by Wally Hofmann
A unique and luxuriously-nostalgic, lodging experience awaits travelers to California’s Central Coast. Ninety years of history have been resurrected with the restoration and reopening of the historic Santa Barbara Auto Camp located in the heart of Santa Barbara, just a 15-minute walk from the old Santa Barbara Mission.
For the past month, neighbors have been admiring the re-landscaped park entrance that features four smartly-renovated Airstream trailers. The SB Auto Camp is part of an existing RV park that houses 30 other trailers from varying manufacturers. Several dozen local residents live fulltime at the park – some have called it home for more than four decades. The Airstreams are now available for nightly rentals online at www.SBAutoCamp.com.
The SB Auto Camp is located a short bike ride southeast of Santa Barbara’s bustling Downtown shopping district. Major shopping centers are within a half mile, and quaint local shops, services, and eateries are next door and across the street on De La Vina. Continue Reading »
Cars have carports, why can’t a house have a house port? Designer Hally Thacher was looking to build an eco-friendly home and was inspired by the structures that sheltered hay, alfalfa and farm equipment in the area of northern California where she had grown up. Her House Port and PopUP House designs make for a very interesting concept in home building.
The PopUP House is available in several configurations which are prefabricated and shipped flat-packed to the building site. The PopUP House consists of interior/exterior insulated panels. Over the top of the PopUP is the prefabbed House Port (the large freestanding roof) that protects the home against weather, keeps a consistent temperature throughout the hot summer and offers a covered outdoor area. Several smaller versions of the PopUP, called Cubes, can even be purchased and placed like a small village under the House Port. Continue Reading »
For this Christmas Eve, I thought I would do a post on a couple of classic, red cabooses that have been made into the offices of the beautiful Osmosis Day Spa in Freestone, California. Osmosis is located in the tiny hamlet between Santa Rosa and Bodega Bay and features a Japanese-style retreat with bonsai, bamboo and Buddha. The spa offers massages, mud baths and their signature cedar enzyme bath.
Each of the recycled train cabooses are located in the backyard of the spa and hold storage areas and computer equipment. They are also nice places for the staff to hang out and have lunch. Over 25 years, the garden has grown up around each caboose, making them look as if they’ve sprouted out of the ground.
The Osmosis Spa is one of the greenest spas in the world. The spa recycles water from its own wetlands and uses the water for local irrigation. The spa is a founding member of the Green Spa Network and uses sustainable practices in its business.
Photos by Christina Nellemann
About 4 years ago, when our first born was only a year old, we caught the road tripping bug and decided to buy a small travel trailer. We began traveling locally in California and Arizona and fell in love with the lifestyle.
A year later, as we were expecting our second child, we upgraded to a 25-foot Airstream and began contemplating longer and more extensive road trips. Being self-employed in the software industry, we were able to work from anywhere. Even though our home in California was a small bungalow less than 1,000 square feet, we felt like it was a lot of space for our little family of 4.
When our second daughter was just 5-months old, we packed up and left our house for a cross country road trip. Unlike most other road trips, this one was not a vacation but rather a working, living, and learning experience on the road. For the next 4 months, we lived in our Airstream with less than 200 square feet of space. We learned to live small, conserve our resources and were surprised that we were happier than ever. Continue Reading »
This last summer, my husband and I took a three day whitewater rafting trip on the South Fork of the American River in central California. This area of the state has a culture of its own. While the mountains and the coast have the ski and surf bum, the American River is home to the seasonal river guide. Many of these river guides come from all over the country to raft and kayak one of the most popular rivers in the West and they live from May to October in a hodgepodge of dwellings.
The river guides we rafted, ate and played in the water with lived in tents at nearby campgrounds, in temporary buildings on land leased by various rafting companies or in VW buses in the parking lot. One of the guides even lived the entire summer in a hammock strung up between two live oak trees. The guides used the campground bathrooms and showers and cooked in outdoor kitchens. Around the river, and in the massive, thorny blackberry bushes these free spirits squat in what might seem like terrible living conditions, but what they see as the best way to experience the river. Continue Reading »
John Woods says: On a recent trip to San Diego, I came across this cute collection of tiny cottages just off the pier in Ocean Beach, California. I snapped these pictures from the pier while looking back towards the shore.
It was a little hazy the day I visited, but what a great place to sit and watch surfers at sunset just blocks away from Downtown Ocean Beach. The cottages are located on Niagara Avenue right at the end of the pier.