Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trip up the Coast November 2017

Since our Europe trip got cancelled Jeff and I went for a few days and drove up to San Francisco and then spent a few days driving back down the coast. It was nice and we got to see a lot of things that I haven't seen even though I've lived in California my whole life. The weather wasn't too bad either. One of the days it rained some but most of the days it was pretty good. 

We started our trip driving up to San Francisco getting there in the late afternoon. We checked into our hotel and spend some time exploring before going to dinner right on the water. Our hotel was right next to Fisherman's Warf and Ghirardelli square. 

We stopped in and bought some chocolate to bring back home and then looked for a place to eat dinner.

While were in San Francisco I always love stopping at the Boudin Bakery to see what creations they have on display and eating a clam chowder bread bowl at some point.


In the morning we headed to the Muir Woods monument which is close to town. It's only about a 20-30 minute drive from Fisherman's Warf and it feels like you stepped into the middle of a mountain forest.


We listened to the ranger talk and hiked on the path enjoying the coastal redwoods.


Afterwards we drove to Muir beach which was deserted because it was November and cold. 

On the way back to town we stopped at Sausalito which was recommended by locals. It was a cute town right on the water that reminded me of Europe. 

We toured through the shops and ate lunch on the water and pretended that we were on our European trip that was cancelled for a bit. 

When we got back in town we went to the Golden Gate Park and went to the Japanese Garden. In the past it used to be free but now they charge an admission fee. 

It was pretty but small and I'm not sure if I would say it's worth the admission price but it was nice to explore it. 

We hit China Town. Not much there other than cheap things that weren't very good deals and some so-so food. 

We headed back to Fisherman's Warf for a final seafood meal on the water.


The next morning we started our drive down the coast stopping at the Winchester Mystery House on the way. The Winchester house was crazy house build by the widow of the president of the Winchester gun corporation.


She had tons of money but bad luck as her baby died, then her husband and her mother in law. She went to a fortune teller that told her to go out west and build. She built the house and had workers working on it 24 hours a day until the day she died. 


She would change her mind and redo things in the house and then change them again. There were stairs that let to nowhere and cupboards and doors that would open into walls and she had places that she would spy on the servants and all kids of crazy things. It was interesting and they still had some of the decorations up from Halloween so you would see a hanging ghost or a skeleton here and there which made it seem even spookier. 

She actually had a séance room where she would consult the spirits every night that would tell her how to build or change the house. There is a scary movie based on her and the house coming out in February. 

Her favorite number was 13 and it was all over the Mansion. 

She was an eccentric and a recluse and it will be interesting to watch the movie when it comes out. 

We continued our drive and stopped at Santa Cruz. We got out at the pier and amusement park but it was cold and windy and everything looked closed so we ate lunch and then continued on our way. I couldn't help snapping a picture of the bathroom in the L&L Barbecue place....representing Santa Cruz

We then hit Monterrey. It had been drizzling on and off all day and while we were on the pier it started raining again. It made for thin crowds and no problems getting reservations anywhere when we wanted to eat. Orininally we wanted to go to the Aquarium but when we heard it was $50 a person and it closed in an hour we decided to skip it. We checked out the pier instead. You know how historic landmarks are numbers. We found #1!



Our hotel was at Carmel by the bay which was a cute place that we would love to come back and stay at again. We didn't have a lot of time to explore it but we enjoyed what we got to see and loved looking at the unique houses that we saw right along the coast.


Since a portion of the coastal highway is still closed due to mud slides we had to back track some and get back on an inland highway to continue our journey the next day. Our next stop along our journey was Hearst Castle. 


My parents used to take trips to see Hearst Castle and so I've always been curious to go and see it but it's not a close or easy drive. I wasn't prepared for how big of a deal it was. 


You start in a visitor's center and have to take a 15 minutes or so bus ride to get to the house at the top of the hill. They described how it came to be and the animals that used to roam, the zoo that used to be on the property and more.  You could take multiple tours showing you different parts of the house. We decided to just do the main house and ground since we hadn't ever been there. 


The pool was being renovated so we didn't see it in it's typical glory but there were plenty of impressive things to look at.


Hearst Castle and was a big huge house and complex that looked almost like a European church on the outside and was a grand mansion filled with old museum quality pieces from Europe on the inside. The guy who build it was again wealthy and he would have movie stars and rich people come and stay at his place on a weekend and they would all hang out together. They even had a huge movie theater where they would watch movies that hadn't come out yet and if you were invited you would be watching them alongside the actors or actresses that were in them.


The Finale for me was the indoor swimming pool. It was gorgeous and enchanting. It was the last thing you see as you make your way to the bus to get back to the visitor's center. I would have liked to stay there longer but Jeff wanted to make the next bus. 

Our next stop was a hotel right outside of Solvang which is a little Danish town that has windmills and looks to me like a Disneyland Pinocchio village

Our hotel was still decorated for Halloween with a giant Jack-o-Lattern scarecrow.


We ate dinner at a place highly recommended by Yelp. It was a BBQ place because the food options in Solvang were more like deli's and sausages so we decided to go with a heartier meal. The served us tons of food and it was good. Too bad they didn't have any of these close to home.


It was interesting this week we toured a couple of missions and with one of them we went into the chapel right before they were starting mass. We thought we would stay for 10 minutes but we ended up staying for 45 because it was interesting. The priest and the people there were nice and it was a family mass and they brought all the children up to the front and the priest taught part of the sermon to them almost like a primary lesson. 

There was a lot of music throughout the service and as an audience you participate throughout. There is standing and kneeling, praying and singing. It was nice to see another way to worship God and feel that we are united with other Christians who are worshiping like we are just in a little different way. 

It was after the Day of the Dead so it was interesting to see all the memorials set up. 

After our impromptu church service we explored Solvang. 

We got an order of Ableskeevers. They are round pancakes and taste great with jelly and sugar...but they are filling! We couldn't finish them. 

This was a candy shop where they showed us how they made a candy that was similar to candy canes but different. 

We bought some to bring home to the kids. 

On the way home we visited Angela and Robert and got to see the kids. Paisley is crawling around now and getting more of a personality. She is almost a year old already!! 

It was a great trip even though it was quick and I didn't even regret the fact we didn't get to go to Europe this year.  

1 comment:

AES said...

That does look like a fun trip! Thanks for sharing :)