Earlier this week we filled you in on some of the details of our weeklong trip out to California in celebration of Wendy's birthday. Now that we're back on the east coast, we're still trying to get caught up with the work, projects, and other chores we missed while away. But like any extremely fun vacation, we can't seem to shake that vacation buzz.

Hopefully you know the buzz I'm talking about. Whether you'be been to a far away destination, or a local favorite, it's that feeling where you wish there was just some way to grab onto the freedom and feelings associated with vacation and make it last all day every day. It might mean quitting your job, moving away, and striking it rich elsewhere to make it a reality, and as unrealistic as it may actually be, you can't help but dream.

From our vacation there was one day in particular that is more or less the epitome of enjoyment that we keep thinking back to and wishing we could be transported back to in the blink of an eye.

This day started in Carmel-by-the-Sea. That alone might have been enough to make it a nearly perfect day, but it only got better from there. After venturing out for some morning shopping we dropped by a cheese and wine shop called, not surprisingly, The Cheese Shop in the Carmel Plaza. This shop is beyond awesome. When you walk in you're greeted by an amazing selection of cheese and related goodies, an amazingly friendly staff, and stacks of wine. What more could you want?

We wandered around the store for a little while perusing the collections and admiring the selections.

They had everything from your basic few dollar table wines to special bottles of 40 plus year aged wine and bubbly that can set you back $1500-$3000. In other words, they have something for everyone.

A few minutes into our wandering, one of The Cheese Shop's employees offered us a sample of some honey infused cheese and instantly transformed our day from good to great.

Blake knows his cheese! For the next several minutes he gave us sample after sample, complete with a description, knowledge, suggestions, and stories. We had such a good time that it ended up with Blake hamming it up a bit...

...and Wendy, along with our friend Katie, behind the counter holding some cheese.

We ended up buying a baguette of sour dough, three types of cheese, and we had a plan for an enjoyable and unique lunch experience. I stuck the baguette and cheese in my bag and we were off!

We headed just south of Carmel to Point Lobos, one of the many US National Parks locations along the California coast. This park is known for sea otters, seals, beautiful views, and a previously thriving abalone industry.

We parked at our first destination, Whaler's Cove to take in the sights, and we stumbled on this little beach alcove far below our overlook. This little beach is home to several seals and recently born seal pups. Wendy could have stayed there all day watching these ladies and their babies.

The pups would wander around making noise and annoying the adults. To which the adults would sometimes respond with a smack of their fin. It was a comical sight to enjoy, and a rare treat. It made me wish we had a better zoom lens.

Nearby we ventured into the 100 plus year old Chinese whaler's cabin. This gnarly old building has served as homes, barracks, and offices in its many years. The key to its long term survival and ability to avoid the wrath of termites and other insects is the fact it was built and sits atop whale bones as footings. Ingenious if you ask me.

Before leaving this first location we sat down and enjoyed our lunch of cheese, fruit, water, and bubbly. It was one of the most picturesque and enjoyable lunches I can ever remember. The setting was perfect, company spectacular, and the food was delicious.

The three cheeses we bought were honey infused, balsamic infused, and coconut infused. Sound delicious? It was! 

After lunch we headed over to Sea Lion's Cove for a little more hiking and sight seeing. The weather was nearly perfect under the late afternoon sun. The tide was in and waves were crashing against the rock and sand.

While walking around and exploring the area I snapped a few photos of Wendy, unbeknownst to her, just enjoying the ocean. 

You can see just how how happy she is, and that really makes my heart smile. I'm so happy I was able to capture this, and the next one is easily my favorite shot from the entire vacation.

These types of destinations are amazing in so many ways. As you may know, I'm a sucker for history. And as much time and effort as we put into restoring our 125 year old house, the history of our home can't hold a candle to the rocky shores that make up the California coast. 

Many of the rocks we were walking on that wonderful day have sat undisturbed for millions of years, just hanging out and waiting for the day that they are dislodged and move onto their next location. The gnarly and odd surfaces, sand compacted to the point it has become natural concrete, and lifeless objects within reach of the brutal surf give way to little bursts of living things by way of survivor plants and sea creatures. 

Quite honestly, there are few places that I've been that are more breathtaking than the various stops we've made along California's Pacific Coast Highway. Point Lobos is truly amazing, but it's also just one of many stops you can make. The drive south from Carmel consists of hundreds of miles of winding and unexpected landscape that feels as if you've been transported to another planet, and it starts with Point Lobos. 

If ever you've been looking for that unexpected and unique getaway, and something that very well might create the elusive and fleeting vacation buzz, you might want to look into a trip down Highway 1. It's a destination that definitely does it for me, and I hope it would for you as well.

Have you ever stopped by Point Lobos, Big Sur, or any of the other amazing places along the PCH? A few years ago we went to Hearst Castle at San Simeon, and much like our trip to Point Lobos, it lives on in our minds as a truly memorable and enjoyable vacation experience. Do you have a favorite vacation destination or activity, that you like to mentally escape to from time to time? We'd love to hear about your top picks.

Comments 9

Comments

Jill PP
5/9/2013 at 1:41 PM
ah, these photos have me itching to take a vacation! I think one of my favorite places we've been is Cornwall - we stayed in a dog-friendly B&B near Crantock (not far from Newquay)and spent four days hiking with Phoenix, enjoying the beach, and eating yummy food and drinking awesome beer along the way.
Wendy
5/13/2013
That sounds like the perfect trip! :-)
5/10/2013 at 8:10 AM
That's the life... being a seal, I mean.

I've only really been to San Diego and LA. I need to explore the rest of the coast. Looks wonderful!
Wendy
5/13/2013
:-) We agree. I want to come back in my next life as either a seal...or one of our pets!
5/10/2013 at 4:18 PM
That looks like an amazing coastline. I'd love to go there someday. And the cheeses just make my mouth water! Reminds me of lunches in France in summer :)
Wendy
5/13/2013
If you can make it out there someday, we'd definitely encourage it!

Lunches in France? Sounds absolutely amazing!
Ellen
5/13/2013 at 9:30 PM
Lovely. I lived there for many years. Point Lobos is a secret place! You shouldn't put it out there since it is one place devoid of the throngs of tourists. Anyway, glad yu did share so I could virtually visit my favorite place on Earth. Carmel is very special. The valley is a haven of fun as well. And the wharf, the row, and other former haunts.
Wendy
5/13/2013
Oops, I guess we gave away the secret! :-) We couldn't believe how beautiful it was, and wish we had allocated the entire day to spend exploring Point Lobos.

How wonderful it must have been to live in that area!
Melissa
7/19/2013 at 2:53 PM
I love Carmel! We were just there two years ago and combined the trip with SF and Yosemite. Yosemite is something to behold. I probably bring up moving to Carmel once every two weeks because the weather/town is amazing and dog friendly, perfect for my hot, hot pugs.
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