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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Sweetwater Gardens, Mendocino


One of the things I love about Mendocino is the smell. It's a combination of wood stove smoke, fresh sea air, fog and flowers. I think it's best enjoyed from a  hot tub and the one above is my favorite! I can't get excited about a  moulded plastic jacuzzi and I don't want to get in with my friends, but give me some privacy, an old fashioned wooden hot tub and some quiet and I'm a happy girl. If only I could have one in our garden
Sweetwater Gardens in Mendocino is a wonderful hot tub place which has expanded over the years and now offers a range of accommodation. But I love it for their combination room, an outdoor hot tub and sauna room which you can even rent overnight. Unfortunately they've put in a new infrared sauna which I didn't like on this visit, but luckily the gorgeous hot tub remains the same! 


Here's the entrance to Sweetwater, with the mild climate it's gorgeous here all year round. This is the laid back north coast, so if you're feeling relaxed you can try out the communal hot tub and meet lots of naked locals. There's an atmospheric water tower room, above the communal hot tub, but it's recommended solely for the open minded. You may need to watch out for the naked guy, who likes to borrow your deck, though it's technically private!
Lots of atmosphere and detail throughout
One of the water tower

Tip: Call them up to book in advance on the weekends or if you have a specific time in mind. If you're based in Oakland or Berkeley in the Bay Area, I recommend Piedmont Springs in the East Bay, which has a dreadful website but a similarly charming combination room with an outdoor tub and a sauna inside. 

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