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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

California Road Trip Day 6: Carmel by the Sea and San Jose

On Day 6 we took a short drive from our hotel in Monterey to Carmel by the Sea. Although it's hard not to love quaint little villages, this one was just a bit extreme.  This town was alarmingly charming. They had no stop lights, only stop signs. I guess stop lights aren't quaint? This setup might work for the town on a regular basis, but it was complete driving chaos while we were there. We managed to be in town for the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance, an incredibly famous vintage car show. My father of course was thrilled about this and we fought our way through the traffic madness and finally found a spot to park.

The Streets were packed with people and there were about 150 cars in the show. That's not even taking into account all of the vintage car enthusiasts that were not registered in the show but drove their restored beauties down to see everything.
I was stuck behind that guy in a bandana for a while and I'm pretty sure he knew everything about every car, or at least it sounded like he did.

The cars ranged from a 1902 Mercedes Simples to a 1967 Ferrari. Most of the cars I saw were from the 30s and 40s.

I am pretty sure this was the only car that was not restored. Everything was left from the original work, pretty impressive.

This is what a 30 million dollar car looks like. Soak it in for a second. It's a Bugatti, but I am unsure of the year, from the 30s maybe? I thought about purchasing it but I already have one in tan at home and really, it's just so passe to own 2 Bugatti's.

This Cadillac wasn't even part of the show, it's just sitting in a parking lot. I think our rental HHR was getting jealous at this point.

We got some lunch at The Hog's Breath Inn, an English style pub. Apparently Clint Eastwood, who was the mayor of Carmel at one point (naturally) helped to establish this bar/restaurant.

I think my father is still basking in the glory of the Tour d'Elegance.

There was a mural of theEnglish countryside, another quaint touch to Carmel by the Sea.

Next we drove to San Jose and dropped my parents off at the hotel. Brent and I met up with my buddy Garrett that I know from my years in Hawaii. We got to meet some of his friends over margaritas and enchiladas. So good seeing him again!

We went to a bar afterward and I ran into Erin (next to me in the gray hat) that I also knew in Hawaii. This was pretty amazing as I don't exactly run into my HI friends in Cincinnati very often!

So good to see Garrett! It was a late night but we knew that we had to get up early for the drive to San Francisco in the morning!

Travel Tips:

The shopping and atmosphere in Carmel was very posh and sophisticated. It is also a very dog-friendly town. I had at least 3 conversations with store owners or just passersby about their accompanying dogs (and then consequently breaking out my camera and showing pics of my little pooch).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

California Road Trip Day 5: Santa Maria to Monterrey

Day 5 began with a hazelnut latte at the Santa Maria Inn

I really loved the interior of this old historic English Country Inn, I took some pictures but they really don't do it justice...

Can't you just picture Lauren Bacall sitting here, sipping a cafe au lait and looking glamorous?!

After departing from Santa Maria, we began our journey across the Big Sur coast (Highway 1)

We took our first stop along the way at a chilly (but pretty) beach/park. I love this shot of my father walking across the bridge.

This was the view that I had for most of the day. The coast really reminded me of Hawaii (oh how I miss the islands!)

We took advantage of the lookouts along the way. You can see our rental HHR in the background, it was a good little car.

Here are some views from the lookout along the Big Sur:

For lunch, we stopped at Ventana. This place was gorgeous, had a nice view, the food was great AND it was affordable.

"A cocktail lounge with a copper-topped fireplace under exposed wood beams in a lodge-like dining room. An expansive terrace looking out over the mountains and the spectacular Big Sur coastline."

And here is that spectacular view they were boasting about:

We continued along Highway 1 until we got to our destination in Monterrey. We walked along Cannery Row, it was a very quaint (but now touristy) town.

As you can see here, this sea town still has dangerous pirates inhabiting the area.

Lots of sea lions lounging on the rocks

A neat old boat in the wharf

For dinner, we enjoyed a restaurant at the wharf. I was still so full from lunch that I was happy with some warm bread and butter and a glass of wine. We came back to the hotel and shared the Fess Parker Chardonnay from day 4 to celebrate the engagment one more time!

Travel Tips:

I learned on my trip that temperatures in California can be all over the place, Anaheim was in the 80s, Santa Maria was in the 70s, and Monterey was in the 60s! When you're traveling from destination to destination, layers seemed to be the answer for me. You can add more when it gets colder and take off in the sun. I started with just a cream colored short sleeve sweater in the morning, then needed an additional red sweater by afternoon, and by night I had another bulky knit on top.

California Roadtrip Day 4: Santa Barbara to Santa Maria

This was by far the best day of the vacation and without a doubt one of the best days of my life! We were staying in Santa Barbara at the Casa Del mar Inn...

Brent woke me up very early and I was a little confused as this was our only day to sleep in for a bit. He told me that he wanted to dip his toes in the Pacific Ocean and would like to take a walk on the beach. As it was about 6:30 or 7 in the morning, it was still quite chilly outside so I quickly bundled up and we scurried outside.

We walked around for a while but made it back in time for a free breakfast with homemade blueberry muffins that I savored with a hot cup of coffee.

When we got back to the room, Brent and I cozied up by the fireplace (it was on... unlike the picture). I thought he'd been acting funny all morning and suddenly it all made sese...

(The answer was yes of course)
Per Brent: it is an estate ring made between the 1920s to the mid 1940s. It is of the art deco style, predominantly yellow gold with a white gold accent just below the diamond settings.

Gorgeous. I cried of course. I couldn't believe it - and what a ring! I wouldn't even be able to pick out a piece of jewelry that better suits my tastes.

I couldn't have asked for a better morning! With the entire day left to celebrate, we hit the road and headed toward Solvang, a little Danish village in the Santa Ynez Valley.

We were perusing the merchandise in a cuckoo clock shop. They had some really fun and eclectic collectibles as well.

What a great day it was - perfect weather.

Bit o' Denmark

Lunch at Bit o' Denmark. Then we meandered to a few bakeries and I decided on an almond macaroon with french chocolate for dessert. Delicious!

After Solvang, we drove through parts of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and made our first stop at the Fess Parker Winery.

Of course when my mother saw the list of wineries on the foxen canyon trail, she insisted upon visiting Fess Parker, not because of their wines mind you, but because Fess Parker used to play Davy Crockett.

The vineyards at Fess Parker

There were lovely roses everywhere! We decided on a bottle of Chardonnay to save for later and we were off for Zaca Mesa Winery.

My mother, enjoying the tasing at Zaca Mesa.

We decided to pick up a Cuvee here, one of the best wines I've ever had.
We had reached our destination for the day in Santa Maria and got to stay in the Santa Maria Inn. Est. 1917, this old glamorous hotel played host to many a star, including Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, and Marilyn Monroe!

Courtyard and gardens at The Santa Maria Inn

At the Inn, we stopped at the Wine Cellar for a bit more celebration before dinner.

A toast was in order - champagne!

After dinner at the Inn's restaurant, we had a nightcap in the english Tap Room. What a day!
Travel Tips:

When you are planning on getting in and out of the car all day, wear something that doesn't wrinkle. I chose this comfy dress made by Jenny and V. The fabric is slightly textured which really helped me to have a worry free day so I could focus on enjoying the sights.

Jenny and V have a fantastic Etsy site and I believe they have some new dresses going up for sale soon! The dress is extremely well made and even better in person. Certainly check them out, they are extremely sweet as well!

California Road Trip Day 3: Long Beach, Joseph, and Santa Barbara

On Day 3, Brent and I packed up and headed from Anaheim to Long Beach to meet with my friend from Hawaii, Joseph.

Joseph's apartment in Longbeach

Seal Beach

Joseph drove us around and we got a mini tour of the city. We eventually stopped in Seal Beach and walked around and up the pier. This was Brent's first Pacific Ocean experience!

So good to see Joseph!

Brent and I on the pier


We all got some delicious lunch and coffee at Utopia, a little cafe near Joseph's apartment.

Brent and I enjoying the sun

Of course there are never enough hours in the day, especially when you're on vacation. We had to say goodbye to Joseph after only a few hours. My parents were flying in from New Mexico to join us for part of the roadtrip! We had to drive back to LA and pick them up.

Mom and Dad enjoying the atmosphere at Duke's Restaurant in Waikiki

Thanks to Brent's fancy GPS, he was able to look up restaurants anywhere. As soon as my mother heard that there was a Duke's Restuarant in Malibu, there was no other option for dinner. There is also a Duke's in Waikiki and when I was living there, this was my mother's favorite place for a bite to eat during her visits. The restaurant is named after Duke Kahanamoku, one of the first big wave surfers and "The Father of International Surfing."

Brent looks a little surprised

After dinner we kept on driving from Malibu to Santa Barbara. We were staying in a gorgeous Spanish Inn with lovely flowers everywhere you look! I was so excited about this place

Casa del Mar Inn

It was almost dark when we got there so we decided to get a bottle of wine from the front desk and just enjoy the Inn. There were all the comforts of home....

We had a full kitchen

We were all certainly ready to relax with a delicious Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley..mmm!!

Up Next: Day 4 will be the short drive from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria. I had been looking forward to this day since the beginning because we would actually have time to look around. We were headed to Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.

Travel Tips:

Want to wear your hair down but didn't have room to pack a hair dryer, straightener, or curler? No problem, you can set your hair at night using pin curls.

This is a great technique that I use all the time to avoid heat damage plus it only takes about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it. All you need are some double pronged clips and a comb. They usually come in packages of about 10 for $5 or so. I use 8-12 depending on how curly or relaxed I want the waves. These are much easier to pack than heavy electronic heated hair devices!

Let your hair air dry until it is just a bit damp and then set:

If you get the double-pronged pins, you won't even notice when you sleep on them, they are very flat and comfortable. When you wake up in the morning, just brush your hair out with a large brush and a few spritzes of hairspray and you should be good to go for the entire day!