The Sweet Season

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Driving The California Coast

09 April 2012

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At 5:45am our alarms rang and we drug ourselves out of bed and grabbed a few remaining bags, the bikes, and were soon rolling out of Los Angeles.  It was bittersweet pulling out of our cozy Westwood neighborhood and waving goodbye to the shiny Beverly Hills buildings.  We opted to add a few hours to the trip and drive the coast, and as we headed toward Santa Monica the sun started peeking out giving the sand and ocean and peachy, hazy wash.  It was beautiful and we looked at each other wondering just how much we were going to miss the glorious beach lifestyle of SoCal. 

roll out.
We drove through Malibu, which had become one of our favorite spots while living in LA.  Nothing matches the beauty of the beaches, and the smallness you feel staring off into the ocean. 

We stopped at various points along the way to snap some pictures...

strawberry pickers!

The husband found a small town called Solvang a little ways off the road and we decided to stop there for brunch.  Solvang has a complete replica of the square in Copenhagen, Denmark.  It is an authentic Danish Village with wooden shoes, windmills and architecture. Needless to say, it was amazing and if I had the time I would go back and spend an entire week here walking around in the shops and eating all the amazing food.

We ate at Paula's Pancake House and it was TO. DIE. FOR.
There was a long line waiting outside but the host kept it moving and we only had to wait about
twenty minutes.  There is plenty to walk around and see while waiting, so it wasn't a problem.

I wanted to try something authentic, so even though I hate sausage I ordered the Danish Omelette which had sausage inside and was topped with havarti cheese.  I got some fresh salsa on the side and hashbrowns as well.  The omelette was amazing, and if all sausage tasted this good I might be a fan!

Husband ordered the Paula's Special which are Danish pancakes.  The pancakes were super thin and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  A heaping pile of fresh strawberries and whipped cream came with this dish, and it was also out of this world.  The maple syrup was fresh and homemade.  It was so thin, it was watery--not thick like traditional syrups-- but the flavor was perfect!

We give Paula's a 10/10 and would recommend stopping here for some authentic danish fare!

Paula's Pancake House on Urbanspoon

After eating we wandered around for a little while and checked out the famous Mermaid Statue replica, Hans Christian Anderson museum and the original building of the city built back in the 1800's! 

we picked up some wooden shoe ornaments from here!

We had to get back on the road eventually though, and the scenery went from ocean to sprawling, rolling hills and farms.  California truly has it all when it comes to landscape, scenery and climate.

morrow bay

"take my picture of my serious face mom"

sleepy bella
We also stopped off to see the Elephant Seals on the side of the road.  This time of year they are molting so some of them looked pretty gross.  There were literally hundreds of seals sunning on the beach and they were all grabbing sand and flinging it on their backs.  They looked like they had human hands inside their flippers and when they "grabbed" the sand it really freaked me out!

can you spot the seals?  there are only two in this shot...

if you look all the way in the background you can see a huge group of a few hundred...

seals, seals, everywhere!

oh hello

looking a little rough

At this point of the car ride I was getting REALLY carsick... I mean, look at those roads!  Imagine doing that for a few hours.  We had to take a  mini break in Big Sur because I thought I was going to puke.

We stopped taking  pictures after we got into Monterrey and made the rest of the drive into San Jose.
First impressions?  OPEN SPACE!  We can breathe!  And see!  And there is no traffic.  And we love our apartment complex.  Hopefully I will get a post up with some pictures of our new place!  I also got to have a blate on Easter (and Bella did too!)  Picture on that coming tomorrow!

Over & Out,

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  1. Oh my goodness! The drive looks positively gorgeous! I would love to take that drive sometime!

    And the little Danish cute!

    I really love your blog and the photos you post! Have fun settling in!

    -Kirsten ( )

  2. I've only been to CA once (San Jose, Salinas, Monterrey area)...I'm born and raised in the MidWest...I could never there, the sheer number of people FREAK me out!!

    However - it is a BEAUTIFUL place to visit and I will definitely go back for that & the weather!!! It's amazing compared to here in Missouri (pronounced Misery)

  3. I LOVE that drive to Malibu! So gorgeous. That little town you found looks adorable! As does your dog :)

  4. Gorgeous Pictures! Good Luck on your new adventure :)

  5. Beautiful pictures as always Ashley! You seriously make me want to become a better photographer like asap :) Sounds like you guys had a great drive and found some pretty cool little places. Good luck on your new home!! xo

  6. your pictures are beautiful! What kind of camera do you use?

  7. You look so cute for rolling out of bed at 5:45 am! I drive up to live in SF last summer and didn't take the coastal drive but now I'm wishing that I had because it looks much more beautiful than the non-coastal drive!

    Also, my puppies name is Bella too! =) Your Bella is super cute!!

  8. I'm glad you made the most of your drive! That little town with the pancake house looked adorable! Can't wait to see pictures of your new place. :)

  9. Glad you made it! Love sleepy Bella

  10. Great photos! I have always wanted to see the west coast - it looks incredible.


  11. Love your pictures! I have taken that drive many, many times. You are such a great photographer.

    Welcome to San Jose! San Jose is my hometown and where I currently live. I hope you love it as much as I do. It's a great place with so much to do!

  12. I have always wanted to drive the PCH, but have always opted for the 5 due to time. And I have heard about that dutch village and now I want to go.

  13. I'm super excited to hear about the adventures in your new 'hometown'. That drive along the coast looks amazing, but I would have been feeling sick like you... too many curves and it's game over.

    I love that your hubs is representing for the Mitten state. (:

  14. I'm SO excited you discovered Solvang!!! My family is Danish, so it's a really special place for us. My dad grew up 2 miles north in Buellton. My mom worked there in high school, and my great aunt works for the Chamber of Commerce. It's seriously my most favorite part of California. So glad you found the fountain (a replica of the one in Copenhagen!), the shoe, the windmills, the Christmas store, everything! I seriously teared up because it made me so homesick. (I'm originally from California but living in Ohio now)

    Paula's is my fave!!! You HAVE to go back and try aebleskivers...basically fried pancake balls. It's a family tradition for us and served all over Solvang.

    Loved all your pictures! You have such a way with a camera.

  15. Beautiful photos! I LOVE Solvang, so glad you guys got to see it before leaving.. it's the cutest little town. Excited to hear about your new adventures! xo

  16. Lovely pictures! Malibu is my fav as well. We rented a beach house there last summer & fell in love w the small peaceful town & we loved how dogs were allowed in so many places & beaches! Something we don't have down here in the OC! Your dog is so cute!

    Xo Kelly

  17. Malibu up to SF is my favorite drive. Ever! Especially Santa Barbara up to about San Simeon. We love to go wine tasting around there, the Paso Robles area.
    Looks like a beautiful day for it, too!

  18. We're going there when I come to visit! It's going to happen. :)

  19. Love your photos! That drive looks incredible (minus the whole car sick thing).

  20. Beautiful view. It doesn't look like that in Texas. Ha. I'll take one of everything at the pastry shop! Delish!!!


  21. Ok, I am officially DYING to take a road trip now! These photos are AMAZING!

  22. I must move there and go to the pancake house every single day for the rest of my life!

  23. Oh I'm so jealous! I miss traveling. Best of luck getting settled!

  24. I love California so much.

    and I hate motion sickness so much. That is all.

  25. Yup, I definitely have to drive more of the PCH now! Those are GORGEOUS, Ash! I'm so glad y'all are enjoying it already!!

  26. Such beautiful pictures, I want to drive the coast someday! It looks like a gorgeous drive.

    PS: I nominated you for an award! (

  27. wow! what gorg pictures!!!! btw paula's pancakes look amaze - yum!

  28. Such pretty photos! Glad you went the 5 and were able to see so many beautiful places and look out points! Yay for the Bay Area!!

  29. My husband and I did the Big Sur drive a few years ago - it was amazing and my favourite part of our CALI trip. I hope you settle in to your new place and I am looking forward to reading more about your California adventures.

  30. Those photos are all amazing! How do you edit them? Your post has made me want to schedule a vacation to take a road trip down the west coast.

  31. These are absolutely gorgeous! And a perfect reminder of why i love living in California. I'm so glad you found Solvang. I have such fond memories of that little town because it was really the only place we would go on day trips with my family when i was little. And the pictures of the fields, the coast, and all those seals (my god so many!) are amazing! i hope you enjoy san jose as much as you enjoyed your time in LA. I've heard northern california has a different charm than southern california does. Guess you'll have to let us know the differences :)

  32. Isn't the drive up north incredible?? =) anddd I definitely get carsick during that drive too. Last time Nadav and I road tripped up north I ended up buying some dramamine to help with the nausea.

  33. Isn't the drive up north incredible?? =) anddd I definitely get carsick during that drive too. Last time Nadav and I road tripped up north I ended up buying some dramamine to help with the nausea.

  34. HOLY GORGEOUS ashley! omgosh. Seriously open a photog business if you havent thought about it already! you are so amazing it killllllls me!!!! :-)

    bella with her tongue sticking out on teh fountain. what a HAPPY PUPPY! makes me smile!

    i love cute towns like this with so much charm! theres a town like that around me and it just makes me so happy when im there!

    SEALS!! EEE :-0


  35. SWEET PHOTOS!!! I love it!
    Hope to see those wonderful beach views in one of my future travel adventures!


  36. A replica of the entire square?! That's pretty awesome. Looks like a sweet day! Love the ocean pics and your puppy is adorable :)

  37. I LOVED following your in instagram on Saturday although I was sad you were leaving. I can't wait to do that drive this summer to see you!

  38. Have you been to Frankenmuth in MI? It sounds a lot like Solvang except that Frankenmuth is all German.

    I'm glad your move to San Jose went well! I've never been to CA & love seeing it through your eyes!

  39. looks like you passed through my town!! i live between solvang and morro bay...closer to morro bay, in san luis obispo! highway 1 is such a gorgeous drive!

  40. I think my parents visited Slovang when they we in CA a couple years ago. They were out there to see my Aunt & Uncle. One day my husband and I will have to get out there. I haven't been to CA since I was like 5. While we are there we'll have to check out Slovang and visit my Aunt & Uncle and my husband's Father & step-mother.


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