I had my first opportunity to go to California in March.
A friend from high school was getting married and my older sister and I were invited to go. Then we found out a movie that one of my younger sisters worked on was being premiered at a film festival in the same city on the same weekend. It seemed too perfectly orchestrated to pass up! So off we went… for my first trip to California!
The wedding took place in Saratoga at Hakone Estate and Gardens, a traditional Japanese garden. It poured the entire time, but thankfully a tent was in place. The rain made beautiful background noise for their ceremony, and hot tea was available to help keep us nice and warm. (You know I was a fan of that! 😉 ) After the ceremony, my sister and I walked around the gardens a bit, despite the rain. It was beautiful! I’d love to go back and visit sometime when it’s sunny. 🙂
The movie premiere at the San Jose film festival, Cinequest, was the next day and really fun! We were able to meet some of the actors and crew of the film my sister worked on in Cincinnati, Josephine Doe. The movie is a psychological drama filmed entirely in black and white. It’s really captivating and explores mental health and trauma in a unique way. If you happen to get the chance to see it – I’d recommend it! After the premiere, we went out to a late dinner with the cast and crew to celebrate. 🙂
My sisters could only stay for the weekend due to their work schedules, so we spent most of Sunday exploring San Francisco. We visited Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the Painted Ladies, and drove through many areas of the city, including Chinatown. It wasn’t the sunniest of days, but the rain did hold off until we were almost done visiting the Golden Gate Bridge! That was my favorite part of our day in San Francisco. I loved being by the water and walking on such an iconic structure. Running or biking across the bridge may have to be added to my bucket list! 🙂 My second favorite thing would probably have been the spontaneous karaoke of a group of guys at the bar we ate dinner at in the city that night. They burst out singing “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys at one point and it was pretty hilarious. The nachos I ate were pretty good, too! 😉
I parted ways with my sisters at SFO and met up with my friend, Catie. She lives outside of San Francisco and graciously allowed me to stay with her for a couple of nights! We met online awhile back, but this was the most time we’ve been able to spend together in person. It was so much fun! We laughed together a lot and had some good conversations, too. Catie is also a wonderful baker and gluten free like me – so I was treated to the best scones I’ve had in ages!
Monterrey and Carmel-by-the-Sea
Catie wanted to show me around a little bit, and I mentioned a friend in Palo Alto suggested I visit Monterrey. So the next day, we went on a day trip! It was raining on the drive down, but in Monterrey it was lovely! We had a delicious lunch of mahi mahi tacos at El Torito, a Mexican restaurant overlooking the ocean. The restaurant provided binoculars and our table was right by the large windows. I was able to see an otter munching away as he floated on the waves! I loved it. From there, we did some walking and talking and got some tea… and even stumbled upon Disney Press meeting for Finding Dory in a hotel! We drove to Carmel-by-the-Sea as well, and enjoyed a windy, but relaxing walk on the beach as we took in the sights.
More on the second half of my trip to California – Bakersfield, Wind Wolves Preserve, and Los Angeles – will be here soon! 🙂