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Trip Report Our Carmel-Napa Valley-SF Trip

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Hello everyone…. Thank you so much for all of the great advice given during our trip planning. My husband and I had five nights to spend in California at the beginning of April. We had already spent a week in San Francisco previously so our main priorities were the other destinations on our trip. I had been through Big Sur and Monterey as a kid but my husband had never been and neither of us had ever been to Napa Valley. We flew in and out of SFO as those were the cheapest flights.

Day 1: Flight arrived at SFO around 1:00 in the afternoon. We picked up our rental car at Dollar (painless) and were headed south on Hwy 1 by about 2:00. We stopped at an In-N-Out about an hour into the drive as I had to get my burger fix! The plan was to stop in Monterey and then drive around the coast through Pacific Grove, 17 Mile Drive and Pebble Beach before checking into our hotel in Carmel. This may be too ambitious for some of you but for us it worked perfectly. We arrived in Monterey around 4:30 and walked around Fisherman’s Wharf (super touristy/somewhat tacky) before jumping back in the car. Following Ocean Street (?) around the coast we stopped multiple times along the turn-out points around Pacific Grove to take photos. The pink ice plants were beginning to bloom and the scenery was stunning. I had heard the 17-Mile Drive didn’t live up to the hype, but my husband really wanted to see Pebble Beach so, for us, it was worth the $10 entrance fee. There are some really nice beaches and homes along the drive. We even saw multiple deer frolicking along the golf course. We arrived at Pebble Beach around 6:30 and got out of the car for a short walk to the 18th hole. Then we headed to Carmel, eager to check into our hotel before the sunset.
Mission Ranch in Carmel: I can’t say enough good things about this place…. It’s like a dream. When we pulled in I was stunned by the scenery… the ranch lies on a beautiful piece of property just five minutes from downtown Carmel but it feels like you are hundreds of miles away. There are even sheep! We opted for the cheapest room in their farmhouse… very small but clean and charming. The farmhouse has a cozy living area with a fireplaces and beautiful porch where we spent our evening lounging on the rocking chairs. The ranch does have some nicer rooms and private cottages as well. Sadly, we didn’t get to see Clint Eastwood while we were there! Our first night we had cocktails and appetizers at the Ranch’s restaurant which was a little pricey but great.

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