Travel Guide: Wine Country, Day 1

3.03.2015

Last week hubs celebrated a birthday... but not just any old birthday, the big 30... T . H . I . R . T . Y ! It's kind of nuts to me because firstly, I met him when he was about 19 or 20 and just a boy and secondly, because, well because it also means that 30's knocking on my door shortly after... eeek! I wanted to do something extra special and memorable, after all 30 is some kind of milestone in adulthood right?!  I'd heard about wine country being a must see and that scenic drive along the coast on route 1 fit in nicely so that was that. Also wine tasting just seemed fancy and sophisticated and so much better than drinking your face off like you did in your twenties right?! Only we may have done that too the night before and so that explains the In and Out you see pictured up there. But in all seriousness, I just wanted to do something for hubs that I knew he would love and remember for a life time which is hard to come up with when you've been together as long as we have. So just in case the trip wan't enough, there may have also been a donkey piƱata involved. Do I know my hubs or what?!

EAT / Driving the more direct route up I-5, we decided to try and make our first stop somewhere note worthy, about halfway, and that served food/coffee of some sort. After doing some research, hubs luckily found Harris Ranch which ended up ticking all three of the boxes so we were sold. The restaurant turned out to be the cutest of ranches, all decked out with pretty much wood everything, roaring fireplaces, and mesmerizing chandeliers. It felt so warm and inviting, the perfect cozy spot to take the edge off from the drive and unwind. Since they happened to be known for their reserve beef, hubs and I decided that steak was just a must. I ordered the New York Striploin (pictured above) with possibly the best garlic mash not made by my mom that I ever did try! Hubs settled on the T-bone and was equally satisfied. If you're a meat l over, this spot is definitely worth checking out. We picked up a bottle of their house cabernet sauvignon to enjoy later and hubs got some "real" sweets from the gift shop. That's british speak for actually nice, hard candy (like they do back home) and not the overly processed junk he normally finds over here. Basically it's what I would call fancy or specialty candy! Oh and I also got my coffee fix which was honestly, the smoothest blend served over ice (yes ice!) coffee cubes... it was all I could ask for and then some.

STAY / Did I mention this trip was poorly planned on my part and while I like to call it spur of the moment because that makes it sound more romantic and me more carefree, it was stressful and I'm not. But that's just because I'm the type that needs everything mapped out, planned out, and outlined before I do, well pretty much anything and everything. Unfortunately, work got in the way of any of that being accomplished and so, yea. That's where airbnb intervenes and more specifically, Pamela's cozy garden studio comes in to save the day (trip). Hubs and I are huge fans of airbnb, H . U . G.  E ! We're really big on having unique  and local experiences when exploring new cities that includes accommodation. So far we haven't had a stay we didn't love (or hosts we didn't love for that matter) and so it's safe to say we're hooked. This place was no exception and I was literally booking the trip the morning of (I know!), coordinating with Pamela while hubs slept off some of his hangover. We arrived kind of late and didn't get to do much exploring that night but were happy to have a comfy bed to fall into and welcomed the 2 cans of craft beer that were left in the refrigerator for us, so thoughtful!

In the morning we woke up to soft sunlight coming in through the double french doors and a beautiful garden view filled with the loveliest of flowers. Oh and that pup up there is Puna, she also welcomed us warmly. Coffees were drank routinely right out there on the front porch, wrapped up in blankets and accompanied by some pretty awesome ukulele jam sessions. Nights we enjoyed under a sea of stars in the steamy hot tub, sipping on delicious reds and bubbly champaign. Not a bad way to start and end a few days hu? Also Pamela left us an amazing list of all the best local places to eat, drink, shop, explore, etc. so our  days were filled to the brim thanks to her (and no thanks to me and my lack of planning). So in the end, it all worked out perfectly and that goes to say something about last minute planning then I suppose. Still stressful as hell (for me) but nice to know that things will fall into place even when you don't where those "places" should be. As for Mr. Brooklyn, we had to leave our little fur ball behind but he was in good hands over at Animal Kingdom... seriously he loves it there more than he does at home I think! Highly recommended if you're a local to Santa Monica and ever need to board your pet... because we've become one of those LA couples that does things like boarding their pets... and he also eats organic!


Day 1 / Day 2 / Day 3 / Day 4

***Today I am thankful for Beyonce (my nissan) that so lovingly got us to and from on this trip... she actually quite rocked it!***

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