On a sunny Monday morning on April 11, 2011 we departed to our first location of our honeymoon -- Napa Valley, California. We arrived in the late afternoon to the Carneros Inn and immediately indulged in a glass of winejjust as the sun was beginning to set over the vineyards. The valley looked just as it appears in the movies and we couldn’t keep from contentedly smiling.
We easily settled into our bungalow, which we would call home for a few days. Being true to ourselves, we unpacked a bit, just to keep things organized, and then quickly hopped into our black, mustang convertible that was a honeymoon gift from some dear friends. We set out to find our first dinner on our honeymoon and happened upon a local pizza place in downtown Napa.
We enjoyed our three days in the vineyards tremendously and visited several wineries. In particular, we were looking forward to visiting the Jordan Winery, as Laura’s maiden name is Jordan. We sent a couple bottles of wine back home to come back to, which we would recommend to anyone who honeymoons in Napa. Being adventurers and explorers ourselves, we chatted it up with a few locals and asked for recommendations and they couldn’t have been more perfect.
We eventually brunched at Freemont Diner and enjoyed some wholesome grub, which then led us to Scribe Winery. Scribe is a small winery that we quickly grew to love. We still have a bottle of wine we purchased there and can’t wait to crack it open at just the right moment.
The food in Napa Valley is not to be overlooked. We made stops at Bouchon bakery three times in the two full days we were there. We couldn’t get enough of the Thomas Keller Oreos! We also enjoyed a memorable dinner at Mustards, where they gave us an appetizer cookbook as a gift for celebrating our honeymoon with them. Our stay in Napa came to an end a few days into our honeymoon, but not before we visited Swanson Winery. This winery was a must on our list, as being both being creative people, we had to stop in. Their whimsical style has won us over from afar and our experience there did not disappoint. We enjoyed a tasting in the red and white stripped “circus tent” accompanied by pistachios and enjoyed our final morning in Napa.
On Thursday, we departed Napa and set out for Carmel, California. We made a few road-trip stops along the way, one being fried artichoke hearts somewhere not too far from the beaten path. We also stopped at Pie Ranch, which is home to a sustainable farm that makes pies and galettes with ingredients grown on the farm. The proceeds from these pies go right back to the farm and were incredibly tasty to boot!
Our day on the road consisted of good tunes on the radio, unplanned stops for food on the side of the road, and a quick stop and walk around Sausalito, complete with incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We loved driving down Pacific Coast Highway and took in the ocean as the sun shone down on us brightly.
We arrived in Carmel to the Cypress Inn and felt right at home. With a lovely dinner location recommended by the front desk staff, we fell in love with the quaint town of Carmel right away. We spent two days walking in and out of the shops, grabbing a few keepsakes, and enjoying many cones of ice cream. On our final night in Carmel, we opted for a take out dinner of the best fish and chips in town and enjoyed them in bed, with a cheesy, but sweet movie. This night became one of our favorite memories from the trip because it was so simple, yet so relaxing and enjoyable.
For our final destination, we drove to San Francisco, but not before driving on Seventeen Mile Beach. The sights were breathtaking! Once we got to the big city, we took a few photos by the convertible and bid farewell to our wheels. The Westin was our home while in the city and we felt very comfortable in their heavenly beds.
San Francisco was brisk and bustling, which was a welcome change of pace to the otherwise relaxed and quiet trip. We ventured to the Deyoung Museum by taking the BART, and, of course, stopped for an afternoon ice cream cone afterwards. Our days in San Francisco were filled with all things touristy and we loved it. We tasted fresh cheese in the Ferry Building, watched tons of birds fly over the bay, looked at Alcatraz from the land, toured the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory, shopped in the mission district, and took in all the sights.
We had a great first trip as husband and wife and would definitely recommend our destinations to any couple looking for a trip with a little bit of everything. We would definitely recommend these destinations to other honeymooners, especially because there was so much variety in the places we visited. From relaxing wine tastings and shopping in a small, quaint town, to finishing with exploring a big city, we felt our trip was well rounded and balanced with relaxation and entertainment.