Exploring Boston during a long, hot weekend

If your significant other is on the same coast of America, you should make all efforts to see each other.

That was my thought when Tom said he’d be in Boston in July working a conference, since Boston is only 490 miles away, rather than San Diego’s 2,700 miles. My research quickly turned to planes and trains, and what you may call “apartment b&b’s” through the growing site airbnb.com; I was determined to make the trip work, and ecstatic to be in the same time zone, not worrying about family get-togethers and holidays, as we so often do when we see each other. Instead, the weekend was just about the two of us (and a few friends), and exploring a new city.


The only snag in our fun long weekend getaway was Mother Nature. Boston may usually be a temperate city, but when a heat wave strikes the East Coast, the city is not ignored. 100 degree days didn’t mar our trip, though the heat slowed us down and necessitated plenty of extra water, and maybe a few fewer historic stops. And the heat also could be blamed for us missing out on a tour and tasting at Sam Adams? Though, perhaps our negligence at planning ahead could be the culprit. (But really, why would the largest craft brewery close at 3 p.m. on a Saturday?! Still makes no sense to me.)

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Day 4: Solvang to San Diego

I didn’t want our Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip extravaganza to end. It meant I had to leave California the next morning, to come back to Virginia. But, we made the most of our last day—not surprisingly, with coastlines and delicious meals.

We started off in Solvang, a Danish village about half an hour from Santa Barbara. The town was founded in 1911 by Danish expats. It’s now mostly a tourist destination with bakeries, restaurants ad merchants offering Europe on the West Coast. And the bakery we went to was authentically Danish, and truly delicious. For breakfast, Tom and I each ordered a pastry at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery. It was one of the best pastries I’ve had, with light, buttery dough surrounding a rich cream cheese filling.

How do I choose just one?

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Day 3: Big Sur to Santa Barbara

Packing up a dew-covered tent and carrying supplies out of the campground (just two trips back and forth this time) made for a rough start for our third morning of Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Extravaganza 2012.

But our spirits picked up considerably when we stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the secluded McWay Falls. The lagoon below is filled with bright, blue water, and a waterfall dropping onto the sand. Cliffs prevent anyone from going down to the beach, however. Anyone traveling through Big Sur should stop for the 10-minute walk and gorgeous photo op.

McWay Falls

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Day 1: San Diego to San Luis Obispo

Our Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Extravaganza 2012 was so much fun—and I didn’t want to leave, for obvious reasons (aka Tom is there!). Now, I’m working on a story for the paper about it. I’ll give you sections of that draft until it is published, in a four part series, detailing our awesome four days on Highways 1 and 101. (Read about Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.)

Day 1: San Diego to San Luis Obispo

Crows ate our dinner before we cooked it over the campfire one night. Fog covered many viewpoints along California’s majestic coast. And our packed itinerary had to be scaled back considerably.

But these few setbacks couldn’t ruin our four-day road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, which offered stops for bakeries, wildlife and postcard-worthy photos. One of the few benefits of my boyfriend, Tom, relocating to San Diego is the chance to visit the West Coast. We explored much of the city on my last visit, but this time, we wanted to see more of the grand state.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway in the Avalon.

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Pacific Coast roadtrip itinerary

Three days! We’re still working out the final details of Roadtrip 2012 up the Pacific Coast Highway. Tom and I will be spending four days, three nights, exploring the area between San Diego and Monterey, just south of San Francisco. After much debate back and forth, we decided to skip San Fran, because it would have added at least $250 to the trip and cut out a lot of the other nature-y things we could have done in our short time span. But we like doing fun things and saving money and seeing pretty things, so this is the rough itinerary we’ve planned so far:

Friday: Drive through Los Angeles, up to Santa Barbara. Visit a vineyard and have a picnic. Visit Solvang, a Disney-fied Danish village with supposedly awesome bakeries. I like bakeries. Stay in a fun sounding, cheap mom and pop hostel in San Luis Obispo. Visit a brewery in town.

Saturday: Head north to the Big Sur area to check in at a no-reservations campground. Drive up to Monterey, then to Carmel and the Carmel Mission.

Sunday: Do some nature-y things in Big Sur, including seeing McWay Falls and elephant seals. Camp on the lower end of the Central Coast.

Monday: Head back toward San Diego. Find fun places to stop along the way.

Like I said, it’s definitely a rough itinerary. But I’m very, very excited. We do have at least the one night booked. And I’ve got a few books, maps from AAA, and most importantly, a West Coast Road Food guide book.

(P.S. Our trip was great fun! Here are details on Day 1 (San Diego to San Luis Obispo), Day 2 (Big Sur), Day 3 (Big Sur to Santa Barbara) and Day 4 (Solvang to Santa Barbara to San Diego). We didn’t get to do nearly everything we had hoped, but it was still an amazing drive, with amazing views. If you’re trying to plan a trip, I’d love to help you out!)

A spring walk in Fredericksburg

Spring is my favorite season. Well, if pollen was nonexistent and I didn’t have allergies, then spring really would be perfect.

I love the flowers blooming, and watching everything turn green again. And with daylight savings, I love being able to spend the evenings after work outside. It’s thunderstorming today though, so I’m going to reminisce about a walk that my friend, Robyn, and I took last week.


I absolutely love daffodils. When the sun hits them, they look like little sunshines themselves. And sun makes me happy.

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23 days til our roadtrip up the Pacific Coast Highway!

My boyfriend, Tom, moved to San Diego back in October. Let me tell you, 2,600 miles is farrrrr away. At least we have Skype and phones and emails. (And letters. But someone forgets to send me any!)

Anyways, I got to go to San Diego for a few days in December, and then I wrote about it for my newspaper.

And in 23 days, I’m finally going back!! I got my plane tickets today! We’re going to travel 500 miles up the coast to San Francisco and then back, stopping plenty of places along the way. Our trip will only be for 4 days, 3 nights, so we’re probably going to have to cut down the list of sights we want to see, because right now there are too many!

Can't wait to drive here!

Have you driven along the coast of California? Any recommendations for where to go?