We had a fun time visiting San Francisco and Monterey after Christmas and into the New Year this year. At the last minute, we decided to switch our hotel from Fisherman's Wharf to Walnut Creek to be closer to our friends, Zac and Katie and their girls Sloan and Quinn. The kids had such a great time being at their house and playing with their toys, especially the hover board and the balance beam. We got to enjoy pizza and drinks with them and catch up and relax. And then by staying outside the city, we got to ride the Bart into Pier 39 for the day. Unfortunately it was raining and we had to walk over a mile to get there so the kids weren't the happiest. But as soon as we got there we went to the arcade to dry off and then of course they forgot all about the rain. From there, we ate at a restaurant overlooking the sea lions - only a few were out - but it was still great food so we enjoyed it.
The drive down to Monterey was pretty. Overall Eric drove 450 miles over 5 days so we were in the car a lot. We stopped in Palo Alto and saw Stanford and ate nearby and then continued down to Monterey where we met Kate's old college roommate, Katie Roe, at the park and met her two kids Audrey and Eloise. The park was busy and Katie goes to Carmel often where her Mom lives so she said NYE was a busy weekend for the area and we could tell. We then caught the sunset at the Monterey beach - it was cold but Kyle loved playing in the sand. We also ended up eating our favorite meal that was a suggestion from Katie at Il Vecchio - amazing Italian food!
The next day was packed with activities as we strolled through Cannery Row, went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where favorites include: the special exhibit of the Open Sea, the octopus, Dory and Nemo and the splash waterfall. It was a really fun time with a great view for lunch over Monterey Bay. After that we headed south to the 17-mile drive where we stopped at a few of the overlooks but the favorite was the Lone Cypress Tree and Pebble Beach Golf Links. Cecilia managed to also knock out her very loose front tooth while we were on the drive as she knocked it with her knee getting back in the car. What a memory! We would've loved to have watched the daily bagpiper signal the end of golfing at Roy's on the 17-mile drive but the kids were pretty tired so we stopped at Carmel beach to play some more in the sand and they were all happy with that. Since this was New Year's Eve, all the restaurants were busy and the kids were tired (as were we) so we ate Smashburger and Chinese in the hotel lobby and Eric and Kate watched the ball drop at 9pm (benefit of West Coast time) and went to bed! We had another long drive back to San Francisco the next day.
We watched ND play in the bowl game for a while in the hotel before packing up but the kids were pretty tired by now so at halftime we headed back up the coast and tried to stop at the Golden Gate bridge overlook since it was a nice day but they were both closed and we think it's because they were packed with people. We got to drive across it on our way to Muir Woods, which was also very busy, but we got the tip from Zac and Katie to make reservations so we were able to park and do a 1 mile loop as that's about what the kids could handle. We would've loved to have hiked further but we had the stroller for Kyle (which he mostly didn't want to use) and it was cold and getting dark so we headed down to Sausalito to grab dinner at Fish & Chips and watch the sun set over the city. It was beautiful!
We had an early morning flight the next day so Eric returned the rental car and we settled into our last hotel of the trip and got some sleep before heading back to the Frozen Tundra!
It was a lot of moving around, driving, and activities, but we're glad that we took the time to see the area and make some new memories with the kids.