Each time we take a trip to the bay, it's better than the last. This time, with only 5 days notice. I had nothing scheduled for the long new year weekend so we hopped in the car and started driving. The feeling of getting out of here does something to me and knowing I'd wake up in one of my favorite places on January 1st sounded too special. We opted to stay in pretty Berkeley at a 100-year-old hotel tucked away in the hills. Shoutout to The Claremont Hotel for having us on such short notice!
This is one of those hotels where there's random staircases and it looks like a giant mansion on the outside. It's mostly renovated interior is insane. Here's a visual: me rolling up to this lobby in my Christmas sweats, Nikes, beanie hair, and delirious comments.
We split a double room with our SF BFF's Sheehan and Mackenzie. We planned on taking it easy for NYE in our room with snacks and champagne. There were also multiple places to grab a drink downstairs wherein the bartenders will chat it up and give you free gin. Now THAT's service! haha...
Step one after a long drive when you DON'T have a bath at home?! When a room is 90% marble, you abide.
This was our view at midnight. One of the main reasons I love staying on this side of the water is this skyline.
We were sent treats before midnight...we were stocked as it was but, hey! No complaints.
We awoke on New Year's Day with a brunch cruise to get to. We headed into the city, hopped on board, and proceeded to laugh at the amount of free mimosas. We went right under the bridge and the piano player was admittedly hungover. Best performance of his life.
The next day we took a sporadic drive to Napa and Sonoma. I had never been to that area so OF COURSE in my mind I'm picturing the vineyard from the Parent Trap and/or a group of bridesmaids getting hammered on a wine tasting tour. All applicable thoughts, right!? Instead we drove to Sonoma and straight to my new favorite hidden gem, The Fremont Diner.
Everything was fresh and innovative. I got the burger because I heard it was something to remember PLUS vacation food, let's be honest. This little spot was so cute and inviting. Go there if you're passing through. It's too good to miss.
We decided to head to The Lagunitas Brewery and WOAH. Talk about thinking you're in the middle of nowhere and suddenly, you found the party. Mackenzie and I got a couple brown shugga' ales and the boys got IPA's. The live band killed it and I'm so glad we stubbled into this place.
This place. I must explain. The Hotel Shattuck Plaza is the spot I've walked into the most in Berkeley but have never stayed overnight. About 3 years ago I fell in love with their lobby (and lox bagel). It's become a tradition to grab brunch here at least once.
After brunch we walked around Berkeley and made our way into a place we had passed by the day before. It's called Spats and it had a super quaint, neighborhood vibe plus reeeeally good bar food. Bonus points.
The next morning we were up before the sun to head back south. We ended up taking a detour east through Yosemite and it was a dream. So dreamy, in fact, it will have its own blog post. Every part of this trip was based off of spontaneity and I want to make that more of a focal point this year. It's so good for the soul and this trip was just what I needed.