Dec 30, 2012

LAS VEGAS


2012 has been a great year! We've had some very memorable trips in 2012 and look forward to some more in 2013! We thank you for reading and appreciating our pictures on Facebook. We hope to bring you more places, pictures and ideas in 2013! We wish each of you a Happy New Year 2013!

A first visit or your 10th, vacationing in Vegas is always looked forward to. It's probably the most popular destination specially for New Year! It's all about the energy, the lights, the music along the sidewalks, the crowds and the shows, casinos and a chance to win some extra $$. Keeping the best for the last of 2012, am writing about Vegas! Do visit our Facebook Page for photographs!

las vegas sign
Las Vegas Sign

Nov 30, 2012

Morro Rock


The most prominent vista point in Morro Bay is Morro Rock. Surrounded with an estuary and miles of undisturbed beaches, it is a volcanic plug standing at a height of 576. You can drive right up to the end of the causeway, where you will hear a lot of chatter.. Just look up and see the number of sea gulls and other birds nesting on the rock above.

Morro Rock
Morro Rock


Nov 28, 2012

CA-1 Central Coast

CA-1, California's scenic coastal highway begins from Leggett in Mendocino County and goes down to Ventura in Santa Barbara. The drive is beautiful along the rugged coastline with breath taking views. The single lane (and at times two) windy highway passes through many small towns along the coastal route from Mendocino county to Ventura. It runs concurrently with US 101 along the Golden Gate Bridge. On a clear day, you will enjoy some pretty views of the Pacific and California's coast drive. Our favorite  part of CA-1 is the drive along California's central coast from Monterey to Cambria.

Travelling to Los Angeles from the Bay Area via CA-1 is a great option. However with its winding turns and the frequent stops you will make to take in the views and pictures it can take more than 8 hours. Hence plan accordingly.

Coastline view
CA 1 looking north 

Nov 8, 2012

Sand & Art Festival, Goa - India

Sand art goa
2011 Goa Sand Art Festival Entrance
GOA..a tiny but beautiful state in India. It was ruled by the Portuguese for more than 400 years. People around the world know Goa for its friendly people, beautiful beaches, Portuguese architecture, impressive churches and temples, delicious mangoes, cashew nuts, feni ( a local liquor made from cashew and coconut) and the famous pork sausages amongst other things.

Nov 6, 2012

Arches National Park

When we think of Arches NP, what comes to mind are the 2000 + rock formations and the spectacular night sky. A trip to Southern Utah? Make sure you include Arches NP on your itinerary.  It is a 5 1\2 drive from Bryce Canyon NP. Nearby places to include are the Canyonlands NP.  For ideas on how to plan your drive, here is a map that you can refer to.

If you have two days in Arches, here is what we recommend:

We spent 1 1\2 days here and decided to spend the first evening/night out at the park to take in the sunset and view the spectacular night sky (yes you can see the Milky Way on a dark and clear night!).

Many photographers and National park enthusiasts, hike to Delicate Arch earlier in the evening to photograph the sunset and stay on to photograph the night sky. The picture below was taken around 11.30 -12:00 midnight. The best time to get milky way pictures is recommended around 2-3 AM. You would get the milky way center vertically aligned with the earth as governed by the earths rotation. But note it can be eerie, and lonely out there especially if you are by yourself. The Milky Way is one of the greatest things to see in nature. Its spectacular and our amateur attempt to capture it (below) doesn't do sufficient  justice to it. Imagine being able to see millions of stars in the galaxy and the galactic center with your naked eyes (something you can only wish for from our cities)!

Night Sky @ Arches
The Milky way in the backdrop of Balanced Rock ( Do not miss the shooting star !)

Oct 5, 2012

Crater Lake, Oregon

It is a caldera ( a crater formed by volcanic explosion or by collapse of a volcanic cone.) With a diameter of 6.1 miles East to West and 4.7 miles North to South, an area of 20.42 sq miles, it is one of the deepest in the United States with a height of 1943 feet and holding 4.9 trillion gallons of water. Crater Lake was formed when a massive eruption of Mount Mazama 7700 years ago caused the mountain to collapse, leaving a steaming caldera. Centuries of rain and snow filled the caldera creating Crater Lake.

Crater lake
Overlooking Crater Lake

Sep 29, 2012

San Francisco Fleet Week

It's October and the Blue Angels will be in town next week ( October 4-8th ). See them in San Francisco along the Marina Green Waterfront Centre, Crissy Field, Pier 39 or Golden Gate bridge ( north ) vista point. Thousands head towards the waterfront to enjoy the amazing show put up by them.

Links: The links below have indepth information from the official site regarding timing, dates and details.

Ship Tours and Protocol ( Minimum Age is 8 )

The pictures below are from 2009 Fleet Week at San Francisco.

Blue Angels in San Francisco
Blue Angels

Sep 24, 2012

Alaska

Many people have asked us "What is there to see in Alaska?" There is lots to do. The more time and days you have to spend the better. Travel to Alaska can either be by air, cruise or by car ( from Canada ). With 9 days at hand, we will share our experiences and places that we visited. We decided to skip the cruise and take a flight into Anchorage. We had more time to spend and our own itinerary geared towards a family vacation.

Scenic Seward road
Driving on Seward Highway surrounded by scenic views

Aug 21, 2012

Ostrichland & Solvang

Need a pit stop for your kids if you are heading towards Santa Barbara or San Francisco?? then Ostrichland USA in Solvang, CA is your best bet.

A herd of ostriches.

San Francisco

Are you planning a weekend trip to San Francisco soon? Its a challenge when you have little time and so many places to see on your list. Sounds familiar? Well we always land in this situation. So without any further ado, here are some of the best that you can plan in a short time.

Golden Gate view looking north from the visitor centre

Jul 24, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park

After a a fun stay in Zion, we headed over to Bryce National Park. The drive was about 2 hours. On the way we stopped at Checkerboard Mesa. It stands tall, about 10 miles from the end of the tunnel on Highway 9, resembling a checkerboard.


Checkerboard Mesa rising tall

Closeup view of Checkerboard Mesa 

Jul 22, 2012

Zion National Park, Utah

One of my favorite destinations. Zion. As quoted in http://www.zionnational-park.com "Unlike the Grand Canyon where you stand on the rim and look down into the canyon, in Zion you stand on the canyon floor and look up! "

To see the route we took, click HERE. The quaint little town of Springdale is the closest and the most convenient place to stay if you are visiting Zion. Surrounded with deep red colored towering mountain walls all around, it is beautiful at sunrise and sunset! To ease traffic, there are regular free commuter buses to the entrance of the park. With various stops near the hotels along the way, this is one easy way to experience the park to hop on and off at your convenience. The buses are however available only from April to October. The transfer buses stop at the visitor centre from where you can pay your park tickets and take pictures with the sign board for your scrapbook, then board the shuttles to enter the park.

 
Road leading towards Springdale

May 31, 2012

Antelope Canyon & Horse Shoe Bend , Arizona

Over the Memorial Day long weekend, we decided to visit Upper Antelope Canyon. We planned to drop in and spend some time at the Grand Canyon on the way and then drive on to Page, Arizona. This little town is perched over 4000 ft above sea level. Very pretty and well lit up as the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado river are just a stones throw away. It was a little windy with a slight nip in the air.


upper antelope canyon
Sunbeam in the canyon

May 5, 2012

Mommy \ Daddy & Baby Summer Event


This is all about the Mommy n Me program that takes place every 2nd Tuesday at Park Valencia , Santana Row and the 2nd Wednesday in West Gate shopping Mall near Ross. If you are a new mom looking for friends, or just wanting to get out and enjoy the warm weather with your baby, or let your toddler experience something new this year, then this is for you.. Keep reading on and share it with someone you know or would be happy to get to know!

Each month there are new activities planned for the moms and babies. From face painting, to the melodious and rhythmic music of Andy Z to Halloween, Christmas or baking events or the talking parrot show ,it has something for everyone. Free balloons for each kid ( till supplies last ) craft activities like making a picture frame or just dancing and lazing around to even taking pictures with famous characters like Cat in the hat or even listening to stories.

This year the Kick off is on May 8th. Save the date for some fun activities for your kids with characters like Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog and the Happy Birds Show and more. Get the days program at the desk near the stage area. The activities differ from year to year. Please check the website for more details.

My Thoughts :

Kids love face painting and the lady does a great job!. They are available just opposite the park from 10-12 pm.
Carry some some snacks, water, sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat for yourselves.
Don't forget your camera or video. You will treasure these pics for years to come of your kids in action!
You can opt for reminders for the monthly events so you don't miss out on any upcoming event.

Here are some pictures from the events I attended the last two years. I hope Mommy and Baby ( even Daddy too ) have a great summer together.

Happy Birds

Mar 23, 2012

Monument Valley

This was a destination we wanted to visit for a very long time!

The route from Arches National Park to Monument Valley was unique. We drove parallel to the Moab Fault. Very picturesque with varied stone colors and formations. Trivia from an information board stated that there was a break in the earths surface some 6 million years ago.


Along the way we passed Mexican Hat. The place gets its name from Sombrero which in English refers to a wide brimmed hat that originated in Mexico. En-route from Mexican Hat to Monument Valley, the San Juan river snakes its way through the canyons. You will get to cross the San Juan river near San Juan Inn. The bridge is old and unique.

Mar 17, 2012

UTAH

Utah... is defined by its terrain. Absolutely stunning landscapes, which include the Navajo Indian Nation, have also featured in Hollywood's famous movies like Stagecoach, Mission Impossible II National Lampoon's Vacation even music videos and television. The Landscape is fantastic and nothing can prepare you for this. The unique sandstone formations make it a must see attraction.

The proximity of the National parks and the national monuments, that have a few hours driving , allows visitors to make a planned round trip. The drive between each park was phenomenal.



Mar 16, 2012

Pretty Pumpkin Patches


Come October and every parent will be scurrying to get their kids their Halloween outfits, go trick or treating and even visit a nearby pumpkin patch. Many spring up during this time and all look very festive with pumpkins adored in every nook and corner.

When my son was a year old, I was on the lookout for a pumpkin patch. Of all, Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay, Ca & Uesugi Farms in Morgan Hill, Ca are still my two favorite places.