BY GUEST BLOGGER, DANIEL LEE
My travel goal is to cultivate an abundance mindset. Not rushing to seek out many places in a day but rather explore a few parts of the city — at a relaxed pace on my bicycle, believing that to see everything is to miss everything.
So hello California! I’m grateful to spend 9 days with you before bouncing off to Hawaii with my family.
During my stay I made 2 cycling trips into San Francisco from the East Bay.
- Taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from downtown Oakland into Mission District to explore the neighbourhood’s vibrancy. ($3.70 USD one way per adult.)
- Embarking on the Jack London Ferry from Oakland into the San Francisco Ferry Terminal Building and riding towards the engineering marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge. (Fares range from $5 to $6.60 USD one way per adult.)
Here is a recap of my journey and the beauty that I captured through my lens.
Using the Clipper Card (think Toronto PRESTO) to board the BART subway, I ended up with my trusty bike on the 16th Street Mission Station during the early morning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — a statutory holiday in the U.S — and was free to roam the empty streets of the Mission District (similar to Kensington Market with its rich history of South & Central American diaspora).
Our ad agency turned 6 end of last year and we celebrated at the Googleplex in Mountain View.
As part of winning a mobile marketing challenge (from the Google Partners reward program), we were treated to a tour, lunch and plenty of gourmet snacks. We even got to record a Hangout at the YouTube studio!
Seriously my geek girl dreams have come true!
Did we fool you? We posted this photo on Facebook and so many people told us they thought it was a video and clicked on the YouTube button… gotcha!
The Google Campus sprawls over 2 million sqft so Googlers cruise around on these colourful bikes. To get to/from home to the office, they commute on shuttle buses (wifi enabled of course).
Every year hubby and I retreat to Scandinave Spa to unplug and relax. From downtown Toronto, it’s a 2.5 hour drive heading North West. There truly is no better way than indulging in a Nordic bath experience to unwind and reset!
This outdoor spa is situated on 25 acres of tranquil forested mecca. So turn off your phone, refrain from taking selfies and use your spa voice!
The experience begins with sitting in a wood-burning Finnish sauna or eucalyptus steam room for about 10 minutes. This helps open up pores and begin the detoxifying process.
Next comes the cold plunge! In the winter, you can lie in the snow and make snow angels. Yes, it’s wickedly cold but the purpose of the plunge is to enhance blood circulation, increase heart rate and close the pores. The key is to step right into the cold pools rather than taking your time to meander in.
The third phase is my favourite – ahhhh relaxation. Melt your worries and stress away in one of the 3 hot baths, soak in the thermal and nordic waterfalls or rest in one of the solariums with a book.
With so many exciting outdoor adventures right in our own backyard, why let this cold discourage you from having fun! Bundle up and book yourself a weekend getaway at one of these top 4 winter travel destinations…
The town of St. Jacob’s is a popular summer destination but the winter themed activities during Maple Sugar Rush are not to be missed. Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, sample homemade edibles at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market and get ready to indulge in lots of maple syrup! My son who is obsessed with trains also loves the Aberfoyle Model Railway! Stay at the historic Walper Boutique Hotel in downtown Waterloo.
‘Tis the season to go dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh! Hit up the nation’s capital and take an old fashioned sleigh ride through Ottawa’s Greenbelt or enjoy the festivities during Ottawa’s Winterlude festival. Rest up at Hotel Indigo Ottawa Downtown City Centre.
It’s important to look after our bodies especially with such hectic city lifestyles. The last few months in particular have been extra busy so I was delighted to be invited to take a journey to the Middle East… ummm I mean to the Miraj Hammam Spa at Shangri-La Hotel. Close enough right?!
Here I got to experience the Hammam & Gommage. A steam & body exfoliation that is part of the authentic traditions of the Middle East.
My treatment began with an invigorating 15 mins steam between high intensity & low mist steam – the Hammam. In centuries past, the Hammam was known as the “silent doctor”.
Flying off to a tropical resort or making the 3+ hours trek to cottage country isn’t always an option. So next time you need a breather, Ste. Anne’s Spa located in Grafton is only a 90 mins drive from downtown Toronto. Far enough to escape the concrete jungle but still close enough for a relaxing getaway that won’t break the bank.
Ste. Anne’s Spa is an adults only all-inclusive day and overnight spa resort. My recent stay over the Labour Day long weekend was romantic and relaxing enough to compete with any luxurious holiday getaway.
Upon arrival, we checked into the Main Inn which was tastefully furnished with both antiques that serve as reminders of the past and refreshing modern touches. If you ever wanted to stay in “a castle” here’s your chance! The original wing features 8 rooms with hard wood and exposed brick for that old-world feel. If contemporary is more your style, book a room in the newer wing.
Since I was vacationing with my family and we needed the extra space and privacy, we stayed in one of 6 unique cottages that was a hop, skip and a jump away from the Main Inn.
If there is a paradise on earth, it’s right here at Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa. This was my “home & office” for 5 glorious days while working on the #CaboNow campaign with Sunwing Vacations.
Just a short drive from town (10 minutes) and about 45 minutes from Los Cabos airport, this resort sits on 1800 acres of land – which is part tropical and part desert.
Every angle was a magical photo opportunity. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly elegant and massive the property is. Pueblo Bonito means “beautiful village” and yes, is it ever stunning!