One of Alan's former co-workers is from Trinidad (his father was both the youngest and oldest mayor of the town), and having recently purchased a vacation-slash-retirement home overlooking the water, he is graciously lending it out to friends. Even though we had just come back from New Orleans mere days before, we jumped at the chance for a quiet, relaxed weekend up along the coast. It was sheer perfection.
I took a half-day off from work and we hopped in the car before sunrise for the journey north. Of course I fell asleep, but Alan reports that once we got past Alexander Valley that the drive was simply gorgeous. We stopped in Hopland to fill up and I was giddy to see temps in the twenties. There was frost covering all of the vines and hillsides and it truly looked like a winter wonderland. We stopped in Ukiah at the Slowest Starbucks on the Planet (TM) for my only egg nog latte of the season before continuing on. We finally reached the house around noon and holy heck it was exactly what I was hoping for.
This is the view from the living room window and the first thing you see after you pass the foyer. I posted this to Instagram within seconds of arriving.
We grabbed lunch at Eatery & Gallery where I kicked off my "To heck with this diet" December by enjoying possibly the largest basket of fried clams & french fries I've seen outside of the Eastern seaboard. I finished up working for the afternoon and curled up on the couch with my iPad to finish reading "A Discovery of Witches" (one of my fave entertaining reads of the year). After some more napping we went to dinner at Larrupin Cafe. My food was just okay, but Alan's meal was especially delicious (cornish game hen with roasted sweet potatoes). And let me tell you, this place was decked out to the nines for Christmas. I have never seen a more awesome Christmas tree than the peacock-themed one they had in the foyer. I wish I would have had my iPhone on me so that I could have gotten a picture. It was that amazing.
We came back to the house and Alan built a fire before we settled in to watch Elf. Unfortunately I fell asleep about midway through. (This was, unfortunately, a theme for the remainder of the month as I also fell asleep during Love Actually and A Christmas Story.)
The next day we woke up bright & early and watched an amazing sunrise from the master bedroom before getting bundled up and heading down to the pier for breakfast at Seascape Restaurant. The reviews on Yelp are weird. People either love or hate this place. Personally, I don't understand the hate. My food was good, the view was spectacular, and the service was fast and friendly. What's not to like?
From there we hiked the Trinidad Head. BEAUTIFUL. That said, I don't recommend hiking it on an extremely full belly. Lesson learned.
After another nap we jumped in the car and drove north to Prairie Creek State Park where we were supposed to stumble upon a giant herd of elk. Most were hiding so we only saw a handful over by the ranger's station, but we did get a chance to take another hike through the forest which was an awesome way to further work off the morning's giant breakfast.
That night we drove down to McKinleyville for dinner at Six Rivers Brewery. This is another place that has strange reviews on Yelp. We thought the food was good, the beers were decent, and the ambiance was exactly what you'd think of from a brew pub. A lot of people report having bad service but we had EXCELLENT service the entire night. If you get a chance to go during the winter, their seasonal brews were the best.
We woke up the next morning bright & early to another stunning sunrise from the bed in the master bedroom.
Later that morning we had breakfast at Beachcomber Cafe as a band was setting up for the afternoon. What I loved about this place was the fact that they had excellent coffee and you could tell this was where all the locals go. Everyone knew everyone else and there were people bringing in their own mugs to be filled. It had the vibe that you hope for with a local establishment but sometimes don't see. I loved it.
When we were parking we noticed there was a holiday craft faire going on in the gym of the school across the street. After doing some Christmas shopping up the street we circled back down to the school to check it out. This is a tiny town (population mid-300s) so I didn't expect a huge number of crafts or people. Some of the stuff was kind of granny and regretsy, but as we were leaving there was a table full of pottery that I stopped at. Immediately I saw two gorgeous pottery mugs that I loved. I figured they'd be in the $16 range so imagine my happiness when I found out they were $6 each! I bought two! We also bought a vase for Alan's mom for Christmas and then headed on our way.
I was sad to pack up and leave but we had a long drive ahead of us and we still wanted to stop in Ferndale on the way home. Trinidad is definitely a beautiful town in a remarkably stunning location. It's far enough from home that it feels like you've gone somewhere, but close enough that we can do it as a long weekend. And our friend's house is just perfect for our wants and needs (perfectly outfitted, but not overly fancy). And the view can't be beat. I'd definitely love to visit again at some point in the future and hit up a few more of the state parks for hiking.