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Just a Birthday B [Yosemite + Sonoma]

Just a Birthday B [Yosemite + Sonoma]

Dang, it feels good to be a birthday b! 

To celebrate the big 3-0, K. and I planned a [pretty fab] trip to Yosemite National Park and Sonoma. A lil hiking, a lil wine… okey, okey … a gal can’t complain! It was a blast and the perfect way to ring in a new decade. holy moly.

We had the perfect balance of activity and indulgence. Lemme tell you, those Yosemite hikes had me huffin’ and puffin’. But in Sonoma we relaxed, drank wine, and enjoyed all the treats [hello, charcuterie boards!].


On our first day in Yosemite we hiked Mist Trail (vernal & nevada falls). Amazing. It was my favorite hike of the trip. We were lucky because the trail had just opened the day before we arrived.

April to June is the peak runoff period, so you can that the waterfalls were movin’ and groovin’!


We even spotted a rainbow! aye, but no pot of gold in sight :)


Up, up and away we continued to hike. The view at the top… puhlease! Gorgeous. 


cheese, please. climbing mountains is hard work!


We spent a solid 3 days in the park. This gave us ample time to explore and dedicate our time to some longer treks.

We ventured to Mariposa Grove, Mirror Lake, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls …  


… and gawked at the beauty of El Capitan. We watched the movie Free Solo - you know, about the guy, Alex Hannold, who scales El Capitan with no ropes - so it was pretty surreal to see it in person!


Let me just say that Yosemite National Park is stunning. Pictures don’t do it justice. And just in our short time there we experienced a mere sliver of what the park has to offer.

We were lucky to have snagged an Airbnb inside Yosemite Valley. We were centrally located to many of the trails we wanted to hike, but still had to drive about 30-40 minutes every day to most trail heads. Luckily, I was the passenger so I was free to ooh and ahh at all the sights along the way. Sorry, K., ten and two on that wheel! Phew, those roads are windy.

[fun fact: K. has never been a passenger to witness my driving… “skill”, for lack of better words. We live in Chicago which has pretty fab public transit so neither of us currently needs to own a car. But times are changing! Can’t wait for the day when he’s able to witness me beep, beepin’ around town. buckle up!]

This photo was taken early in the morning at the Tunnel View overlook on our last day.


After 3 full days of hiking, it was time to say goodbye to Yosemite, our cozy airbnb, pack up our hiking gear and zoom onto Sonoma.

Tick tock, B is almost 3-0! Girl, you gotta ditch that canned wine and get the good stuff!


As I mentioned, we ate and drank our way through Sonoma. After three days of hiking and snacking on pack lunches of PB&Js, it was magical.

Cheers, K.!


What was the highlight of Sonoma? Arg, it’s hard to pick, honestly! We did a lot in our short time there. But… hang onto your hats … I turned 3-0. So of course, it was the Sonoma bday celebrations.

We kicked off the bday with a nice walk around town [gotta get the steps in!] and stopped for breakfast at Sunflower Caffe. Delicious. I highly recommend! It turned into our go-to brekki spot, as it was just down the street from where we were staying at Lake Sonoma Winery.

Two orders of the spring scramble, please!


We then ventured to the most amazing wine tasting at Chateau St. Jean. Look at the courtyard of lush greens and pretty pink flowers. Is this real life? Just checking.


The weather was sunny and a fab 80 degrees. I’ve never experienced a vineyard wine tasting, but this was just what I had imagined. So posh, so fancy-fresh! We sat on the club patio overlooking the vineyards. We were given a description of the set menu of wines and were prompted to each choose 5 to taste.

A lil swirl of the glass and a sniff, and then, bottoms up! I taste earthy notes of oak and a slight hint of sweet apple and pear. How about you, K.?! :)


hi, hello, don’t mind me, the birthday b.


We continued with more tastings and treats throughout the day. Of course. I’m 30, wine-me! I won’t bore you will all the deets. Or maybe, I don’t remember?! Just jokes. I did wake up with a lil hangover though. Oy vey, getting older is amazing.


One last thing before I cap off this post… IMO there are two must-eats in Sonoma: The Girl and The Fig and El Dorado. Top notch. I couldn’t write about our time in Sonoma without mentioning those two restaurants.

The Girl and The Fig has the cutest patio. It embodies a refined, yet rustic vibe. K. and I spent our first night there and enjoyed the most delicious charcuterie board and pressed ham sandwich [+ bacon marmalade and goat cheese]. Yum.


El Dorado is located just across the street from The Girl and The Fig. We enjoyed dinner there on our last night. We ordered the burrata, crab cake, and seafood paella. Still dreamin’ about that crispy, crunchy, ahhhmazing paella!


Well, looks like 3-0 is shaping up pretty nicely. Thank you for the most amazing birthday, and cheers to new adventures, K.!

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