While researching a hotel for a weekend Napa getaway, I almost went with the tried and true Andaz Hotel in downtown Napa. I decided to research lesser-known boutique hotels and the beautiful Napa Vineyard House caught my eye. After communicating with the nice manager Kevin, I booked a suite which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made! Here’s our experience at Napa Vineyard house and why I think it’s a wonderful hidden gem in Napa.
The Bay Area is a great place to spend the holiday season. Here are 5 activities that are always on my Bay Area holiday bucket list.
1. Visit Santa!
Our favorite Santa is the one at Stanford Mall in Palo Alto. If you get there early enough in the season, Santa will read a short story to your kids. He usually hands out a stuffed animal or candy canes which is cute.
Fantasy of Lights is a drive through or walk thru holiday light display in Vasona Park In Los Gatos. It’s a fun holiday tradition in the South Bay!
A seasonal, family-friendly outdoor skating rink where the cost of admission includes rental skates. Children 10 & younger: $15
11 & older: $17. Bring your own skates: $10
On Christmas Eve 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House watched the American premiere of Nutcracker. An instant sensation, the ballet launched a national holiday tradition. It’s a 2 hour show with a 20 minute intermission which could be too much for young children.
This year’s Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony (Macy’s 27th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony) is on Friday, November 25, 2016. Festivities begin at 6pm with the tree lighting scheduled for 6:40pm, which means you should get there early for a parking spot. The tree illuminates every night throughout the holidays.
North Shore, Oahu is one of our most favorite family vacation destinations. Often times we find that the small food stands, trucks and stores are the best places to find the freshest more tasty foods. We last visited in Spring of 2016 and here are my Top 5 Tastiest Treats in North Shore!
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Matsumoto Shave Ice is a state in Haleiwa. Smalls are plenty and there are tons of different flavors. Matsumoto’s has evolved into a sundries type of store and they also sell souvenirs and tee shirts. The surrounding buildings are being renovated to create a courtyard atmosphere but right now there are a few ratty benches outside the store to sit and enjoy your shave ice.
Island Vintage Coffee
Island Coffee is a newer coffee shop in downtown Haleiwa that offers up some delicious brew and rustic breakfast and lunch dishes for a quick bite to eat. The shop also has tables inside but it was nice to take our coffee outside and people watch. Early mornings are the best time to visit when Haleiwa is still quiet and the shops along the main street are just opening up.
Crispy Grindz is a small food truck along Kamehameha highway that serves the best acai bowls. Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, acai is a fruit blend that is native to Brazil. Crispy Grindz creates different bowls with different toppings that include fresh fruit, coconut and granola. It’s fresh, not too sweet and a light snack to partake on especially hot days on the North Shore. Parking can be tricky but there are tables to eat at so if it takes you a bit to find a parking spot, you can enjoy your treat right next to the food truck.
Ted’s Bakery does plate lunches but they are known for their delicious pies. The shop is just outside of Haleiwa and off the Kamehameha highway with plenty of parking and tables to eat. Try the chocolate haupia pie or macadamia upside down cake!
Foodland may be an unusual choice because it’s a local grocery store but it has delicious fresh poke and produce. It’s a great spot to shop for lunch and dinner or for snacks to take to the beach. Sign up for the frequent visitor card even if you don’t live on the island. You can save quite a bit of money!
Disneyland during Halloween is one of my most favorite times to go! In early October, the crowds are usually low and the park goes all out in a fun and not too spooky themed displays.
Here are 5 tips to enjoying Disneyland during Halloween!
1. Halloween themed treats are a must! We got popcorn in limited edition halloween themed buckets, candy corn cotton candy (it tastes exactly like regular the colors are different) and butterscotch beignets at the Mint Julep Cafe. Protein: Order the 6 beignet bag but ask if they will split between regular and butterscotch flavors. Cast members will happily hand you two bags with three of each flavor! Everything was delicious and it’s fun to hunt down the snacks that wouldn’t be available during the regular season.
2. Halloween villains are out and about for photos so take advantage when you see one! We saw The Queen of Hearts roaming around two days in a row. She shook her fists at people who stood in the way of the trolley and demanded others kiss her hand. It was hysterical!
3. Rancho del Zocalo has a Dia de Los Metros display outside of the restaurant. It’s bright, colorful and a great place to stop and take photos. They offer daily face painting and the restaurant itself has pumpkin flan for dessert!
4. The Nightmare before Christmas Haunted Mansion takeover is a must see display! The ride had a 1 hour was while we were there so getting a fast pass is an absolute must. One one trip while passing through the birthday party scene we smelled pumpkin pie in the air. It was a great touch!
5. The pumpkin festival on Main Street is another photo opportunity location in the park. Every year they have different carvings and pumpkin displays. We like wandering around looking at the displays before plopping down to save seats for the parade.
What are your tips for Disneyland during Halloween??
Over the last two years, I’ve concentrated on crossing off some bucket list items. We saw the sunset over Santorini, I saw the Kings of Leon in concert and recently, P and I decided that an adult Disneyland trip was needed. Disneyland without the kids is such a different experience than what we are used to. P was skeptical at first, he figured that we would miss the kids (we did) and it would be awkward with no kids (it wasn’t.) We snuck away to celebrate P’s birthday by going to a UFC event in Los Angeles so we tacked on an additional day in Anaheim. We make it a priority to have regular date nights and time away from the kids, it’s the best! [Read more…]