Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Fall Y'all!

I just love Fall Y'all. Thanks to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for being our hostess and giving us such a fun opportunity to inspire each other with our fall ideas.

Fall is my favorite season and I love to stay home on a chilly day and light a fire, candles and cook a wonderful meal. My mother gave me a lovely set of china that I use every fall to make our table special.

When my best friend got married last fall I couldn't wait to give her a bridal tea and use my favorite fall china. I set the table with simple garden mums, miniature pumpkins and fall leaves. I served croissant filled sandwiches with homemade chicken salad and a wonderful herb and artichoke pasta salad with an olive oil dressing.

We also had a vegetable tray and ranch dip and a fruit platter. The cake was a Ribbon Cake from a specialty bakery called Raspberries and Cream . Their cakes are the best I've ever had with a layer of yellow cake and chocolate cake separated by thick layer of vanilla pudding They top it off with the most delicious whipped cream icing I've ever tasted....and if that wasn't enough they decorate their cakes with beautiful fresh flowers! We all enjoyed flavored spiced teas on a lovely fall day!

Happy Fall Y'all!! I can't wait for a nice chilly day to spend at home enjoying the season.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pink Saturday-Carmel by the Sea

Happy Pink Saturday! We visited Carmel by the Sea and I just had to share another post of my favorite little shoppe in Carmel. This is the Tea Rose Cottage. It is so pink and so adorable. They specialize in English teapots and china and all the accessories for making great tea. I purchased a new teapot to add to my collection but since it's not pink I will have to feature it at my next tablescape post.

This is the cutest candy store next to the Tea Rose. I love this flower box just full of pink impatients.

Along the streets of Carmel there are flowers everywhere. This lovely pink rose was in full bloom.

The fuchsias do so well in Carmel with the coolness and daily fog that rolls in and out along the coast.

If you love flowers you will love Carmel and it's just full of pink!

Have a wonderful weekend! Make sure you visit Beverly our Pink Hostess at How Sweet the Sound.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Outdoor Wednesdays-Swanton Berry Farm

My family has come to love visiting a farm on Pacific Coast Highway 1 near Davenport and look forward to visiting each year we are in California. Swanton Berry Farm is located an hour and a half south of San Francisco and about 20 minutes north of Santa Cruz along one of the most beautiful scenic highways in America.

This year we are greeted by a giant strawberry in the bed of an old vintage pickup truck.

We discovered this wonderful eclectic place about 3 years ago as we were headed to Carmel during a family vacation. We spotted roadside signs that alerted us to homemade strawberry shortcake "just ahead" how could we resist stopping- especially with three grown (always hungry) sons in the car!

Entering through a squeaky red screen door you are greeted with old timey rhythm and blues music playing on the sound system and the most beautiful organic strawberries you've ever seen. We felt like we had entered into a time warp taking us back to a wonderful era of family farms and the wonderfulness and pride of homemade fresh and homegrown goods. I remember the farms in Alabama I was blessed to visit as child and this farms evokes great childhood memories.

You can even pick your own strawberries when in season, just follow their instructions written on the easel inside the doorway.

They make the greatest strawberry jam I've ever tasted and also have many other varieties of jams and jellies which are all organic and made right there...but our favorite is the strawberry.

This year we were a little worried about our precious farm as the Bonny Doon fires were in the nearby mountains. I even called before leaving Oklahoma on vacation to check on the farm to make sure all was well. They had a recording on the telephone reassuring they were fine and open for business. When we arrived we noticed the map of the locations the fires had been only a few weeks before...too close for comfort..but all fires were out by the time we arrived. Thank goodness for courageous firefighters!

Swanton makes the most delicious strawberry chocolate truffles I've ever tasted and of course they have chocolate covered strawberries and shortcake to die for!

We sat at the brightly colored picnic tables indoors next to the very eclectic lounge area complete with games, etch-a-sketches and interesting pictures with historical information about the area.

I love the vintage strawberry tablecloths they have mounted as art and hung in the rafters in the ceiling! Such a fun and whimsy touch!

Games are sitting out on each table and I love the bright blue color and hand painted strawberries on the corners of each picnic table.

Here is one side of the lounge where you can just hang out and relax while eating your delectable treats.

The opposite side of the room has another lounge area with big comfy couches.

This trip we even found out they have wi-fi...surprising to my three sons who then deemed this as the perfect stop on the way to Santa Cruz! Starbucks has nothing on this place!

A crowd had gathered as we prepared to leave.

The most unbelievable and sweetest fact about Swanton Berry Farm is they have the "Famous Honor Till". This is a working farm and the counter is mostly unattended and you have to add up your purchases and leave your money in the cash register drawer...even have to make your own change! There is a calculator and scratch paper available to figure up your purchase totals. How wonderful and refreshing in this day and age...counting on the honesty, integrity and of their customers! Once again something my sons had never seen!

Don't you just love it!

Here is my hubbie figuring up our grand total. We always leave with full bellies, smiling faces and arms full of jellies and whatever else we can carry.

A row of happy sunflowers outside near the parking lot makes me smile as we load up to leave for another year...

and the view across the street is stunning! If you are ever in the area, don't miss this delightful and wonderful place. It's the best -I promise! A stop at the Swanton Berry Farm has become a funky, fun family tradition for us.

Make sure you visit Susan at a Southern Daydreamer and all the wonderful outdoor posts this week! Have a wonderful Outdoor Wednesday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pink Saturday - Coastal Pinks

California's climate and sunshine seem to grow the best bougainvilleas I've ever seen -these fuchsia pink vines greet golfers at the Blackhorse and Bayonet golf course in Monterey.

I love the structure of this wonderful tree and the beautiful pink ladies at it's feet.

There are five shades of pink geraniums!!!

I guess they couldn't pick a favorite so just planted them all! I just love pink! Have a wonderful Pink Saturday and go check out all the other pretty pink posts at Beverly's How Sweet the Sound!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bloomers in Tahoe

While vacationing in Lake Tahoe I found some pretty bloomers!

Single Hollyhocks-I love this vibrant burgundy red.

This is a beautiful planter of coral dahlias with the darker burgundy foliage! Wish I could grow these at home.

Don't you love this sign?

Black eyed Susan -They thrive here and are blooming everywhere.

This is a view of one of the historical gardens at the the Tallac Historical State Park at South Lake Tahoe. The site is on the shores of the lake and has wonderful views of the lake and mountains.

This is a view from the gardens looking back towards the lake. I love the red bee balm--look at the size of it-a good 4-1/2 feet tall!

This little dianthus is a bright fuchsia pink and really stands out!

These are some wonderful rustic flower box planters at the Baldwin House filled with coral pink geraniums. I think they are the perfect compliment to the log cabin style of the home -originally built in 1921.

Make sure you visit Susan for all the Outdoor Wednesday posts! Have a great hump day!