Here's a quick recap of our trip highlights:
Vegas – Jared needed to meet up with potential customers there so the kids and I had a great time checking out the gondolas and sampling gelato at the “fake Italy” (as they called the Venitian Hotel), playing and learning about desert plants at the Springs Preserve, spending time with one of my best friends from Wellesley, Gina and her two cute kids (haven't seen her in over 10 years so it was SO great to catch up), visiting the really good Vegas children's museum (and buying a membership there that would get us in for free to all the rest of the museums we went to on the trip), and staying with our good friends Kass and Rich who we haven't seen in way too long.
(soon after this he got himself stuck in a tight high up spot not really meant
for climbing and we ended up getting him down with the help of a bunch of strangers -
lots of little lessons we all learned through that...)
Central Coast – to break up the drive from Vegas to SF, we decided to spend a day seeing one of my favorite places, Hearst Castle, and enjoying the coast a bit. We got there for the tail end of a gorgeous sunset and stayed at a great hotel right there (the kids LOVED the all-you-can-eat free buffet breakfast). We spend the next morning on the shore - we ran along the boardwalks on the tops of the beautiful cliffs where the black rocks and blue sea and green green vegetation mixed with bright flowers made so much beauty and the kids loved playing in the waves and collecting rocks and exploring the tide pools. They weren't even phased by that freezing cold water or the fact that the air wasn't quite 60 degrees! There's nothing like kids on a beach. The kids were all really interested and good on the Hearst Castle tour – such an amazing place with gorgeous ground and beautiful views and castle ceilings and fireplaces and ancient beautifully carved choir stalls from churches all over Europe built in. We all liked the IMAX movie there that explained how Mr. Hearst developed his dream for this castle as he travelled throughout Europe as a 10-year-old with his mother, seeing all the amazing castles and cathedrals there. He dreamed of a day when he would bring some of the beautiful things of Europe to America to be enjoyed by those who'd never have the opportunity to travel the way he did.
checking out the weird and wonderful Elephant seals just north of Hearst Castle
At the Golden Gate Bridge with Jen, Emma and Gracie Harrington
We packed in a lot but still, there are so many people we wish we'd had time to see and places we didn't get to visit. Next time! Now that we know what good little travellers we have, we'll have to head back before too long. It only took about 10 hours to drive straight home yesterday (including a couple quick bathroom stops) so that's not so bad. The Bay Area will always hold a very special place in our hearts.