Happy New Years! Finally back in Boston after a wonderful two week vacation on the west coast for Christmas and the new years. Our first stop was the San Francisco Bay Area to spend some quality time with my family and our second stop was Arizona, P’s home state for some southwest adventures.
Of course our entire time in California was glorious! The weather was absolutely perfect while our friends in the northeast experienced several blizzards and snow days. Besides hanging out with the family, P and I made a few days trips to SF, Monterey, and Carmel to take in the sites and enjoy the sun.
On Saturdays, the Ferry Center in SF is home to a farmer’s market selling fresh veggies and fruits and local grub from food stalls. My mom loves going to the Ferry Center farmer’s market for exotic in-season fruits and…. donuts…. yup, I said donuts…. amazing donuts! Custard filled sugared donuts that are located in the Ferry building between a tea shop and a gourmet market and sell out at about 1 pm. Dunkin’ Donuts, a Boston favorite, cannot compare to these homemade pastry delights. These donuts are perfectly sweet, freshly made, and really addicting. So, my parents, P, and I visited the Ferry Center on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We walked along the pier listening to street bands and noshed on donuts. We also stopped by Coqueta for tasty tapas and cocktails and a great view of the Bay Bridge.
The next day, my cousins, P, and I decided to play tourist in SF. We climbed Moraga steps to Grand View Park for a 360 degree view of the city. The Moraga steps are hidden in a cute little neighborhood. Each step is designed with colorful mosaic tiles illustrating the ocean, the moon, or the sun. The steps were also a nice short workout for the booty.
After climbing, we thought we would treat ourselves to some ice cream sundaes in Ghiradelli Square, which have way more calories than the calories we burned climbing the steps, but hey, we’re on vacation! The ice cream shop was packed with people, many who were visibly eyeing our table while we ate our dessert, making us feel really uncomfortable and forcing us to eat quickly. The ice cream sundaes were worth it!
After exploring the area, we came upon fisherman’s wharf. Despite full stomachs, we couldn’t pass up the crab rolls displayed in the street food stalls. Don’t worry… the four of us shared one roll to keep our stomachs from bursting…
The day before Christmas Eve, P and I went to one of my favorite childhood places, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We explored the aquarium like we were ten years old again, touch tanks and all. My favorite was the jelly fish exhibit with a ginormous tank at the end of the exhibit filled with sharks, turtles, stingray, and fish. It was amazing being surrounded by all of the aquatic life. Another favorite was being able to spot otters in the bay playing with each other and seals lying on the rocks sunbathing. We also walked along the wharf sampling clam chowder and appreciating the weather and views.
While in Monterey, we stopped by Carmel to see the sunset. Thinking that parking was going to be difficult, we found a parking lot and paid $6 for 2 hours. Unbeknownst to us, as we walked downhill to the beach, we noticed plenty of free street parking. We felt like chumps paying that $6… whoops… Oh well, the sunset was well worth it! We dug our bare feet into the cold fine sand and watched the sun set over the ocean. Absolutely gorgeous! Plus, because our parking lot was on the edge of town, we got to walk through the cute downtown antique and coffee shops and admire the million dollar homes.