The Trip We Didn’t Know We Needed, Helloooooo California!

In November, when’s Scott’s boss (and our former pastor) was named the new Bishop-Elect of Monterey, California, we were equal parts elated and sad. It’s never easy to let another good priest go, but our country and our world are in dire need of the good and holy ones like Bishop Danny.

At first we joked that we should go to his installation Mass because, HELLO, it’s Monterey, California. Then, we looked up direct flights from Austin to San Jose ($79?!) and we got serious in a hurry.

The five days we spent in California came during such a chaotic and hard season of parenthood. In just a few short months, our oldest leaves for college and our youngest starts kindergarten. Oh, and I’m publishing a book and Scott is in the middle of running an $85M capital campaign for our diocese. As soon as we stepped foot off the plane, we almost broke into dance.

Our days were spent exploring state parks, taking beachside walks, driving the infamous 17-mile drive, listening to bagpipers at Spanish Bay at sunset (what?!), partaking in divine food, climbing lighthouse stairs, getting lost, discovering a farmer’s market and meeting Bishop Barron. Say what?! We even connected with an Internet friend, who is now a bonafide real-life one. Looking at you Adele and Ben! Y’all, they hosted us for an evening and fed us so, so well. But it was the conversation we cherished. We could’ve easily stayed up until the wee hours chatting. Fair warning, Adele, we’re coming back.

I could drone on and on about all the cool stuff we did, but it truly pales in comparison to the time – the precious time – we had together as Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker. Sometimes your marriage needs a downpour of quality time.

California delivered.

Enough chit-chat, let’s see some photos! Oh, and below, I link to all the places we visited and restaurants we ate at while we were in town. Di-vine, I tell ya.

If you can’t tell, Scott and I experience a place by eating. Our goal is to only have spectacular food when we visit somewhere new, and to never EVER eat at a chain. It’s a cardinal rule with us.

And, of course we make friends with all the people along the way. That’s one of the best parts about traveling. Our lighthouse guide was Catholic and thrilled to hear that Bishop Danny was now his bishop. The retired golfer working the welcome desk at Pebble Beach gave us great advice about when to arrive at Spanish Bay to hear the bagpiper and where to sit. The guys working at Phil’s totally humored me by taking a photo with us. Our waitress at Bistro Moulin treated us like royalty (that place was amazing) and our night at the piano bar at Mission Ranch defies description. Next time you see me, ask me to retell our evening. It’s best told in person.

Bottom line? Make friends along the way. It makes the journey so much sweeter.

Links to all the places
Carmel Mission & Shrine to St. Junipero Serra
Carmel Bakery
Flaherty’s Seafood Grill (seriously the best GF bread I’ve ever had)
Pebble Beach Golf Links
17-Mile Drive
Bagpiper at Spanish Bay
Wave Street Cafe, near Cannery Row
Lovers Point, Pacific Grove
El Cantaro Vegan Mexican (y’all, don’t knock it, it was some of the best food we ate!)
Point Pinos Lighthouse & Pacific Grove Farmers Market
Fisherman’s Wharf (also the place where I had a “discussion” with a restaurant about their ridiculous child policy)
San Carlos Cathedral
Bistro Moulin
Phil’s Fish Market, Moss Landing
Hogs Breath Inn, Carmel (their chocolate martini was YES)
Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant (Clint Eastwood’s place)

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