It was only two years ago, that my sister, Sage, and I decided to knock something off our bucket list and take a road trip up the West Coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco! With our busy lifestyles, we needed to reconnect, escape, and let go! It will forever be one of my favorite trips!
Day 1: After touching down in Los Angeles, we headed to Venice Beach. We ate fish tacos, took pics with muscle men, and enjoyed our first ride on an electric scooter to Santa Monica Pacific Park. This was one of the highlights of our trip zooming down the boardwalk with the sea by our side. Pacific Park brought out our childhood enthusiasm as my sister persuaded me to ride the roller coaster twice and I started to realize that this would be the ultimate, let your hair down journey.
From Santa Monica we drove to beautiful Santa Barbara, stopping along the way to take pictures of the sand dunes and rock formations our new surroundings beckoned us to discover. We arrived at the Inn at Summerland Hill, which was our most favorite accommodation of the entire trip. This charming, family run inn was so welcoming and it didn’t hurt that we were just in time for their wonderful Happy Hour of charcuterie and wine which we enjoyed on our little porch enveloped with succulents. Next up was a delicious seafood dinner at Enterprise Fish Co. We devoured cioppino, seafood kabobs, and the first of MANY cups of clam chowder to come.
Day 2: After a good night’s sleep, a gorgeous homemade breakfast of delicate mushroom omelets and locally sourced fruit, we hit the road for our next destination. We were sad to leave this little piece of heaven, but were invigorated to see what was next. It was at Stearns Wharf where we bought each other inspirational bracelets of things we wanted each other to hold onto. For my sister a bracelet with the words… “Enjoy Today” and for me she chose “Trust Yourself.” We wore these proudly as we explored the beautiful town of Santa Barbara. We toured the old Court House, ate the most delicious ceviche at Carlitos Cafe, and before taking off we stumbled upon a vintage car show where we hopped into some classic beauties for a couple of pictures.
From Santa Barbara we drove up the coast to the cute little surf town, Pismo Beach, where we enjoyed Splash Cafe's 17 year award winning clam chowder. The Inn at Avila Beach was charming, we flung open the windows, let the cool, salty air whisk through the room and settled in for the night. But wait, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so we ventured down the block to grab a drink. We soon made friends with some locals and other travelers and spent the night laughing and sharing. We might have drank dinner that night and might have ended up in a Jacuzzi tub in our swimsuits drinking wine.
Day 3: We woke up in excitement today to follow the road north. Keep in mind this whole trip we hugged the coastline, so the journey was just as exhilarating as our destinations. Sisters together…without children, husbands, brothers, or bosses, we literally fell right back into our younger years and back into that innocence. We sang our favorite childhood song to the top of our lungs while on our way to Morro Bay. When we arrived we found the perfect little spot to have lunch with the rock and sail boats as our setting. We feasted on fried clams in honor of our late father and BBQ oysters.
Driving to San Simeon we took a pit stop to view Cambria's Moonstone Beach, but we couldn’t stay long as our sights were set on Hearst Castle. Touring this amazing castle of history, opulence, and ingenuity, we left feeling inspired to seize the day. Along our route to Monterey, we hopped out to view the hundreds of Elephant Seals sunbathing at Vista Point before landing at Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa where we cleaned up and headed to Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf. Have you ever heard of clam chowder samples? Neither did I until we walked up and down the wharf and were presented clam chowder tastings at each restaurant we passed. Although quite full from the several samples, we made room for our Dungeness crab and shrimp at Old Fishermen’s Grotto. Presented with a rose as we sat to dine, we overlooked the water and toasted the half way mark of our adventure. Feeling blessed, grateful, and excited, we headed to bed.
Day 4: A brand new day and one I quite frankly was a little nervous about, so we prepared by starting the morning off right with the best massage ever at Casa Munras. Feeling relaxed and a little anxious we headed to Carmel and Big Sur. My sister asked if I wanted her to drive over the famous Bixby Bridge that reigns 260 feet over the steep canyon. Nope… I had to do it and although it seems small to some the accomplishment I felt after white knuckling this passage filled me with pride. With my sister coaching me through, it only deepened my love for her. The views were literally breathtaking and one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. With adrenaline and awe still in our hearts we headed to Santa Cruz breaking only to mosey through an abundant produce stand, thinking gosh I wish we had a kitchen to steam these artichokes that were 10 for 1 dollar.
Arriving at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk we played like children again, munching on corn dogs and watching the kids frolic. We ended the night in San Francisco where we ate the most delicious seafood meal at Scoma's. Pan seared fish, Caesar salad, and of course more clam chowder. With our tummies full, we rested our heads.
Day 5: We awoke at Pier 2620 Hotel and spent the last day of our sister trip in San Francisco. At this point we were a little tired from our amazing trip so far, but knew we needed to rally to explore this lovely city. We hiked the steep roads, rode cable cars, visited China Town, Lombard Street, and Pier 39. We ended the night and trip with an amazing dinner at House of Prime Rib. This was by far the most delicious meal we had the entire journey. We sipped on dirty martinis as we relished our time spent together, what we had experienced, our ever growing bond, and how lucky we were to have had this opportunity.
This was a journey that was so needed to get back to who we really were, under all the statuses and responsibilities that life assigns you. We had begun this journey trying to “get lost” and cliché as it might sound, in this time we found ourselves again, our spirit, our bond. We saw many sights and ate many delicious meals, but above all we managed to find that place where years were erased, we felt our bond so deeply, and no matter what...with each other we could do...AND be anything!