Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Street Art and Sweet Tea

Why is Street Art so Popular?

My recent research of downtown best practices provides the opportunity to appreciate local street art murals.  I plan my trips around visiting street art.  

I am grateful Santa Cruz, CA has many artist works around their community.  It was fun to explore the street artists on my past trip in Berlin, Germany. 

Every Picture Tells a Story

Street art is an important part of history and identity for many downtown's and sometimes even has the ability to breathe life into communities.  It is a mystery and expression of the community.   

Street art may tell the story of the local downtown community  

If time be sure to look up the artists and talk to them about their stories. People are becoming more open-minded to urban and street art and appreciating where this art form has come from. 

I am fortunate to offer this year an  interactive field trip:
Street Art and Sweet Tea virtual tour and field trips and family fun.  

What is the difference of Street Art and Public Art?  

I learned how street artists get inspiration from graffiti art. Every picture and artwork has a story to tell. This is a street art mural from my 2014 trip visiting Berlin, Germany.

Dive into the history behind street art, tracking the story from prehistoric cave paintings to the present day Black Lives Matters murals. This fascinating LIVE virtual tour and field trip includes a look at the connection between street art, public art, and graffiti, and how street art connects with politics and social justice.

Berlin, Germany 2014 Courtesy of Meet Donna W

This is a Street Art mural in Downtown Santa Cruz I love driving past. 

Street Art, Santa Cruz, CA Courtesy of Meet Donna W


Street Art and Sweet Tea Virtual Field trip is a  virtual tour and field trip includes two local story tellers, interactive that makes learning fun, and a treasure box. Your action. Tap to profile link and book.  Contact us for questions. 

Every picture has a story to tell. It is about people seen, heard, and valued in local communities.   

Sincerely thank you. ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Pictures taken by Meet Donna W.  This is an link tour  purchase of our Virtual Field Trips and Tours.  Please join me. 

If you want to dive deeper into street art, read Top 5 Reasons Street Art is Important.   I do not have a relationship with this blogger, I found it on Google as a anonymous source to share. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Boulder Creek CA Santa Cruz Mountains

Downtown Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz Mountains

This was a quick drive into the mountains away from Silicon Valley for few hours.  

Stop for tasty food and visit with friends at Scopazzi Restaurant which dates back to about 1910 after the 1906 earthquake as a boardinghouse for loggers to stay to rebuild San Francisco founded by A.M. Locatelli.   

My insider tip:  Relax and eat in the bar area and enjoy the beautiful antique wooden bar and fun scene.   

Known for pots of spaghetti sauce bubbling ever since.  John Scopazzi operated the restaurant from 1955 to 1986.  Notes from the article, Scopazzi’s Was Built Log at a Time, By Karola Saekel, SFGate, May 5, 1999

~The Fun Tour Guru

30 Minutes away in Boulder Creek, CA - Picture credit Donna W
Do you like this article? Tell us in comments below and share and share with your friends now!

This picture story is captured from Instagram

Picture credit to:
Santa Cruz Mountain Adventures By MeetDonnaW ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Contact us to assist and support your next endeavors. Business? We help with social media.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Cannery Row, Monterey CA

Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 2019

How about driving around the entire Monterey Bay, both counties?

South to north... so very different and each with their amazing stories. I enjoy playing tourist at Cannery Row in our Steinbeck country. John Steinbeck is my favorite author. People that I meet are kind and gracious on these fabulous weekend vibes. 

 Where did the techgirl go? People may follow my photography stories of my Silicon Valley life that is blessed and connected with two bays near the Pacific Ocean love. 

“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. ... The deep-laden boats pull in against the coast where the canneries dip their tails into the bay.” –John Steinbeck.

~ The Fun Tour Guru

Do you like this article? Tell us in comments below and share and share with your friends now!

This picture story is captured from Instagram

Picture credit to:

Monterey Adventures By MeetDonnaW ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Santa Cruz, CA 

Contact us to assist and support your next endeavors. Business? We help with social media.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hofsas House Hotel Celebrates 70-Year Family Heritage, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas House Hotel Celebrates 70-Year Family Heritage, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel and Monterey, CA is a frequent day-trip region from the Bay area, and is a special, spiritual place by the sea.

Hofsas House Hotel View, Carmel and Monterey, CA

With each trip I take, I find something different to explore.  I am certain my daily influences every year lead to these new discoveries.    My favorite places to wander are the historical, friendly main-street, also known as Alvarado Street, in Downtown Monterey. I also enjoy the European-style Ocean Avenue in Downtown Carmel. Each place has its own personality and style.  This visit, be it just an opportunity for an overnight-stay, led me to an entirely new discovery.

My overnight stay in Carmel, CA brought me two days of an in-depth experience, and many conversations with locals.  My hotel, Hofsas House Hotel, is a convenient four-blocks away from Ocean Avenue in Downtown Carmel. I became acquainted with Carmel in a different way. This travel review I saw from Travel Pulse news is spot on – these are my insights from this trip. 

Hofsas House Hotel, Carmel, CA
  The Hofsas House Hotel, Celebrates Family Heritage.


I was drawn to the 70-year family-heritage celebration this year, created by Donna Hofsas, and handed down to her only son, and his wife, Jack and Doris, as well as the third generation of her grandchildren, Scott and Carrie Theis.  It was not easy in the 1950’s to build this type of hotel in Carmel, and acquiring all of the local community-approvals and permits required, pushed Donna Hofsas to develop the hotel through strength and persistence. 

People may still stay in one of the original cottages Donna created with her husband, called the family suite 9/10.  I enjoyed learning the history of how this hotel was developed from Donna’s granddaughter, Carrie Theis, General Manager. I immediately connected with Carrie, and loved the local Carmel community stories, as well as the stories of when Carrie lived in the Bay Area in her early years.  Carrie spent her summers helping her grandmother with jobs, like greeting their guests, and helping out at the front desk.  

"Leisure With Dignity" Mosaic Crest created by Fred Hofsas

"Welcome" Hofsas House Hotel Lobby

My family history, and recent trip to Germany, makes this discovery of this Bavarian style Hofsas House Hotel even more special to me.  My own surprise when driving up to the hotel entrance was that it is located on these hilly Carmel streets.  There is convenient and complimentary parking on site, easy to navigate steps, and pet-friendly. 

Everyone is greeted by a warm and friendly Bavarian-style welcome mural, that Donna Hofsas commissioned painter Maxine Albro to create. Albro also has an art piece at the Coit Tower in San Francisco. One will find more paintings in the lobby, the front of the hotel, and even the headboard in Room 47.  

Welcome Mural at Hofsas House by Maxine Albro
I found my hotel room quite large and comfortable.  I simply turned my huge, oversized, and super comfortable chair to face the window, and spent much of my time spell-bound by the Monterey bay views – all whilst looking out my large window and writing with my laptop.

Hofsas House Hotel Inside Room

Wine and Chesse Starter, Hofsas House Hotel

Hofsas HouseHotel, Fireplace Carmel CA

It is convenient to open the top-half of the Dutch door for air and light.  My first night sunset over the bay was glamorous, yet, there are no guarantee of sunsets, so I was grateful to witness one my first night.

Sunset, Hofsas House Hotel, Carmel, CA

And, if all of this is not enough, the delicious morning goodies of pastries, juice, and coffee await guests in the lobby entrance area. It is your choice whether you will sit and chat over the pastries, or fix a small basket and go back to your room. Coffee and tea are always available all day.  I had a small kitchenette with a microwave, as well as a refrigerator to keep my items like wine, cheese, and lunch items in. 

Morning Pastries, Juice, Coffee

I love the personal connection and energy I found throughout the property.  The employees are very helpful with directing you to parking, things to do, and tips on traversing the city.  Remember to use the balcony look-out area to sit around outside your room.  There is a heated pool, and even a meeting room available for small groups – for mindful retreats and family reunions. 




What Made Carmel Different This Time? 

Carmel is a European-style small village that is tucked away in the hills next to Monterey Bay, and the main street leads to Carmel Beach white sands. There’s a variety of tasty food, wine, and retail scenes to choose from.  Most visitors enjoy day visits, and stay within the confines of the main-street, Ocean Avenue. 

What did I do different?  I walked back and forth on each of the side streets crossing Ocean Ave. I had the historic walking tour map in hand, and insights from Carrie our Hotel Manager. Lastly, I caught fantastic sights of murals, statues, and unusual buildings, along with the normal sights of Ocean Avenue. 

Carmel Parks and Statues

Carmel is an artist community, and it is easy to visit many studios and galleries.  I discovered winetasting rooms interspersed between the art, shops and eateries.  This time I tried Scheid Vineyards, a family-run winery in Monterey County, Dawns Dream Winery who supports women non-profits, and a newer tasting room, Carmel Road, who is in collaboration with Drew Barrymore.  These vineyards had some amazing stories that were entertaining while tasting.  

Scheid Vineyards
Wine Walk Carmel, CA

Liquor Flavored Chocolates, All About Chocolates, Carmel

One item, is I wanted to say thank you to a post by @VisitCarmel on Instagram, about the City Hall building. I mentioned to Carrie about my first unsuccessful walk by, and she quickly told me to go one more block over.  I found it - the quaint Carmel City Hall. 

Carmel City Hall
There are frequent stories of the rich and famous living in Carmel. One of my favorite places to drop in, is the Cypress Inn owned by Doris Day.  Carrie told me about the local’s 96th birthday celebration, the day I was there, held at Carmel High School. 

Cypress Hotel and Doris Day Carmel CA

Don't forget to drive around Monterey Bay: Pebble Beach, Lover's Point, Pacific Grove


Food Tastes?

One of my favorites, and another hotel-staff recommendation, was Brophy’s Tavern, a local sports pub across the street from the hotel that is comfortable and ideal, even for solo-women travelers.  I enjoyed picking up a light lunch at the 5thStreet Deli as well. It would be very convenient for one to take these on hikes or beach picnics. 

Brophy's Tavern Carmel CA 
Brophy's Tavern 

Go Where Everyone Knows Your Name Carmel, CA

My dinner at Lugano’ Swiss Bistro in the Barnyard Shopping Center continued this Bavarian theme. 

Lugano's, Barnyard Shopping Center
I found a Radler Beer listed on the menu (beer infused with grapefruit or 7up) it was a first for me since my Germany trip, and was ideal with my Pork Schnitzel, Red Cabbage and Spatzli – although it all disappeared much too quickly.  My server brought me a small slice of the home-baked apple strudel to taste, and that made the finishing touches of a fantastic Swiss dinner.  

Radler, Pork Schnitzel, Red Cabbage and Spatzli

home-baked apple strudel

Lugano's Swiss Bistro Carmel

My Insider Tips: 

Don’t forget to walk around and look at windows of the Barnyard Shops which is a few minutes south of downtown Carmel before taking off after dinner.

My idea for future trips are going on the guided Food Tasting Tour and Carmel Walks. Each may be reserved online, and start at 10 am in the morning. 

My only challenge on this trip was that I found it difficult to leave my room in my hotel and explore Carmel!  When I did, I found so many treasures in my new routing. 

Is someone missing a scooter?  Another Instagram follow is Chef Pepe, Carmel
There are several Hofsas House Hotel special packages to choose from - Mindful, Artsy, Wine and Chocolate for travelers. Or call me to arrange the details of a small group two-night mindful retreat and reunion. People even stopped me on the Carmel streets and asked me questions because they thought I was a local!  

Carmel is surrounded by hills of beauty that hikers enjoy, as well as water and beach activities.  It is also a spiritual and relaxing place to turn off the electronic devices, and enjoy mindful conversations with the the locals. ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Do you like this article? Tell us in comments below and share and share with your friends.

Article written by, pictures courtesy of travel writer Donna West aka FunTourGuru. I was a guest of Hofsas House Hotel, celebrating 7 decades of European hospitality, however all opinions are my own. Enjoy more Carmel pictures on Instagram. Thank you to Carrie and everyone for this extra special retreat.  

Share and comments here