I have pulled together a list of some of my favorite west coast places. I lived my whole life on the west coast and recently made a move to the east coast. I'm feeling nostalgic and thought I'd share my personal pieces of heaven that I hope to see again in the not so far away future. A few of these places are memorable trips I shared with family and friends as well as stops along my honeymoon this past summer. I hope you enjoy and I hope (even more) that you get a chance to visit each one because they will bring you joy! Enjoy the memories!
I was lucky enough to camp at Julia Pfeiffer Burns eight years ago with a big group of friends. It was so much fun! There were so many trails to explore and oh the beaches! The beach trips were life-changing. We visited in August and didn't get hot once. It is so refreshing and cool in Big Sur. Bring a light sweater! There was something really special about waking up to the misty, cool Big Sur air and making breakfast over an open fire. We spent nights around the campfire singing along to the guitar and roasting marshmallows. We drove a little ways down the 1 to find a hidden trail with a swimming hole. It was so much fun jumping off the rocks into the crystal clear, icy cool water. I'll never forget this trip!
Oh, Ferndale. This place took my breath away. My husband and I stopped in Ferndale by accident on our honeymoon, but I'm so glad we did! This tiny town is California's Mayberry. We fell and love and begin brainstorming ways to move in. The weather is nice and cool thanks to the nearby ocean and redwood forests. The dairy industry is alive and well in Ferndale and the quality of the dairy products is out of this world! Ferndale pizza served me the BEST pizza and pasta I've eaten awhile. This place is simple, friendly, and affordable but it should be mucccchhh more expensive because the food is fresh and homemade! It is a must see! Look for Ferndale when driving the 101. It's hidden, but it's a gem!
Green Springs Inn is tucked away in the mountains outside Ashland. It is family-owned and they do a great job of making you feel like family. My husband and visited Green Springs on our honeymoon. The road up to the Inn is a little treacherous, but it's a fun adventure and a beautiful one! It's worth the drive! We arrived to flowers and champagne and a free room upgrade as a Congrats on our marriage (so sweet!). There are trails around the inn to explore and deer everywhere! There is a chicken coop on the property with lovable little chickens everywhere. THE FOOD IS INCREDIBLE. I'M NOT KIDDING. This family must dabble in the dark arts because seriously this food is some of the best I've ever eaten in my entire life. Everything is from scratch. Everything is locally sourced...most from their own animals and garden. The pie. Forget it. I can't stop dreaming about the food. It's amazing.
I love Powell's! This was another honeymoon visit, but it was my paradise. Books everywhere. I didn't want to leave. Powell's is a must see! The coffee shop is tasty too! Enlighten your mind while in Portland and spend half a day in Powell's you won't regret it.
McMenamins Kennedy School is such a great idea! It has everything in one place done in a fun non-corporate way. This was a honeymoon visit, but it was a recommendation from my friend and her husband from their honeymoon trip. It's such a special place! There's a beer-serving movie theater inside! Fun! The restaurant is on another level. THE TATER TOTS. That's all I'll say. You must eat them. You must eat them all. They are phenomenal. They can feed a small army, but you will regret sharing them so be selfish and order one order for yourself...and one to go so you can eat them later. You may feel like Jabba the Hut, but it's your life to live haha. DO IT! Anyway...McMenamins is all kinds of fun. I'm a teacher so of course I needed to visit a converted school/Inn. Only in Portland! Keep Portland weird. Keep McMenamins alive and eat Tater Tots!
I know I know...Pike Place is a tourist trap...but it's so much more than that! I visited Pike Place Market on a trip to Seattle with my best friend. I fell in love. I'm a food person. I love to make food. I love to eat food. I love to read about food. I love to smell food. I love to listen to buskers while I eat food. All of these things are available to you at Pike Place. It's crowded but in the fun and exciting way. I visited in January and it snowed and I never wanted to leave. Anyway, I ate and ate, and sampled new things and loved it. I got to make combinations of fun oils and jams. I visited my favorite little used book store down in the lower level and bought Bourdain books. I smelled all the smells and was very happy. I listened to a busker play "You are my Sunshine" on his banjo while I nibbled on yummy things. He wore overalls and I put a dollar in his guitar case. It was my kind of moment. It was the stuff of life!