Every once in while life offers up some pretty amazing opportunities. This weekend was one of those for me. Jo and I were just talking about how we haven’t had a chance to rest and relax lately, so this weekend was right on time. Our friend Drew pitched the idea of renting and staying at a vacation rental on a winery. So Drew and Maika, Mike and Lisa, and Jo and myself all pitched in for the estate vacation rental on the Gustafson Family Vineyards.

First of all the house was amazing. It was a perfect weekend for spending some time with some very good friends and doing so in a stunningly beautiful location. We also got to meet Drew and Maika’s new baby boy Val. Also during our stay we made a new friend, Rampage, the winery dog. I’ll let the photos do the rest of describing the weekend.

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Jo and I caught up with our nieces and Jo’s sister Melissa and her husband in Orlando Florida at Universal Studios theme park.  Jo’s niece’s are huge fans of Harry Potter so the main focus of this trip was Harry Potter World.  Harry Potter World was very impressive.  I think my favorite part was Diagon Alley, especially the fire breathing dragon over Gringotts Bank.  The hotels and resort were also great.  The water taxis were very cool.  We were kind of shocked to find a fake San Francisco in the park.  The Jurassic Park area was quite cool and I could have spent a little more time in the Simpson’s Springfield area.  In any event it was a great time.  Here are some photos from the trip.

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So Jo and I decided to take a road trip from San Francisco to Killeen Texas to visit her family.  I made the trip from the Bay Area to Texas once before and I’m glad Jo was up for the experience because it was something I really enjoyed.  There is something very therapeutic about a long road trip.  Having that much time to think, reflect, and if you are with someone, to talk with them with no distractions is just something that many people in their day to day lives don’t necessarily get.  Also in the age of immediate gratification and travel via airlines, the idea that it will take some significant time to get to your destination, there is just something liberating abut that, being on the road, only stopping for food and rest.  So on our trip we saw some amazing landscapes and skies.  I thought I’d share some of our photos.

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Well, Jo and I had a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year. We have both been quite busy and we felt that we needed the time off to recharge and relax. So far it has been exactly what we hoped for. I hope the family understands our desire to have a low key Thanksgiving. I hope everyone else had a great one as well.

Cheers.

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So our friend Emily invited Lori, Jo, and I along with a group of her other friends to go on a hike for her birthday near Mount Tamalpais. It was incredibly beautiful. Jo and I will definitely be going back to do this hike again. It’s also pretty amazing that this is just a short drive from San Francisco. Here are some photos from the hike.

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Well we finally got around to a legitimate pub crawl in our new neighborhood.  It wasn’t entirely planed but it worked out quite well.  So my friend and coworker Rich and I met Jo in the city after work on Friday.  We started off innocently enough, getting off BART from our commute from Dublin, meeting Jo near Montgomery street, then walking to to B44, a very nice Spanish, tapas restaurant at Belden Place.  If you ever visit San Francisco I highly recommend having dinner at any of the restaurants in Belden Place.  It’s an alley way with outside seating and a very European feel.

Our intent was to have a light dinner and some drinks then show Rich our new apartment.  Well, that was good and all but things turned out a bit different once we started drinking.  So as best as I can reconstruct the evening, here is a run down of the events.

 

6:20 PM: Tapas and drinks at B44 Belden Place
Drinks: 2 pitchers of sangria between Rich, Jo, and I
Atmosphere: Good conversation, good drinks, and good food
8:00′ ish: Stopped off at our apartment
Drinks: Each of us had a glass of wine
Atmosphere: Showed Rich our apartment and dropped off my stuff from work
8:30′ ish: Moved on to Bacchus Kirk bar on Bush Street
Drinks: Each of us had a margarita on the rocks
Atmosphere: Very loud music, young crowd, OK drinks, just not our vibe
9:00′ ish: Walked over to the Pour House, wine bar
Drinks: We had a bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc between us
Atmosphere: Very nice, chill, great music, light snacks, Jo tried to buy the disco ball hanging from the ceiling and totally weirded out the waiter
10:30′ ish: Stop off at our apartment
Drinks: None
Atmosphere: Jo called it a night and Rich and I moved on. Our intent was to get him back towards BART
10:45′ ish: Walked across the street to The Summer Place
Drinks: 1 margarita and 1 screwdriver each
Atmosphere: Chill, nice local dive bar, lots of locals, good drinks, fireplace, fun
12:00′ ish: Walked down to Bouche, a small but great French restaurant
Drinks: 1 glass of wine each
Atmosphere: Good music, busy, great service, great place, Jo and I love this place
12:45′ ish: Walked back up toward the apartment and stopped in Chelsea Place
Drinks: At least 1 beer each, after that it’s all sort of fuzzy
Atmosphere: Rich and I realized that we wouldn’t make it to BART for the last train so we stopped into this bar on the way back to the apartment. Fun, good crowd, good bar, good service, eclectic music, will go back
Well after 1:00 Walking home through the streets of San Francisco and Skyping with my friend Brad back in Texas, showing him the city and kind of weirding out other folks leaving the bars but it was fun.
Drinks: No more
Atmosphere: Crazy night and lots of fun

So here is map of our little pub crawl.