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resort pueblo bonito rose

Pueblo Bonito Rose.

I said the name aloud as I reread my confirmation email. My first ever trip to Los Cabos was booked and I was staying at a Pueblo Bonito resort. Just a little bit of my background on staying at an all-inclusive resort – I had zero experience. So not only was it my first time in Cabo, it was also my first time at an all-inclusive resort. I had no expectations, which was both a good thing and also a not so good thing. On one hand, it was an entirely new experience and I could be pleasantly surprised in every way. On the other hand, it was an entirely new experience and I could also be unpleasantly surprised.

So how did it go?

Let me break it down for you.

pueblo bonito rose cabo

The Location:

There are basically two parts of Cabo – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo. I could write a whole blog post on the differences, but for the simplicity of this post, Pueblo Bonito Rose is in Cabo San Lucas. It is farther away from the airport, but closer to El Arco and Land’s End. The resort is about 35-40 minutes from the airport depending on the speed of your shuttle driver.

You can also arrange airport shuttles to and from the airport and your Pueblo Bonito resort for about $14 USD. However, you need to make your reserves 24 hours in advance or…well, you’ll end up like me and need to get an expensive private taxi because your plane is leaving in 1.5 hours and there are no other options.

But I digress.

We pulled up to Pueblo Bonito Rose a few hours before check-in, but they held our bags and gave us our all-inclusive wristbands while we waited for our room to be ready. We ate breakfast just a few steps from the sand and beautiful water.

pueblo bonito rose restaurant

It is also right next to a dozen other resorts, restaurants, and hype bars along the Medano Beach coastline. Some of the most famous restaurants and bars are less than a 10 minute walk from Pueblo Bonito Rose: Mango Deck, The Office, Edith’s, and Sur Beach House. But yanno, since I was all-inclusive, I visited absolutely zero of those places. BUT, they’re close! Always gotta have options, right?

It’s also close to a lot of the Cabo attractions, and by attractions, I mean Land’s End. Land’s End is where El Arco, Lover’s Beach, Divorce Beach, and all other stages of marriage are wrapped up into one quick glass-bottom boat ride from Medano Beach. They are the iconic experiences in Los Cabos, and you can book a boat tour directly from the hotel if you don’t feel like haggling with the vendors on the beach.

As far as hanging out in town, the marina is a 6 minute taxi ride (or 17 minute walk!) from the resort and is surrounded by tons of shopping, food, and nightlife.

The Room:

Let’s talk about the room. I booked the junior suite and paid for my room and the inclusive package myself, so this wasn’t a sponsored trip or anything. I’m not an expert on square footage, but the room comfortably fit two double beds, a living/dining area with a table and chairs, a fully stocked kitchenette, and the TV (and TV stand). A good size! I didn’t use the kitchenette (because i don’t even cook at home so im not gonna cook on vacation), but everything was updated and modern. The bathroom was GORGEOUS, and extremely spacious! The provided toiletries were nicer than the ones I brought from home haha.

pueblo bonito rose bed

Each junior suite also comes with either a private balcony (that’s what I got!) or private terrace (for rooms on the first floor).  The room will either have an ocean view or a garden/pool view. I requested an ocean view, but I ended up with the garden view. As it turned out, however, I could see both the pool and the ocean!

The other option is the luxury suite, but ya girl aint ballin like that.

pueblo bonito rose room

 

The Amenities:

The pool is probably the amenity people care about the most. I’m not much of a pool person, so I’ll just give you the facts and let you be the judge.

pool pueblo bonito rose

  1. It’s pretty big
  2. There’s a “scuba” tub, whatever that means
  3. There are lots of shallow places to chill
  4. Lots of chairs
  5. Plenty of shaded areas and sun areas
  6. Close to food
  7. Has basketball hoop

How would you rate the pool on a scale of 0 (the pool at Circus Circus in Las Vegas aka worse than not having a pool) to 10 ?

The spa was also a really amazing experience! I had never had any sort of spa treatment or massage, so my first spa day was…well, it was an adventure. It was also amazing though. I had never felt so relaxed in my entire life. The staff was friendly, helpful, accommodating, and sooo so good with their hands.

I will write a separate post dedicated to my experience at the spa, so I won’t drop TOO many details here, but know this: it was named one of the Top 10 Hotel Spas of Mexico, Central, and South America by the readers of Travel + Leisure.

armonia spa

Pueblo Bonito doesn’t mess around when it comes to relaxing. The resort also has a state of the art fitness centers, and all-inclusive guests have unlimited access! There are super sleek treadmills, ellipticals, and weights. They even offer daily activities like dance lessons, yoga (even on the beach!!) and water aerobics in the pool. I had full intention of visiting the fitness center, but as with my everyday life, I didn’t.

I mentioned before that the resort offers shuttles to and from the airport, but they also have shuttles that can take you between the sister resorts, Pacifica, Sunset Beach, Los Cabos, and Montecristo Estates.

The Activities:

Just a few of the activities offered by the Pueblo Bonito family include:

  • Spanish Lessons – check
  • Tennis Courts – check
  • Water Aerobics – check
  • Salsa Lessons – check check
  • Botanical and Nature Preserve Tours – check
  • Bingo – B4 check
  • Cooking and Bartending Classes – check   

Here is what a daily schedule of the resort activities might look like.

things to do in los cabos

There’s always something to do at Pueblo Bonito Rose, or some new skill to learn (I’m a champion at black jack now). You aren’t just confined to the resort though. You can swim with dolphins at the Cabo Dolphins Marine Center and even become a “Trainer for a Day” program for a more hands-on experience. Me personally, I don’t trust dolphins.

Los Cabos is known (at least to biologists) for it’s marine wildlife. You can take a whale watching tour or snorkel in the Sea of Cortez, one of the most diverse seas on the planet. There are also ATV tours, city tours, food tours (yaas), ziplining, horseback riding, camel riding (I’m serious), boat cruises, and tons of desert exploration. All of this, at your fingertips.

pueblo bonito rose relax

Even the nightlife was bangin – AND CLOSE BY. If you have the all-inclusive package, Pueblo Bonito Rose will HOOK YOU UP with the pre-game realness. After one or two (or seven, who’s counting?) drinks, head over to the best bars and clubs in town. Cabo Wabo, Blue Marlin (LITERALLY RIGHT NEXT DOOR), El Squid Roe, The Giggling Marlin, and the Nowhere Bar, just to name a few. If you’ve been to the clubs in Cancun, then you’ll even recognize a few famed clubs like Mandala, La Vaquita, and Senor Frog’s.

The Food:

The food was my favorite part of the whole experience. It was delicious. I’m not a gastro connoisseur by any means, but I know good food when I taste it. There are a few different restaurants at Pueblo Bonito Rose, but I fell in love with the buffet and didn’t end up trying all of them.

I would make a terrible food blogger.

My favorite spot for breakfast was the buffet. In fact, I was so obsessed I didn’t go anywhere else for breakfast. There were tons of options, BUT TRUST ME WHEN I SAY TO GET THE FRENCH TOAST. It was the  best I’ve ever had. Imagine the perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and…uh, whatever else is in French Toast. 

pueblo bonito buffet

The buffet also had eggs and sausage and stations to order omelettes and whatnot – yanno, all of the usual American breakfast staples. They also had Mexican breakfast items too, and allll of the fresh fruit you could ever imagine. AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE BREAD BAR. It’s basically a whole table dedicated to bread, muffins, bagels, and all things sweet carb related. I had died and gone to heaven. The buffet also featured a table perfect for kids, with juice boxes and finger sandwiches.

For lunch, there are a few different options, but I’ll touch on the sushi place! Again, gorgeous seating and it was the best Kung Pao chicken I’ve ever had (in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico of all places??)

pueblo bonito rose sushi

Since I spent a large amount of the day by the pool, sampling absolutely everything was the most logical thing to do. My top recommendations would be the Caesar salad, the BBQ wings (yaaaaz), and the BLAT (bacon lettuce avocado tomato) sandwich was super dope! I didn’t personally try the ceviche, but a group next to me ordered like 20 of them so i have a feeling its really good too.

pool service pueblo bonito

For dinner, the best you can get is at the Quivira Steakhouse. Its REAAAL NICE. Like, 5 stars plus some. It is not completely included in the all inclusive package, but it only only costs $35 extra for a fancy multiple course meal with UNLIMITED BREAD and OLIVES. The meat was insanely juicy and tender, and the dessert was amazing. I don’t even like cheesecake, but I couldn’t stop eating it. 

I chose a sunset reservation, and I’m so glad I did. The restaurant is right on the beach (I’m sensing a theme) and since it’s on the other side of the mountain, you get to see the full sunset on the horizon.

pueblo bonito restaurant

The service was outstanding, what you would expect from any fine dining establishment. Also, I love  added touch of the heat lamps – it can get chilly at night! The staff even offered a throw blanket for a woman who was sitting a little further away from the lamp. She looked real cozy. I had the opportunity to speak with Chef Carlos. His eyes danced with passion when he told me about his cooking and the restaurant. That’s how ya know you’ve picked a good place. 

Some notable mentions that I didn’t have the chance to try were the restaurants at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach. They have a whole market area with different shops and cuisine. I had stopped by after my dinner at the Steakhouse and I was already stuffed to the brim.

The Dings:

When I was trying to decide between which resort to pick, I had no idea what to look for or what I wanted out of the experience. Thus, I turned to the tripadvisor and hotel.com reviews. Pueblo Bonito Rose was practically untouchable in all areas – however, there was one ding.

The “most common” ding from the internet reviews (though still rare) was that the service was bad or slow. I personally didn’t experience this. Granted, I wasn’t there during Spring Break, but it was still the relatively high season. At all the restaurants I visited, everyone was seated either immediately or within a minute or two. Excluding the buffet (because that’s self serve), the wait time for ordering and receiving food was normal. Beverage options were offered right away. Honestly, all the restaurants were top notch in service.

The pool service worked a little differently. There was a longer wait, but I also don’t go to a pool to immediately eat. The staff made their rounds asking for food and drink orders every fifteen minutes or so. They visited less often if you didn’t seem to order, more often if you started putting in requests (especially if you wanted to keep the drinks flowing).

One day, I had been chilling on a lounge chair by the pool for about half an hour and an older guy came to sit next to me. After about three minutes or so, he started grumbling and wondering where is the waiter. “Yanno, they have some terrible service, right?” He said to me.

I ignored him and stared harder at my phone.

Seven minutes later, the waiter drops by to check in on our area. “About time!” The guy complained, “I had been waiting forever.” He had been waiting for ten minutes. Most of the “bad service” complaints lined up with situations like that. So, while I don’t want to necessarily discredit someone’s experience, both myself and the vast majority of guests had a 4 or 5-star experience. As with any place you travel, be humble and respectful.

My only real piece of advice for someone staying at Pueblo Bonito Rose is to know that the concierge and the person who arranges the shuttles are not at all connected. The shuttles operate semi-independent from the hotel concierge, so make sure you contact the right personnel for shuttle concerns (like losing an item on the shuttle or making shuttle reservations).

At some point, I will get around to doing a short piece on what I thought of the sister resorts, but for now I’ll wrap things up. I am glad my first all-inclusive resort was with Pueblo Bonito Rose. It was more than exceeded my expectations. 

You can get more detailed information and book your stay at Pueblo Bonito Rose on their website  !

The Awkward Traveller’s Rating : 5/5

Have you ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort? What are some resort must-haves for you?

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chihuly, ballroom, glass, glassblowing, art

Chihuly is known for his amazing manipulation of glass and the technique that has turned his art into a household name. Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington, and his home state has an entire museum dedicated to his art in the city of Seattle. If you really want to overdose in glass-blown artwork, then the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is the place to do it. BUT, if you are on a strict timeline, or tight budget, or just kind of hate artwork in general…is it really a must-see Seattle attraction?

I mean, really.

How exciting can glass be?

Well, fret not. I volunteered as tribute to get you the inside scoop on this museum! If you are hesitant over visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum during a trip to Seattle,  keep reading!

THE ENTRY

Probably the biggest turn-off for a lot of museums is the price. So let’s get that out of the way first.

General Admission for ages 13-64 is $24 USD.

Are you alive? Still with me?

Maybe I’m cheap, but to me, the price was pretty steep. Granted, I haven’t had to shell out for the Color Factory in SF or the Museum of Ice Cream, but for just a normal non-instaglory museum, it’s on the high end. If you’re on a tight budget in Seattle, that miiiight be the deal breaker. However if you’re doing some sort of package admission, it could average out to be cheaper for you (e.g. getting the Space Needle + Chihuly combo ticket = $38).

If you can afford the steep entrance fee, then you’re in. They have a pretty strict policy that you can’t “hold anything in your hands inside the museum,” but if you can stuff all of your crap into a purse or bag, you should be golden.

When I visited, the first exhibit on display was the “Northwest Room, Baskets“, filled with sculptures modeled after Native American culture and Navajo textiles. Chihuly’s artistic background also included weaving, which came in handy when conceptualizing these glass sculptures to resemble Native American baskets that had slumped over time.

chihuly museum 1

 

The room also showcased Chihuly’s personal collection of PNW (pacific northwest) Indian baskets and blankets. In the photo below, you can see how he used the baskets to recreate the concept in glass.

chihuly museum 2

What really struck me about this room was how transparent Chihuly wanted to be with his inspiration and muses. He gave credit to the Native American peoples and their technique that inspired his collections and pieces. Way to appreciate, Chihuly.

chihuly museum baskets

The next room was all about the oceans, brah. It’s actually called the “Sealife Room.” It includes works from his Sealife Drawings and Sealife Vessels collections, along with a few others. I won’t spoil ALL the great artwork, so I’ll just show the showstopper of the room.

chihuly museum sealife

Embedded in this sculpture are starfish, seashells, sea urchins, and other sea critters. The other works in the room also held the same ocean theme, a tribute to Chihuly’s love for the sea. There’s one particular sculpture with an octopus that was probably my favorite – but you just have to see it (no pun intended).

ONTO THE NEXT!

chihuly museum flowers

The Mille Fiori room, or, translated from Italian, “A Thousand Flowers.” And guys, this museum is not joking on the flower count. This was my favorite room of the entire museum. Not only are the colors like shooting a line of coke, but the technique is flawlessly beautiful. To create these flowers, the focus is more on the use of fire, gravity, and centrifugal force rather than specific tools. These pieces were inspired by memories of his mother’s garden.

chihuly museum garden

I had more pictures from this room, but they all turned out pretty bad haha. This Garden of Glass is much more beautiful in person anyway. (my favorite blogging excuse)

chihuly museum garden of glass

The next exhibit isn’t too long, but it was a SUPER close second favorite. Honestly, if there was more, it would have definitely pushed the flower room out of the way. It’s very Pop Art, which is my favorite type of art. UGH AND THE PRINT IS GORGEOUS. I had to get it at the gift shop. Honestly, I probably should have just scanned the print and uploaded that picture instead of my crappy iPhone 4 quality, but alas. Anyways, this exhibit was a combination of different inspirations. One inspiration was from Chihuly’s trip to Finland. He would toss glass into a nearby river and watched how the glass reflected the water and light. I wonder if he ever fished the glass out of the river after…

Also included in this exhibit are Chihuly’s interpretations of the Japanese art of Ikebana. His Ikebana boats are colorful, whimsical, and make me want to book a flight to Niijima.

chihuly museum boats

There is a room FULL of his world famous chandelier pieces, and probably what Chihuly is most known for. I was too invested in the art to take pictures, but trust me when I say there were gorgeous. And also probably heavy. The chandelier pieces are suspended from the ceiling, much like normal chandeliers, and as I passed by them I couldn’t help but imagine what would happen in the event of an earthquake. Are they super secured? Would they fall??

Again. Very invested.

Then of course, there are the outdoor gardens. Featuring lots of sculptures outside, integrated with plants and streams and flower bushes. And the mother of all sculptures – the big daddy floating flower.

chihuly museum greenhouse

I don’t know what it’s actually called. This sculpture is suspended in a giant greenhouse. Since it was the middle of summer and about 102 degrees inside the greenhouse, I didn’t stick around to look for the sculpture sign.

I feel like this shot is the most popular from the museum, even though it was less crowded than his chandelier pieces. Maybe because everyone wanted to appreciate the intricate details of pieces closer to eye level. Probably because it was summer tho.

That’s all for the exhibits.

The museum has a small cafe, but I was still full from breakfast so I didn’t stop by. I know you probably spent all of your money on the entrance fee alone, but you have to stop by the gift shop! They have prints of all the works, and even calendars and merchandise! If you have really deep pockets, you can even buy some of the glass sculptures. I spent at least twenty minutes just browsing through all the cool stuff. So all in all – is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum worth it?

The long answer, if you are pressed for time, I think it would be nice to squeeze it in. Do Pike Place Market and combo the Space Needle and the Chihuly museum. If you are on a tight budget, I think you can go into the gift shop for free. Just look at the prints in there because they’re gorgeous. If you’re on a budget AND don’t really like art that much, then okay you can probably skip it. However, for me, I had a great time. I’m not a big classical art person (even paintings for that matter), but I love contemporary modern pieces. Like the Seven Magic Mountains in Las Vegas.  So even though it was spendy and I didn’t have much time in Seattle, I’m glad I went.

So short answer – totally worth it.

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Flatline????

GUYSSSSS!!!

!!!!!

IT’S HERE! IT’S REALLY FINALLY HERE!

My debut novel, “TW:Flatline” is finally out!

It seems like it’s been a long time coming.

I’m not going to go into the boring process of how long I worked on it or how astonished I am that lil ol’ me was able to finish (a miracle in itself tbh), but I will sum up my feelings with this: There are no words. Partly, because it’s such a mix of emotions, I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. (errm, but aren’t you a writer?)

MOVING ON.

TW:Flatline is a coming-of-age novel about a young boy learning to deal with heartbreak and the loss of a family member, while also juggling school, maintaining his social standing, and the increasingly overwhelming pressure of college acceptances. Check out the description below!

 

What do you see when you look to the stars? 

The thing about the universe is that nothing is ever the same. It grows exponentially, it disappears into the dark abyss, it creates entire galaxies out of nothing and just as quick, it can destroy it all. It’s beautiful, and it’s always changing. 

The thing about high school senior Ricky Schenk’s life is…well, absolutely nothing is changing. 

He has been stuck in the same boring routine. Wake up, excel at school, lead extracurricular clubs, get unbelievably blackout drunk, go to bed. The usual. It used to be easy to ignore – the black hole in his chest that is – but the voices are getting too loud. And they won’t wait any longer. 

Meet Hana, the complete opposite of Ricky. She keeps her head down in class with her nervous fingers pulling at the ends of the sweater. After Ricky snoops in her academic file, she quickly becomes the object of his fascination. For lack of non-cliché terms, she’s different. It’s a long shot, but if Hana could help him out of his rut, maybe he could make it through the rest of the school year.

Maybe she can even help him reach the stars. 

 

How does that sound to you?? Does it grab your attention! I hope so! You can even check out an excerpt here! If you like reading (or even if you don’t), then it would mean THE ABSOLUTE WORLD to me to hear what you think! And please, share it with everyone you know! Share it with your friends and family (well, you be the judge on that one). Ask your local library if they would consider stocking it. If you’re in a book club, suggest it for the next discussion! I don’t normally self promo so much, but writing is more than a dream to me. It IS me.

So if you’re able, do me a solid, even if it’s just a shoutout on social media or nonchalantly bringing it up over brunch mimosas. I appreciate all and everything!!

Get the paperback here!

Get the ebook here!

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knapp's castle

Knapp’s Castle, a hidden gem nestled in the Santa Ynez Mountains, is a long time favorite hike for the locals of Santa Barbara. It was also my first stop as a brand new ‘travel blogger.’ I use that term loosely because I had literally decided to try out the whole instagram thing like 23 seconds prior and  my blog wouldn’t come for at least another couple months. ANYWAYS, let’s get on with the story.

If you’ve read any of my interviews (which you can find here), my journey to become the world’s most inept travel blogger started with my trip up the famed American roadtrip, the Pacific Coast Highway. Aka, Hwy 1, aka PCH. I’ll probably use those interchangeably throughout this piece.

From Los Angeles, I traveled up the California coast, pausing briefly in Malibu before making my way to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is a MUST STOP on the PCH, so naturally I didn’t stop there. Instead, I took a hike to Knapp’s Castle in the nearby Santa Ynez mountains. And of course, I exited the freeway around noon. Thankfully, it was early spring so I didn’t burn alive, but if you will be visiting during the hotter months, I would suggest arriving earlier or aiming for sunset.

How to Get There

Step 1, enter these coordinates into your GPS of choice.

Trailhead address: East Camino Cielo (Forest Route 5N12), Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Trailhead coordinates: 34.518155, -119.793234 (34° 31′ 05.35″N 119° 47′ 35.64″W)

From the 101 in Santa Barbara, take route 154 north for about ten miles. The mountain is very curvy. I got a little car sick ;( Once you reach the top, turn right on East Camino Cielo and then in about three miles you’ll see a gated dirt road on the left and a small turnout on the right. Two or three cars were already parked there and I didn’t see any signs for a parking fee soo….you’ll probably be fine.

The gate is the start of the Knapp’s Castle trail head.

knapp's castle trail head

I never know what these signs mean.

BUT, I think it’s basically ‘we have the right to evict you if you act a fool.’ As long as you are courteous and respectful, you will have nothing to worry about. I walked around the gate and proceeded up the trail.

Knapp’s Castle’s origins are anything but humble. George Owen Knapp purchased the property for his 160-acre home in 1916 and named it Laurel Springs Ranch. Mr. Knapp was rich. He was born in Massachusetts and was both a civil engineer and businessman.

Sidenote: why do all the rich white guys who buy up a ton of land come from Massachusetts? Pretty sure that’s Massachusetts’ main export. Example: James Dole who opened the first large-scale pineapple plantation on Oahu, Hawaii.

Anyways, Mr. Knapp’s financial success was apparent by his multiple homes – including at least NINE HOUSES IN SANTA BARBARA ALONE. Excessive much? But I guess if you can, why not? Personally, my wallet cried after I bought nine cups of chai tea. Mr. Knapp wasn’t completely selfish though. He donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the hospitals, churches, and nursing schools in Santa Barbara. He also had a side hobby of building roads. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

The Los Angeles Times  gave Mr. Knapp and his rich bro squad a lot of credit for boosting public access to the Santa Barbara backcountry. Knapp N’ Friends (i made that up btw) heavily promoted, funded, and created roads and trails so that the forest reserve was accessible to all.

‘They are strong advocates of the great out-of-doors, and under their leadership, places in the wild heretofore denied humans because of utter inaccessibility are being opened up to the hiker and horseback rider.’”

knapps castle view

Thanks for the trails, Mr. Knapp.

This was my view walking up the mountain. It wasn’t even a super clear day, but I could still see the Pacific Ocean anddd Catalina Island (??) in the distance! The hike isn’t hard or challenging at all, so it’s good for all ages! The hike is about mile roundtrip and there are beautiful views the whole way.

They finished building the castle in 1920. Knapp wanted his estate to be unparalleled in natural beauty and grandeur. At least in North America. The castle had five gorgeous bedrooms, an observatory, and even a posh organ room for entertainment by resident pipe organists. There was also a separate cottage for the castle workers, a guest house, and a separate sleeping flat for caretakers and servants. No clue what differentiated the cottage and the sleeping flat. It was a masterpiece, to say the least.

We approached the ruins and the contrast was striking.

knapps castle ruins

That was all that was left of the castle.

In 1940, Mr. Knapp sold his posh estate for a whopping $10,000 – Oh, how the times have changed – to Frances Holden and Lotte Lehmann, a world-famous opera singer. Five weeks later, the entire estate burned to the ground in a wildfire.

#california

knapp's castle arches

These arches are still standing though! There used to be a giant waterfall flowing somewhere around the arches, but I can’t even imagine where or what that would look like. It was very windy up on the arches, but at the same time, calming. Refreshing. It’s one of those places where you could go to think. Well, there was a gaggle of middle schoolers on a field trip taking selfies behind me, but if they were gone, I could have stayed up there for hours.

The arches are the most intact, but aside from them, the rest of the ruins are just vague stone walls. In case you’re curious, yes, that is indeed a cactus pattern on my romper.

knapp's view arch view

Ignore the awkward poses, I was new to this whole picture-taking thing.

Although they are ruins, Knapp’s Castle has had a few upgrades since the fire.  The property was purchased by Castillo Cielo Holding Company in 2004. In 2010, Calvin Smith obtained a 31% interest in the property and may be the voice behind some of the recent changes. The new owners constructed a rudimentary amphitheater looking out toward the arches, using only native stone. Reinforcements were also added to the walkways, walls, and chimneys. Yanno, so they wouldn’t topple over when people tried to take scenic pics on them. Knapp’s Castle is a popular site for wedding and engagement pictures, so crumbling walls are definitely a safety concern.

knapp's castle ledge

The Los Padres Forest officials initially stated that they would stay out of interfering. The Knapp construction was “a personal matter on his or her property,” said Forest Service spokesperson Andrew Madsen. “They can do whatever they want to do so long as they’re permitted. That’s fine by us.” After further investigation, however, no permits were filed for work. Thus, the Santa Barbara County Planning Department officials ordered a stop work on all Knapp construction.

(Read more about the construction here)

I visited after the stop work order. Previously, I guess the site was crowded with construction equipment but when I went, everything was cleared out.

Overall, I didn’t spend too much time at the ruins. One, there were a ton of preteens there. Two, it’s really small. You can see everything in maybe twenty minutes. Even after taking pictures and contemplating my existential crisis, I was only there thirty minutes. I personally think it’s a perfect pitstop to get out and move your legs on a roadtrip. And it isn’t a long detour either! After you’ve gotten your fill, walk back down the same trail. There’s plenty of space for a picnic, but no bathrooms or running water. If you’re from out of town though, I would suggest checking out a good restaurant in Santa Barbara.

Sitting on the ledge of an unidentified building, I briefly wondered what it would be life to live up here. What would it be like to wake up with this view every morning?

It sounded magical.

Then I remembered snakes and rodents and mountain lions. And the inevitable wildfire. So, for now a brief hike was good.

knapp's castle in mountain

Have you ever visited Santa Barbara? If so, would you want to hike up to Knapp’s Castle? There are so many dope photoshoot possibilities, but it’s also a great mini hike. If you don’t mind the curvy drive, that is. Also, what are your Santa Barbara recommendations? I definitely want to take another trip through the city! Let me know in the comments below!

knapp's castle standing up

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Just up the street from Pike’s Place Market and standing tall on the corner of 4th Ave and Spring street is a building that looks like a giant greenhouse on architectural steroids.

Welcome to the Seattle Central Public Library.

I usually like to dive into the history of places that peak my interest, but honestly there’s a LOT to the history of Seattle’s library. In fact, you could probably get a four year degree in Seattle Public Library History. I read at least four different summaries and the only thing I remember is that Seattle’s original public library was completely destroyed in a fire in 1901. Dark.

BUT ON TO NICER TIMES.

The Seattle Public Library is a MUST SEE during even the shortest trips to Seattle. There’s Pike’s Place Market, the Space Needle, and SPL. That’s all you need in Seattle.

You can check out my post on spending a short 6 hours in Seattle here! 

During my recent trip this summer (the only season that I dare visit the Evergreen state) I finally managed to remember my janky camera.

The architecture is immediately stunning from the outside. It’s currently ranked in the nations top 10 most beautiful public libraries, and for good reason (but you’ll see more on that as the post continues!).

As with any major city along the I-5 freeway, there’s a good amount of homeless people in Seattle. Well, at least in the summer. The library was no exception. While there were homeless people chillin around the outside, I’m personally used to it so I barely noticed. One of them even complimented my outfit so they gravy in my book. Anyways, just thought I’d point that out.

Upon first entrance, there’s a huge theater/conference room to the left. I wanted to stand at the podium and pretend I was giving a passionate speech about how the Puerto Rico recovery efforts are ridiculous and shameful at best and while we’re at it can someone take a look at Flint??? – but the librarian lady was watching me like a hawk and probably wouldn’t tolerate any of my foolishness. As I learned soon after, it’s the Microsoft Auditorium and apparently the back can expand to accommodate an additional 150 people!

The first floor is where you check in/out books and there’s also an exhibit featuring interviews and content from the Library’s social media feed – I’ll leave their social media links at the end! Plus, all of the staff had amazing recommendations!

Second floor is staff only ;/ But I’m pretty sure the only thing they do on that floor is book sorting and shipping and all that boring but necessary stuff.

The third floor is where the magic happens.

It’s called the Living Room, and it is truly where all the living happens. The library hosts tons of author’s readings, adult classes (and by that I mean genealogy, personal finance management, health forums, etc), teen groups and homework help, ESL classes and citizenship programs, cultural events (they have ballet performances here!!), and of course book clubs. The ceilings are an astonishing 50ft high and dramatic carpets decorate the floor. Light streams in from every angle and if you don’t look up in awe at how big the space is, you’re not human.

The living room also houses the small cafe and a cozy seating area. This floor has a ton of stuff. OH AND THE BOOKS. With over one million books on it’s nine thousand shelves, you could spend your entire summer vacation in this building and still not get through the entire collection. The library has four hundred free public computers, WiFi (#blessed), and a gift shop! I wasn’t feeling well that day so I was more off my game than usual and I missed the gift shop ;(

Books are books, so I didn’t take pictures of them, although now I realize that would probably be useful for writing this post. *shrug emoji*

Beyond the books lies the Red Hall Aka the Red Room. Aka the Meeting Rooms. Aka Mr. Grey would like to see you now.

The entire floor is painted aggressively bright red, and the halls curve into each other like tunnels covered in Halloween blood. This floor is mostly meeting rooms and a fancy set of bathrooms. Boeing had their own private suite (more than one actually). Rumor has it that inside the actual meeting rooms, the walls and floors are very neutral – greys, browns, and shades of beige. I can neither confirm or deny this, but if you’ve ever been inside, please comment below and dish what it’s like on the inside!

Floors 5-9 have all the computers, research resources, study areas, art installations, and the majority of the nonfiction selection. Keep going though, and you’ll see the real magic.

Take the elevator all the way to the top!

Well technically it’s not all the way at the top. It’s actually on the ninth floor. The top floor, 10, is the administration and HR floor. BUT THE NINTH FLOOR IS GORGEOUS. Even though it was a warm day (pushing high 80s) and super sunny, it wasn’t hot inside. I was a little nervous the glass would act like a magnifying glass, but it stayed cool. Another win for the library’s architecture.

The glass design offers views of the city from all angles of the library and hey, it’s also a green and sustainable building! I also love that the library celebrate’s the city’s diversity! The Seattle Public Library actively supports efforts that combat prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. I wouldn’t be surprised if the building grew legs and joined in on a community march.

Everything was so bright and angelic up there. If I had to imagine what heaven would look like, it would be something like this. Books and views. The Seattle Public Library could use a froyo stand, but they’re pretty close.

Seattle’s Public Library is definitely one of my favorite public libraries, right behind the Boston Public Library. (I tried to visit the one in NYC but it was closeddd *cry*). SPL is beautiful in the summer, but it’s also a safe haven for these next few months of rain! Grab your coziest sweater, pick up a book, and snag a nice chair by a snag a nice chair by the windows!

Remember to follow and check out Seattle Public Library on their social media accounts to keep up-to-date on all their latest !

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Do you like visiting public libraries when you travel? Which one is your favorite?

 

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