A few months ago, we decided we needed one more vacation before baby time. Initially, we talked about going back to Mexico, or maybe a trip to Hawaii for a week, but the brutal truth was neither of us had time in our schedules to take a full week away from work. Since we wouldn't be able to actually travel until I was almost 36 weeks pregnant, we decided to go somewhere neither of us had ever been but that was still close enough to drive. Totally randomly, I stumbled upon an article about California's 10 most beautiful towns. Many of them were a bit far and most of them were places I'd never even heard of, but Sonoma and St. Helena were on the list - two towns I'm familiar with and happen to think are pretty beautiful, too. So we decided to pick a place on that list and visit it for our "babymoon." The winner? Solvang! But by the time we actually got around to planning the trip, most of the inns & hotels were either all booked up or way out of our price range. Oops.
Luckily, the lovely Pismo Beach was less than an hour from Solvang and would give us the added benefit of staying near the ocean. Decision made. We booked a room at Cottage Inn By The Sea and planned to take a day-trip to Solvang while down there. It seemed like a lot of driving at first but ended up being the perfect situation for us. We had gorgeous views of the ocean (and beach access from the hotel) where we could sit and drink coffee early in the morning or relax poolside in the evening. There was also a classic car show happening in Pismo Beach over the weekend so the classic California seaside landscape was dotted with random pockets of vintage cars that made the whole thing feel like we'd traveled back in time for a bit.
On Saturday, we left our Pismo Beach slice of heaven and headed over to Solvang. We'd been warned that it was a bit kitchy and touristy but we were really curious about it anyway. The Husband grew up in Northern California and had never even heard of the place so we just had to check it out! And while it was definitely touristy (the town has a population of about 5,000 but gets over a million tourists a year!), it was also pretty cute and cool. Though we only spent a day there, we felt like it'd be a great place for a full weekend getaway, especially if you're not pregnant and can indulge in beer and wine tastings. We started off with a visit to Mission Santa Ines, then headed downtown for a little walking tour of this random Danish town in the middle of California. We stopped at a local brewery at The Husband's request and a local chocolate shop at my request. We tried a Danish bakery (with gluten free options!) visited a statue of The Little Mermaid, and took in the random windmills and Danish architecture that give the town its unique beauty. Funny enough, the only "souvenirs" we brought back were chocolates for us and treats for the guinea pigs from the local pet store. Once we got back to our hotel, we sat by the pool and read for a bit then scrapped the plans for a fancy dinner in favor of gluten-free pizza delivery right to our hotel room. For us, "splurging," sometimes means lounging in our king-sized hotel bed watching crappy TV and having food brought straight to our room.
On our way back to SF Sunday, we made a quick stop in San Luis Obispo to check out yet another mission, drink more beer (at least, for The Husband) and walk around the downtown area just to get a feel for the town. All in all, it was the perfect weekend getaway. We had a full 48 hours without work or computers. I didn't even take my main camera with me - just my 35mm film camera (photos coming soon) and my iPhone. It really was just the two of us, spending quality time with each other exploring new places and indulging our own little vices (mostly beer and food) to our hearts' content. ♥