A few days in Napa

The last leg of our California trip!!

We were both really excited to spend time with our friends who live in Sonoma County, and do a full day of wine tastings in Napa! We had lined up tours at 2 wineries that we really wanted to see and left the rest of the day open to have lunch and stop in any other wineries that looked interesting to us.

I knew I had been missing out on the Napa hype, but finally seeing and doing it in person was probably my favorite part of our entire California trip! The weather, the sunshine, the grapes lined up in rows for miles and miles, it was just a beautiful and enchanting little valley. We taste countless red and white wines, and learned about the wineries themselves and the history of the California grape. B and I had been watching “Somme” on Netflix, and it made us appreciate wine more and were more interested in all aspects of the wine making process. Visting Napa was like the icing on the cake, and now whenever we drink wine, it just heightens the experience and makes it more meaningful.

We only spent a day and a half here before our trip came to an end and we flew back to Kansas City. But I feel like there is SO much more Napa has to offer that we definitely have to make a longer trip out next time!

San Francisco

San Francisco was a quick stop before we continued north to stay with our friends in Sonoma County that evening. We had stayed the night in Santa Cruz the night before and got up early to drive through San Jose and up to San Francisco and arrive just in time to have some lunch in Chinatown.  I have been to SF so many times, but I always forget how hilly it actually is. And what a great workout we got walking up and down those hills! (Much needed after spending the previous day in a car for 10 hours straight!) Bravo to those of you living here and making the trek up and down every day. Since we only had a few hours we just did a quick walk through Chinatown to little Italy and up to the top of telegraph hill and Coit tower to capture the view of the bay. From there we drove through the city, and over the Golden Gate Bridge. I had this fantasized idea in my mind of this beautiful photo of us with the bridge and city in the background but completely forgot about notorious San Francisco Bay WIND! If you saw my Instagram, you can see that no glamour shots were going to be happening anywhere near the water!! It was a quick stop, but San Francisco is always worth it for a little exploration!!

PCH

 

I have always wanted to make the drive along the coast from LA to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway. When we first made our plans to fly out to California, we weighed the option of flying from LA to San Fran and spending more time there and in Napa, but we just didn’t want to miss the opportunity to drive- stopping wherever and whenever we wanted, with no timetable or strict itinerary. We made a list of the must-see’s and must-stop’s which included: Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, McWay Falls in Big Sur, Bixby Bridge and Monterey Bay. Big Sur was by far my favorite leg of the trip- winding roads that traversed the mountains along the sea. We were able to stop at a small inn with 180 degree overlooks to the ocean- needless to say the views were incredible! The temperature was perfect too, probably about 75 degrees with a cool ocean breeze with the warm afternoon sun shining down.

We had so much fun on our drive, jamming out to our favorite music, and reminiscing on old memories. I am such a huge fan of road trips for this reason – lots of time to connect.

The last stop of the evening was in Monterey Bay where we headed straight to fisherman’s wharf to delight in some fresh seafood. Brandon had been craving crab legs, and after deciding between the 5 or 6 restaurants that served it, we sat down to enjoy the view of the bay at dusk and a freshly caught-out-of-the-bay  dinner!

Southern Cal

Our California trip kicked off as we flew into LA to spend a few days with Brandon’s aunt, uncle and cousin in Venice. I remember coming to Venice a couple times when I was really young, but it has changed so much over the years, that I barely recognize it! (or maybe it’s just been too long that I don’t remember!)

We have wanted to make it out to LA for years! Brandon spent his college years out here at Loyola Marymount, and I grew up spending summers at my Grandma’s house in Orange County.. but never have spent time here together!

Our first morning, we headed to downtown LA with Brandon’s aunt to the flower market. Growing up I remember not caring too much for flowers. I remember for school dances I always told my dates to not get me a corsage because I thought it was a waste of money….. fast forward 10 years, and now I just love flowers! I think they are such an easy way to brighten up a room. The flower market had so many different kinds and I only wished I could have taken some home with me!

We spent the afternoon down in Hermosa Beach to meet up with my brother and watch some of the AVP Beach Volleyball Tournament. B and I have been playing in a “beach” volleyball (if you call sand imported to a big open area behind a local bar a beach?) league back home in Kansas City and its our favorite sport to play together, and even more fun to watch the pros smack it down in a way we only wish we were capable of!

Our final day we wandered around the boardwalk and along Abby Kinney Street into all the shops and boutiques. We also stopped in a couple of the coffee shops just to take photos because the spaces were so unique! There were so many coffee shops! Los Angelan’s have no excuse but to be properly caffeinated with so many options to choose from!

Next up, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway! 

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