Once Upon A Cline: Honeymoon Recap

I am not quite sure where the last 4 months went…I had the best of intentions to share our honeymoon recap and more wedding content in December & January. Somehow life took over and here we are in mid April. Despite the delay in getting this done I am still so excited to share our honeymoon itinerary and recap with all of you. For a bit of a refresher, we had to make our honeymoon plans in early 2022 when the airline industry was in turmoil and Covid was still very much a factor in traveling abroad. The thought of our flights being cancelled or getting quarantined in another country was more than we could process while still trying to plan our (second) wedding. We finally made the decision to stay in California and not risk the stress of airline travel. Overall I am happy with our decision. The entire wedding and honeymoon felt relaxing and enjoyable…the ultimate goal!

Sooo, where did we go? Let’s get into it…

Nights 1 & 2, Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara:

We left our wedding reception via car service and made the 20 minute trip north to The Ritz Carlton Bacara. When I tell you this was literally the best decision we made I am not exaggerating! We arrived around midnight (still in my wedding gown) and were driven by golf cart to our ocean view suite. We immediately called room service and ordered French fries with ranch, chocolate chip cookies, and a bottle of champagne. I finally got out of my dress and sat in bed blissfully eating fries and drinking champagne. Chris has said this is one of his favorite moments from the day. We woke up the next day and wandered to brunch before enjoying much needed soak in the hot tub. Everyone we met was so genuinely happy to shower us with champagne and sweet treats to commemorate our wedding. After the longest nap ever we got dressed for dinner at Angel Oak, the signature restaurant at Bacara. We sipped (more) champagne and ate oysters in a state of pure bliss. As a part of our stay we had Concierge Level access and opted to have dessert and a post dinner cocktail in the lounge by a fire pit which was perfect. We woke up on Sunday morning, grabbed breakfast in the lounge before our car service arrived.

Nights 3 -8, Alisal Ranch, Solvang:

The next stop on our honeymoon journey was Alisal Ranch in Solvang. We stayed at Alisal earlier in the year for my birthday and quickly added it to our honeymoon list. The Ranch is a luxury, all inclusive dude ranch experience and we couldn’t wait to return. We arrived on Sunday afternoon to sunshine and blue skies. Our Cottage was located along the front drive (aka The Lane) with gorgeous views of the horses in the front pasture and old oak trees. Every room has a wood burning fireplace and fresh wood delivered during your stay…that came in handy when the rain rolled in on Monday. Part of an Alisal stay is nightly dinner in the Ranch Room where tradition is to dress for dinner…men in sport coats and collars, women in dressy ranch attire. We made 7pm reservations for the duration of our stay and started each evening with a cocktail in The Oak Room before dinner. Monday & Tuesday were full rain outs but we stayed busy getting in a session at the gym, sitting in the hot tub, having lunch at the Chuckwagon Grill, and getting a couple’s massage at the spa. The sun broke just in time for a hay wagon ride to the Historic Adobe for breakfast. Breakfast at the Adobe is hands down my favorite part of an Alisal stay…there is a camp fire, pancakes (even gluten free ones for me), a guitar player singing all the classic country favorites and even a cowboy poet. We ventured out on Wednesday to wine taste at Folded Hills (where we quickly became members) then stopped for lunch at the Ranch Course Grill before a game of picklball. I feel like there were so many “highlights” but a favorite was a private trail ride up to the lake, just us, our horses and a guide.

To say Alisal holds a special place in my (our) hearts is an understatement. We began discussing an annual trip over our anniversary while on our honeymoon and I am just returned from a 4 day Women of the Wild West retreat that was truly memorable.

Nights 9 – 11, Sanctuary Beach Resort, Monterey:

We left Alisal after our final horseback ride on Friday and made our way North to Monterey. We took our time on the drive stopping for lunch at the Madonna Inn, for coffee in Big Sur, finally arriving to our hotel around 6pm. Sanctuary is situated on the dunes just North of Monterey with the sound of waves crashing right out side your room…heavenly. I made dinner reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, Saltwood Kitchen & Oysterette. We sipped on more bubbles (sensing a theme?) and ate oysters, mussels, and fries for dinner before heading to our balcony for wine under the stars. We woke up to a foggy morning and ordered room service to enjoy on the beach by a fire pit. Fun Fact: Breakfast is delivered in an adorable picnic basket making it easy to enjoy anywhere on the property! We spent the day in Monterey wandering Fisherman’s Wharf and grabbing an old school lunch at The Sandbar before our sunset sail. Pro Tip: November is not an ideal month to sail in Monterey Bay! The water is extremely cold and the wind is next level…even as a seasoned sailor it was a little much for a relaxing sunset. We made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Passionfish in Pacific Grove. I cannot rave enough about our meal, hands down one of the top meals of our honeymoon and a “must try” on my list. The last day of our honeymoon was spent having breakfast on our patio, walking on the beach, and ordering sushi to eat in front of the fireplace while we watched Yellowstone.

Is it acceptable to take a honeymoon for each anniversary? Asking for a friend…

XO, Niki

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