In the last 3 days I think I’ve done more research for our vacation than I ever did for our house, which might explain why I’m not all that thrilled about where we live, but will hopefully mean we’ll end up with a getaway that will not disappoint.
First, THANK YOU. You all are so amazing and had so many fabulous ideas!! I probably researched just about all of them, except for this one from Felicity:
When I was in my 20’s and on a very tight budget I went to St. John, USVI and stayed at the maho bay campground. It was absolutely amazing, and definitely less than $1500 for two, for a week. You rent a hut-like tentish thing on the side of a mountain that leads down to the water. There are beds and a little camp kitchen. It’s truly amazing. Last year one of my closest friends went for a “babymoon” and had a better time there than on her ultra-expensive honeymoon. Maybe I’ll go look at airfare now…
No offense, Felicity! Truly, I appreciate the suggestion. I am just so NOT the camping/hiking type. “Hut-like tentish thing” pretty much made me laugh my ass off, and “little camp kitchen” gave me visions of insufficient plumbing. But seriously, if I were into staying in huts on the side of a mountain, that would be… amazing? 🙂
But I did research just about everything else, and got really frustrated over the cost of airfare. I could find a lot of great deals on hotels, but the airfare just wasn’t within our budget.
We looked into a cruise out of Galveston, and while it sounded nice and fit the budget, I just had no idea what we’d do on a ship all day other than eat and drink. And I sort of wanted to avoid the commercial tourist experience. Besides, I’m sure we’ll have many cruises in our future once Kendall gets a little older.
Similarly, we actually found a lot of great Disney packages, but why subject ourselves to that now, without a kid, when all we’re going to do is wish we’d brought Kendall along or think about how much fun it would be to bring him back?
Vegas just isn’t for us. We’re not the party hard/clubbing type anymore, we’re not into gambling at all, and I have no desire to see Celine Dion or Cher.
Santa Fe/Albuquerque would be beautiful, but my dad lives out that way and we already have a 2 week long family vacation planned out there this summer.
I found some spectacular all-inclusive packages for the Bahamas and Jamaica, but, being the non-travellers we are, we don’t have passports! The cost of getting them would have to come out of our trip budget, and we’d also have to pay to have them expedited to get them in time. It just didn’t seem worth it.
Throughout the whole process, we kept coming back to California. Specifically, to wine country. I researched several options (including the San Luis Obispo area), but the least expensive seemed to be flying into San Francisco, renting a car and driving up to Sonoma.
(You know what really sealed the deal for me? Catching up on Parenthood on DVR. Weird. I know. But really, I love the location the show is set in. Also, if you are not watching this show, you should because 1. It’s some damn fine TV and 2. I really, really don’t want to see it cancelled. So WATCH.)
A couple commenters made excellent points about San Francisco being a bit too much for a 3 or 4 day escape. I didn’t want to stay in a bustling city and feel pressured to take it all in. But, this way we still get a taste of San Francisco (will be driving over the GG bridge on our way from and to the airport), while staying where we truly want to be.
So a Sonoma vacation it is!
I have to thank those of you who recommended VRBO.com, too! After getting frustrated that our only inexpensive lodging options in Sonoma seemed to be the Best Western and Travelodge, I remembered this recommendation and spent the next 2 hours perusing all the fabulous rentals.
We found a 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment with a full kitchen and private balcony, minutes from Sonoma Plaza, for around $100 a night! We can stock the kitchen with goods from the farmers markets, Sonoma Cheese Factory and bottles of our new wine finds. We’ll bring some coffee with us (or maybe buy some on our way through SF) and enjoy it on the private balcony overlooking vineyards in the morning. We can pack lunches for picnics at nearby parks and vineyards. This will hopefully really cut down on our dining out costs.
We’ll be flying in on a Saturday, arriving around 3. Can any of you recommend a great local place to eat a late lunch/early dinner in San Francisco on our way from the airport? Nothing too fancy or expensive, but lots of great local flavor and flare, please! And can you think of any coffee places we could grab some coffee beans on our way out?
I’m thinking Sat. night we’ll walk around the plaza, maybe grab a bottle of wine and some cheese and have a late snack back at our apartment.
Perhaps we can do Sunday brunch at The Girl & The Fig. (OMG, do get to do BRUNCH again?! Wheeeeee!!)
I’d also like to squeeze in, well, of course lots of wine tastings, but also an afternoon or evening at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma (since Scott is being quite the champ, immersing himself in this land of wine for me). And, as crazy as it might sound for a vacation, I think it would be nice to go for a morning jog on the coast, followed by some great clam chowder for lunch. Is that even possible, or just a fantasy I’ve made up in my head?
The only other thing I think I know for sure we’d like to do is visit the farmer’s market in Sonoma Plaza Tuesday evening. Figure maybe we can gather some stuff there and head back to our apartment to make a light dinner and enjoy our last night on our private balcony watching the sun go down.
We fly out around noon on a Wednesday. Any recommendations for a great place in San Fran to grab breakfast before we head out to the airport?
The rest of the itinerary is still up in the air, but I’d LOVE to hear more suggestions from those of you who’ve been or live there. You’ve truly helped me so much already planning this. Thank you!
Remember, cheap is key. We’re working on a limited food budget (good thing I found lots of free wine tasting coupons here!). Although, we will indulge in one nice/fancy-ish dinner while we’re there (I’m packing a dress. Can’t remember the last time I wore a dress to dinner). So hit me with suggestions for that, too.
And I have to laugh that the reason I didn’t want a cruise was because all we would do was eat and drink. Ha! All I can think about is eating and drinking in California now.
Kendall is not quite 23 months old.