Despite having worked in Napa for two years I've never managed to venture out into the valley to do some wine tasting. But! I finally got the chance to plan one for my best friend Barbara. She wanted a laid back birthday outing this year and it gave me the perfect excuse to arrange a fun, easy day of drinking wine in the sunshine.Read More
I tend to be the person who takes personal days off work, maybe more than most people do. I don’t really get physically ill, but I can get mentally and emotionally drained, so I make sure to take time off as a form of self-care. If I know I need some time away from my desk, away from my commute, away from fluorescent lighting, then I make it happen so I can get the rest I need to function like a normal human in the other parts of my life. And it maybe goes without saying, but if I’m mentally rested I’m definitely doing a better job when I’m at work. I especially like it when my personal days off coincide with doing something cool for a friend or in this case – a family member!
A couple of weeks ago I took a Thursday off work to spend a day in the redwoods celebrating my sister Andrea’s 24th birthday!
Coffee in tow, as always.
Quick aside: my two sisters actually share a birthday, only 11 years apart! My youngest sister turned 13 this year and we threw her a big ol’ party the weekend before her actual birthday. This trip to Muir Woods was the 24 year old equivalent of a birthday party, only with far less work on my part.
We started the day with a deliciously filling homemade breakfast made by mom. Once stuffed, we piled into the car and set out for Muir Woods.
The drive through Vallejo into Mill Valley was really lovely. The two lane bridge cuts through some gorgeous marshland and I even spotted a coyote from the car! Andrea practiced naming bird species while I relived my emo kid days by singing along to the pop punk playlist Brandon was playing.
Before we knew it, we were headed up Mt. Tamalpais. The road to Muir Woods takes you up before taking you all the way down into the valley.
The two closest parking lots were surprisingly full for a Thursday mid-morning, so we parked in a lot a little further down the road. Even with two full parking lots, the trails themselves weren’t crowded, especially as we moved further into the woods.
Admission is $10 per adult and there’s a family annual pass option too. We ended up opting for the family pass because the cost of it was the same as paying for all of us for one day.
I always tell people Muir Woods is small because I compare it to other state parks, but even if you stick to the main path you’ll probably find yourself there for hours. It’s marvelous.
I have this thing that always happens when I go on a hike. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I have an overwhelming need to capture it all in photo and video. Each tree is so splendid and majestic that I want to photograph it, but when I get home it looks like I have 500 photos of the same thing.
I'd guess that means I'm not really being intentional about what or how I'm shooting. I'm getting excited and snapping blindly hoping something good will turn out. This time, I made it a point to practice my composition. I imagined where the lines of a grid would be and had fun trying to create interesting shots. I ended up with 300 photos that kinda still look the same! I call it progress anyway.
We wandered for almost three hours, taking a short rest towards the end to listen to a ranger give a Tree Talk, which I recommend! It's totally free and I learned some new things about redwoods! It's nothing you can't find in a short googling sesh, but I never bother to google fun facts about trees sooooooo it was worth listening to.
What's your favorite open space gem around you? let me know in the comments!
Being a newlywed is a constant adventure. Some days it feels like you've been married forever while others strike you as merely the beginning of a very long, wonderful story. Brandon and I have been married for two years and I'm beginning to appreciate the way traditions sneak up on you.
For our first marriage anniversary, we chose to visit Muir Woods and Muir Beach, places neither one of us had visited before. This year, we had planned to gallivant around San Francisco, but those plans were thwarted by the realization that driving into and through San Francisco on Labor Day (BART into the city wasn't an option that weekend) would probably stress us out more than watching Romeo and Juliet in the park would re-energize us.
I've been meaning to share this since September, but we chose to spend our day in (and around) Bodega Bay. Neither Brandon nor I had ever been to Bodega Bay before. I knew Bodega Bay was a little beach town where one of my high school friends got engaged, but that's about it.
I was super paranoid about traffic (since I'd never been before and it was a holiday weekend) that I insisted we leave in the early morning. Armed with a loose plan and lots of Pinterest research, we headed out first to Armstrong Redwoods Preserve, a hidden gem of Northern California, if you ask me.
Brandon and I found this trail sign particularly hilarious.
We took our sweet time walking and wandering through the old trees. The reserve will provide you with a map upon entry, but we didn't find it all that necessary since we weren't going on a full blown hike.
Two and a half hours of no cell service later, we decided to drive out to the coast to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.
We settled on one of the beaches closer to Bodega Bay proper because it was less crowded than the other beaches we drove past. Once there, we chose to do just a little more walking before heading down to the sandy goodness.
I had completely forgotten to bring a swimsuit and Brandon is anything but a water baby, so we stayed land bound. But we did manage to take a really great nap in the sun, which is one of my top five favorite things to do ever.
We ventured inland to the town/city of Bodega where Hitchcock's The Birds was filmed for milkshakes and thrift store browsing but decided to head back to the coast after not finding much to do.
We ended the day by going to Fishetarian Fish Market in Bodega Bay, which I won't bother to link to because of the downright terrible way we were treated. As in our server asked us if we needed anything else and before I could inhale to respond he had already turned around and left. I know we live in an age of hyperbole, but I'm not exaggerating that story. The food was good, nothing spectacular, but not bad either. Thankfully, everything leading up to dinner was magical enough for Brandon and I took look at each other, laugh about it, and decide to jam to Nirvana on our way back home.
How could you not consider this magical?