san francisco to big sur, ca | let's go

2016 has been a cool year for us as it has marked a decade for many important dates.
our adelyn turned 10,
our marriage turned 10, + our sweet furry girl, kenzie is 10 today!
apparently 2006 was a big year for us! 

to celebrate our 10 year, we decided we'd go on a trip - just us!
we had a budget set and spent months searching flights, researching cities, etc.
from the beginning, san francisco was a major contender.

while getting more into the search, kris pulled up pictures of the drive along the coast from san francisco to big sur and i was sold!

we spent another month obsessively checking flight prices and things weren't looking good for san francisco as the price had doubled since our search began.
we gave ourselves our anniversary (may 13th) as our deadline to book and when we arrived home from the dinner that night and hopped on the computer, 
the flight price had dropped to $163!

we booked.

below is a look into our trip with images taken both on our iPhones + my camera.
i left commentary for those who are interested. if you're not just scroll on by! :)

san francisco | day I

 we flew into oakland which is about 28 miles east of san francisco. 
our plane tickets were much cheaper with this option!

after getting on the wrong train and spending an hour longer riding it than we should have,
we finally arrived in san francisco and took a lyft to our airbnb in alamo square. 
*i highly recommend lyft over uber, for the record.*
the place was adorable - simple, bright, and exactly what we hoped for. 
there were great restaurants, bars, and convenience stores right outside of our door and we were in walking distance to a few of the things we had on our "to do/see" list. 

we settled in and went to grab dinner. our first option had too long of a wait so we settled for a place near our airbnb. 
 i saw they had great yelp reviews, but didn't read them.
i should have as we would have been more prepared for what we received.  
i know it's an expensive city, we were well aware we'd spend a lot of money, but our bill came to $80 for 2 drinks, an appetizer, and two teeny tiny salads. 
after our server brought our salads and left, we looked at each other and burst out laughing. 
they literally had approximately 10 pieces of arugula in them. 
they were delicious, don't get me wrong, but it felt like a joke. i wish i had a picture.
needless to say, we left hungry.

san francisco | day II
we woke up bright and early and HUNGRY after our tiny salad dinner. 
we were ready to tackle our first full day in the city!
our first stop was the the buena vista on beach + hyde. we had heard great things about the place from my brother and his girlfriend who had visited sf this past winter as well as parents of a friend of ours who said we had to go there for their famous irish coffee. 
breakfast was delicious and the irish coffee was amazing! 

after breakfast, we rented bikes in the fisherman's wharf area and rode across 
the golden gate bridge and into the cute little town of sausalito. 
we explored a bit and then rode the ferry back to the port of san francisco. 
eggs blackstone (poached egg + tomato on an english muffin) + irish coffee

ben & jerry's was right next to the bike drop-off + after hours of biking,
 a waffle cone with some "half baked" was calling my name.
why not get a cone bedazzled in sprinkles while i'm at it? 
my healthy eating habits were often ignored on this trip. 
(and it was worth it!)

after sharing the beautifully colorful + very sugar-filled treat,
we got a lyft and made our way to one of the restaurants we knew we HAD to make it to.
we're fans of anthony bourdain shows and he raved about swan oyster depot 
in episodes on both "the layover" and "parts unknown" during his stops in san francisco. 

one of his "must haves" was crab back which is literally crab fat and all the leftover parts of the crab that most restaurants throw away. 
i believe there is a little butter thrown in the mix and it's served cold in a flipped-over crab head with sourdough bread on the side for dipping.
it's definitely the weirdest, creepiest, most unappetizing looking thing that i've ever had, but it was delicious.
we also had a crab salad which was amazing. it consisted simply of lettuce with a HUGE handful of fresh crab and a dressing similar to thousand island, 
but at the same time not at all thousand island. i don't know what it was. 

kris was so excited that he posed and actually smiled for a picture with out any prompt from me at all which made me totally crack up. 
he looks like an excited 8 year old in the picture (2) below. 

after lunch, we explored!
we went and saw the famous painted ladies which was just a short walk from our airbnb in alamo square and then we made our way to haight street. 
we were both excited for this as we're both really interested in the history that took place in the haight/ashbury area in the 60's - 
the origin of hippie counterculture, the summer of love in 1967 + the 1960's as a whole, the entrance of psychedelic rock music into mainstream with musicians like the grateful dead, janis joplin, jimi hendrix, and jefferson airplane all living or hanging out in the area. 

below // painted ladies on steiner st. across from alamo square park 

above // the house where the grateful dead lived | 720 haight st. (for you, linda!)

while on haight street, we stopped at magnolia gastropub & brewery and the alembic.
industrial/rustic interiors + good craft beer = my ideal hangout spot.

we fit in as much as possible this day and wanted to get an early start the next morning as we were renting a car and driving hwy 1 to big sur.

san francisco to big sur | day III
(+ several places in between)

we picked up our rental car as soon as enterprise opened and began our adventure. 

our first stop was at swanton berry farm in a small town called davenport. 
it was the cutest little place! we grabbed some fresh strawberries to snack on in the car. 

our next stop was in monterey. 
our plan was to eat at the poke lab (asian inspired) but the line was going down the sidewalk and although i'm sure it would have been worth it, we wanted to save most of our time checking out views. 
we ended up eating at the alvarado street brewery + it was delish!

the hours driving were worth it and not once did we complain about being in the car. 
this definitely deserves the title as "the most beautiful drive in america". 
it's absolutely stunning and the pictures don't do it justice. like, at all.

below// bixby bridge, julia pfeiffer burns state park - mcway falls, big sur

our second airbnb was in aptos which is just outside of santa cruz. 
this place was so magical and exceeded our expectations.
 the couple who lived on the property were some of then kindest people i've ever met in my life.
they warmly greeted us + we hit it off right away.
they spoiled us ROTTEN which was not at all expected.
i'll never forget them!

our sleeping space, which is pictured in the top right, consisted of a bedroom and toilet.
the shower, kitchen, and living areas were all outdoors which was so awesome!
prior to this trip, we have discussed one day (when our kids are older) living exactly this way so it was cool to experience it and realize we could totally do it.
obviously not here in michigan, we fell in love with california so right now it's on the top of our list! 

santa cruz to san francisco | day IIII

early the next morning, we took one last walk to the beach near the ohana and then
 started our drive back to san francisco with a stop in santa cruz.

when we left aptos it was super foggy so we were excited for a warm + sunny santa cruz!

we picked up cupcakes from the buttery and made our way to the boardwalk to check it out and fulfill my two birthday requests, a little beach time and cake by the ocean

our last night was spent at the herbert hotel on powell street. 
it was simple but nice, and located in the perfect location for our early morning walk to the bart station to catch a ride to the airport.

day V
 we had an early morning flight back to chicago!

i absolutely feel in love with san francisco and the surrounding areas on this trip!
i'm so happy this is where we ended up going.
the whole experience was perfect for what kris and i like to do -  
the city lifestyle mixed with our love for being outside hiking + exploring.

we had the absolute best time + will definitely go back.

thank you so much for being here! i hope you enjoyed my first "travel" post!

xo kaley

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