Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time Off

Parents don't get a whole lot of "time off". There's no big revelation there. There are a few oh-so-lucky couples who have family willing to take the kids...or even clamoring to keep the kids so the parents can go out of town for a weekend...or even a week in some cases. We're not one of those couples.

But my mother did offer, about three years ago, to take the kids for the weekend for our 10th anniversary. We took her up on that without hesitation and had a wonderful time in Carmel. I'm not honestly sure anything will ever rival that trip in a lot of ways. It was such a huge relief to leave both kids at home with trusted caregivers after seven years of occasional babysitters.

We managed to get away for a single night last year. It was nice, but really didn't cut it.

This year, Daddy got a special offer from the same hotel we'd stayed at for our 10th, begged my mother for mercy and booked us for another weekend.Truth be told, this place is gorgeous, but not altogether my kind of deal. I'm uncomfortable with valets who open the car door for me, having my napkin placed in my lap for me, putting things on "my tab". Nonetheless, it not hard to appreciate getting the heck out of Dodge and away from children and obligations for just a little bit.

Soon after we arrived, we drove to Carmel Valley and had dinner at a cute little place called Café Rustica. It's a warm, snug little place with some super tasty Italian food. I enjoyed my dinner a lot, including the first wine I'd had in months.

Having had several discussions lately about just what is my thing, Daddy and I used Saturday to go for a hike above the ocean. We arrived at Garrapata State Park...one of the 70 slated for closure...to find that the trail I'd hoped to take was closed, but we decided to go for a walk up the canyon anyway.It was a good choice. On a not-so-warm, overcast day, the canyon was beautiful and green. There were some little waterfalls...and lots of ferns.We walked and walked until the trail started going significantly uphill. We'd passed a blank sign that had almost certainly said "Trail Closed", but since it no longer said anything, we hiked right past. Before we knew it, we were out of the canyon and on the steep trail that had been closed, for obvious reasons, like it was really washed out in spots.I was secretly kind of thrilled that we got to go that way anyway, with a viable excuse. We reached the top and had a snack overlooking the ocean. It was cold and windy up there, especially after getting all damp and sweaty on the way up, but the views were still pretty impressive.We took the steep and sandy route down. The trail really took it out on my knees, but we made it to the bottom with time to spare and took a little walk around the shoreline before heading back to the hotel and showering for dinner.

This hotel has a very nice restaurant ($$$) where we had our official anniversary dinner. I had some tasty things I'd never tried before, including a butternut squash tart with arugula. And naturally, we had some decadent desserts, including this carrot cake with cream cheese mousse on top and blood orange sorbet on the side.I'm sure it was all too pricey and I'm glad I never looked at the bill. It all just went on "the tab" anyway, right?The hotel hosts a lot of weddings. Saturday was no exception, even though there was a storm blowing in. I'd forgotten that our room (which was the same one we'd had a year earlier) is way too close to wherever they load up the delivery trucks with wedding supplies at 1:30am after the festivities are over. Between that and the wind, rain and hail, we didn't sleep terribly well. So when it was raining the next morning, we went for breakfast, then went back to our room for a nap. Later, we headed into Carmel to pick up some trinkets for the kids and their babysitters.

We took a windy little walk along the tidepools at Asilomar and headed home with that same feeling kids get when a particularly fun playdate is over. Coming home was way more of a bummer than it should have been. At least the kids were happy to see us!