In January, my parents decided to make one last visit to see us in the LA area (more on that 'last visit' soon!), and the only weekend that really worked out was President's Day, so we all quickly made arrangements for their visit this past weekend. It was a bit of a whirlwind of a trip for them since they arrived Friday afternoon (4:30 - just in time for traffic!) and left early this morning. We packed in quite a few activities and tried to ensure that they enjoyed this visit as much as possible.
On Saturday, we drove up to Santa Barbara wine country. It's a bit of a haul for a one-day visit, but we had a willing driver and a beautiful day to explore the countryside, so we took advantage of those factors. We started out in the quaint little town of Los Olivos. The first time we went wine tasting in the Santa Barbara area with my parents was probably 7 years ago, and at that time, it seemed that if you blinked, you'd miss Los Olivos. That isn't the case anymore, and especially not on Valentine's day (we had sort of forgotten about that detail, but, apparently, wine tasting is a very popular activity on said "holiday"). Fortunately, we were early enough that when we stopped at our first tasting room, Byron, it was still low-key. That was a fabulous first stop, and, since it wasn't too crowded, we were really able to take our time and enjoy the wine - which was excellent! Byron specializes in Pinots, like a lot of Santa Barbara wineries, and they were all fantastic.
Starting out our day
Making decisions - what to drink now?
Perhaps the best thing about Byron, after the wine, was the recommendation to eat lunch in Buellton at Industrial Eats. It's super casual but the food is fantastic - and we definitely needed something to eat after the visit to Byron. It's also conveniently located, right next to Alma Rosa, our next stop. We had visited Alma Rosa with my parents a few years ago when it was in an old farmhouse, which I still prefer, and Michael and I (and Gus - it's a dog-friendly tasting room!) visited Alma Rosa back in October. So, it's a bit of an old favorite for us, I suppose, and their wine is awfully good!
Some full belly happiness
After all of the eating and drinking and driving on Saturday, we opted for a more active day on Sunday - and set out for Mt. Lowe in the Angeles National Forest. In the end, we did not summit Mt. Lowe but we did hike San Gabriel Peak!
The start of the trail was through a wooded area which was nice and shaded, with lots of manzanita all around! And then we hit a fire road which led us to this area that was once part of the Nike Ajax Missile Defense Plan (according to modernhiker.com). Kind of crazy?! Hikes in the western part of the Angeles are always so interesting - you feel like you are 'away from it all', and then you are suddenly reminded of the fact that Los Angeles is really right there.
Fromt his platform, we then headed up to San Gabriel peak. The final push wasn't technical, but it was steep.
We finished off the weekend at Angelini Osteria, another favorite from a previous visit, and we shared some excellent Italian food there. It's always hard to choose because there are so many option, but I opted for a pasta with black truffles - and then they shaved more truffles on top. It was kind of ridiculous!
It was a fun-filled weekend with my parents, no doubt, and even though I'm an adult, they still spoil me. I also feel lucky that we can still do things together, like go on a moderately strenuous hike, which is a wonderful way to spend time with them.