Day 6: Monterey -> Wine Country -> San Francisco

Before heading north we had an early lunch at the Sandbar and Grill – needing a bit of protein after my foray into Carmel wine tasting, I opted for the “Chicken Sandwich Monterey” which was beyond delicious and just what I needed. Then, the most magical thing happened… a sea lion SWAM right by our window following a little dingy out of the harbor! It was so amazing and great way to start off the day.

We then started our (longer than I realized) drive to wine country. We went through Napa, Sonoma, and Petaluma. Wine Country California

 

We reconnected on Highway 1 in Tomales Bay where our gas light came on. We pulled in to a “town” and were told that the nearest gas station was about 20 minutes south along our route, while the gas meter said we had 15 miles before empty. Nervously, we started heading south – unable to totally enjoy the beautiful scenery because we were both worried about our car dying on the bending, dipping, rising, winding Highway 1. Not to mention that the bending, dipping, rising, and winding road wasn’t giving us a totally accurate read on our gas meter. The miles clicked down faster and faster and the lack of cell phone signal wasn’t giving us indication of the nearest gas station. We pulled over to let someone behind us go by and by a stroke of luck I was able to pick up enough signal to see that the gas station was 7 miles away, and our current gas meter read was 9 miles to empty, so we went for it… With the AC turned off…. We pulled into a small gas station in Point Reyes with two miles to spare! Whew! Finally we set off again, able to enjoy the beauty of Highway 1 and the quaint little towns along the way. I would love to do a “small towns of Highway 1” on my next trip to the west coast.

One of the main points of our route was to enter San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge – which was very cool 😉20140501_175248 (1)

Hotel: the Motel Capri was in an amazing location within walking distance to some great restaurants! It was recently remodeled on the inside and clean. There was also a parking lot on premises which was a big selling point. I don’t think the spread at the “Continental Breakfast” could really be considered a “Continental Breakfast” – but if you crave a sugary pastry before walking around all day then it’s “fine”. Also, the location felt very “safe” – we went for a morning run and it was very pleasant. Though we were technically in the “Russian Hill” neighborhood, we were right on the cusp of “Pacific Heights”, “Marina”, and “Fisherman’s Wharf”.

For dinner we went to the Balboa Cafe which was only 2 blocks from our hotel. They had all the sliding doors open to let the breeze in and it was very pleasant. The food was good – not a reinvention of the wheel, but simple and well executed.

What I Wore: San Francisco - Wild Souls
Top: Plum Pretty Sugar
Capris: Wild Souls
Shoes: Free People
Cardigan: Thrift store find 😉

Lenny & Eva Piece of the day: “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” with Turquoise Necklace Foundation.

Lenny and Eva

Day 5: Big Sur -> Carmel

Big Sur Bakery

Before we said goodbye to beautiful Big Sur, we stopped for breakfast at the Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant – a Big Sur institution that has been feeding weary travelers since 1936! We dined on fresh-baked croissants that were buttery, flaky, and wonderful!

We also grabbed some Big Sur Bars from the General Store at our hotel (we kind of fell in love with these bars during our visit and wanted to have them in case we got the munchies before dinner) then we continued up Highway 1 towards the Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel, CA.  Point Lobos State Reserve - Carmel, CAI had been lusting over pictures of China Cove and I couldn’t wait to go! I had heard that if you hit it during “pupping” season you can’t actually go on the beach, but you can see Mommy and Baby seals from the cliff overlooking it – so I felt like either way it was a win. As it turns out, we did hit it during “pupping” season so I got to see the too cute seals which pretty much made my day… and then some 😉

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Since we couldn’t get down to China Cove we decided to move on to Gibson’s Beach – also located in Point Lobos State Reserve. Again we walked another beautiful beach in California. Gibson's Beach - Point Lobos State Reserve - Carmel, CA

After a beautiful afternoon walking around Point Lobos we continued onward to Carmel-by-the-Sea! Our main plans for Carmel were 1. Point Lobos (check) and 2. The Carmel Wine Walk… You pay $65 and have the opportunity to sample wines from various local vineyards via their tasting rooms (all located within steps of each other) in downtown Carmel. Therefore, it was very important to find a hotel within walking distance of aforementioned tasting rooms.

Hotel: Carmel Village Inn for the location, $90/night was a steal! Smack in the middle of downtown and 2 blocks from the biggest cluster of tasting rooms. Our room was basic, but clean. The bed was incredibly comfortable and we probably would have had the best night’s sleep of our lives IF there was AC. Fortunately the daytime high was around 85 so it wasn’t TOO hot, but a little cool air and I would have slept like a toddler… who was wine drunk.

We walked around for a bit to scout out tasting rooms so we could come up with an efficient route. We then went to Cafe Carmel for some caffeine and a snack before we got ready for our night out.

Cafe & Croissants - Wild Souls

Dress: “Cafe & Croissants Dress” from Wild Souls
Shoes: Free People

Lenny & Eva Piece of the day: “Be” Small Sentiment & White Leather Cuff

Wild Souls - Lenny & Eva

Day 3: Santa Barbara -> Hearst Castle -> Big Sur

After waking up in lovely Santa Barbara, CA we continued our journey up Highway 1. As we took in all the amazing scenery, our Morro Bay, Californiabellies began to growl so we stopped in Morro Bay for lunch… Morro Bay was a very cute little town with some great shops and places to eat, but we decided to dine at  Blue Skye Bistro “On the Bay”. The view of the bay was nice and we could hear seals playing in the harbor (though we never caught a glimpse of one) while we we waited on lunch. I had Shrimp Tacos with grilled potatoes and it was all very good (I couldn’t get enough of the avocados in California).

With food in our bellies we drove further north towards San Simeon and Hearst Castle – this is where the view from Highway 1 really becomes truly breathtaking. We stopped once to take it all in and to pose for a couple of pictures in the disagreeable wind 😉

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We made our way to Hearst Castle which was a truly unique and amazing experience! If you ever find yourself on the West Coast I strongly suggest this tour. We learned a lot and it was really fun to tour the grounds afterward on our own. The stories about William Randolph Hearst were very interesting, but I was amazed by the architect, Julia Morgan, who was not only the first female architect in California but who was just king of a badass in general… I very much look forward to reading her biography in the near future.

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Highway 1

After Hearst Castle we continued the 90 minute winding, twisting, beautiful drive to Big Sur, CA via Highway 1… to our 2-night home in beautiful Big Sur, CA.

Hotel: Big Sur River Inn – I can’t begin to express my love for this hotel! It’s a truly wonderful place to escape. The rooms were cozy and clean and on the premises there is a nice restaurant, a pub, a pool, a general store, gas pumps, gift shops, and a lovely place to enjoy a meal on the river. The cost is about $150/ a night , but that’s pretty good for Big Sur.

For dinner we had dinner at the River Inn Restaurant and it was absolutely delicious! We started with the Calamari which was some of the best I’ve ever had – caught locally in Monterey 😉 After deliberating over the mouth-watering menu I decided on the “Pasta Castroville” which consisted of chicken and artichokes in a creamy pesto sauce over pasta. Gary had the “Smoked Beef Brisket” both were superb!

Big Sur River Inn - Pasta Castroville Big Sur River Inn - Beef Brisket

What I Wore: I received so many compliments on this outfit! The tank top fit perfectly and these Palazzo Pants are excellent for travel! They don’t wrinkle, so you can just throw them in your suitcase and the waistband was very comfortable for sitting in the car for a large chunk of the day. You can find these and others in our online store at http://www.shopwildsouls.com

Wild Souls - What I Wore - Hearst Castle

Tank: Wild Souls
Palazzo Pants: Wild Souls
Shoes: Free People

Bracelet: Lenny & Eva Piece of the day: Shield Pendant and Turquoise Bead Bracelet

Wild Souls - Lenny & Eva - Hearst Castle