Monday, March 31, 2008

Our Honeymoon - Day 8

November 30, 2007

Today we are going to Monterey. We got ready, ate breakfast at the hotel then headed down the highway to Monterey. We got there and found a parking garage right by the Aquarium which was our first stop. We walked around there for about an hour and a half. We weren't really impressed but we did see some cool stuff. They have a white shark that they got after a fisherman caught it in his net. He called the Aquarium as soon as he caught it and they took him in. He is still under a year old so he is only a little over 5 feet long.

We also got to watch some sea otters play. They are SO cute!

After we walked all the way through, we went outside and looked for a place for lunch. We found Willy's Smokehouse BBQ & Grill. I had a cheeseburger and Lee had a grilled chicken sandwich. both were very good, but we are both very ready to not be eating out every meal! Today is a chilly day, so we decided to go ahead and do the 17 Mile Drive. We followed the signs and headed along the coast towards the entrance gate. Along the way on Oceanview Blvd, we found a nice spot to pull in and take some pictures of the surf.

Boy is it chilly....So windy!!!!! We headed towards the entrance gate again and paid our $9 to drive on the famous route. Our first stop for pictures was at Point Joe. I think I got out of the car for a whole 30 seconds or so! Our next stop was at The Lone Cypress.

This was where a cypress tree was sitting out on a perch and has been there for over 250 years! We continued around the drive seeing HUGE houses along the way. We finally made it around to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. All of the courses in this area are so beautiful! I would love to play out here some day. After passing Pebble Beach, the road took us away from the coast and into the hills where we got to see a lot more huge homes. Some are for sale! Ha! We became pretty bored with the drive so we decided to go to Carmel. Not much to see in Carmel unless we wanted to park and walk around the town. It was too cold for that, so we headed down Hwy 1 towards Big Sur. We couldn't be happier with that decision!! Just south of Carmel, we stopped at Vista Point to take some more photos. Just gorgeous! We continued along the coast and came across Rocky Creek Bridge.

This bridge was built in 1932 and was the bridge I was looking forward to seeing! Lee got out to take some pictures of the bridge and I decided to hop out to take a look too. It was so unbelievably windy that we both decided it would be much safer to get back in the car and continue on the way down the coast. This road is so curvy and you are right on the edge of the cliffs looking straight down into the ocean. So scary, but so beautiful at the same time. We came around a corner only to find another bridge, twice as big as the Rocky Creek Bridge. THIS is the bridge I was excited about!! I had seen it in commercials and the Tour of California bike race went across it and I remember being so excited to see it and drive over it. We pulled off to the side along a gravel dirt road to get a better picture of it. I got out of the car and walked over to look down. I couldn't even see the bottom! This was the Bixby Creek Bridge, also built in 1932. It looks exactly like the Rocky Creek Bridge but was probably twice as long.

This drive was SO worth it. I will suggest this drive instead of paying for 17 Mile Drive any day of the week! We continued along the winding road along the coast. This road has been in so many commercials, TV shows and movies. And righfully so! AMAZING!! We made it to Big Sur and pulled into Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, paid our admission and drove around for a bit. We started to get hungry so we headed back to Monterey to get some sunset pictures and find a place to eat for our last night. We stopped at the same pull-off on Oceanview Blvd. to get some more pictures but the sun had already set. The ocean still looked amazing so Lee put on his jacket and hat and grabbed the camera and tripod to get some pics. I thought Lee and the camera were going to blow over into the water!

He hopped back in the car and we drove back towards the town and found a restaurant called Lattitudes at Lovers Point. they sat us by the fireplace, which was PERFECT! We wanted to take our time here since it was our last night, so we ordered a bottle of Napa Ridge 2006 Sauvignon Blanc and their calamari and artichoke hearts appetizer. We took our time before we ordered our meals. Lee ordered the prime rib and shrimp scampi special and I ordered the Chef's Choice which was a pasta dish with the chef's choice of seafood. It included mussels, clams and salmon in it. Delicious! We were greeted by the chef and owner Tene Shake. He has his own local cooking show here. We finished the evening with coffee and dessert. Lee had pumpkin pie (which he was DYING to have since we didn't have it at Thanksgiving) and I had an apple tort. A perfect ending to our honeymoon! We headed back to Santa Cruz to get some sleep before out last day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Packing for the move....

So, packing for a big move can be a good thing and a pain all in one. It's a good thing because you realize how much crap you've accumulated over 5 years' time and you can finally throw it all out, give it away, or find some use for it. It's a pain because you realize how much crap you've accumulated over 5 years' time and you actually HAVE to throw it all out, give it away, or find some use for it. Geez.....when will it be over??

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our Honeymoon - Day 7

November 29, 2007

Today we leave Sonoma and head south to Santa Cruz. We got an early start, checked out of The Sonoma Hotel and decided to grab breakfast somewhere along the way. BIG mistake! Despite the traffic report that said South 101 was clear, we sat in bumper to bumper traffic for miles. We were starving and McDonald's seemed to be our only choice (BLAH). So, that's what we did. Definitely not the best breakfast, but it was alright. After we ate, we hopped back on the highway, and wouldn't you know it, the cars started moving and we were up to the speed limit in about 1/4 mile! Oh well! So, we continued south across the Golden Gate Bridge for the final time :( and hopped on CA Route 1. This was so beautiful. Just seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time was amazing enough, but watching the waves crash against the big rocks and cliff sides was amazing. As we climbed up the winding road we came to an abrupt stop due to some blasting construction on the highway.

It was the perfect place to stop because we were able to get out of the car and look at the spectacular view. It was pretty windy out there, so I got back in the car after about 30 seconds! Lee got the camera out and got some awesome shots.

The cars ahead of us started to move, so we headed on our way again. We came across a strip mall that had a Starbucks, THANK GOODNESS, so we got some coffee and headed down the coast. It is definitely strange to be going south and the ocean is on your right side. We pulled into Pomponio State Park in Half Moon Bay so we could walk on the beach. BOY was it cold!!! I put my finger in the Pacific Ocean!

Back in the car again. This time we pulled off at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The wind was insane!! Lee snapped a bunch of pictures there.

It was so beautiful. We found out we were visiting right at the beginning of the whale migration. We stayed to watch for a while, but no such luck. After we got too cold, we hopped back in the car again. This time we made it all the way to Santa Cruz. We went to the visitor center to get information about things to do and places to eat. We were only about 2 blocks from the hotel, so we we headed that way so we could check in. When we turned down the street, the entrance to the hotel was blocked off by a bunch of DEA officers. GREAT, more drama! So we parked around back and asked an officer if we could go in. She said yes, so we headed in and the front desk girl told us it had nothing to do with the hotel. They happened to just pull somebody over in the parking lot. They were searching about 4 different cars. NEAT! So, we brought our stuff up to our room and headed back out to go to the boardwalk for a late lunch/early dinner. Not much is open this time of year, so the boardwalk was pretty empty. So, we headed to the Wharf and parked there. We heard this God awful noise and looked over the side of the pier to see a bunch of loud sea lions.

We watched them for a while, took some pictures and found a place to eat; Stagnaro Bros. Famous Seafood Restaurant. They serve Gordon Biersch Marzen on tap, so we both ordered one. We got the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, Lee got the prawns over rice and I ordered fish and chips. Both meals came with clam chowder too! Yumm-O! After we were full, we headed back to the car and went to Lighthouse Field State Beach to watch surfers, dogs, and a beautiful sunset.

Of course, Lee got lots of pictures. It started to get really chilly, so we headed back to the car and back to the hotel. We put our V. Sattui Sauvignon Blanc on ice and relaxed to get ready for our drive down the coast to Monterey tomorrow.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our Honeymoon - Day 6

November 28, 2008

Today we wanted to go to Napa. So, we enjoyed our breakfast in the lobby then headed across the street to The Sunflower Caffe for some Mochas to go before hopping in the car and heading to Napa. On our way there, we passed vineyard after vineyard after vineyard. As far as the eye can see, grapes! We pulled up to the visitor's center to get some brochures and directions to the winery/vineyard where Marc and Toni were married; V. Sattui. We drove about 14 miles, passing so many wineries along the way. We pulled into the parking lot and knew we would love this place. The winery was so beautiful!

We went in and enjoyed our tasting. The man pouring gave us some tips for the tail end of our trip and told us about a new winery owned by the same folks as V. Sattui called Castello di Amorosa which took 14 years to build. It is a replica of a 12th century Tuscan castle. After buying a bottle of V. Sattui Sauvignon Blanc and taking a lot of photos, we headed to Castello di Amorosa to see the castle.

We got there, took some pictures, found out we had to pay just to look around, so we decided to pass, and headed up the road to Rutherford Grill for Toni's recommended prime rib sandwich. Absolutely worth it. Yes, we paid $18 per sandwich, but I would've paid 3 times that! We were officially stuffed, so we headed back to Sonoma. We came back to the hotel and realized we hadn't done much relaxing, so we went up to our room and both fell asleep! Two hours later, Lee headed out to take some pictures of The Plaza and I decided to take a bath in the large porcelain tub.
Unfortunately, the tub only fills up half way before the water starts to drain, so that didn't work! Bummer! After Lee got back, we got ready for dinner. We left the hotel and walked around to find some dinner. After walking around The Plaza for a while, we ended up at La Casa for some Mexican food. We had chips and salsa, i had chicken quesadillas and Lee has enchiladas. Again, another great meal. Time to head back for our last night at The Sonoma Hotel before heading to Santa Cruz!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2 Posts in One Day

Well, for those of you who actually read this, I wanted to post this wonderful slideshow our photographer made for us after the wedding. Hope you enjoy!

Our Honeymoon - Day 5

November 27, 2007

Ahhh......our second day in wine country. I forgot to mention that after two hours of being here, we decided to book a third night here at The Sonoma Hotel, cancel Wednesday in Santa Cruz, add Friday in Santa Cruz and cancel Friday in San Fran. Anyway, today is the day we chose to go on a winery/vineyard tour. A few different people suggested we go to Benziger Family Winery. We called and found out they had openings for the 11:00 tour. So, we ate some muffins/pastries in the lobby, drank some coffee and headed to Benziger.

We took the Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour. It was a tram pulled by a tractor that took us up into the vineyard where we learned about biodynamic wine. Basically, this vineyard is one step above organic. They don't use any fertilizers or pesticides. Instead, they use compost, made from recycled grape skins, stems, vines, etc. and they have an insectary. This is a piece of land with bushes and flowers that attract "good" bugs that feed on the "bad" bugs that destroy the grape vines. After we learned all about the vineyards, we hopped back on the tram and headed down to the place where the wine is made. The place where the grapes are crushed, de-stemmed, and put into huge stainless steel vats to ferment. Then we went into the cave where we learned all about how barrels are made and used. Then we went into another room where our tour guide poured us two wines. One was called Casey's Block Sauvignon Blanc, and the other was an Estate wine and was a Cabarnet Sauvignon. The tour ended there and we were able to go into the tasting room for two more tastes. As part of the fee for the tour, we got two free tasting passes at Imagery Estate Winery which is also owned by the Benziger Family. So, we headed down the road to Imagery and went in for our free tasting. Not only was it free, but all the wine was excellent! As a gift to us for being on our honeymoon, the winery poured us a nice size tasting of their 2004 Pallas Estate wine which sells for $70 a bottle! We finished with a 2006 Petite Sirah Port which we drank out of port sippers, little glasses with built in straws. We were given some dark chocolate to eat with the wine, so good! We walked around the winery looking at all the art that has been used on all their bottles. Really great stuff! We had to walk around the grounds for a while before hopping back in the car. We decided to give wine a break and headed back into town for lunch. We ended up at The Swiss Hotel and sat out on the patio.

I enjoyed an eggplant Parmesan sandwich and Lee had a provolone burger! Very good! Still having good luck with food. After we left The Swiss Hotel, we went for a long walk around The Plaza and finally did our 2 for 1 tasting at Mayo Family Winery. This wine was our least favorite and left a bad taste in our mouths. We decided that since we had a late and big lunch, we would pick up some bread and meat of some sort to go with our bottle of wine and cheese we had purchased the day before. So, we picked up some salami, prosciutto and bread, a bottle opener and a cheese knife and headed back to our room. After relaxing for a bit, we decided to take advantage of the free glass of wine in the lobby. Mistake! They were serving a Merlot and a chardonnay. We both had the Merlot and had to choke it down. Now we were looking forward to opening our Syrah! So, we opened our wine and enjoyed bread, crackers, cheese, salami and prosciutto. Time to sleep!