Cruisin’ California – Part 5

(A blog series on the adventures my wife and I enjoyed during our honeymoon.)

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By this point, my wife and I were both hoping this trip would never end. (I’d gladly volunteer any information that would have made this anything less than a completely satisfying, delightful experience – but I really can’t think of anything that would apply.) It had been an amazing week so far, and the rest of the journey did not disappoint.

Our first stop that morning was a neighborhood fish place in Cayucos that our friend had recommended. It was not open for business at that time of the day, but the sweet aroma of smoked fish around the perimeter of the building made it absolutely worth the stop.

Of course, this led to us immediately becoming rather hungry, so we headed down to Pismo Beach for our friend’s second recommended restaurant, Honeymoon Café. You should have breakfast there sometime. No, really. Cool place and great food.

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The fresh squeezed orange juice and the spinach wrap burrito filled with eggs, bacon, sausage and all kinds of goodness were both quite tasty. Meanwhile, my wife enjoyed a hot chocolate as we sat on the patio and enjoyed the funky setting. Yeah, funky…in a good way. The place had a sign on the front, directing hippies to use a separate entrance. Fantastic.

We took a walk down along the pier and were treated to a surfing display by some pretty talented folks. It was fun watching them carve up the waves.

Someone asked if I was a photographer for Surfline. I replied that I wasn’t, but ended up having an in-depth conversation about surfing and the various different techniques. I’ve never done it, but feel like I know how to now, after talking with the gentleman on the pier. Good times. These are conversations worth having. Seriously, such a random, fun week.

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We drove past a bunch of grape fields on our way south from there. I had no idea so many wineries existed in that particular area of California. Pretty fascinating to see all of the rows of grapes. We were equally impressed by all of the other fruit farms we’d passed in previous days, and surprised that many of those were right next to the beach. That’s some prime real estate, man!

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We made it to Santa Barbara early that afternoon, our “home” for the next two nights. Gave the Airbnb thing a shot – and, it was a good experience. We rented an apartment unit just two or three blocks from the downtown shopping and dining district.

The place was, well, that funky word comes to mind again. Yeah, it was funky – again, in a good way. Lots of interesting art on the walls, a little loft in there and a door at the bottom of the stairs next to the sidewalk that was open 24 hours a day. Urban living at its finest. We liked it.

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You can do some serious shopping in Santa Barbara. Not always my favorite activity, but it’s vacation, so why not? My wife and I both found some items we just couldn’t say no to, then headed to get something to eat.

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Dinner that night actually consisted of two stops, several hours apart. Queso fundido at Sandbar and sushi at Yume. Thumbs up to both. We actually did the same thing the next night – small plates at Nectar and a burger at The Habit.

We enjoyed it all, but that Nectar place is worth mentioning again. Some seriously well prepared food there. The flatbread my wife ordered was ridiculously good and the lemongrass shrimp was great, too. Friendly service, smart décor. Stop in there if you’re in Santa Barbara sometime.

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We made it a point to visit the historic mission the following morning. A short bus ride and a little bit of a walk later, and we were there. (We loved the road trip aspect of the vacation but it was nice to park the car for a day!) This was a worthwhile stop, for sure. Lots of history there, and the architecture is quite impressive. Here are a few photos.

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We spent the rest of our time at the beach. One thing we noticed was all of the activity going on nearby. Pickup soccer games, rugby and a skate park all just a few steps away from the sand. Sweet.

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We headed out after our two-night stay there, feeling refreshed and just high on life.

That morning took us past a bunch of beach towns – Malibu, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and more. Each one is a little different and has its own personality. Love that. California is one cool state.

We rounded out our week, staying with my sister and brother-in-law in San Diego. Had a blast with both of them and we got to meet our brand new nephew and see our niece, too.

It was one of the best weeks of my life. 🙂

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We made it back home and shared the photos and stories with our kids. Maybe they’ll take this trip someday. Maybe we’ll do it again.

I’m just thankful for the opportunity to go on a honeymoon with my wife, for the incredible sights we’d been able to see during our journey and for the joy we experienced…Cruisin’ California.

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