vineyards :: coast :: redwoods

California bliss! Chris had a brief break between jobs so we booked an amazing airbnb up in the redwoods near the Sonoma coast. It was a quick trip, and I worked early mornings till mid afternoon, but we managed to see so many different places in such a short time. Again, I love Northern California <3

Highlights: Lynmar's pinots and amazing gardens, Dinner at River's End in Jenner, Lunch at Boon in Guerneville, a brief stop on the Russian River, and our magical retreat in the redwoods.

Here's the area that we covered -- Green Valley, Graton, Sebastopol, Monte Rio, Guerneville, Jenner, Forestville. I told you we got around!

Green valley, Graton, Guerneville, sebastopol, and jenner

Green valley, Graton, Guerneville, sebastopol, and jenner

VINEYARDS:

marimar

marimar

lynmar - drinking + walking through the amazing gardens. Also, check out the tongue on that dog.

lynmar - drinking + walking through the amazing gardens. Also, check out the tongue on that dog.

COAST:

Blind Beach in Sonoma Coast&nbsp;State Park

Blind Beach in Sonoma Coast State Park

Dino birds aka brown pelicans

Dino birds aka brown pelicans

The amazing river's end restaurant in jenner

The amazing river's end restaurant in jenner

REDWOODS:

OUR MAGICAL REDWOOD RETREAT

OUR MAGICAL REDWOOD RETREAT

1300 YEAR OLD TREE!! Good reminder of our place in the world.

1300 YEAR OLD TREE!! Good reminder of our place in the world.

humans are small.

humans are small.

north maui relaxing

We love Maui. Like, really love it. We got married on the west side of the island in 2013 and have managed to make it to Maui at least once a year for the last 6 years. We’ve tended to stay on the west side  (throw up your dubs! \/\/ ) since the weather is so ideal. Downside to perfect weather and calm waters? Snorkelsons! So many tourists and lots of big condos. So, this past March we decided to go north and get a less howlie experience up in Paia. 

Paia is a cute little surf town on the north side  of Maui. We found a rental house right on the water and booked it for a week in early March. Verdict on the north side? We loved it… but it was definitely different. I’ve always dreamed about settling in Hawaii someday and slowing down to the island pace. The Bay Area is a rat race and it only seems to be moving faster - or maybe I’m just getting old :) Anyway, staying in a house in a sleepy little town and shopping for groceries with the locals really helped frame what full time on the island could feel like. I know it's not the same as being there every day since we were not working, but made it easier to see the end game. Some notes on highlights from our stay below...


Food:
Mama’s Fish House is probably my favorite spot on the island and we always make it there once when we visit. It’s the best restaurant setting ever and the food is amazing. But, damn, is it pricey. Even though we stayed 5 minutes away from there, we could only justify going twice, but had excellent meals both times. 

Mama's front yard

Mama's front yard

We ended up cooking at the house quite a bit, as we had an amazing view from the dining room and wonderful selection at Mana Foods. They have all our faves from whole foods plus a bounty of local produce and meat. The grass fed beef from Molokai is like nothing else. Of the short list of restaurants in Paia, our favorite was probably the Paia Fish Market. Everything is fresh, fast and delicious.

Stuff to do:
We decided to take a lesson on Stand Up Paddleboard to get some technique pointers. I know it looks easy, but if you’ve ever been stuck paddling in against the wind, you know it can be tough. We found Scott at HST Maui and he was awesome. Three hours later we were ready to roll - turns, wind strategy, and basic balance all in check. 


There are lots of small beaches on the north side that are way less crowded that Ka’anapali. Tavares, Baldwin beach, Paia Bay and Ho’okipa are all lovely. Watching the surfers and windsurfers from the Ho’okipa lookout is a blast.

this one was taken from the lookout&nbsp;about 500 yards away

this one was taken from the lookout about 500 yards away

ho'okipa lookout

ho'okipa lookout

Chris “needed” a new Ukulele, so we found Mele Ukulele in Kahului. What a great shop! Super friendly, amazing selection, and he found a beauty made of 100% Koa wood.


There were a couple of days of downpour on the north side, so we did the short drive to Olowalu and it was sunny and calm. There is pretty good snorkeling right off the road and we had a nice expanse of beach all to ourselves.

Where we stayed
The house was perfect in many ways. The interior had been recently updated with new hardwood floors and new appliances. The backyard opened up onto the ocean, with a path down to lava rock, not beach. There was a huge family of turtles (easily 10 -20 ) that played in the waves around the lava rocks every evening. It was really magical just to sit and watch them swim, eat, and play. I think the turtles may have been my favorite part of the whole trip. 
But....there were the spiders. Have you ever seen a cane spider? Trust me, you don’t want to. They are harmless, and actually even useful since they eat bugs like roaches. But, man, are they huge. We caught and released 5 while we stayed in the house and I flushed one down the toilet. Just imagine this friend currying over you while you sit on the couch. WTF.

So… while we enjoyed the house and had a great time overall, we might be going back to the westside condos where they spray for bugs a little more aggressively :)

Overall, an amazing, relaxing experience. Maui, can't wait to see you again!

sunrise from the backyard

sunrise from the backyard

bones

bones

westside sunshine

westside sunshine



ya mon - a week in negril

What a blast we had! A group of 10 came together at Couples Negril to celebrate our girl's 40th birthday. Chris and I had never been to Jamaica, and didn't really know what to expect. He's always been into dub reggae and listens to all the classics that were coming off the island from the 50s to the 80s. King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Prince Jammy, all the old Studio One jams. Having the music as context, it was a great experience to drive across the island and learn more about the towns and the geography.

The island is green and gorgeous and (as we'd heard from others) full of stark contrasts between excess and poverty. And the water. Oh, the water. So warm and crystal clear. We did a night snorkel, SUP, and took a boat out for the day to cruise along the coastline. 

We don't typically go the all inclusive resort route because we like to explore, but Couples Negril was top notch. Everything you wanted was a 2 minute walk away and the food and drinks were all fresh and well made. If we didn't have such a long list of places to see, we'd go back for sure.

west coast island sunsets

west coast island sunsets



the squad

the squad

the famous rick's cafe

the famous rick's cafe