“This was my first road trip up the West Coast on the Pacific Coast Highway, which many people had told me was a must-do. It had been on my bucket list for years and, I must admit, it lived up to all of the hype. Driving along the cliff-hanging road on the coast from Los Angeles to Portland, taking in the seascapes and redwood groves listening to tunes was majestic.
“Before you go… My boyfriend is a musician and has a wide-ranging, eclectic collection of music, which always makes for an interesting road trip, where a good playlist is essential. My new favorites from the trip were Arthur Russell’s This Is How We Walk on the Moon, Cham’s Tun Up and the Chordettes’ Mr. Sandman.” — Emily Diamandis, Founder and Designer of Tabula Rasa
2. Staying in an airstream in Big Sur was one of the trip’s highlights. There is something so quintessentially American about an airstream. We don’t have them in the UK and I have always wanted to stay in one. I discovered big Sur Getaways on i-escape (surprisingly, none of the accommodations I have found on this website have ever disappointed). The owner, Caroline, has lovingly restored three vintage airstreams that are nestled into a mountainside, each with a private view and its own hammock. The airstream experience is the perfect solution if you want to feel like you are camping but enjoy some of the luxuries of a bed and breakfast.
3. There were so many delicious meals on the trip we lost track, but Ventana in Big Sur is a triple threat for its locally sourced food, cozy rustic decor and ocean views at sunset.
4. Santa Cruz has the most eccentric vintage stores. We made a a pit stop at Cognito Clothing and Retro Paradise to pick up some additional costumes for Burning Man and found a few gems that included this dramatic beaded turban (which I have continued to wear post-Burning Man!).
5. San Francisco has some of the best design stores in the country. Cavalier Goods, which is owned by the celebrated interior designer Jay Jeffers, is impeccably curated. Of the endless things I wanted to buy, I ended up splurging on a piece of colored glasswork by Joe Cariati. The beautiful colors he uses and the shapes are stunning.
6. Armstrong Redwood Park was magnificent, especially the Colonel Armstrong tree that is said to be over 1,400 years old. Distracted by the forest, our 30-minute hiked turned into a three-hour adventure when we got lost. We saw a few snakes, suffered from dehydration, but it was well worth it.
7. We stayed in a town called Guerneville at an eco-friendly, contemporary retreat called Boon Hotel. I usually choose boutique hotels because they generally have more character and better service. This spot was no exception. The 14 stylish rooms surrounding the heated pool and fireside living area felt more like an extension of someone’s home than an hotel. The owners have two of the best restaurants in town, including one called Big Bottom Market, which is a great lunch spot that serves a variety of artisanal food, home goods and local wines.
8. Champagne is my tipple of choice, and one of my favorite tasting rooms was Iron Horse Vineyards. The scenery is spectacular with endless views of Sonoma’s gentle rolling hills dotted with grape vines. Plus, the wine is top notch.
9. Portland has a wonderfully cool, hip and relaxed vibe. I was particularly surprised and impressed by the cultivated design and culinary diversity present there. As a Bangladesh native, I grew up watching Bollywood movies and love a great curry. Wandering the streets one night, we found this quirky spot called Bollywood Theater that offers both; it serves authentic Indian street food and screens Bollywood movies on a giant wall.
10. The idea of our road trip was first hatched when my boyfriend and I decided to go to Burning Man. I have always loved music festivals. My first was Reading Festival at the age of 13 where I saw Nirvana and I went to Glastonbury for years, which is fantastic, but neither hold a candle to Burning Man. On the first night, I dressed up in a hot pink jumpsuit, six-inch silver-glitter platform shoes and a turban and cycled out onto the playa for the first time. Nothing can prepare you for the visual circus you are about enter and the first thing we saw was a fire-spitting giant octopus the size of a bus. It was surreal. This last stop on the road trip was truly unforgettable…
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