Our first stop, not far from LA was in Santa Monica at a local cafe called Marmalade Cafe. We drank mimosas and made a toast for a fabulous trip thus far. I ordered the yummiest pancakes, banana/walnut goodness. They were up there with some of the best pancakes I've ever had and I hated that I just couldn't finish them all.
After brunch we walked right next door to a locally owned bookstore. I love a good bookstore more than many other things and this store did not disappoint. I made sure to grab a few books for Jackson. I realize I could have just waited till I got home and ordered them but I love the story of where I got them. Plus who doesn't love adding poundage to an already stuffed suitcase? Harry & Horsie is definitely a favorite of his now. We read it every night (this is a good and a bad thing, especially when you have memorized every word).
Believe it or not our next stop was at another book store. There was a sign on the road that said something about Santa Barbara being the most beautiful town on earth so it was just a given that we would have to stop and see this for ourselves. Our schedule was the opposite of a schedule so we had time to stop and do whatever we wanted. The Book Den was this musty smelling shop filled to the brim with a ton of used books. I covet having a library like that someday, with a ladder, too. The lady who was working there was a lovely woman full of stories and advice and made us feel very welcome. I bought another book for Jackson because I just couldn't resist, Shel Silverstein's A Light In The Attic. I distinctly remember laughing with Derick about some of the off-the-wall poems when he was a little kid.
We walked around Santa Barbara and picked up a quick snack in a small bakery. In the very back of the bakery was Arcobaleno Trade, a tiny little shop that sold fair trade items made all over the world. I gravitate toward items with a story to tell and couldn't resist picking up a necklace and a ring made from the Tagua nut. Both of which I've gotten compliments on! Santa Barbara was a lovely little town, from what I saw, but I'd say the most beautiful town was coming up.
Back in the car again we headed up the coast and I never dreamed I would see so many fields of avocados and grapes. Field after field after field of monoculture farming was in full force. Apparently the company Dole is king out there, from what I could tell, and they proudly touted this by having very large wood cutouts of people "working" in the field with their trusty dog by their side. I had gotten used to these cutout people until I saw a random cutout of a ladies head on the side of a very large hill surrounded by cutout flowers. I laughed till I cried because it was just. so. random. and. creepy. It was definitely a moment I'd hoped my camera would have been ready to snap a photo of.
One of the curious things about our drive was the weather. We were all over the map and I'm surprised Jennie and I didn't end up with some cold as punishment for the temperature change. A change of around 40 degrees was so drastic that I wasn't sure if I should wear my sweater or change into a tank top. The following day we started the day at 45 degrees and went all the way up to 103. California, you are a strange creature!
We finally arrived at out little B&B, The Green Lantern Inn, well after dark and got an awesome upgrade from a tiny room to a spacious room where we had our own beds, comfy beds! I highly recommend you stay at this B&B if you get a chance. We chucked our luggage (just like in LA) and headed out for dinner. Turns out Carmel is not a party place and they roll up the streets early. We managed to find a place to get dinner not far from our B&B. Merlo Bistro was the first place that looked like a great choice. We ended up sharing two half bottles of wine because originally I thought I would only be able to drink half of a half bottle because I just am not a wine person but it turns out that the wine was delicious and I would have bathed in it if I could have. We ordered another half bottle of wine and I asked the waiter if it would have been cheaper to order one regular size bottle and he rolled his eyes at me as if to say DUH! you stupid tourist. Whatevs, dude, just bring another half bottle!
After dinner I consumed the tastiest Long Island Iced Tea ever at a tiny little bar called Sade's where I became a tiny bit inebriated. I tell you this because it explains my next story about a mostly naked man. I'd like to point out that Jennie saw him first. He was wearing an itty bitty thong and walked outside for whatever reason (weather check? seeing if his wet pants were dry?) for mere seconds and then went back inside where we could still see him in his large front window. I really wanted to sneak across the street to his large window and snap a picture of him. FOR THE BLOG, people, not for my own sake. Such a giver I am, I know. Jennie wouldn't let me, which is probably for the best although I am still curious as to why he didn't realize his large window was see through. So people, if you go to Carmel, walk down the block were Sade's bar is and look for the mostly naked man standing in his house in front of his large window and tell him I said hi.
The naked man incident turned into walking into a reception of sorts. We weren't done drinking Carmel, and you need more bars for tourists! It was totally disconcerting to realize 1) that you've crashed a reception very loudly and 2) that you walked inside a building that was open to the outside because it had no roof. Inebriated. It's my only excuse.
Obviously we weren't going to find another place to get a drink at so it was time to get some sleep in preparation of the next day. But not until Jennie and I talked and cried a bit after swapping stories about our babies. It had been a long day of driving and exploring. The next morning I fell in love with California a little more.