Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

We are back! Over the past 8 days, we’ve spent three nights in San Francisco and three nights in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Bella sure has had her share of travel.

Since we had less than 48 hours at home between the two trips (and I worked both of those days), I never had a chance to recap our San Francisco trip, so I’ll do that now and then move onto our Penn State trip later this week.

The Saturday before last, we woke up really early in the morning to hop on the direct flight to San Francisco. The flight was a little less than five and a half hours – way longer than Bella’s previous plane rides to New York – but she was a total trooper. She didn’t sleep nearly as long as we would have liked, but she was happy for almost the entire time. She nursed and ate a lot, smiled at anyone who would smile at her, played with (ate) magazines, and generally just enjoyed being held by mommy and daddy.

I've got my own boarding pass to SFO!

I’ve got my own boarding pass to SFO!

"reading"

“reading”

thankful that there was an empty seat in our row on the way out

thankful that there was an empty seat in our row on the way out

Thanks to the time change, we arrived pretty early in San Francisco. We were joined by mom mom and pop pop, who were starting a week-long trip to California, and my cousin Alex, who lives in the city. Lance was in town for a conference, so we took advantage of the fact that his hotel room was paid for and used our personal points to upgrade the room to a suite so that mom mom and pop pop could stay with us and help look after Bella.

I’d never been to San Francisco, despite several previous Cali trips, so even with the short timeframe, I’m glad I was able to experience this beautiful city!

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Our hotel was the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero and it was in a fantastic location. The hotel is directly across from the Ferry Building, which has a bustling Saturday farmer’s market and lots of great food options inside. We ate lunch there on the first day, I picked up breakfast for everyone there one morning, and on our final night we enjoyed oysters overlooking the bay and the Bay Bridge at Hog Island Oyster Company. The hotel was also in (long) walking distance of Pier 39, Fisherman’s Warf, and Ghiradelli Square, and in the opposite direction, to Union Square. We were able to take the Bart (thankfully before the strike!) to and from SFO and on one evening we took the cable car to go see a movie!

view from our hotel balcony

view from our hotel balcony

After our arrival on Saturday, we mainly walked around the farmer’s market, ate lunch, spent some time napping and relaxing in the hotel, and finally went to dinner in the financial district. We needed to rest up for our big day Sunday!

sunrise from the Ferry Building after picking up breakfast

sunrise from the Ferry Building after picking up breakfast

sunset from our balcony

sunset from our balcony

On Sunday we rented a car and headed to Sonoma for some wine tasting! I had spent some time on Yelp and TripAdvisor and settled on visits to Gloria Ferrar, Chateau St. Jean, and Landmark. Each had beautiful grounds that we were really able to enjoy on a sunny day in with temps in the low 70s. We picked up sandwiches in town and enjoyed a relaxing lunch at Chateau St. Jean. I was thrilled that Bella was not the only baby at all three places we went. So happy that we decided to bring her along. I obviously limited my tastings as DD and nursing mama, but I still had a blast.

first stop - Gloria Ferrar

first stop – Gloria Ferrar

beautiful view at Gloria Ferrar

beautiful view at Gloria Ferrar

grounds at Chateau St. Jean

grounds at Chateau St. Jean

I'm bigger than this bottle of wine (just barely!)

I’m bigger than this bottle of wine (just barely!)

loving the lush grass at Landmark

loving the lush grass at Landmark

lunchtime at Chateau St. Jean with live acoustic guitar entertainment

lunchtime at Chateau St. Jean with live acoustic guitar entertainment

On the way to Sonoma, we stopped at the Golden Gate bridge and took a ton of pictures. On the way back, we drove down Lombard Street, where we didn’t manage to get any pictures. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was and that they actually had police directing traffic and pedestrian tourists.

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all the girls

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happy family

three generations at the Golden Gate

three generations at the Golden Gate

mom mom and pop pop

mom mom and pop pop

That evening, Lance and I attended his company party. It was on a boat that circled the Harbor and had beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline.

a little blurry but pretty background

a little blurry but pretty background

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Monday was our big San Francisco tourist day. We took the light rail (which also had a stop right in front of our hotel) to Pier 39, and then walked to Ghiradelli Square and worked our way back. We actually stopped at In N’ Out on the way to Ghiradelli. I hadn’t been since our trip to Arizona a few years back and mom mom and pop pop had never enjoyed the famous fast food stop. As Lance put it – probably a good thing that we don’t have In N Out on the east coast! To complete the day of indulgence, we then ventured to Ghiradelli Square and split a cookie bottom sundae. I think it was a first – a dessert too rich for me! But we still ate most of it and it was amazing. At Pier 39 we just walked around and looked at the sea lions. We were exhausted at this point. We ended up walking back to to hotel from Pier 39, and ended up in the lobby for happy hour before heading back over to the Ferry Building for an oyster dinner.

yummy In N' Out

yummy In N’ Out

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Bella's first light rail ride

Bella’s first light rail ride

That evening, after putting Bella to bed, Lance and I enjoyed our first movie date since her birth – seeing Gravity 3D. Some kind people in the hotel had actually given us their transport passport, so we were able to check off another box and take a free cable car ride to the theater. I actually found the cable cars pretty scary after a car almost ran into us in an intersection, although our ride back was way less eventful.

nighttime view of the Bay Bridge

nighttime view of the Bay Bridge

oysters from Hog Island on our last night

oysters from Hog Island on our last night

The flight home was much shorter, but Bella pretty much refused to sleep and was much fussier. I was very thankful when we arrived home and had no problem adjusting my sleep. Vacations with a baby definitely aren’t quite as relaxing, although I’m so glad we were able to enjoy a fun time in California.

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