Worlds Rare Plants

Worlds Rare Plants

Looking to find some quality obscura in you California travels? An absolute must-see destination is a nursery called Worlds Rare Plants. Whether you have a passion for horticulture or just the strange and unusual, this place is sure to suit your fancy. The entire facility is teeming with carnivorous plants, the breeder’s specialty. Each plant is crossed and bred by hand within the very facility. You can also pick up your own “Carnivorous Fairy Garden,” or buy the plants to make one yourself. The breeder does a special behind-the-scenes tour every Sunday at 9am, if you want an up close and personal view of these crazy carnivores. Take a look inside Worlds Rare Plants through my lens.

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Abandoned Home in Point Reyes

Abandoned Home in Point Reyes

Recently I visited another stunning beach in Point Reyes. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this destination was even more “off the beaten path” than Limantour. The beach is simply named South Beach, and is fairly difficult to locate using just the name alone. Make sure to check out the link below for specific instructions and a trail map if you’re interested in visiting for yourself.

Upon arrival parking is plentiful, there’s hardly ever anyone here. Be aware, this is not a beach you’ll want to visit if you’re looking for a sunny spot to lay out. This seven-mile stretch of coast, although breathtaking, is cold and windy year-round. As you enter the trail head for the beach, you will certainly want to turn left for the most spectacular views and photo opportunities. Be sure to scan the ocean carefully to see seals constantly bobbing their heads up and out of the waves. Farther out we were also able to sneak a peek at several whale spouts. It’s not only the ocean that makes this beach so scenic, it’s also the spectacular, sandy cliffs. They have an almost sculpted appearance, hard to explain with anything less than a photograph.

Not far down the beach, a little over a mile or so, is the main attraction. From a distance, you will notice what appears to be an old house atop the cliffs, overlooking the ocean. As you continue walking toward this house you’ll notice that it has been obviously abandoned for a number of years. Want to take a closer look? There’s a shabby looking path (if you can even call it that) about 100 feet beyond the house. Wander on up, through the shrubs and the wildflowers, and you will happen upon what appears to be a small abandoned estate. It’s eerie, it’s beautiful, and it’s sure to spike your curiosity.

Broken fence pieces show remanence of a ranch next to an empty barn. The barn is filled with broken building pieces and snapped planks of aged wood. Across the path from the barn is a longer building with all glass, broken windows. Inside, empty drawers are scattered about and there are two, old rusty refrigerators. In case you were wondering… they’re empty. Be careful around this building, although there are many hidden treasures surrounding it there are also loads of glass shards. Be sure to take a good look at the sad, little boat that has sunk into the landscape. Painted in yellow western font, she is appropriately named “Old Timer.” Back toward the ocean are two very small buildings (I really have no idea what they were) and the house. The house, although completely boarded up, is gorgeous. The salty air aged the wood beautifully. It certainly would be nice to wake up to that ocean view every day.

The weird part? I can’t find a bit of history about this abandoned property. It was definitely a private residence at one point, but I’m not sure why its archaic ruins are still standing. Although I would love to know more.

The remainder of the seven-mile stretch includes more scenic beach views and tons of flora and fauna. I was surprised how prolific the Cliffside plants were in such cold and windy conditions. For a more up close and personal view, take a look through my lens.

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FiLoLi Estate

FiLoLi Estate

FiLoLi is predominately a gorgeous botanical garden with an onsite estate designed and built by the Bourn family. The estate and gardens have a hefty history of wealth and entrepreneurial spirit, making it the spectacular piece of history which the public can enjoy today. Mr. Bourn was known mainly for his investment in the first gas light company and the Empire Minea hard rock gold mine in Grass Valley, among many others. The history is extensive, far beyond the brief summary I have provided. I would absolutely recommend a tour of the FiLoLi estate of you are able. But one final questions remains… why FiLoLi? Mr. Bourn chose this name meaning FIGHT-LOVE-LIVE, fight for a just cause, love your fellow man, and live a good life.


Before entering any of the gardens, take a tour of the house to really understand the story behind the property. It’s a real treat to sneak a glimpse of how the Bourn family lived. After touring this phenomenal home, you’ll want to spend a good chunk of time meandering through the gardens. I will admit, as an avid lover of all things botanical, the gardens are really what I came to this destination for. You will not be let down. The Bourn’s intent on creating this garden was to make an ever-changing, piece of art for many future generations to enjoy, and they did just that.


You’ll notice the terraces around the house are a Georgian style, with brick, U-shaped arches and plentiful vines. These significantly differ from the English style in which the more enclosed gardens represent. The rose garden is spectacular for the majority of the late spring, summer, and early fall months. It’s ripe with happy bees and other pollinators and leads directly into a very unique garden known as a “knot garden.” Various herbs and bushes are planted in the formation of symbolic knots. An absolute highlight that sets the whole scene in the sunken garden. Boasting a gorgeous pond and statue feature, surrounding by lush blooms. You will hardly feel like you’re in California at all as you stroll through this piece of the estate.


Even if you’re not interested in the history behind the family, this is surely a spot to visit for those who share a passion for horticulture, nature, photography, or just beauty in general. End your trip around the estate by visiting their delicious, on-site café and garden shop. Oh… and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the peacock who often wanders the garden and café area. Relax, enjoy, and take a look through my lens.

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Welcome to an up close and personal view of Northern California and the Bay Area. If you’re anything like myself, you’ve got an itch to wander. Sometimes we need a little help scratching that itch… a bit of inspiration. Take a look through my lens to inspire and shape your own sense of exploration. This site is filled with photos designed to get you out of the house and into the world, even if your destination is just around the corner. I tend to be a weekend warrior, limiting my longer day trips to Saturdays and Sundays. There is still hope for the busy weekdays though! I’m constantly discovering new places to shoot photos right outside my door. It’s important to have an appreciation for where we live, and that appreciation helps my own self stay motivated.


Most recently I visited Limantour Beach, one of the many Point Reyes beaches. Although it’s a little “off the beaten path,” the windy drive is definitely worth it. Regardless of the direction you are coming from, you will know you are in the right spot if you turn left on the Bear Valley Road. Follow this road for just short of 1.5 miles and you’ll make another left onto Limantour Road. Continue on this road for 8 more miles and you will, no doubt, end up at the beach parking lot. Upon arriving you’ll find parking to be easy and plentiful! Which is a huge plus in my book. The entrance to Limantour has bathrooms and a sign for trail maps. On this particular day there was also staff handing out paper trail maps, but I’m not sure if they are always there providing this service. The good news is there were at least ten marsh-type trails if you wanted to turn this day trip into a hike. Today my fiancé Alex, dog Allie, and myself were looking more for a relaxing beach getaway, so we decided to save that for another time. Dogs are allowed on certain areas of the beach (all easily marked) which is another major advantage.


The scenic views and wildlife are spectacular and the beach itself is very clean. A perfect setting for photography. Harbor seals often bob their heads up and out of the waves while pelicans follow close behind in search of fish. For a Sunday, the beach was not too crowded at all and I was able to snap some great photos (for more information on my camera and equipment, see the “about” section.) We were all able to calm lay out among the dunes and listen to the waves crashing in the background. For the more nature inclined traveler, you will notice the surrounding cliffs are ripe with bees and wildflowers. Many of the beach staff even said their had been a very fox siting on one of the trails that very day! All in all, this is a great place to rest and relax for anyone inclined to do so. Take a peek into my life, through my lens.

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