I did it. That is, I somehow survived two weeks away from my sweet siamese kitten, Yeti. Please do not ask me how I avoided crying during our departure from home, because I didn't. The waterworks flowed and quite frankly I'm surprised I didn't flood the Mississippi.
We spent the first half of our trip cruisin' up and down Cali's coast to enjoy the soaring redwoods as high as the eye can reach, the picturesque valleys bustling with vineyards, and then to the relaxing seaside to observe the wild elephant seals and elk. We also enjoyed a romantic evening in the bustling city of San Francisco and savored the wine and family at nuptials in Napa. California treated us well and I urge you to relax with mother nature if the golden state ever calls your name.
San Francisco Dream Date:
My love and I spent an elegant evening exploring the city and losing our way just a few times. (Thank the Lord I printed a map of the city.) We began the night with a delicious dinner at The Stinking Rose. Now, in order to embrace the whole idea of this restaurant you have to imagine a foodie's Italian dream. This dream beckons hungry stomachs with the stench of garlic wafting out the windows to welcome them into paradise. The Stinking Rose allures the senses with its private booths, hanging garlic cloves & chianti bottles, and black & white Italian photographs. We completely indulged ourselves in savory garlic EVERYTHING. We began the garlic feast with the renowned garlic hottub, where we smothered buns with cloves. For entrees, my love devoured the stinky spaghetti and meatballs and I had the forty clove chicken dish. The garlic wine was a tempting pair for dinner but I settled on the pinot noir <3 and Eric had a fruity sangria. After dinner, I waddled down the streets of SF while supporting my food baby. Whether it was the full stomach haze or a faulty phone GPS, we made it to Lombard Street about an hour later. We ended the night with squeaking sea lions and Eric being the star of a sword juggling performance at pier 39.
Muir Woods Getaway:
Our first date with Mother Nature involved admiring the impressive redwood trees at Muir Woods. The location offers a variety of trails for every skill level. My love and I, along with my beautiful auntie and husband chose to take a big loop around the park using the trails that remained below the canopy. I loved having the opportunity to feel overwhelmed by the height and age of each of the trees. It also lends the experience to spot particular flora and fauna.
Must I say more? Of course, Eric and I made our way to a few wineries to experience all that California has to offer. I feel it would be a sin if we didn't... We began our flights to vino-self-actualization at Imagery Winery. This winery was absolutely stunning. The label on each bottle is distinct to the wine, and has been created by various artists. Throughout the tasting we stared menacingly at each bottle label until it revealed its secret trademark to us. What an enlightening experience to have as we tasted sultry reds. The next winery we visited, Andretti Winery, hosted the rehearsal dinner. The venue was absolutely breathtaking. I felt as if I was reliving my trip to Italy. For dinner, I enjoyed the view of the plentiful vines, while basking in the sunset, underneath a canopy of hanging lights, eating paella, and giving octopi tentacles to those who could handle. What a dream. Our final winery on our voyage to vino-self-actualization took place at the wedding venue, The Madrone Estate. Between the stunning vineyard view at the altar and the grape vines peeking out from behind, during cocktail hour, I felt as if I had been transported into a dream. Even though the venue was stunning, the love shared between the bride and groom captivated every heart.
Point Reyes Seashore:
Throughout the week spent in California, there was a constant whisper weaving between the bustling cars in SF, past the wide girth of the redwood trunks, and through the bundles of grapes hung on vines. The ocean air continued to rest on my shoulder as a reminder of what, still, craved my presence. My love and I were extremely fortunate to borrow the groom's car for a road trip of our own. Point Reyes Seashore is home of an unimaginable coast full of wild nature. Imagine cows meandering in valleys, whales roaming the coast, elephant seals lounging on the beach, and elk tousling with their full racks. Our day was filled with one breathtaking moment after another. We began with a trek down steps to reach a historic lighthouse. As we peered off into the ocean humpback whales surfaced to welcome us to the seashore. We continued our sight seeing with a short hike to observe the lazy elephant seals basking in the sun. Who could have imagined how engaging it is to observe a blubbery seal with an elephant trunk laying, without movement? After being engrossed in watching the waves crash against the shore I longed for the salty breeze to whip through my hair. What began as a tranquil stroll down the coast ended as a mission to find as many sand dollars as possible. I am so blessed to have found a love who is my best friend and is just as excited as I am when finding treasures on the beach. It was the perfect moment; I felt alive, free, and like a child. The seashore had welcomed us and blessed us with beautiful memories, as we drove home we couldn't have asked for better. That is, until our unforgettable day blessed us with an elk spotting. My love and I reveled in the chance to observe a herd of elk in their natural habitat. Our friends were so elegant as they boasted their huge racks and as a pair duked it out to prove most mighty.
Eric and I had a beautiful, blessed week in California with the presence of Mother Nature and our family. We could not have asked for a more fulfilling "first adult-couple" trip together. Our travels continue to the east coast to savor time spent with family in the upcoming post.