October 24, 2016

Northern California Road Trip

You guyssss! The trip Will and I took to California in September was amazing! We spent a full week road tripping through Northern California, enjoyed the gorgeous weather, made more memories then I can remember and reminisced on our first year of marriage. It was everything we needed in a vacation; think relaxation with a few spontaneous adventures thrown in. Over the last few weeks, we've had fun going through all of our photos and videos which I'll share throughout the week!

Planning a trip to California was a lot of fun, but it did get to be a bit stressful at times mainly because there were so many places I wanted to go, but given we only had one week, we had to be realistic with the number of places we tried to fit into visiting each day. One thing that was a no-brainier for us though was making sure we got together with two of our best friends who live in the San Jose area so we decided to use the first two days of our trip doing just that. What better way to start an adventure then with friends right?
It was a Saturday when we flew out to California, landing in San Francisco and making the short drive to Palo Alto where we met our friends Alyssa and Watt for lunch at the most adorable place called Tootsie's. I highly recommend the ricotta pancakes if you ever go. After catching up and enjoying a delicious lunch, we were back on the road heading towards the San Jose area where our friends live. We spent the rest of the weekend walking around Santana Row, explored their neighborhood, and spent as much time outside as we could. One thing I LOVE about California is the lack of humidity in the air...a win-win for my hair!

Monday morning we woke bright and early and made our way towards Monterey. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf, had lunch at The Wharf Marketplace, checked out Cannery Row, bought a piece of local artwork, and drove by Del Monte Beach. We had less then 24 hours in the area or we would have gone to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which was recommended by a number of people.
After a few hours in Monterey, our next destination was a quick stop through Pacific Grove in Monterey County then to my favorite part of the area..CARMEL! Words can't describe how beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea is. You've got the perfectly manicured houses, the picturesque beaches, the adorable shops, and the whole city is walkable. A few fun facts to throw out...there are no street addresses, no chain restaurants and every residential home has a name.
Because our trip to California was to celebrate our first year of marriage, we thought it would be fun, and memorable to get anniversary photos done. We knew we wanted a beach setting and after some research on best places to take photos along with finding a photographer, Carmel was by far the most breathtaking. Deciding on a photographer was really easy because I had a certain vision for what I was looking for and Ryan Chard Smith was just the person for the job. Not only is he amazing at what he does, he is hilarious, laid-back and one of the kindest individuals we met on our trip. Because we were new to the area, I decided that Ryan would be better at settling on where we took our photos and thank goodness because he took us to an area that was nestled within a neighborhood that didn't see nearly as much foot traffic that the rest of Carmel Beach did which was ideal for our shoot! Y'all, it really was perfect...
If you ever want to go to the area of Carmel Beach that we got our photos taken, follow HWY 1 south just past Carmel. You'll come to a traffic light at Rio Road and about .9 miles from there you'll turn right onto Ribera Road. Follow Ribera until you get to the very end. Park along the side of the road and you'll see a stairway that leads down to the beach. You won't regret it if you ever go!

Other places I recommend checking out while in Carmel are Dametra Cafe for dinner, Tuck Box and La Bicyclette for breakfast and if you want to do some shopping, The Barnyard and The Courtyards are popular.
Even though we didn't get to spend much time in Pacific Grove, we did go to Red House Cafe on Tuesday morning before making the drive to Napa. And the areas that we drove around in PG looked so adorable. If and when we head back to Northern California, we will make sure to devote a few days to Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove!

Do you have any other recommendations in the area? If you've ever been, what were your favorite things that you did or saw? I would love to add them to our list! Come back tomorrow to read (and see photos) from our time in wine country and Muir Woods!


  1. How exciting Love it :) Chelsea @ http://thewilliamsjourney1.blogspot.com

  2. This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

  3. Getting photos done on your trip was such a good idea! I wish we had thought of that for our first anniversary! Those will be pictures you'll treasure forever and a trip you won't forget!


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