Monday, August 30, 2010

#2: Paso Robles

After a few days in Big Sur, we headed back to civilization (ie a place with cell phone service). We had been told about Paso Robles by some local Californians, promoting it as a smaller, less tourist-filled wine country. And it sure was! It is a picturesque town surrounded by hundreds of wineries and vineyards.
Neither Matt nor I had ever been on a wine tour and it didn't occur to us until the day before to organize anything. I would have been embarrassed to say that we went on the Grape Line Vineyard Tour, but it ended up being great. We were afraid that it would be very commercial and that the sommeliers would groan when they saw our large tour group coming. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was only two other people on the tour, Myrna and Jeff. A nice couple who were great company for the day.

Our tour guide, Fritz, was friendly and very knowledgeable about the area. He took us to four different vineyards: Adelaida, Justin, Tolo and Rotta. Each was very nice but Adelaida and Tello were our favorites as they were smaller, with staff that clearly took great pride in their work.

We also had a picnic lunch.

And pulled over to pick apples and pears.
Few things on earth are better than an apple right off the tree. Although a good glass of wine is right up there.

Song of the Day
Today's song is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' Home. I'm thinking of changing the name of this blog to Positively Anna and the Magnetic Zeros.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#2: The Lucia Lodge

Our hotel in Big Sur, The Lucia Lodge, deserves its own post. It was that lovely! We stumbled upon it on the internet and were pleasantly surprised. Check out this view from right outside our room. I still can't believe it.
The hotel is made up of 10 tiny cabins/rooms. They were small but very clean with nice bedding.
All around the lodge grounds they have set up little sitting areas so that guests can take in the unbelievable views. We took advantage and enjoyed some wine and amazing goat cheese from Harley Farms.
So during your trip to Big Sur that I'm forcing you to take, I recommend you check out The Lucia Lodge.
Song of the Day
Today's song is Rod Stewart's Rhythm of My Heart. Just 'cause.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#2: Big Sur

Because I love hiking I wanted to make sure we got to do plenty on our trip. And Big Sur was the place. I don't have the writing skills to tell you how absolutely incredible Big Sur is so...

While in Big Sur we stopped at Pfeiffer Beach.
And hiked around Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
And while they were both unbelievable, Matt and I both agree that few things on earth can compare to McWay Falls. The falls spill directly into the ocean from the cliffs in a secluded little cove.
And because I couldn't resist...behold my favorite picture of the trip.Book your trip to Big Sur now!
Song of the Day
Matt was playing this song while I was writing this post and I thought it was pretty catchy. Please enjoy Yeasayer's Ambling Alp.

Monday, August 16, 2010

#2: Highway 1 and My Favorite Place

From San Francisco we headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway. If you have never taken this road trip, what the heck are you waiting for!? It is amazing.
Take your family, your dog or just go by yourself. The views are breathtaking and range from mountains, to cliffs, to plains, to beaches. And you can pretty much stop where ever you like. We spotted this cool lighthouse so we just pulled over and did some exploring. As simple and as awesome as that!
When my friend Jackie heard that I was driving down the coast, she insisted that we stop at her favorite restaurant Duarte's in Pascadero. I'll admit that I put this stop in the "Maybe" column while planning our trip. But when I saw that we were going to pass right by the town we looked for directions to the restaurant. We missed it by about 10 miles and were just going to keep driving but decided that to turn around. Best decision we ever made! Jackie is a genius.
While the outside of Duarte's made us hesitate, Jackie had forewarned me that it "looked like a place where people drink from 10 AM to 10 PM" so we proceeded. Despite its shabby appearance, Duarte's is some what of a culinary Mecca. They have an honorary James Beard Award for goodness sakes! The food was amazing! All super fresh and locally grown or raised.
I caught a tip by eaves dropping on the couple next to us that there was a little goat farm up the road that excellent cheese. So Matt and I headed there and were pleasantly surprised to find Harley Farms, where they raise their own goats and produce the most wonderful cheeses, soaps and lotions.
I would have to say that Pascedero was my favorite part of the vacation. Others were certainly more exciting or majestic, but Pascedero was such a surprise! An unbelievably quaint town with great people and incredible food. Places like this are why I love to travel. Thanks again Jackie!
Song of the Day
While driving down the highway we blasted Mumford & Sons. The California coast reminded me a lot of Scotland so it seemed appropriate. Please enjoy The Cave.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#2: San Francisco

Matt and I got back from California yesterday. It was such a great vacation. In fact, it felt like four vacations. When I wrote last week about completing #2 on my 101 List "Go back to California," I felt like I had accomplished that goal by spending a few days in San Francisco. But we spent the last week REALLY seeing California. I know it is a giant state but I just had no idea how many truly different regions there are and how beautiful they are in their own way. I want to tell you all about our trip and urge you to take a similar one.

I last left you when we were exploring San Francisco. We explored our butts off! My wonderful friend BZ played tour guide to us and other friends who were in town for the wedding. We visited Fisherman's Wharf and then went to the Golden Gate Bridge. And oh what a bridge it is! The one thing I was bummed we missed in San Francisco was riding bikes across the bridge but walking part of the way was still amazing.
We went to a Giants game at AT&T Park. It overlooks the bay and provides an incredible view. You should sit high up, on the third base line for optimal views. We could not figure out why the stadium was filled with hippies and smelled like the pot. We found out later it was Jerry Garcia Night and it all came together. Only in San Francisco.Matt and I spent another day exploring the city and fell in love with the food, the trolleys and the architecture. We even loved the hills a little bit.

Song of the Day
This one is for the hippies! Grateful Dead's Touch of Grey.

Monday, August 9, 2010

101 Things To Do in 1001 Days: #2

#2: Go Back to California. I'm in California! San Francisco to be exact. We got here on Friday but we were doing wedding activities all weekend. And what a wonderful wedding it was! I'll tell you more about it later but every one, including bride, groom and all of their guests had a fabulous time.

I am having the First Day of Vacation Buzz. You know when you wake up in a new place and you have a whole week ahead of you. Everything you are going to do today is going to be new, different and exciting. My friend Steve was nice enough to let Matt and me stay at his place while we are in San Francisco. I'm currently thoroughly enjoying everything that makes this place different from New York: outdoor space (gasp!) with a view (double gasp!). We starting our day with coffee and a donut. Not that they don't have donuts in NY but we would never allow ourselves one in the morning. Vacation Buzz Baby!
I can't wait to explore the city. Then tomorrow we are heading down the coast to Big Sur. Matt might ditch me if I don't stop grabbing his arm and shouting "California!" but I just can't help it.

Song of The Day
I was going to play The Mamas & The Papas "San Francisco" but then Matt started singing "California Love" which is a better match for the mood we are in. Which is evidently very gangsta.
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