Hi. I'm Nicole!

Wife.  Mama to two busy toddler babes. Photographer.  Trying to seek Jesus each day, through each season.  So glad you're here!

Our Northern California Guide

Our Northern California Guide

Around the middle of May I sent an SOS to Tyler in the middle of a work day and told him I really needed a chance to get away and be refreshed.  We'd already been saving up flight points so he responded to my text with flight options to San Francisco!  Just three weeks later we were on a plane for 5 nights in Northern California and, let me tell you, it was the best trip we've ever been on.  It was all the things:  fun, adventurous, relaxing, refreshing, and just plain sweet.  We had such a great time together and it was the first time we'd been away from the kids together and we just really enjoyed reconnecting.  I wanted to share some of what we did in case you ever find yourself in Northern California!  Another day I'm going to share all that we'd like to go back and see in the future, but today I'm excited to share some of our trip details with you!

We left early on a Tuesday morning and arrived in San Francisco early afternoon.  We hopped in our rental car (a camero- Tyler was THRILLED! Ha!) and headed about an hour and a half north! Our first stop was to Ike's, an amazing sandwich shop I had visited on my trip to San Francisco years ago.  We found a location on our drive and stopped and I'm so glad we did!

 While I was researching options for our stay, I really wanted to do something different and I happened upon Autocamp and was IN LOVE.  We booked one of their tents for 2 nights (at the Russian River location) and it was such a highlight for me.  The grounds are amazing and every little detail is so well thought out.  They had easy to light firelogs so I would throw a couple of logs on in the mornings and read my bible and have coffee and it was just so refreshing. They had a big firepit in the middle of the property and then another in the lobby area and I enjoyed every single one!  It was in the 60's during the days and dropped to the upper 40's at night and early mornings.  BASICALLY HEAVEN to this mid south couple who is used to dying in the heat in early June!  Our Autocamp stay was so much fun and we are already planning ways to get back there! 


We spent a lot of time hanging out at the camp, reading, and sitting by the fire.  The first and only full day we spent around the Russian River we ventured a few minutes into the town of Guerneville for breakfast at a local place called Big Bottom Market.  OH MY WORD.  Best biscuit of my entire life.  I got the sausage biscuit the first morning and Tyler got the ham and the ham was incredible, so the second morning we went back (YEP! Ha!) I got the ham too.  If you're ever in the area, GOOOOOO.


Guerneville is the cutest little river town.  It's chill and laid back and you're in the middle of Sonoma County wine country!  After breakfast that first morning we went and toured Korbel and it was a lot of fun.  We actually went to another tasting, but it wasn't as fun.  Ha!  I think in the future we would love to go for big wine tours, but this trip just wasn't for that.  

Our second morning at the camp we went back to Big Bottom Market before going to hike around the redwoods for a couple of hours.  Seeing trees that are so big and so old just makes you feel so small in the best way.  Our God is big! 


After we walked for a while we jumped back in the car to drive to the coast.  In all my research I learned about Point Reyes National Seashore and I knew it would be something we would enjoy.  The drive was gorgeous and so peaceful.  It almost seemed desolate with only a few little houses and farms along the way.  Once we got all the way up to Point Reyes we were SO GLAD we made the drive.  It's easily one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen!  To see the ocean basically untouched by human hands is pretty extraordinary.  We loved every minute!  


I picked one of those yellow flowers to press and I'm going to frame it with this last photo.  The smell was so intoxicating- like some kind of honeysuckle.  These yellow flowers were everywhere so we basically could smell it the whole time we were there.  It's definitely a smell that will always take me back!  Another favorite for me were the cows!  It was wild to me that there are literally cows in pastures overlooking the ocean.  Ha! 


We drove back down to the town of Point Reyes and it is SO CUTE.  It looks like it should be in a movie! The main street is really quaint with lots of shops and it just seems like a cute, laid back coastal town. We had a late lunch at Side Street Kitchen and it was really good!  We had the pork belly BLT and apple fritters.  

After lunch we made our way closer to the city to our AirBnB for the next couple of nights.  The drive was so pretty as we went through areas of farmland and then right into redwood forests.  Our drives are some of my most favorite memories!  We arrived at our cute AirBnB in Larkspur and it was the PERFECT location.  We were about 15 minutes away from Sausalito and 30 minutes away from San Francisco.  After we took some time to rest we drove into Sausalito (after finding target because I did not pack well and was FREEZING so I found a white denim jacket!) for dinner.  We went to Bar Bocce and it was such a fun location right on the water.  It was super laid back and we ate a pizza right by the firepit. (And Tyler got a photo with his car!!! Ha!)

That next day was our first day in the city!  We rode the ferry from Larkspur to the Ferry Building because we didn't want to have to worry with the car for the day.  After arriving at the Ferry Building we grabbed coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and it was so yummy!  We ended up grabbing another cup the next day too. We decided to get passes to the hop on hop off bus to make it a little bit easier to get around and so we could also get a little history while we went from place to place!  We had an lunch at Waterbar just off the bay bridge and it was one of our favorite meals.  I had the lobster roll and Tyler had a fish sandwich and we both really enjoyed it!  The weather was perfect and it was a great way to really start our day! We walked around a couple of little places and then made it to the Hayes Valley area for champagne at The Riddler!  It's the cutest little champagne bar tucked away down a quiet street.  The outdoor seating reminds me of something you'd see in Paris and it was such a fun treat!  We ended up having a moscato that was like a yummy dessert!  They also had popcorn with a lot of fun flavor additions so it was a great break in the middle of our day! We then walked over to the Painted Ladies and sat around for a few minutes before heading back to a bus stop.  We rode the bus for a while until we arrive back around the Ferry Building so we could grab the ferry back to Larkspur.  We were both REALLY exhausted so we picked up In N Out and headed back to our AirBnB!  

Saturday we woke up and drove into the city!  It was our last day in the city before flying out at 10PM that night and we were determined to make the most of it!  We took the bus to the furthest stop and then walked 3 miles to China Beach to get a good view of the Golden Gate bridge.  This beach was pretty much empty and it was so nice to enjoy some quiet.  The view was incredible!  I really enjoyed our walk to and from the beach because we went through mostly quiet, residential areas.  This trip I was all about being alone!  Ha!  I just really enjoyed being able to have some quiet time together on our last day.  About halfway between the beach and Golden Gate Park was a little coffee shop called Home I had found that we wanted to try.  They have fancy lattes and toasts and it was such a fun place!  I got a lavender latte with avocado toast and Tyler got the birthday cake latte with Lucky Charms toast!  Ha!

We then walked around Golden Gate Park for a little while before catching the bus close to Pier 39.  We grabbed a quick dinner before walking to our car and heading to the airport!  I'll be honest, flying overnight is not something I'd be thrilled to do all the time but it was a GREAT option for us this trip because we got in a whole extra day in the city without having to pay an extra night at an AirBnB.  

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This was truly the MOST FUN TRIP ever and we loved every single second!  We would copy this trip again to a T, but we especially loved our time at Autocamp and I think we'll try to get to their new Yosemite location in the next couple of years!  This trip was refreshing and sweet and something we both needed personally and in our marriage.  It's true... we left part of our hearts in San Francisco! 

Coles in the Country | our house plans

Coles in the Country | our house plans

Our Home Tour

Our Home Tour