California, Travel

The City of Angels // Los Angeles, CA

The last stop on our epic road trip was The City of Angels. We arrived in Los Angeles at sunset and sat in traffic on the 101 as the sky changed from blue to purple to pink. It made the crazy LA traffic much more worth it. We had about 10 hours until our fight back to Dallas and we planned to hit as many places as we could.

Hollywood

It turned out our AirBnB was off of Hollywood Boulevard, which was pretty cool staple to staying in LA. After locating the apartment, we realized that we were starving, so we headed toward downtown to grab a bite. Shocker: we chose pizza. 800 Degrees to be exact. It was pizza shop in downtown Hollywood with woodfired pies and it was delicious! On our way back from Pizza, we strolled along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since it was after dark, we didn’t search for any of our favorite actors, but it was still a neat experience!

Walk of Fame

800 Degrees

Coffee

Jeremiah had a list of coffee shops that he hoped to visit in the Los Angeles area, two of which were Intelligentsia and Verve Coffee Roasters. Intelligentsia was such a unique shop and we sat outside while Jeremiah enjoyed a pastry and cup of coffee, but I couldn’t speak much for Verve as I wasn’t feeling well while we were there and spent most of the time in the bathroom.

Intelligentsia

Verve Coffee Roasters

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica was one of the stops I was most looking forward to. I was bummed we didn’t have enough time to enjoy the pier, but we were set to relax on the beach for awhile… that is until it started pouring rain!! All the people on the beach started running in all directions as they evacuated the beach and others that were just standing around kept repeating in astonishment how it never rains here. It was quite a funny sight. Since the sand was now wet and muddy, we decided to head to Venice a little early.

Venice

Venice Beach was the second stop I was most looking forward to in LA with it’s chill atmosphere, I was hoping for a relaxing time. Instead, we encountered snooty hipsters at Menotti’s, crazies on the beach, bland boardwalk pizza, and the stench of weed everywhere. Venice wasn’t a complete bust, we still enjoyed our pizza on the beach before our flight and it was quite an interesting atmosphere, but not a place I would want to visit again. Sorry Venice.

Menotti’s

Venice Beach

Overall, Los Angeles wasn’t exactly what we hoped for. It was not as magical as the movies made it seem. All I could think while we explored was the quote “Welcome to Hollywood, what’s your dream?” from Pretty Woman, but LA was definitely not my city; although I’m glad there are people who love it there. I’d like to think that with more time to explore, I could learn to like it as much as others do.

California, Travel

Tall Trees + Mountain Air // Yosemite National Park

After spending a lovely day in coastal California, Jeremiah and I headed inward for an afternoon exploring Yosemite National Park.

Casita La Paz

Once we were done with our day at the beach, Jeremiah and I traveled five hours to stay the evening in an AirBnB right outside the park. The drive in was breathtaking and hilly and so different than the landscape we had been seeing in northern and coastal Cali. We pulled into our bungalow for the night and it was so cute. The perfect size for just a night of rest and the hosts + those that work at there were so sweet and accommodating!

Yosemite National Park

We intended to spend an entire day hiking to some views we had picked before the trip, but things did not go quite as planned.

  1. While beachin’ the day before, I got one epic sunburn on my feet, so stuffing my poor feet into hiking boots was brutal and every step had me wincing.
  2. The road to Yosemite was quite congested, so it took us double the time to get to the entrance than we anticipated.
  3. Parking once you finally get through the gates is a nightmare. Good luck.
  4. Signage is seriously lacking throughout the park pointing out where certain sights and viewpoints are.
Tunnel View

Bridalveil Fall

We managed to find a parking lot with a few empty spots that turned out to be for Bridalveil Fall, so we had the opportunity to see a waterfall while we were exploring. It was super crowded, but still beautiful. Lots of tourists were climbing up the rocks to get a better view; we did too, but it was very tricky not to slip or get knocked down by the mass.

Unmarked Meadow

As I stated before, the signage in Yosemite is seriously lacking, so we just walked around and looked at our map trying to figure out where we were and where we were headed, but it was pretty hopeless, so eventually we put the map away and just explored. Right down the street from one of the parking lots, we found this gorgeous and quiet meadow.

Unmarked Forest + River

Yosemite National Park might not have been the stop we planned for, but it still felt so great to be out in nature. Thanks Yosemite for forcing us to put our map away and just walk.

California, Travel

6 Things to Do in Santa Cruz

After spending a happy 12 hours in Capitola, California, Jeremiah and I drove the ten minutes down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. This was the part of the trip that Jeremiah was looking forward to the most and he was so giddy and excited to get there. Visiting Cat & Cloud Coffee was the only thing I had written down for an itinerary for Santa Cruz, so we just hit things up as we saw them and we managed to find 6 things to do/places to see to fill our day.

Cat & Cloud Coffee

Ten minutes away from Capitola sits Santa Cruz, California, another cute, vibrant, coastal town with plenty of charm. The first thing you have to do when visiting is hit up one of the Cat & Cloud Coffee locations. Visiting Cat & Cloud was Jeremiah’s favorite part of the trip and a dream come true. We stopped into both locations and Jeremiah got plenty of caffeine, good vibes, and even met the owner.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The Santa Cruz boardwalk has so much personality. It is lined with palm trees and different shops and eateries. There is also a small theme park, which attracts the most visitors. We planned on spending time at the theme park, but it was super busy, so we opted to just hang out on the beach instead. If you visit Santa Cruz, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to really explore and enjoy the boardwalk.

Santa Cruz Beach & Pier

Confession: I’ve never really been a beach person. I grew up (and live) in suburban Texas and had never once taken a beach vacation as a kid + I’m a fair skinned red head, so it just always screamed not for me. Well California beach kind of stole my heart. One of my favorite parts is that they aren’t hot. California is fairly chilly at the beach, so I wasn’t burning up and could actually walk around in clothes instead of a swim suit; although I did still get sunburned.

Betty Burgers

After waking up early to catch the sunrise and then taking a short nap when we realized there wasn’t going to be a sunrise due to the cloud cover, I woke up starving. Jeremiah had to visit Cat and Cloud first and that turned into a really long stop, because he met – dare I say one of his role models – Chris Baca. He asked Chris for a recommendation and he gave us a bunch, but I’m a picky eater, so we ended up just going to one of the first burger joints we could find on Google. [Sorry Chris!]

Betty Burgers was definitely an interesting choice. The burger was pretty good, but everything else wasn’t so hot from the prices to the atmosphere. For a local burger restaurant, Betty Burgers was crazy expensive. For two burgers, fries, a shake, and a soda, we ended up pay 40ish dollars. That is a bit much for us poor people. There were flies everywhere and we arrived before typical lunch hours, so there weren’t a bunch of dirty tables to attract the flies. Lastly, the whole theme of the restaurant was kind of like pinup girls, so instead of using words like sauce, they opted for the word lube. It was just really gross, so next time Jeremiah and I will be checking out a recommended place instead of trusting Google.

Natural Bridges State Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach was such a cool place to chill out at for an hour or so. It’s a tiny beach with seaweed and driftwood scattered all over it, but out in the water is this naturally made rock formation with a hole through the right side. The waves crash through it and around it. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture with the waves, but it was so beautiful and relaxing. I could have sat out there and watched the show all day. I highly recommend visiting this neat beach if you visit.

Woodstock’s Pizza

The day we arrived in Capitola was the day that Jeremiah and I drove all the way from Portland. We stopped at the Redwoods and at the Golden Gate Bridge, so needless to say, we were running a bit behind. We coasted on into this tiny town a little after midnight and realized that nothing in Capitola was open that late to eat dinner, so we ended up visiting Santa Cruz earlier than planned, because the only place open was Woodstock’s Pizza… and it was hopping! We waited about 20 minutes for our pizza and it was absolutely delicious. We would definitely recommend!

Thanks for having us Santa Cruz!! We really enjoyed exploring your beaches, meeting famous Youtubers, and drinking good coffee. Until next time…

California, Travel

12 Hours in a Postcard Town // Capitola, CA

After fifteen hours in the car and a full day running along sandy beaches, gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge, and admiring the majestic Redwood trees, Jeremiah and I coasted into our third destination: Capitola, California.

Capitola is tiny beach town located smack dab in the middle of the California coast. It was not originally one of the stops on our road trip, but after our AirBnB in San Francisco fell through, I began looking for somewhere else for us to stay which led me to this adorable beach town. I googled it and laid eyes on their staple beach houses and knew we had to visit!

Stop #1: The Capitola Hotel

First things first, be sure to book a room at the Capitola Hotel. It is an adorable bed and breakfast right in the heart of downtown Capitola. When we were no longer able to stay in San Francisco for the night, I stumbled upon this gem and they happened to have an opening giving us the pleasure of experiencing their wonderful establishment. They were so accommodating with our weird schedule – arriving around midnight is not typical – but they made getting into our room a breeze! Our only regret was not being able to stay longer.

Stop #2: The Beach at Sunrise

The hotel is right off of Capitola’s main street and just a few minute walk from the beach. We set our alarms to watch the sunrise, but when we ventured out to the ocean the sunrise was covered by clouds, but instead we were able to enjoy the peacefulness of a beach in the morning. Listening to the seagulls talk, bask in the stillness, and watch as surfers hit the waves.

Stop #3: The Capitola Venetian Hotel

Before it gets too busy, check out what makes Capitola such a picturesque beach town that often shows up on California postcards. The Capitola Venetian Hotel is a collection of brightly painted pastel vacation homes right off the beach. You can stay in one or just admire their beauty. Be aware that they are repainted frequently, so if you google them, know that some of the colors will be different when you arrive (I learned this the hard way).

Stop #4: The Capitola Wharf

Spend some time exploring the wharf and the beach. One of the things I often forget to do when planning trips is schedule down time. I like to go and go and go, but then wish I set aside more time to just set up and sit for awhile. Luckily, this time around, we had a bit of time to kill, so we walked the Capitola Wharf, played frisbee on the beach, wrote messages in the sand, and just explored the shops down Esplanade street.

Although we were bummed to not be able to explore San Francisco, Capitola was such a beauty we forgot all about San Fran! We spent the morning lazily exploring the town and left for Santa Cruz right as the crowds arrived. We didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time here, so I see another trip here in our future!

California, Travel

Golden State of Mind // San Francisco, CA

After thirteen hours in the car – and two hours behind schedule – Jeremiah and I arrived in San Francisco just in time for sunset. With California by Phantom Planet blasting from our speakers, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge with a sky overhead fading from blue to purple to pink to orange. It was absolutely P E R F E C T and no picture could do it justice.

Originally, we were supposed to stay in San Francisco for a night and explore as much as we could, but our AirBnB fell through, so we only had an hour and we chose Baker Beach. It was freezing outside, so I put on a turtleneck sweater and Jeremiah and ran through the dunes to the water. We ran through the freezing water towards the Golden Gate Bridge and laughed so hard. As the water rose and fell, there was so much foam and I loved sticking my feet in it.

This hour we spent running along the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in our sights was one of the highlights of the trip for me!