I finally visited California! My hubby Beau and I went to San Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Francisco this fall. It was great to take a "mommy-daddy vacation"! We stayed at the SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel in Pismo Beach. It was perfect sunny California weather! I loved sitting on my ocean view patio just taking in the sunshine and watching the ocean. We also enjoyed the hot tubs each night... it was very relaxing!
Our friend Trine lives in San Luis Obispo and she was an amazing guide for us! She showed us around downtown SLO town during the day and then for the public street market at night. We love her home garden! She had the most delicious figs I have ever tasted! I have never had fresh figs before, I want to go back for more. Her parents were adorable and we really appreciated their hospitality while we were there... it was so fun to have them along for some wine tasting adventures as well. They cooked us dinner the first night, it was so relaxing and fun! We went for a late night stop at the Sycamore Mineral Springs... this place is a must stop when you are in the area.
Trine took us to Chamisal Vineyard in San Luis Obispo... for our first wine tasting experience in California, it was amazing. Trine's mom brought cheese and crackers for us to snack on with our wine... I like that it is common for people to bring their own foods to eat at the wineries. It was the idyllic setting to sit and enjoy their fabulous wine! We strolled through the vines and tasted their sweet grapes... pure perfection!
I decided that we needed some exercise so Trine took us to a large hill for us to hike up to the top to watch the sunset... we missed the sunset but it was a great view! At the Thursday night market we had to get the wood fired pizza, it was delicious! We then met friends in SLO town to sample the beers at a great little brewery... We met great people from California and Slovakia!
Friday, we got a lazy start to the day... this was our adventure to Big Sur! We started with a stop at Morro Bay Beach, I loved watching the surfers while enjoying a Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. There is a spectacular huge rock on this soft sand beach. On our way up HWY 1, we saw the gathering of Elephant Seals at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. It was so cool to see so many elephant seals on the beach and the large males fighting in the water.
There were some fantastic, breathtaking views of the coastline on California HWY 1. We enjoyed the drive so much! There were many surf spots along the way. I really enjoyed the smell of the eucalyptus trees... The Huge Douglas Fur Trees smell wonderful too! The road would wind around cliffside turns and it feels a lot like the road to Hana in Maui... Beau did a great job as the driver, I am too afraid of heights to have the task of driving this highway! The end of our travels on HWY 1 took us to a wonderful Nepenthe restaurant with a drop dead gorgeous view. The food was really good and the dessert was delicious, but the view was even better! There is a nice shop there too called the Phoenix and we stocked up on unique gifts there for our kids!
We were losing light and I was so looking forward to seeing McWay Falls, and that was the spot we ended the daylight of our adventure to watch the sunset into the Pacific ocean. We grabbed a sixer of Kona Brews and the four of us enjoyed the sunset and the extremely perfect views from the McWay Waterfall House. This spot was even better than I imagined from the pictures that I've seen. Beau drove us safely back through the dark night on the treacherous HWY 1!
After an evening under the stars in our Seacrest Hot tub, we were relaxed and ready for a new day of wine tasting in Paso Robles! We grouped up at the Trine house and met a very interesting Rossi fella... he rode his bike up from southern Cali to join us. The song "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross will forever bring back the delightful memories of driving through the hillsides of Paso Robles laughing with the hilarious friend we had just met. We went to Opolo Winery where the wine and woodfired pizza was yummy. Then we went to Whalebone Winery, my favorite for the atmosphere and the best tasting wine I had while in California. We loved the Bob Wine, and we had to bring home a couple bottles for Beau's dad Bob! Beau was insistent that we must see a sunset so we headed back to Opolo atop a hill to watch the sunset over the rolling vineyard hills of red and gold... The friends fashioned a badminton court in the open grass. Rossi serenaded us with kingdom melodies and Opolo Sunset lyrical wonders! This was my happiest moment of the trip!
These amazing people took us to a dinner party at a local home in Paso Robles. We were fed delicious steak, yummmm! What a great night! I wish we didn't have to leave this area. The next day we had to go to San Francisco for one night before taking off back home. I was happy to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Beau wanted to eat some clam chowder at the fisherman's wharf... we saw Alcatraz off in the Bay, we parked on the steepest road in San Fran! I learned that I definitely prefer the countryside of California and I will avoid cities in the future... I guess I have really turned into a country girl! We found a German restaurant near our hotel that was so comforting after walking forever to find a place to chill out. Beau, Zach and I enjoyed a boot and we made friends with the awesome bodybuilding latin bartender. We crashed at the hotel and we were ready to get home to our kids. With a stop at the "Painted Ladies" and a driving tour through the Golden Gate Park, we said goodbye to the ocean, we said goodbye to the last great view of the Golden Gate Bridge... off we flew back home... until we meet again! ~Bethany