Bed and Breakfast with Rooftop Gardens and Jacuzzi Minutes from the Beach
Quaint, little guesthouses pop up throughout Great Britain's coastal areas and countryside; the scenes look like they were torn from an old storybook. These isolated, romantic B & Bs struck a chord with architect James Statser and his wife, Jeanette⎯so much so that the couple decided to build one of their own. Their Cardiff by the Sea Lodge resides on a tiny patch of coastal land in southwest California, and its style fuses a romantic, old-fashioned feel with that of a tropical getaway.
A whale weathervane spins on top of the tower of the distinctive building, which is lined with scalloped wood-shake shingles. Take a quick walk up a winding staircase and you'll end up at the rooftop garden, which glows with red hibiscus, peruvian lilies, and a blazing fire pit. Guests can stop at this secluded little spot to look out to the Pacific and share a champagne toast at one of the tables, or unwind in the jacuzzi. Elsewhere, tropical flowers bloom along cobblestone walkways around the property. And just a quick stroll away is the beach, where you can collect seashells.
Floral patterns accent the guest rooms, each of which feature distinct decorative styles. Many boast handmade or Victorian furnishings. Mirrors line the walls of the Reflection room (207), which features a circular king bed originally designed to sleep King Arthur's roundtable. The Summer room (204), meanwhile, has white-wicker furniture, creeping vines, and a mural of the sky hand-painted on the ceiling.
In the morning, the lodge serves a breakfast of fresh fruit, cereal, and donuts from the local VG Donut & Bakery.
Cardiff by the Sea, California: Walkable Coastal Town with Famed Surf Spots
Though it’s just a 2-mile stretch along southwest California's coast, Cardiff by the Sea manages to draw many visitors to its 900 acres of protected wetlands and two coveted surf spots. Among these is Cardiff Reef, where rocky bluffs overlook breaking waters. When the waters recede, snorkelers and swimmers find low tide pools filled with tropical fish. It's popular to hike San Elijo Lagoon's wetland trails, which are home to hundreds of types of birds and retired Toucan Sam impersonators.
There's a small-town charm to Cardiff by the Sea's three-block town center, which is lined with art galleries, a row of restaurants, and a family-owned donut shop. It's not too far from big-city attractions, though: just a short, scenic drive south is San Diego. A hub of this coastal metropolis is Balboa Park, which features a miniature railroad, a vintage carousel, and the famous San Diego Zoo.