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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I See You Morro Bay

Last weekend, we celebrated my birthday in Morro Bay. We met our close friends Gary and April there and stayed in a nice little airbnb close to the beach. Mike and I drove down on Friday night after work, arriving at the house around 9:30pm (minutes before Gary and April).

Mike, April, and I went to the store to stock up on beer and breakfast noms for the next morning. I’m a big fan of IPAs and found a tangerine one that was legit. It was a perfect combination of citrus and hoppy (and a solid 6% – beer under 5% is a waste of time and calories, in my opinion). After a few beers and catching up a little bit, we all went to bed.

The next morning we drank coffee (tea for Mike!) and made a decadent breakfast. I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times that a splash of 1/2&1/2 in my morning coffee would be one of the hardest things to give up if I were ever to be a vegan. I’m surprised that this theory has been completely debunked… I now prefer almond milk in my coffee over cow’s milk. Now, if only cheese wasn’t part of the reason I live so delicious…

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Morning view of the Morro Bay Rock from our airbnb
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The digs

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For breakfast we have waffles, eggs, bacon, and strawberries. Then is was time to get ready and head to San Luis Obispo. There was a Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) festival in downtown that we explored. We also ate at Luna Red, a restaurant we went to a few years ago for brunch after a camping trip. Here we filled up on cocktails and tacos. #whatsbetter

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I’ve got almond milk clouds in my coffee…
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Me & April #a2

When we got back to our airbnb, Gary and April took a nap. I was trying to resist the urge, so Mike and I started an episode of The West Wing (gotta love an airbnb with Netflix!) but I quickly fell asleep, despite the political drama P.O.T.U.S. Bartlet and his staff were going through. (Side note: I actually love West Wing – do people actually say “The“? – and rarely fall asleep during an episode!)

For dinner we went Rose’s Bar and Grill and sat out by the water. Morro Bay is famous for this massive rock and we had a great view! April and I each ordered a glass of white wine, a house salad, and the lobster mac n’ cheese. Hooray for girlfriends to spilt dinners with! (Even though, to be fair, Mike does spilt things with me most of the time.) As we were walking out, we spotted a small arcade room with air hockey. We stopped for a few rounds before heading back to the house and, yes, of course Mike was champion. We finished the night off with a game of Love Letters, which is one of mine and Mike’s favorite games.

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Dinner and a view!
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Mike holding my purse (thanks Life in Leggings for the recommendation!)  while I played air hockey
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Games and vino

The next morning, Gary and Mike woke up early to set up for the race while April and I spelt in and took our time. Woot woot! Plus, it was also daylight savings (daylight saving?) and I was not complaining about the extra hour off sleep. Okaaaay?!

After the boys were in from the swim, April and I headed to The Coffee Pot (recommendation to us by my mom and stepdad, who got MARRIED in Morro Bay earlier this year) for some much needed BLACK MAGIC and breakfast. Here we spilt (again, I know) a breakfast croissant and home fries. Then it was back to the finish line to see our men come in from the run.

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Mike peeling off his wetsuit after the swim (the only picture I got, ek)
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“Now a silly one….”

Before lunch we packed up the cars, cleaned up the house, and then were right back downtown ready to eat. Morro Bay is your quintessential little beach town, with it’s salty air; creaky, semi-worn down restaurants; and ocean sound effects. (This was actually the 2nd year that we’ve been there and the 2nd time we’ve seen otters in the Bay! Which, in my opinion, is the cutest, best part of the trip.)

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I forgot where we decided to go for lunch but I wasn’t all too impressed with their menu selection. Everyone else got a burger but I knew I would feel sluggish if I ate such a big meal, so I went with a side salad and cup of calm chowder. Pro tip: when dining out, or even at home, ask for a slice of lemon and side of olive oil for your dressing instead of the sugary, calorie-dense options they likely have. I swear, a squirt of citrus, a dash of OO, with some S&P, and you won’t even miss the other stuff.

It was time to head home and say goodbye after 😦

Until next time, Morro Bay!