“Traveling is much more than just site-seeing. It’s about discovery and experiencing new places, sounds, cultures, local cuisines, and libations. Sometimes where you travel to is the main purpose for your visit but more times than not, it is only part of the experience.”
Hi, I am Shelley, editor, travel writer, photographer, storyteller, chef, and incurable globetrotter.
It’s a mystery how ones life will take course but I blame my parents for mine. When I was a small child they gave me a shiny new globe for Christmas. That was it, I was hooked. I spent countless hours spinning the globe, discovering new places and daydreaming about the trips I would take.
My first adventure was to a tiny island or Caye off the coast of Belize, Central America. The unspoiled beauty was astounding, their seafood driven cuisine was incredible, the locals were as curious about us and we were about them, and the warm translucent sea was intoxicating. I wanted more.
My dilemma was, how can I satisfy this explorer part of me at home? Naturally, I dove into cuisines of the world. As a chef, restaurantuer, hotelier, and wine educator, each evening I listened to tales of far off places and traveled the world nightly with culinary delights.
Over the years Thailand, Bali, New Zealand, Mexico, U.S.V.I., and Belize, have been my muses. And of course, California, my home state.
It’s easy to see that I am attracted to lush scenery, tantalizing bites, and considering that I should have been born a fish, but that’s another story, a playground of bath tub warm water.
As life progresses, I’ve traded in my chefs knives for the pen. I now combine my professional skills as a retired Chef/Restauranteur/Hotelier/Wine Educator of over 25 years, with my unquenchable appetite for experiencing new places, cuisines and libations, both near and far and then weave each experience into stories to share with you.
Whether it’s safari tents to five-star hotels, by planes or boat, or from rooftop lounges to fine cuisine, luxury isn’t about the price, it’s about the experience.
“Whether it’s with words or photographs, I love squeezing stories out of life and onto a page.”
Cheers to our next journey,
Della Santina’s Tratteria
The seduction of Tuscan Country Cooking in
Sonoma’s Wine Country
Walkthrough the ornate wrought iron gated entrance of Della Santina’s Trattoria and like smoke thru a keyhole, you’re transported to the family’s hometown of Lucca, Italy.
Tuscan country dishes pay homage to celebrate the season’s harvests, slow-roasted lamb, rabbit, duck, cured meats like prosciutto, sausages, pasta, etc. daily loaves of bread resting on their window seals.
The Ackerman Heritage House
Keys to the cellar and the past
Restoring the quintessence of a Queen Anne mansion is no easy feat, but hard work wasn’t going to stand in the way for Lauren Ackerman of Ackerman Family Vineyards. She began a daunting five-year journey of meticulously restoring one of Napa’s famous pink ladies to its former 19th-century splendor.
Napa River Inn
Sink into the wine country way of life
With roots that date back to 1884 the Napa River Inn continues to be the mainstay of unparalleled luxury among the bustling renaissance of Napa Valley’s Riverfront District.
Located within the historic Napa Mill originally built in 1862 where daily steamships excursions transporting San Francisco’s elite along Napa Rivers passageway to the Embarcadero dockage in downtown Napa.
Legendary Anitinori family blends Old World with New World wines
The story of Italy’s Antinori family history is one filled with tenacity, trials, patience, bumps, triumphs, and has withstood the test of time. In fact, more than two centuries or 26 generations ago in the year 1385. In perspective, they started their wine business in Italy 170 years after the England signed Magna Carta, during the century of the Black Plague, the Hundred Years War, the beginning of the Ottoman Empire, the Renaissance and before Christopher Columbus set sail.
Brewery Gulch Inn
An intoxicating blend of sophistication and bliss.
With a rich history dating back to the 1800s, the Brewery Gulch Inn is a pinnacle of sophistication, providing a blissful retreat set close to the captivating village of Mendocino- a region that attracts the outdoor enthusiasts, the wine lovers and those who celebrate the slower pace in life.
Mendocino is a place made of spellbound coastal views, country bistros, eccentric art epicenter, a giant redwood forest, and an ocean dashing itself madly against sandstone cliff sides.
Puerto Vallarta’s Chocolate Trail
Indulge your cravings, boost your health and unfold its rich history
Mayan texts describe the drink made from Mayan chocolate as a luxury only afforded to the nobility and wealthy to enjoy.
For travelers with a passion for chocolate, Mexico’s rich chocolate heritage allows for an indulgent trip. Especially in Puerto Vallarta, where you’ll find no shortage of ways to explore its bounties. From classic treats to unexpected delights, Puerto Vallarta’s chocolate scene offers a bevy of delectable options to satisfy your cravings, boost your health, and discover its past.
A PERFECT GETAWAY IN CAMBRIA
Once upon a time, the king ruled his kingdom from his enchanted castle of stately sophistication and grand opulence, perched high on the mountaintop moated by acres of lush, sprawling meadows home to cattle, zebras and dancing gazelles. Gazing do west out over the Pacific Ocean, lies a secluded harbor dotted with moored sailboats and frolicking sea lions. To the southwest, the ragged hills covered with Monterey Pines flow down to translucent opal colored pebbles beaches. Welcome to Central California’s town of Cambria Pines, now known as Cambria by the Sea. One of the few places on California’s coastline where the forest meets the sea.
TWO DAYS OF BLISS IN THIS SEASIDE TOWN
Monterey is a lovely, exciting yet peaceful city where the mountains bow to the sea and all the colors of nature grow everywhere in between. The crowning jewel is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which attracts thousands of visitors each year and is well worthy of its reputation to amaze you, but that is just the start of attractions that await you in this seaside town. With so many options for browsing, marine life voyeurisms, seafood dining, theaters, wine tasting, beach strolling, kayaking, shopping or biking, it offers an endless playground no matter which your interests are. For Northern Californians, Monterey is less than a two hour drive south of San Francisco, along Highway 1, and makes for a perfect mini getaway.
Noyo Harbor Inn and Restaurant
An Historic California Luxury Gem
It was just before dawn and the morning fog started to lift off the water’s surface revealing the heart of Noyo Harbor. You could hear a soft humming noise coming from a fishing boats engine as it heads out to sea leaving a wake that sends a sailboats tall mast to appear above the fog tips, bobbing up and down like it was sending Morse Code. Moments later the barking sea lion gracefully slides back into the salty water in search of breakfast as two kayakers glide effortlessly towards the mouth of the river’s entrance. The harbor is awakening.
THE LEGACY OF CAL-FRENCH CUISINE, LIKE WINE, KEEPS GETTING BETTER WITH TIME.
Quietly tucked away on a quiet tree-lined street lies one of Mendocino Coast’s premier restaurants. Cafe Beaujolais has a storied history, a legacy of incredible cuisine, exemplary service and a truly extensive beverage list. This local favorite is one of the ‘must taste’ experiences on a visit to Mendocino.
The town of Morro Bay is a celebration of life
The picturesque seaside village of Morro Bay, along California’s iconic Hwy 1, sports miles of unspoiled beaches, an authentic fishing harbor, and, of course, the rock.
The Paso Robles wine Trail
Paso Robles has become one of California’s most exciting wine regions. Ten years ago there were less than 35 wineries here. Today there are over 300 and the wines they make are increasing in acclaim and recognition.