Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens

Myrtle Barn

Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens

Ever have nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon but feel like having lunch outdoors somewhere quiet and mellow?  Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens is your place.

More than a Garden Shop
Located in Fallbrook, at first glance it looks like any garden shop with trees, shrubs, and flowers for sale.  However, as you move deeper into the grounds you soon discover hidden butterfly gardens, wild bird sanctuaries,  waterfalls, a large barn, and lots of old tractors and machinery to give you a feel of going back in time.

Myrtle Butterfly garden
Myrtle Tractor
In the middle of it all is a gift shop with tons of unique and eclectic items and decorations.  Nearby, Café Bloom gives you that relaxation you were looking for with its view of the lily pond and the historical barn in the distance.

Although there are only a few things on the menu, you can count on getting only fresh and organic food, drinks, and desserts.  We tried their signature Myrtle Berry pie and it was great.   You can grab your food and eat at the café or take it out and park yourself at one of the many seating areas on the grounds.

In some areas, misting machines spray cool water on you while you stroll through various arches and paths shaded by wonderful oak trees.  Ambient music gently plays from hidden speakers while a huge wind chime adds to the Zen-like setting with its deep resounding ring.

Myrtle Gift Shop
Myrtle Front of Cafe
Myrtle Inside Gift shop
Myrtle Cafe wheel

Birds and Goats
In the bird sanctuary, the trees bring shade and quiet while beautiful gold finches feed at the many bird feeders scattered about.  The Hummingbirds soon make their appearance searching for their share of the afternoon meal.

At the barn, the local goats squander out of the shade at the sight of you walking their way.   They allow you to feed the goats and that was evident as they were eyeballing me wondering what treat I had.   Sadly, I didn’t know you could feed them so I came with nothing.  Don’t worry though, the size of the goat told me he wasn’t going hungry any time soon.

Myrtle Goats

Quiet and Peaceful
Ponds and waterfalls fill the area as well as plants, flowers, and trees.   You will also notice that some of the foliage is part of the landscape, and some is actually for sale.  With the soft music, water sounds, wind chimes, and the shade of the trees, walking around the gardens gives you a sense of tranquility and relaxation.

Myrtle Misters in trees
Myrtle Waterfall
They have live music on Saturdays and Sundays and many events throughout the year. Mothers Day is coming up and they have a Craft Fair on May 9 and 10, 10AM to 5 PM.  The Fair will feature live demonstrations, gourmet food tastings, hands-on workshops, live entertainment, and more.

Myrtle Bird house
So if you are ever in the mood for that peaceful afternoon, get out and visit the Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens in Fallbrook.   Let the afternoon take your stress away and what is even better, it’s free!!!!

Myrtle Sign in gift shop

The Carlsbad Flower Fields

Flowers the flower fields
The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.
In my opinion, three of the most amazing displays of color in nature are sunsets, trees changing color in fall, and flowers blooming in spring.

Some of the most stunning and vivid sunsets I have seen in real life or in print have come from California.   As far as fall colors, our trees change with the seasons as well and some are quite colorful, although they can’t compare to the bright red, oranges, and yellows of the trees on the east coast and, in particular New England.

In spring, California comes alive with a multitude of every color flower imaginable. The old saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers” was the standard for California.  However,  in recent years, we are just hoping for rain.   Still, the flowers bloom like clockwork in late March and continue through summer.

Flowers row

In the North County of San Diego, the Tecolote Ranunculus are grown annually on 50 acres of hillside property in Carlsbad, California just off of the coast and close to Interstate 5.

Flower, houses in back
Flowers 5
Flowers 6
Flower long way
At the flower fields visitor center you will find a special nursery garden, a gift shop, an art display, and much more. There are also various events and festivals that can be found on their website:

If you want to get up close, you can walk among the fields, take a open air tractor ride, or view them from the street just above the fields.   We have parked along this road many times as it offers a panoramic view of the fields as well as the coastline.

Flowers-Sailboat
Flowers-ride
Flowers-ride 2
Flower, houses in back
As a first timer you need to dust off your camera and take a walk amongst the beautiful flowers to get a close hand look and, hopefully, snap a decent pic. The kids will love the wagon ride and the festivals and events cater to every age group.

Flowers close up
Flower single
Flowers tall
The hours of operation are 9:00a.m—6:00p.m.–seven days a week through May 10.

Ticket prices are $12.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors, and children under 2 are free. Wagon rides are $5.00 for adults and, $3.00 for children 3-10.

As a resident in that area for many years, it is always a welcoming sight to see the first blooms and knowing that soon the hills will be blazing from top to bottom with bright flora.   It also means spring has arrived and that summer is right around the corner.

There is limited time left and the flowers won’t be there forever so be sure and check out the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Flowers row 2

Giving us an awesome perspective of the flowers and the color, we were thrilled to have as our guest photographer, Sherri Sarro who took all of the flower shots.

 

 

 

Redondo Beach

Redondo Graphitt sign
Redondo looking towards old side
Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach is not exactly one of your sleepy coastal California towns. Located minutes from LAX airport in Los Angeles County, it is one of a few beach towns that comprise of what is called the South Bay. Along with Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, Redondo is where L.A. goes to the beach. As you can imagine it can be incredibly crowded in the summer.

On one extremely warm day in early March, you could have sworn it was smack in the middle of summer. People flocked to the beach that day as if it was a boiling hot July weekend. With parking often a problem in these Los Angeles beach towns, it was nice to find a space in the first parking lot we drove through. Because of the crowds, the pier offers multi level parking and additional lots are scattered around the nearby area.

The Pier
The Redondo Pier is a hub of activity with all the shops, restaurants, arcades, boat rentals, and more. Seafood was abundant as local vendors were selling it out in an open market, or you could dine at one of the many sit down restaurants. I am not a fan of seafood so my face scrunched up a few times as a plate full of sea urchin or crabs passed by on its way to a table of anxiously waiting dining guests. I was in the minority though as the restaurants were packed full and the lines to buy the fresh seafood were especially long.

Redondo-Int
Small shops selling various items were lined on one side of the small marina while on the other side sat the gaming arcade which was alive with all the usual sights and sounds of video games old and new. At the entrance of the new cement section, you can rent kayaks, SUP’s, paddle boats, book a boat tour, or take a ride on a glass bottom boat.

Redondo-Looking towards little shops
REdondo-Glass boat
Redondo-Towards piers and resturants
Redondo-Towards pier
Redondo-Sign INT Market
Redondo-Lighthouse Building
The new pier section was rebuilt after storms and an electrical fire destroyed it many years ago. It has a new contemporary look to it in my opinion, yet I don’t know if that was the look they were trying to achieve.

Redondo-Bright Pier

Strolling and Sea Life
Strolling along the pier you can see the paddle boats and stand up paddlers enjoying the calm waters of King Harbor. As you make your way around the horseshoe shaped pier you’ll see the numerous hotels that line the beach to the south.

Redondo-Looking across bay
Redondo=Jetty 2
Redondo-Hotels on beach
REdondo-Hotel on beach 2
Redondo-Harbor SUP's
The shallow water under the pier as well as in the small marina is crystal clear and a beautiful tint of blue which allows you to see the wonderful sea life just below the surface. We watched a baby seal playing in the surf and over by the jetty the clear water allowed us to see a bright orange Garibaldi Perch swimming lazily around the rocks.

Redondo--Pretty water
Redondo-Baby Seal
Redondo-Perch 2

Redondo-Perch
Continuing south on the pier, you will soon hear the rocking beat of a 4 piece band belting out the hits of the seventies. On any given weekend, musicians perform in the middle of the pier to entertain the crowd with a variety of music. You can sit and watch or enjoy your stroll to the chart-buster sounds of any given era.

Redondo-Band
Kites and Music
Looking west, motorboats and sailboats glided across the horizon and the warm ocean breeze was perfect for a day of kite flying. As it turned out, that weekend was the “41st Annual Festival of the Kite” so there were hundreds of kites in every shape, color, and size that were taking advantage of the perfect wind coming from the sea.

Redondo-Kites in air
Redondo--Lone Kite in air

Redondo Pier is a great place for every age.  Let the kids loose in the arcade while you sit and listen to the live band, rent a paddle boat, take a tour, swim, fly a kite, shop, or dine at the variety of restaurants.

If you love seafood, this is your place. Luckily they had a El Torito at the base of the pier to satisfy us Mexican food lovers. There’s nothing like a taco to take away the vision of a sea urchin waiting to be eaten.

Enough of my bellyaching about edible sea life, the fact of the matter is… Redondo Pier is a wonderful place to visit and highly recommended by Staycations California.

Story and photos: Debbie Colwell

 

Parting shots:

Wildlife is abundant around the pier.

Redondo--Bird

The old section of the pier shaped like a boat.

Redondo--Boat restaurant

The beach was packed on this early March afternoon.

Redondo-Crowded Beach

The entrance to the harbor.

Redondo-Jetty