Tag Archives: banana bread

chocolate, and dog walking and eucalyptus, oh my !

The pet friendliest place to stay when you and your pooch need some luxurious pampering in Newport Beach is the Island Hotel, located adjacent to the Fashion Island Mall. Pet amenities include a freshly baked fragrant and chewy dog bone made by Executive Pastry Chef Michael Owens. Each bone is handcrafted from wheat and rice flour and chicken stock. Other amenities include two dog bowls, a plush pet bed by Eloise Pet Accessories emblazoned with the hotel logo, bottled water, (plus a seasonal fruit amenity for the owner) and they also offer dog walking services for $10. There is a huge grassy area along the side, near the front door where dogs can zoom around and sniff to their heart’s delight.

Just minutes from Newport Harbor overlooking the nearby islands of Balboa, Lido and Catalina, Island Hotel Newport Beach features amenities such as Palm Terrace Restaurant & Lounge; a 4,000-square-foot spa; a 3,000-square-foot resort-style pool; a fitness center; two outdoor; lighted tennis courts; and over 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is owned and operated by The Irvine Company, a 110-year-old, privately held real estate investment company based in Newport Beach, CA.

The warm, friendly attitude and friendly demeanor at the Island Hotel extends to check-in, valet and every guest feels welcome. The rooms are tastefully decorated, appointed with a desk and comfy chair, king bed, and bathroom stocked with L’Occitane shampoo, shower gel and body lotion.

When you’re in the mood for a romantic getaway, ask for the Romance Package which includes a complimentary upgrade to the next room category plus champagne and chocolates upon arrival. Throughout the year, the hotel offers various specials and packages for its guests. Check the website at www.IslandHotel.com or call 1-888-321-4752 for more info.



Be sure to ask for Saiko when you book your massage. Saiko Thornton has been with The Spa at Island Hotel for two years. Previously, she was working with a Chinese acupuncture doctor in nearby Irvine, CA. Born in Japan, she specializes in Swedish, Shiatsu, and energy work. She is a very versatile and top massage therapist. Saiko has been exercising her fingers since the age of nine in her native Japan. Her expert kneading will work out all the knots and leave you relaxed and refreshed. There is a menu of massage options from reflexology to aromatherapy. The Travel Recovery massage comes complete with aromatherapy oils (heated ones such as ginger for the upper body and cooling ones such as lemongrass and peppermint for the feet and lower body). There is a eucalyptus steam bath for before and after the massage. Afterwards, there is a fruit kabob and lemon scented water to drink.

A romantic option, Kai Pua Ritual, a “Hawaiian” getaway for two is accompanied by two therapists. The synchronized “Ocean Two” long wave strokes simulate a tide moving across the body. Working in unison with soft Hawaiian music in the background, the two therapists massage with warm cocoa butter. Also included is a welcome Washing of the Feet Ritual using a salt, pineapple and papaya scrub, and the “double the enjoyment” session ends decadently with champagne and chocolate truffles. Available throughout 2009. 60 minutes. For reservations, please call (949) 759-0808.

And just in case, Fido feels left out, The Spa at Island Hotel retails various beauty products for pets, including candles, colognes and a doggie beauty bag by Pet Aromatic; as well as shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, a facial scrub and paw
treatment by Spa Lavish Pet.


The Palm Terrace restaurant offers a delightful variety of items from seafood to lamb, organic chicken and delicious side dishes.

The meal begins with your choice of waters and several types of freshly made breads, such as olive, sour dough, cheese, and banana, Next, comes the appetizers, smoked salmon on a tiny pancake, mac and cheese (not your supermarket comfort food), and delicate, sweet scallops with fingerling potatoes. Entrees include New Zealand salmon and you can opt for a baked potato instead of the regular side dish. Beware, the potatoes are huge and come with sour cream and cheese, a meal within itself. Don’t forget to get a doggie bag filled with scrumptious leftovers for Fido.

Cocoa Lounge Dessert Buffet During The Month of February

oh yes, there is ALWAYS room for chocolate and now there is an entire room filled with chocolate desserts ! Visit the Cocoa Room. For the month of February, the Cocoa Room offers an artistic and decadent assortment of chocolate desserts from flourless chocolate cake, to chocolate lollipops, three chocolate cake, truffles, explorer, s’mores, mousses, and much more. Executive Pastry Chef Michael Owens brings chocolate heaven to a whole new level. Working closely with Executive Chef Bill Bracken, Owens constantly develops inventive new desserts for Palm Terrace.

Newport beach

Muttropolis Dog & Cat Boutique at the Fashion Island Mall offers a diverse variety of toys, treats, foods, collars, leashes and beds. Russo’s Pet Experience, allows hotel guests who are missing their pets at home, to take one of the pet store dogs out for a walk around the shopping center. And the mall itself is an open place to walk your dog to meet and greet.

Fashion Island
1133 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach,


Fairmont Newport Beach
The Fairmont combines European traditions with California flair. Amenities include large outdoor heated swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness facilities and more. Bambu Restaurant and Lounge serves California cuisine and cocktails. Small pets allowed. Pet fee is $25 per pet per night.

Best Western Newport Beach Inn
Best Western is located near Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza. The hotel is minutes away from Catalina Cruises, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. Amenities include complimentary continental breakfast, outdoor heated swimming pool, high speed Internet DSL and cable television. 100% smoke free. Pets under 20 pounds allowed. Pet fee $50.

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach allows one pet under 40 lbs. in each guest room, but larger pets may be accepted at the manager’s discretion. There is a nightly fee of $10 for the pet, plus a one-time cleaning fee of $75 per stay. All guests with pets must sign a pet waiver at check-in, and pets must not be left unattended in the room at any time. Pets are not allowed in any food and beverage outlets, pool or health club areas on property, and any disturbances, such as barking, must be stopped immediately so other guests are not disturbed. If the disturbance continues you will be asked to take your pet off the property.


Corona Del Mar State Beach
Iris Street and Ocean Blvd.
Corona Del Mar,
This is a popular beach for swimming, surfing and diving. The sandy beach is about a half mile long. Dogs are allowed on this beach during certain hours. They are allowed before 9am and after 5pm, year round. Pets must be on a 6 foot or less leash. Tickets will be issued if your dog is off leash.

Newport and Balboa Beaches
Balboa Blvd.
Newport Beach,
There are several smaller beaches which run along Balboa Blvd. Dogs are only allowed before 9am and after 5pm, year round. Pets must be on a 6 foot or less leash and people are required to clean up after their pets. Tickets will be issued if your dog is off leash. The beaches are located along Balboa Blvd and ample parking is located near the Balboa and Newport Piers.

Upper Newport Bay Regional Park
University Dr & Irvine Ave
Newport Beach,
This regional park borders the Newport Back Bay and consists of approximately 140 acres of open space. This coastal wetland is renowned as one of the finest bird watching sites in North America. During winter migration, there can be tens of thousands of birds at one time. It is also home to six rare or endangered bird species. The park has a 2-3 mile one-way paved path that is used by walkers, joggers and bicyclists. Additional dirt trails run along the hills. You can park at a variety of points along the road, but many people park at Irvine Ave and University Dr. Dogs must be leashed in the park.


Three Dog Bakery
924 Avocado Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 760-3647

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I left my heart in Mendocino, Little River and Westport…



At Abigail’s B and B in Mendocino… 




We had the whole house to ourselves thankfully the way cici was carrying on…  not sure if it’s Mendocino or cici is just whacking out, having a dog breakdown or what but she was pretty crazed yesterday with all of the dogs, cats and people around here. Abigail’s smells very fresh and not chemical like some places do. The feather bed is very comfy and also very fresh.

We stayed in the Drawing room downstairs. A large, very private sunny room with a view of the garden. It contains a queen sized four poster bed, a large closet, sitting area and full bath with shower/bath combination.

The wine and cheese spread at 5 pm was fabulous… there were different cheeses, two wines, olives, salami, rumaki, a hot dip with artichoke that was scrumptious, different kinds of crackers, and cookies. Slept well and so did cici. got her a new halter instead of her collar, which i like a lot.  she also needs a new stronger retractable leash… They have some nice toys and treats for the pups at the gift shop at the Whitegate Inn, bully sticks for $1 and squeaky toys. 

It was a little confusing to get to Abigail’s so here are the directions. Exit Highway One to Little Lake Road. Turn left on the second street which is Howard. Go two blocks to the Whitegate Inn on your left.  Go to the office, and they will check you in and direct you to Abigail’s which is just down the street . 

At breakfast, which was an egg souffle, some banana bread and fresh fruit, I met a family from the Netherlands and several couples from the Bay area.  after I had breakfast, I came back to the car and cici was shaking a lot, so i decided it would be good to walk her around a bit. 

We went to Evergreen Barn which is around the corner and has pet supplies. She threw up at Evergreen, there were two dogs there that she could not play with so we left… the woman there was kind and suggested I get her some rice. Did some errands and drove north up the coast, a bit twisty and windy but beautiful, a little like driving to Big Sur… we stopped at a beach along the way and got out… and cici had a great time running around getting all of her pent up energy run off, so much fun getting all sandy and wet… she finally sat down so then i took her back into the car and we drove the rest of the way up to Westport… it is a tiny little town, smaller than Little River which is saying a lot…

We looked for signs to the Howard Creek Inn and Farm and found it and drove in the driveway passed some sheep grazing along the grass. 

Howard Creek Ranch Inn is an historic, 60 acre, ocean front farm bordered by miles of beach and mountains on the beautiful Mendocino Coast.  Charles (Sunny) and Sally have been working on the Howard Creek Ranch for the last 20 years. They met, fell in love and bought the property from people who had a commune on the land. Howard Creek Ranch is a Mendocino County Registered Historic Site nominated to the Federal Register of Historic Places.


The Ranch has farm animals, nine cats, award-winning gardens, fireplaces/wood stoves, a 75 foot swinging foot bridge over Howard Creek, hot tubs, on-site hiking, sauna, 1000 year old redwoods, and horseback riding on the beach or in the mountains.

Accommodations include cabins, suites and rooms furnished with antiques, large comfortable beds, and handmade quilts with views of the ocean, mountains, creek or gardens. 

Sunny and his wife Sally came here in 1973 and renovated the old building and built new buildings with some modern amenities of Internet and TV videos of old PBS shows and Star Trek… wireless was intermittent in my room… There also is no phone in the room. Atrium B&B and Abigail’s also had no phone in the room. The Little River Inn, Pacific Mist Inn, Surf Motel and Pine Beach Inn all had phones in the room.  If you want to get away from TV and Internet, Howard Creek is a good place to disconnect.

There is a deli in town for food for lunch and dinner, or you can bring your own. The market/deli is not like the one in Little River, I asked for Chicken Teriyaki and got some hot spicy Indian food instead, I did not know until I got back here. I also brought some hot dogs and breakfast is at 9 a.m. in the dining room. 

Breakfast was the heartiest breakfast ever, delicious… eat until stuffed, lots of portions… strawberry banana pancakes, whipped cream, fresh juice, apple granola muffins, turkey bacon, fresh fruit and edible flowers, spinach and cheese quiche, and the best mint tea ever, fresh from the garden… the gardens are spectacular, gorgeous flowers… and it’s soooo peaceful…  the antiques are real, too… 

The ambiance is very peaceful and relaxing and rustic, and very down homey. You can walk to the beach from here and there is a community living room. We stayed in the Walden room.  It is quite large, with a fridge, sink, coffee pot, hanging plants…  deep rich brown wood walls and reddish brown tile floor. 

I had hoped that Cici would be mellow from her run on the beach, but she was up all night, nosing around sniffing everything. We took a few walks and met the other people staying at the farm. It is lovely to be out in the country a hop skip and a jump from the beach. There is a nice grassy area to relax, sunbathe, and barbecue. You must keep your dog on leash at all times so as not to disturb the animals.

If you stay in the Redwood Suite, there is a beautiful view of the ocean from the upstairs bedroom loft and downstairs… if you stay in the Walden room and people are upstairs in the community room, you can hear them walk around up there. There are 12 rooms, four of which are pet friendly. There is a Beach house, and a cabin, which have ocean views, too. 

Visitors come back to the farm on their birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Some notables include billionaire entrepreneurs, celebrities, and regular folks from cities near and far. the inn is non-smoking as were most of the inns I stayed at this trip.

Takes about five hours to get to San Francisco, Tomorrow we will travel to Branscomb Road to go across to the 101 and go south to SF. 

Branscomb Road takes about an hour, you get onto 101 (and don’t necessarily know it) and you are above Willits… it was easier than the 128 and took less time and was nice and scenic… 

San Francisco was a whole other matter… the best thing that happened was I found a way OUT of SF easily and fast, by not knowing where I was going… I got off the 19th and had a stop at Geary and 5th. Afterwards, I got onto 19th Avenue, it dead ended and I proceeded towards the 1, the beach and took Hwy 1 south to the 280… easy… no getting lost and driving along the beach, no traffic either… 

We were supposed to stay by the airport but that did not work out so we went to Gilroy and Monterey beach… now we are at a secret location near Lancaster, CA… it is a very nice place is all I can say…  the Mystery and Adventures continue…


Walden room at Howard Creek Inn 





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10 dog friendly things to do at the Pacific Mist Inn…


Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens:


The botanical gardens feature indigenous plants, including the native rhododendrons that blanket the area. Manicured formal gardens, a dense coastal pine forest, fern-covered canyons, diverse plant collections, and flower-filled coastal bluffs overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean. Located on 47 acres that lie between California’s scenic Highway One and the Pacific Ocean, includes canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, and a closed-cone pine forest. A moderate climate grows a wide range of tender species which cannot survive the more extreme heat or cold that occurs in other locations.

We saw incredibly beautiful  rhododendrons of many hues, white, blue, purple, pink trumpet, red, peach, white pearl, white swan, blue peter, president roosevelt and took a lovely walk to the beach/bluffs. You can take your dog on a leash and you could probably picnic with your dog, it says the trail is steep to the cliffs but it was not that strenuous… you go through a gate, and cici enjoyed stalking bugs every step of the way. The long walk did not tire her out as much as I’d hoped, even though we walked about an hour… she still had energy left to play with Gracie, the dog at the Atrium B&B. She ran around the yard, and greeted people (lick lick lick)…

We stayed in the lovely, cozy and comfy quilt room (one of three pet friendly rooms) with a fireplace, very comfy bed…while I had breakfast of mushroom cheese omelet, fresh fruit and fresh baked banana bread, Cici played outside in the yard with Gracie.

The Atrium B&B is at the north end of Fort Bragg… http://www.atriumbnb.com/

Innkeepers Mary, Gail and Joanna Jenson created the dog park… McDog park on Maple. It took about two years to bring the park into fruition. And came about because of their commitment and dedication and with the assistance of the community, the city and the Parks and Recreation Department. The park has a small dog area and a large dog area, it is entirely fenced and quite a nice size with grass. Soon, they will have a water fountain for the dogs.

Every year there are a few festivals including the Huckleberries and the Hounds, the oldest Ugly Dog contest, and several dog parades and costume parties for the K9’s.

Cici played with about 6-7 dogs at the dog park, and the people and dogs were really friendly (unlike the dogs and owners in Carson City, Nevada)… there was a dog named Zelda, two goldens (huge funny guys), a hound dog, a few others… unfortunately, one dog ruined Cici’s day… I had a bad feeling when I saw the dog and sure enough, the minute this dog came inside the park, the dog got Cici by the throat and would not let go of her… it was difficult to pull them apart, the owner finally got his dog off of Cici and I left, shaken to the core. Cici’s mouth was bleeding. She got chewed up a little bit, it was very scary.  She has not let me look at her much. I was able to go to PAWS, and sat in the car for a bit to calm down, take some Rescue Remedy Bach Flowers for shock.  Got Cici a treat and some dog food, which she gobbled up. Then I was thinking what can I put on her mouth, and thought I needed an Aloe Vera plant. We drove by a nursery and I asked them. The woman there at Parker and Jensen I think it was called, gave me a free aloe vera plant. I tore off a leaf and put some on Cici’s mouth.  Then I went to the pharmacy and got some hydrogen peroxide to clean the two wounds on her mouth. She was not happy about it but it made me feel better.

There is a Humane Society here… http://www.MendoHumane.com/?cat=18

Now we are relaxing at the Surf Motel and Gardens ($49 to $250 plus $10 pet fee per night). This is a very nice AAA motel, they even have beautiful gardens and a pet exercise area, similar to the one at the dog park, only smaller. Each room has a fridge and microwave, cable TV, wireless internet, coffee pot and complimentary continental breakfast in the morning (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fresh fruits and danish). This motel is at the south end of town and it is quiet. The staff is friendly and helpful.  The Harvest market is next door, this seems like a Whole Foods type of market. Cici and I slept well and love being near the beach.  Just the relaxation we needed after the day we had…


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