From wine country to camping

So you know all of the times I’ve mentioned hiking Half Dome in the past few months? Well, it was a bust. Sadly, Yosemite was closed down because of fires the weekend we were supposed to go.

The group of friends we were going with made last minute reservations at Camp Nauvoo in Placerville. Mike and I decided to meet them there for the weekend but enjoy the 2 days we’d taken off in wine country.

I’ve been wanting to stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn for some time now and, with an already planned few days off, we booked a room. We arrived Wednesday evening, greeted with glasses of bubbles to kick things off. Then we found a cozy spot in the lobby. Generally I think hotel lobbies/bars are underrated. Mike and I love ordering a drink (and maybe a few noshes) and just hanging out in the lobby. The seating is usually plentiful and comfy; you don’t have to travel far (just a few steps from your room); and who doesn’t feel like a badass charging your final bill “to the room?”

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On Saturday morning, our biggest accomplishment was clocking some hours on our wedding website. Over coffee and tea, we wrote “our story,” listed our favorite places to visit and eat near our house, and outlined wedding logistics for our guests. A fun thing to do together and – added bonus – something off of our To Do list.

Next, we thought it was a good idea to walk into town to a local market for some picnic ingredients and then to a winery. Overall our picnic was fun but the walk there was a sweltering one.

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The heat was all but forgotten once we had our snacks and wine. We were supposed to be wrapping up hiking Half Dome at that point… I’ll say vino and charcuterie aren’t bad alternative plans.

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We took a Lyft back, changed into our bathing suits, and headed right for the mineral pool at the Fairmount. My biggest complaint about this hotel was their only hot tub was in the spa area, that you had to pay to use. I was initially annoyed when I found out about this but, pleasantly, the regular mineral pool was like a bath (love it) and felt silky smooth. I didn’t miss the hot tub after all.

After a dip, we laid out and caught up on some reading, which is one of my favorite vacation activities. I dozed off for a little bit and woke up hungry. We went back to the hotel to shower and change, anticipating heading to the hotel restaurant for dinner.  Sadly the menu didn’t look that great… Instead we walked over to Cochon Volant BBQ, which is a cute hole in the wall eatery with good BBQ, cold beer, spicy sauce, and sub-pare sides.

Mike and I spilt an order of the Carolina pulled pork, coleslaw, and mac n’ cheese fritters. We ordered 2 pints and sipped slowly on the patio in-between bites. (Sad I forgot to take a picture!)

We ended the night with a game of corn hole on the hotel lawn. It was one of those perfectly warm nights that follow a dreadfully hot day.

The next morning I woke up early for a free yoga class in the gym. Rule of thumb: never pass up a free yoga class! I felt so great after spending a full hour tending to it (#YogawithAdriene) that morning. If only I could make that happen every morning…

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Not wanting to research another place to eat, we went back to the same restaurant and ordered the same breakfast as the day before. Then we went for one last dip in the pool before packing up and heading out to part II of our vacation.

Next up? Camping. We arrived at Camp Nauvoo much later than anticipated because of traffic. Most of our party was already there, fully immersed in camping. We piled our stuff in these carts the camp provides and trucked everything up a hill to camp. After pitching our tent, we caught up with a few friends there before dinner.

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Every year on this annual trip the meals are broken up between groups. The “Friday group” made Indian for dinner that worked out better than I think we all expected. We went to bed on the earlier side. I read once that sleeping outside can help reset your sleeping schedule and I think it’s true. I always sleep well camping.

I woke up early on Saturday and attempted to shower but the water was freezing. Wah! Baby wipes it was…

After a quick breakfast (and a cup of much needed coffee; one of the perks at Camp Nauvoo is their keurig) we were off on an adventure to a nearby swimming hole.

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Trying to figure our how to get down

A steep climb down a sandy hill and we were the only ones at this swimming hole oasis. The rocks were a little slippery, and the water took some getting used to, but this place was pure feel-like-a-kid-again magic.

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We splashed around, ate sandwiches, and drank rosé for about a hour before skirting our way over rocks and through waterfalls to a deeper section. There was a mossy flat rock that we all sat on and watched people from another party rope swing. Of course Mike wanted to join in on the jumping fun, which I was pretty nervous about. And since we’re getting married (!) he had to take my feelings into account… 😉

In the end, I knew if Mike felt safe doing it, he would be fine. So he jumped. And he jumped. Again and again, he climbed up there and made my heart stop for a few seconds every time. Haha

I, on the other hand, kept my booty on that moss covered rock the whole time. Over the years I’ve learned most things are more mental than physical. Physically, I knew I could jump and be fine! Mentally… I didn’t trust myself to actually let go. And that’s the last thing you need on a vacation; some chick dangling (crying) from a rope swing, stuck suspended in air because she couldn’t let go.

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We eventually retraced our steps, climbed up the hill, and drove back to camp. We had pasta for dinner, played a few games, and slept under the stars one last time.

…Until next year (beach camping here we come)!

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[Visit] Melissa comes to town!

I have a serious case of the Monday Blues today because our weekend was so fun with some of my favorite company.

We kicked things off on Thursday when Melissa, a good friend of ours from Toronto, flew in to visit. Mike and I headed up to San Francisco after work to meet her at the hotel we were staying at. We got a room for 2 nights at Hotel Whitcomb on Market street (more on that disaster later…), which was a short walk from Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley is a super cute area in SF with a lot of unique stores and delicious looking restaurants. We went straight to Little Gem where they focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients. It’s an open space that still manages to feel cozy with candles, succulents, and dim lighting.

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We started with glasses of wine, sparkling, and beer plus an order of their hummus with NON bread. I could’ve just ate this all night. It was so good. For my main though, I ordered the Hen of the Woods Mushrooms on Beans & Rice bowl (talk about a wordy title!) with the mushrooms on the side (because I am picky about my mushrooms – it’s a texture thing). The rice and beans were good but filing. I ended up only eating about half and taking the rest to-go.

After dinner we walked back to our hotel, which looked a horror/ghost movie was filmed in. We spilt a bottle of wine, caught up, listened to music, and went to bed… blissfully unaware of what else was lurking in the room with us.

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Creepiest hotel ever!
On Friday morning I walked to the work, opting to work in from the SF office that day. I wouldn’t want to live in the city but it was a nice change of pace to be there for a few days. There’s an energy you can’t deny in San Francisco.

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The view from Google SF office (not complaining!)
While eating breakfast I got a call from Mike and I thought, weird, he almost never calls me. Maybe he just wants to make sure I made it to the office alright?

I answered the phone and he told me the disgusting news that him and Melissa had found a bedbug in our hotel room. I immediately felt itchy. Melissa had woken up with bites (not fun!) and was suspect of bedbugs. Luckily, they found a live one to show to the hotel staff. It was gross but without the little crawler as proof, we probably wouldn’t have gotten a refund.

Melissa and Mike had to spend the next few hours checking us into a new hotel (the Hyatt!) and being sure Hotel Whitcomb refunded our money, cleaned our clothes, luggage, etc. Total bummer for the start of a vacation (!) but they eventually got out and enjoyed the city. I requested pictures of their adventures and got these ones of the Painted Ladies and the Full House house.

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The Painted Ladies
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Full House house
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After work I walked to the Hyatt to meet them at our new hotel. Man, I love the Hyatt. It was unfortunate that we had to deal with bedbugs but the sliver lining was staying in the Hyatt. It’s such a luxurious hotel.

Melissa has been out to California to visit us 3 times and each trip we get a bottle of champs to drink in Union Square. Keeping up with tradition, we walked to Union Square for some bubbles next. Kicking off Friday right!

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Champs!
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Dinner was next at Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen. We ordered drinks and the Oh Canada! poutine (fitting), pomegranate organic chicken breast with kale and quinoa, and the mac n’ cheese. The drinks were strong and the food was drool-worthy! We even ordered a second mac n ‘ cheese for dessert. 😉

On Saturday we trekked across the Bay to Berkeley. We went to Marker’s Common for lunch (more mac n’ cheese and avo toast) and popped into a few stores in downtown. It was really hot and I just wasn’t all too impressed with downtown Berkeley so we didn’t spend too much time there. Next time I’ll have to do more research on local spots before.

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The heat was worse in the south bay but we popped into Whole Foods for adult essentials: crackers, cheese, berries, and wine before going back to our house. We promptly threw our clothes in the washer – despite the hotel cleaning them – to double protect against the Whitcomb bedbugs. Then we chilled out for a few hours before a BBQ at our house.

Because of the fight on Saturday, dinner reservations for our friend Shelby’s birthday were impossible. Instead we offered to host a BBQ at our house because we have a big outdoor space. We host Canadian Thanksgiving here every year (read about 2015 and 2016) and it’s the perfect spot with multiple BBQs, picnic tables, shade, and outlets to play music.

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❤ ❤ ❤
Everyone left after 10pm and Mike, Melissa, and I went back to our house where Melissa and I stayed up until 5am. The last time I pulled an all nighter was in high school! I’m usually a stickler for getting good sleep every night but was happy to make an exception.

On Sunday we woke up at 11am, showered and went to Los Gatos for coffee and lunch. It was another hot day and we were running on little sleep so things were slow moving. Around 4pm we dropped Melissa off at the airport and I had to fight back tears. It was so good to have her in town for the weekend. We’re already texting each other talking about separation anxiety… 

The countdown is on for when we’ll see her again in December when we go to Toronto for Christmas.