Wine + Whales: Labor Day Weekend

As I mentioned in my last post, Zack and I headed north for Labor Day weekend to visit our friends, Brandon & Katareena, who just made the move from NC. We hit the road late Friday night and arrived around 2AM (pros: no traffic, cons: my bedtime is long before midnight). Luckily our Saturday morning wake-up call was on the later side.

We had plans to head to a winery for a tasting thanks to an amazing deal on Groupon. Seriously, if you don’t already, I encourage you all to check Groupon (and/or SocialLiving) for deals now and then. Zack and I always find fun things to do, but there are almost always deals for wine tastings and brewery tours. We did one back in NC a couple years ago and it was under $10 for a tasting, tour, 2 wine glasses, and a bottle of your favorite to take home. Our most recent tasting was at Ramon Rios Vineyard & Winery and for $30 (total and that included all 4 of us) we got to taste 13 different wines (not all are pictured below), and each couple got to pick their favorite wine and take a bottle home (plus we may or may not have purchased an extra bottle because we couldn’t decide on our favorite!). To top it off, no one else was at the vineyard when we arrived, so we had a great conversation with the owner, and he gave us a little tour. It was a beautiful day, and the tasting room started to fill up with more visitors, so our group ended up sitting outside for a while talking and enjoying the day.

Not that a vineyard visit is a strenuous trip, but Zack and I were running on minimal sleep, AND it was a holiday weekend, AND work has been kicking both our butts lately, so was I mad that Sunday’s plans consisted of a day at the pool? Not. One. Bit. Swimming, napping, hot-tubbing, and grilling out.
And then it was Monday. Last day of the long weekend, and Zack and I were up early and ready for our next excursion: whale watching in Monterey! We boarded the boat at 9am and headed out to sea. We saw tons of sea lions and a few otters swimming around but no whale sightings just yet. After about an hour, we caught sight of our first spouts from the humpback whales as they surfaced, so the boat headed in their direction. We spent the next few hours at sea watching whales and dolphins, and it was pretty incredible. I think we ended up seeing around 50 humpback whales, 700+ dolphins (several HUGE groups swam around us), a few otters and seals, a couple sharks, and various fish. Oh, and did I mention all of the people who were seasick? I’ll admit, the boat ride was pretty rough at some points, but I have literally never seen so much projectile vomit in my life (thankfully everyone had the common sense to do this off the back of the boat). Luckily, I was not one of those people; however, Zack almost was. He felt pretty miserable most of the time, but he did admit that seeing all the sea creatures was cool. And as cool as the experience was, it was nice to get back to dry land (Zack was even more thankful). We found a cozy little restaurant on the pier and shared a sourdough bowl of fresh clam chowder (yum) before we hit the road (and hit the traffic) back home.
All in all, it was a fun weekend re-connecting with friends, exploring new places, and trying new things.

XO – Courtney

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