Tuesday, May 1, 2012


For the past 4 years, Bryan and I had planned on taking a vacation at the end of his 4th year of medical school. We settled on the location of California for multiple reasons: neither of us were very stressed and didn't need a resort vacation where you drop everything and relax at the beach, we wanted to eat delicious food and drink good wine, we wanted to visit friends, and my oldest sister had a baby in January that we needed to meet! We planned a 12 day tour of California, and it was amazing!!

San Francisco
We started our trip in San Francisco, on Bryan's birthday! We started the afternoon walking around the piers. We ended up taking a sailboat that went around Alcatraz Island and then out under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 2.5 hour journey. It was a great experience! The capacity of the boat was about 80 and there were 6 of us, so it felt like a private tour!

After the boat ride, we got some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, which was delicious! After we relaxed a bit, and caffeinated up, we began our evening which started with attending a performance of the San Francisco Symphony! We have a friend who plays second trumpet, and it is always so cool to see him play with such a renowned orchestra! After the concert we met up with him and his wife at Zuni Cafe for some refreshments! It was a great night!

We rented a car and drove up to Napa for a few days for a tour of wine country. We stopped on the way for some champagne at Gloria Ferrer and then had a delicious lunch at Fremont Diner. Both were fabulous!

After a much needed nap, we headed out for dinner at Cook, a restaurant that we'd really been looking forward to trying out. I couldn't stop exclaiming how good the food was the entire meal. Totally worth it!

The next day, we had appointments lined up all day for wine tasting!

We really enjoyed Elyse Winery!
The people who worked here were so nice and welcoming. Reservations are required and it was very small and intimate. The wine was delicious!!

Honig Winery, where we were also able to enjoy a nice picnic lunch. We followed lunch with a great tasting on their patio!

I totally loved the wine at this place! I wish the tastings weren't so expensive so we didn't have to share one, but I guess it's usually a good idea to not overdo it on the wine! They also had lawn games in their back yard!

Clos du Val
We tacked this tasting onto the end our day. We happened to drive by it, and Bryan wanted to go because he likes their wine. Overall it was a good experience, but it was pretty busy. We got a free tasting of a their most expensive bottle of wine at the very end of our tasting, which was awesome!

Napa was so beautiful and really fun to experience. However, we actually enjoyed our time a bit more in Sonoma. We first headed over to Santa Rosa and stopped at Russian River Brewing Company for lunch. The brews here were quite tasty! They also have beer tastings.

We then kept driving towards the coast, to our hotel which was situated right on the ocean in the middle of nowhere. We didn't even have cell service. Our hotel was pretty rustic, but totally awesome! We had a fireplace and a jacuzzi inside our room that was right next to the window that looked right out over the ocean. It was just gorgeous!

We had dinner at River's End Restaurant and saw the most incredible sunset.

 This was the view from our table!

  Sea lions!

The next day, we continued to enjoy our time near the ocean. We walked around a state park and had a picnic near a beautiful secluded beach.

Our time in Sonoma was so incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating. We totally loved it and would recommend this part of our trip. We will definitely be returning!

Next, we continued on our way to Santa Cruz to visit college friends! Rachel and Mikael are friends from St. Olaf, and they were nice enough to let us stay with them a few nights! On the way, they took us to a goat farm where we got to try tastes of goat cheese with different toppings and mix-ins. The goat cheese was incredible! Our time in Santa Cruz consisted of eating delicious food, having great drinks, playing awesome games and enjoying time with each other. It was a great time! They showed us all around Santa Cruz and by the end of our trip, we felt like we were very comfortable with the area!

 Goat farm!

 Santa Cruz Boardwalk

 View while playing disc golf

Making delicious pizza

After our time in Santa Cruz, Bryan and I flew down to Southern California to visit my sisters who live there. My oldest sister had a baby boy in January!

This is our new nephew Dylan!!

We had fun meeting our new nephew and we're excited for more auntie and uncle time in the future!! We spent the rest of the time near the Newport Beach area. However, the weather was pretty gloomy while we were there. We didn't care at all though. The temperature was mild and we were just in chill mode!

We spent time paddle boarding, running, watching movies, cooking and eating delicious meals, watching movies and just hanging out and having a great time with family.

Overall our trip was amazing and I'm sure we'll never have the time to repeat it again, but it was well worth it!!