Our Trip to California: Central California

A few days ago, I shared with you about our trip to San Francisco.  Sadly, we were only able to spend two days in San Francisco…

 … before we got a rental car and headed south.  The next leg of our trip took us to Carmel, where we stayed at the Colonial Terrace Inn  just a block from the beach!

We spent an afternoon at Monterrey Bay Aquarium, which costs about $20 per ticket.  But it was worth it to see Patrick looking like a little kid when he petted a sting ray! While in Monterrey, make sure to stop at Rosine’s for a slice of cake as big as your face.  It’s on Alvarado Street which overlooks the bay and is lined with interesting shops and local dives.
One of our favorite meals over the entire trip was at a spot in Carmel-by-the-Sea, called Casanova. When we arrived at the quaint restaurant and they took us to the covered patio, we thought we were in for a simple Italian meal.  Turns out, Casanvoa is a “prixe-fixe” restaurant, which surprised and delighted us!  The couple two tables over not only took our picture, but also became fast friends.  Turns out, if you’re at a fancy restaurant in a resort town on a weekend–it’s likely the people next to you are also celebrating their anniversary.

After stuffing ourselves at Casanova, we headed down Highway One to Big Sur for a night of camping.  (HINT: To get all of our gear to California, we packed one suitcase for our clothes/etc, and one suitcase of camping supplies like sleeping bags and our tent.  Totally worth it!)

We hiked at Point Lobos before heading to Pheiffer Big Sur State Park, where we rented our camping spot for about $50 for the night.  Make sure to book your spot early, though- it was almost sold out when we reserved our spot–four months in advance!  We purchased a bundle of fire wood, since you aren’t allowed to distub the natural surroundings.  Also, they sell wine at the camp store–so we were able to enjoy a night sipping wine by the campfire!

Here’s Patrick trying to figure out the tent we borrowed from the Ruckers!  Thanks guys!
In the morning, we headed out of Big Sur, and stopped on the way at a restaurant called Nepenthe. Although it’s one of the only restaurants on highway one–it is worth the stop! At Nepethe, fog draped itself over the rich green mountains plunging directly into the Pacific Ocean.  You can look out over the expanse while sipping a hot cup of coffee, and listening to the birds sing around you.   Glorious.
Central California is most certainly for the adventure-seekers.  If we were to go back, we’d love to see San Louis Obispo, and maybe even give surfing a try!
What about you?  Would you ever be willing to go camping while on an anniversary trip?  Would it be worth it to pack camping supplies for just one night?  Would you rather splurge at fancy restaurants or rough it?