Posts tagged holiday weekend
Posts tagged holiday weekend
Over Veterans Day weekend, M & K took a long weekend trip up to Yosemite. M had been to the famous National Park years ago with his family, but K had never been and was SO excited to see the famous Half Dome, El Capitan, beautiful Yosemite Falls, and more. We had found a terrific deal on LivingSocial for a place called the Groveland Hotel in a tiny “gateway” town about twenty miles outside of the park: we paid less than the cost of one night’s stay for not only two nights, but also a $50 credit to the hotel’s Zagat rated restaurant, breakfast credits for both mornings, and even a complimentary bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us on our arrival. (I know, right??) As an added bonus, the hotel was pet-friendly, so we decided to make a family road trip out of it and take Indy and Guinness along with us. We knew they would love to be included, and a little research yielded enough dog-friendly paths in the park to keep us busy for the time we had. So on Friday morning of that weekend, we packed ourselves into our car and drove north.
We had decided to use our hotel credits on Saturday and Sunday nights, coming home on Monday, so Friday night we found a pet-friendly hotel (we love La Quinta!) in the hopping city of Fresno. We took it very easy on the drive up, even stopping at a little local park at Whitney Canyon, just north of Los Angeles, to give ourselves and the dogs an opportunity to stretch our legs.
Saturday morning, we drove another few hours, mostly on winding mountain roads which occasionally rewarded us with breathtaking valley views (like the top picture). We decided to drive straight into the park so as not to waste time. Even so, we only had a few hours of daylight, one of which was spent just on the drive through the forested (and snowy!) mountains into the parking areas in the valley, so we focused on the trails around Yosemite Falls. More pictures to come soon!
The long weekend was mostly spent with friends, hanging out and having fun. K went to her friend Tiff’s bachelorette party/lingerie shower, and had a great time celebrating her upcoming wedding. (However, pictures from that evening are classified.) Labor Day Monday was our friend Gregor’s birthday, and we had all made plans to spend the afternoon at the Del Mar races together for him, so we donned our big hats and cheered on the horses for several hours before re-convening at a beachy pizza place for dinner. It was a most excellent way to kick off fall 2011.
Did I mention we saw an amazing sunset? The pictures don’t do it justice, but still…
This year’s Fourth of July marked a milestone for M & K in San Diego: Last year on July 4th, M was on a plane headed to San Diego to start his new position, while K headed back to Maryland, to what would still be home for only a few short weeks before the final trek out west. Last year on July 4th, we were both nervous, excited, a little scared of change, yes, but ready for it. Last year on July 4th we hadn’t met any of our new friends in San Diego, K hadn’t found a job yet, heck - we didn’t even have a place to live! M crashed on the couch of a friend of a friend that first night, and stayed there for a week or so while he settled in at work and did a little preliminary apartment hunting. Meanwhile, K viewed Independence Day fireworks from the plane as she flew from Orlando back to Baltimore, and then spent her time working and packing, packing and working.
What a difference a year makes.
M & K spent Independence Day with some of our best friends here in San Diego, grilling out, playing soccer and volleyball, enjoying the beautiful weather, and finally retiring to the Little Italy apartment belonging to Tiff and Gregor, which offered an amazing view of at least 7 (and probably more) different fireworks shows around the city.
There we are on the balcony of the apartment where we would later watch the fireworks, with downtown, the bay, and Coronado behind us. Amazing place, amazing views!
The pictures really don’t do it justice - the fireworks over the San Diego skyline were just awesome, and to be able to see so many shows at once, sometimes synchronized together was so cool! And sharing the afternoon and evening with our favorite San Diegans (well, not all of them, but still) was very special, and a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of the epic move out west.
July 4th weekend, M & K got to participate in another one of the San Diego Symphony’s amazing concerts. The Symphony kicked off their Summer Pops concert series with their Star Spangled Pops concert weekend, featuring patriotic songs, guest soloists from past seasons of American Idol, and fireworks over the bay. The outdoor concerts were at the beautiful Embarcadero park, and each night was more fun than the next. We had amazing weather, so perfect and cool without being too cold. The audiences were packed with people picnicking and camping out to get the best seats - some people even boated over and hung out by the shore to hear the music!
Beautiful setting, isn’t it? That’s the Coronado bridge you can see in the background, there. We had a few lovely sunsets, which were likely nicer for us than for the audience, as we had our backs to the bright setting sun and simply got the nice view of the tinted clouds and sky. Singing with the San Diego Master Chorale, we had the best of both worlds, really - we got to sit on stage the whole time, so even when we weren’t singing rousing or beautiful songs for America, we were listening to the Symphony and to the soloists, David Hernandez and Lakisha Jones, who both blew us away with their professionalism and their voices. K got to snag a photo with David, who was very nice and very complimentary of the Master Chorale, saying his favorite number that we did was Hymn to the Fallen - a gorgeous, haunting piece you may recognize from Saving Private Ryan.
All of the pieces we performed were crowd-pleasers, but none more so than the traditional Battle Hymn of the Republic. Although M & K love the arrangement used by the Furman Singers and felt this one paled in comparison, it’s impossible for us to hear the song and not be stirred by happy memories of college singing, and it was neat to make a new memory with the same song. Plus, the crowd’s reaction when a giant American flag was raised behind us during the final chorus was awesome. It is always good to get a healthy dose of patriotism and we got a sizable helping that weekend!
Visitors! Our friends Ross and Eric made a somewhat impromptu trip down to SoCal for the holiday weekend, and we had a great time with them. The major highlight of the visit for all four of us, I think it’s safe to say, was when Eric took us sailing. His government credentials got us into Fiddlers Cove Marina, where we rented a sailboat and spent the next several hours being ridiculously impressed by Eric’s sailing skills. It was a gorgeous day to be out on the water and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Eric definitely did most of the work, but once M got the idea, he took a turn in charge of the sail and did a great job!
Later that day, we all went beer tasting at Ballast Point, where we had taken Ross and another friend, Brazen, back in September when they were here. As always, it was a great success — it was PACKED, but we still managed to get some yummy brews. As if that weren’t enough, we headed downtown that evening for dinner and drinks, hitting up El Dorado first for some of the best cocktails M & K have ever had. (We still have yet to visit Ross and Eric though, who are reputed to have the best bar in their town, and who took notes from the El Dorado bartender on the mixes he was making! So perhaps we should reserve judgment until we’ve had the Ross and Eric drink experience.) Pleasantly tipsy and ready for some food, we wandered around the Gaslamp District until we came across The Hopping Pig, a gastropub we’d never been to and decided to try. Oh, the food was so good! It was a quality way to wind up a perfect day with friends.