Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break - Back to the Bay Area

We're driving home after a whirlwind tour of Vegas, the California Central Coast and the whole Bay Area. What a trip we've had! After a LOT of years of travel ranging from slightly painful to thoroughly excruciating, our kids are finally really fun, good little travelers. As we drove, we read and sang and talked and pointed things out - the kids didn't even ask for movies after watching the two new ones we got for the trip. Every kid could enjoy and actually “get” the vast majority of everything we did and there were no nap schedules or diapers or crying babies to worry about. This is a really amazing world we live in full of so many beautifully diverse sights and interesting people and places to see that make us think and wonder and dream - and it's such a joy to have kids who can really enjoy things along with us and bring their own thoughts and ideas to the table!

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.


At the "fake Italy" - the Venitian in Vegas

Isaac pretending to hatch at the Springs Preserve
(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.

The bluffs near Cambria where we stayed the night (Silas sneezed right when I took the pic)

The kids getting increasingly wetter as they delighted in the waves -
we went back to the room for swimsuits and it was a great great morning (blue lips and all)
Outside Hearst's amazing mega mansion perched above the ocean. Hearst made $56,000 a day during the 1930's on newspapers and movie studios and had so many antique ceilings, tapestries, fireplaces and wall panels that he "had" to build a whole series of amazing building to use them all up
checking out the weird and wonderful Elephant seals just north of Hearst Castle

San Jose: We stayed with our good friends, the Harringtons, who were so kind to squeeze all 7 of us into their home and feed us and show us a great time. It was so nice to catch up with them while our kids played together so well (Ashton couldn't get enough of their lego mindstorm and when I asked him what he liked best about the trip he said "Emma's Lego Mindstorm"). We took a little trip down memory lane - visited our favorite hang-out - Santana Row, went to our old house (amazing how little anything had changed - the house looked exactly as we'd left it except all the bushes and trees were way bigger), the beautiful old cemetary with the paved walkways where the kids learned to ride their bikes, showed the kids O'Connor Hospital where all of them were born, went to the Tech Museum in downtown San Jose, wandered around Villa Montalvo (a beautiful old estate with lovely gardens and great hiking trails where we always used to picnic and hike) and caught up with some of Jared's friends from work, Phil and Perry and their cute kids.
2385 Boxwood Drive - the first home for all of our kids - what a small place!
Glad we've moved on but what wonderful memories there.
Playing chess at Santana Row

San Francisco: We spent a long time playing at the Exploratorium - I love how that place is so interesting on a different level to everyone and you can have so much fun while learning so much. We went to the Golden Gate Bridge and marveled at that feat of engineering and the beautiful view created by that red bridge against the bright green of the Marin Headlands and the blue of the water dotted with white sails. I love that bay. We followed a cable car for a while (figured we'd skip the $5/each fare and long lines and the twins were facinated just watching those cool old trolleys go), drove up and down the kids' favorite "roller coaster hills" to enjoy the rush and the vistas, and ran up and down the crazy curvy part of Lombard Street. We topped it all off with dinner on Chestnut Street and fabulous fancy crepes for desert. I love SF.After a picnic at the "Palace of Fine Arts" outside the Exploratorium

At the Golden Gate Bridge with Jen, Emma and Gracie Harrington

Cable Cars!

Hills!

Delicious crepes!

Piedmont/Oakland: We stayed the last couple nights with Jared's sister Kathryn and family (we lucked out and all three of her great kids were home for the weekend). Jared and I had a wonderful (and hard) run through the cemetary by their house and enjoyed amazing crystal clear views of Oakland, SF and the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges. The beautiful old houses of Piedmont combined with the bright bold colors of freshly blooming flowers and bright greenery made a little walk to the great little neighborhood park with the kids extra nice. We did a quick trip to the Chabot Space and Science Center and the kids loved learning about astronauts and planets. Kathryn and MJ treated us to excellent food and hospitality (as always) and took us out to a wonderful restaurant where their daughter currently works - quite a food experience. We've had so many good times with the Pritchets over the years that it felt a bit melancholy to think of that house passing on to new owners - they've got their house on the market now that they don't really need such a big place.
Silas at the Chabot Space Center

Headed to the park with cool cousin Will and a friend

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.

5 comments:

Allison said...

Wow, what a fantastic trip! I think we are on the cusp of having great travelers...how fun!

I loved reading about the Bay Area and seeing your old house! Jared was our home teacher and we really got to know you most when we had that terrible car crash driving back to CA from Utah and totaled our car! Without any mode of transportation, we called Jared for a ride to church and you picked us up since he had meetings! I was so grateful for your friendship when i had nobody and was going through a hard time! I also remembered walking to your house for something and having my little Dallin start coughing and shooting milk out his nose from his stroller as we walked up that front walk-way! You only had Ashton and Issac then.....seems like ages ago! I loved the name Ashton and now I have one, too!

Anyway, your post brought back a flood of memories for me, as well! Thanks for sharing!

Eyrealm said...

How FUN! I didn't even realize you were going. Sounds like you packed in as much as was humanly possible...typical for the Loosli Family. So glad you had a great time. All those hard years makes the coming years all the sweeter!

eyre blog said...

Looks like you all had a lot of fun! We sure can't wait to see you in July.

shawni said...

Wowie...that sure looks like an awesome trip. I love that you got to pack in so much. I still can't believe that you started having kids like three years after me and we both have five kids and you are out of naps and diapers. And my kids aren't that far apart! You guys sure packed it in. And I'm SO excited that everyone enjoyed the trip so much. Sure love ya.

Davis family said...

What an awesome trip! Your descriptions made me want to visit these places myself. Glad you guys took the trip. Darcie

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