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happy friday + road trip up the coast…



Happy friday all! It's been almost two years since my last real vacation, so Bob and I are planning a road trip soon to drive up the coast from Southern to Northern California. You guys always have the best suggestions, so I wanted to put a call out for any recommendations of stops we should make up the coast…cool shops, great restaurants, fun hotels to stay in, or anything else! We'll be starting in San Diego, making our way through Los Angeles {oops, not LA – we're moving there in a few months so it won't be part of the trip}, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, and up to Napa. And maybe a couple other stops in between that we haven't figured out yet? Have a great weekend all, and thanks in advance for any of your tips!

{photo from the spring 2006 Kate Spade Bisbee campaign by Tim Walker.}


  1. I stayed in Pismo Beach two weekends ago and it was awesome. Very low-key (more so than Santa Barbara-cheaper too!). There are all sorts of awesome hotels right on the beach, I really recommend checking it out.
    Not sure if you’re actually saying IN Napa (the town of Napa is not very glamorous), but if you are, I recommend Angele (french rustic cuisine right on the river) Henry’s is a fun (dive) bar, Zuzu is a great tapas place and Bounty Hunter is a fun wine bar. All of those are in walking distance of each other in downtown Napa. Oh, and you can’t miss Sweetie Pie’s! A bakery right next to Angele.
    Have fun!

  2. If you’re in San Luis Obispo, you have to stop by Utopia Bakery for a pain au chocolate and latte. The best croissants I have had outside of Paris (so far!).
    If you’re in town on a Thursday, you should check out the Farmer’s Market every Thursday night in downtown SLO. It’s much more than just a farmer’s market; it’s really fun to walk around eating street food and people watching.
    Finally, if you have never been to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, it is definitely worth a visit.
    Happy travels!

  3. Definitely hit farmerbrown if you’re gonna be in SF. A comfort food type restaurant with yummy fries and a great urban atmostphere.
    OH, and baker beach in SF is awesome too. Artesa in Nappy Valley is a great winery to visit, if you’re planning to go.
    I love roadtrips. Have a great time!

    – Best Coffee: French Press, 1101 State St
    – Half Cupcakery/Half Cafe: Crushcakes, 1315 Anacapa st.
    – Best Sushi: Arigato (Everything is amazing), 1225 State St
    – Cocktails! Blue Agave, 20 East Cota St.
    – Tapas/Cocktails: Milk & Honey, 30 W. Anapamu
    – Seafood/Cocktails: 1134 Chapala St
    – Seafood/Cocktails (with a view!): Boathouse, 2981 Cliff Dr.
    – Nice walk/Beach bluffs: Douglas Preserve
    – If you want a botanical adventure, you MUST go here: Lotusland, Need to reserve ahead of time though!
    -> Leaving Santa Barbara going north, driving through the Santa Ynez Valley (Los Olivos is adorable) is a must! Beautiful wine-country. Wine taste, picnic, and see all the wildflowers growing!
    Have a blast!

  5. Awww… I live in SLO! Actually, I don’t think there’s that much here, but it’s BEAUTIFUL! I completely agree with Kayla’s recommendation of Utopia Bakery – it might not look like much, but they have the BEST European breakfasts/brunch.
    If you want to see California’s amazing, rugged coast check out Montaña de Oro State Park or get over to Big Sur (it’s worth the drive!).

  6. Hey Joy! I highly recommend visiting my brother and sister-in-law’s restaurant in downtown LA for lunch. They serve Asian-fusion dishes with tons of great taste. Here’s their Yelp reviews (5 stars!)
    and here is their menu:
    Also, my brother has loads of personality so he’ll strike up a convo with you and Bob before you know it.

  7. I love that drive – you guys will have SO much fun… it’s beautiful!
    – We always love staying at the Avalon in Beverly Hills; have a Key Lime Pie Martini there at least
    – If not there, LA is one of the best places to use Priceline…we’ve always been able to get a 4-star hotel for around $100. Last time it was the Intercontinental in Century City (you would loooove the flowers in the lobby)
    – one thing we loved doing on Sundays was going to open houses in Bel Air and Beverly Hills – it’s free and you get to see how the very rich live
    – Hike Will Rogers State Park in Santa Monica or Griffith Park in Los Feliz
    – Manhattan Beach is cute – eat brunch at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House!
    Palm Springs
    ***This is where we are now (planned on staying a few days and have ended up here for a few months, so lemme know if you guys wanna meet up!) but PSP is a place where you think at first there’s not that much to it, and then you keep discovering more and more…. next to NYC, it’s now my favorite city in the U.S. Who knew?
    – Love the Viceroy (very intimate, darling Kelly Wearstler-designed bungalows, pools, mountain views, the chicken salad sandwich is insane, and the chilaquiles and pancakes are so good for breakfast; last time we were there Mylie Cyrus was making out with her boyfriend in the hot tub, but other than that, very low key)
    – Hike Indian Canyons (so unexpected, it’s like Switzerland meets Gilligan’s Island, just spectacular scenery — seems kinda Vegas fakey and then you realize it’s all real, so it’s even cooler; it’s cash only, $8/p)
    – If you haven’t been to Joshua Tree yet, GO! 29 Palms Inn is kitschy and fun (right outside of it). Not glam or chic, but fun with a good restaurant for the area.
    – If you’ll be here for 3 days or more, renting a mid-century modern house via or is wonderful…
    Santa Barbara
    – drive through Montecito (where Oprah lives!) — it’s so pretty with all of the flowers and smells divine
    – We love the Healdsburg Hotel
    – The Sterling Vineyards wine tour is fun (to ride the tram up and sit and enjoy the views), though I don’t love their wine
    – After, eat at Taylor’s Refresher (burgers, fries, shakes) – actually they just changed their name to Gott’s Roadside
    – Renting a tandem bike in Healdsburg is really fun and there’s a cute little deli you can stop at for a picnic
    – Top of the Mark is fun to sit and have a French 75 and enjoy the views of the city
    – 1300 on Fillmore is good for fried chicken, French 75s and yummy beignets for desert (I like it a lot more than Farmer Brown)
    – Gamine was our go-to neighborhood spot. A French bistro that serves the best burgers (beef, chicken, fish, veggie — but it’s all about the toppings: avocado, gruyere, bacon, egg!)
    – The Presidio Social Club — super fun restaurant with great drinks (ask for a Moscow Mule) and a cool vintage feel
    – Walk around Pacific Heights and the Marina for all the pretty cupcake-colored buildings; have a Kara’s Cupcake in the Marina (the chocolate on chocolate)
    – The Ferry Building for gourmet tastings and treats
    – Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (take a jacket and a scarf as it can be really windy and cold) or bike over
    – Just across the GGB, north of SFO, drive (or bike) up to The Headlands — great views of the city and bridge — and then down to Rodeo Beach
    – Fisherman’s Wharf is touristy, but at Ghiradelli Square, you can have a yummy Ghiradelli ice cream sundae or go for a spot of tea at Crown & Crumpet (or to the other Kara’s Cupcake location) or do all three because you’re Joy!
    – Oh and Miette is such a cute Candy Store (there’s on in the Marina and the Ferry Building, but I like the Hayes Valley one the most, plus there’s fun shopping in Hayes Valley)
    -SFO is a great walking city, so just enjoy walking everywhere and stopping for yummy treats along the way…
    Ooops that was long, but one last road trip tip is to avoid the major highways as much as possible… you’ll see SO much more taking the little roads and it doesn’t end up taking that much more time. Have a blast!

  8. You definitely have to stop at The Big Sur Bakery in Big Sur. It looks like a little hole in the wall place situated behind a gas station, but it is a VERY nice restaurant with great wood-fired pizza. They just released their first cookbook this year, and it is amazing!

  9. Sonoma! The REAL Wine Country 😉
    You can rent bikes and hit up the wineries. If you come, you HAVE to have eat at Girl and the Fig. Or just have a picnic on The Plaza.

  10. check out nepenthe in big sur for lunch if you’ve never been there before. it has the best view ever, plus design gorgeousness abounds!
    hit west marin on your way up and stay in a yurt:
    there’s so much amazingness out there in pt reyes. if you want to really feel like you are getting away from it all, i highly recommend it.
    in calistoga, here’s where we stay:
    truly one of my favorite places ever. actually, all three places i mentioned rank on that list!
    have a blast! let us know whatall you end up seeing and doing.

  11. my home is monterey, ca. and its beautiful. if possible, you should stop through there. you can take the 1 up the coast from monterey, through santa cruz, to san francisco (my now-home). have fun!

  12. And for the kitsch-factor part of your road trip you absolutely have to stay at the Madonna Inn. It is this amazing hotel in San Luis Obispo where every room has its own unique decoration– namely bright pink ruffle curtains, a bed made from a stage coach, or a man-made cave in the parking lot complete with his and hers clubs. The place is unbelievable!

  13. Being a native Angeleno, my list for Los Angeles would be just too long….
    But here are some favorites working north:
    1) Los Olivios Grocery – A great pitstop for local gourmet foods, wine, and picnic supplies.
    2) Arroyo Grande (one town south of San Luis Obispo) – Doc Burstein’s Ice Cream Parlour. Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour. It’s just off the highway and makes a good pit stop on a long drive.
    3) Big Sur – Nepenthe Restaurant – jaw dropping views and beautiful outdoor seating area. Great for a meal or just for a drink and an appetizer.
    4) Big Sur – The Big Sur Bakery – just wonderful. Great place to get some goodies to go and have a picnic
    5) Sonoma – Cafe La Haye – amazing! check their hours though…
    6) Napa – Ubuntu Vegetarian Restuarant – Fantastic!
    7) Napa – Oxbow Public Market – sort of a mini San Francisco Ferry Building in downtown Napa. The Copia Gardens are next door and are just beautiful.
    8) Heldsburg-Oakville Grocery – a beautiful and well stocked gourmet market and cafe. You can have a glass of wine and sit on their outdoor patio with the wood burning stove.
    Have a great trip!

  14. just did a very similar holiday!!! you can read bits about it on my blog right now.
    stay: in santa monica! it is so lovely there, near the beach and pier.
    eat: breakfast/brunch at urth caffe and sit on the patio. dinner at houston’s for the california burger. [voted one of america’s best burgers by GQ mag)both in santa monica. go to intelligentsia coffee in venice for a latte. eat lunch at joan’s on third in beverly hills (third ave). so delicious.
    play: you can rent bikes for $15/day and bike up to venice beach. shop abbot kinney blvd. in venice. santa monica farmers market and santa monica pier.
    shop: beverly hills go shopping on third ave and abbot kinney blvd in venice.
    palm springs stay at the ace hotel if you want something cheaper, otherwise parker palm springs or viceroy for a splurge.
    go to big sur and stay at the post ranch inn! or at the very least just go to big sur…on your way to san fran.
    so fun!!!
    hailey 🙂

  15. tartine in san fran is a MUST and if you come to L.A. you must hang in silverlake/echo park/downtown. it’s the best! have fun!

  16. How fun! Here are my recommendations:
    Palm Springs: Norma’s at the Parker for amaaaazing breakfast/brunch.
    Carmel: Inn at Spanish Bay – Have a cocktail by the fire outside & watch the bagpiper come up from the beach at sunset!
    SF: Hayes Valley for shopping. Also, the Ferry Building is a must visit – go to Boulettes Larder for breakfast or lunch, or just pick up a warm bag of beignets – yummmm.
    Napa: If you want to potentially be ruined for all other wine tasting experiences, & have time to hang out for an hr or so, make an appointment at Hendry Winery, it’s charming, extensive, & free!

  17. I used to live in San Fran…Fisherman’s wharf has THE BEST chocolate and strawberry and chocolate and banana crepes…they are messy…you eat them on a silly little paper plate…however they taste so AMAZING and it’s fun to watch them make it too! HAVE FUN!

  18. Big Sur:
    Deetjens for breakfast (their Eggs Benedict is famous!)
    I second the suggestion for Treebones Resort.
    If you happen to stop by the San Jose area:
    Alexander’s Steakhouse for a very nice (fine-dining) dinner.
    Falafel Drive-In for a tasty affordable meal. Featured on Food Network.
    San Francisco:
    Incanto serves fresh, rustic Italian food. Great for dinner.
    I second the Ferry Building suggestion.
    Orchard Hotel is affordable and right near Union Square.
    Wineries: Cakebread Cellers, Nickel & Nickel, V. Sattui, Joseph Phelps, Chateau Montelena, Robert Sinskey, Miner Family.
    Restaurants: Anything Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, etc.), Martini House, Rutherford Grill.
    Cute B&B: The Napa Inn

  19. While in the LA area I would definitely visit the Huntington Library. There are 120 acres of beautiful botanical gardens to explore here! There are so many different types of gardens to explore. {If you’ve seen the movie Memoirs of a Geisha- the Japanese garden was filmed here.}
    Leave room for lunch too! They have a super yummy tea room that is served buffet style. I know you may be thinking that Bob may not like the tea room so much but my hubby actually enjoyed it just as much as I did.
    enjoy the road trip!
    xo claudia

  20. i’m sure you’ll be stopping at sarloos and sons and enjoy cupcakes in los olivos on your way!!! 🙂
    sally loo’s wholesome cafe is a must if you’re in slo! amazing drinks, paninis and baked goods!
    1804 Osos Street
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
    (805) 545-5895
    Open Tue-Sun 6:30am-6:30pm
    granada bistro (euro style bistro!) in slo is also fab! super cool vibe. their menus are vintage books and they serve amy bakes cupcakes every day–the chocolate merlot cuppies on friday are sooo delish!
    can’t wait to see where you stop on your trip!
    enjoy joy!

  21. SF:
    For you (since you like sweet things), I agree with Kate – Tartine in SF is a MUST. 🙂
    For Bob… all the guys I know love Tri-Tip Sandwiches at Firestone Grill. Okay… I love it too!

  22. SB: rent bikes & go down State Street. and you must eat brunch at Tupelo Junction Cafe — it’s delicious & well-styled!
    SF: we’re actually going this week too, so i’m snatching ideas off your comments!! but i’m def going to tartine & now considering hayes valley :] they also have the best japanese red-bean fish cakes in the j-town mall.
    Napa: we’re going here too for our one year anniversary in a couple months! i bookmarked these suggestions from d*s & will look at them later:

  23. santa barbara:
    take a tour of the courthouse (clock tower access and amazing view!)
    enjoy treats at jeannine’s bakery
    smell the roses at the mission rose garden
    taste great mexican at rose cafe

  24. Palm Springs: The Parker for food and lodging, Melvyn’s for a crazy old-school cocktail scene, and Bon Vivant for shopping.I got married at the 29 Palms Inn, and I also recommend a stop there and at Joshua Tree.
    SLO: I Second the Madonna Inn-totally kistchy and amazing.
    We also like a little Italian place called Buona Tavola for dinner in SLO.
    Forget Napa: You should hit Central Coast wine country, especially since you’ll be around SLO.
    In Paso Robles we love Villa Creek for dinner, and L’Aventure Winery is the best. Pasolivo Olive Ranch makes delectable olive oil, and is a nice place to stop between wineries.

  25. Thats my favorite kind of trip! 🙂 In Palm Springs, check out the vintage shopping along their main drag, its wonderful. Also, if you time, stop in Solvang just north of Santa Barbara, its soooo much fun and the bakeries are divine. Monterey is so much fun too, definitely do 17 Mile Drive if you haven’t yet. And in SF, don’t miss the oldest Chinese bakery in Chinatown, the moon cakes are so yummy!
    Have tons of fun!!

  26. please go to the Big Sur Bakery if you go thru Big Sur– I read that wonderful cookbook nearly every day + wish I lived closer, or had a trip planned to CA. I would love to hear abt it– and see more photos! Looks amazing!

  27. i’m from Marin County, which is basically squished between San Francisco (the Golden Gate connects the two) and Napa/Sonoma.
    Marin has a ton of cute, locally-owned shops and restaurants. Here’s some that come to mind:
    Fairfax Scoop Ice Cream – homemade ice cream and unique flavors, like Honey Lavender Vanilla (my fav)
    Sol Food: Puerto Rican food in an eclectic setting
    Restaurant Picco: a tapas style restaurant that is sooo delicious
    Other sites:
    Mount Tamalpais
    Oyster Shucking at Tomales Bay/Point Reyes
    Stinson Beach
    I hope you consider stopping by Marin on your way to Sonona/Napa! Have a great trip!

  28. San Francisco, Haight Ashbury District, Magnolia Pub and Brewery.
    1398 Haight Street
    Amazing food! Awesome Brews! Great Atmosphere… and try the house pickle plate! Seriously I crave them!
    Also if you like Thai food… Siam Lotus(1705 Haight) has really tasty fresh food! (my husband and I ate there twice when we vacationed in San Fran.!)

  29. I live in Santa Barbara so here are my recs:
    If you can make a reservation (they are required) at Lotus Land you must go. It is truly amazing. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is a fantastic little museum and the best part is it’s free! The Natural History Museum and the Botanic garden are also fantastic.
    Upstairs at Pierre Lafond & Wendy Foster
    Comanchi’s wacky vintage stuff
    Saturday Farmers Market (8-12:30)-The strawberries from Tom Shepard are sooo sweet.
    Jeannine’s for yummy blueberry pancakes
    Hungry Cat for Cocktails and seafood appetizers
    Julienne for a great dinner
    If you are looking to do some wine tasting Los Olivos can get really busy on the weekends. You might want to go off the beaten path to Lompoc. Check out Palmina, Samsara, and Fiddlehead. Then drive out to Jalama beach for a gorgeous view and a Burger.
    Have fun!

  30. a suggestion i’m sure you’ll get from no one else… but i’m not too pretentious to say it: strawberry cake and lottery tickets (haha seriously) at lake merrit bakery across the street from the lake in oakland :o)
    have fun!!!

  31. I go to college at UCSC, but I’m from Ventura, and I can honestly say that these two places are among my favorites along the California coast. If you stop in Ventura, grab a pastry or lunch from the Savory Cafe on Main St. and stop in Times Remembered Vintage shop. My friend works there and it’s got the most amazing vintage collections.
    If you take the CA-1 up north you will most definitely drive through Santa Cruz. The kitsch factor is high at either the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (which is one of the oldest amusement parks on the west coast-and even though it’s an “amusement” park, it’s no disneyland, instead it’s full of old features from the victorian days and old wooden carnival rides). Capitola village is adorable as well, and is brimming with all the nostalgia of an authentic old-times summer get away. Also, be sure to stop at Stripe Boutique while you’re in downtown Santa Cruz (on Pacific Ave). So much of what I’ve seen there fits right up the alley of what’s been featured on your blog, I could swear they must take inspiration from OhJoy!
    Have Fun!

  32. Palm Springs: The Ace Hotel’s restaurant, King’s HIghway, has the best menu in town. Their fish tacos are bomb and their sticky date pudding is reason enough to visit. You can take a dip in the pool with a boozy sno-cone in hand: bliss! Also, you’ll surely love the attention to design and detail.
    Have fun!

  33. Ooooh oooh! Where to start. The Carneros Inn in Napa and Sift cupcakes. For sure. In Palm Springs, go to the The Parker fo sho and have dinner at Mister Parkers. El Paseo … great shopping. And Coachella is next week. So much fun!

  34. Hearst Castle in San Simeon is worth a stop. There isn’t much in San Simeon, but a great little resort called the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort. It may not sound sexy (it’s a Best Western), but I stayed a night on my honeymoon, and it turned out to be my favorite night! Oceanfront bliss.

  35. I`d say: tour at Hearst Castle, be inspired by Carmel by-the-sea, ride the 2 people bike in santa barbaraand have fun looking at the seals in San Francisco 🙂

  36. As you head toward Santa Barbara, detour up Hwy33 into Ojai and explore a bit!
    Bart’s Books is THE best used bookstore around and it’s all outdoors! Then travel just a few miles past the small downtown and get the world’s best strawberry shortcake at Boccali’s – a mountain of strawberries and whipped cream on top of yummy cake while sitting under a bright red umbrella. Makes for a perfect afternoon!

  37. Definately stop to eat at Nepenthe in Big Sur and stay at Ragged Point Inn. The hotel has a great mid-century vibe to the older rooms, and they are all on the cliff’s edge with an amazing view!

  38. My husband and I did that for our honeymoon and loooved it! Started from our home in San Clemente, stayed in San Luis for a night at The Sanitarium. I highly recommend it! It is this awesome, modern yet vintage B&B with just the coolest items all over that the owner collected herself. Felt more like a hotel than a B&B. While in SLO you should do brunch at Novo for sure.
    There have already been a lot of great recommendations for SF… we ate at Spruce, it is pricey but very nice and very good.
    I definitely recommend the drive from inland along the russian river to the coast. Absolutely gorgeous!
    Have a wonderful time! And pack warm! It will be cold!!

  39. Well, I second miss young! Sally Loo’s is the place to be in San Luis Obispo!
    Come on a Thursday and experience our downtown farmers market
    Santa Cruz is fab, I recommend Brazil Cafe for a lovely bfast served by beautiful brazilians.
    have fun! Hope to see you here in SLO!

  40. Try to get a room at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse (a hostel with private rooms as well I think) north of Santa Cruz south of Half Moon Bay. Then be sure to book the cliff-dwelling hot tub right before sunset for a true multi-sensory experience. Dine at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero, not too for north…enjoy the famous artichoke soup and marion berry pie……

  41. i second sally loo’s in SLO. it is so cute and they have delicious granola + earl grey scones!!! yum. and sally loo (the adorable pit bull) will greet you warmly as you enter.
    i also love Novo’s in SLO. it has great patio vibes perfect for a early evening appy + cocktail! oh and their salmon bisque is killer.
    have fun!

  42. If you drive through Marin County – stop by Comforts Cafe in San Anselmo (exit off of HWY 101) order the Chinese Chicken Salad and Chicken Okasan — You’ll love it!

  43. I’m gonna give my hometown of Santa Cruz some love & say go there! It’s quirky& beautiful – The Boardwalk is a fun old-timey amusement park experience. Go on the Giant Dipper, and then get a dipped cone. And maybe some cotton candy. Oh, and the salt water taffy. Yum.

  44. I can’t believe nobody’s said anything about Santa Cruz yet!!!!
    You should TOTALLY stop in Santa Cruz… if you’re here on a Wednesday afternoon/early evening or Saturday morning, you should hit up the Santa Cruz farmers’ market–it’s the best I’ve ever EVER been to.
    Otherwise, stop at the Santa Cruz Book Shop ( for some road trip reading material.
    Also, MUST do some shopping at the Stripe boutique ( Seriously. They even have an “Oh Bob” section!!!
    And then, have some lunch or dinner (and WINE) at Cellar Door ( There’s also a sweet French bakery around the corner from there for quick tasty baked treats called Kelly’s French Bakery ( … their website sucks but TRUST ME).
    Stop in Santa Cruz and ENJOY!!!

  45. I grew up in Pismo! I love it there and miss it very much. But you definitely need to go to the Honeymoon Cafe in Pismo beach. They have the most amazing food with a really friendly staff and layed back atmosphere. Its one of my favorite places for breakfast or lunch. Another great breakfast place (My favorite meal to eat out!) Is Louisa’s Place in downtown SLO. Bali’s is the best place for Fro-Yo, and Linea’s is the best place for coffee.

  46. Wow looks like you’ve got lots of great suggestions already for the Santa Barbara area. I’ll some of my favorites.
    Santa Barbara:
    * Sunday Arts and Crafts show along the waterfront by Sterns Wharf – beautiful works by locals
    * Mission Santa Barbara – sweeping view of the city
    * Courthouse – I used to live a couple of blocks away! Nice view from the top of the clock tower.
    * Farmers Market – Tuesday (on State St) and Saturday (Santa Barbara St and Cota St) – be sure to pick up a bag of pistacios from Santa Barbara Pistacio Co.
    * C’est Cheese – love the fire roasted tomatoes drenched in a bath of olive oil, garlic, and basil
    * The Palace Grill – yummy bread pudding souffle with whiskey cream sauce
    * Paradise Cafe – I want the gazpacho recipe!
    Santa Ynez Valley:
    * Mission Santa Ynez
    * Solvang Bakery – the one next to the Mission and parking lot. Love the bucket of butter cookies. My family bought 21 buckets one holiday season as presents. They were a hit!
    * wine tasting – my first favorite wine was Gainey Vineyard Reisling
    * Madonna Inn – at least stop in to check out the “waterfall” in the men’s restroom:D
    Oh so much more especially for food around UCSB and IV. But I’ll reminisce about that later with my college friends:) Have fun on your trip!

  47. on your way out of santa barbara, los alamos is a tiny little town with an amazing gourmet pizza restaurant called full of life flatbread, part of the slow food movement. they’re only open fridays, saturdays, and sundays. i live in santa barbara, but we drive up for special occasions. it’s so good.
    also in santa barbara, spiritland bistro is delicious. a small stoned building tucked away on a side street, this restaurant is one of my all time favorites with fresh, local food. i always see the manager at farmers market buying for their menu.

  48. I love love love the Central Coast – Eden Valley winery in San Luis has always been a good time for me and my family, and hiking around Montana de Oro is a relevation in beauty – whether it’s a sunny or a foggy day.
    Enjoy! There’s no better place to road trip than the CA coast. I hope you are taking the 1 for at least part of it – it’s a fabulous adventure between Morro Bay and Monterey, lots of kitschy stop-offs like the Hearst Castle.

  49. If you need a place to stay in Santa Barbara I recommend Persidio Motel: 1620 State Street. Clean, modern boutique motel in downtown Santa Barbara. Each room is uniquely decorated with wall decals–lots of fun! Definitely the French Press for coffee: 1101 State street (very close to motel which provides bicycles to get around town in). Have a great trip!

  50. In LA you must try Huckleberry in Santa Monica on Wilshire. I’m sure it’ll be a stand by when you live in the area as I do. My favorite time to be there is breakfast. From the Green Eggs and Ham on a fresh english muffin, to a latte, to a piece of blueberry ciabatta, to sea salt carmels, everything is amazing and full of flavor. From there you can jump up to the County Mart in Brentwood on San Vicente and 26th st. There are beautiful stores like Post 26 and Sugar Paper, lots of food yummies, a custom bathing suit store and soon to be a creamery from the owners of Huckleberry. It’s a fun little place to have a jaunt around.

  51. make sure to stop in Cambria on PCH
    Romantic walks on the buffs or down on the sand, the town has great antique shopping and lots of fun little shops to look at, then be sure to stop in at Linn’s for an Olallieberry muffin… so yummy.
    Also, if you haven’t yet… must see Hearst Castle! Especially if you go through on a clear day. If just up the road from Cambria on the PCH
    And just pass there are the Elephant Seals, a quick little stop to look at them soaking up the sun.
    I love the central coast! Pismo, Morro Bay, San Luis, hearst castle… have fun 😀

  52. SF:
    – Paulette Macarons (in Hayes valley). it’s like an enchanted world as soon as you walk through the door. you are greeted with colors, and the taste is perfection. however, eat them 10 minutes after you buy them, to allow sufficient time for it to soften to the right texture xP
    – FERRY BUILDING. oysters. coffee. fun atmosphere.
    – Twin Peaks. the view!!! best view in SF.
    have fun! 🙂

  53. Welcome to the Bay Area – Come back soon!
    Here are some good eats for you:
    Napa – Dean and DeLuca (Deli)
    Oakland – Boot and Shoe Service (Pizza)
    Oakland – Blue Bottle Coffee Co (Coffee)
    Berkeley – Cheese Board Collective (Pizza)
    Berkeley – Peets on Walnut and Vine, the original Peets (Coffee)
    Oakland – Bakesale Betty’s (Bakery and amazing fried chicken sandwiches)

  54. I too live in North SD and really enjoy road trips along our beautiful California coast line. The coastal route north of SF is spectacular.
    There is a beautiful chapel in Sea Ranch that is worth seeing. The town of Gualala is just north of there for food, lodging, etc.
    Safe and happy travels….

  55. I just did the drive from LA to San Fran in February and I must say that you have to stay on the 1 the whole trip (don’t cheat and hop on a highway because you will miss so much!)
    There is a cute 10 person french restaurant in Carmel called La Bicyclette. Its on Dolores & 7th and the owner serves wine from his own vineyard (I recommend the Chenin Blanc).
    There are also lighthouses that dot the coast that serve as hostels. You can wake up to the ocean out of your window, and have access to half moon bay, various parks, etc. Point Montara and Piegeon point are the most popular.

  56. I love the photo!
    I’m planning on doing a somewhat similar road trip this summer – it’s nice that people write all the suggestions in your comments so everyone else can read them and check them out too. So many great suggestions!

  57. Bondi in San Diego has amazing food and interior design, and Australian boutique beers on tap (must try the Little Creatures Pale Ale if they have it).
    We stayed at the Movie Colony Hotel in Palm Springs and it’s one of my favourite memories. It is a modernist style hotel with a small number of rooms. They provide cruisers for guests if you want to ride around Palm Springs and every night we were able to get behind the little kitchen bar to make ourselves a few rounds of sangria. The staff left around seven and with only one other couple there, and an amazing pool just outside our door we felt like the place was ours.

  58. san francisco
    musee mecanique is at pier 45 in fisherman’s wharf, it’s an antique arcade and really fun! there’s photobooths, fortune tellers and laughing sal…i usually avoid fisherman’s wharf, but musee mecanique is worth going to.
    be sure to check out the mission of course. there’s the curiousity shoppe, little otsu, the pirate store aka 826 valencia, paxton gate they’re all within the same block on valencia street. also for ice cream check out birite creamery or humphry slocombe.
    also check out the mission murals! balmy alley, clarion alley, lilac alley are all awesome. precita eyes muralists is a great organization that teaches people how to paint murals and they have tours on saturdays and sundays.
    SCRAP is a bit off the beaten path. it’s in a warehouse that sells donated/discarded stuff that is perfect for artists and crafters.
    be sure to look at for driving/bus directions and their hours to get there. it’s closed on sunday and mondays.

  59. I second the Solvang suggestion! If you go, there’s a great little book shop called The Book Loft. I have wonderful memories of going to that shop and poking through all of the amazing old books they have for sale upstairs. The first time we went, we found a delightful suprise upstairs at the back of the building, where there is a wing dedicated to Hans Christian Anderson. They have many captivating things related to his life and work, and it is so magical to be reminded of so many childhood fairytales that it makes your whole visit to Solvang that much more enchanting.
    Also, if you drive up towards Hearst Castle, stop by The Tea Cozy in Cambria. It is a charming little teahouse that is in a 100+ year old cottage. It was a wonderful experience when we went, with friendly owners, delicious food, and of course, a lovely cup of tea.

  60. oh and for an amazing paper selection in an art store in san francisco, you have to go to FLAX art and design. the paper room is gorgeous.
    1699 market st
    be sure to not just ride the cable cars (i like to ride standing on the sideboard) but also ride the vintage trolleys. they are painted in different colors and run on market st, towards the ferry building and on to embarcadero and end at fisherman’s wharf.
    sf is a great city to ride the public transportation and parking is a pain, so try to walk and/or take the bus.

  61. you absolutely HAVE to go to the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs. It’s all done by Jonathan Adler so it’s gorgeous. Even if you don’t stay there, you must take a walk around the grounds.

  62. If you’re spending some time in Napa you’ll have to stop by La Luna. It’s a great little Mexican burrito stop that Thomas Keller has supposedly named as one of his to-eat places in Napa.

  63. go to anderson valley and stay (and eat)at the boonville hotel. also philo. great wine…and a short drive from napa, close to mendocine. and there are redwoods in a nearby state park (hendy park).

  64. If you like Pinot Noir, definitely check out the wineries along Russian River (Sonoma County). And detour by Muir Woods and Point Reyes for beautiful trees and coastal scenery. Nothing like oysters from Point Reyes / Tomales Bay.

  65. I second the recommendation for brunch at Norma’s at the Parker Palm Springs! The food is delicious, the patio is gorgeous and the hotel is so cool to wander around.
    In Napa, I love Peju and Ridge wines.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  66. hola! i’m glad to hear that you’ll be making your way up north to my hometown, SF.
    Tartine! it looks like a few people have already recommended Tartine Bakery. i wholeheartedly agree! get a handful of rochers, banana cream pie, and jambon & gruyere sandwhiches.
    Bi-rite Creamery – less then a block away from Tartine for awesome ice cream in awesome flavors.
    NOPA – hands down one of my most favorite californian restaurants in the city. all you need to know: flat bread and pork chop.
    Beretta – one of the best thin-crust pizza restaurants in the mission. they’re kitchen opens till 1am and they boast well crafted cocktails.
    Blue Bottle Coffee – in Hayes valley and in the Ferry building. Drip coffee goodness.
    Alembic – my local bar in the Haight. more well-crafted cocktails that are worth the price.
    if you head even more north to Sonoma, grab some wine at Sojourn Cellers and then dinner at El Dorado Kitchen.
    have fun 🙂 tell us what you ended up doing!

  67. I would recommend the Martini House in Napa, they do amazing things with mushrooms (though it is pricey). If you are feeling up for a less posh, more down to earth wine experience, head to the Sonoma wine country, Healdsburg is a favorite of mine.
    Don’t forget to go to the Hog Island Oyster spot in the ferry building in SF (if you like oysters and grilled cheese sandwiches). And go for a quick walk in Dolores Park, such views!
    Jeremys in South Beach, in SF, has designer clothes and anthropologie left overs for great prices. And Hayes valley has stores which are just up your alley.
    Big Sur has this most amazing shop on a cliff, but I cannot remember the name.
    I heart the Cali Coast!

  68. Have to agree with Jennifer…Granada Bistro is delicious and you cannot go wrong with an Amy Bakes Cupcake (will brighten your day)!
    And if you have time, make a stop in Paso Robles Wine Country (30 miles north of San Luis Obispo).
    Drink: at all the fantastic wineries (Kiamie Wine Cellars, Jada Vineyard, Tablas Creek, Niner Wine Estates, Edward Sellers and Halter Ranch Vineyard).
    Stay: at Hotel Cheval in downtown Paso Robles (
    Eat: at Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso Robles (
    Check out: Studios on the Park in Paso Robles (
    Alli Addison

  69. My husband and I road tripped up Hwy 1 for our honeymoon. You and Bob will no doubt love every mile of your getaway.
    I would highly recommend stopping at Post Ranch for a delicious lunch and an incredible view…if you can swing it, staying there I’m sure, would be absolutely AMAZING…someday, maybe for our anniversary will have enough green in the bank…dreaming of that someday 🙂
    A cheaper, but wonderfully rustic, quaint, and darling hideaway is Deetjen Big Sur Inn. …the eggs benedict are to die for even if you don’t stay there it worth the stop in for breakfast….mmmm
    Lastly, The Inn Above Tide in Sausolita is worth every pretty dollar. It was our splurge, the last night of our trip and was perfectly worth every penny.
    Enjoy and be sure to take lots of pictures to share! 🙂 Thanks for your incredible blog…I’ve never commented, but read it at least once a day!

  70. Hi,
    My name is Alinne and I was introduced to your blog by my roommate who forwarded me images of your New York Times [modern]Carmen Miranda posting (my senior thesis was inspired by her ). Anyhow- In my portfolio, I have a whole collection that was inspired by this very series of Kate Spade ads.The collection is inspired by roadtrips of course but what I love the most is the concept development of all the images b/c of all the bright colors. So thats strike 2 between your work and mine (not to mention that my main goal with my senior thesis collection was to transfer joy)… so I was wondering if you could please email me so we can exchange ideas and have a brain-picking party. In the most polite way of course!! xoxo

  71. have you gone on your trip yet? in case you haven’t here are some suggestions for SF, don’t know if you need anymore? i’m an SF native and here are my favorites right now. you have to try these! 🙂
    mama’s – yummiest breakfasts ever, trust me! or for lunch, get the monte cristo.
    the butler and the chef – super cute bistro. get the croque monsieur, mmmm.
    little star – best deep dish.
    bourbon and branch – glamorous 1920s saloon, you need a password to get it so call ahead.
    hayes valley – cute little shopping street.
    fillmore st – more shopping..
    humphry slocombe – crazy ice cream flavors!
    katanaya – delicious late night ramen and sushi.
    intercontinental hotel (the new one)- stay in a corner room! i stayed on the 11th flr..beautiful views of SF!
    the bell jar – small boutique with beautiful little things for the home.
    dynamo donuts – order the bacon/maple/apple donut from the window.
    white walls – an art gallery.
    front porch – quirky little soulfood restaurant, yumyumyum!
    check some of these places out <3
    have a wonderful little vacation!


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