Saturday morning Aaron woke up and as usual, went downstairs and headed for the espresso machine...where I carefully taped a little card the night before asking to be opened immediately. Inside he was informed to pack his bags and be ready by 10am.
Kids were already packed the day before and my parents picked them up at 9:30am. He was in for my very first surprise-planned weekend away. Can I just stop here for a moment and tell you how stressful planning a weekend away is? Months ago I had this idea and had to check with his boss to make sure he wasn't on call, my parents to make sure they could take the kids, the calendar to make sure there wasn't anything important happening. And then there's the whole choosing the place, activities and restaurants. Phew. It was nerve wracking but it was a success. I give major applause to my husband for having done this twice in the past 13 years. Once, I was about 7 months pregnant with Gunnar and he whisked me away to a B&B in Summerland just outside Santa Barbara, and the second time about 18 months ago when we went to Paso Robles. Planning a surprise trip, no matter the length you plan to be gone, is a lot of work. But oh so worth it.
We drove north and stopped in Santa Barbara for the farmers market and lunch before heading north some more. The farmers market was wonderful, and we got to browse and stroll together, picking out little goodies we knew the kids would enjoy like homemade jam for Greta, pistachios for Sawyer and fresh cherries for Gunnar.
We stayed overnight at Sycamore Mineral Springs. Our first mineral spring experience. Aaron is definitely a hot tubber, did you know that's a verb? Oh it is. See for yourself.
The setting was very lush and pretty. The rooms weren't anything too special, clean and basic, but we had great massages at the spa and enjoyed our own private mineral pool for about 45 minutes before our spa appointments. Aaron couldn't get enough of the mineral springs. Every room has a tub on their front or back porch, you open the valve and hot spring water comes shooting out. He was in there a lot, before bed, when he woke up. I was so happy to see him so relaxed and happy. We had wild turkeys right outside our hotel room too, they freaked me out just a little.
That night we headed north to Santa Margarita thanks to a friend's recommendation. We ate at a great steak place called The Range. They take no reservations, and no credit cards. It's located on a two block "town" and you know when you pull up it's going to be good. Aaron ordered a coffee crusted ribeye and pretty much every single thing we ordered was amazing. If only we were there during the day and could pop in some of the antique stores in the area!
The next morning we took our time getting packed and headed to San Luis Obispo for brunch. We popped into Kreuzberg for some coffee first, my husband has a knack for finding the best coffee house in any city.
We had brunch at a great place called Novo, great setting, awesome food. If you go be sure you get reservations to sit on the patio which is overlooking a little creek. There we met up with very good friends of ours from New York. They just happened to be working in San Jose that week and were kind enough to drive down to see us. It was hard keeping this part from Aaron too! I tell you, brunching with friends that you rarely get to see, without having to take little ones to the bathroom or cut up anyone's food, it's special that's for sure.
And there you have our little 36 hour adventure. It's amazing what that short amount of time can do for the soul. It's not long lasting where it stays with you for days and gives you peace when you're home. No, within 5 minutes of being home you are right back in the fire. That's not why we go. It's for the moments that we have when we're away, the hours we get to spend uninterrupted with the one we love. Having the conversations we need to have but don't really find the time to have them back home. The deep breaths and slow walks. The opportunities to just "be".
*I'm checking out from the blog for a few days, I have an art lesson to photograph, and a special sister's baby shower to create, I'll be back next week with hopefully lots of photos of the shower