We made the trip down to Los Angeles in mid-June for my good friend’s wedding; Jonathan and Wendy were getting hitched and we weren’t going to miss it for the world. We planned a vacation around their wedding; staying in Venice Beach where it would be central to where we’d be going. From Venice, we’d head up the coast through Big Sur and then fly out of San Francisco. A relaxing vacation with lots of beach time, then driving up the coast was exactly what Katie and I needed.
In Venice we stayed just off the famous canals at an apartment we found on Airbnb. It’s a great place, and we’d definitely stay there again. We spent the week lounging on the beach, meeting up with friends, and hitting a few amazing restaurants while we were there.
Jonathan and Wendy had their wedding at Smog Shoppe in Culver City, just outside of East LA. Back in the ’80s the place was a smog-check centre (as the name would imply); it’s an unassuming looking place from the outside but is a gorgeous place for a ceremony and reception. The indoor/outdoor courtyard has garden walls filled with vertical gardens, mostly desert plants and succulents.
Some of the bridal party were joining Jonathan and Wendy for a day at Disneyland and California Adventure Park, so we joined in on the fun too. Since we were doing both parks in one day, we made efficient use of our time and hit many of the busiest rides in both parks by jumping in the singles line. My FitBit recorded that we walked 24,033 steps that day; that’s more than 17km and our feet were so sore after all that walking. It was a very hot day, so I’m pretty surprised we didn’t leave with sunburns.
We started making our way up the coast, making a brief stop in Santa Maria, CA to visit Windset Farms’ 3-million square foot greenhouse facility. I had spent the last several months working on the interior design treatments of their office and wayfinding signage for the entire facility; you can see that portfolio piece here. It was great to see this project in person– I’m really pleased with the completed project, and their greenhouse facility is HUGE!
After a few hours in Santa Maria, we continued north up the coast via Highway 1 to Big Sur. We made a few stops along the way, including the Elephant Seal Rookery at San Simeon. There were plenty of elephant seals lounging on the beach, and you can get pretty close to them.
Normally on a trip like this, we’d be camping, and we’d have all of our gear with us. We flew down for the wedding and decided it would be too much trouble to bring tents and sleeping bags. Katie found a rental cabin at Riverside Campground and Cabins in Big Sur; a lucky score considering these cabins are often reserved many months in advance.
After a few days in Big Sur, we continued our drive up to San Francisco. We found an apartment on Airbnb in the Mission District, so we’d be central to everything we wanted to do on this trip. We had limited time in San Francisco, so we had to get into tourist-mode as soon as we dropped off our stuff in the apartment.
PHOTO GALLERY | This gallery has all the images from the above article, and plenty more; scroll through them with your ‘right arrow’ key.