As part of my personal retrospective on the past happily married, childless years gallivanting with my partner in travels, I will continue with our second annual trip to Somewhere. This time, I’m throwing it back to 2012.
I just passed my 5-year college reunion (which I did not attend because: morning sickness.), and with that milestone comes memories of the sheer joy of graduating, followed by the daunting prospect of what to do next.
After our Honeymoon in Spain the previous year, we decided to stay stateside and get to know the state we’d be calling home for the foreseeable future: California. I grew up in Texas and Alabama, and the first time I visited California was after I was accepted to Stanford. During my four years as an undergrad, I only had time to venture on day trips around the Bay Area (which, don’t get me wrong, are fantastic!). That said, I’d never been further south than Santa Cruz.
It was time to take that iconic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and revel in the majesty of the California coastline. So, we went road-tripping.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is cuteness incarnate — a town thought up by artists and dreamers and those with a fancy for whimsy.
We began our journey in Carmel, which holds a special place in our hearts because that’s where got married.
We stayed at the Colonial Terrace Inn, which is walking distance to everything — the shops downtown and the ocean. The room we stayed in was spacious and the breakfast was yummy.
We of course had to have (a delicious) dinner at Casanova, where we had our rehearsal dinner. It has a quaint, romantic atmosphere, excellent Italian food and a stellar wine list.
San Simeon is a small stop where you can go on a meandering ride up hilly acres that leads to an opulent mansion sitting pretty in its splendor.
There’s not much choice of where to stay in San Simeon — it’s an unassuming blip of a town along the coast, and your best bet for lodging is the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, which has great views of the ocean.
The main attraction here is Hearst Castle, which is definitely worth a visit. The ride up the castle is just as enjoyable as the property itself and, though I found Mr. Hearst’s tastes to be a bit over-the-top and gaudy, it’s truly a remarkable place to explore.
L.A. is a place best maneuvered by locals who understand the web of highways and can crack the code to decipher where to go (and not go) and where to find the hidden gems.
Next stop: L.A. It was our first time in L.A., and everything they say about the traffic is true. Go figure. Unfortunately, there was no LaLaLand-esque singing and dancing happening on the freeways.
Though we definitely felt a bit like fish out of water in L.A., we did have some highlights:
- Nestled in the hills of Pacific Palisades, The Getty Villa is a beautiful homage to Greek and Roman art.
- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) provides a great perspective on L.A.’s cultural heritage — a great place to visit on your first trip to L.A.
- It’s no longer playing, but we saw “Iris,” a Cirque du Soleil show, at the Dolby Theater, which we really enjoyed.
- A visit to Griffith Observatory and walk around it to take in the views.
- Brunch at Bottega Louie. A beautiful, airy space, filled with beautiful L.A. people and a case full of beautiful pastries.
Our southernmost stop was San Diego, and so from L.A., we continued our southbound road trip…