San Francisco + Santa Cruz + Central Coast Vacation

April 15, 2016

When the chance to spend Valentine’s Day weekend in San Francisco came up, my heart nearly jumped right out of my chest, okay it was not that dramatic, but my eyes did light up. It’s one of my favorite cities, I just love the unpredictable weather, the fog, the food, the sights, the hills, just all of it. Plus, I was itching to get away from the everyday mundane and needed this trip to help reawaken my senses. Although, the real reason behind this trip was because the Mister’s homebrew club won the California Homebrewers Club of the year award. Oh, did I mention that he homebrews, as in makes beer at home, this is one of his many interests/hobbies that I actually get to reap the rewards of. Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco hosts this event every year, and this year his club took the honor, so of course he wasn’t going to miss out on this once in a lifetime moment. Bravo to him and his fellow club members for a job well done. So that’s the reason for this trip, but it just worked out serendipitously that Valentine’s Day fell on that same weekend.

It was a family trip, we had the littles in tow, because really, when have we ever traveled without them. When it comes to San Francisco weather, you never really know, we just always assume to dress in layers, but the weather that weekend was absolutely delightful, sky so blue, golden sunshine, and warm spring-like temperatures the entire trip.

We’ve traveled to the city many times before, and have done the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, the Ferry Building, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Wharf and Exploratorium to name a few, but this time we took it a bit easy. We took the historic cable car, which us ‘rents got to hang on the edge, wave at pedestrians, and let the wind kiss our cheeks, while the littles sat in the seats right in front of us. The best part of the ride was not the scenery or ride itself, not even close, it was watching their faces exude the excitement and intrigue of experiencing something for the first time, as a parent, when you get to witness that, it kind of just reminds you that this is what having children is all about. We rode the cable car up hills, down hills, past Lombard Street aka the crookedest street in the world. Got off at Ghiradelli Square and explored the area and the waterfront nearby. We did a lot of walking, a.lot.of.walking, we stopped to play at the park across from the Ferry building for a good hour, the littles have never met a playground they did not like. Walked some more along the waterfront, admiring giant sculptures that towered high into the sky and the Bay Bridge serving as a grandiose backdrop to all that beautiful art. Dinner that night was at 21st Amendment Brewery down the street from our hotel, where we enjoyed beers, burgers, fries and the company of each other. It was a great first day in the city.

The next day and our last day in the city, we walked over to Sightglass Coffee for pastries and lattes, then it was off to The Children’s Creativity Museum, where we worked together as a family making clay figurines to star in our very own claymation mini film. We let our creative juices flow and the kids loved this experience so much, they’ve reminded us many times they want to come back. We worked over an hour on creating and crafting our figurines and making the movie, to end up with a product that was about 20 seconds long. But seriously it was thee most hilarious thing to watch, and believe me we’ve watched that film over a hundred times, and have cracked up with laughter every.single.time. I mean, that’s what it’s all about, these crazy special memories that will stick with us until the end of time.

After the museum, it was more walking and public transportation as we needed to make our way over to Anchor Steam for the luncheon and award ceremony. On our way to Anchor Steam, we stopped for ice cream at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous because it isn’t a family vacation unless ice cream is involved. Thee best ice cream, I had the Earl Grey, which was so tasty, and the kids do this new thing, like when they get ice cream, which always has to be a different flavor from each other, they share their first tastes, it’s so sweet and melts my heart. They aren’t always well behaved, one moment they are BFFs and the next frenemies, but that little act of kindness, proves to me that they do really love each other regardless of the other times when they are fighting, not sharing or teasing each other.

We actually left the city on Valentine’s Day and headed South towards home. We still had a few more things planned before this mini vacay would officially come to an end. Our thinking was why not make this drive home into a road trip with stopovers at some new and old favorite spots. Santa Cruz was a new spot, that has now been added to our favorites list. We visited the natural bridges in the state park nearby. It was so beautiful and picturesque, just something about the ocean and wildlife that wins me over every time. We would have liked to spend more time there, but the littles were anxiously excited about checking out the Beach Boardwalk, turns out we easily spent most of our day there, along with everyone and their mothers (it was not only Valentine’s Day, but also a 3 day weekend). The boys went on a different ride while we headed for the historic wooden coaster line. The bubs was not tall enough, maybe he will be the next time we make it back here some day, and we do plan a trip back. So my roller coaster partner was my best gal, we were both petrified at the start, I screamed and laughed so loud during the entire ride, while she was stoned face, not making a single peep, but when it came to an end she asked if we could go on again. Not what I expected from my observation of her during the ride, but apparently she got a thrill out of it. More carnival rides and kettle corn, and one last ride on the SkyGlider over the boardwalk to soak it all in. So much fun!

We drove down Highway 1 to Paso Robles, where we spent the night. The next day was about exploring our beloved Central Coast. We find ourselves back in this area time and time again. We’ve discovered so many amazing things from all our visits here, but every time we come back, we uncover so much more new things, that clearly justifies why we love it here and we just need to move here already. We went to Moonstone Beach and played in the water and sand and then spent more of the day at an adjacent playground. We both needed a pick me up and later shared an ice coffee at Spearhead Coffee and the littles played some more at the playground in the town square, just love the small town vibe of this place. The next day we were packed up and headed for home. Such a good trip for the soul and many lovely and true memories for the keeping.


Courtyard San Francisco Downtown


Anchor Brewing Company//tours//tastings//San Francisco
Hyde Street Pier//San Francisco
Sue Beirman Playground//San Francisco
Cable Car //San Francisco
Boardwalk//Santa Cruz


Sightglass Coffee//San Francisco
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous//Ice Cream Shop//San Francisco
21st Amendment Brewery//Burgers, Beers, Fries//San Francisco
Slice House //Pizza//San Francisco
Spearhead Coffee//Paso Robles


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