Bradley and I took advantage of a freelance business trip of his to San Francisco to spend a week with my sister and her husband. This was our third visit out there (it makes trips so much more doable when you have a place to stay:) and we tried to find new things to try instead of revisiting past adventures. In the city, we went to the California Academy of Sciences and the Conservatory of Flowers (free admission with our garden membership!). The first was interesting, but the insane number of children left us exhausted and frustrated. The conservatory was really nice – I only wish we would have been there at the right time for one of the guided tours.
We also wandered around the Mission district a bit and ate at Tacolicious, the Bi-Rite Creamery and Delfina Pizzeria. There were quite a few cute local shops to browse in this district and it is not touristy at all.
My sister had some friends over for game night while we were there and baked up some pizzas we had gotten the ingredients for at Zachary’s Chicago Pizza (third trip, third time eating Zachary’s – what can we say, it’s that good!) One night we ventured over to Berkeley for some southern/Louisiana cuisine at Angeline’s Kitchen. We were a little wary of trying southern food in San Francisco, but we were very pleasantly surprised. I would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to the area. Another new experience for us was an Off the Grid meetup of food trucks!
Food Trucks at Off the Grid
Salted Caramel at Bi-Rite Creamery
We decided to revisit Sonoma since it has been over three years since our first time there. After checking some Yelp reviews, we ended up at a small winery’s tasting shop in downtown Sonoma instead of taking a tour. Westwood offers tastings of five wines that are slightly older than what we usually receive on tours. One of the appealing things about their tasting was that it offered a 2005 Pinot Noir. For a few years, we have been wanting to buy some wine from the year we were married to save and enjoy on milestone anniversaries. We knew it would be more fun to have a little back-story of how we got the wine than just pulling it off the shelf at the grocery store.
For two days, we went south to visit Monterey and Big Sur. Our first stop was Point Lobos Natural Preserve. This was a really nice park – we saw Sea Lions, Harbor Seals and Sea Otters, all playing in the water and resting on the rocks out in the ocean. We took a free guided tour that pointed out a lot of vegetation in the park – native and non-native. We also drove the 17 mile scenic drive at Pebble Beach.
The Monterey aquarium was wonderful – we enjoyed watching the feedings for the penguins, the open seas tank, and the sea otters (adorable!). Big Sur was our biggest disappointment. The park has very few signs posted to direct you to trails and attractions. Several of the bridges were out and ultimately we were unable to find the Gorge nor the Waterfall that we were looking for.
17 mile drive
Secret Lives of Seahorses at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
A final stop on our trip was the Company Store at Cupertino. It is the only place to find Apple logo merchandise. In addition to shirts and other novelties for Bradley, we picked up a little souvenir for our niece!