guesstimated a couple hundred. The sign at the front specifies that no drones are allowed but of course a few people had them out buzzing around.
Despite the buzzing of the drones and women taking glamor shots on the edge it was still a must see and I would go back 100 times over. It is so amazing to see how water has shaped the landscape. I think if you tried to hit it at sunrise you would luck out with less people, just because people like sleeping in!
After sunset, we drove about 45 mins closer towards the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to a campground called White House Trailhead and Campground in Kanab, UT. We got there at dark, turned off the highway and drove two miles on a dirt road. Five dollars a night per spot – what a deal! We set up camp in the dark, with only the stars and headlamps as our guide. We decided to tent camp tonight because it was pretty nice out ( 39 degrees). Chelsea built an amazing fire and we enjoyed some time together looking at the stars and drinking a beer.
We planned to get up early in the morning to drive the rest of the way, another 45 minutes, to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to see about getting a wave permit for the following day.
Despite the cold temps overnight we were warm and toasty! Well rested for a day of adventures.
We set out for the Grand Canyon a little after 6 am and chose not to stop at Hoover Dam, I hear its cool if you are into that sort of thing… There are a couple big towns between Vegas and GC that have a Safeway/Vons in them. If you must have Trader Joes or Whole Foods you will have to wait until they open in Vegas.
The Road from LV to GC is beautiful, you will go from the desert to snow and travel parts of historic Route 66.
Unfortunately, GC Brewing wasn’t open since we were rolling through on Monday they opened at 2pm, but we weren’t too broken hearted because Chelsea spotted a little gem on the corner, Historic Brewing Co. Very thankful for keen eyesight and being flexible with our schedule!
Side note: You can take the train from Williams, Az to the Grand Canyon… how cool would that be?!
A little map planning and beer tasting.
Oh wow! We have arrived! Since we were getting in around 2:30 we quickly geared up with Crampons, Trekking Poles, Headlamps ( just in case ), and layers. We took off down the Bright Angel Trail and each switch back produced more awe inspiring views.
We encountered a few individuals who had camped at the bottom of the canyon and told us that they had a great time! No snow and warmer temps at the bottom… good to know for next year!
After this amazing, lung and bunz burning hike we headed to meet up with our friends, find a camp site and have dinner! We decided to eat inside at their cafeteria ( don’t let the name fool you… it is really nice! ) Chels and I split the tamale dinner and had a few more local brewskis while our friends got soup and salad, they were very pleased with the salad bar selection!
We stayed at Mather campground which was empty and covered in snow. The bathroom was luxurious and heated. Since we didn’t have a shovel we chose to car camp and decided to wake up to catch the sunrise the next morning before heading to Page, Arizona.
Really LOVING my new camo camp mattress ( Thanks JER! )
Once we were settled into the back of Chelsea’s car we popped open the popcorn tin for a little dessert. Don’t worry, we did brush our teeth afterwards!