It’s been about two weeks since my last post, I’ve definitely been slacking on my blogging. But for [kind of] a good reason. I was visiting home for a little over a week! The other week I was just straight slacking, so yeah. Work has been crazy for me lately, so can you really blame me?
I went home for a little over a week and it was wonderful. I hadn’t been home in over two years, so I really needed it. But while the trip was a nice little getaway, it definitely wasn’t a vacation. My parents and I both had a lot of family business to take care of, but we still found time to do/see our favorite things around the bay.
For me, there a few absolutely necessary itinerary items for when I go home:
- Quality time in the redwood forests
- A scenic drive down to Bixby Creek Bridge
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
This visit I made 3/3 and then some, so I’d call it a success! Here are the highlights of my trip.
The Forest of Nisene Marks
I may be a island girl by birth and live by the beach right now, but I will choose redwood covered mountains any day. Luckily my hometown has both, and in very close proximity to the other! I got to spend an afternoon
exploring the Forest of Nisene Marks during this trip, and it really filled my buckets with redwood forest quality time. My dad and my aunt wanted to go trail running, so I strapped one of my aunt’s mountain bikes to the back of the Jeep for myself.
I’m an avid mountain biker here in Texas, but the thing is… the Lone Star State doesn’t have mountains. Well at least the Houston area/all the areas that I’ve lived. What makes “mountain” biking in Texas fun is the rocky trails, and technical runs. Occasionally there will be some hills, but they’re brief. So, when I got to Nisene, this transplant-Texan was put to shame. Big time. The incline was so gradual, I really thought the trail was flat, but I couldn’t figure out why I was getting so tired so fast! By the time I reached the turnaround point (the Loma Prieta epicenter sign), I was exhausted. My legs were burning, and even though it was super cold outside, I was sweating. It was definitely a good ride.
And don’t get me started on the scenery. I’ll just say that there are lots of beautiful redwoods, fern covered mountainsides, and a beautiful, blue river to provide you with some easy listening. If you’re lucky you may even run into the coolest college mascot, the Banana Slug! Yes, that’s a real thing. Both of my parents went there for undergrad and got the best college mascot ever. #GoSlugs
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I have no words to describe how much I love love love this place. I grew up coming to this aquarium on school field trips, after school with grandma, and weekends with my parents. After we moved away I always made sure to come visit every time I visited home.
This place is one of the main reasons I chose to pursue a career in environmental conservation. I fell in love with the idea of preserving and protecting all of these special creatures and resources in the Monterey Bay, and now I’m doing exactly that [but in a different Bay]. This aquarium has such a special place in my heart.
Scenic drive down the 1
Occasionally I’ll take the 1 from Santa Cruz up to San Francisco, but I don’t make it up to the city every trip. I do, however, make it a point to drive down to Bixby every time I come home. The drive is breathtaking in any kind of weather. The coastline is rocky and the ocean is tumultuous.
We always stop to eat at California Market at the Highlands Inn. The food is amazing, but the views are 100x better! No exaggeration there.
Bixby Creek Bridge is about a 15 minute drive south from the Highlands Inn. There are several great scenic overlooks to stop at along the way.
This beach is cool to visit because of the sunken cement ship that sits right off the shore. There’s a boardwalk that goes right up to it, but after the recent storms it’s been closed. The same storms caused the cement ship to basically break in half. It’s a really interesting sight.
I love coming home and being able to spend time with my family.
I was super lucky to be able to celebrate two birthdays, one baby shower, and meet some new family members during this trip.
It was the first time in over six years my parents and I were all in California together, and the first time I’d seen my parents about two months. I was so happy to get all of that family time.
I had an amazing visit home! Sometimes it’s nice to go on a trip that you don’t really have to do any planning for. You just go with the flow, hang out, and enjoy the change of scenery.
But lots of planning for the next trip is happening now! Chicago, I will see you in 25 days!
Happy wanderlusting, friends!