Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My trip to Southern California!

Every Columbus Day weekend, I visit my sister who lives just outside of Los Angeles. It's perfect timing: it's a long weekend, it's still warm enough to go to the beach, and if time allows, I can visit my grandfather who lives in Laguna Beach for his birthday, which usually overlaps with the holiday. I was not able to see him this trip, but we did do a lot of other fun things!

Solvang, CA. Photo credit: Taylor Arion
Dutch souvenirs
Windmill in Solvang. Photo credit: Taylor Arion
My sister and I spent the first day of my visit walking around Solvang, a little Dutch town just north of Santa Barbara. There was actually a wine festival in Solvang that day which we didn't even know about, but since we were driving, we settled for a nice wine tasting at Lucky Dogg Winery. We then enjoyed brunch at the Little Mermaid Restaurant, and afterward checked out the little shops around town. Then we did some shopping in Santa Barbara, where I bought a green scarf (because 1. I need more scarves like a hole in the head and 2. I need more Dartmouth green things). After our long day out, we headed to our hotel and had dinner at Two Trees Cafe (see my Yelp review here).

We spent the next day in Ventura, about 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara. We spent several hours at the beach, sunbathing while listening to the sounds of the waves and sea lions; it was the epitome of a sunny California day. There was no boardwalk or pier by the beach, so there weren't too many people around, which was quite pleasant. After we were totally bronzed, we went into town and checked out several consignment and antique stores. And on the way back, we checked out a pumpkin patch and decked out my sister's place for Halloween.

Pumpkin patch in Ventura. Photo credit: Taylor Arion.
All the cute little pumpkins and gourds my sister got for Halloween.
On my last day of my vacation, we stuck around my sister's neighborhood. We did more shopping (Isn't that what vacations are for?), and we saw the new movie The Girl on the Train (a good mystery!). We had dinner at Brand 158 (see my Yelp review here), and then ended the night playing board games and drinking wine at home. 

Actually, there was quite the delay.
I should also mention that I visited In-N-Out Burger for the first time on this trip. I always hear people raving about it, and it's such a California icon that I figured I should try it. Let's just say that I was immensely disappointed. First of all, even though this is "fast food," we had to wait close to 15 minutes, just for two burgers! Also, online I saw that I could order my burger with bacon, but this particular location didn't have bacon, so I couldn't even order what I wanted. I didn't even bother getting fries because my sister says their thin, hard, and crunchy, which sounds like the reject fries I leave at the bottom of my McDonald's bag. After the first bite of my burger, all I could think of was "meh." So to all of those people who rave about In-N-Out, take it down a notch; just because this place is in California doesn't automatically make it fabulous.

Now I'm back on the East Coast and already missing the warmth and sunshine of California. And my sister of course! Until next year!

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