Travel by Any Means Necessary

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Wordless Wednesday: Vines in Ensenada

Grape Vines at L.A. Cetto

Wine Tasting in Mexico

The World's Largest Mexican Flag in Ensenada

After falling into the Ocean in San Diego, our next day was much less adventurous. Our ship (the Celebrity Solstice) took us down to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to the town of Ensenada. It may come as a surprise, but one of the things that this region is known for is its wine. The Ville de Guadalupe (The Guadalupe Valley) is known as Mexico’s Napa Valley.

When talking to some people on the ship about this tour, they turned their noses up at it because Mexico isn’t known for its wine. The reason we don’t see Mexican wine in stores in the United States has nothing to do with the quality but more with the quantity that they produce. With such small growing regions, Mexico does not produce that much wine and most of what they do produce, the Mexican people consume.

Wine Glasses awaiting tasting at L.A. Cetto

Our tour took us to two different wineries, L.A. Cetto, and Casa de Doña Lupe. L.A. Cetto has been making wine in Mexico since 1928 and is probably one of the biggest wine production facilities we have ever toured. We tasted some of their mass-market wines and also some of their more high-end wines and everything we tried was on-par with the big American wineries for a fraction of the cost. Casa de Doña Lupe has a more home-spun feel to it and reminded me of a lot of the wineries we visit in Northern Michigan. Our tasting was outside among the vines while a local guitar player strummed a tune. After tasting at Doña Lupe we were able to browse their shop for wines as well as homemade jams and olive oils to take home.

One thing that is tough about a tour like this is that everything we tried was excellent and very inexpensive (a bottle from the reserve line from L.A. Cetto worked out to about $16), but traveling with two adults, you can only bring two bottles of wine across the border without paying duty so we were very limited in what we brought home.

L.A. Cetto Wine Barrel Fountain

We booked our wine-tasting tour through Shore Excursions Group. We have used them many times and have always had good results. They guarantee to get you back to the ship on time and they are much cheaper than booking through the cruise line.

We really fell in love with the Valle de Guadalupe and hope to return sometime and actually stay in the area. I guess I will have to add it to the list! Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Cruising the Pacific Coast Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Cruising the Pacific Coast

Celebrity Solstice in Santa Barbara

A few months after returning from Puerto Rico, we set off again, this time for Southern California. Somehow, I managed to find my cheapest cruise to date during spring break and on a luxury cruise line. While all cruise lines are cutting costs right now, this was one of the best trips we have had in a while, and if you’ve been following this blog for a bit, we’ve had some good ones lately (I’m looking at you Alaska Cruise, Southern Caribbean Cruise, Western National Parks Road Trip).

Here is a breakdown of the trip report to come:

Day 1: Board Celebrity Solstice in Los Angeles

Day 2: San Diego – La Jolla, Sea Cave Kayaking

Day 3: Ensenada, Mexico – Valle de Guadaloupe Wine Tour

Day 4: San Fransico – Sonoma Wine Tasting

Day 5: San Fransico – Chinatown Food Tour

Day 6: Santa Barbara – Walking Tour, Wine Tasting

Day 7: Return to LA – Griffith Observatory and Santa Monica

Day 8: Disneyland

Day 9: Fly Home

This was my first time in California and this cruise let me see a lot of it. This cruise originally had a stop in Monterey but about two months before sailing, the city of Monterey banned cruise ships so Celebrity changed all the ports. This was my first time on a luxury cruise, my first cruise with an overnight in port, and my first time with U.S. ports after a foreign port. I will be sure to detail how Celebrity handled a customs check in the middle of the sailing because despite what the people of the internet said, we did have to show our passports before disembarking in San Fransisco.

Be sure to check back next week as I begin recapping this trip with our day in San Diego/La Jolla!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Flashback Friday: Chacchoben

Wordless Wednesday: Tree

2019: Year in Review

2019 was the best year for travel in my recent memory! Before this year, the last time I had been on an airplane was New Years Day, 2014. In 2019, we took three plane trips and visited more airports than seems reasonable. I finally spent some time west of the Mississippi and even got to break out the passports a few times. We took another amazing cruise and took my family to one of our favorite places.

Today, a memory popped on Facebook that we booked our flights to Phoenix one year ago. That trip was a super busy whirlwind, but it was an experience I will never forget. It was my first time visiting a desert, it was cold and rainy so I still haven’t really gotten a true desert experience. It is still fun to joke about Phoenix being a cold and rainy place. Of course, the highlight was spending a day at the Grand Canyon. Getting there right after they had reopened due to a blizzard was amazing! Crowds were low and the snow really added something special to all of our photos. I’ve printed the above photo and it is now hanging in my living room.

Just about a month after getting home, we hopped on another plane for our much anticipated cruise. We bought a voucher for this cruise on our last cruise back in 2015. We had booked and cancelled and rebooked so many times I was worried we were never actually going to take this trip, so it was a great relief to finally get back on a ship! All of the ports were visited were amazing and we took some great excursions. I can say that I accomplished everything on that trip that I had hoped to. Of course, we also got to experience New Orleans, but I don’t feel like one day was really enough time to take that city in.

After getting home from our cruise, we had just a few short months to prepare for our trip to Maine with my family. It was good to go back and spend more time in a place that has so much to see and do. It was great to share it with my family and watch them take in the beauty for the first time. Of course, we still weren’t able to do all that we wanted to do at Acadia so we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to make it back to Maine in 2020.

Of course, we took some day and weekend trips since June. We went camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes and spent a chilly weekend by the fire in Canada. After spending all that time in airports in the first half of the year, I really do miss getting farther away. Especially with the weather getting colder, I would love to escape somewhere warm for a little bit!  I have been obsessively checking for flight deals so we can jet off for another long weekend.

We do have another trip coming up before the end of the year. We are taking my mother-in-law this time and heading back to Corning, New York. Too bad we didn’t make it back to Boston, or we would’ve hit all of our stops on our 2018 road trip again this year. We’re heading out that way because the Corning Museum of Glass has an exhibit until the end of the year entitled “How Glass Got Us To The Moon” that we wanted to check out. So, be sure to stay tuned in the next few weeks for posts about that trip.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit


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