Family vacation to the Bay Area
Keeping with our recent theme of family travel, we thought it might be fun to share Kristina’s recent family trip to the Bay Area. We’re always on the hunt for great spots to stay with kids, aren’t you? Makes the whole adventure so much more enjoyable.
Every year my girlfriends from college get together for a long weekend to catch up, reconnect, drink wine, and eat good food. As our families have grown, so has the scope of this trip. We need A LOT of space to hold 6 families (up to 10, if everyone can make it), and there are lots of considerations when it comes to location. ANYWAY. This year, we chose Sonoma, mostly because we found the most perfect house for our motley crew, and my family decided to take the week to make our way slowly up the coast from LA. Our first stop – Santa Barbara!
It’s only an hour or so from LA, but getting out of town on Friday afternoon seemed better than waiting around until Saturday morning. We spent the afternoon down by the beach, riding the carousel, running through the park (Forrest literally started walking there!), having an easy dinner at Los Arroyos in Montecito… we’re all about easy these days.
That crazy truck was in the same spot on the beach the last time we stayed in Santa Barbara 5 years ago.
And then had a great night at the Agave Inn, which we found after multiple great trips to the Ojai Rancho this summer. The Agave is small, but we had a nice big room upstairs with a view of the mountains, a kitchenette and plenty of space to the four of us. I don’t think I’d recommend it for a family for a long stay, but it was really perfect a road trip stop.
While the kids were falling asleep, I read my book on the bed watching the sun set over the mountains. It was such a peaceful evening. Then Brock and I played cards on the upstairs patio with beer we picked up at the market down the street, in earshot of the kiddos.
Next stop was San Luis, where we stayed with a friend in her beautiful house near downtown. I didn’t get any photos there, but San Luis is sooo family friendly. They have a great children’s museum, live music on Friday evenings downtown, a farmer’s market, and the cutest baby and kid’s shop ever. If you don’t have friends in town, I’ve heard the Granada Hotel is a great spot.
After San Luis, we stopped in to see Brock’s aunt and uncle at their farm in Atascadero. *sigh* Love visiting farm life. They have an apple orchard, sheep, beautiful container garden, and loads of space. Every fall they have a cider pressing party, and in the spring they welcome a new crop of baby lambs. It’s hard work, but it seems so rewarding and so entertaining for kids.
And then, Berkeley! One of our favorite cities in California. Before kids we used to visit every year, eating and drinking our way through SF and the east bay. As you can imagine things have changed. But we still had a great time, exploring new parts of the city with our boys.
Naturally had to visit a few of our old favorites – The Cheeseboard being first on the list.
Look! A picture of me! The family photographer is always underrepresented in photos.
It’s soooo steep! But so fun.
And then Sonoma – the most amazing rental house in Kenwood. Seriously, we would stay there again any day. It was plenty big enough for 12 adults and 8 kids. And had so many activities that we really didn’t have to leave. Bocce, tennis, lap pool (with a safety cover!), 15 person jacuzzi, fire pit, hammocks, BBQ, open grass, wild turkeys, deer… it couldn’t have been better.
We spent a lot of time just sitting around, watching the kids, preparing yummy food together, making cocktails, catching up, and getting to know each other’s kiddos.
The older boys spent pretty much the entire time in the jacuzzi.
8 kids! 7 boys and 1 girl. All under 4. Hmmmmm.
After the kids were in bed, the adults had dinner outside and gathered around the fire. We laughed until way too late, drank too much wine, ate too much cheese. It was the best.
I didn’t capture everything with my big camera (sooo much heavier than my phone!), but I did post some instagrams of our trip too.
And even better than my photos (obviously), we prepared a really yummy dinner outside one night and Kate Harrison came to photograph all the families and our yearly gathering. It was so special. Those beautiful photos coming up next.
Such a good trip. Not the most *relaxing* of vacations we’ve had as a family, as car trips never are, but very fun.