Month: July 2015

California Road Trip Day 4 & 5: Monterey to Cayucos

We were having coffee Friday morning in Mill Valley (innocent enough) when the worst happened- my mom spilled coffee all over my iPhone. I wish I could say that I took it lightly, that I realized immediately that it’s ‘just a phone’, that I didn’t worry about not having it. But that would be a lie. I stuck my phone in a bag of rice and wallowed about it for the rest of the day. I felt lost. What if someone is texting me? How many likes did I get on my Facebook post? What is the weather like in Monterey? How do I get to Monterey?

IMG_3805.JPGAll jokes aside, it was a bad way to start the day, but we did manage to turn things around with a stop at the Golden Gate Lookout. How can anyone be upset while looking at a view like that? It’s impossible. After a long drive and a trip to the Apple Store we didn’t spend too much time getting to know Monterey, but we did get to see a few seals in the bay while enjoying coffee at a cafe on the dock. Pretty cool.

Day 4 was perfect. On our way to Cayucos we stopped in the town of Carmel, which is basically dog paradise. The dog to person ration was probably about 2:1 and every dog looked like they were smiling as they walked along the beach. Before leaving this picturesque town we did the 17-mile drive, a scenic route along the Pacific coastline. I won’t even try to put into words how beautiful this was. We stopped the car at nearly every vista point.
IMG_3835.JPGOur final destination brought more beautiful sights, but of a different kind. We stayed at an Airbnb located on a 1200 acre cattle ranch in the hills of Cayucos, yet only a fifteen minute from the beach and town. We drove up to the ranch on a dirt road and were greeted by three energetic dogs and two horses. Staying on a ranch was one of the best experiences I have ever had and it was exactly what my mom and I needed after The iPhone Tragedy (just kidding…sort of). I took advantage of being in nature and went on a short hike. I stopped midway, took in the rolling hills, and remembered just how small I am compared to the world (it’s good to be reminded sometimes). Later, my mom and I watched the sunset from the comfort of our small cabin and we woke the next morning to the fog sitting in the hills and the dogs wagging their tails, genuinely happy to see us. Out of all the places we stayed so far – we were the saddest to leave here.



Thank you, Airbnb, for an unforgettable stay. 



California Road Trip Day 2 & 3: San Francisco

Okay, so maybe love at first sight isn’t the kind of love that lasts forever. While I’m still completely enamored with the outskirts of San Francisco, the city itself didn’t “wow” me (New York City wins again!). At the start of Day 2 we made our way to Fisherman’s Warf and immediately thought to ourselves: “Why did everyone tell us to come here?” There are people everywhere (Think: The Garden State Plaza Mall on a Saturday before Christmas) and it looks like any other boardwalk; i.e. nothing to get excited about.

We instead made a stop at Gihardelli Square, which was quieter and very New England-esque with it’s brick buildings. We grabbed some Gihardelli ice cream and enjoyed the view.gihardelli

The rest of our day consisted (mostly) of looking for parking and figuring out how to park. We were used to the looking part, but what is the deal with the parking meters in San Francisco? So confusing! Besides driving around for hours, we also stopped at Alamo Park to see The Painted Ladies (Full House!!!), wandered around City Lights Bookstore, and made sure to drive up a really steep hill- just to say that we did.

On Day 3 we got up early and made our way to Muir Woods, little did we know what was ahead. The roads to get there were winding, steep, and scary so we made ourselves feel better by resolving to find a different way back. The woods themselves were amazing. Standing among the ancient redwoods gives you an indescribable feeling of peacefulness. We were lucky to get there early when there were only a few visitors and the park was quiet. By the time we left at around 9:30 AM the parking lots were full and the pathways in the forest were crowded. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the forest as much had I been admiring it as someone next to me discussed what they wanted for lunch.


The drive down is when things went…uh..downhill (excuse the pun). We asked one of the park rangers for a less scary route back and she gave us directions confidently, explaining that this way was much better. We were relieved. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we realized that “less scary” to someone that has lived here all their lives means winding roads along the cliffs with guard rails, rather than without. It took us awhile to get back down to civilization because I may or may not have had to pull over a few times to take deep breaths.

We were happy to make it back to our Airbnb on ground level. Rather than staying right in San Francisco we stayed in Mill Valley (about 15 minutes from SF), and I’m so glad we did! I would never know this charming little town existed. After recuperating from The Muir Woods Meltdown (Starbucks and junk food works like a charm) we ventured back into the city, but this time we made sure to leave the car behind. Hello, San Francisco Bay Ferry!

We wandered the city free of parking meter worries and found the infamous Lombard Street! It was definitely nice to walk and get a better feel for San Francisco, but to my disappointment I still didn’t understand what all the hype was about. Why wasn’t I loving San Francisco like everyone said I would? I guess I will need to come back someday and stay longer!
See you later, San Francisco



California Road Trip Day 1: Sonoma Valley

This past Mother’s Day I bought my mom and I tickets to California. I planned a image1mother-daughter road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and today we were finally on our way…with a really early flight. Waking up early was tough, but the airport brought new obstacles. We were at the gate getting ready to board when my mom realized she couldn’t use any of her favorite websites on the flight. “Why can’t I use Youtube on the flight?” (There’s no WiFi), “Can I use HBO GO?” (No), “Can I use Showtime on Demand?” (No), “Netfl…” (NO!). After an attempted explanation as to why we can’t watch Hozier music videos at 30,000 feet in the air, my mom fell asleep before the plane ever left the ground. Let the adventure begin!

Five and a half hours later, we landed in San Francisco. It was love at first sight. We hopped in our rental car and began our journey through San Francisco towards the first destination: Sonoma Valley. “How much do you think it costs to live here?” I questioned aloud, already planning my move. The fog rolling over the mountains, the Spanish style homes, and the sailboats in the bay- it’s all so beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was really here! (Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge was especially surreal).

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Halfway through the trip we decided that we needed some Real Food IMG_3603.JPG(fake food = the cookies, donuts, and pretzels we ate on the flight). As if by magic, a right turn appeared that led us to a place called Cornerstone Sonoma. It was as if someone took everything I loved and put it all together in the mountains of Sonoma Valley. Cornerstone Sonoma has stores filled with cute and overpriced home decor, a coffee shop, beautiful gardens, and a cafe with more than one dish containing fresh vegetables. We had a delicious lunch, wandered the gIMG_3614.JPGardens, and then continued our trip to the Airbnb in Glen Ellen. We arrived to find a small but spacious cottage with a lot of character (the owner is an artist!) and a spacious backyard. Staying in a local house, rather than a hotel, takes away from that awful touristy feeling and replaces it with a feeling of belonging. You get to pretend, even if just for a night, that you live in a place much different from your own. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

IMG_3624.JPGDay 1 was a success- a busy morning and relaxing night.

Until next time xx.