Friday, January 9, 2015

Bodega Bay

When I found out that Jeremy would get ten weeks of fully paid paternity leave, I felt like the luckiest mama in the world. TEN WEEKS! With both Caleb and Emily, Jeremy had to use a week of vacation time and then he was back to work. I had some help from my mother and mother-in-law, but I was mostly on my own. That's not too bad with one child or even two, but I could simply not even imagine Jeremy returning to work so quickly now that we have three. I knew the first few weeks would be rough, but I also remembered feeling much better after a couple of months. I really hoped that we could possibly take a small trip. I hated to think of completely "wasting" ten weeks and not do anything but be home with the kids. So, my mind started thinking of where could we possibly go?

After reading my friend Carissa's blog about her favorite things to do in the San Francisco area, I decided we had to go to Bodega Bay. We had done nearly everything else on the list! :)

Carissa's blog is just beautiful. Truthfully, I'm a little jealous of her photos because we've been to pretty much all of the same places and our photos look nothing like hers! So, check out her blog if you want to see some of the beauty of this area.

I had very little time to research the trip. I actually finalized the details when Anna was just a few days old. I found the perfect place for our family to unwind and relax through the VRBO website (vacation rental by owner.) It was a small 2 BR, 2 BA house six miles north of Bodega Bay. The home had all of the necessary amenities for us to be quite comfortable. (I'm through with staying in hotels without a kitchen if I'm bringing the whole family.) It was right off of the scenic Highway One and had floor to ceiling views of the Pacific Ocean and Wright's Beach. The price was kind of high, but I felt that it was too perfect to pass up. I knew we wouldn't be able to get out and about all that much, so it was important for me to be really comfortable at the vacation home. Sometimes, a change of scenery and a break from a difficult baby routine can make all the difference in keeping the baby blues at bay.

As we loaded up the van, I was nervous that it wouldn't be worth it, but my fears were quickly quieted as we drove down country winding roads and down the coast to our vacation house. The views were stunning and that was just from the van. I was giddy when we turned the key and walked inside. Even if I did nothing but hold and nurse the baby, I could do it with a fantastic view right in front of me. We learned that this home had been passed down for several generations among the same family. You could feel the cozy warmth of the place. There was a gas fireplace, hot tub, lovely garden, deck and chairs for watching sunrises/sunsets, cozy couches for snuggles and watching movies, large collection of games, and a beautiful updated kitchen with all the essentials. We stopped in Petaluma for groceries on the way there.

The Sonoma coastline. This was the view we had whenever we drove to/from Bodega Bay to our house.
Our first full day was spent playing on Wright's Beach and exploring the area directly around us. We drove into the small town of Bodega Bay and ate lunch at The Birds Cafe that overlooked part of the Bay. Jeremy and the kids walked to a little shop for saltwater taffy and a new kite while I nursed the baby. We played games at the house that afternoon and ate dinner there.

Playing at Wright's Beach in front of our house.

The waters are dangerous and cold in this area, but beautiful. We enjoyed walking and playing on the beach in November, but we didn't dare go into the water!
My little girl 

On our second full day, we decided to head up to Bodega Head for a mini hike. Everything I read said that it was easy hiking and fantastic views, but to be extremely careful with young children due to the high rocky cliffs. I was worried that it would be too unsafe to take the kids, but I knew Anna and Caleb would be completely safe. (I wore Anna Kate in the Moby wrap and Caleb was carried in a toddler backpack by Jeremy.) We stopped at a local place to get hot clam chowder and sandwiches and you can see our view below as we ate at picnic tables. After lunch, we walked about an hour in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. We did not take our best camera though since Jeremy was walking with Caleb on his back. That night we ate at the house again and then enjoyed movies and popcorn with the kids that evening by the fireplace. Jeremy and I managed to get all three kids to sleep long enough to enjoy hot tubbing under the stars that night. :)

We were able to park the van at Bodega Head and get out to do easy walks with the kids. 

This photo makes me so happy. I love to let my kids explore nature and climb. 

View of Bodega Bay from our car as we drove back into town from the Head. 

Caleb and Emily shared a queen sized bed for the first time. He's getting to be such a big boy! Here he is all sacked out after a morning and afternoon of fun. 

Our cozy cottage. 

We had lots of fun and we hope to be back again! It was an easy 1 1/2 hr. trip from our home and totally worth it. Three nights was a good getaway. 

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