Friday, August 23, 2013

Carmel Weekend Getaway--Big Sur

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post 1--post 2

One of the first places on Colby's "places to go" list was Big Sur.  We were a little disappointed to find out it was a little further from us than we thought, but when we were already over half way there in Carmel, we decided to make an afternoon out of it and drive down the California cost to Big Sur.  Before heading out, we crossed off a few other things from our Carmel list.

First stop, Katy's place. Let me tell you, this place did not disappoint.  We saw good things about it on Yelp, and had received a couple recommendations to go.  The atmosphere was perfect.  Seating inside was full, so they put us out on the patio which we preferred.  It was a little misty and cold out, but they had heat lamps set up and it was just perfect.  The staff was so friendly, and 3 separate people brought Hudson toys to play with. They are well known for their eggs Benedict, and I decided to give it a try.  I have never had this dish before, but figured you can't go wrong with eggs, ham and an english muffin.  We also ordered Swedish pancakes and split the 2 for breakfast.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Did we order well, or what?  The eggs Benedict melted in my mouth and the side of potatoes were so delicious.  Perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The Swedish pancakes were basically crepes folded into bowls around a heaping pile of mixed berries, topped with cream and raspberry drizzle.  Yes. Perfect. I ate the pancakes second, and actually for the first time in my life, felt that a breakfast food was too sweet.  Colby ate his first, and didn't have that thought.  Hudson was an angel eating his food and of course sampling ours.  We apparently got to Katy's place at a perfect time.  We took the last outdoor table, and by the time we left, there was a small crowd of people waiting to get a table.

We headed 2 miles south to Point Lobos, a state park with trails out on the ocean.  The trail we went on was ADA approved, so was easy with the stroller, except the hike down to the water where we left the stroller and carried H. The views were beautiful.  It was quite overcast, yet you could still see the brilliant hue of blue shining in the water. We hiked down a ridge to where the waves were crashing, walked over to see the sea lions, then down to a rocky coves where Hudson ate rocks and I gawked at a few sea lions playing in the water.  We finished off the mile loop and headed back to the car to hit the road for Big Sur. said the fog would clear from 1-3, so we wanted to get there in that window.  We stopped at Big Sur Deli and grabbed quick sandwiches and got back on the road.  We had no cell service, so no GPS, and it was a strange feeling.  We really weren't sure how far we were going or how well marked Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park was.  We came upon the sign easily and were grateful to find it.  We parked, got everything ready, and headed out.  Our destination was the waterfall.  We came up around it from the side, and once we saw it we were in awe.  So worth the drive.  We stopped someone to have them take our picture.  They looked at us kind of funny but took it.  As we kept walking, we realized why.  The breathtaking view we stopped at for a picture, was barely mediocre compared to the view that lay ahead on the trail.  Welp, I guess that just meant more photos.  Out on the lookout point passed the waterfall, we could view North up the coast.  The fog had cleared mostly and was just rolling back in.  We ate lunch on some benches and commented how Hudson was clueless as to how lucky he was to dine here (with his exquisite strawberry yogurt of course.) By the time the "photo spot" freed up for us to take a family picture, the fog had rolled back in,  but it was still beautiful to see.  We headed back around the waterfall and over to the opposite side of the cove.  All in all, it wasn't a ton of hiking, easily less than a mile, but seriously the most gorgeous views I have ever seen.  

As we got back to the car, I had a moment of extreme panic when I couldn't find my phone.  I knew I had taken it with me because I didn't want to leave it on the dash in the car, but since I had my DSLR, I didn't use it to take pictures.  Thus, I hadn't realized until now that i didn't have it.  The best I could figure is that it fell out of my jacket pocket when I took it off for the photo at the outlook.  Colby says my knees were literally shaking as I came to the realization I didn't have it.  I wasn't so sad about the phone, that's replaceable, but I was sad about all the pictures I would not have.  He being the great husband he is, retraced all our steps to look for the phone.  He literally ran the whole thing.  He came back empty handed.  I almost cried.  We had tried the "Find my iPhone app" but since there was no service, it couldn't be located.  We decided just to leave and hope that a good family found it and would go to recent calls and contact someone. About 20 minutes out, we tried to locate it again, and the app said it had been located!! We looked on the map to see where, and it was at the same spot on the map we were.  We had it play a sound on my phone, and lo and behold, we heard it.  The phone was in the car!  Colby about died.  I was on cloud 9.  It had been in a bag inside the backpack that Colby had taken out before I realized my phone was missing, so I didn't think to look for it.  I am so glad we found it and that I was able to help Colby get his workout in. ;) Pretty sure he will never let me live that one down.

We continued on our way home and stopped off by a bridge and coastline partway back.

We continued on through Carmel and hit the weekend ending traffic back inland.  We saw signs for artichokes, (in what apparently was the world's artichoke capitol--miles and miles of artichoke fields) 12 for $1, and had to stop.  We figured we would end up right back in our same spot on the freeway with traffic being so bad.  We got there minutes before they closed and picked up 12 artichokes and 3 baskets of fresh strawberries.  They were so good!

We made it home around 8, got Hudson in bed, then had bowls of cereal for dinner.  It really was a perfect weekend, and I am so glad we were able to do that and able to celebrate our 5 years of marriage!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carmel Weekend Getaway--Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17 Mile Drive

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This past week Colby and I reached our 5th wedding anniversary.  Neither of us can believe it has gone by so quickly.  To celebrate, we headed to Carmel for the weekend.  Now, neither of us 5 years ago would have imagined toting a little one along with us on our romantic getaway, but seeing as he is still nursing, he got a free ticket to come. He was a good little tag-a-long.

We stayed at (what we will call) a bed and breakfast.  Reality is, hotels were super expensive, and with our student budget we weren't sure it was worth it.  I had casually mentioned I thought a B&B could be fun.  Putting all this together, Colby went out on a limb and found a fabulous place for us on AirBnB for a steal of a deal.  We stayed just off Hwy 1 in Carmel at a family home and had a good size room and bathroom all to ourselves.  Considering we would literally just be there to sleep and shower, it was more than ideal!  (photos from airbnb)

We started the trip off Friday night and traveled to Carmel.  Knowing we'd be leaving after work, I made turkey pitas for the road.  We got into carmel around 8, visited with the owner a bit, bathed Hudson and put him to bed.  We then sat out on the patio and solidified our plans.  The view from the patio looked into carmel valley, and with the fog coming in, it was so pretty.

We got up early on Saturday as we had a list of things to do.  We started with breakfast at First Awakening where we got pancakes.  As we looked at breakfast places on Yelp, most of them were eggs/potatoes places, and we determined we are sweet breakfast people. :)  We split a partial order of Blueberry Pancakes, and it was plenty!  We had been warned prior to going that we could easily split a plate, and when we went to order, our waitress said we could easily fill up on 2 pancakes, rather than the 3 that come on a plate. She was so right.  These pancakes were larger than my face! And, they were delicious. Iris, the home owner, had suggested First Awakening as it was right by the Monterey Bay Aquarium--the next stop on our list. It was perfectly located and had validated parking for 3 hours, so we didn't even have to pay parking for the aquarium.

We had contemplated even going to the aquarium because we don't LOVE aquariums and only wanted to spend a hour or so there.  At a price of $35 a person, we weren't sure it would happen.  But, Colby's mentor at work offered up his season passes, so we went for 2 hours.  It was perfect.  We enjoyed the site and felt like we saw everything we wanted in 2 hours.  I really enjoyed the large open tank with tuna, hammerheads and sea turtle.  Standing on the back balconies overlooking the bay and Monterey was pretty neat as well.  I think Colby was most fascinated by the Jellies, and I must admit they were pretty cool.

It was past naptime, and Hudson was so over the aquarium.  It was a perfect time for us to do the 17-mile drive and let him nap.  But, since we were so close to Dennis the Menace Park, we swung over there to let him play.  He went on a slide with Dad, loved the swings, and enjoyed having freedom to crawl! He was not happy when we picked him up to head out.

We headed to the 17 mile drive and spent 2-3 hours there.  Who knew it would take so long to go 17 miles.  There were about 20 "points of interest" on the map they gave, and we stopped at several of them to enjoy.  The scenery was beautiful.  The beginning was in the hills winding through homes, and the second portion was along the coast and golf courses.  We loved seeing the homes and even moreso seeing the coastline.  Some favorites were bird rock, which was full of barking seals.  One stop was a little cove with yellow wild flower at top and a beautiful rocky/sand cove below. There was Cyprus hill and a lookout to the Lonely Cyprus.  We drove through Pebble Beach Golf Course which was filled to the max with people attending the car show.  Colby was tempted to stop in to the show, but opted out so we could head into Carmel later.

See next posts for downtown carmel and big sur.