Archive for January, 2018

Exploring Northern California: Trinidad State Beach

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Sunset among the rock pools at Trinidad State Beach

There are many beloved beaches in California so it’s hard to say there any single one is best. The best known beaches stretch from Big Sur south to San Diego. But Northern California has some lesser known gems. Discovering the stunning beauty of Trinidad State Beach in Humboldt County last month was quite a surprise.

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Sunset stroll on Trinidad Beach

Located almost 400 miles north of San Francisco, Trinidad State Beach is closer to Oregon than the Bay Area. It’s the mix of the Pacific Northwest geography  and soft golden sand that makes it quite magical.

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Sea stacks on Trinidad State Beach

Located on a cove in the small city of Trinidad (population approximate 400), Trinidad State Beach is the gateway city to the California Coastal National Monument. I stumbled across it during a trip to Redwood National Park. It is also one of California’s smallest incorporated cities.

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Low tide + Sunset

Trinidad State Beach has soft sand, coastal bluffs, sea stacks, and waves strong enough to entice surfers.

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Pretty from every angle

The best time to visit is sunset, when the tide is low enough to walk your dog and enjoy stroll along on the sand.

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Enjoying the sunset view 

The secluded location of Trinidad State Beach means it’s never that busy. Visiting in December, the weather was pleasant enough to hike along both Trinidad Head as well as along the coast.

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Scenery like this is usually reserved for beaches in Oregon and Washington

The tiny town of Trinidad is rather charming. The Trinidad Bay Eatery and Gallery is a great local spot to stop for a breakfast burrito and cup of coffee before exploring the area or venturing to Redwood National Park.

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Rocks + horizon

The historic Trinidad Head Lighthouse was located here until it was moved on January 10th, 2018.

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low tide views 

Visiting during low tide allows you to explore behind the rocks and get views of Trinidad Head.

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Sun about to dip below the horizon

If you want to stay in the area, I can recommend the charming View Crest Lodge, where I stayed for two nights. The cabins are cute with modern amenities and located just a few miles from the beach on Patrick’s Point Road. Patches of the road are rough, and it’s not lit after dark so an SUV is recommended.

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Random amazing view #12 on Trinidad State Beach

If you’re looking for the best beaches in California or things to do in Humboldt County, Trinidad State Beach is definitely worth checking out. It’s as gorgeous as better known beaches in Big Sur and significantly less crowded. My friend, Patrick McGowen, who grew up near the area, told me it’s his favorite beach and turned me on to the area.

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This view reminded me of Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock

The scenery reminded me of what you find at Ruby Beach (located in Olympic National Park) or Oregon’s famed Cannon Beach.
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Sunset and sea stacks on Trinidad State Beach

Trinidad State Beach

Getting there: Trinidad State Beach is located 19 miles north of Eureka, CA just off Highway 101. From north- or southbound 101, take the Trinidad exit (Exit 728). Turn west on Main St and proceed to Stagecoach Rd. Turn right; the park entrance is about 200 feet north on the left. There is another entrance about 1/2 mile north on Stagecoach Rd, also on the left.

Trinidad Bay Eatery & Gallery

607 Parker St
Trinidad, California 95570

View Crest Lodge

3415 Patricks Point Drive. Trinidad, CA
(707) 677-3393
Rates from  $95

 

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Exploring Las Vegas, Nevada: Visiting the Neon Museum and Boneyard

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Queen of Hearts Hotel sign in Neon Museum’s Boneyard

It’s hard to imagine Las Vegas without the neon. The flashy signs and iconic lights seem to be part of the desert town’s DNA.  But like a limited engagement run by Mariah, even the flashiest of signs has an expiration date. Fortunately there is the Neon Museum and Boneyard where visitors can wander among some of the retired billboards for a big of neon nostalgia.

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The Neon Museum building was the former La Cocha Hotel Lobby

Located well off the strip on North Las Vegas Boulevard,  The Neon Museum‘s Visitor Center is set in the shell shaped former La Cocha Hotel Lobby, designed by famed Los Angeles architect Paul Williams. Williams is best known for his mid-century buildings and has been credited with designed the distinctive Theme Building at Los Angeles International airport.

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Blending into the background at the Neon Museum

The Neon Museum features has an outdoor campus of over two acres of retired signage from local casinos and businesses. In addition to scheduled tours and photographer’s tours, the museum hosts some other interesting happenings.

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Vintage Fitzgerald’s Casino sign

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Shooting pool at the Neon Museum

I visited the Neon Museum for one of their scheduled photo walks. It wasn’t a guided tour but rather a supervised time around golden hour when we could wander the grounds and photograph the vintage lightbulb goodness.

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Stardust memories at the Neon Museum

Some of the old signs are still illuminated and some are in better condition than others. The sign from the now shuttered Liberace Museum was a crowd favorite.

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Defunct arrow sign

There is even a sidewalk stargazing event in collaboration with the  Las Vegas Astronomical Society.

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No Vacancy at the La Concha Hotel

There is some old Vegas represented here including signs from now-shuttered Fitzgerald’s Casino.

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Left: Wedding chapel signage Right: Jack of Spades

It was a lot of fun to enjoy the desert air and shifting light while exploring the boneyard during the photo walk.

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Old Sahara signage

The Neon Museum’s grounds are available for photo shoots and special events (including private parties and weddings).

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Liberace sign at the Neon Museum

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Left: Jerry’s Right: a dry cleaning sign breaks things up

Some of the signs are still partially illuminated. In addition to advertisements from former casinos, there are retired signs from motels, dry cleaners, bars and wedding chapels.

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Getting close to Sassy’s

Getting close to the signs you can see how the lightbulbs and neon tubes work together. The is some sort of decaying sense of beauty to the shattered glass and fading paint lovingly laid to rest in the boneyard.

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Retired Neon

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Sideways in the neon Boneyard

Walking through the boneyard you start to think about just how non-compostable the leftover lightbulbs are.

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Left: B Right: Partially illuminated R

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Retired Showboat Sign

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Left: Missing lightbulbs Right: Dangling glass

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Photographing some details at the Neon Boneyard

If you’re looking for interesting things to do in Vegas and want to get off the strip, I highly recommend a visit to the Neon Museum. It’s an interesting and well preserved slice of Vegas history and a unique opportunity to see it up close.

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Peeping through the Boneyard Fence

If you can’t visit in person, it’s worth checking out the Neon Museum’s instagram.

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a wide angle of the neon boneyard

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Illuminated Yucca sign

The illuminated Yucca sign was a personal favorite of mine.

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Dusk at Fitzgerald’s

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Liberace sign

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Neon Museum Visitor’s Center

The Neon Museum is also a great place to visit if you don’t consider yourself a traditional Vegas visitor and dislike gambling and over chlorinated pools.

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Stiletto sunset outside the Neon Museum in Las Vegas

The Neon Museums offers tours daily.

Neon Museum 

770 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV 89101

(702) 387-6366

Museum hours vary based on the season

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