Quite possibly the most relaxing vacation we have ever been on, Emily and I enjoyed two weeks exploring California from Mendocino to Anaheim for our honeymoon. After all the planning and excitement of our wedding in Orlando, we were ready for a peaceful and fun getaway (Emily needing more of a break than I after all her great wedding planning). Below is an overview of our travels with links to the individual journal pages for your enjoyment. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to access any or all of there 16 daily blog posts from our travels. I created a video slideshow of the photo highlights of our trip below.
We made our way from Orlando to Sacramento, CA by plane on October 26th, 2004, rented a car and drove to our first destination of Mendocino, CA where we check into the beautiful Brewery Gulch Inn for a few days of exploration and relaxation. As mentioned above, Mendocino provided the perfect location to start our honeymoon because it was beautiful but didn’t make you feel like you were missing anything if you wanted to just go back to the inn and relax. There was just enough to see and do in Downtown Mendocino where we spent some time shopping, eating and getting our first eduction on wine.
Northern California is a beautiful place to hike and explore so we took a day to hike at the Russian Gulch State Park. We traveled one of the more mild trails but the foliage and views were incredible. The hike was a nice reminder of just how out of shape we were. During our time in Mendocino we had some good food but our favorite dinner by far was at the Albion River Inn where we enjoyed an breathtaking sunset over the Pacific Ocean. It was the perfect end to our quiet and romantic stay in Mendocino.
We left Mendocino and traveled south en route to San Francisco. Before leaving one of the locals recommended stopping at the Fort Ross State Historic Park to help break up the drive. It was a great place to stretch our legs and learn a little history and snap some fun photographs. We continued on our journey south and arrived in San Francisco at dinner time.
San Francisco was a beautiful city which we didn’t get to explore nearly enough. We spent a day at Fisherman’s Wharf where we snapped a couple hundred photos of sea lions and we also checked out some of the local stores and fresh sea food shops. Looking across the bay we spotted Alcatraz, agreeing that it was the perfect place for the tourists that we are to check out. We took the guided tour and learned all about the criminals who called that place home.
It wouldn’t be a trip to California without spending at least one day in Napa. We took the opportunity to escape San Francisco for the day and visited the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa. Not sure rubbing elbows with the wine aficionados was our cup of tea (or wine) but when in Rome I suppose. After all of our drinking and eating we agreed that another day of the nature and hiking was in order. We seized the opportunity to visit the majestic Muir Woods where we saw the incredible Red Wood trees.
Not hard to believe I am sure, but our most anticipated leg of our trip with the third and final, Disneyland in Anaheim. I hadn’t been to Disneyland for many years, and being that we both met working for the Mouse, it was a place that we definitely wanted to go together. We checked into the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel which was absolutely magnificent. The Cast Members at the hotel went above and beyond decorating our room with paper hearts and flower petals. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.
We savored our experiences at the Disneyland Park as well as Disney’s California Adventure Park. We were like two kids in a candy store the size of a small city. We made sure that we properly charged our camera batteries because we gave them, as well as our feet, quite a working during our visit. We ate great food including a couple visits to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland.
Being that we are such huge Disney fans, we booked the a Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour at Disneyland. The tour was inspiring and educational as we learned more about the man who started it all. We also got to see some of the exclusive parts of the park like Club 33. Definitely worth the tour if you are ever out that way.
We did take one day away from Disneyland Resort to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Emily booked us a safari which I have to say was the best one I have ever been on. We got up close to a lot of neat animals and also had the opportunity to feed giraffes and rhino. Looking back at the photos I can’t believe how close we got to some of those animals.
We took our last day at Disneyland Resort to revisit our favorites and ensure that we captured photos of the things that we would be excited to see again on future trips to Disneyland. The trip was the perfect combination or relaxation, nature, excitement and fun.
If you want to read more of our travels, check out the blog posts for each of the 16 days of our trip below.
Depart Orlando, Arrive at the Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino CA We left Orlando at 7:50 a.m. which, after the incredible weekend that we had, was mighty early! Our connecting flight was through Salt Lake City, and we ended up in Sacramento at 12:30 local time. We rented our car and drove for 4 hours to Mendocino, CA where we started our vacation. Let me also say that the 4 hour drive was anything but straight! We had just enough time to stop for an elegant lunch at Jack in the ...Read More
Downtown Mendocino, CA After 11 hours of sleep we were finally ready to start our day! The weather was in the 50’s, which was a great change of pace from the Florida summer heat! We started the day by taking a walk through the downtown Mendocino, CA area. We then took a walking trail that took us along the coastal waterfront. The pictures that we took did not do justice to how beautiful it was. After a little shopping we ended up eating lunch at the Bay View Café. Emily ...Read More
Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino, CA Another beautiful cool morning! We woke up early to partake in the unbelievable breakfast that they served at the Inn. Being the avid outdoors people that we are we decided to go for a hike at the Russian Gulch State Park. There was a 3 mile hike to the beautiful falls area where we took many pictures. When we arrived at the Russian Gulch State Park falls we were looking around for the tram that took us back to our car. After great search ...Read More
Explore Mendocino, Dinner at Albion River Inn at Sunset Being that this was our last day in Mendocino we decided to just relax and do some shopping in the downtown area to wrap up our stay. By noon we had visited just about every shop Mendocino had to offer so we went to the Mendocino Hotel for lunch. The food was delicious! We continued on to visit a local wine shop where we met Dan, who was very helpful in teaching us about different wines. After purchasing a few bottles ...Read More
Mendocino to San Francisco, Visit Fort Ross State Historic Park We awoke early again today as we have not acclimated to the change in time zones. We had another wonderful breakfast and had to bid adieu to the Brewery Gulch Inn. We started on our journey to San Francisco going south on Route 1 from Mendocino. For those of you who have not traveled on Route 1, let me tell you that I would compare it to a roller coaster (which I refuse to ride). There are times when your ...Read More
Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco, Halloween Today was the time change back to standard time so our sleeping schedule got even more thrown off! I woke up at 7:00 which ended up being 6:00 so I knew I was in for a long day. We started out with room service breakfast, which was good, but no match for the Brewery Gulch Inn breakfast. After breakfast we set out for the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco. The Fisherman's Wharf area was neat and touristy, with plenty of shops and food to ...Read More
San Francisco, CA - Alcatraz Island Tour Today we started with another room service breakfast, which was average. After getting ready we set out to the Fisherman's Wharf again for our Alcatraz island tour. We greeted the friendly, noisy protestors on our way. We arrived just in time to hop on the boat to the island. The tour took about two hours, which was a really neat experience to see the cell block where some famous criminals were held. The island also had some amazing views of the bay area ...Read More
Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley California - Election day Today we decided to venture outside of the San Francisco bay area and head to Napa Valley for some wine tasting. We had picked out Robert Mondavi Winery as our destination. After a great breakfast at this awesome local restaurant, Sears, we got in the car and headed out. Another trip over the Golden Gate bridge was cool even though it was quite foggy and the visibility was very low. An hour and a half later we were at the door ...Read More
San Francisco, CA - Sears Fine Foods, Muir Woods, The Orpheum Theater Today was one of the few days that we actually had something planned before we got here. We had tickets for the Lion King Broadway show for the matinee. We decided to make our last breakfast stop at Sears, not like us to do things more than once but we made an exception here! Breakfast was great! After breakfast we headed to the Muir Woods in a attempt to see some really big trees. This we did and ...Read More
San Francisco to Anaheim, check in at the Grand Californian Hotel Today we had to say farewell to San Francisco, which at this point we were ready to do. We said our goodbyes to the strikers and hit the open road. The drive was approximately 7 hours so we needed to stop for some fueling. If your following along I think you know where we ended up for lunch. I was however surprised to find out that Jack in the Box is not on the South Beach diet. After clogging the ...Read More
Explore Disneyland Park and Downtown Disney Today was our first full day in Anaheim and we were loving every minute of it. We got ready and headed right to Disneyland where we picked up some breakfast on the go and started exploring the park. The park was not crowded at all so we were able to walk right on to most all of the rides that we were interested in. The weather was a perfect 68 degrees so we couldn't ask for much more. After getting through almost half of ...Read More
Explore Disney's California Adventure Park at Disneyland Today we decided to check out the newest park out here in Anaheim, California Adventure. Before our exploration we had a (delicious?) breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen. This was a character breakfast, which in theory, characters are supposed to come to your table for photo ops. Well maybe it was the fact that we both look a shade over 6 but we didn't get the attention that Emily was anticipating. Food was pretty good and after finally meeting Goofy we were off to California ...Read More
Disneyland Park Fun & Shopping at The Block Today was another fun day at the parks. When we woke up it was rainy and overcast out, so we took Emily's small camera but left the big guns behind. Hence, you will see the smaller than usual picture count at the bottom! We started by getting our chocolate muffins at Disney's California Adventure and headed over to Disneyland. At Disneyland the first stop was Innoventions where we had gone the day before and saw that we could ride segways in the ...Read More
Explore Disneyland Resort, A Walk in Walt's Footsteps, and More! Today was an action packed fun day again at Disneyland! We started the day with a tour called A Walk in Walt's Footsteps. This guided tour took you through the park and showed you all of the touches that Walt Disney put into the park. We both learned a great deal about Walt as well as the park that we thought we knew a lot about already. There were about 10 other people on the tour with us who shared ...Read More
An Adventurous day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park Today was an awesome day! We got up, had our morning muffins and headed south to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Emily had done some research and set up a 3.5 hour photo safari tour at the park. The photo safari was to begin at 12:30 and we arrived at the park around 11:00 am. After having some lunch we decided to check out the lion exhibit before the tour. They had 6 lions at the park, 2 of ...Read More
Our Last Honeymoon Day and Last Day at Disneyland Today was the last day of our incredible honeymoon. The goal of the day was to take more pictures and to go on the rides that we had not been on yet. We also got into pressing pennies which we had a blast doing throughout the day. We took our final opportunity to tour the other Disney resorts that we had not seen completely. We started the day with another character breakfast at the Storytellers Cafe which was located at our hotel ...Read More
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