After a year and a half spent in Northern California, we have had a bit of time to travel for a few weekend getaways. I am usually up for any kind of travel experience, whether it be camping, hotels, bed and breakfasts, or a nice resort! Travel is something that I have always held near and dear to my heart, and I have tried to keep true to the promise I made myself back in 2010, to adventure every chance I could.
It has taken some time to settle into our new lives as Californian’s, but one thing that came as a pleasant surprise, was the opportunity to travel more often than we thought. Living right outside of San Francisco has provided us with the opportunity to drive a few hours in different directions and experience different climates and landscapes, which makes weekend getaways truly feel like miniature vacations to far away places.
If you haven’t been to Monterey Bay in California, then add it to your list! Monterey is a lovely and quaint town close to Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur, both are iconic spots you can hop over to on your trip to the area. In the nearby town of Pacific Grove, thousands of Monarch butterflies spend a few weeks in the middle of October at the eucalyptus tree grove during their great migration.
What do you do when you are super stressed and need to clear your mind? Get. Lost. I don’t mean that in the Mean Girls “you can’t sit with us” kind of way, I mean try and disconnect from the world as you know it and get in touch with nature. There is something that has always calmed me when I shut off my phone and spend a few days surrounded by nature, breathing in the fresh air and smelling all of the different plants surrounding me. What better place to get lost than Big Sur, California?
We just ordered a new tent to put on top of our Jeep from a company known as Smitty Bilt. Who wouldn’t want to go explore out doors if you got to camp like this?
This tent is amazing and is known as the Overlander! First off, it has a built in comfy mattress pad that is 2 inches thick. It keeps you warmer in the winter months because you are high off the ground. The temperature at night hovered around 45 degrees and we only slept with one un-zipped sleeping bag covering us on the mattress pad. It is plenty spacious inside and super easy to set up and put away (5 minutes max). We are very happy with our purchase and looking forward to installing the strand of LED lights that came with the tent to light up the inside!
I can honestly say that I slept a solid ten hours the first night in this tent – from 11pm-9am – and I have never slept better or more comfortably while camping. This is well worth the investment considering there is a 1 year warranty and many other perks and add-ons that are offered with the Overlander.
When I wasn’t enjoying myself in our comfy new tent, I was hammocking, sitting by the fire, or checking out the spectacular view footsteps away from our campsite. Logan, Parker’s brother, came along with us since it was his birthday weekend and much to his dismay had to sleep in his regular tent.
One night we stargazed around 10pm and the moon had yet to appear in the sky. I have never seen so many stars, so clearly in the sky. We all lied on our backs and looked up at the sky and truly felt like we were in a planetarium – miraculous views both day and night!
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was sitting around this fire, telling stories and playing games with everyone!
Of course we stayed at a camp site and chose to take a relaxing (somewhat lazy) take on the weekend by staying put most of the time. There were three hiking trails where we were staying at Botchers Gap Campground. There is Little Sur Camp, which is about 2 miles away from the main campgrounds, where you can backpack in for the night to set up camp if the main camp is full. Then you have Jackson Camp about 6 miles into the forest and Pico Blanco Camp about 7 miles into the forest from the main campground.
I would love to go back and actually backpack the trails to some of the other campsites!
On our way to and from the campgrounds we wanted to stop and take in Big Sur, since it was our first time being there. Here are a few of my favorite shots from Big Sur’s ocean views!
What a wonderful weekend spent in Big Sur. It was sunny and 70 the entire time we were there and only a short 2-3 hour drive from home. One of my other favorite moments from the trip was driving down Highway 1 on the way there from Pacifica. It was the perfect road trip and the view of the Pacific Ocean out my passenger side window for 2 hours was the icing on the cake!
Have you camped or stayed at hotel or resort in Big Sur – I would love to hear about it! Where is your favorite place to visit, shop, and eat while in Big Sur?
I couldn’t be more excited to share with you all the wonderful sights I was able to witness around the bay area this weekend. My very best friend traveled all the way from Fayetteville, AR to spend a long weekend with me in the San Francisco/Bay Area.
I have had the opportunity to see some of the famous tourist sights in San Francisco in January 2015, but the bay area is so large and there is always something new to see, eat or discover.
Everyone, meet my adorable best friend Bridget!
First stop, the Pacific Ocean!
This beach is known as Rockaway Beach in our beach town of Pacifica!
I highly recommend eating at Breakers for breakfast, brunch, or lunch if you are ever in Pacifica! I have never had a bad meal or bad service. Its a fantastic staple in our small beach town.
After the most tasty brunch, it was off to Half Moon Bay for an afternoon of wine tasting and microwbrewed flights of beer!
One of my very favorite wineries to visit in Half Moon Bay is La Nebbia Winery. Its quaint, cheap, and oh so tasty and I have talked about Parker and I visiting it before in this article.
Our last stop of the day was Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. where we enjoyed some of their Truffle Fries with two flights of their microbrewery beer!
This is the gorgeous view from the outside patio at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. – no doubt it is a gorgeous place to drink a tasty beer and catch a stunning sunset over the Pacific.
Back in November, Parker and I had the urge to head down to Half Moon Bay, CA. We had heard nothing but wonderful things about the small and eclectic ocean town and sadly we had missed the world-renowned annual Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival by a few weeks.
We were feeling extra adventurous, as we chose to forego having a plan in mind for the beautiful Saturday afternoon. After driving into the adorable beach community, we decided to stop for some wine at a super cute and popular little winery known as La Nebbia Winery. I highly recommend stopping into this quaint winery if you find yourself in the area because it has a fantastic wine tasting deal, $10 for 5 (generous) wine tastings, and the wine is truly splendid!
As soon as we pulled out of La Nebbia Winery, a sign caught my eye down the road:
How whimsical does this place look and who could possibly pass up a giant greenhouse filled with carnivorous and rare plants? The name of the shop is World’s Rare Plants and they have everything from Venus Flytraps to Fairy Gardens.
They sell everything in the store and more at their online shop. We were so happy that we took the time to stop in to visit this charming Carnivorous Plants store and we think you should too.
If you are far away from Cali but loving the idea of creating a fairy garden or owning some truly unique carnivorous plants, you can still take a look at their store.
Flies and insects, may the odds be ever in your favor!