California

 

 

El Capitan

El Capitan

 

I am fortunate to share my birthday with one of my favorite places on earth, Yosemite National Park.  I was also fortunate enough to celebrate my birthday in a National Park in New Zealand while on the same day back in the United States all of the Continue Reading

House

One last look at our house as we drive away.

It’s official, we’re bums!  We are now unemployed, homeless, and happy about it, although I’m sure our parents are a little stressed, but they should be used to it by now.  Several weeks ago, we both put in our last day of work and began preparation for our Around the World Trip  . We put our most prized possessions in storage, sold Jason’s two trucks, had a yard sale to get rid of all the things we thought we needed, handed over the keys to our landlord and drove off with our backpacks to go store Simone’s  car.  As this is being typed, we are sitting in San Francisco International Airport waiting to board our flight to Vancouver where we will meet up with Jay’s parents, do a little sight seeing and board a cruise ship for Alaska!  Stay tuned for more to come from Alaska as we kick off our trip of a lifetime.

We would like thank everyone that had a part in making our moving experience a great one, even those we don’t know  that came to our yard sale and purchased the stuff they couldn’t live without.  We will miss Napa and all of our friends that we have made there.  We love you all and we will be back at some point for a glass of wine, a beer and a block of  cheese to enjoy as tales are told from around the globe.

Big Kids sandwich (yes, those are full-sized utensils next to the sandwich) B.L.A.T.-bacon,lettuce,avocado,tomato,with a fried egg on top.

Big Kids sandwich (yes, those are full-sized utensils next to the sandwich) B.L.A.T.-bacon,lettuce,avocado,tomato,with a fried egg on top.

There are just some restaurants that you can count on to consistently be good. The Thomas is one of those places.  Re-opening after nearly 38 years in seclusion and getting a complete makeover that any establishment would want, it has become one of “the places to go” in Napa.  We have eaten dinner there twice and brunch several times, always leaving with a happy belly and a smile on our face.  As you sit in the third floor dining area where the glass doors slide out of the way and open to an uncovered patio with heaters and more seating that looks out over the Napa River and onto the hills, it feels like you’re on vacation, whether you are or not.  The service has always been very good and the food tastes like they waited until you ordered, went out back to the garden, and then picked and prepared it.  If you live in Napa, you should do your stomach a favor  and take it on a date to The Thomas.  If you are visiting, you should set aside time on a saturday or sunday after eleven a.m. and treat yourself to brunch.  You’re on vacation, splurge a little, we won’t tell.  Living in Napa ia a love/hate relationship.  Our stomachs love it and our bank account hates it, but our stomachs always make more noise, so we don’t argue.

lake tahoe blogWith winter coming to an end, we decided to head up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend for one last look at the snow, some relaxing and enjoying of the crisp fresh air.  With a call into one of our preferred hotels, the 968 Park Hotel, reservations were confirmed and we were on the road.  968 Park was stripped of it’s former self and turned into a “green” hotel that gives you that relaxed feeling  you desire when away from home.  The twenty percent discount for return guests doesn’t hurt either.

The only playing in the snow this trip was going up to the base of the mountain to watch some of the moguls competition. In fact we just took a couple drives, did a little hiking around Eagle Falls on the west side of the lake by Emerald Bay, did some reading and searched for some good food and drinks near the hotel.  Search is exactly what we did too.  South Lake Tahoe is not the best place for two foodies to go unless those two people bring their own food and get a place with a kitchen.  We chose to just bring some snacks and a few beers in the ice chest, with the intention of venturing out to see what we could find, which ended up being a mistake.  Being from Napa, we thought we would try the local wine bar that had amazing reviews on yelp, serving both wine and small bites, to see what all the fuss was about.  Oh boy, do some people need help in experiencing good food!  I’m hoping that the reviews were for the wine and service which were both good, because the food was nothing short of what you could get in the frozen food section of your local grocery store and stick in the microwave.  The only bright spot in town for food  this trip was the always consistent Driftwood Cafe which was across the street from our hotel by the entrance to Heavenly and happened to be working with the hotel and providing a discount for guests which was appreciated.

We did however, find some good wine at the hotels free wine tasting on Friday night with guest vineyard  Too Good winery from El Dorado County  that poured consistently  good wines.    Good beer was flowing from the taps and amazing music from Helena and The Bear is what kept us in the lobby Saturday night.  With the exception of Lindsay Lohan’s annoying twin as the bartender, it was a great night full of laughter and acoustic covers of songs in a way we did not know was possible.   In the end, it was another successful weekend getaway to recharge the batteries in the beautiful Sierras that we are so fortunate to live close to.

Morro Rock-blogMorro bay, CA., A small beach community just north of San Luis Obispo was the destination for this past weekend. A quaint little town full of vacation rentals, surfers, divers, fisherman, otters, seals, kayakers, bird watchers and people just passing through on their way up or down the coast.  We went to visit two of our good friends that moved there recently after falling in love with the little oceanside town where throwing the ball on the beach for their dog or sitting out on the porch watching the ocean and enjoying coffee or wine is just the way they have been forced to live.  We enjoyed good food and wine from the best restaurant in town (their kitchen), and drove down the coast to Pismo Beach where we enjoyed some drinks at the moose lodge served up by a sweet older woman who looks like she has spent her fare share of time at the beach, with her permanently tanned skin and brilliant smile.  We pulled into Avila, CA on the way back to their house to have  a look at another little beach town that was  full of vacationers and college students enjoying the beach and the beautiful weather.  We were parched and hungry so we sampled some local craft beers and stuffed some nachos in our face at a beach side bar where we felt like we were watching Jersey Shore.  It was amusing to say the least.

As far as food goes, other than the nachos in Avila and breakfast before we left, we ate at the house , so the local spots did not get put to the test, but our friends told us there isn’t a lot to get excited about.   It was a little hard to find a descent cup of coffee in Morro Bay, but on the last day, a good cup was found at Top Dog coffee Bar on Main Street.  They also have a nice menu of fresh food such as pastries, bagels, and sandwiches to go along with your coffee or tea.  We had the breakfast burrito, which was quite good.  From what we could tell, this might be one of the better restaurants in town, even though its a coffee shop.  All in all, it was a great time catching up with friends and relaxing at the coast.  After all, any day at the beach is a good day.