Monday, May 5, 2014

California Trip: Days 4 & 5

Time to finish my California Trip Recap! Only took me two weeks!

On our last morning in Napa (Saturday), we woke up REALLY early to head into town to meet up with a group to go hot air ballooning over the valley. I planned pretty much every step of our trip, but this was the one and only thing J wanted to do on our vacation so he set this all up. We showed up at our meeting place, filled out our papers, and after waiting around for about forty five minutes, they informed us that we wouldn't be going up on that day since the weather conditions were too cloudy. Definitely a bummer, but we made the best of our early morning by finding a diner in St. Helena and having breakfast!

That's our balloon and basket loaded onto a truck behind us in the parking lot. Womp womp!

We went back to our cottage and cleaned and packed up, and then bid farewell to our cozy little home of the past few days. Before heading out of town, we stopped by the Oxbow Public Market in Napa did a little shopping.

We left Napa Valley and drove West and got to enjoy the views of the Sonoma Valley on our way to Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa.

We shared a sampling of all their beers (which was a lot, 18!), and enjoyed the change of pace after 3 days of wine!

Before going back to SF, we made one more brewery stop, this time at Lagunita's in Petaluma. I don't know what all we were expecting here, but as far as breweries and brewery tours go, this one was on the more "intense" side of the scale. Their brewery is hidden in an office park (reminded us a lot of our trip to Stone when we visited their in 2012), but once you walk in, it was a full on party. It was PACKED with people. People of all ages (seriously, everything from babies to an elderly man we saw leaving on a stretcher...), and it was just crazy. We really enjoyed our tour (very funny and the company has a neat history) and the beer, but it was overall just a crazy afternoon. I think going midday on a Saturday may have had something to do with the crowds?

Once we left Petaluma we were on our way to San Francisco to enjoy the next day and half. We stopped and got the "required" bridge photo!

We made it to our hotel (Hotel Abri in Union Square...cannot for the life of me remember how we found this place?) and got all settled in and got to relax for a little bit before our dinner plans. We had rented a car that we drove around Napa, and when we got to the city J went and dropped it off and then walked back to the hotel. Hotel Abri was a nice place. Very small rooms, but a neat old building that had recently been updated. We ended up downloading Uber when we got here on to our phones and used this as a our main form of transportation around SF. We were really pleased. Way simpler than cabs. (Also, small promotion...If you use "t40k6" as a promotion code on Uber, you and I will both get $10 on our next rides.) We took our Uber car to Cocotte for dinner in Nob Hill, and oh my goodness. What a delicious meal. This is a (very very small) French restaurant that we found via a friend of mine from college. They are known for the rotisserie chicken which is what I ended up getting and it was served with 3 sauces. One was a parsley pesto type sauce that I have already tried to recreate at home with a chicken from Whole Foods. Mine wasn't nearly as good, but a good second! 

On Sunday morning, we slept in (Ha....7AM! I never adjusted to that darn time change), and got a quick breakfast at a bagel shop on our street. After showering and checking out, we were ready for a full day of exploring before our red eye back to the East Coast at midnight (thankful we could leave our bags at the hotel). We did a lot of the touristy stuff (Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square, China Town, Ferry Building) on foot, and we just had a nice time exploring and seeing San Francisco. We had wanted to Alcatraz, but didn't plan enough in advance and the tickets were sold out for the day. Oh well!

In the late afternoon we caught a ride to The Mission District, where we sampled at another brewery, Southern pacific. It was a nice spot to go in and rest our feet after walking the entire morning. 

After here we headed to a CUTE little toy shop that I had found on Design Sponge, and basically wanted to live in this shop by the time we left. We bought M a fun souvenir, but I could have bought the whole store!

We headed to dinner at Bar Tartine (also in the Mission District). This was a suggestion from a friend of a friend via Facebook (man, I love social media sometimes!). Bar Tartine is basically a German restaurant that serves mostly small plates. But it definitely wasn't traditional German, very different, but VERY good! We were really pleased with the food, the service, and just the neat atmosphere (also...great beer choices here!).

We left dinner and had one more stop to make before catching our flight. It was only about 8pm, and our flight wasn't till midnight, so we still had time to kill, we decided to get ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. I had found this place through Design Sponge and several people on IG mentioned it on this day, so we knew it was the perfect spot for an after dinner dessert. We waited in line for our ice cream (this is hot spot!) behind two funny and kind Australian men (father and son) who were in the US on holiday. We enjoyed sharing stories and chatting with them! I ended up getting Meyer Lemon and Lavender ice cream. Not my norm, but way delicious!

We flew back on our red eye that night, not much fun to report here. We had a short layover in Atlanta, and then by noon, we were back in Richmond with our girl! Perhaps the highlight of the whole week was my parents bringing M into the airport with a sign for us. I loved it!


  1. Aww, sad that you couldn't do your hot air balloon ride!!! But looks like you had so much fun in SF! And I love M waiting for you with the sign :)

  2. Look at Maggie! Sounds like you guys had a wonderful trip! You should be a travel agent!

  3. Looks like a wonderful trip! And too bad about the hot air balloon! That sounds like so much fun! How cute is little one with that sign?!

  4. I loved our trip to San Francisco and you are making me want to go back! And that sign at the airport is amazing... So cute!

  5. My friend has tried twice to take the hot air balloon ride in napa, and both times were a no go because of the weather :( definitely a bummer.

  6. It looks and sounds like you both had a great time in CA! I'm sorry that the balloon ride got canceled and that you didn't get to see Alcatraz. You'll have to add it back on your list for when you visit again. I've done the day tour but the night tour sells out SOOO far in advance.