Tag Archives: Half Moon Bay

The Honeymooners – The First Tastes of Sonoma

19 Jul

And on the third day, we left Half Moon Bay. However, we didn’t leave before having lunch at an awesome sandwich shop. All of the ingredients were fresh, and they put a bunch of them on the sandwiches. After lunch, we drove up Highway 1 toward San Francisco. We had no idea what we would see along the way, but we knew it would be different from what we saw going south.

The road had a little more traffic, and the coast had a little more development. Before we knew it, we were on the coastal edge of San Francisco. It was like driving anywhere else, but I noticed something strange. You couldn’t turn left at any intersection. Necole and I had a whole conversation about how you can get anywhere without turning left.

Some of the neighborhoods we went through looked somewhat rundown. But, we also passed a mall with a Nordstrom, which I know is fancy because Necole and I saw Nicole Kidman at the one in Nashville.

As we went further up the road, Necole was getting more nervous. Once, she had panic attack going over a bridge in Florida, and this road was taking us over the Golden Gate Bridge. She asked if it was a suspension bridge. When I said yes, she began to squirm. As it turns out, Necole did great. She busied herself by taking pictures and felt better when she saw people walking a riding bicycles next to us. Unfortunately, she took those pictures on her iPhone, and I don’t have any to put in this post.

Crossing the bridge took us into a completely different place. We went from city to suburb, and it must have been a heck of a suburb. We passed a Ferrari dealership and a Bentley dealership. We also passed another Nordstrom. Nashville thought it was a big deal to get one, and we saw two on the same road.

We took this route because our next few nights were going to be in Sonoma – Wine Country. Here, we would see fields of grapes and wineries around every bend. We saw those things, but some other stuff surprised. The land without grapes reminded me of Montana. Also, we passed a race track. Somewhere in my mind, I recalled that NASCAR has spent time racing in Sonoma. There’s just something not right about that. The people I see at Talladega don’t seem to be the Wine Country type. In short, NASCAR needs to run where they make whiskey, not wine.

We made it to the city of Sonoma and our hotel, The Lodge at Sonoma. It was not the Ritz, but it was an alright place to stay. The put us in a dinky room, so we had them swap us to a bungalow. This room was better but not great. However, what we found around us was awesome.

After checking in, we went to the Sonoma Plaza. This thing was huge and dwarfed the plaza I have visited many times in Santa Fe. City hall sat in the middle. I thought it was interesting and took a picture of it.Honeymoon 014

I wonder if I am the only person who ever took a picture of city hall. Anyway, we immediately went to a wine tasting. After all, that’s why we drove all the way up there.Honeymoon 015

After some wine, we walked around the plaza, ventured into some art galleries and had dinner at this cool restaurant. Then, it was on to another wine tasting. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our tasting experiences.

We went back to the hotel and found a spot in a bar/coffee shop/cheese place. I had beer and cheese. Necole had wine and cheese. The beer was good. The wine was good. The cheese was awesome.

The Honeymooners – From Pebble Beach to Pasta Moon

17 Jul

Day two of the honeymoon brought a trip down California Highway 1, which follows the coast. This is a road that I have long wanted to drive, and I was about to hit a short stretch of it. We left out in the morning with the fog still covering the coast, and Necole kept talking about how different it was from the beaches that she was accustomed to seeing.

Around here, most people go to the beaches on the gulf coast. To me, they look like any other beach. Flat. Sand. Small waves. Hotels and condos everywhere. This coast was different. Cliffs dove into the water. Beaches formed between cliffs and were guarded by rock outcroppings. It was completely different, and, in my opinion, more beautiful.Honeymoon 005

I was not surprised by the cliffs. However, I was surprised about the other things we passed. Vegetation went to the edge of the cliffs and the beaches. Crops grew and livestock grazed on the left while the ocean was on the right. I really didn’t anticipate seeing that much agriculture. Some people were picking berries. Others were selling their products at roadside stands. It was really interesting to see.

We also passed through a few cities. The road cuts through Santa Cruz, and Monterey in larger than I had imagined. For some reason, I wanted to be transported back several decades and walk up to the music festival to hear Jimi Hendrix.

We got to our destination in time for lunch, and, for us, eating is very important. Our plan was to dine at Pebble Beach, the famous golf course community. My brother and his family had eaten there, and we were hunting for the same place. We happened upon it and dined while overlooking the famous 18th hole.Honeymoon 007

It is a beautiful place, and one that every golfer should get the opportunity to play. It would be a cool experience, but I would rather be at Pebble Beach for its annual car show. Classic automobiles line the fairway in a contest to see which is the greatest of them all. Millions of dollars worth of vehicles are brought to the competition. The Best of Show gets the crystal trophy that is third in the row. The closest one is given to the winner of the U.S. Open or something.Honeymoon 009

After lunch, we bought a few souvenirs and drove the short distance to Carmel, famous for being the home of Clint Eastwood. Once again, what we found is not what I had imagined – a small hamlet by the sea that had a few art galleries and restaurants. It had those things but also had a tourist feel. I thought of it as Gatlinburg with a little more class. Hopefully, some of you will know what I mean by that. We strolled through the shops and had a snack at the bakery. I bought a John Wayne pen set that was way too expensive.

After some time, we decided to head back for our last night in Half Moon Bay. We were determined not to repeat our dinner from the night before and found Pasta Moon, an Italian restaurant on Main Street. I would recommend it to anyone. The atmosphere was low-key, and the food was great.

We also noticed what was around the restaurant. There were shops, galleries and a few other restaurants. For some reason, I kept thinking that this was what Carmel used to be. It turns out that we went to Carmel looking for something but actually found it in Half Moon Bay.

The Honeymooners – Puttin’ on the Ritz

16 Jul

Necole and I just returned from our honeymoon, and I know everyone is anxiously awaiting a detailed report of the trip. At least, I am anxious to let everyone know what happened on the trip. It was a completely new experience for me. I had never been to the places that we planned to go, and I had never been a honeymooner before. These were uncharted waters.

We flew Southwest to San Francisco, and that meant a couple of things. First, we had a layover in Las Vegas. I must say that it felt funny flying in Las Vegas without plans to gamble. Necole and I planned a trip there a few months ago but couldn’t go because she bought a local business. I really want to take her there and just hanging out at the airport was not enough.

I hate connecting flights, but the man we were sitting by on the plane had a real connection story. He had been in Florida for a funeral, and this was the second leg of his journey. It went from Florida to Nashville to Las Vegas to Tucson to Amarillo. Then, he had another 90 miles to drive to get home. That means that he lives in the middle of nowhere.

Second, we were going to be delayed a little heading into San Francisco, which was probably because one runway was closed. As the world reported, there was a tragic plane crash there a few days before. We wondered if we would see some remnants of it. In fact, we landed on the neighboring runway. It’s a weird feeling to land in a plane while looking at a crashed plane out of the window. Literally, it was right next to us. It was also weird to see people moving around an airport like nothing had happened.

We got our stuff loaded into the car and headed to our first destination, Half Moon Bay. Along the way, we passed orchards, fields of flowers and greenhouses. It was truly an agricultural area. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were going to spend a lot of time in agricultural areas.

Half Moon Bay in a small town on the coast, and we had no problem finding our hotel, the Ritz-Carlton. Hey, I figure it’s a honeymoon, so we should stay at a nice place. The lady at the guardhouse greeted us by congratulating us on our marriage and wishing us a great honeymoon. The people at the desk did the same thing. The Ritz-Carlton really knows how to treat guests.

After unloading in the room, we went outside to see this.Honeymoon 001

I have never been to Scotland, but I have imagined that it would be something like this. To get a good view of the coast, guests can sit here.Honeymoon 002

Not knowing where else to go, we dined at the restaurant inside the hotel. The Ritz-Carlton is fancy, and that means they have fancy food, too. Small portions. Artistically placed on the plate. Pretty to look at but not very filling. We knew what we had to do. We went to the concierge and inquired about the nearest Baskin-Robbins.