A long while ago, Chad and I started making grand plans for our ten year anniversary trip. We were definitely planning to go somewhere foreign. Then suddenly, 2015 was upon us. Chad's youngest brother decided to get married, my mom decided to graduate with her PhD, and while math's never been my strong suit, it became pretty apparent the amount of vacation time he is allocated for the year wasn't going to add up to two big family events plus a two week exploration of Thailand. Instead, we decided to celebrate the big 10 early and tack on a quick jaunt to San Francisco during our trip out west for Mom's graduation. It ended up being a spectacular vacation. Probably one of my all-time favorites. I'm so glad we went.
I could pretty much sum up how lovely it was by saying this was the view from our room at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square:
So beautiful, right?!
And the room was FREE thanks to a tip from a friend about the Chase Hyatt credit card. Oh, and we didn't have our kids with us. So basically, it was heaven.
I'll add a few more details just for good measure.
We flew in on a Monday afternoon and took a walk through Chinatown almost right away.
We'd planned to eat at a place on the water that came highly recommended, but there was an hour wait and we were both starving. And it was also being renovated and reminded me of the Sandpiper in LaGrange, where I could eat for a quarter of the price. So we passed on that and went low key instead with The Codmother Fish and Chips. I love a good food truck. I also love greasy food washed down with Dr. Pepper. It was a win-win.
And hopped a trolley ride back to the hotel. The sun was just setting and we enjoyed spectacular views of the city the entire ride home. It was the perfect ending to our first night in San Francisco.
The next morning, we met my State Junior Miss buddy, Jackie, for breakfast. I love the people in my life that I can go years without seeing or talking to and still feel like we can pick up right where we left off. Jackie is one of those people. She is so genuinely lovely. I'm so thankful we were able to squeeze in a short visit with her.
We did a little shopping at H&M, because, really, who doesn't want to go shopping when you're not having to appease tag along minions with goldfish and raisins? Then we headed to Fisherman's Wharf.
We hit up Boudin's for some fresh sourdough.
The baker in me wants to go on a quest to replicate this, but sourdough recipes are just way too much work. Even for this bread enthusiast.
Even though Chad had absolutely no interest in making the across city trek, he appeased me by hiking to see the painted ladies (aka Full House houses). We ended up seeing a whole different realm of the city by walking there, and the end view was awesomely worth the effort.
Houses like this stole my heart all along the way:
Chad's Aunt Andi and Uncle Spencer picked us up from the park and spared us the walk back. They treated us to a delicious Burmese dinner before dropping us back at the hotel that night. It was wonderful to see them.
I'm in need of a Burmese cookbook after this excursion.
Wednesday morning we woke up and headed to Mama's to line up for breakfast. A friend had told us not to miss it, and it was definitely an experience.
Then we checked out of our hotel and headed for the East Bay, so Chad could reminisce about his mission days.
We drove to the Oakland Temple.
And stopped off at a few apartment complexes where Chad lived as a missionary.
Then we drove to Mountain View to spend the night with our Raleigh friends the Stevensons, who have temporarily relocated to Northern California. After their kids were asleep, we had a spectacular taco truck meal, and Julie introduced me to Jamberry nails.
Chad flew out the next morning (he was flying back to Raleigh to work the next day), and Julie entertained me all day before dropping me at the airport that afternoon (I was flying back to UT to collect our kiddos). I loved picking an orange from their front yard after our morning walk.
And we stopped by a beautiful park, so I could glimpse a few famous redwood trees.
I honestly don't know if I have ever been so sad to see a vacation end. I learned a few very important lessons on this trip: 1) My parents are so amazing. They allowed our kids to tear apart their house and exhaust them for four days straight, while we pretended to be childless and gallivanted all over the place. 2) Every couple needs vacation time without their kiddos. I love my boys, and I love being their mom. But it was so refreshing to have time to just talk to Chad and be together, without interruption and distraction. The last time we went away just the two of us was a looooonnnng time ago, so we came away from the trip resolved to do so more often. 3) I am so glad I am married to my best friend.
Even though I was pretty devastated that we weren't moving into a San Francisco row house by the end of our trip, I was pretty thrilled to be reunited with these two:
I like to think that the feeling was mutual.