Rachel Macdonald

Remmy Macdonald

Rachel Macdonald

My first trip abroad was at age 10 to the wonderful beaches of Brittany and I have been an ardent fan of butter laden pastries and hot chocolate served in a bowl ever since!

Travel is my obsession; and I use the word in its broadest sense. I am a permanent armchair traveller plus have been lucky enough to physically trip off to some amazing places including Hong Kong, Hawaii and er... Hastings. (What can I say - I love the seaside!)

Food forms the major pleasure factor for me when travelling as I find that it can be a wonderful talking point with producers, sellers, restraunters - even the nearest stranger. However, this does mean my blogs tend to have a foodie focus...be prepared to drool.




May 2nd was technically the last day on the road and we set off for our last stop, San Francisco with great excitement. We had decided to stay in a more residential part of town, Japantown, so that we could get a better sense of SF and an attempt to feel a little more anchored than the previous weeks. It was nice to not feel like a full-on tourist and the local bars and restaurants in nearby Fillmore were warm and welcoming; so much so that we enjoyed two meals out in that area. The first was at a fabulous seafood place, the Woodhouse Fish Company; the food was amazing and well worth the hour wait. In fact we waited in Florio across the road which impressed us so much we went back the next day ... read more
Alcatraz
Lombard Street


Our journey from LV to the coast of California was relatively uneventful. We broke it up with a slight detour to Antelope Valley and the California Poppy Reserve. This is an area of 8-miles or so of trails that weave through vast numbers of poppies and wild flowers. Unfortunately the best displays of the flora were to be found just outside of the park and my husband thought it was hilarious to sit in the car and photograph me picking my way through the undergrowth trying to get a good picture of the flowers. Note to self: do your research and wear more appropriate clothing when venomous snakes are going to be present. (For a laugh see my husband’s favourite picture. Sundress and walking boots - not a good look.) Luckily, I made it out of ... read more
Sundress and walking boots - fashion faux pas!!
Hearst Castle - outside pool
Hearst Castle - inside pool

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas April 29th 2011

Before anyone else says it, I am well aware that Las Vegas isn’t in California and therefore I’m playing a little fast and loose with the term ‘California Roadtrip’. But we had planned this jaunt into Nevada for a very good reason. Our second wedding anniversary was on the 29th April and, as we got married in Las Vegas, it would have been rude not to pop back. Plus we LOVE Vegas; for the amazing food, affordable luxury but also for the feeling that, at any moment, you can win a life-altering amount of money. It’s like the 10 minutes before the National Lottery draw on a Saturday but unceasing. Well for as long as you are in Vegas. Our main vice while in Sin City should come as no surprise to you by now; food. ... read more
Stratosphere and the Strip
The Wedding Chapel Avenue!
 A view from the Wynn Golfcourse


Unfortunately, when we headed out to explore Lake Tahoe the winds were still at full speed so a steam boat trip was out. Instead, we drove along the lakeside between Zephyr Cove and Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed parts of the lake. Whilst undeniably beautiful, I found Lake Tahoe to be bit of a tourist trap. And, like any place out of season, it had a somewhat deserted feel about it. But dinner that night did take the edge off our disappointment. We went to Tahoe Keys (a recommendation in one of the magazines in the room) and had a stunning meal at The Fresh Ketch. This little place overlooks the Marina and served us some of the best calamari and crab cakes we have ever tasted. The staff were incredibly friendly as were ... read more
Emerald Bay Steamboat
Yosemite Panorama
Yosemite Falls

North America » United States » California » Lake Tahoe April 24th 2011

After setting off at the crack of dawn the next morning and falling upon Trinidad Bay just 24 miles north, we realised that pre-booking every hotel wasn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do on a road trip. Yes, it helps manage the costs (and Si's discomfort with ‘winging it’) but falling upon the Trinidad Bay B&B made us realise that we could have had a much different night. Some planning issues were discussed - heatedly - but the bay area was quiet and peaceful enough to soothe tired tempers and after a spot of walking on the beach we were back on our way with humour back intact. From Trinidad Bay we headed up past Patrick’s Point and the Big Lagoon to Orick. The original plan was to start heading east towards Mount Shasta from there ... read more
Trinidad Bay  - view from the B+B
Trinidad Bay - the driftwood bench
Elk Meadow near Orick

North America » United States » California » Eureka April 22nd 2011

Day 3 started early again as we had one of our longer drives up part of Highway 1- the coastal Highway- to Eureka. We decided to have breakfast in the extremely charming town of Yountville (Best croissant of the trip so far goes to the Bouchon Bakery). This was another recommended place to stay in the Winelands and given the amount of restaurants (The French Laundry, Bottega, Bouchon, Redd and Bistro Jeanty to name-drop those that were recommended to us), the closeness of some great vineyards and the general cuteness of the place, we would come back here if staying for a longer period of time. From Yountville, we decided to travel to Eureka via the Silverado Trail; passing a good chunk of the Napa wineries. This trail was formerly one of the most important trade ... read more
Avenue of the Giants
Avenue of the Giants - Remmy
Sunlit Leaf in the Redwood Forest


The 21st April started with a quick jaunt around Sonoma Plaza. The Plaza is a one of America's 'Historic Landmarks' and heralds itself as 'the birthplace of American California' - it was where the Republic of California was briefly formed after a quick squirmish and relatively diplomatic overturn of the Commandant of Northern California, Mariano Guadelupe Vellejo on the 14th June 1846. It was nationalised 25 days later in the American-Mexican war in but the Californian Republic flag still frequents as many household porches in Sonoma as the Stars and Stripes. Along with some true American history, Sonoma Plaza and the streets around it are home to some fabulous restaurants and an astounding amount of French-inspired shops. Judging from the plethora of these shops, they must have pillaged every chateau in France of its furniture and ... read more
Sonoma - wine barrels
Sonoma - California Poppies and Vines
Sonoma Vinyard


Si, my husband, and I landed as scheduled and picked up our 4x4 Jeep just in time to hit the rush hour of San Francisco. Dismay quickly turned into joy as the google map directions that we had printed well in advance took us the most direct route to Wine Country - over the Golden Gate Bridge. The slow traffic was a blessing and we got to see our first glimpse of Alcatraz and Angel Island on one side and the open waters of the pacific on the other. That view, along with the iconic ruby-red bridge is breathtaking; and set the butterflies in my stomach somersaulting. The hour-long drive from the bridge to Wine Country is a real joy. The 101 is the Redwood Highway so we knew from the outset that we were going ... read more




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