Sonoma | San Francisco

California gets the lion's share of our vacation dollars. Not only is Craig from Los Angeles (which means we have family there), we have family in the Bay Area as well. Last August Happy and I headed up to the Sonoma area for a short getaway, and then met family in San Francisco for a long weekend. 

On the first full day we were there, we headed for the coastline and came across this little hidden gem. Here's the truth: I had to go to the bathroom. So we stopped here and ended up loving it so much we took a wine and cheese break. John, the owner, is truly all about making the experience great for his visitors, and has been curating some of the best wines of the region for more than a decade. Who is Sophie? His beloved dog.

Next we stopped at Duncan's Landing Overlook, which is just off the Pacific Coast Highway. Beautiful spot.

We ended up at Point Reyes. Craig had been there and wanted to hike down to the lighthouse. I took one look at the steps and told him I'd wait for him, but of course he talked me in to hiking down there. 

This was our canopy at the Medlock Ames tasting room in Healdsburg. I love wine country. I just didn't take many photos of the wineries because I was busy. Tasting wine.

The next day we headed up to Jack London State Park; I didn't have any idea where we were going until we drove up to the gate. Pretty cool place. London and his wife are actually buried there, and there's an incredible story behind the Wolf House. Here's an account of what happened to their dream house, taken word for word from the website:

Jack London wrote so many books about wolves and dogs that his friend George Sterling gave him the nickname 'The Wolf'. So when Jack started to build his dream house in 1911, it was only fitting that people would call it the 'Wolf House'. Jack and Charmian never got to live in their home because one hot summer night in August 1913, spontaneous combustion started a fire in the house. Nobody was living near the house so the fire was quite advanced before anyone became aware of it. The Londons were sleeping in the Cottage about a half mile away and were awakened by a farm worker who saw the red glow in the sky. They got on their horses and rode to their beloved dream house. By the time they got there, the house was completely engulfed in flames and beyond saving. Although Jack vowed to rebuild the house, he did not live long enough to rebuild. Today, we have a beautiful ruin.

I just loved these two trees.

We secured an AirBnB rental in San Francisco, and most of us stayed there together. It was my first time staying in someone's actual home while they weren't there. They were incredibly gracious and generous, telling us to eat whatever we wanted, use whatever we needed, and even left us a bottle of champagne to welcome us. I have to confess that I was a tiny bit uptight about staying in someone's home (okay, more than a tiny bit. So! Much! Responsibility!) Though we were very conscientious guests, I don't think I could ever rent out my home to strangers.

Here's our first official game of Uno. Piper is a master.

This is my fantastic niece Caitlin and her boyfriend Clay. I think they belong in a magazine ad. 

Here's most of the kid crew. We were missing Cameron and Lauren. Top Row: Another beautiful niece Kyra, Caitlin and Clay. Bottom Row: Very cool couple Holly and Caleb (nephew), and Mandy and Piper.

Mother and daughter. Love these two so much. Bonus Trivia: they have the same birthday. 

Happy and Gia.

These two. Mandy (our middle daughter) and Cameron (our youngest son) fell into total sibling mode shortly after we were married. As in, they play hard and also fight like brother and sister. The way all of our kids love each other is a really amazing gift. 

Happy loved seeing his baby. We all miss him so much now that he lives in the Bay Area. 

Here's the whole crew just after we locked the door to leave. I've named the others in earlier pix, but this one includes Lauren (Kyra's girlfriend), my spectacular brother, John, and my beloved sister (in law), Cathie.

After we said our goodbyes, Mandy, Cameron, Happy, Piper and I headed down to the pier. Mandy and Piper had never been to San Francisco so we did a little tourist jaunt. All in all it was a great trip.