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. 

Southwest Road Trip Part 5: Under Canvas Zion

After three nights at the Hampton Inn in Kanab (which is an excellent dog-friendly option by the way - economical, clean, free hot breakfasts that fueled us for a full day of adventures), we treated ourselves to a night of glamping under the stars at Under Canvas Zion. We stayed in their Stargazer safari tent perched high on a hill, giving us this stunning, unobstructed view into Zion National Park right from our very own deck. Hoku wasted no time making himself and his coyote friend comfortable on the King bed, which boasts a Casper mattress and a viewing window for stargazing at night. There was also a wood burning stove and all the firewood we could burn to keep us warm as the temperatures dipped. "This is so not camping," David laughed as he propped his legs up on the deck chair and took in the dramatic, red mountains surrounding us. "But I'll admit...it's pretty sweet."

The harshest glamping critic I know had finally been swayed. 


As sunset approached, we walked down to the lobby tent to grab some dinner at the onsite restaurant, Embers. Hoku snuggled up in his blanket under our table as we chatted with two other guests from Oregon who told us how they were woken up the night before by a pack of coyotes howling loudly into the valley. The food, the beer (David tried Utah's very own Polygamy Porter), the company, the views (again with views, I know), the super friendly staff at Under Canvas, it all made for one heck of a good evening. 


After dinner, the mountains began glowing a bright, fiery orange and we headed back to our tent. We didn't want to miss a single minute of magic hour light from the deck. Southwest sunsets are just something else entirely. While some clouds lingered into the evening, we were thankful that it had cleared just enough for us to enjoy a sky full of stars and a faint glow of light that was the Milky Way. It was a chilly evening, but because we had our viewing window, we could take the stargazing party inside and stay warm and toasty. So under the stars, we all fell asleep to the crackling of logs in the wood burning stove. It was the best night's rest we had the entire trip.


Along our journey through the Southwest, we had seen our fair share of incredible sights. And just when we thought we had seen it all, we unzipped our tent the next morning to find THIS. No words.


Hoku slept in and missed the amazing sunrise over Zion, but I think he much rather preferred snuggling with his coyote and having breakfast in bed. The kid sure knows how to vacation in comfort.


After Hoku finally decided to get out of bed, we took a quick stroll down to the lobby tent and helped ourselves to coffee from the complimentary 24/7 beverage bar that included an assortment of teas and hot chocolate. We took our coffees back to the tent and soaked in the Zion morning sky one last time before packing up our things for the long drive back to LA. I can't think of a more perfect way for us to have concluded our short but sweet journey through the Southwest than right there on that deck, with a hot coffee in hand and a warm pup on my lap. 


Thanks for an amazing time, Under Canvas! We can't wait to come back again.