I got the idea in my head a couple weeks ago that we needed to make our trip happen NOW before summer craziness sets in. So I texted my mom and Ginny while they were in Italy and asked if they could come stay at our house with Eleanor while we had a night out. They said "yes!" so I started scheming. I set out to surprise Aaron with it all, so I researched hotels and activities and restaurants galore. I just kept wanting to get excited about it with Aaron though so I caved and let him in on the idea. He was all about it and before we knew it we had our Monterey hotel booked and our plans in place to leave that coming weekend. We are not ususally this spontaneous but it was fun to throw caution to the wind.
My mom and Ginny drove up by 2 pm on Friday afternoon and we were out the door by 3 pm. This was our first time both leaving Eleanor together so I was a little worried (but also very excited :)), especially since Eleanor has become very attached to me these last couple of weeks. But when we went to say goodbye, Eleanor wouldn't even come to give me a hug. She was perfectly content to just sit in Grandma's lap! Not quite the going away scene you imagine as a mom but it definitely put my heart at ease knowing that she was going to be just fine without us.
So we drove off and had the very best time together.
We were pretty starved by the time we pulled in but Aaron humored me with some pictures by the water. When it's just the two of us, pictures usually go like this...
First one of Aaron...
We relied heavily on Trip Advisor/Yelp for food recommendations and they did not steer us wrong!
We walked over to a sushi place called Crystal Fish and while we were at first skeptical by the location and exterior, it totally blew us away.
It was THE BEST SUSHI OF ALL TIME.
The fish was SO fresh. We could have eaten five more rolls but we were full after three (darn!). We will definitely be going back though. I must have that Monterey Roll again!
And we now use "Crystal Fish" as the measuring stick for greatness. Throughout the weekend, you could find us saying, "This is the 'crystal fish' of all nights," "You are the 'crystal fish' of all husbands," "That was the 'crystal fish' of all ice cream," etc. etc.
^^The look of pure satisfaction. And you better believe we ate those last couple of rolls!
We ended the night with a walk along Cannery Row and split a sundae at Ghirardelli's.
^^Look at the grip I have on the glass, as if to say, "This is allll mine." I wish, ha!
Monterey was really killin' it in the plant department. I could do with more of those flowers and cypress trees in my life.
We grabbed delicious crepes at Crepes of Brittany, which was just along the water at Fisherman's Wharf.
^^See that little boy with his Grandpa? He was practicing walking right next to us and made us miss Eleanor a whole bunch.
And as luck would have it, there was a car show just next to where we ate our crepes! Aaron is like a magnet for these things.
^^Look at the speedometer! Goodness, cars used to be so pretty.
Then on to the Aquarium, thanks to our wonderful friends the Stoffels who let us use their guest passes. Thanks Arenda!
I fell in love with the sea otters the last time I came to Monterey (over 15 years ago...) and I loved them just as much this time around.
After the aquarium, we were in the mood to just sit for a while so we decided to do the 17 Mile Drive. The drive takes you along the coast and through world famous golf courses and the most beautiful homes. The views are just stunning and definitely gave us a chance to do a little dreaming ourselves.
^^I'd love to bike this drive one day!
^^I couldn't get the color to come out right for this picture but that water was surprisingly blue for the Pacific Ocean and that sand was nice and white.
^^That's a good ole DSLR selfie right there. Monterey's overcast weather sure makes your skin look milky smooth in photos.
^^I should have taken more shots of the trees. This photo DOES NOT do those pretty trees justice.
^^We sure loved walking the grounds of Pebble Beach.
We were starving by the end of the drive and had just enough time to squeeze in a late lunch/early dinner before we headed back home. We accidentally ended up at a rather fancy waterfront restaurant but it seemed like the perfect end to a great weekend so we just rolled with it. I loved my salad and we had a great time recapping all the fun stuff we had done. We also planned out ideas for future getaways, of which we hope there are many ;)
And then it was off to Fresno for us. We blasted Billy Joel and the Eagles all the way home and and spent equal time singing along as we did talking about our life goals.
Upon arriving home, we gave my mom and Ginny the biggest hugs we could and thanked them again and again for letting us have the best weekend. They were such champs! And it felt so good knowing that Eleanor was happy as a clam while we were away. Eleanor was already asleep when we got home but we both went into her room the next morning and it was a really sweet reunion. We gave her a little puffin stuffed animal from the aquarium and she has given that thing so many hugs it's ridiculous and adorable.
So, in summary, these sorts of weekends are definitely a luxury that we don't get to enjoy very often but man it was needed and wonderful. It just feels good to be with your spouse and focus just on each other and remember that you really are best friends and that you really, really enjoy each other. It's just one of those things that is so worth it because it allows you to really reconnect and refocus.
It was definitely the "crystal fish" of all weekends ;)