This summer we went on one of our most exciting trips yet. We have always loved to travel but something about bringing Dean along makes it so special. Ryan was finally able to see where I grew up and Dean meet his great grandparents. We saw so many people we loved and so many beautiful sites!
Our first stop on the trip was Reno, NV. My dad’s parents live outside of Reno in Fallon. We used to go when I was a kid for weekend trips, my parents actually got married in a chapel there. Other than seeing my grandparents and Dean meeting them, I wasn’t really a fan of Reno. They have a little river walk area that was nice but that was about it. We ate at Hash House a go go, this place is so good! We’ve eaten there before in Vegas and I know they have other locations but beware, the portions are huge. Check out Dean with his “kids” pancake.
Our next stop was hands down our favorite. I again use to go to Lake Tahoe as a kid. And this place is just as great as I remember. It is the perfect place for a family vacation. We drove in from Reno so we circled the lake. We stopped at Incline Village and made our way to South Lake Tahoe. On the way we stopped at Round Hill Pines Beach, we had lunch and Dean loved playing in the sand. The water was freezing which is typical Lake Tahoe but Dean didn’t seem to mind.
We stayed at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and absolutely loved it. We had a large renovated room and 2 bathrooms but I had a friend stay there the week before and her room was not renovated. At night we would gamble downstairs while my parents watched Dean, it was pretty perfect. During the day we enjoyed the outdoors. As soon as we woke up our second day there we went to Sand Harbor, this place fills up so you have to get there early! Sand Harbor is one of the most beautiful places I have been. They have a large beach and on a clear day you can see across the lake and the snow covered mountains. Unfortunately there was a large fire and the smoke ruined some of our views. Sand Harbor also has a boardwalk that’s in the shape of a horseshoe. It has the best views!
My other favorites in Lake Tahoe were biking and eating. We rented bikes with my parents and got a little cart for Dean. We used Anderson Bicycle Rental and they were in a great location, we were able to stop along the ride at Pope and Baldwin beach and for ice cream. Our favorite food in South Lake Tahoe was Basecamp Pizza. We also enjoyed MacDuff’s Pub and I liked Sprouts, not sure about my carnivore husband, they had a great breakfast and mimosa.
It was hard to leave Lake Tahoe, I think we easily could have spent our entire 2 weeks there. Our next stop was about 2 hours away, where I grew up in Northern California. I didn’t realize I would be so excited to show Ryan where I’m from. It is a half hour outside of Sacramento, a small town called Newcastle. They call it “Gem of the Foothills” for a reason. I showed Ryan the house I grew up in and we visited Folsom Lake as well as downtown Newcastle for a Rat Trap sandwich from Newcastle Cheese Shop. While we were in town we visited with my cousins and their kids, it was so nice to see everyone. Dean loved his second cousins and wanted to do everything they did, it was so cute and it felt great to be home!
Our next stop was San Francisco, CA. This was probably my first and last time visiting San Francisco in July. It was super crowded and everything had a wait. Our first night there we went to Pier 39 and it was crazy busy. We walked around the stops and Dean rode the carousel. We also saw the Sea Lions but apparently there isn’t very many of them in July. We stayed at Hotel Zephyr. It was a super cute little boutique hotel and had a great location. We saw all the big sites while in San Francisco; Lombard Street, Union Square, Chinatown, Ferry building, rode the cable cars. It was fun and exhausting! We kind of just ate wherever we were but really enjoyed our sundae from Ghirardelli Square and a little dim sum place in Chinatown.
Our final location was Dean’s first trip outside of the U.S. We visited our friends in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was truly beautiful and a great end to our trip. Something about being friends with people for 10 plus years just makes it so easy. They have a little girl who is the same age Dean and I was so excited to see them together. My other friend that was there is expecting her first baby. It’s crazy to be doing family trips now, they involve a lot less alcohol and a lot more sleep. While in Kelowna we were able to relax at their beautiful house. The kids played outside and picked raspberries, it was much needed. We decided to go on a hike to Angel Springs and actually saw a bear. We also went down to the lake and played in the sand with the kids and did some stand up paddle boarding. The atmosphere in Kelowna was beautiful (I feel like I need some new adjectives but nothing does justice to some of the places we went). We ate at Raudz and had some of the best Halibut I have ever had and some great local wine. The other place I really enjoyed was El Dorado the atmosphere was perfect, right on the water, after we ate we went for a walk on the dock. It was the best end to our trip!
Now I’m going to cry because summer’s officially over for me.