My Best Friend’s Wedding

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I’ve been looking forward to this wedding for years. When my best friend got engaged in 2013, I was so excited for her and her fiancee. We’d been talking about the wedding for so long, it was almost hard to believe that the time was finally here. The last stop on my whirlwind vacation last month was San Diego, where I attended the best wedding I’ve ever been to.

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As the day approached, I could barely contain my excitement. I took the train from LA to San Diego (which featured a lovely stretch along the coast) a few days early so that I could spend time with her and help with any last-minute preparations. As she showed me all that she’d planned for the wedding, I could see how much love and care she’d put into every detail.

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Erica and Carlos were married in a gorgeous church in downtown San Diego, with soaring ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows. When they talked about why they loved each other and said their vows in Spanish, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

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After the ceremony, we had a bit of a break before the cocktail hour, so the bridesmaids and groomsmen headed to the venue to help set up a little bit. I loved the venue, which had a beautiful outdoor area with a koi pond, as well as indoor seating. Soon after, the guests started to arrive, and from then on it was one big party!

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My family has been friends with Erica’s family for years now, so my parents and sister were also invited to the wedding, and it was so fun to have them there. I was also able to spend time with some of her wonderful family and friends (who I met when Erica and I traveled to Spain together in 2009) who flew all the way to California for the wedding. To top it off, several of my oldest and best friends from high school were there, so it was wonderful to see them and have a mini reunion. Basically, the room was full of so many of my favorite people in the whole world. I felt really lucky to be there to celebrate the union of this beautiful couple.

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There was much dancing (Erica and Carlos actually met in a dance class- is that way too cute, or what?!), singing, and general merriment. After so much preparation and anticipation, the time disappeared in the blink of an eye. I had the best time and I wish I had a time turner so we could go back and do it all over again!

Shelter Cove

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Oh boy do I have a story about Shelter Cove. When we were searching for a stopping point close to the redwoods and the coast, Shelter Cove came up. The pictures were pleasant and one of the inns had a couple rooms available, so we thought, “Why not?” Let’s book it.”

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So it turns out that Shelter Cove is actually relatively remote. So remote, in fact, that there’s only one road in and out. And this road isn’t your average road; it’s a two-lane road that winds up and down through the mountains until you descend into Shelter Cove.

Let’s just say that driving this road was experience. We had no idea it would be like that and by the time we made it to that road, it was starting to get dark. It’s a twelve-mile stretch that takes around 40-45 (harrowing) minutes to drive. We were driving cautiously because we were completely unfamiliar with the road, which made some of the locals behind us very impatient. More than once, we had to find a carveout in the road and pull over so that someone could pass us. As their car went careening around a corner, I wondered how it was possible that they didn’t drive right off the cliff!

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I’ve never been carsick or even queasy in a car before, but I discovered on this trip that winding high-speed highways make me very uncomfortable. I wasn’t even driving on this road, but I was watching it like a hawk, particularly around every hairpin turn.

When we finally arrived in Shelter Cove, I was still uneasy because I knew we’d have to travel that same road back out the next day. But, here’s the happiest part of the story- when my sister and I chose Shelter Cove, we picked it solely for its proximity to the redwoods. It turns out that my parents actually know a couple that lives in Shelter Cove, two friends that they’d made many years ago when we were still babies. My parents had been meaning to visit this couple in Shelter Cove for ages, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Then, out of the blue, we picked this destination as a resting point, my parents recalled that their friends live in Shelter Cove, they called them up to let them know we were passing through, and we met up with them the next day!

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My parents and their friends hadn’t seen each other in over ten years, so it was a very happy reunion. And, after realizing how remote it is, my parents were even more grateful. Who knows when we’ll ever be making that trip again?! Despite the frightening road, I’m really glad my parents had the opportunity to visit with their friends. Once I recovered from the drive and had a chance to properly look around in the daylight, I realized that Shelter Cove really is a beautiful little spot.

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And with that, I’m concluding my recap of last year’s road trip (if you missed any of the previous posts, you can catch up here)! I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip. The next travel posts will be about Seattle and Vancouver and I’m aiming to get them up sometime this year (hopefully it will be sooner rather than later, but with my track record, it could take me months!).

The Redwoods

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Despite living in California for most of my life, I’d never seen any redwoods or been to one of the state parks until last summer. As we were heading back home after our stay on the Oregon Coast, we’d planned to split the drive back into two portions (because it was crazy to make a 14-18 drive in one day). For the first leg of the trip home, we were going to spend the night in Shelter Cove, but we first we’d stop at Humboldt Redwoods State Park on our way.

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I’d seen these massive trees in pictures before, but it’s entirely different seeing them in person. It was both awe-inspiring and humbling. As we walked along the paths, the wind rustled through the leaves and the grass. The sound was both soothing and peaceful.

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When we planned this trip, I did want to stop and see the redwoods, but I didn’t expect to enjoy the experience as much as I did. There really is something fascinating about being outdoors and exploring. That particular day, it felt like we had the park entirely to ourselves. I could have spent much more time picking my way around fallen branches and listening to the sounds of nature.

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2 Hours in Portland

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You know when you’re on a very tight schedule and you start out on track, but then it deteriorates very quickly? That was my family and our planned day trip to Portland last summer. When we drove up to Oregon, we decided to stay on the coast, but we also planned to spend a day in Portland. Here was the itinerary for the day:

– Leave the beach house very early in the morning and drive about 2.5-3 hours to Multnomah Falls
– Drive into Portland and spend the day there
– Drive to Beaverton and meet my cousin for dinner

Instead we:

– Drove into Washington (since we were so close to the border, my mom thought it would be a shame not to cross the state line for a bit)
– Drove to Multnomah Falls
– Drove to Portland and spent less than 2 hours there
– Drove to Beaverton to have dinner with my cousin

Although the day didn’t quite go according to plan, we were able to squeeze in a few fun things during our brief time in Portland, including Powell’s (the place I was most excited to visit), Voodoo Doughnut, Blue Star Donuts, and Salt & Straw (yep, I dragged my family to all the sweet shops in town).

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From the few bits that I saw, Portland seems like an awesome city. I’m already thinking that I need to plan another PNW trip and spend more time in Portland and Seattle!