Parent's Trip to California
We just had our first trip as a couple in almost 4 years. Though we have been very fortunate to travel a lot with our two babes, it’s a very different experience with all of their gear, food, sleep schedules and mood “changes”.
Our friends Thea and Colin decided to get married in Sonoma, so we headed to California for a 4 night trip. We are so fortunate to have both of our parents in town. They took turns staying 2 nights each at our place. It was best for the girls to stay in their own home to try and keep a sense of normalcy. They’re just toddlers. When they’re older, we will definitely have ‘grandparent sleepovers’. This also meant we could check in on them occasionally on our baby monitor app. :)
Our flight left at 5:30am, so it was an early start for us. But… we are parents of young children so it’s pretty whatever to start our day at 4:30, lol. We arrived in SFO by 12:30. From there, we grabbed a rental car, picked up our friend Helen (she flew in from London a few days earlier to extend her vacation), and off to Sonoma we went!
I am so happy with the Airbnb we rented (long in advance). The hotels seemed to all average at about $1000USD per night… and were nothing to write home about. If you haven’t used Airbnb, click this referral link for $45CAD off your first stay. This particular Airbnb had lovely responsive hosts and it was comprised of 2 small bungalows with a shared deck/fire pit area. It had all the amenities we could ask for and was a quintessentially “California” vibe. It was about a $20 Ubers to the wedding venue. The traffic there was surprisingly difficult for a small community. Cars could take an hour to show up.
Downtown Sonoma was really adorable. I loved all of the tasting rooms and restaurants. It’s also legal to enjoy a bottle of wine on a picnic blanket in front of City Hall which I thought was so cool (although we didn’t have time for that).
The weather was PERFECT. If it is like that all the time, I would move there in a heart beat (though in my heart I know I would miss my seasons). I liked that I could still wear light layers.
We spent Friday eating and drinking our way around the region. Breakfast was booked at Layla at the gorgeous McArthur Place hotel. Great food, great mimosas. The outdoor backyard area was so beautiful and sun drenched. It was pleasantly quiet there, no need for reservations.
El Dorado Kitchen was our most fantastic dinner of the trip. It’s a must see! Beautiful ambience, great location and even better service to compliment the to-die for food (and cocktails). Make sure to reserve long in advance.
Saturday was the day of the wedding. Since we weren’t in the party and it wasn’t until 4:30pm, that gave us lots of time to check out more areas.
Stewart Cellars cannot be missed! We had the best tasting experience. The architecture was so beautiful, the service impeccable and an amazing selection of wines. I originally thought I wouldn’t want to leave Sonoma, but once we got settled we realized it was worth the 30-40 minute drive to see Yountville. We also had a fantastic lunch at La Calenda. All I can say is WOW.
Scribe Winery was expensive and packed. It seemed to be the who’s who/place to see and be seen. So not particularly our vibe. Buena Vista Winery was right up the street from our cottages and so, so beautiful.
The wedding was a beautiful evening with lots of laughter, great food, music and wine. I admittedly had a little “too much fun”. Napa Valley + Wedding = over served Jasmen, let’s put it that way. Helen and I both wore dresses from Remformation. You can dress me up…
Sunday morning there was a farewell brunch, and boy did I need it! It’s always so cool being in another part of the world surrounded by people from home. I love building trips around seeing a friend along the way. The bride forced me to have a few mimosas with her, so that was entirely her fault. I admit, it did help the drive back to SF.
We only had 24 hours to see some of San Francisco. We arrived around 4:00pm on Sunday after the wedding, and checked in to our comfy (and fairly economical) hotel room at Hotel G. It was a great location for us. We freshened up first, had a 30 minute nap (necessary after the wedding, lol).
After cleaning ourselves up, we met with the most lovely photographer for a mini shoot in Pacific Heights. Taylor met us there, walked around the neighbourhood with us, enjoyed “magic hour” and we were able to capture some keepsake photos to celebrate our first trip as couple since our honeymoon 3 years ago. Technically, Louella was there too, as I was in my first trimester.
Our last day of our vacation (and only full day in San Fransisco before our 5pm flight) was spent, as we always do in a new city, on a Hop On/Off bus tour. Marlowe was our last foodie destination and it didn’t disappoint. We each enjoyed a burger.
That pretty much sums it up! It was a whirl wind, but it felt very complete and full and exactly what we needed. Helen flew back to Canada with us for the week. Check out my blog post on a dinner I hosted in her honour.
Thanks for reading!