To me, the idea of traditional camping never honestly sounded like a way to ‘get away,’ it wasn’t until I discovered car camping that I could even make it through an evening in the woods feeling safe and comfortable enough to sleep through the night. I love the picturesque views one can only find while relaxing in a campsite surrounded by an aspen grove or redwood forest but, personally, long for the modern amenities during those precious vacation days.

Until I discovered one of the hottest trends for Summer 2018, glamping, it’s not camping; it’s elevated outdoor living. Since exploring more of California there are few places that call to my spirit like Big Sur. So when the opportunity to tour Ventana Big Sur operated by Alila a company voted No. 4 Hotel Brand in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 World’s Best Awards I jumped at the opportunity. Ventana is personally the most stunning resort I’ve had the chance to tour and that’s why I’m counting down the reasons why you have to visit. Continue reading to learn my Top 5 Reasons to Experience Glamping at Ventana in 2018.

5. Access To Hotel Amenities

If you’ve ever spent more than twenty-four hours outdoors, then you know how amazing a steamy shower feels after a weekend hiking through the trees. Ventana Big Sur has upped this experience by giving glamping guests the access to the resort’s full spa amenities. Simply pay the additional resort fee, and you will have access to Spa Alila, the Social House, hotel pools and the fitness center. What could be better than a night by the campfire followed by a morning massage and then an afternoon swim that overlooks the Pacific Ocean?


4. The Campsite Amenities

How does arriving at a campsite with cozy heated blankets, lamps and power outlets with USB ports for charging your cell phone and other devices, and a basket with a s’mores kit, a cutting board, cheese knife, bottle opener and wine glasses? Everything you need to take in a secluded outdoor evening in luxury is right at your fingertips from the moment you arrive. At Ventana Big Sur you don’t have to plan supplies or sacrifice comfort. Let them do the planning and arrive ready to relax.  

3. Housekeeping Service Is Included with the Glampsite

Glampsites feature daily housekeeping service, morning coffee, access to custom-curated picnic baskets and other world-class amenities. Who says you can’t bask in resort-style comforts while surrounded by massive Redwood and Sequoia trees while being only feet from the ocean? You can only at Ventana in the heart of Big Sur one of the most-visited travel destinations in all of California.

2. The Glamping Bath House 

Providing enclosed showers, heated floors, full hotel amenities, marble vanities and spotless restroom facilities. The glamping bathhouse is like no outdoor restroom facility you have ever experienced before visiting Ventana. When thinking back to times camping as a child if we were lucky there would be dirty outhouse filled with bugs. Remeber, this is glamping and ladies you can even enjoy using a hair dryer in the glamping Bath House where they are provided for guests.

1. Ventana Big Sur Wilderness 

Being a tree lover myself I always heard of the majesty of Redwoods but it wasn’t until visiting the coast of California that I truly experienced the magnitude of their beauty. Fire can’t even destroy these trees that cover the property of Ventana Big Sur. You can go from enjoying spa amenities to hiking a private trail of Redwoods all while your bungalow of essentials waits for your return.










On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I went out for a night that I knew would include fondue in Carmel, California but I never imagined would evolve into a community experience filled with laughter, dancing, and traditional European-style dining in central California.

If you are a fan of dipping or new to fondue, continue reading to learn about this dining destination. Founded twenty-three years ago by Nargis Lengacher and her late husband Chef Andre. This family-style Swiss fondue restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea has pioneered a legacy-making a unique impression in the hearts of locals and visitors. Every guest was personally greeted by the owner, herself, who even joined the musicians to accompany the melodies.

Located in the Barnyard Shopping Village a beautiful center for restaurants and shops located outside of downtown Carmel for those who want to avoid the struggle of parking while taking advantage of the convenience of being located off Highway 1 on the way to Big Sur. You will find Lugano Swiss Bistro under the windmill amidst the lush botanicals. Walk through the heated outdoor patio and into a piece of Switzerland the bistro has an intimate European-style atmosphere. A hidden gem filled with colorful murals reminiscent of historical Lugano.

If you are looking for the ultimate fondue dining experience in the Monterey Bay, you need to make reservations for a Thursday evening when you can enjoy live music with your meal. I listened to music from Mike Marotta and Oracio during an evening that was also a fundraiser supporting the Big Sur Health Center where 25% of food, beer, and wine sales were donated.

To start, I had the Swiss Original Cheese Fondue featuring Gruyere, Emmenthaler, and Appenzeller Cheese. All cheese fondue is served with salad, dipping bread, vegetables, and apples. Enjoy beer and wine when you dine at Lugano Swiss Bistro. For the main course, I had Pork Jager Schnitzel topped with mushrooms, demi sauce, spatzli and red cabbage.








As the evening proceeded so did the music and the dancing, at one point the crowd overtook the dance floor for the ‘Chicken Dance.’ A sense of community flowing through the restaurant as family, friends, and strangers joined together for a spectacle I have yet to see at another restaurant.

Whether you are visiting California from Europe, New York, Colorado, or within the state from areas like Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, or San Fransisco an evening at Lugano Swiss Bistro is the only place where old world charm can be found just miles from the Pacific Ocean.