Thursday, November 6, 2014

Up The Coast (Pt 2)

 As soon as we pulled into the driveway of our B&B, I knew it would be an interesting experience. I used to be obsessed with the Gilmore Girls, and I always wanted to have an experience like Lorelai & Rory when Lorelai took Rory to visit Harvard, and stayed in a B&B where there were flowers all over the walls and cats everywhere (minus the fight). When we rang the doorbell, I didn't know what to expect. But soon enough, a very bubbly kind man came to the door to let us in. He was the innkeeper and had just mentioned he was sorry for talking with his mouth full, but he had just started eating a muffin, and was in the middle of baking when we rang the doorbell. As soon as I heard that, I knew I was in the right place.

 One of the bathrooms there is pink! And with a clawfoot tub.. I was in heaven when I saw this

We sat down at one of the tables in the cute little dining room, I signed the papers for our registration, and he gave us each a glass of wine and a cheese plate. We sat with him for a little while and talked, and then left the B&B for a night on the town. Downtown SLO is pretty much a college town. There are sports bars everywhere, Urban Outfitters (that's a pretty good indicator), some chain fast food restaurants (like Chipotle) and cute clothing stores. We stopped into a record store where I scored a $3 Elvis gospel record (have you ever heard his gospel music? It's amazing and the only genre of music he won Grammys for!) and then I found an amazingly tacky Elvis book at the used bookstore down the street. After having a beer and sharing a bratwurst at the local German restaurant, we made our way back to the B&B and watched Funny Face before falling asleep super early.

Our dinner / The coolest vintage movie theater in town


 The next day, we woke up to a prepared breakfast downstairs, and then checked out early and made our way up the coast to Hearst Castle. The innkeeper had told us about a town called Cambria that you pass on the way, and said it was a must to visit, so naturally we had to! He had also mentioned that this town has a scarecrow festival every year, where they make scarecrows out of paper maché and put them outside of their homes and storefronts. There were SO many, and they were all so amazing.

We ventured into a coffee shop, walked into a couple of antique stores, and overall had a great time. I would definitely visit Cambria again! They also had the most beautiful old Victorian houses.

Some of the paper maché scarecrows


We made it to San Simeon earlier than we had thought, which was great. What's so cool about visiting Hearst Castle is that along the way as you near the beginning of the property, you see zebras walking around! I wish we'd stopped to take some pictures. It was pretty amazing. They were just hanging out with the other animals that roam free there. We had learned on the tour bus (narrated by Alex Trebek) that Hearst at one time had his very own exotic zoo with all kinds of animals, including polar bears (another strange animal to have at your home), and once he started to lose money, he decided to donate most animals to zoos around California including San Diego and San Francisco.

We were lucky enough to visit Hearst Castle on a day that was super sunny and clear. It had rained the day before, which has been a really rare thing for us California people, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Our group was rather large, but Chris and I stayed in the back so that I could get pictures without other tourists in them.

During the tour, we got to see footage of Charlie Chaplin playing tennis here. Pretty cool.

The Roman pool was easily my favorite part of the whole tour. I mean, just look at it! Who wouldn't want to swim in that? Not to mention, the floors have actual gold built into them.

So glad we made it up to see everything in such a short amount of time! Our next trip is to Palm Springs for our five year anniversary! Until then, I'll be dreaming about those palm trees and mid century houses I love so much...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Up The Coast (Pt 1)


Over the past weekend,  Chris and I took a trip up to San Luis Obispo, which is about 3 hours north of where we live. We used to take more trips up north to visit friends, but that's pretty much slowed down lately, and I'd been dying to go back to the Madonna Inn for some time now (which is basically the coolest and most bizarre hotel on the way to San Francisco). It was built in the late 1950's by a man named Alex Madonna who built this hotel as a stop for people traveling along the coast. We decided to stay at a bed and breakfast and just visit the Madonna Inn on our way there, because I thought that would be more interesting, and it was! In fact, the B&B was super cute and cozy, which is exactly what I had been hoping for. I'll be posting pictures of the rest of our trip tomorrow!

We arrived at the Madonna Inn on the way to our B&B (they were about 10 minutes away from each other). Of course, the first thing I had to do upon exiting the car was to snap a million pictures of the infamous Madonna Inn sign. I looked around me and noticed a few other people snapping pictures of signs around the property; clearly this is the norm here. Once inside the bakery, we sat down at a table by the window and I happily ordered a slice of their famous Pink Champagne cake, with coffee on the side. This cake did not disappoint! It's pretty much the best cake I've ever tasted, and it probably helps that the whole cake is pink and has marzipan ribbons (mmm marzipan).


After only being able to handle a few bites, we had it boxed up to go and made our way around the hotel to take more pictures. I stopped into the gift shop and purchased a few of their pink wine goblets before heading outside to explore (which I'll share another time).

I should mention that if you come to this hotel, go to the bar, talk to the bartender (he's really sweet) and order the Pink Cloud. It's like drinking a strawberry milkshake, only with a little vodka mixed in ;)

We headed outside to check out the views (there are gorgeous mountains everywhere) and I was curious to see what the spa/pool area looked like. I wish I'd been a little bolder and peeked into a room that a maid was cleaning, but I didn't want to be weird. If you didn't already know, each room is themed and pretty much every room has an abundance of color and textures, and they all have fun names (like Sugar & Spice, Love Nest and Fabulous Fifties, to name a few). I hope someday to be able to stay in this hotel! For now, I'll just continue to use their bathroom on the way to wherever I'm heading, pick up a slice of cake, and admire the scenery (and the pink!!)