Welcome, welcome to our new series on the art of Honeymoonin'. As you know, we like to do things a little differently round here and so do our brides. We’ve found many of them love to buy from us as having a well priced dress really helps them streamline their wedding budget so they can put more dollar towards the honeymoon. We totally agree with this emphasis, the honeymoon’s the cherry on top of getting married!
Why wouldn’t it be?! It’s one of the only times that your boss won’t give you that look when you ask for 3 weeks off, relatives will palm honeymoon spending money off on you and you can totally ask for upgrades with no shame. I guess we should also mention that it will give you some quality time with your new ‘official’ other half after what’s probably been a stressful time sorting out the wedding itself and you’ve been working overtime so you could even take the time off. Plus, none of your family or friends can invite themselves on this trip as that would be weird af.
So yes, as a wedding dress business, we are advising you to spend less on your wedding day and more on your honeymoon. Told you we were a bit different. Or stupid. You decide.
To kick us off, we’re sharing a trip very close to our hearts ; Pacific Highway One from San Francisco to San Diego. We did this trip over 20 days for our honeymoon so it’s dear to our little hearts. It’s a classic ‘trip of a lifetime’ trip and super popular for honeymoons. Rather than an exhaustive run down we’re excited to share with you our top 10 weird and wonderful tips from the road to spark your thinking....
Here’s part 1: San Fran to Santa Cruz
1. Top Tip One…. in San Francisco forget the car and grab your trainers
Getting from the airport to town is mega easy thanks to the BART trains which we had totally forgotten we had learnt about in GCSE Geography. Once in town, every day is leg day as we’d recommend walking everywhere to get a feel for this quirky american city that feels pretty european in places. If you can’t be bothered to walk to Golden Gate Bridge we won’t tell; there’s a great view of it from Coit Tower along with loads of gorgeous blooms and greedy hummingbirds.
The only place a car could be fun (is that the right word?) is for the epic Lombard Street (you know the one, right…) with it’s 8 hairpin turns. But grab a cold brew and watch from the side lines instead. In more fun public transport news definitely get the cable car at some point in your time here; we loved hairing up from near Ghirardelli Square,watching the city sparkle.
2. But (perhaps this should be) first, coffee : we’re in hipster heaven here and the silicon valley vibes are strong.
Bluebottle Coffee (shops all over the city) has an overwhelming menu of every possible way of serving up a cup of joe, we were in heaven with the cold brew options available. For ultimate tech entrepreneur vibes (we honestly came across a wifi network named ‘Your startup sucks’ while here) you can’t go wrong with the flagship SightGlass Coffee for a flat white and pastry.
3. Don’t miss the dive bars for a real taste of SF
Start at the Zeigeist’s beer garden in the Mission district and ask around. Somehow the taste of a beer sat on a plastic chair out the back of a basement bar half way across the world is hard to beat. Saying that, beers at the beautiful Anchor Brewery are awesome too, book on the tour and be thirsty for the post tour taproom and get a limited edition pint glass to toast your marriage with. As a little booze related warning; the Tonga Room at the Fairmont is super kitsch (and it’s been there since 1945!) but skip dinner as it’s overpriced and well, crap. Cocktails and dancing to take in the band on the boat, in the rain, indoors is the order of the evening.
4. Talking about the Mission District, spend some time here sober (or just lightly tipsy) enjoying the street art on 24th Street.
As you're inspired by the Latin American art it would be rude not to grab some mexican food. Adam Richman once upon a moon, recommended us to go to Taqueria La Cumbre (on Man vs Food, not personally) and it did not disappoint. Years later on this very honeymoon we were taken here by San Fran buddies for their idea of the best burrito in town. That's no coincidence, we are destined to be together forever.
5. Haight Street, unlike the UK version, Camden does keep some of its original hippy charms.
It’s a super easy walk from the beaut’s in Alamo Square that make you feel like you are in Charmed / Mrs Doubtfire / Princess Diaries (take your pop culture choice) to hippy Haight St. On a jet lagged early waking morning; it’s a great place for a brunch and wander before the city wakes up; Zazie’s terrace is the cutest.
6. Riff on the classic tourist route for La Musee Mecanique on Pier 45; a few down from those stinky sealions are on 39
It's an incredible hanger filled with coin operated vintage games that are all in service and mega cheap to play with. Work up an appetite for sourdough facing off against your love on the skeeball machine - nothing like some healthy couple competition.
7. Don't leave your heart in SF, there's so much more to see
Heading south from San Francisco in a cheap hire car (maybe save money for snacks by going for a dinky car. Yes, a Mazda is not as sexy as a Mustang but it’s much freaking easier to park!) we decided on a destination not too far from the city to break the drive into bite sized pieces. We stopped for a burger at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company as bribery to get through the scary first hours trying not to drive on the wrong side...
8. Keep the San Fran quirk alive and don't get sucked into the cutesy California vibes just yet
We’d always recommended forgoing Monterey, Carmel etc to stay in surfer paradise Santa Cruz ; the boardwalk is colourful and kooky and next to a rusty ex rail bridge for all those WestWorld style selfies. We know you’ll take them. Stay in a cheapy motel where you get to make your own waffles in the morning; we got a jacuzzi tub when quoting our honeymoon on booking at the Howard Johnson. Yeh, baby, we know all the hook ups.
9. Downtown Santa Cruz is the dream little town from the movies that have informed your view of the US.
Head to the main street and wander around; don't be shy to ask for recommendations. Following instructions we sunk local brews in Hawaiian pub The Reef, El Palomar Mexican restaurant for portions as big as your biggest eye and didn’t leave space for small batch ice-cream from the Penny Ice Creamery. What fools we were, don’t make this mistake.
10. Do cutesy California in small doses, before you hit Big Sur
Cutesy California vibes abound at picturesque but touristy Monterey which is an idea stop before hitting the most iconic part of Highway One - Big Sur. Hide away from the overblown fisherman’s wharf businesses for a coffee from one of the cutesy guest houses and a wander around the reconstructed fisherman’s huts. The otters at the aquarium are flipping cute too.
So there you have it, our top 10 thoughts on honeymooning from San Fran to Santa Cruz, what’d we miss?
Come back soon for more of this adventure!