Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 8–Seattle, WA

IMG_1201Our welcome to Seattle was slightly less than welcoming.  After a miserable, longer than anticipated bus ride from Vancouver, we arrived right during the evening rush hour.  Hoping to snag an Uber to bring us to our hotel, the Roosevelt Hotel (now the Hotel Theodore), we found out it would be over an hour wait, leading us to find a Plan B.  Luckily a kind, bearded fellow near the crosswalk was helpful and directed us toward a city bus stop.  However, not anticipating this situation, we boarded without correct change causing the exasperated driver to tell us to “just sit down”.  This curious local bus uses the underground subway tunnels to reach its destinations to avoid street level traffic—genius!  Our annoyed driver alerted us of our stop and after thanking him profusely, we made our way to the hotel.

We were so wiped out after both of the day’s bus incidents and travel chaos and were really looking forward to settling into our 4 star hotel and maybe even enjoying a much needed cocktail in the lobby, but it was not meant to be.  We located the hotel and were greeted by a plywood welcome sign.  To our surprise the place was under renovation.  After squeezing into the reception area, all lobby cocktail dreams were shattered as it was closed off and construction dust was everywhere.

We rode the elevator up to our room– fragile, worn out versions of our morning selves.  When we walked into our room, I wanted to cry.  Russell was simply irate.  We entered what I’d consider the smallest hotel room of my life (and I’ve been in Manhattan!).  To make matters worse, its window was facing a block wall IMG_1190and an AC unit from a neighboring building, that it turns out, would run all night long.  It was claustrophobia at its worst.  One person could barely fit in the bathroom.

After collecting myself, I called the front desk and shared our disappointment, but were notified that the hotel was completely full that night.  The lovely desk clerk promised that tomorrow as soon as possible they would move us to a larger room.  God bless.

Without unpacking a thing, we “escaped” from our cage in search of a well deserved happy hour, which we found at the fantastic Korean restaurant, Chan http://www.chanseattle.com/ .  This place is incredible.  We were blown away by our appetizer assortment of ahi tuna poke, beef and pork sliders, and chicken wings.  IMG_1191IMG_1194IMG_1196After this wonderful battery-recharger, we strolled over to the park behind Pike Place Market and looked out onto Elliot Bay and a crystal clear view of Mount Rainer.  This view would continue throughout our stay in Seattle, along with cloud-free skies, so things were improving already!

On the way home we passed this guy who actually took time to make this sign and share it with people.  IMG_1284Wow.  Thank you.

We settled back into our micro-room for the night feeling much better about Seattle than when we first arrived.

The following day the city would continue all efforts to make us love her, starting with brunch of Dungeness crab eggs Benedict IMG_1208and omelet at the very busy, very delicious Café Bacco https://www.baccocafe.com/ .  Continuing to enjoy the magic of the city, we then strolled through Pike Place Market and drank in all of the great colors, smells, and sounds that can be found there.  IMG_1213IMG_1212IMG_1218The next stop was the Aquarium where we made the best purchase ever—the City Pass https://www.citypass.com/seattle .  The highlight of the Aquarium was watching the sea otters just hanging out and chilling.  Adorable!  With City Pass in hand and it being our last full day in Seattle, we tried to take in as many sights as possible.  We arrived at the Argosy Harbor Cruise in time for its next departure and got on an excellent cruise of the bay with a ton of interesting narrated information, stellar views of the city and Mount Rainer, and some nice wine to pair with it all. A big ship came in and unloaded while we were in the bay, so that was a real highlight for Russell as well.

Next on my list was going up in the Space Needle, which acrophobic Russell passed on, so I caught the monorail myself over to the Seattle Center.  I think he was just looking for an excuse to return to our newly upgraded Superior King room on the 16th floor.  The views from the room were nice—no block walls in sight.  But the views I was rewarded with from the top of the Space Needle were incredible!  IMG_1261IMG_1267After that I used my City Pass again and checked out the super cool Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Pop Culture IMG_1252IMG_1254IMG_1253before meeting Russell at the Pacific Science Center for the IMAX film on the Terracotta Soldiers.  Thanks, City Pass, for a fun and educational day!

Once the monorail returned us to downtown, the draw of happy hour was calling to us so we bee lined over to Pike Place Market and Athenian http://www.athenianseattle.com/ , of Sleepless in Seattle fame.  It was SO busy, but after some patience we scored a great table at the window overlooking Elliot Bay.  Sipping excellent porter beer and working our way through plates of appetizers, including our last chance at fresh Wild Coho salmon, IMG_1280we bid farewell to the magical Emerald City—a perfect end to our two week Pacific Coast Road Trip!

 

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Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 7–Vancouver, BC

Our late arrival to Vancouver via ferry was very memorable and full of nature so it was a huge contrast to our downtown hotel, the Vancouver Hyatt Regency, in the center of the concrete jungle that is the financial district.  In retrospect a better neighborhood for city visitors would have been Gastown, which is full of cafés, bars, and shops.  We spent a lot of time there, but it was not that far of a walk, so all was fine and our views from the 30th floor were pretty special too.

The first morning we walked to Deacon’s Corner https://www.deaconscorner.ca/ in Gastown.  This diner specializes in food from the American South so Russell started his day with a chicken fried steak and I indulged in fried chicken eggs Benedict on fried grits cakes.  Helloooo, Lipitor!  We eventually rolled out of our booth and made it out to the street where we walked along a gritty waterfront area back to downtown and Canada Place.  This over-water landmark is beautiful and is home to Fly Over Canada, the best interactive movie/ride I’ve ever experienced.  Afterward we “walked across Canada” on the way out over their national map on the sidewalk and Russell posed in front of the World’s Largest Ear Syringe… or whatever this sculpture is. 

That afternoon while Russell napped off his breakfast, I strolled through Water Street and its cute shops, including this one with a cheeky window in Gastown.  Satisfied that I’d at least burned off one grits cake, I picked up Russell at the hotel and we jumped on the light rail to the False Creek Ferry dock and headed over to Granville Island.  The ride over is beautiful, as we were once again blessed with a sunny day.  Russell liked the ferry, but was really hoping to take this girl out for a ride instead.  Maybe next time.

Visitors to Granville Island are greeted by these friendly granary towers. The only real activities to do there are shopping which we were not really feeling, so we tucked into The Keg, lured by its Happy Hour sign out front.  A late lunch of mega nachos paired with Bloody Caesars was a great call.  Once the ferry and train returned us to downtown after that, we found ourselves once again in Gastown at Water Street 151 for a drink and people watching on the sidewalk terrace, taking care to avoid eye contact with “interesting” passersby.  Characters galore!

More walking came next—Vancouver is a walker’s dream—down to the waterfront of Coal Harbour where we saw another grouping of adorable floating homes, similar to Victoria.  After that, we called it a night and made our way back to the hotel.

The next day we were heading to Seattle, but we made time to stop at Scoozi’s  http://www.scoozis.ca/ for Breakfast Deep Dishes, described on the menu as a casserole omelet hybrid.  Very delicious and a lovely spot, minus the naughtiest two children on the planet at a nearby table.

In closing the chapter on Vancouver, I must explain the transportation issue that followed.  The original plan was to take the Amtrak train from Vancouver to Seattle.  Every single part of the transportation puzzle so far—driving, airplanes, ferries—was stellar.  Till now.  After we set up our itinerary and had all flights booked, we found out that the train linking these two towns had a schedule that was not convenient to our plans.  However, on the website there was an Amtrak bus that linked the cities with a very convenient departure and arrival time.  It looked good on paper.

What ensued was an awful five hour ride with a long delay at the border crossing and THE most disgusting onboard bathroom in the history of transportation, according to Russell.  My travel “do over” would have been to fly from Portland to Vancouver, instead of Victoria, and take ferries from Vancouver to Victoria and then Victoria to Seattle.

The only highlight of the situation was the fact that at the Amtrak station we decided to burn up our remaining Canadian cash at the A&W Restaurant on, what else, an order of poutine and two frosted mugs of root beer.  Minus this “meal for the ages”, it just wasn’t our day all around because the cluster continued when we arrived in Seattle.  Stay tuned for details of this, our final stop on the Pacific Coast Roadtrip!

Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 6–Victoria, BC

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Everyone always talks about Vancouver, but the real jewel of British Columbia is Victoria.  After our delayed flights from Portland finally got us there, we endured an expensive, lengthy taxi ride with a chatty Indian gentleman who eventually dropped us a couple blocks from our destination, the Magnolia Hotel www.magnoliahotel.com (after showing us photos of almost every one of his family members).  The reason for our non-doorstop delivery was our arrival coinciding with the annual Car Free Victoria Day.  Once checked in, we immediately left and immersed ourselves in the festival.  Tent after tent of music, entertainment, and Canadian beer img_0990intermingled with tons of food carts now filling the car-empty downtown streets of Victoria.  My favorite food cart quickly became a poutine cart where I began my new addiction to this magical Canuck mixture of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  img_0994img_0992Over the next three days I would become not only an addict, but an aficionado.

Following an afternoon of great music, local microbrews, and some blackened fish tacos from another cart, we wandered down by the picturesque Inner Harbour.  A trip to Victoria isn’t complete without a lot of gazing at the beautiful, waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel, famous for it’s daily high tea.  img_1014Although we didn’t feel the need to shell out for this event, we did go into the hotel and do one of my favorite things:  wandering around fancy hotels and acting like I’m staying there.  Once I had sufficiently annoyed Russell with our “free tour”, we left and walked along the harbor all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf where we got an up close look at the floating houses.  img_1030img_1021Dreading the walk back to the hotel, we jumped on a water taxi and cut across the harbor back downtown.  img_1032As evening closed in, thirst and hunger reappeared so we found ourselves at an Irish pub (it is BRITISH Columbia, after all), enjoying some “trad” music, Guinness, and crab bisque. img_1037

The next day we walked to Beacon Hill Park and then took a tour of Parliament, img_1019swinging through the gift shop on the way out and purchasing a tin of cleverly named Parlia Mints.  Although they provided pun-filled, minty freshness, the real culinary highlight of the day would come next when we visited a shipping container turned eatery on a pier in the Inner Harbour call Red Fish Blue Fish www.redfish-bluefish.com .  There we had an enormous lunch of tuna and salmon tacos and a side of jerk seafood poutine, helping feed my new craving.  img_1058We ate at the harbor view railing and watched sea planes land and water taxis and ferries crisscross the water. img_1054img_1018

It was hard to pull ourselves away, but we still wanted to see Victoria’s Chinatown, img_1075Canada’s oldest, including the ultra narrow Fan Tan Alley img_1069and so we were off again.  The walkable area of downtown Victoria really does allow visitors to be “Car Free”, just like the festival that greeted us the previous day.  It was with great regret that we had only allowed for one night in this amazing place, our favorite, but the clock was ticking and our ferry to Vancouver was leaving soon.  And so we grabbed some sushi to go for the ride through the waters of the Strait of Georgia bound for the mainland.

The ride is not only a practical connection between the two cities, but a gorgeous, mountain-filled one at that!  img_1085We rode the whole way over on the brisk upper deck, enjoying the views and the sushi.  The only complaint?  No bar!  A nice glass of wine would have really been the icing (or the Riesling?) on the cake, so my parting words of advice to future passengers:  BYOB or W and anchors up!  On to Vancouver…

Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 5–Portland, OR

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After a lovely night at The Cannery Pier Hotel, we got to do some ship-watching from the lobby over breakfast and then said goodbye to Astoria.  It was a Friday and we really wanted to explore the town that morning since we were rained in the day before, but the weather had other ideas.  So instead of getting to know the riverside gem, we continued inland toward Portland.  On the way out of town we passed the restaurant with the worst name of all time:  Lung Fung.  Ew.img_0853

Before coming into Portland where we would surrender our beloved rental car, we veered out of town to explore the Columbia River Gorge area and Multnomah Falls.  The bad weather would persist, however, and the rain and fog discouraged a lot of stops.  One breathtaking spot that still looked great despite the gloom was Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint.  I thought it probably even looked better WITH the fog! img_0863

We traveled along the historic river road and although the rain carried on, we knew we just had to join the masses at Multnomah Falls.  img_0869The high bridge was simply too tempting for me to resist so I headed up while Russell enjoyed his ground-level vista “just fine, thank you”.  It would have been nice to explore the other trails, but the rain would not have it, so on to Portland!

Once we returned the rental car, we reacquainted ourselves with public transportation and headed to the Benson Hotel www.bensonhotel.com  downtown.  This historic property had a magnificent lobby with wine tastings in the evening.  Our corner room was gorgeous and we enjoyed two nights on the lovely Tempur-Pedic bed.  Another perk was the bottle of champagne the desk clerk sent up after hearing our trip was for our 20th anniversary.img_0933

To better familiarize ourselves with our new city, we hoofed it over to the Pearl District, after swinging through Powell’s City of Books.  We lucked out to walk into Andina www.andinarestaurant.com , a high-end Peruvian hotspot, during their happy hour where we enjoyed some Pisco Sours and appetizers like cebiche, causa limeña, and empanadasimg_0882img_0885img_0886After that it was on to more substantial food at the nearby Mexican eatery, Cha Cha Cha www.chachachapdx.com .  The hibiscus margarita paired nicely with pork and tomatillo tamales and chicken quinoa salad. img_0888

img_0887To burn off all of those south of the border calories, we continued our stroll to Pioneer Square, which was sadly under construction.  And so we ended up passing through a nearby square that strangely had a DJ set up on it—in the evening daylight hours—and featured an entertaining assortment of random white people dancing badly.  Of course I joined in because I totally relate to that crowd!  After that, we were ready to call it a day.

The next morning the city was abuzz with not only the big Portland Saturday Market, but it was also the weekend of the Gay Pride Festival.  We checked out both events on our way to a brunch of wild salmon hash at Mother’s Bistro www.mothersbistro.com .  The people-watching at the Pride festival was outstanding with many clever t-shirts including “Straight Outta The Closet” and “This is the Gay the Lord Has Made”.

When we had our fill of people, we hopped on the train for nature time at the Japanese Gardens img_0964and then the stunning International Rose Test Garden.  img_0979img_0984The latter was overwhelming and beautiful and overlooked the city and Mount Hood.  It was so nice to see the sun again in Portland after our two days of rain!img_0975

The train brought us back downtown after our flower-fest and we made a stop at one of Portland’s food cart blocks.  Our selection of a Pad Thai cart was a good one, and we dined on a park bench while doing more people-watching of the colorful locals.  They were definitely doing their part to Keep Portland Weird.

Later that evening we met up with our nephew, a hipster transplant to Portland, for cocktails at a speakeasy-type bar, Pépé le Moko www.pepelemokopdx.com , beneath the Ace Hotel.  It really had great character, but the pricey craft cocktails did not allow for too much imbibing.  We called it an early night as we’d be flying to Victoria, BC the next morning.

Portland is as cool of a city as everyone says and has plenty of opportunities for checking out all things “Weird” and wonderful.  Next stop, north of the border!

 

 

Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 4–The Oregon Coast

(Readers—sorry for the long lapse since the last blog post—extremely slow internet connection led to much photo loading frustration and over a year of pouting, but now I’m back!  So let’s continue the West Coast Road Trip!)

After a mid-morning departure from the heavenly Lost Whale Inn in Trinidad, CA, we continued north to the Oregon Coast.  Many folks might not know, but Oregon has some really great bridge architecture.  IMG_0778IMG_0782We were constantly in awe of the bridges here.  And speaking of “bridges”, not long after crossing into Oregon, we turned left near Brookings, OR at Natural Bridge.  This is an amazing place that has a very small sign so it is easy to miss.  IMG_0759Do not miss it though!  Definitely one of the most breathtaking spots of the trip.  The blue/greens of the water are just amazing.

The views along the Oregon Coast are magical.  It is a very pristine coastline with many large rock formations along the way and miles of flat, walkable beaches. IMG_0793

Our next stop was in Bandon for lunch at the (locally) famous Tony’s Crab Shack.  IMG_0770A fresh pair of crab sandwiches gave us the energy we would need for our next adventure, the Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area.  Oregon has miles of sand dunes and wandering around on them is a good time, minus the inevitable sand in your shoes.

An even more beautiful opportunity to stretch the legs was the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  This photo-worthy spot is also home to a B&B and once we got there I regretted not booking a night there. The views were outstanding and I was easily picturing us on the lawn furniture in front of the restored lighthouse keeper’s residence.

My plan, made months in advance was to get as far up the coast as we could in the daylight, which brought us to Yachats, one of my few regrets of the trip.  This town was not that magical, so I advise spending the night elsewhere further south and make up the distance the next day.  In Yachats we stayed at Deane’s Oceanfront Lodge, which is like stepping back to the 50’s and after all of the over the top lodging we had been staying in, I watched Russell become a “hotel snob” when he walked into the room, declaring it The Bates Motel.  It wasn’t THAT bad… But nothing as grand as where we would be staying the next night in Astoria.

The following morning I was hoping to take a long walk on the beach in front of our hotel, but we were greeted by the first rain of our trip.  Hard to believe for the Pacific Northwest!  The rain was relentless and never let up the whole day, which made our travels much quicker since the weather was so bad there was no way we were stopping at places like Cannon Beach and walking around.  It was a downpour!

We did manage to stop at one famous site though, albeit an indoor attraction:  the wonderland that is the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  Coming from Wisconsin we feel like we know our cheese and we can attest that Tillamook does as well!  After about a pound of samples we continued to graze on a Piglet sandwich served with a bowl of tomato soup with cheese curds melted into it.  Rainy day heaven!  And speaking of heaven, we arrived earlier than expected to our destination of Astoria due to the weather and were wondering what we would do INDOORS to kill time before check in.  We were staying at the fabulous Cannery Pier Hotel, http://www.cannerypierhotel.com and to our surprise, they allowed us to check in several hours early!  This place is a restored salmon cannery right on top of the Columbia River.  All rooms face the river and have a balcony and a window seat, accompanied by binoculars and a Pendleton blanket for optimal ship viewing.

After driving in the rain and not sleeping the best the previous night, Russell crashed on the bed of the enormous room while I unwound in the claw foot tub of the well appointed bathroom.  My next stop was the spa downstairs where I continued to pamper myself with a sauna and also set up a much needed neck and shoulder massage for Russell.

Once we were completely recuperated and in relaxed mode, we joined the other hotel guests in the window-filled lobby for their complimentary wine and lox reception.  I wasn’t sure the hotel could get any better until the front desk clerk helped me with a reservation at the nearby Bridgewater Bistro and then arranged for the complimentary chauffeur to bring us there in a sweet vintage car!  It was so over the top!  Not that I’m complaining!  My now hotel-snob-husband was absolutely thrilled as well.

And after an excellent meal at Bridgewater Bistro http://www.bridgewaterbistro.com of cioppino (remember–I never met a cioppino I didn’t like!) and wild mushroom pasta, we settled in for one of the best night’s sleeps of the trip.  I would be hard to leave Astoria the next day, but to be clear, the hard part would be leaving the Cannery Pier Hotel because it was pretty much the only part of Astoria we had seen because of all the rain.

But it sure was the best place we’ve ever been stranded!

Road Trippin’ With Señora Part 3– Mendocino to Redwoods National Park

Winding up Highway 1 out of Little River/Mendocino and then hitting Highway 101 in Leggett, we made our way through more beautiful landscapes, but nothing prepares a person for their first time entering Avenue of the Giants.  IMG_0648This drive up 101 is one of the most awe-inspiring stretches on the planet.  Stop often, take photos, IMG_0647and just simply walk and stare upward, taking it all in.  IMG_0636Once we had reached stimulus overload, we continued on past Trinidad to the Lost Whale Inn https://lostwhaleinn.com/ near Patrick’s Point State Park.  The Lost Whale takes hospitality to a new level.  We were welcomed with a spread of food in the dining room that was substantial enough to be our dinner: cheeses, crudités, clam chowder, cookies, fruit, and shrimp.  This type of evening appetizer buffet is put out every night from 4-6 pm.  Did I mention the wine?  IMG_0658That also flows freely starting at 4:00 and is kept out the rest of the night.  Beer, soda, juices, and water are also complimentary to guests.

The rooms of the inn are top notch with all of the comforts you’d expect at a place of this caliber.  Our room, the Agate Room, IMG_0657was on the main floor off of a small living room that is closed off in the evening and becomes a nice extension of the guest room.  Wandering the gorgeous grounds of the property was a highlight of the stay here.  There are so many cozy spots to stare out at the Pacific—the deck, the patio, the hot tub, the sauna, and the fire pit, where a basket with s’mores supplies is put out every night.  IMG_0665The sunset watching here, accompanied by the never-ending sound of sea lions barking, makes for an unforgettable farewell to the day. We were lucky enough to stay two nights at this magical place.

After a great night’s sleep, we rose early to walk the beach at Patrick’s Point.  IMG_0681Unfortunately the entire inn got an early wake-up call as well when we accidentally hit the panic button on our rental car.  Sorry, neighbors!  In the park, a walk along Agate Beach is a must-do.  Absolutely stunning!  I am not great at agate spotting, but I picked what I believe were some– free souvenirs of a special setting.

Back at the inn breakfast was about to be served, starting with the ringing of a bell and a description of items and ingredients by chef/owner Brian.  Guests with dietary restrictions were also well accommodated with additional gluten and dairy-free options.  That morning’s menu consisted of a Caprese frittata, crepes with strawberry rhubarb filling, apple strudel, a peach almond cobbler, sausage and bacon, and fresh fruit.  The breakfasts here were a total extravaganza!  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  In fact, I was so overwhelmed both mornings that I failed to take any food photos.  Did I mention the ongoing stimulus overload?

So what does one do after a breakfast of that magnitude?  Hike, of course!  And so we headed off to Redwoods National Park.  There are so many great trails to choose from so your schedule will dictate where you should go.  We started at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a very popular spot.  From the main trail, we branched off on my favorite trail of the trip—Berry Glen Trail—where we saw not one other person!  This breathtaking stretch of woods had quite a drop in elevation so we had to be wise about how far down we went, knowing we’d have to go uphill to get back out.  IMG_0701Later that afternoon we also hiked the underwhelming Redwoods Creek Trail, a nice enough spot to have our picnic of gourmet deli sandwiches from Murphy’s in Trinidad.

After that we braved the extremely rough road back into Fern Canyon.  It takes an effort to get there, but is well worth it.  Fern Canyon was a setting for Jurassic Park and the otherworldly feeling of the place shows why. IMG_0707 Sheer canyon walls covered with ferns and trickling water and a rocky creek cutting through the center create a magical place, especially for children with all the trees and rocks for them to climb on.  Bring extra socks.

Once stimulus overload once again reared its head, we were dreading the drive back on the awful road, but were rewarded with another great evening appetizer spread back at the Lost Whale.  While the inn is high on a cliff, they do have a VERY rustic and steep path IMG_0722down to a rocky beach and I ventured down there with my wine.  Maybe not my best decision after a day of hiking, but I did it!  When I returned a family we met was talking about getting some burgers to go from The Lighthouse Grill and asked if we wanted some as well.  As we had already eaten 10,000 calories that day, the answer was of course…yes.  In addition to the burgers we ordered, they brought us an added surprise treat: the restaurant’s signature item of a waffle cone filled with mashed potatoes, bacon, beef and gravy, topped with cheese.  Do the calorie math on that one!  I should have gone right to bed and let my body begin to prepare for the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, but instead we joined some other guests for wine and excellent fireside conversation until 10:00.  What an amazing, full (pun intended) day!

The following morning, our last at the inn before heading up the coast to Oregon, began with another walk down the steep path to the rocky beach below.  IMG_0721Returning to the inn just in time for breakfast, you can imagine how much we were starving!  Thankfully they had prepared a light breakfast of puffy pancakes, apple-filled pastries, a triple berry pie, Southwest frittata, sausage and bacon, fried potatoes, and fresh fruit.  I decided to be responsible and just have the fresh fruit.  Just kidding.  Fruit was actually the only thing I didn’t have (unless it was inside of a baked good).

After that we rolled out of the Lost Whale Inn, or should I say Beached Whalin’?

Next stop—the Oregon Coast!

 

 

 

Road Trippin’ with Señora Part 2– San Francisco to Mendocino

IMG_0624Within minutes of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, heading north on Highway 1, you feel the stress of the city dissolve.  This highway makes you …slow….down.  Mentally and literally.  Part of our slowdown was due to the annual Dip Sea race through Muir Woods area, ending at Stinson Beach.  This detoured and delayed us for a couple hours and to be honest, I don’t exactly know where the detour took us, but the forests and curves IMG_0560were breathtaking and a great introduction to Northern California.

Once we finally cleared the race area we made our lunch stop at The Marshall Store on Tomales Bay.  At this tiny roadside shack IMG_0567that was packed midday, we ordered a dozen Oysters Rockefeller and a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  IMG_0569Unfortunately the wind coming across the bay was fierce and any purchased wine had to be consumed outside on the picnic tables.  IMG_0568And so I donned my down jacket and hat and enjoyed the fabulous lunch and wine, wishing for the ceasing of the gusts.

Following lunch we continued northward through rural areas for several hours before arriving in Little River, just south of Mendocino, at The Glendeven Inn.  The sign boasts “A Luxury Farmstead”—someone has an English degree!  IMG_0610It was a spot on description though.  From the moment we pulled into our personally marked parking space to the time we entered our room, East Farmington, perfection continued until we pulled back onto Highway 1 the next morning.  Special touches, besides the beautifully appointed room overlooking the Pacific, IMG_0580the gardens, and the llama pasture, IMG_0591included a personalized note with homemade welcome brownies, IMG_0616the wood burning fireplace—prepped and ready to light, the wine and gourmet appetizer reception at the Wine Bar(n), and the piece de resistance, the over the top breakfast IMG_0620IMG_0619delivered in a picnic basket to our door at 9:00 am.  We were able to squeeze in one more crackling fire while enjoying the best breakfast accompanied by a carafe of hot chocolate that must’ve had two candy bars melted into it, it was that rich!

We spent a lot of time during our stay wandering the grounds and having tea and cookies in the main house, a place that boasted former guests Bill and Hilary Clinton.  We also found the beach pathIMG_0608across the road that led down to a quiet beach IMG_0604where we strolled in the afternoon and early morning.  Sadly after our lovely breakfast we had to pack up and continue northward.  We could’ve spent weeks at The Glendeven.

Next stop—Trinidad and the Redwoods!