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Capitol Park

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Guest Post: Falling in Love with California

I've got another guest post lined up for today from the lovely Latrina from Of Trees and Hues. I recently stumbled across her blog and quickly added it to my reader. She's stopping by to share her incredibly beautiful story of finding herself completely at home here in Sacramento, California. Enjoy!


When Jennifer approached me with the idea of guest blogging on People + Places + Things, I quickly jumped at the chance. The topic would be travel... and being that we both reside in the lovely city of Sacramento, I knew right away that that is what I wanted to focus on -- Sacramento and how it came to be my home.

I am originally from Tennessee, and, for most of my life, I never ventured further west than Oklahoma. Three years ago, however, my husband and I made plans to visit his grandparents in L.A. I can't tell you how excited I was for this trip of ours -- it had been in the works for years and, suddenly, there I was... on a plane headed to California.

From the moment my husband and I set out to explore... my heart skipped a beat. Palm trees, gorgeous skies, warm weather that lacked the humidity I had learned to live with, the bustling cities -- it was absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything I was accustomed to.

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Huntington Beach was the first time I had seen the Pacific Ocean... and I have loved it ever since. There were surfers attempting to catch waves, volley ball games being played and street performers and musicians entertaining us as the sun started to set. That was our first night in California -- and what a night it was.

We set out with no agenda. Our only plan was to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and stop whenever our hearts (or curiosity) beckoned us to.

We did all sorts of touristy stuff -- the Getty Center Museum, the Griffith Park Observatory, Morro Rock, the Monterey Aquarium, as well as the scenic 17 Mile Drive. But, when we stopped in Sacramento, we knew the city was for us. Streets were lined with towering trees. Gorgeous architecture reached the sky. Friendly people were out and about. Victorian homes welcomed us into the little neighborhoods that were tucked away within the city. My wanderlust heart was happy.

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Our stay was short, however, so we tried to experience the city as much as we could. We got lost in Capitol Park, stopped in for coffee at Old Soul, and visited our first farmer's market. There was the authentic Mexican food, amazing sushi, and the hole-in-the-wall places that poured some of the best beers we've ever had -- and they were all brewed somewhere in California. Stepping out of the city, we found beautiful lakes and trees under some of the bluest skies I'd ever seen. When the time came, it was hard to get on that plane.

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On the way back to Tennessee my husband and I joked about how wonderful it would be to live in Sacramento. Well, jokes became discussions and those discussion became plans. Within a few months, we were planning our trip back to Sacramento, this time -- to stay.

We sold most of our belongings and only packed what could fit into our tiny Toyota, which wasn't much, but it was enough. We set out... 2,500 miles ahead of us toward the relatively  unknown. We had no jobs nor did we have a place to live. But the strange thing is that it didn't worry me. If anything, the unknown felt freeing. Exciting, even.

We found a place to call our own the second day in Sacramento, and our jobs followed shortly behind. We still joke about how insanely easy it all was. As if it were meant to be.

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Every time I set out, whether somewhere new or a place I frequent, I feel proud to call Sacramento my home. It has grown on me more than I ever thought a place marked on a map could. When I talk with my friends and family in the South, they're always quick to joke that I'm losing my trademark accent, but they also tell me that they can hear how happy I am.

And I am -- truly happy.

When Latrina's not hand-crafting coffee beverages at a local coffee shop, you can find her in the woods or at the beach capturing life's beauty with her camera. She also enjoys great design, music, and sharing inspiration; Of Trees and Hues is where all of her passions become one.


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Go Outside: 5 Places to Take a Walk in Sacramento, California

We all know that exercise is important. Yet, as a nation we've become pretty darn unhealthy. Just take a look at the number of us who have already ditched our health-related New Year's resolutions! I have the hardest time sticking to my goals because I often try to do too much right out of the gate.Enter: walking.

It's a simple activity that doesn't require much gear and, as studies have shown, walking has numerous physical and psychological benefits. While I don't always get in as much exercise as I'd like, I often trick myself into working out by exploring different places throughout the greater Sacramento region. Hey... whatever works, right?

Here are a few of my favorite places to get my walk on in the Sacramento area:

1.) Effie Yeaw Nature Center - Ancil Hoffman Park {map it}

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The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has been a fantastic place to explore and learn about the natural environment for decades. The 77-arce preserve located in Ancil Hoffman Park consists of interpretive trails, a nature center with educational activities and more. I love walking the trails (pictured), but I also remember taking school field trips to the center when I was young. It's a fun place for people of all ages.

2.) American River Trail {map it}

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While this trail is often referred to as a bike trail, it is full of walkers, joggers and long-distance runners. My favorite access point is William B. Pond Park (pictured). In all, there are over 50 access points along the 30 or so miles of trail stretching from Sacramento to Folsom. The Sacramento Bee published a great interactive map of the trail a few years ago. You can also download a map of the trail right here (pdf).

3.) UC Davis Arboretum {map it}

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I know, it's not actually in Sacramento, but the UC Davis Arboretum is an old favorite and is only a short drive away. My husband and I lived in Davis during college and used to take walks there all the time. The arboretum offers nature lovers beautiful gardens to stroll through, ducks to watch and some very fearless squirrels to fend off. The best part? It's open year-round and it doesn't cost a dime!

4.) Capitol Park {map it}

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As California's capital city, Sacramento has a lot going for it. I love walking around Downtown and Midtown Sacramento (as you'll see below), but when I need a little nature fix in the midst of highrise buildings and bustling streets, I duck into Capitol Park. The park surrounds our stunning State Capitol Building and is meticulously maintained. Also on the grounds, you'll find numerous monuments and memorials and a beautiful rose garden, which is where my husband and I got engaged!

5.) Sacramento's Central City {map it}

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Shops, restaurants, fantastic displays of architecture and public art... who wouldn't want to take a walk in a place with all of that? Look no further than Sacramento's Central City, my friends. The area includes Old Sacramento, Downtown and Midtown (pictured) and is one of the more interesting places to walk in the region. There's so much to see and do! All of you nature lovers out there will also be happy to hear that Sacramento recently garnered attention as one of the "10 best U.S. cities for urban forests." There's nothing better than the shade of a lovely tree canopy on a 100° day. Am I right?

Your turn! Where is your favorite place to walk in your city or town?

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