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Planning California Mini-Road Trip

Old Jun 17th, 2020, 01:57 PM
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Planning California Mini-Road Trip

This may get pulled over the the Road Trip section, but thought I'd start here, since it's new and there's not a lot of action going on there.

Since we're not going to be able to do our every five years on our anniversary trip to England, and I am still a little wary about road-tripping out of State or flying right now (otherwise, I'd love to take DH to Yellowstone!), I'm going back to our roots, California.

Come August, DH & I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. When we got married, or rather "eloped" we marched ourselves down to the Santa Monica Courthouse where a Judge we knew married us. Following that, we jumped into my husband's aging heep of a car, and drove up the California coast to San Francisco, where we discovered the Cow Hollow Motor Inn. A place we have returned to just about every year since when visiting SF and its environs.

I just booked ourselves into one of their lovely suites for our anniversary.

This time, though, rather than racing along HWY 1 from LA to SF in one day, I'm thinking of taking things a little slower, perhaps stopping somewhere in between. I guess it depends on what's open, and would welcome your thoughts. We've never been to Hearst Castle, so that's a thought. Another thought is heading back to Paso Robles (even though I was there a few weeks back with my sister) so we can see the Field of Lights, which we missed by a week. Another thought is spending the night in Big Sur. We daytrip to Big Sur when we stay in Monterey (nearly every winter for 25 years), but have never stayed the night. Other ideas? I'll start checking to see what has actually opened up, or might open up in August.

But I'm so excited to get OUT!
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Old Jun 17th, 2020, 02:38 PM
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Hearst Castle is definitely worth a stop if it's open.


as is the Point Lobos State Preserve:


and the Monterey aquarium:


add to that Home - La Purisima Mission

Last edited by Michael; Jun 17th, 2020 at 02:40 PM.
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Old Jun 17th, 2020, 02:44 PM
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As of yesterday Hearst Castle was still closed.
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Old Jun 17th, 2020, 05:20 PM
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Re: Hearst Castle, I have hope! On Monterey, since I was born there, and have been there over 25 times, it will not be on our list this year!
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 05:01 AM
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Point Lobos, Pfeiffer Big Sur and Julia Pfeiffer Burns are still closed. There was a rumor that Point Lobos might open mid-May but that never materialized and now I'm wondering if it will reopen at all over summer. Garrapata, Andrew Molera and Limekiln have reopened. Pfeiffer Beach has also reopened. Monterey County hotels started accepting non-essential guests last Friday and I haven't heard how it's been going but Big Sur was fairly busy before that (not sure where everyone was staying). I expect August to be very busy if Memorial Day crowds were any indication. Carmel is trying to figure out a plan to deal with July 4th. Santa Cruz beaches are still closed between 11am to 5pm so that's not helping as people come here instead. I'm not saying don't come but I wouldn't expect it to be quiet. Also with less parks open, the ones that are open will have heavier visitation. We're having a surge in ag industry cases though that hasn't spilled over to the peninsula and Big Sur yet. Maybe consider the southern part of Big Sur where it's normally quieter.
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 11:31 AM
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In case you overlooked what is not right on the coast, there is the San Juan Bautista mission:
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the input so far.

Michael, I've been wanting to see that Mission forever! Thanks, I will put that on the list.

Patty, Nepenthe has just reopened . . . They don't usually do reservations, but am wondering if they will take one under the circumstances. I'll have to call to find out. I see that the Big River Inn is now open and taking reservations, and I've always liked the vibe there, where you can sit on chairs in the river. Having never actually spent the night in Big Sur, I think I'll get a reservation there. Of course, I've always wanted to spend a night or two at the Ventana or Post Ranch but the prices of both have quadrupled since the last time I actually checked the prices . . . would rather spend the money on a case of excellent wine!
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 12:34 PM
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Loved Highlands Inn in Carmel if you can get a good price, the website says they will open tomorrow for stays but the bar and restaurant are still closed. If that changes by August it would be my choice in the area.
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 08:46 PM
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jamie, we actually stayed next door at the Tickle Pink Inn some years ago . . . both properties were fabulous!
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Old Jun 21st, 2020, 03:29 PM
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Surfergirl, in 2011 my husband and I spent two nights of our August 40th anniversary California road trip at the Post Ranch Inn on a Lexus package. We’d never been hotelcentric travelers and my husband spent much of the way up PCH wondering how any place could be worth that much money. It turned out to be a highlight of the trip, https://www.fodors.com/community/uni...-robles-905086.
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Old Jun 21st, 2020, 09:50 PM
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If you are driving up the coast, have you considered a night or two in Santa Barbara?

We made a trip to Los Angeles just a couple of weeks before the shut-down (end of February first few days of March). And we managed to get a pretty good advanced purchase deal for the Hilton Beachfront. It used to be known as the Fess Parker. It is just a lovely setting. You can get a room with a balcony or patio that looks toward the water. That would be really nice for a bottle of wine or takeout dinner watching the sunset.

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/sba...esort/gallery/
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 07:29 AM
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I don't know what hotel rules in the Covid era are/will be, but in the past hotels all along the coast used to have a 2 night (sometimes 3 night) minimum stay between Friday (sometimes Thursday) through Sunday during the summer months. This used to make for tricky trip planning.

I assume hotels are begging for business, but I think there is also the potential of fewer rooms available if hotels are quarantining rooms between guests which is something that has been reported in the media and advertised by various chains.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 01:35 PM
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Well, we managed to get one night stands (lol) at the two places we booked -- back to the Adelaide in Paso Robles; and this will be our very first stay at the Big Sur River Inn. Again, one night.

Bon Voyage, I read your trip report of the PRI . . . fantastic trip report! Actually, it should have been an article, it was so good! Before I got a reservation at the BSRI, I had checked out both the Ventana and the PRI. It should come as no shock to you that, aside from the 2 day minimum stay at both properties, the nightly rate is just a TAD higher than what you paid. Well, a heck of a lot higher. Your tree house room, mid week, goes for $1800/night, and $2600/night weekends. Breakfast only.

The Ventana, where my mom used to stay years ago, is similarly priced.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 01:56 PM
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5alive, thanks for the suggestion. I was in Santa Barbara 2 weekends ago, and do plan to go back there for a few days to visit a friend when we all feel comfortable visiting with people again! I will keep that Hilton in mind . . . especially since I need to get my points back up again!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 09:03 PM
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Surfergirl, those are reach for the smelling salts rates😱.
Thanks so much for your kind words about the trip report, it was our last journey up that way.

And what a lovely itinerary you’ve mapped out—Happy Anniversary!!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2020, 12:32 PM
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"smelling salts rates" -- LOL!

In Big Sur, Nepenthe has just re-opened. Always my go-to place when day tripping to Big Sur. My recollection had been that they didn't take reservations, and every time we went, we'd have to put our name on a long list and wait. Thinking how the pandemic changes everything, I wrote them to ask if I could get a reservation, since space is now very limited. And they were kind enough to write back penciling me in! So excited!
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Old Jun 29th, 2020, 02:47 PM
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Nothing really to add except that it always makes me happy to hear other people talk about staying at the Cow Hollow Motor Inn. It's such a great deal and located in such a great place. My family have been going there for years.
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