RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Santa Barbara – part two – by evening’s light

After freshening up at the hotel in Montecito (stay tuned for Part Three) we drove to the beach area. To be accurate, BG did all the driving. Thanks BG. As we strolled along Cabrillo Blvd we noticed this lovely restaurant patio. The menu looked good so decision made.

We ate dinner at Due Lune Ristorante-Bar. I ordered the Garden Party salad accompanied by the house red wine which was pretty decent. BG chose a pasta dish which looked very pretty in bright green.

We could easily have been in Sorrento, Italy! There was a nice view of Stearns Wharf, the beach and people passing by.

I love taking these Southern California getaways. We have so much to do and see in our own back yard!

It was such a gorgeous evening. The few occasions over the years when I’ve been in Santa Barbara as the sun is going down I have always been struck by the golden light as the mountains are bathed in a pink and purple glow.

Click on an image below to start the slide show:

On the walk back to the car this quirky abandoned mail box on the street caught my attention… I couldn’t just leave it standing there without taking a photograph!

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two afternoon

 

worthing

Upon returning from Highdown, M and I retreated to our respective hotels to freshen up with the plan to meet up in an hour. Neither of us was interested in dinner as the late lunch at the Highdown Teahouse had filled us up.

When I first arrived at the Chatsworth Hotel the previous afternoon I stepped out on to the little terrace outside my room.

worthing

I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the view of the Stagecoach bus depot next door but the idea wasn’t to spend too much time in the room anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.

I heard cats meowing and thought some strays were living out on the roof. I thought it would be a good idea to report this to the front desk.  I looked around for the cats but couldn’t see any felines.worthing

worthing

Is this a plush nest or what?

Thank goodness I didn’t report the cats.

With my zoom lens I noticed on the roof of the building across the way there were several seagulls nesting.

worthing

Dad is on lookout while Mom sits on the nest

The baby birds were quite vocal. “Meow, dinner! Meow, dinner! Meow! Meow!” I would never have lived that down as the crazy American tourist who can’t tell seagulls from cats…

M and I met up and decided to walk eastward along the Worthing seafront. Worthing sits on The English Channel about 60 miles (96 km) south of London and approximately 160 miles (257 km) from the nearest point in France.

worthing

This had been another lovely day but both of us needed to be up early the next morning. M was returning to his home in Chelmsford and I was headed for Brighton, so we said our goodbyes.

worthing

When I’m in England there are certain things I absolutely have to eat. One of those is Cadbury Flakes. Marks & Spencers sold them in packs of four so what could I do? My plan was to eat one a day… yeah, right. So the pack was my dinner. Oh, yum.

I was rather restless and getting my second wind after eating the chocolate so I wandered on down to the lounge area in the hotel. I was in time for Happy Hour so I decided to be happy. I purchased a glass of Merlot and sat by the open window watching the cars go by and some young men playing football (soccer) in the park across the street…. the Steyne.

worthing

worthingLife doesn’t get much better than this. I was determined to suck up every moment and engrave it in my mind, because as much as I would like to return, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to visit Worthing again.

worthing

 


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It’s all about the animals at Malibu Family Wines’ Saddlerock Ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

How could you not love this face? As much as I enjoyed taking photos of the gorgeous landscapes at Saddlerock Ranch, shooting the animals was definitely my favorite part. As I don’t know a gnu from an emu, I am not going to attempt to name all of the animals… I am sure they don’t care anyway, leaving such mundane and unimportant endeavours to us nit-picking humans.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

I do know what a zebra looks like… if you are from England you know they are named after zebra crossings! Oy, we are getting some of those in my neighborhood… but that’s a story for another day. These guys (or gals, what do I know?) obviously went to modeling school to learn how to pose for the camera.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Yessssss, you are handsome… did you know that a zebra’s background color is black and the white stripes and tummies grow as additions?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

What great expressions: we disdain you humans taking our pictures, but oh, wait, get our good side! These are llamas, am I right?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

This guy is a work of art: a walking collage and still working on it.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Some of the horses and donkeys were wearing fly masks. The animals can see fine through the mesh. Some of the animals not wearing the masks had eyes full of flies. My guess is the flies liked the moisture.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Hmm, something looks interesting over there!

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

All the animals were eager to have their photos taken… seemed like it was the highlight of their day.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

I loved their hairstyles. Who needs a perm?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchSorry not everybody is bringing carrots for you to snack on.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchJust a baby – er – thingie.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchI think these are bridles… I’m not a horse expert so forgive me if I am wrong. I just liked the look of them hanging on the fence.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

These horses were getting their aerobic workouts for the day.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

The whole bison family lined up for the family portrait. They know how they earn their living!

malibu-family-wines-060114-146-C-850px

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Mother and child bison… notice the family resemblance?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Somebody said “Look over there…”

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

These guys said this baby will be a piece of cake to rope because he doesn’t yet know what the lasso means… the joke was on them as they never did get the lasso on him. He had crawled through the fence from next door and eventually made it back all on his own.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Okay, okay… enough zebras already!!!!!! But they are so darn cute. Unlike their cousins the horses, zebras have never been domesticated.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Angelina Jolie who???

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Nothing like a cool bath on a warm day… I could have jumped in with him and had a splash fight.

And so we say adieu to the Saddlerock animals. We also saw camels from the van, but not in the section we had access to this time.

See part one of my day at Saddlerock ranch here.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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An encore visit to Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch

malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

My previous visit to the Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch was in July of 2011 when I was part of a group of tour guides on an exploratory trip. You can see my post about that here. This time I was back for a photography opportunity with a group of fellow photography students.

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

Visitors from out of town, and even Angelenos, are surprised to learn that we have vineyards in our own backyard. This area is a mere 34-mile drive from my house in Culver City. No need to fly all the way to Napa Valley in Northern California!

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

The vineyards consist of approximately 60,000 vines on 65 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

According to the website: With the high altitude and separation from the coast, along with an ideal blend of weather conditions and rich, rocky soil, it’s the perfect environment for growing premium wine grapes.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

The Saddleback Ranch area affords many photographic opportunities like this vintage Yellow Cab no longer in operation.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

These Airstream trailers look like the makings for a dream vacation… but they are merely props to remind us of a bygone era.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Beautiful grassy area ideal for an event. Your wedding?

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

With our Mediterranean climate Southern California is like being in Italy or Greece or Spain. And whenever I visit those places I feel like I am still back in Southern California!

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

As a wino, it is lovely being in the midst of grape growing country. On my previous visit I tasted some of the wines and they have a Syrah that tastes like it is made in heaven. Well, Southern California is pretty close (when you are not fighting traffic!).

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

This area is home to a lot of rocky outcrops formed by, you got it… earthquakes…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Classic Airstream with 50s pink flamingo… wouldn’t you love to spend a week here? Well, a weekend, anyway…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Sunlight on the grape leaves. My parents used to grow grapes in their patio and I would pick the luscious leaves every year, brine them and stuff them with rice and raisins… oh yum.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Another kind of trailer. I could see myself getting up before dawn, sitting in that rocking chair and watching the sun rise across the vineyards with a good cup of coffee.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

I love this photo. It says what this area is all about. Even though there are no people in the photo it expresses the idea of you and I relaxing in the midst of the grape vines. One of my favorite photos of the day.

Part Two will be about the animals on the ranch. Stay tuned!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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A tasty trip to Malibu’s wine country

Malibu wine tasting

Outdoor wine tasting at Malibu Wines

Sun, wine, zebras, sand traps—these were all elements of a memorable Wednesday in Malibu. S invited some of her fellow tour guides to a wine sampling at Malibu Wines on Mulholland Highway at Kanan Dume Road in Malibu, California.

All five of us packed into J’s SUV in the early afternoon for our trip from West Los Angeles up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). It was a spectacular day with clear views from Palos Verdes to the Malibu Peninsula. When the sky is free of haze Santa Catalina Island, 20 miles off mainland Los Angeles, is easily visible. But on this unusually pristine day it was so clear we could see the outlines of buildings on the island.

The Pacific Ocean has many colors in its palette depending on the weather. This day we were treated to a deep teal/turquoise with choppy white wavelets. Unfortunately, on the trip along PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu there is not a continuous view of the ocean as it is obstructed by beach houses and condos two or three stories high. There are stretches of hundreds of yards where there is not so much as a crack of daylight between buildings. In effect, unless you are particularly interested in creative uses of stucco, this drive can be pretty boring and disappointing to out-of-town guests.

We turned right off PCH on to Kanan Dume Road. Once through the tunnel you are in an entirely different country. In fact, you are in the country. The vista changes to rolling green hillsides decorated with yellow monkey flowers (mimulus brevipes). I felt like I was back in Italy as the vineyards came into view with neat rows of plantings climbing the slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains. Who knew there was a flourishing wine industry just 35 miles west of downtown Los Angeles?

Malibu wine tasting

Our congenial bartender

We found a shady spot to park the car and were greeted by B who directed us to the wine tasting area which is an outdoor walkup bar. We were instructed to pick our choice of wine tastings from three flights: Semler Estate, Saddlerock Ranch or a flight of light wines. As I prefer reds, I picked the Ranch flight. Our server was most congenial, describing each wine as he poured.

My first taste was a Chardonnay. As I am not a connoisseur of white wines, I really can’t comment. The next two wines were a Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon which were both fine. I have probably drunk more Pinot and Cab in my lifetime than most people but neither of these appeal  to me anymore.

Malibu wine tasting

Shady umbrellas at Malibu Wines

The last wine on my list was a Syrah. For the past year, since a friend and I enjoyed a first-rate bottle of Syrah at a popular Culver City restaurant near my house, I have been a big fan of this variety. So my anticipation level for this wine was very high and it could have been a huge letdown. I picked up the glass and sniffed a little. I had already read the description which promised a “nose of blackberries, blueberries and a hint of vanilla.”  So far so good.

I took the first sip. Let me just say that at that very moment in time I could not recall ever tasting a better wine. Maybe it was the beautiful day, maybe it was the lovely environment. Nevertheless, my lips were caressed by the finest silk, angels sang, perfume filled my nostrils, I felt gossamer wings of butterflies on my tongue and I envisioned endless fields of summer flowers. If I had tasted this wine first I would not have wanted to spoil it with any other.

Lest you think we were all tipsy by now, each tasting was about one-eighth of a normal serving of wine, enough to get a good sense of the flavors, but not enough to become inebriated.

Malibu wine tasting

Saddle rock formation at Saddlerock Ranch

Our hostess then offered to take us on a tour of Saddlerock Ranch (the namesake of my wine flight.) We piled into her truck and took off down the road. We were in ranch country, no doubt about it. Could we still possibly be in Los Angeles?

This is one of the reasons I love living in LA as we have such a large variety of scenarios to choose from. Take your pick of snow-covered mountains, sandy beaches, desert landscapes, world class orchestras or art museums, the country life with horses or big-city living with skyscrapers—you can have it all and if you drive fast, sometimes in the same day!

We arrived at the Saddlerock Ranch gate, having no idea what to expect with the exception that we would be looking at some grapevines—okay. Have you visited Denali Park in Alaska where from the comfort of the bus you see magnificent vistas, including Mt. McKinley (Denali) and various kinds of wildlife. This was a mini version of that excursion, but southern California-style.

Malibu wine tasting

Airstream camping grounds

First of all, Saddlerock is just that: a rocky formation jutting out of the landscape in the shape of a horse saddle. Then, happily grazing or sleeping in their various corrals we encountered bison, llamas, camels, zebras—and horses, of course. Throughout the ranch we viewed staged vignettes of country living from days gone by including a John Deere tractor, an Airstream trailer park (albeit not functional) and a big yellow 50s taxi. The whole time I was still tasting that wonderful Syrah, imagining that it was actually grown on the vines we were passing on our tour (I know, it really comes from the Central Coast).

The adventure continued as we climbed back on board the truck. Next stop, the Malibu Golf Club on Encinal Canyon Road. Upon entering the clubhouse we noticed the high wood panel ceiling was dotted with dollar bills and we were conjecturing how they got up there.

Malibu wine tasting

Malibu Golf Club

The restaurant windows provide a wide view overlooking the golf course which is lined with trees in a picturesque setting surrounded by the greenery of the Santa Monica’s. The outside bar is a converted cargo container with chandeliers made of wine glasses and wine bottles. Very creative recycling.

We returned to Malibu Wines where B graciously provided us with a bottle of wine of our own choosing to split five ways. S and I pumped for the Syrah and the others (wisely) acquiesced. We sat at a table in the garden shaded by an umbrella, contentedly munching on crackers and nuts as we shared that scintillating Syrah. I could have stayed the rest of the afternoon and evening soaking up the peace and serenity (not to mention the wine). But it was the end of our idyllic visit. The traffic and civilization were beckoning.

On the return trip we noticed a dome structure on the hillside to the south of Kanan Dume Road. In the sunlight it glowed as if built of copper.  Searching the internet later on, I discovered it is a house constructed of wood which you can check out by clicking here.

As we turned off Kanan Dume on to PCH, the sparkling Pacific Ocean was still waiting for us with its many hues of blues and greens. We all agreed we were indeed fortunate to live in southern California in such close proximity to so much of nature’s bounty.

For a photo gallery, click here. Some of the photos of the ranch may be a tad blurry as they were taken from a moving truck.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins.)