Over the holidays we went out to Southern California to visit my sister and her husband. A Vintage Year takes place in Santa Barbara and surrounding area, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. With the amazing climate, you can be outdoors year round and not freeze your hiney off (unlike Montreal where it’s a high tomorrow of -20C). A little further south is the picturesque town of Laguna Beach, near where my sister lives. It was our home base and from there we branched out into nearby towns and cities to explore. The great thing about California is that it is so dense. There is so much to see in such a relatively small area. The drawback is that navigating the traffic will make you glad that everything is relatively close as it takes forever to get anywhere — especially during holiday time. Our favourite time to visit is during our March Break — the western schools are all still in session, so there are fewer crowds and lineups at theme parks. Plus, the weather is perfect for travelling.
The kids love visiting because they love California in general. Now, we’ve been there enough times that we now don’t bother the with theme parks having done all of them except for Knots Berry Farm and Warner Brothers Studios — but we’ll save those for a calmer time of year.
This time, our boys tried surfing (two BIG thumbs up!), and we toured the Dolby Theatre, (formerly Kodak), where the Academy Awards are held.
We also did some old standbys such as the Santa Monica Pier, San Clemente Pier, Rodeo Drive and drove down to San Diego to visit and have lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado — quite possibly the most expensive sandwich I’ve ever had. I almost fainted when we got the bill.
One new-to-us “delicacy” our brother-in-law introduced us to was the Cronut. Has anyone ever tried that? Apparently it’s a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. One bite was enough to turn me cross-eyed from the sweetness, and wondering where the nearest defibrillator machine was.
We took many walks through the hillsides which offered great views of the ocean and some pretty spectacular homes. There was a vineyard on the side of a hill in a few of the larger homes. While good drainage is important, with the drought in California, these vines were looking pretty parched. Not sure about the quality of the grapes this year.
It was a lovely trip — it’s always great catching up with my sister — and we got lucky with the weather. We had one day of rain and the rest were all brilliantly sunny. Although it was a little on the cool side (3-17C) while we were there, Montreal was getting a dump of 40cm, so we weren’t complaining!