Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer travels: California

You probably have a travel wish-list: a list of places you want to visit and see for the first time—or maybe a second or fifth time. Mine includes lots of European and Mediterranean destinations, but it also includes dozens of places within North America. (Not the least of which is a goal to visit all 50 states.) California has always held a spot near the top of that must-see list. The stars aligned for me this year, and I got the opportunity to travel to southern California for a business trip, which I extended by a few days and turned into a vacation. I'll share my adventures with you over the next few weeks!

I've wanted to see California for many reasons: various natural landscapes from north to south, including Redwood National Forest and Yosemite National Park in the north and central regions of the state, and Death Valley and the coastal beaches in the south; city landscapes and environments like San Francisco and San Diego; an abundance of fresh, local, and organic food (year-round!); and the promise of daily weather forecasts that rarely stray from sunshine and 70-75°F. 

Two of my clients at work have headquarters in San Diego and Brea, CA. We've been working with them for about a year and a half, but with the wonders of telephone + Internet communication, we've never before really had the opportunity to head west and drop by for a face-to-face meeting. That all came together last month, though, so I flew into San Diego with two of my colleagues for a couple whirlwind meetings just after Memorial Day.

Our first night, we stayed in La Jolla, a northern suburb of San Diego, at the Estancia Hotel. This destination hotel and spa had some of the most beautiful landscaping I'd ever seen, which not only gave us a fragrant, gorgeous walk to and from our rooms, but it gave the property a private, quiet, secluded feel. In a testament to the year-round nice weather, all rooms were accessed by outside doors, and to get to our rooms, we had to cross a couple interior courtyards. Wouldn't it be nice if all sidewalks looked like this?
I immediately felt transported to a different lifestyle when we entered the lobby to check in and were offered complimentary water (with cucumber, of course) or champagne. Relaxation and pampering were the name of the game at this hotel.

I was personally more entranced by the flora that I'm not accustomed to seeing in the Midwest. So the first thing I did after dropping off my luggage in my room was grab my camera and wander the grounds of the hotel.

We only got the chance to spend one night in this hotel, because the next day was filled with client meetings and a trip to Brea, a suburb of Los Angeles, about 1.5 hours north of San Diego.

We toured the client campus there, and I particularly loved the fact that they had lemon trees growing all across the grounds. They had a bowl of fresh lemons in the lobby that had just been picked that morning (and were the size of a softball), and employees are welcome to pick their fill any time. How great is that?
More and more companies are embracing things like on-site farmers markets (this company has one weekly in the summer), healthier foods, community-supported agriculture, etc. I'd love to have a company garden that included fresh citrus! What about you? 

More tales to come...


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. SO happy to hear you loved your stay at Estancia La Jolla!

    1. It was really a great stay. We would have loved to have had more time there. Thanks for making our first night in California a good one!