Visiting Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas-House-HeaderFor my husbands birthday I surprised him with a two day honeymoon to the 3rd romantic city in the world Carmel-by-the-sea, California. You see we got married in less than a week, and immediately packed up our belongings to move to the United States. We never did have a chance to have our honeymoon, so I took it upon myself to book a small one for us. The only thing I told him leading up to his birthday was to clear his weekend schedule, something I knew would prove to be difficult.

Imagine an unplugged weekend where you reconnect with your loved ones. A beautiful place where the entire town shuts down at sunset and is completely quiet. Street signs, and store fronts made from wood, no street addresses to get to a place, just the customized names on houses or businesses. This is Carmel, a welcoming and friendly atmosphere from everyone who was visiting and living there. The incredible pacific coast line was simply breathtaking. Today, I’m taking you through our trip and stay at the Hofsas House.

Hofsas-House

Romance-pkg-on-bed

Wine-and-Cheese

Laying-on-rose-petalsWe called Hofsas Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea our home for the past two days. The location of Carmel-by-the-sea is about a square mile on Carmel Bay. Hofsas House is walk-able to Carmel itself, where it has many boutique stores to meander through, a diverse selection in restaurants and wineries, everything in walking distance.

Once we collected our room keys and walked in through the pink dutch doors, we were taken back by the hospitality. Our room was completely decorated into this romantic honeymoon suite with rose petals, fireless candles and Hershey kisses (an added upgrade guests can request for a fee) with a massive king sized bed with treats and a dog bed off to the side for Alfie. On our bedside table there was a bottle of wine and a cheese platter from The Cheese Shop, which guests can order to their room for $30. Talk about a warm welcome, hey?

Hofsas-House2The three of us (Alfie came too!) took off for this two day weekend to explore this town for the first time. We have heard a lot about this place and its beauty. We were welcomed with open arms, even after arriving an hour later than anticipated due to traffic, from the charm of the Hofsas House, which is in its 3rd generation of the family run business. We had about an hour to get ready for supper at The Grill when we arrived. Perfect time to re-curl my hair, swap out my cozy clothes and change into a silkier blouse and skinny jeans for our date night.

Fireplace-Alfie-and-ICarmel is much cooler at night, so we took advantage of our in-room fireplace and had a cozy fire each night. There’s nothing quite like sitting in in front of a warm evening fire.

Enjoying-our-fireplace

Hofsas-House-breakfastThere were trays available if we wanted to enjoy our continental breakfast in the comforts of our room.

Hofsas-House-Carmel

Selfies-at-Hofsas

Hofsas-House-looking-out

Alfie-chewing-on-boneCarmel is known for being incredibly dog-friendly with tons of restaurants catering to your pooches. At Hofsas House, not all rooms are dog-friendly but the ones that are take special care and go the extra mile to make your family pets feel much more at home. Alfie is crated and we bring his with us when he travels, but to our surprise he hopped on the plush dog bed in front of the fireplace to chew on one of his bones that we picked up in Carmel at Diggity Dog.

Hofsas-House-dutchdoor

Carrie-of-Hofsas-HouseCarrie Theis started working at Hofsas House with her Grandmother Donna Hofsas, the founder of Hofsas House over sixty years ago. Carrie has since taken the position full time and moved to Carmel to run Hofsas House. You can tell she takes great pride in not only the business aspect of Hofsas House, but she truly lights up, talking about Carmel. She gave us many suggestions as to what to do while we were in Carmel along with supplying us with wine walk tour tickets, and reservations to The Grill, a fantastic restaurant where we had a delicious 3 course meal, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog post. Our impression of Carrie is that she doesn’t care just about the business she runs with the family, but more about the village itself.

Out of the 38 rooms on the Hofsas House property they are each decorated differently. Looking past the retro feel to the room we had, it has its charm. The room itself was huge and we had a lot of extra space which felt comfortable. I got sparkly eyes looking out the Dutch doors in the morning when I realized the view we had. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and taking in the Pacific Ocean air. It’s clear I missed the ocean living in central Canada for a number of years after growing up in Newfoundland.

Arriving-at-Hofsas-House

Alfie-and-me-outside-HofsasSaturday night we were completely wiped from our day adventure to Point Lobos where we had a picnic lunch provided by 5th Avenue Deli. We hadn’t planned on staying all afternoon until the sun set, but the place was more breathtaking than we had imagined. More on that spot soon! I loved the hospitality we received from Carrie and everyone at Hofsas House last weekend. Since we are so close to Carmel, we’re excited to return sometime to explore the other areas we didn’t get a chance to. Big Sur is definitely on our to-visit list, along with a trip to the neighbouring city, Monterey.

Hofsas House Hotel

San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93921, USA
Phone: 831-624-2745

To learn more visitwww.hofsashouse.com

Our stay was hosted by Hofsas House, however the opinions in the blog post are 100% my own.

What I Ate Wednesday #5

WIAW-HeaderFolks, it’s time. It’s time to take a photo of everything I’ve eaten in the run of a day and post it on the blog for everyone’s enjoyment. I do have to say, though that sounded sarcastic, and it was kinda supposed to — I actually do enjoy seeing what people eat in the run of a day. Kinda gets me motivated to cook something different for once.

It’s been since July that I posted a What I Ate Wednesday (thanks to Peas & Crayons for organizing these WIAW’s). Let’s jump right in, details at the bottom of the post. Many of the items I ate aren’t photographed. Sometimes, I get too hungry man. With that being said:

Banana-Nuts-Water

Snacking-after-workout

Coffee-before-climbing

Campbells-Tomato-Bisque

8:42a: I pour myself a glass of icy cold water from the fridge, then grab a banana and a handful of raw nuts (with mini m&m’s), because I’m too lazy to put together a real breakfast. Does anyone else hate their bananas with even the slightest bit of brown on it? It’s the last one, and I could’ve easily chucked it in the freezer for smoothies, but I took one for the team, and ate it. Brown spots and all.

10:36a: Since I’m about to head to the climbing gym to do yoga and boulder after (and try to get this one V3 boulder problem I’ve been working), I want my belly to be full until I can get a real meal in. I turn on our new Dolce Gusto and make myself a hot cuppa tea before changing into climbing gear, then grab a Taste of Nature bar while I head out the door.

2:30p: After climbing and yoga, I’m ravishing. I swung by Whole Foods and picked up two sandwiches from their deli counter and brought it home with me. Not pictured. I ate it while driving home. Ha!

7:03p: I was on my own for supper, so I heated up my favourite tomato bisque soup (Campbell’s, you’re mmm-mmm-good) a tall glass of milk, with a few cheese and crackers on the side (I snapped the picture before getting the milk + cheese + crackers).

9:45p: The Guy and I are slowly getting through his birthday ice cream cake, so we had a piece of that later on too. No photo, because I’m an animal and cannot take a photo of something so delicious.

Taste-of-NatureYou may notice the abundance of posed photos of me hanging out, eating a Taste of Nature bar. I received a number of boxes from the Canadian “granola” bar company to try out this summer. I brought a ton along with me to Lake Tahoe when my husband was going to do his 6th Ironman, but it ended up being cancelled. I’ve been treating these bars as a special treat every once in a while, or when I’m late and feeling rushed and need to get something down in my belly. They’re also great to pop into your purse for on the go.

Taste-Of-Nature-barModelling my manicured climber hand with the bar in front of the Ironman Lake Tahoe athlete village. Why not. There’s something different about these bars that I find irresistible. I’ve had a couple of these Himalayan Goji Summit bars throughout the Lake Tahoe adventure (which unfortunately got cancelled).

I’ve been taking these bars to the climbing gym to snack on, since I’m there hours at a time, between yoga and bouldering I get a little famished from time-to-time. Some of the bars are paleo friendly (the Brazil nut one I have contains some brown rice syrup and whole grain brown rice crisps, and seeds which aren’t paleo friendly) but for the most part they taste pretty awesome. Then again I love these types of bars.

If you’re interested in the facts, here are some Taste of Nature highlights:

  •     Bars are under 200 calories
  •     6 flavours available in the USA: Brazilian Nut Festival, California Almond Valley, Quebec Cranberry, Canadian Maple Forest, Himalayan Goji Summit, and Persain Pomegranate Garden
  •     Bars are $1.99 each
  •     Non-GMO, Gluten free and 100% certified organic bars with nothing artificial, no filers and no added sugar.

Disclaimer: I was sent a few boxes of Taste of Nature bars in exchange for my review. Options are no one else’s but my own.

It’s all those carrots I ate

This weekend we checked out the little town of Saratoga. We brought Alfie along with us to do a bit of window shopping in the charming European-feel town, have a stroll through the park, and to our surprise a free concert at Wildwood.

Heading back to our car we saw this insane luxury car. I’m not huge into cars, but this one was unreal. It ended up being a McLaren — to which that peeked The Guy’s interested in looking up the base price of what it goes for. Ohh, you know — 1.3 million. I don’t think I’ll ever make that much money in my entire life. If I had a car that expensive, I’d be afraid to take it for a drive for fear of it getting scratched. Or bird pooped on!

Saratoga-Park

Wildwood-Park

Wildwood-Park-Flowers

Crouching-with-Alfie

Concert-in-Wildwood-Park

Wildwood-Park_2

Saratoga-Trees

McLaren-in-Saratoga

Saratoga

Flowers-in-Saratoga

Eye-glasses

Barber-Shop-Saratoga

Alfie-in-sand

Saratoga-Restaurants

sideview-brown-glasses

Trees-in-Saratoga

Saratoga-Door

Outfit-of-the-weekend

Alfie-and-my-legs

Alfie-and-MeAmerican Eagle puffy vest, Etsy necklace & scarf, Anthropologie cardigan
Urban Outfitters tank top, Forever 21 jeans, J Crew flats, GlassesShop glasses

So, I bet you’re wondering why I’m wearing eyeglasses, no?

FortSmith Rectangle Tortoise – Tortoise

My eyesight has always been “better than perfect vision” says the Optometrist. I crack jokes whenever I get my eyes checked every few years, saying it’s all those carrots I’ve been eating making my eyesight abnormally good. I have always wanted to rock a pair of eyeglasses. Everyone in my family now needs them, but me! Well, ha! I figured out that you can buy non-prescription glasses. I mean, I guess I knew that a while ago but never really thought anything of it, until I was contacted by the GlassesShop. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted the FortSmith Rectangle Tortoise (the one’s I’m wearing in this post) or the quirky Sonoma Rectangle glasses in white. I’m never the type to dwell on which item I should get but I was completely stumped. Go out of my comfort zone and get a bold white set of frames? Or stick to a smart brown tortoise shell set? Why not both! Worst thing they could say was no. To my surprise, they agreed on the two. Woo buddy! Score on that one.

They arrived from China in a timely matter. I googled reviews and it wasn’t good. Shipping took ages, or their prescriptions were incorrect upon arrival. After mine arrived I took a ton of selfies to see if I was confident enough to wear them out in public, mainly the white ones. Boy, they’re somethin’ else. Instagram folks gave me the two thumbs up, so that was a bit of an ego boost. The Guy has been wearing glasses for a long time, so he thinks it’s a little odd that I’m voluntarily wearing them since technically, I don’t have to. Well sir, I think it adds a bit of fashion to my otherwise boring outfits/face. Not that I have a boring face. I mean, it spices it up with accessorizing my face. Get it? What do you think of them?

If you’re interested in buying a pair prescriptions or not, Glasses Shop has offered you guys a 20% off code: use NancyX20 before checking out.

What did you do this weekend?

When is the last time you explored your city?

7 Things to do in Carmel

7-things-CarmelWe had a major plans to fully relax and evoke in everything our weekend getaway to Carmel had to offer. Temperatures when we visited (October) were perfect. Ranging from 20-28°C/70-80°F during the day and  10-18°C/50-60°F at night. You’ll want to pack your sweaters for the evening, and don’t forget that it’s best to dress in layers. When we were walking around downtown Carmel, it was warm, however close to the beach was breezy and a little chilly.

With houses that looked straight out of a fairytale, many each with their own house-names; we found one called Carmelot, and another Hansel & Grettle, pure storybook goodness. Carmel is a seaside village that is full of unique boutiques to peruse through, fine dining restaurants, beaches with sand so soft, with a rugged coastline. I’ve gathered up 7 things to do if you’re ever in the area of the must-see romantic village of Carmel. While we didn’t get to make it out to Big Sur, the famous Pebble Beach or take off on the 17-mile drive, these are only stops on our must-see list when we go back.

Point Lobos

Point-LobosA rocky shoreline, majestic views, crashing waves, breathtaking beauty, all available on this two mile coastline. Perfect your afternoon and bring along a packed picnic to enjoy while you take it all in. Dogs are not allowed in this state park, and be aware – there is poison oak everywhere, we didn’t exactly know what it looked like, but luckily for us there was warning signs that included pictures. During our walk we spotted tiny lizards. Luckily we did not spot any non-poisonous snakes that supposedly hang out and slither around the area. Often you’ll find whales breaching through, and sea lions at Point Lobos, so keep your eyes peeled!

Explore Carmel

Explore-CarmelEach day we took a walk through the town of Carmel and admired the architecture, boutique stores, and pet stores where we grabbed Alfie a couple of treats, twice! I love that Carmel doesn’t have any street numbers, the signs on the store fronts, restaurants and even gas stations are made of wood. Locals don’t receive mail to their homes, instead they gather to the local post office to collect their packages and mail that may come through. A true neighbouring experience. While Carmel is pretty hopping during the day, the town of Carmel is early to bed, early to rise. After supper is over, the streets are completely bare and quiet with total darkness. Be sure to bring a flashlight with you, and don’t wear heels more than two inches.

Mission Ranch

Mission-RanchRolling meadows on Clint Eastwood’s property which he saved in the mid eighties from condominium development. We kept our eye out on the streets of Carmel hoping we’d catch a glimpse of The Guy’s man-crush, Mr. Eastwood.

Carmel Beach

Dog-friendly-beachCarmel has a dog-friendly (leash-free) beach at the bottom of Ocean Avenue. A mile and a half of white sand that is so incredibly soft, you can’t help but sink your toes in it. The views from the beach are incredible and memorable with Point Lobos at one end, and famous Pebble Beach on the other.

Wine Walk Tours

Wine-tastingCarmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea offers a Wine Walk Passport which is a self-paced, self-guided tour to all the tasting rooms that are conveniently within walking distance of one another. The Wine Walk Passport offers a flight of wine of their choice of any 9 of the 12 tasting rooms. Lucky for you and me, the passport doesn’t expire.

Dog Friendly Restaurants

Dog-friendlyWith many culinary selections to choose from you’ll be sure to be pleased with everything Carmel has to offer with regards to eating out. Don’t leave your pooch at home, bring him/her with you as many restaurants in Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea welcome dogs at their outdoor tables and patios. One place in particular: Forge in The Forest offer a dog-menu!

Art Galleries

Carmel-Art-GalleriesFine art line the streets of Carmel, whether you’re into sculptures, photography, or paintings (which will forever be out of my price range), there are plenty of galleries to browse through.