This year, February was anything but short and sweet…or cold! Considering that I live in D.C., that last part means something. Aside from an unusually warm temperatures up and down the Eastern seaboard nearly all month long, February brought me to the California coast, San Francisco, the suburbs of Los Angeles, and the six states between Dulles International Airport and Connecticut.
Kevin and I planned our trip to California over the Christmas holidays, after he learned that he’d be attending a conference in San Francisco from February 8-12. Of course, we extended our stay to include the two adjacent weekends. Don’t want to waste a moment of the glorious Cali sunshine, am I right? We spent our first weekend (which included Kevin’s birthday!) driving up the gorgeous California Route 1 – and it completely stunned me.
We spent two unforgettable days in Big Sur, and I easily could have spent dozens more. I’ll be back, that’s for sure!
After bidding farewell to the Golden Coast, I wandered around San Francisco solo for five days while Kevin attended a conference. Hence, there is only three photos of me from that week – usually Kev has to force me to get in a picture, and he wasn’t around to do that. Ha! I did have a blast, though, exploring the city at my leisure, photographing San Francisco as I experienced it. I walked somewhere between ten and fourteen miles each day of my visit – but definitely made up for any exercise in crepe consumption.
We spent our final weekend in Santa Clarita, California catching up with some of my cousins that I see perhaps only once a year. Of course, Kevin and I had to sneak some sightseeing in – it took us nearly thirty minutes of aimless wandering, but we finally found Audrey Hepburn’s Star of Fame near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. I’ve admired Hepburn ever since I was teenager; to this day, Roman Holiday is one of my favorite movies.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might remember that my beloved grandfather passed away while Kevin and I were in Monterey. I was prepared to fly back East that afternoon, but my mother convinced us to enjoy the trip; the funeral, she said, wasn’t scheduled until February 18, two and a half days after our scheduled return. Instead, we promptly booked a flight that was scheduled to depart Reagan Airport at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 16 – only for it to be snowed out.
That’s right. Nearly every single day this month has brought us unseasonably warm weather, except for the one day that Kevin and I needed to get to a funeral. We had to re-book for Tuesday morning, only to find out two hours before departure that our rescheduled flight had been cancelled as well. American Airlines had no more available seats the entire day, so in a never-ending comedy of errors, Kevin and I rented a punch buggy and drove in an ice storm to my parents’ house in New London.
Spoiler: we did indeed make it, despite the ice, snow, hail, and twenty minutes of torrential rain in mid-Jersey. When we crossed into Connecticut, Kevin and I wanted to cheer but, at that point, we were too afraid to jinx it. Celebrations were had when we parked safely in my parents’ driveway after forty-eight hours of continuous travel. (We had, after all, just flown in from California the day before.) Our return drive to D.C. five days later went without incident on a fifty-degree day…of course.
But, I digress. I’ve been complaining about those flight cancellations and stupid punch buggy for weeks now.
Okay, remember what I said about that lovely weather? Yesterday, here in D.C., we had a whopping 64-degree high, complete with clear, blue skies and bright sunshine. Kevin and I decided to while away the day at Manassas National Battlefield, but after spending a few minutes at the park, we decided that the visit was a bit of a bust. The trails weren’t quite what what we’d expected – they were poorly marked and geared more towards history buffs looking to retrace the battle than outdoorsy folks seeking some exercise. We had that one coming, didn’t we?
In the afternoon, we spontaneously drove to Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Reserve (a park neither of us had ever visited before), but instead, we wound up spending a few hours at the neighboring Mason Neck State Park. Sure, I got my much-needed hiking fix, but what excited me even more was the chance to view bald eagles in the wild. I’m not particularly patriotic, but how often do we get to see endangered animals in their natural habitats? Not often at all!
Next month is the month I’ve been looking forward to for months. I’m far too excited to think about how nonsensical this sentence is. Why? In ten days, Kevin and I – along with six members of our immediate family – will be embarking on our fantastical European tour, which will take us from the base of grand Icelandic waterfalls to the halls of centuries-old Scottish castles to the famous canals of Amsterdam. That’s right: we’re going to spend seventeen days nation-hopping across northern and western Europe.
And I’m going to share my photos, advice, and hopefully witty firsthand anecdotes right here when I return – I have so many fun stories planned! Now, I just need to make it through the next ten (never-ending, long) days.
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