If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a photo (or ten) from my trip last weekend to California. Jake and I booked a last minute trip for Columbus day weekend to see friends in San Francisco then drive down the coast. I have been dying to go to Big Sur for some time now. We had such a great time together both in the city and on the coast (almost) completely disconnected for a few days.
San Francisco -Such a great city. Probably the only city in the U.S. that I would love to live (besides Boston) at this stage of my life. There is so much culture, lots to do see/do and a laid-back feel you don't find in many major cities. Because we booked such last minute our options were extremely limited in terms of where we would stay. We opted for Airbnb (my first time using it) and it worked out great. We stayed in a small guest house in the Pacific Heights district of SF. It was a short walk to Filmore Street which reminded me of a smaller version of Newbury Street in Boston, but much more hilly. Cute cafes, bars, shops and galleries. We spent our first afternoon walking around Filmore then heading over to Lumbard street. We spent hours walking around the Marina District and hopping into shops along the way. That first night we met up with friends for dinner at Tacolicous and went to a few bars afterwards to wash down our tacos. My favorite was the back patio at Tipsy Pig. The next morning we grabbed coffee and breakfast at Jane on Filmore (best granola ever) and took a Lyft down to the Marina where we rented bikes to go to Sausalito for the day. This was SO much fun. Seeing and biking across the Golden Gate was such a neat experience. We lucked out with weather and headed out early enough that we beat the crowd. We treated ourselves to a long and delicious lunch at the Barrel House Tavern in downtown Sausalito. The Barrel House is an old ferry terminal turned restaurant with one of the most AMAZING views! We both got bloody marys and split a few appetizers that were incredible. We ended up taking the ferry back which was I think the right choice with how windy it had gotten. We got off at the wrong pier and had quite the ride through the Fisherman's Warf (realllyyy crowded and touristy) before making it back to the bike rental shop. That night we went over to friends that recently moved to SF from Boston. They had us for dinner and it was a blast! They live in the Nob Hill area which reminded me a lot of Beacon Hill (but again, more hilly). That night we went out in what I think was the North Beach area to a bar called Vesuvio.
Carmel/Monterey- On our third day we checked out of our Airbnb and actually headed back to the airport to rent a car for our road trip. It didn't take much convincing for Jake to decide that he "had to have" a Mustang for the drive. Soon enough we were on our way through a very foggy San Francisco to head to the Carmel area. Around noon the sun broke out and we got to enjoy the gorgeous coastline. The drive from SFO to Carmel was about 2 1/2 hours. We saw lots of cool surf spots along the way and stopped a few times to enjoy the view and take photos. When we arrived in Monterey we checked in at Hotel Pacific and walked around the area. We ended up popping to Alavardo Street Brewery to grab a beer and snack before dinner. From there, we grabbed sweaters and headed over to Point Lobos state park for sunset. Point Lobos is in the Southern tip of Carmel and is just miles and miles of Redwoods as well as pretty incredible walking trails. We walked and enjoyed sunset before heading back to shower and get ready for dinner. We had asked a local we met at the brewery earlier that day for a dinner recommendation and we were so happy we did. We ended up at a small, authentic italian restaurant called Il Veccichio. It was so cozy and the food was delish. We had planned to go out to a couple places after but ended up calling it a night early because we were tired from the night before. We woke up in Monterey and went to grab coffee at Bright which was attached to the cutest little gift shop. From there, we headed to Carmel to grab breakfast and walk around the little town. I LOVED Carmel. It almost had a Southwestern feel. It was very quaint with the friendliest people. We enjoyed breakfast at Carmel's Bells and then walked around for a bit before doing the 17 Mile Drive. The 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula, if you go to this area I highly recommend it. It hugs the coastline the entire time and has some of the most incredible views.
Big Sur- After completing the 17 mile drive we were off to Big Sur! This was probably my favorite day. We drove and stopped, and drove and stopped. We saw the Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, and a whole lot more that I can't remember. I loved Pfeiffer beach which was breathtakingly beautiful. We had so much fun this day. As we made it to the most Southern tip of Big Sur, Jake realized his phone was not in his pocket. I (of course) had been taking all sorts of photos on the way down. He had no service to call it or use "find my iPhone" from my phone. We drove to a spot where we had service to call his phone and a sweet old lady had picked it up back in Carmel at Pebble Beach. Back up the coast it was to get his phone. Luckily it was the most beautiful drive, I was more than happy to do it twice. Hours later, we checked into our hotel. We stayed at Lucia Lodge. I would NOT recommend it. While the view was pretty great, it was not clean...or comfortable. It didn't really matter to be honest since we did not spend much time in the room and we were only there for a night. That night, we were planning on going to dinner at Deetjens but not until 8:30. I had seen photos from Julia of her recent stay at the Post Ranch Inn. We headed to the Inn for drinks and one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen in my life. We were literally on top of the clouds and got a little distracted that we racked up quite the bill (and buzz). We headed to Deetjens to have dinner in what felt like someone's home. It was delicious, romantic and cozy. I would highly recommend!
Santa Barbara- The next morning we had planned on doing a hike, but decided we had already seen a lot of Big Sur and we were ready to get on the road. We took the 4 hour drive down to Santa Barbara. We stopped along the way at some Elephant Seal reserve on the side of the road, it looked pretty packed so we checked it out. It was pretty wild to see all of these massive seals sleeping on the beach and waking up together. We arrived in Santa Barbara early afternoon at The Goodland hotel. When I booked it, I didn't quite realize where the hotel was located in relation to Santa Barbara. We were about 10 mins away from downtown, actually in Goleta. The hotel itself was really funky. The Kimpton did a great job with this hotel. It was really eclectic with a restaurant called Outpost that had fantastic drinks. We enjoyed a few hours by the pool before heading into town to walk around. Jake was randomly craving sushi that night so we ended up at Arigato. It was by far the best sushi I have ever had. Everyone knew each other and the owner and it gave us a really good sense of the close-knit community of SB. We went out that night to quite a few places and listened to some pretty good music as well. Can't remember any of the names of the bars. The next day we went over to Montecito which was spectacular. Montecito is home to celebs like Oprah and Ellen. We drove to the top of the hill to gush over the pretty houses and then went to Butterfly beach. Unfortunately, there were no waves for Jake to surf but it was a great beach for people watching and swimming. That night we went to Deep Sea Winery for a wine tasting and met some fellow Bostonians we had a great time with.