We had toyed with lots of different ideas for where to spend a little pre-baby vacation time. We thought about Colorado, or maybe Wyoming, or going down to Punta Mita....before we finally decided to drive about 45 minutes south and visit Terranea a big resort in Palos Verdes.
When we took a good look at what we really wanted to accomplish from the vacation (time together, time to relax, somewhere beautiful and somewhere with good food), Terranea checked every box without the added expense of plane tickets, so sort of on a whim, we booked our nights and went with it.
And I'm so glad we did.
We left after work on Wednesday and honestly flew down from LA. I thought we would sit in hours of traffic, but we got lucky and we're in a room with sunset time to spare.
We decided to keep it easy the first night, so our first night we hit up the most causal restaurant on the property, Nelson's.
Their ahi nachos were out of control good, and for dinner we ended up splitting the crab cake appetizer and indulging in key lime pie for dessert.
Once the sun set, the restaurant had a bunch of fire pits, a big fireplace, kids lighting smores....all with the crashing of waves as background noise. It was pretty idyllic (a foreshadowing for every other moment of our vacation) and we sat in front of the fireplace just unthawing and getting into vacation mode.
Every morning Joel would go for a run, and then we would have breakfast and then go for a hike. The first morning we had a bigger breakfast at a hotel restaurant and it was just ok. Joel and I are not huge breakfast fans, so this was the last time we visited Catalina Kitchen.
The hotel has a bunch of hiking trails and the views never got old. We would walk for about an hour each morning which made me feel better about all the eating we would do the rest of the day.
The resort has 4 pools, so the first day we hung out at the pool that our room overlooked, Vista pool. It's a +13 and up pool and my favorite part of this pool were the double couch-like lounge chairs with an individual umbrella - I was in heaven.... I don't think we moved for like six hours.
This pool's menu wasn't our favorite. Both the hummus plate and turkey wrap left quite a bit to be desired, but at we were so giddy to just be there totally indulging, not much could have soured our mood to be honest.
Most days we would head back up to the room at about five to shower and have a drink on our balcony before heading out for dinner.
I, of course, dragged Joel out of our room right before sunset for a solid photoshoot each night. The property was just so beyond stunning, especially at sunset, I just could not get over it.
It seemed to us that the resort really got rocking during the weekend with lots of weddings and different events, so it was nice to have Thursday night as low key as it was. We didn't have to worry about a reservation, or a request to sit outside, it was a lot quieter and nice to have a little mix of both.
Our sushi was amazing and we took a long time at dinner just spacing out each course and taking our time. The resort was also really family friendly so we had lots of fun encounters with kids and fellow "babymooners".
Friday morning we discovered the resorts little cafe. It had great lattes, breakfast sandwiches, out-of-this-world bran muffins, a great gelato section...it was the perfect little shop so it quickly became our breakfast go-to. I met Joel there after his run, we had a quaint and easy breakfast outside, and then took off for our hike.
After the hike, Joel dropped me off at the spa for a mommy-to-be massage he had scheduled before we even got there. The massage was heavenly, and since I had access to the spa all day, Joel decided to get a day pass for $40 so we could both hang out there for the entire day.
The spa had the best views of the ocean and you could hear the waves crash from your seat.
Since it was the spa, it was considered a "quiet zone" and they had meditative music pumping through the speakers all day which, after a workout and massage...with the ocean crashing in front of us, basically made it virtually impossible to not be my most relaxed self. It might be my new happy place actually.
While we relaxed the entire day, we had a great lunch, swam in the pool - Joel loved the cold plunge pool, and got a dolphin and sea lion show as an added bonus.
And Joel took the opportunity to get some studying in...
We were both pretty blissed out after our day so we kept things really easy for dinner. We took in the sunset at the hotel bar and then split a cheese plate and burger and listened to the live music before retiring for the night.
And everyday it continued to blow my mind that we were still in California....only a few minutes from home really. It was by far the most beautiful area of California that I've ever been to.
Saturday...we were in our routine and loving it. We started with our standard breakfast at the hotel (and I'm now obsessed with bran muffins) and then hit the trails.
The hotel offered paddle boarding, so Joel went out Saturday morning for an hour while I watched from the sun chair at the adult pool.
Saturday night, after we enjoyed happy hour from our room, we decided to take a long walk before our late dinner reservations.
I was complaining to Joel that we left too late (missed our sunset photo op!) when the biggest and most beautiful moon I've ever seen in my life popped out from over the cliff side.
People were coming out of their rooms with such amazement, it was like everyone was seeing the moon for the first time. I tried a hundred different ways to capture its size, color, reflection....anything....on a camera, but I just couldn't do it justice. I'll have to trust my memory on it, but it was the most beautiful moon to cap off the last night of our baby moon.
We had a late reservation at the resorts nicest restaurant Mar'sel and we truly saved the best dining experience for last.
Service, the food (by far the best thing we ate was the squid ink tortellini appetizers stuffed with an octopus ragout), wine list, view......everything was beyond spectacular. The restaurant grows most of their own food on the grounds, and what they don't, they locally source, and you could just taste the freshness of everything - even the homemade salt.
Sunday, after our standard breakfast and hike, we loaded up the car and bid farewell to our vacation.
This vacation was just so well timed, so indulgent and relaxing, and so much fun to just focus on Joel and I and all of the exciting parts of the future. Right before we left I had found myself in a hamster wheel of to-do's, and this trip just put everything on pause and allowed us both to fully relax and indulge in ourselves and each other. It was so, so, so good for us and a place we have vowed to visit again soon.