Archive for the ‘Honeymoons’ Category

I got an email from Jet Blue today with airfare from $79 each way to Cancun, and I am SOOO tempted to book a flight, especially after Angie & Blake’s wedding at NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun was featured on the Destination Inspirations blog last Friday! Since then, I’ve been dreaming of beautiful beaches and bottomless mojitos! Ahhh!

You can’t beat the deals going on at NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun for this fall and the airfare from Jet Blue! From Florida, you can get 4 days, 3 nights at this all-inclusive plus RT airfare for less than $1,000! Honeymoon, anyone?

Thank you to Jess at Destination Inspirations for featuring Angie & Blake’s beautiful wedding! We just love her blog! Jess also got married in Mexico, and even had the same DJ that Angie & Blake did! Just thought you all might enjoy that little tidbit! : )

NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun wedding photos

It’s no secret that Matt and I LOVE to travel! We’re always been up for a trip, even if it’s just for the weekend. It could be a 2 hour drive to Savannah, a 19 hour road trip to Connecticut, flying to a tropical island or across the country to our favorite state, California.

So when we were contacted about Linelle & Jonathan’s wedding in San Ramon, CA, we decided to spend a few extra days for the 4th of July and do some wine tasting. It was the most relaxing weekend, and we had a fantastic time without breaking the bank! Wine country can definitely get expensive very quickly. A hotel in Napa/Sonoma is $200-300/night. Wine tastings can range from $10 to $50, depending on the winery and the type of tasting. And you can’t have great wine and NOT have great food, so wine country has an impressive selection of restaurants, most notably French Laundry, which is considered one of the best in the WORLD! A 9 course prix fixe dinner is over $500 for two people – and that doesn’t include your wine! Ouch!

Well, we don’t have that kind of budget, but you don’t need to in order to have a great time in wine country! First, we stayed outside of wine country. Our hotel was in Pleasanton (just 10 minutes from where the wedding was) but on our last trip to Napa we stayed in Vallejo, which is just 30 minutes from Napa. You can easily find a hotel on Priceline for around $50 if you’re flexible on what area you stay in. I always bid on 3 stars and up for hotels and have not been disappointed. When we stayed in Vallejo we scored a 4 star hotel for only $50/night. Not bad!

We spent one day in San Francisco and two days in Sonoma and had a FABULOUS time! Here are some ways to enjoy San Francisco and Sonoma on a budget!

Day 1 – Point Reyes National Seashore and San Francisco
We started off at lunch at a small Mexican restaurant that we found on Yelp called Taqueria los Pericos. I just searched for “Best Mexican restaurant in Pleasanton,” and the reviews were great. We split a quesadilla and a soda, and even between the two of us we were barely able to finish it!

We then drove out toward the coast. On the way, we saw a road sign for a mission, so we made a slight detour and stopped at Mission San Rafael Arcangel. After learning more about the mission, we continued onward to the Point Reyes National Seashore. This is possibly one of the most diverse and beautiful places I have ever been! Our main purpose was to visit the lighthouse, but the long drive took us past a quaint small town, several ranches, and beautiful beaches. We saw deer crossing the road and LOTS of cows! I absolutely adore cows, so I was thrilled when we had to stop while they crossed the road! There are over 300 steps to get down to the lighthouse, and the hike back up is pretty intense, but it was so worth it! The view was incredible!

After leaving Point Reyes, we made our way toward San Francisco, making a stop at Muir Woods. We got there right at 6pm, and as it turns out they let you in free at that point! I wish I could tell you that we are so savvy that we timed it that way, but we were just lucky! The redwood trees at Muir Woods are an impressive sight, and it’s a great place to just get in touch with nature. There’s a stream, mossy tree stumps, and tons of wildlife. We saw a variety of birds, a deer and two fawns, and my FAVORITE – a baby chipmunk! Matt had a hard time dragging me away from it! I can’t resist cute fuzzy little critters!

Once I realized that I couldn’t take the chipmunk home with me, we made our way down to San Francisco for “Friday Nights at the deYoung Museum.” Free admission to the museum, music (that night’s band was LoCura, and they were PHENOMENAL), and free coffee from Peet’s Coffee & Tea! Sounds like my kind of night! We had a great time and ended our visit to San Fran with a late dinner at Tommy’s Joynt. We’re suckers for any place that has been on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives!


Lunch at Taqueria los Pericos – $10
Mission – .25 to park
Point reyes – free
Muir Woods – free
Museum – $26 (parking and drinks)
Tommys Joynt – $28 for two sandwiches and beers
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Total – $64.25

Day 2 – Sonoma
Our second day was much more relaxed! We stopped at Trader Joe’s to get some goodies for a picnic at Cline Cellars. The grounds at Cline are so tranquil that we spent the entire afternoon there! The tasting was free, but we loved their wines so we joined their club. We bought a bottle of Mourvedre to enjoy with our picnic, found a spot in the grass and listened to the wind blow through the trees and birds singing.

If that wasn’t perfect enough, Cline Cellars is also the site of the beginnings of the Sonoma Mission. They have a mission museum on site with models from all of the missions that were on display at the World’s Fair. Fascinating, but it gets better! They also have a bird sanctuary and two Sicilian miniature donkeys named Pudding and Fancy! Too cute! But the BEST part of all… the Cline family bought Villa Laura – the house from “Under The Tuscan Sun!” As if we needed another reason to LOVE this winery!!

After spending most of the day at Cline, we went to Sonoma Plaza and shared some ice cream (because when you’re on a trip you should always have dessert first!). We also saw Mission San Francisco Solano, the last of the California missions. Then we shared a fantastic pizza from The Red Grape for dinner. A perfect end to a wonderful day!


Picnic lunch from Trader Joe’s – $12
Wine tasting at Cline cellars – the tasting is free, but we spent $15 on a bottle of Mourvedre
Missions museum – free
Sonoma plaza – free
Mission San Francisco Solano – free
Ice cream – $7
Dinner at The Red Grape – $22
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Total – $56

Day 3 – Sonoma
We had such a wonderful time in Sonoma that we decided to go back again the next day. We knew we would spend most of our day at Cline Cellars, so we decided to visit a few other wineries to compare. Cline was by FAR our favorite for their wines and for the scenery. We spent the afternoon there before heading out to the airport for a redeye flight.


Lunch at Taqueria los Pericos – $10
Picnic dinner from Trader Joe’s – $15
Nicholson ranch winery – $10
Gundlach Bundschu – $10
Sebastiani – $15 (we joined the club, so our tasting fee was refunded)
Cline Cellars – free tasting, but we bought another bottle of their smooth Mourvedre ($15)
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Total – $75

We hope this inspires you to take a trip out to the Bay area and wine country! And if it does, please bring back a bottle of red for us! Cheers! : )

Imagine flying to a quiet island in the Caribbean, renting a gorgeous house overlooking the beach, and getting married in a private ceremony with palm trees, turquoise water, and pink sand in the background…

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Monica & Mike’s destination wedding in Eleuthera was so peaceful and beautiful! They spent a week at Cayo Loco, a private Bahamanian beach house with a spectacular view of the ocean! The house is on a hill with acres of tropical plants between it and the beach. The ceremony was held on the verandah and the skies were bright blue. It was a breathtaking setting!

Monica & Mike couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful location for their destination wedding. It’s is the closest place to paradise that I have ever seen! I posted a few personal photos from Eleuthera the other day on the blog.

Now, we’re excited to share Monica & Mike’s beautiful Bahamas destination wedding photos! Check back tomorrow for more photos on their slideshow!

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The flowers were flown over from Nassau!

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Enjoying sunset from the verandah of Cayo Loco

Soon we are going to share Monica & Mike’s beautiful Eleuthera Bahamas destination wedding photos with you, but first we wanted to tease you with a look at the beauty and serenity that is Eleuthera!

Caribbean beaches are known for their turquoise waters, but Eleuthera has some of the most beautiful beaches you will find. They extremely private and the sand is soft. It was like walking on a bed of cotton! And if you look closely, the sand has grains of pink in it. It really is breathtaking!

The island is full of bright flowers and plants and we saw coconuts on the ground! We read that a lot of fruit grows naturally on the island. There are few restaurants and stores on the island, but we happened to be staying across the street from Tippy’s, one of most popular restaurants in Governor’s Harbour. It was a great place to hang out and the food was delicious! Everyone there was extremely friendly also!

To get to Eleuthera, most people would fly into Nassau and take a small plane over from there. We took a direct flight from Ft. Lauderdale on a very small plane. Here’s a pic I snapped with my iPhone:

Believe it or not, I’ve flown in a smaller plane, but still I was very surprised at just how small our plane was and it still was only half full! The flight was a little over an hour and we flew at a low enough altitude that we were able to see the islands and figure out from the map which ones they were. And the great thing was that everyone had a window seat! : )

We definitely hope to visit Eleuthera again someday! It’s a perfect getaway for a private destination wedding or honeymoon! In fact, Mariah Carey and Nick Canon were married there in their super-secret ceremony!

Here’s a look at this perfect destination:

Beautiful beaches with lots of privacy - the perfect destination!

Beautiful beaches with lots of privacy - the perfect destination!

Sink your toes into Eleutheras pink sand beaches!

Sink your toes into Eleuthera's pink sand beaches!

You can see how private Eleuthera is! Theres just one main road and most of the island is undeveloped.

You can see how private Eleuthera is! There's just one main road and most of the island is undeveloped.

An aerial view of Eleuthera

An aerial view of Eleuthera

The shallow waters of the Caribbean

The shallow waters of the Caribbean