Post Thanksgiving Palm Springs Get Away

We spent the first part of this week in Palm Springs. We went a little out of our way so we could stop in  Idyllwood to do some hiking and see the small town. We hiked the Ernie Maxwell trail (easy to moderate, out and back, total of 5 miles with 700 foot elevation gain), ate pizza and wandered through a few shops.

On the way down, out of the mountains, from the pines to the palms, we came across Lake Fulmor. This sweet lake is beautiful! The late afternoon light was perfect. These are my favorite pics of the trip.

After spending an hour or so at this hidden gem we headed to Palm Springs. We checked into The Old Ranch. This is, I think, our 4th visit here. We walked to the Fisherman’s Market and Grill for dinner, wandered around town for a bit and called it an early night. After a stop at the fanciest Starbucks ever, we spent the next morning biking the City Loop Bike Route. A long, mostly flat trail with a lot of variety made for one of my favorite rides ever. 

After Chris recovered with some pool time, we spent a good chunk of the afternoon checking out patio and furniture consignment stores on our ongoing (and as of yet, unsuccessful) search for patio furniture. We ended up in La Quinta where we visited an IFC friend at her cool, mid-century modern home. We explored La Quinta and then picked Mimmo’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. Good choice! Our server. Claude, pronounced “Clode” was entertaining and provided us with complimentary lemoncello which he felt would be perfect with our creme brulee dessert. We ended the day window shopping on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

We headed home the following morning but not before a another Starbucks stop and a short ride around downtown and the Historic Tennis Club area. We love our quick get-aways to Palm Springs; will be back soon!


Yosemite Weekend

The majority of our weekend in Yosemite was devoted to celebrating Janae and Iain. There was the wedding and reception and then a evening gathering at the Red Wood Cabins. Every single Stark/Smith/Framsted/Kalfayan family member was present. So much fun!

We also had time for some exploring, hiking and just hanging out. Chris and I got in a short sunset hike Friday night. The light in the valley, along the river, was perfect.

We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge. On Saturday, after breakfast in our room we got in a pre-wedding walk around the valley. The early morning sun gave us beautiful views.

After the wedding and reception, before driving out to the Redwood Cabins, we joined up with the Kalfayans and took a short walk to the Lower Yosemite Falls. All of us, except Chris, changed into hiking outfits. Chris hiked around in his wedding garb, but with hiking boots.

We slept in Sunday morning a bit and then hopped on the Yosemite Valley Shuttle to Happy Isles where we headed up the Mist Trail. We only made it as far as Vernal Falls (it’s a tough one). On our way down we encountered Janae and Iain. They were on their way up and they made it to the Nevada Falls!

The rest of our day was spent eating pizza in Half Dome Village (delicious) and covering the Valley, by foot and shuttle. We were back to the lodge by 5ish where we completely collapsed.

We had a quick drive home Monday. Our only stop was at Bravo Farms. We got coffee and bought some cheese. We were home early afternoon. Yosemite in the fall. Nothing better.


California Road Trip – Danville

The final 2 nights of our road trip were spent at The Tomsics. We love Danville and their home and their company. We ate good dinners (once out and once in), worked on projects and caught up on family news. Chris and Mark replaced our car battery and poured cement for the new flag pole we gifted to Mark. They also ate breakfast out and tried out a new Turkish coffee shop. Jan and I planned her table settings for Thanksgiving and completed a small decor project for the front porch. We ended the stay with a fire pit. A good, good ending. 


California Road Trip – The Wine Country

On day five of our road trip we drove from Gualala (via a very long, windy, narrow road) into the wine country. We spent a couple of good hours in Calistoga. 

We roamed the downtown area and saw the many cute shops and eateries. We came across this tree. People have written, on tags, their ambition. Most were, “live generously”, “spread love”… Our favorite was, “spend my retirement in San Diego”.

We also came across this labyrinth.

After exploring the town we drove just a short ways out of town to the Chateau Montelena winery. We observed a few steps of the grape processing process and walked a bit in the vineyards. It was a cool and very grey day.

We finished up in Calistoga and headed south through another wine country town, St. Helena. We picnicked in a town park and then drove on to Napa. We walked all over town, over the Napa River and back, saw more cute shops and eateries, drank lemonade and visited the public market. Our favorite part of town was the historic district where we saw the old silos and beautiful tile work. 

We left Napa and headed for Danville, but not before we experienced a dead car battery. We had jumper cables in the trunk and a nice man offered his truck for a jumpstart. We got to Jan and Mark’s in time to walk downtown for dinner at the Basil Leaf Cafe.


California Road Trip – Gualala

We started day four of our road trip with thunder, lightening and rain. After breakfast at the Jenner Inn (continental, but fairly substantial) we continued driving north. It stopped raining but remained foggy. This was a short driving day. We stopped at Sea Ranch and walked the trail behind the beautiful, rustic resort and then pulled into Gualala before noon. We had identified a hotel we wanted to stay in, but sadly there were no vacancies. Our second choice was also filled. It seems to hard to believe these places are sold out as we saw so few travelers, but they are small and it is the California coast. We ended up at a third place and after seeing the room we took it. It ended up being a poor choice. At one point Chris suggested we just abandon it and go elsewhere, but our frugality won out and we dealt. Other than this issue, we loved this town. It is small with several nice (!) stores and both restaurants we ate at were very good. 

Once we found lodging and had lunch we “walked the town” and then drove out to Gualala Regional Park. We walked along yet another beautiful section of California coast with stark, steep drop-offs on one side and green pasteur like fields on the other. At one point we were able to walk down to the beach. The driftwood was amazing. I brought home 2 small pieces – one which looks like redwood.