Monday, August 22, 2011

Tripnotes: Northern California

Earlier this month we were lucky enough to escape the heat in NYC and headed to Carmel, CA for a wedding. The chilly Northern California nights were a welcome relief from the sticky New York temps.


The wedding was lovely and was held at Stonepine Estates, a beautiful equestrian farm with stables and a gorgeous view.




There was dinner, drinks and dancing, followed by a late night dance party set up in the greenhouse, complete with DJ and mini sausage pizzas of course. My kind of scene.


After the wedding festivities were over, it was time to hit the road.


We had planned to drive along the coast, staying with friends in the retro cool town of Pismo Beach, and spend a few days exploring Central Coast wine country.


The drive itself was breathtaking with sweeping views all along the way. The ride was curvy to the say the least, which made stopping off at random points even more enjoyable.


We hit up Post Ranch Inn for a drink on a friend’s recommendation and were not disappointed.


The view was stunning – we even saw a family of whales spouting in the distance!!

I hated to leave the view, but we piled back into the car and were off again.


The setting sun and a beach full of seals made for another appealing pit stop. Whoa. It was like National Geographic, up close and personal.


Each seal was angling for the best spot, and not one was afraid to argue for it.

We reached the town of San Luis Obispo just in time for dinner. No photos to share, since I was starving, but I’d suggest trying the Big Sky Café if you find yourself in the area. Yummy!

The next morning, we were ready to hit the vineyards.


A must visit on our list was Talley Vineyards – a tried and true producer of our favorite Pinot Noir. It’s a heavy favorite in the Fall and Winter months at our house. We’re such big fans, we became members of their wine club – our first one! Woot woot! I’m looking forward to getting shipments from them throughout the year!


Next stop was Baileyana – a new to us winery, but an old favorite of our travel companions. We had wisely packed a picnic, and grabbed a bottle of Baileyana Sauv Blanc to keep our bocce game well-oiled.


Unfortunately, we lost the game. But I think we came out ahead for the day…not too shabby!

We finished the day with dinner at Lido – a French style bistro with outdoor dining and another beautiful view.


Oysters for me, please!!


After dinner, we headed down to the beach to look at sea life.



Starfish and anemones! So cool!

We headed back in to Pismo for a nightcap and some seriously old-fashioned bowling at Pismo Bowl.



This place is stuck in time in the best way possible.


We enjoyed some local beers and confirmed that I am the worst bowler of all time.


Oh well!

The next day we hit Sycamore Springs in nearby Avila Beach for massages. You can book a mineral water hot tub before spa appointments, which we did of course. It was a great way to unwind and the resort was really nice, secluded. Unfortunately, after my massage, I was so relaxed I completely forgot that I had taken off my gold necklace. I left it in my robe pocket and didn’t realize it until I was back at home the next day. Definitely kicking myself for that blunder!!


Despite my forgetfulness, we had a wonderful time exploring Northern California. Between the beaches and wine country, it’s definitely one of my favorite places to visit.


I’m looking forward to getting some more California love when I head to San Francisco in November!


Until then California!! xo.


Pet said...

Northern California is such a wonderful place. Here is a little tip for your next trip:
If you are going to go towards the Napa and Sonoma valleys, try Healdsburg.
I stayed once at the hotel that wears the town's name:
and would recommend it to anyone too.

Tucker said...

what beautiful and truly stunning landscape california has!! Thanks for sharing it with us (:

and her DRESS. holy cow - how gorgeous does it get?

Alex said...

Love Pismo Beach! The best clam chowder I have ever eaten was consumed at the Splash Cafe there. Yum. And that view off Highway 1...breath taking.

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

i need a trip there pronto! - i was gonna go to school in Santa Barbra - i sometimes wish i did!

*kiss kiss*
~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Designs Good said...

Beautiful pictures--it looks like a lovely time!

Saun said...

Awesome pictures love the wedding dress, and the bowling shoes Lol

Megan Taylor said...

Gorgeous post! I live in SF and also LIVE for these days when I get to travel around Northern California, getting out of the city and into the smaller, more scenic towns via this route or that. You captured the essence of your trip perfectly (and I wasn't even there!). Thanks for the lovely images.

Victoria said...

Post ranch inn is far and away the best hotel I've ever stayed at. Luxury around every corner. Truly luxurious.


Lisa Maria said...

I am so in love with that bride's dress! And your road tripped look amazing. Its making me miss California.

Sarah A. said...

nice pics! looks like a great holiday. Carmel is beautiful. and so many beautiful beaches! can't wait to get back there again :)