Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Left Coast Ambitions: Wine Not?

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: we had no idea where we were going to spend the last night of our honeymoon.  We went back and forth.  Should we stay in San Francisco? What about Napa?  Maybe Sonoma? Consequently, Mr. Goodlaff and I didn't book our Friday night hotel until 10PM on Thursday night.

So where were did we end up? Napa, CA.
But first, breakfast.  We used Urban Spoon again to find LouLou's Griddle in the Middle in Monterey.  Located on the Commercial wharf, it's this really cute, tiny diner-style restaurant, and it's supposed to have really good pancakes.  And I'm all about pancakes.

A table with a view...

But there were no pancakes to be had that day. See, there's a commercial wharf and there's a touristy wharf in Monterey, and they aren't that far apart.  We went to the wrong wharf, arrived at LouLou's after 11AM, and by then, breakfast was a no-go.  My fish and chips were good, but the problem was that they weren't pancakes.  Not a good start to the day...

After a somewhat disastrous quest for breakfast, the Goodlaffs made the trek from Monterey to Napa, taking a few opportunities to see a few sights.  We went through Palo Alto, where we toured the Stanford University campus.  It's probably one of the most beautiful university campuses I've ever seen. 

Just driving around the campus made me and Mr. Goodlaff feel a little bit smarter (intelligence just flies around that place--stay long enough, and you're bound to catch it!), and I really wished that I'd been both rich enough and smart enough to attend college there. 

We kept driving north, heading on the 101 through San Francisco, where I got the chance to see one of my favorite things:

Maybe it's because it happens to be painted my favorite color, or maybe because it's such a beautiful piece of architecture, but I love the Golden Gate Bridge.  One of my favorite moments on the bridge is when you can see the second tower perfectly aligned through the bottom section of the first tower--love it!

We continued north to Napa, and were extremely grateful to find our hotel, conveniently located in downtown Napa. The Goodlaffs stayed in the super-swanky Avia Hotel, which was one of those hotels that's almost too nice for riffraff like us.  Seriously, it was so nice it was almost uncomfortable.  But we had an incredible room (yes, that is another instance of bathtub in the bedroom):

With a lovely view of downtown Napa:

When we were waiting to check in at the front desk, we got to chatting with one of the valets.  He was getting married soon, and was asking us about our wedding and our mini-moon.  We talked about our coastal adventure thus far, and how we had waited a few days to take off on our trip.  He was so excited to tell his fiancee that we had done that, because it was something he had insisted on pre-wedding.  I bet there was a lot of "I told you so"-ing in his household that night.

From when we checked in until we checked out, every time we left or entered the hotel, he led all the other valets in a rousing chorus of "Yay, Newlyweds," which consisted of clapping and whistling and shouting whenever he saw us.  It was all a bit surreal, and we felt like mini-celebrities.

We had dinner at Grace's Table, which was well-reviewed on Yelp, but somewhat lacking in hospitality.  Good food, poor service, weird vibe.  After dinner, we walked around Downtown Napa, window shopped at horrendously overpriced boutiques, and ended up at Ben and Jerry's for dessert. My mantra is this: anytime my day ends with a waffle cone, it's been a good day. 

The next morning, we tooled around wine country, stopping in Sonoma for two main draws: the cheese factory and the window shopping.  I love cheese.  I might love cheese more than I love pancakes, which is saying something.  We swung by the Sonoma Cheese Factory and sampled pesto jack, lavender jack, spicy jack cheese, and so many more. They also had samples of fudge.  Cheese and chocolate--what more could a girl ask for?

And just like that, our Mini-Moon was over.  We left Sonoma, drove back to Sacramento, and headed home.  It was a perfect trip for us, and while it wasn't jam-packed with adventure, I think we had an amazing trip and got to see some pretty great things. Our mini-moon has me completely excited for all the fun that's coming during our real Honeymoon in October--I can't wait!

Have you ever left part of your vacation up to chance?

Our trip may be over, but you can still re-live the fun:
Chapter 1: We Mini-Moon!
Chapter 2: Mission Possible


  1. i'm so glad you could actually SEE the gg bridge! my friends visited us last week and we live 2 miles from the bridge - they didn't see it once because of the fog!

  2. Perfect Mini-moon... the way you guys have been doing things from the beginning amazes me..so simple, but with so much love and joy... what else could one ask from a couple... again: many blessings to you both!

  3. 1. I've been wanting to stay at the Avia!
    2. I love cheese and pancakes.
    3. Thanks for guest blogging!