Category Archives: Honeymoon

The Napa Valley Chronicles

Hi guys!  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  This is the final installment of our honeymoon recap, because guess what?!  Our wedding photos are almost ready! Our site launched and I am just waiting for the CD before I start recaps.  We love the photos and I am so excited to share them with you.  Give me a few days to get things organized and then expect a TON of wedding porn around these parts!  So without further ado, here is the rest of our honeymoon.  After spending three days in San Fran, we spent another three days in Napa and had a fabulous time!  These photos are mostly scenery, because let’s face it, Napa is mostly fabulous scenery.  And wine…lots and lots of wine!

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My favorite photo of the entire trip.  I love how it captures the essence of Napa!

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Re-seeding the fields near Domaine Carneros

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Happy cows do NOT come from California, thank you very much.  They come from WISCONSIN!!!

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Our tour guide, Tom, at Domaine Carneros.  He’s been doing this for 30 years!

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Always drink your wine with your pinky out!

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Picnic lunch at V. Sattui Winery

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In front of Michael Chiarello’s restaurant! 
Sadly, we didn’t eat there, but I LOVE HIM.

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And so, the sun sets on our honeymoon! 

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The San Francisco Chronicles, I
The San Francisco Chronicles, II
The San Francisco Chronicles, III

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The San Francisco Chronicles, III

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking…but I have to say that San Francisco is incredible.  We loved it there!

Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park

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You wouldn’t believe me but Dr. Groomy is actually kind of a hippie.  Ok, maybe not a hippie but he loves the Grateful Dead, so a stop in the Haight-Ashbury district was a must.  I had a good time but found the whole neighborhood was just sort of…dirty.  Sorry, San Francisco!

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The best FRIES ever!  Stopped for a snack at a brewery in the Haight that is housed in an old pharmacy.  Pretty fitting, given Dr. Groomy’s profession.

Golden Gate Bridge

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Muir Woods, aka the Redwood Forest. 

You guys, the Redwoods are INCREDIBLE.  If you are ever out in San Francisco, PLEASE make the trip to see them and GET OUT OF THE PARK and onto the trails!  We did a 3 hour hike and it was fantastic.

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Stay tuned for the Napa Valley Chronicles next week!  Have a great weekend, all!

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The San Francisco Chronicles, I
The San Francisco Chronicles, II

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The San Francisco Chronicles, II

*Editor’s Note:  I apologize that posting has been so light this week.  I have been super swamped/stressed at work, so much so that by the time I get home, all I want to do is zone out.  Luckily, I wrapped my big project yesterday so regular posting will resume next week.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!

We wake up from our nap feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another San Francisco adventure:  what should we have for dinner?  After perusing our guidebook, we decide to head to North Beach and check out some of the cool bars and restaurants there.

First stop, Vesuvio.  Easily, one of the coolest bars we’ve ever walked into!  A headquarters for the Beat generation, it serves up some wicked beers.  Dr. Groomy and I love beer (you might say we’re a couple of connoisseurs, much like my friend KJPugs).  We sit in the balcony, looking down over the bar where the likes of Jack Keroac & Allen Ginsberg once hung out, and watch the baseball playoffs, enjoying our drinks.  I make Dr. Groomy take an obligatory wedding-ring-honeymoon-shot.  What, like you all didn’t make your husbands do that too!

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We finish up our drinks and head next door to City Lights Booksellers.  This place is a city landmark and I easily fall prey to the rows and rows of books.  I love bookstores and books—the touch, feel and smell of the paper, the quiet and reverent way the patrons sneak down the rows and past the shelves…I tell Dr. Groomy we have to leave or I could spend hours here.  He promises me a return visit on another day.

We head out of the bookstore and wander around North Beach, where it’s true what the guidebooks say:  there really ARE restaurant hawkers who stand outside the many bistros & cafes and try to lure you in with their menus.  We have a tough time deciding where to eat, but eventually settle in at a little Italian bistro known for their gnocchi called Colosseo—hey, we are in North Beach after all!  (It’s known as San Francisco’s Little Italy). 

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I destroy a plate of gorgonzola gnocchi and discover that those guidebooks are right…it is divine. 

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We share a bottle of wine with dinner and then a few more drinks as we sit at the bar later on and watch Brett Favre & the Minnesota Vikings lose on Monday Night Football (what a great wedding present for this Green Bay Packers fan!  Thanks, Brett…douche.).  Afterwards, we walk back to our hotel tipsy but satisfied, ready for yet another exciting day in San Francisco!

To be continued…

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The San Francisco Chronicles, I

*All photos are mine and may not be used without my express written consent.

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The San Francisco Chronicles

We leave for San Francisco at 6:00pm the night after our wedding.  We have spent the day recuperating, opening gifts, and even having a Bloody Mary with friends to watch the Packers play at a local bar.  I am, let’s be honest, pretty hungover—which, while that was not really supposed to be part of the plan, means it was an all-around great party!

Plus or minus 5 hours later, we land in San Francisco.  It is chilly and we are tired, but excited.  We hop an airport shuttle and head to our hotel.  I try to keep my eyes open as we stop to drop off other passengers, craning my neck to see any familiar sites I know of the San Francisco skyline.  We arrive at our hotel, the Fairmont on Nob Hill, and check in goes smoothly.  Our accommodations are amazing!

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The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

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I am DE-lighted to find that our room overlooks the Brocklebank Apartments, which any Hitchcock fan should be able to tell you is where the amazingly awesome “if-you-haven’t-seen-it-ever-I-should-smack-you” flick Vertigo was filmed.  After unpacking a bit and getting settled, we fall into bed exhausted.

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In front of the famous Brocklebank Apartments

Monday morning dawns bright and sunny, and we know we are in for some beautiful weather.  San Francisco’s “summer” season is actually in September and October, which means only one thing:  it’s HOT here.  Hmm, we should have thought about that before we planned our trip—we’re both more of the “we love sweater weather” types.  Oh well, we plan to enjoy the trip regardless, and we set off this morning in search of coffee and breakfast.

We end up walking all the way down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which any San Franciscan can tell you is a major tourist trap.  Oh well, we’re tourists, right?  We walk up and down the Wharf, snapping pictures of Alcatraz and the Wharf itself, which, in the early morning hours, is really an amazing site.  It’s less tourists and more fishermen right now, and we find the inner workings of the harbor to be fascinating.  I have to pinch myself sometimes—I can’t believe we’re here, in San Francisco, on our honeymoon!

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Alcatraz

San Francisco Pictures 014  In front of the Bay Bridge.  I know the Golden Gate gets all the press, but we found the Bay Bridge to be pretty impressive in its own right!

I try desperately to get Dr. Groomy to take a boat trip around the bay, but he hates boats.  Instead, after a delicious breakfast at the Boudin Sourdough Bakery, I make him trek all the way to the opposite end of the Wharf to visit the illustrious Ferry Building—aka the foodie heaven of San Francisco.

San Francisco Pictures 015In front of the Ferry Building…aka Foodie Heaven.

It reminds us of our own Milwaukee Public Market, but it’s much more successful than ours!  We explore the market, taking in the sites and sounds.  Fresh coffee, seafood, oysters, a dairy bar…the Ferry Building has it all.  I buy some truffle salts (I have a bit of an obsession with truffles) and we trek through the financial district to take a cable car back up to our hotel.  What a ride! 

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 View from the cable car line

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On the way back to the hotel, we stop at Grace Cathedral and admire it’s unique labyrinths and architecture.  

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The architecture is awe-inspiring, but it reminds us so much of the Cathedral we got married in that we’re embarrassed to admit that we’re not quite as awed as everyone else. 

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After stopping back at the hotel to rest up a bit, we head just a few blocks away to Chinatown, easily my most favorite part of our trip. 

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We love it here!  We spend the afternoon exploring the sights, sounds and smells. 

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It’s like being in a completely different country.  We visit the fortune cookie factory, spend time in the park, and generally weave our way in and out of the neighborhood.San Francisco Pictures 040

In front of the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which was really just ONE room.  You walk in off the street and the machines are right there, whirring, creaking, and dropping hot batter into a press.  Once the cookies have been flattened into discs, little old ladies, who I imagine to hardly have any fingertips left from handling the hot cookies, sit and fold each one, slipping the fortunes in as they work.   We walk past it twice without realizing it, it’s so tiny and unobtrusive.San Francisco Pictures 041

We’re tourists, yes, but we still want to see the parts of Chinatown that tourists generally don’t venture to.  Being in Chinatown makes us feel a little bit more daring…a little bit more cultured.  We stop and have dim sum for lunch at one of the million dim sum restaurants that line the Chinatown streets.  Dr. Groomy tries to learn how to eat with chopsticks…and fails, miserably.  So we buy a set for each of us so we can practice at home.

San Francisco Pictures 043  Dim Sum is the Cantonese custom of small plates.   Waiters wheel the food around the dining room on hot carts, stopping at each table to offer their selections to you.  You pick and choose as you go.  We tried a little of everything and had such a blast eating and drinking with the Chinatown locals (We were probably the only English speakers in the restaurant.  If you ever go to Chinatown, DON’T be a tourist—get off the main drag of Grant Avenue.  Everyone is so friendly throughout the Chinatown neighborhood, and locals are happy and willing to introduce you to their culture.)

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After lunch, we stop in a tea shop and buy real green tea, not the Lipton kind you can get at your local grocery store.  We also pick up some authentic tea cups (no handles!) for $1.00 a piece as well, so we can re-create the time we’ve spent  in Chinatown at home anytime we want.

Feeling happy and satisfied, we head back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap before heading out to dinner in North Beach.

To be continued…

*All photos are mine and may not be used without my express written consent.

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