A Field Trip To Snow-Line Orchard

It’s sometimes hard to believe that there is such a thing as a Fall season here in the Los Angeles area when it’s still in the 80’s and 90’s in November. But guess what? It exists! And we have an apple picking season to boot. What could get more Fall than that? To ring in November, we drove about an hour east into the apple growing foothills of Oak Glen, California. While many apple orchards in the area do allow U-Pick Apples - David and I visited Riley’s Farm a couple seasons ago and had a blast - I have not yet found one that allows canine visitors. Snow-Line Orchard, however, is dog-friendly but does not offer U-Pick Apples. And that was fine by us so long as Hoku could come with! We had a lovely time wandering through the beautiful orchards and property, admiring the Fall foliage and of course, indulging in their famous, hot-from-the-fryer mini apple cider donuts.


We visited Snow-Line on a Friday morning and had most of the orchard all to ourselves to explore. The glow of Fall foliage cast through the trees by the morning sun made for a pretty magical walk. Hoku loved sniffing the lower hanging fruit and made himself comfortable on a bed of leaves and, as we later discovered, a couple of rotten apples. (Thus ensuring a certain bathtime fate upon our return home.)

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But what many folks visit Snow-Line Orchard for is the mini apple cider donuts, made with their very own blend of apple cider, freshly pressed at the onsite cider mill. We bought a generous half dozen donuts - because they definitely gave us more than that - and Hoku couldn’t keep his curious nose away from the bag. And while I had admitted in my previous post a dislike for things of a cinnamony nature, the house blend of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of these donuts (henceforth known as crack) may just have converted me over forever.

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And to end our fun day trip, here’s a Fall foliage leaf toss gif courtesy of my little sis/ expert leaf tosser/ person who planned a cuter Fall outing outfit than I did, Janelle. Happy November :)


A Girls + Pup Getaway at The Parker Palm Springs

When you live in Los Angeles, no summer is complete without sipping on a refreshing, fruity cocktail poolside in Palm Springs! So when my sister (Hoku's favorite aunty) stopped by to visit us on her way to a fresh, new start in San Francisco after nine years of living in the Big Apple, an extra special girls + pup weekend getaway at The Parker was in order.  What could be a more perfect summertime Southern California welcome?


Driving through the gates of The Parker is like discovering a secret oasis hidden away in the middle of the desert. Curious as always, Hoku stuck his nose out of the window as he had done many times in the past when we visited the resort for brunch at Norma's. (Little did he know that this time, we were coming back as guests!) The road continued to lead us past impeccably lush landscaping until we rounded a large fountain and The Parker's iconic, sky-high, bright orange doors came into view. We had officially arrived in Wonderland.


The hotel's lobby, designed by none other than interior designer Jonathan Adler, sets the tone for The Parker experience, perfectly blending whimsy and glamour. The cool details and bright pops of color is pure eye candy. We eagerly checked in with the nice ladies at the front desk and could not wait to see our room. 


We made ourselves right at home in one of the Parker's patio rooms, which has a spacious outdoor lounge area surrounded by vibrant, pink bougainvillea and a hammock with enough space for two. Hoku, who is not a fan of hammocks, chose to stay firmly put on the ground and found himself a comfortable spot on the soft sand. 


Even though it was an uncharacteristically overcast summer day for Palm Springs, temperatures had still climbed into the 100's and we wasted no time changing into our swimsuits and beelining to the Gene Autry pool to escape the dry, desert heat. (While the pool area is dog friendly - dogs are just not allowed in the pool - we decided it would be best if Hoku stayed behind to relax in the cool air conditioning of our room.) We were greeted by the friendly pool staff who quickly got us set up with fresh towels on poolside chaises under the happiest, yellow and white striped umbrellas. We alternated between taking dips in the water and sipping away at our delicious cocktails from the Lemonade Stand.

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For dinner, we wined and dined at Mr. Parker before taking Hoku on a starlit stroll around the property. Even in evening, The Parker's grounds are well lit and a welcoming communal fire pit surrounded by white butterfly chairs invited all to gather round.


The next morning, we woke up early to explore The Parker's expansive 13-acre property and to beat the heat of the day. From the pétanque court to the croquet lawn, we loved discovering all the little hidden corners and beautiful vintage doorways along pathways lined with lush greenery.


And of course, our visit to The Parker would not be complete without brunch on Norma's colorful, ultra pup friendly patio. The Normalita's Huevos Rancheros and Cripsy Belgian Waffle covered in Devonshire cream and fresh berries are two tried and true favorites. 


After a delicious brunch, we packed up our things, said goodbye to our pretty patio and passed through the great orange doors once again. We couldn't have asked for a more relaxing sister's weekend. If you're looking for a dreamy, pup-friendly desert hideaway, The Parker is where it's at. 


This post was created in collaboration with The Parker Palm Springs. All opinions and photos are my own. 

A Sunny Weekend in San Diego with Loews

There are some hotels that simply "allows dogs" and then there are hotels that treat them like superstars. Last weekend, we drove down to San Diego for a mini SoCal staycation at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Hoku got to experience the "paw-someness" that is the Loews Loves Pets program. And let me tell you, when Loews says they love pets, they really love pets

After a seamless check in experience, in which Hoku received a bag of doggy swag, we lounged on the breezy Bay Terrace overlooking the water while our room was being prepared. David and I ordered the Orange Ave. Wit by the Coronado Brewing Company (when in Coronado, right?!) and Hoku was offered a bowl of water by our friendly server. We watched little kids run around playing Pokemon Go and smiled at other guests who had also brought their furry friends along on vacation with that quiet, mutual acknowledgment only us folks in the crazy dog people club truly understand.

Our room had an incredible 180 degree view of the San Diego Bay and Coronado Bridge. It's one of those views that immediately makes you turn off your email notifications and puts you in vacation mode. Hoku wasted no time jumping on the plush king-sized bed (fur kids, they're just like real kids!) and making himself right at home. 

Shortly after we settled in, we heard on a knock on the door and opened it to find a bowl of dog treats and a toy being delivered just for Hoku, along with the sweetest note welcoming us to the hotel! 

In the evening, we drove across the bridge to the Embarcadero and joined some friends for dinner at Carnitas' Snack Shack's newest location before taking a stroll along the waterfront watching an absolutely perfect sunset. 

One sign of an amazing hotel for me is how well I sleep at night and I speak for the three of us when I say we all just sank into the mattress and slept like rocks. Hoku nestled into his usual spot right in between us like he sometimes does at home and didn't budge until the next morning. Even on a busy summer weekend with lots of families and kids around, our room was peaceful and quiet, even with the balcony door open to let the sea breeze in. 

Me: Rise and shine, Hoku!
Hoku: Just five more minutes?

Me: I guess we'll just have to order room service without you...
Hoku: Ok, I'm up!

We've stayed at our fair share of hotels before, but none that had a room service menu for dogs (and cats!) developed in collaboration with a licensed veterinarian. Hoku perused the "Bone" Appetit menu selections and, being a vegetarian pup, decided on the Grrreat Vegetarian Feast, which was developed to be an easily digestible dish to help weary, traveling dogs rehydrate. How thoughtful is that? We didn't have to travel too far luckily, but it was awesome to see a vegetarian option that Hoku could enjoy since he has meat allergies.  

David and I ordered the Eggs Benedict and a Belgian Waffle and shared our side of bananas and strawberries with Hoku after he devoured his very own veggie dish in minutes. It was one of those picture perfect, delicious breakfast in bed moments to remember. And fuel us for the day's adventures ahead! 

After breakfast, we headed down to the marina for some kayaking on the bay. Loews Coronado Bay offers a variety of water activities and rentals, many of which dogs are also allowed to participate in as well, including kayaking, sailing and stand up paddle boarding. It was going to be Hoku's first time on a kayak and we got him his very own yellow Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat, just in case. He got a lot of smiles as we walked him through the hotel lobby!


At the dock, Hoku watched on closely to make sure our tandem kayak was set up properly. To our surprise, he confidently boarded the kayak with us and we paddled into the bay. It was fascinating to see a different perspective of the hotel from the ocean and we could even spot our room. And thankfully, the water was calm and the air was pleasantly cool as we made our way out towards the Coronado Bridge.

Aside from clambering onto my lap when he realized his paws were getting wet at one point, Hoku had a blast on his first kayaking trip. For a dog that doesn't like to be IN water, he sure enjoys being ON it. After accepting that wet paws were an inevitability, he relaxed and spent the rest of the time with two legs up on the bow of the kayak to take in the views. He even helped us spot a turtle sticking its head out of the water! We couldn't have asked for a better way to start the day. 

This is the face of a tired pup that just had an amazing weekend, am I right? Thank you Loews for making our trip to San Diego so spectacular and for going above and beyond to welcome Hoku. We can't wait to come back!

This post was created in collaboration with Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California. All opinions and photos are my own. Thanks for following along on our "Loews Loves Pets" adventure!