(Caitlin) LA and Carmel have always been on our bucket list of places to visit! LA for the glamor, and Carmel for a relaxing getaway. After compiling a list of things I wanted to see, we decided to go for it! We planned this trip right after Christmas, so only a month out (still impressed with my spontaneous self).
My friend Natalia just got back from a relaxing weekend in Carmel and had the best recommendations! We stayed at the Coachman's Inn and it didn't disappoint. Delicious happy hour, breakfast included, and located right off the main drag of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Every apartment should come with a fireplace.
We started our Carmel adventure with 17-mile drive. It was $10 to get in the gated community (cash only). The map explained the history of each of the labeled stops. Even though it was misting on and off, the views were spectacular! And the homes are ridiculous.
We relaxed, took advantage of the happy hour, and were off to dinner at Il Fornaio. One of our favorite dinners to date (thanks Natalia!).
(Ryan) The next morning we grabbed some breakfast before getting on the road. One of my bucket list activities, driving Route 1 from San Francisco down to LA which took us south and through Big Sur.
Cait took pictures from the passenger seat and made a few stops for some breathtaking views.
Both of our grandparents raved about Hearst Castle, so we thought we should try it out. It ended up being our favorite stop of the trip.
As part of the California State Parks, there are tons of different estate tours you can book. We had time for two, and choose to see the guest cottages and entertaining rooms. Everything was elaborately decorated and we both loved the history. Cait was also very excited that Lady Gaga had shot a music video there.
Continuing down Route 1, with the gorgeous views and sun setting, we made in LA just in time for dinner. Cait had found Bacari PDR which had amazing tapas and atmosphere.
Definitely make reservations.
(Caitlin) We stayed in Venice Beach at another bed & breakfast, Inn at Playa Del Mar. Balcony, fireplace, happy hour, breakfast, and tons of restaurants within walking distance, it was incredible!
The next day was our big day in LA. We drove the 30 minutes in, and it was raining and gross the whole time. LA was not what I expected. Very spread out, tons of driving, kind of dirty, and very anti-climactic. We mostly did a driving tour of Mulholland Drive, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive.
I had heard about the Ice Cream Lab on trip advisor and thought we had to try it.
Thank goodness my husband let me steal his beanie, otherwise I would have looked like a frizz ball! Even through the rain and wind, I had to stop by the original Sprinkles Cupcakes and do a taste test. I am a Magnolia Cupcake's girl and wanted to see how they compared.
Magnolia still wins ;)
So after we ate our way through LA, we drove back to Venice Beach and ate some more. We grabbed a quick burger at Simmzy's on the Venice Boardwalk, walked out onto the pier for a relaxing stroll, then took a pass by the Venice Canals.
Back at the B&B, we had a quick happy hour and caught up on some emails. To finish our LA adventure, our concierge recommended a cute gastropub down the street called The Tripel. It was a little cozy, but delicious starters and some of the best onion rings I've ever had.
(Ryan) We did the scenic trip on the way down and just wanted to get home. We took Highway 5 on the way back to Redwood City and the views were still amazing!
All in all, a great trip, with Carmel and Hearst Castle at the top of our recommendation list. Definitely take lots of layers, you never know what the weather will be.
Until next time!