Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coast Trip {August 2011}

Friday morning I woke up thinking that I had a solo work trip ahead of me for a party in Paso Robles. My hubby out of the blue said "we should just come with you and get a hotel"! By the way, I think I have a new trusted hotel chain...we loved the Hampton Inn and Suites in Paso. It was super clean, quality decor, and fluffy (by hotel standards) beds with big white down comforters. Anyway, back to the trip! I finished making the last of my party preparations while hubby tied up his loose ends at work. By lunchtime we were off with the ladybug party on wheels! Ha ha. We went straight to our friend's house to set up all I could until the next morning, when I would return and set up the dessert table. After checking in to our cozy hotel we decided we'd drive to Shell Beach for our favorite restaurant that we rarely get to eat at, F. McLintock's. It's pricey, but it's worth it for a splurge, and we've learned a few cheapo tricks through the years! See that basket of onion rings? They are the best on the planet, I'm sure of it. Those come out as soon as you sit down. Now here's a secret...a few times, when our kids were babies {and not that easy to take to eat} we would order ONE meal to go. You pick it up in the bar and they literally give you a BOX of food! We would then take it across the street, park in a one of the parking lots lining the ocean cliffs, and FEAST! :) EACH meal includes: onion rings and salsa, salad {by FAR the best ranch I've ever eaten}, garlic bread, skillet potatoes, beans, your entree {steak or chicken PLUS rice pilaf!}, AND ice cream for dessert!! Um, hello!! Yes, it's a box of food containers!

The other thing we've learned is that if you ask for an extra plate, they'll give you one for free, but won't refill all of your sides. Otherwise you can do the split plate for $6-$8 {I can't remember} and they WILL refill your sides. Here's a tip...unless you are one of those hot dog contest eaters, you WON'T need refills! We paid for an extra salad even though we split the meal, and this time we learned we don't even need to do that...neither of us finished the huge salads they give you. The very first time I ate at this restaurant I was 16 years old, visiting from Ohio and it was the night before I would meet my future husband! How weird is that?

If you're wondering what my daughter is doing in these pictures....well....she's eating a turkey nut!!!! Yep, you read it right! My crazy picky girl thinks she's eating chicken but daddy actually got her to eat it. Brandon loves these things, I tried them years ago but I just can't get past WHAT they are.

Anyway, it's super delicious! Using our tricks it's not TOO expensive. ;) The other locations are no where near as good though.

Saturday morning I went to set up the party and then picked up the fam at the hotel and we headed to Morro Bay. We ate lunch at our favorite...the Hofbrau. It was overcast, but still warm enough to be on the beach.

After that we took the girls to their "must stop" place, The Shell Shop. After that we headed to Cambria. Our favorite place there is called Heart's Ease. They have a BEAUTIFUL garden behind the store.

There are so many nooks in this garden! Too bad it would be impossible to grow a garden like this in the valley climate.

They also have a fairy garden house. The upper right hand picture below is the outside view. It's hidden under grape vines. Take a peek inside!

There are even benches to sit on, and obviously adults can sit in there too, it's big enough for one family at a time.

Everywhere you turn there are butterflies! It's so beautiful and fragrant!

I believe it's the last Saturday in April every year that they have the Fairy Festival and it is AMAZING! They have a harp player in the garden, story time in the garden, bubble machines, someone dressed up blowing up shaped balloons, and every little girl is wearing wings. I believe they also have punch and cookies in the garden. It's ADORABLE!!

This village is a new addition since we'd last been there. The girls each threw a penny into the water and wished to see a fairy.

We had time for one last stop before heading back to pick up my party stuff and drive home. We went to Linn's Bakery for a ice cream and cake.

This was one of the layers of our wedding cake. We got married at Ragged Point, and Linn's did our cake. Our layers were Black Magic, Cafe Mocha, and Ollaliberry. I love that it's a special treat to eat the same cake we ate on our wedding day whenever we come!

I came home with a full heart, feeling SO beyond blessed to get to do what I love and actually get paid for it??!! I never thought that would happen. I am also just BEYOND thankful that my family got to come with me at the last minute! My husband does air conditioning so we usually don't get to go anywhere during the summer months. Thankfully he had a free day and we turned our last weekend before school starts into some great family memories!

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