I dare say last weekend was one of the highlights of our year! We drove the hour and change from San Francisco to Sonoma County to go glamping at Safari West. Safari West is a 400 acre private wildlife preserve founded in 1989 by a husband and wife passionate about wildlife conservation. It’s been on my bucket list since we moved here and it didn’t disappoint!
In addition to being home to 800 animals (including rhinoceroses, giraffes, and cheetahs), Safari West offers luxury tent accommodations for overnight stays such as ours. Our tent was high on the property and felt like we were staying a tree house. Each tent is made in Africa before being assembled at Safari West and is outfitted with comfortable beds, linens, and eco-friendly bath products. Despite the cool overnight temperatures, we were kept warm by an electric blanket (each tent also has a ceiling fan and a large space heater). Safari West’s tents may go beyond typical glamping experiences because we also had a large, fully functional bathroom and more electrical outlets than most of the hotels I’ve stayed in!
After being treated to breakfast in the morning, we took off for a three hour small group safari on the property. We were successful in finding almost all of the animals that roam the property including multiple species of antelope and ostriches. I appreciated how personable and knowledgeable our guide was and if you want to deep dive into the animals, Safari West also offers private “Talk Nerdy to Me” safaris with a biologist or someone of their Research and Education team.
As a cherry on top, Safari West’s location in Sonoma also made for excellent exploring. We dined and imbibed at Russian River Brewing Company and spent the afternoon after our safari exploring Healdsburg. We had the best barbeque outside of North Carolina at Kinsmoke and fueled up for our drive home with pie and ice cream at Noble Folk.
I just wrapped up a week on the East Coast and am kind of dreading the return to San Francisco. San Francisco does not enjoy its summer until September and October and now I have the taste for warm weather, poolside drinks, and late evenings spent on the patio. Fortunately, most of southern California is at most an hour plane ride away or six to eight hours in the car. I’m contemplating adding at least one of these southern California destination to our remaining weekends in July and August.
Palm Springs As a huge mid-century modern fan, I’m dying to visit Palm Springs as it’s known for having remarkably well-preserved mid-century homes. (The town even hosts a special open house week for fellow fans in February!) Hotel California looks like the perfect place for a relaxing long weekend.
Ojai Last year I visited Ojai for a girls weekend. We stayed in the most perfect Airbnb (my new dream house!) and explored the town. Unfortunately, since it was August, some of the restaurants we wanted to visit were closed for their own vacation. I’d love to go back here for another weekend and this time to stay at the luxurious Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
San Diego Between it’s year-round perfect weather, hiking spots, and abundance of fish tacos, I’m dying to move to visit San Diego for a weekend. I’ve also always wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo so that will be on our itinerary if we make it down there this summer.
San Luis Obispo & Paso Robles Both SLO and Paso Robles piqued my interest after passing through on my roadtrip to Malibu last summer. Oprah previously declared San Luis Obispo the country’s happiest town, which I agreed with after an excellent brunch and strolling around. I’d like to spend a weekend there in order to check out the vineyards of Paso Robles.
Solvang There’s nothing I love more than finding places in the US that feel like Europe. Solvang is known as “Little Denmark” after a group of Danes decided to escape the Midwest and founded it… the town even has its own copy of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid. I can’t tell if Solvang, in Santa Barbara county, is kitschy or quaint so I guess there’s only one way to find out!
Au revoir, friends! To celebrate my big 3-0, we’re checking out a place we’ve wanted to visit for a long weekend: Lake Tahoe. We rented the most adorable cabin, which I hope is extra cozy since we’re not expecting the best weather. C’est la vie! We’re spoiled by mild temperatures year-round in San Francisco so I suppose we’re due for a dose of brisk snowy(!!!) weather. We’ll be checking out the sights in South Lake Tahoe, taking a drive up to Truckee, and completing several dog-friendly hikes. I can’t wait to share once we’re back!
Greetings from India! We’re wrapping up our last few days here before we travel to Paris. I have to admit: I’m feeling a bit burnt out. This month has been crazy! Between traveling for work and to India and France, I’ll have spent just ten days at home. I’m looking forward to a quieter spring, but that doesn’t mean we won’t travel! I just want to take advantage of the great spots that are only a few hours drive from San Francisco for a day trip or a quick overnight. It blows my mind to think about all of the varying geographies and climates that are within a car ride from the Bay Area. Here’s what’s on my radar for our upcoming weekends.
Wine Country: In the two years we’ve lived in San Francisco we’ve been to Napa Valley just once. Embarrassing. We love Yountville for its culinary destinations like Bouchon Bakery, Ad Hoc, and Redd, but I would like to check out Sonoma, too. At only an hour and 15 minute drive away, wine country is a great way for us to spend a Saturday. Perhaps we’ll even take our dog and hit up the numerous dog-friendly wineries like Blackbird Vineyards or Paraduxx!
Yosemite: The national park is only three hours from San Francisco! It’s possible to see many of the Yosemite’s landmarks, like El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome within a day trip. With the National Park centennial this year, I want to go before the summer tourist crush though.
The Mendocino Coast: The New York Times’ 36 Hours feature sold me on checking out the towns in Mendocino. The county is 3 1/2 hours north of San Francisco so it’s probably better suited to a weekend trip. A cabin among the redwoods or along the beach sounds like the perfect getaway.
Lake Tahoe: Tahoe is another place I’m embarrassed to admit we haven’t visited since moving here. I’m thinking this destination lends itself to a long weekend, too, perhaps for my birthday. Or maybe we should wait until the summer so we can really enjoy the lake!