We arrived Friday afternoon and were whisked away down The 10 to Venice. My high school and life bff, Annie, and her husband were wonderful hosts as they showed us around their neighborhood and Santa Monica. They gave us a three hour tour that made us feel like we'd seen it all and could head back home; where Kardashians dine, a tribe of Hari Krishnas, and $7 lattes.
Anne: I don't want to take a picture, I'm not dressed.
Allison: I have a blog to write, SMILE!
Since we got the grand tour of LA in one afternoon, we hopped in the car and headed south to San Diego. We quickly realized we hadn't gotten the full California experience, yet so we were happy to round out our must do's with a dose of LA traffic. Since we were arriving in San Diego later than we anticipated, we had to squeeze in our margarita tasting to Old Town. It was worth the visit, even if it felt about as authentic as Epcot.
The majority of the weekend was spent at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spaaa. It was lovely. I highly recommend it if you are traveling with someone who would prefer to be within walking distance of Legoland rather than views of the Pacific Ocean. I also recommend conning the front desk staff into getting you a room on the preferred guest floor. One word, toiletries.
Between wedding parties, we drove to Coronado Island. Anne's husband Pete has some baller friends that invited us for a little afternoon adventure. We lounged around the pool drinking mimosas, playing games and cuddling with strangers' babies. It was my kind of afternoon. But then someone suggested a bike ride. Other than seeing old friends, watching another get married, spending some quality R&R with my husband, and tasting some fine wines, pedaling around may have been the highlight of my trip. Oh, except the restaurant that Kim K. ate at once on that show I've only seen once. That too.
When we ate our last plate of curry and said our last goodbyes, we were on our way to the romantical part of our trip. Two days in Santa Barbara were just what the (love) doctor ordered. It was so nice to pop into an antique shop and investigate the compact discs on display (Back in my day, we called them c.d.'s, donchaknow). We sipped wine on patios and took our time in bakeries before selecting the perfect eclairs.
On Tuesday, we hopped in the car and drove up the coast once again, this time to Los Olivos. The landscape on its own would have been worth the trip, water as far as the eye could see to west, rocky cliffs to the east. We started the wine tour at the larger commercial establishments, Foxen, Firestone and Curtis. It was hard to compare the experience to what we knew in Virginia, still knowledgeable, charming staff, but this time they didn't have to grimace as they described the wine's smoky notes or sweet nose.
Each restaurant, each hotel, each conversation and sip deserve a post of their own. It was most certainly a vacation worthy of a five year anniversary. Thankfully, the trip couldn't have happened at a better time. We were tired, cranky and stressed. California was a perfect distraction. We are so grateful to our friends, and parents that made the trip possible. And, I'm sure you're wondering, what did they do with that kid of theirs? More on that next!