Can we all agree that Christmas came around a little quicker than normal this year? We have about a week left to prepare for the big day. As most of you do, one of the things we enjoy during the holidays are the treats and food that we normally do not eat during the year. Since we love our health and bodies, we do have to be extra creative and swap out a lot of the unhealthier ingredients in our recipes. In our chocolate mint protein shake recipe we used Halo Top Ice Cream and instead of regular ice cream, which is lower in sugar, low in calories, low in fat and high in protein. It is a great alternative to regular ice cream.
Our 10 day Pacific Coast vacation started in San Francisco, where we had an amazing 48 hours. We then spent an amazing 3 day vacation at Monterey, California. For those who are not familiar with Monterey, it is an adorable city on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California’s Central Coast. The drive from San Francisco was only approximately 3 hours.
Here is our 3 day itinerary at Monterey, California.
Day 1 at Monterey, CA
Monterey Aquarium. We recommend spending a few hours here and then walking over to Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar and having lunch and a cocktail the views are gorgeous. After visiting Old Fisherman’s wharf we headed over to Pebble beach to complete the 17 mile drive. The scenic drive is one of the most beautiful drives we have ever completed. There is a $10.25 fee to enter per car, but such a small price to pay for such beauty.
Day 2 at Carmel by the Sea, CA
On day 2 we visited Point Lobos for an amazing hike. The views from here are one of a kind. We saw a lot of wild life, it was great to connect with nature. If you are vising, stop by one of the visitor centers to pick up pair of binoculars and just return them when you are done at end of your trip. This is the best way to see all of the wild life.
In the evening we visited the city of Carmel by the Sea. Carmel by the sea is small beach town know for it’s fairy tale cottages and galleries. I loved visiting all of the quaint and colorful storefronts. For dinner we stopped at Demetra Cafe. A cozy Mediterranean restaurant, with amazing food and very fair prices. The Baklava was to die for!
Day 3 at Carmel, CA
On our last day we took one of the hotel toys for a ride. One of the benefits of staying at Bernardus Lodge & Spa was the complimentary Mercedes Benz loaner. We took a beautiful drive down the coast and visited a local coffee shop for a nice break. Upon our return it was time for our spa appointment. The Spa was small but cozy. We had a couples massage and enjoyed the rest of the day at the hotel. We did use our American Express to book the hotel which entitled us to a late check out and allowed us to maximize our time at the hotel.
On our last California vacation, we had 48 hours in San Francisco before heading over to Monterey, California. San Francisco is a beautiful and busy city. There is so much to do! Here are a few ways we were able to maximize our short time at San Francisco.
1) We booked our hotel stay at through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. By using our Amex we got a room upgrade upon check in, we extended our stay by receiving late check out at 4pm and early check in at 11am, free breakfast for 2, free Wifi and a $100 credit.
2) We booked our room at Taj Campton Place, and our stay was beyond excellent. The service is amazing, our room was gorgeous. This hotel is located withing walking distance to Union Square, Cable Cars, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Golden Gate Bridge. A car is not needed and helped get to all of the sites quickly.
In these 48 hours in San Francisco, we were able to visit Ferry Building Marketplace, Union Square shopping area, Christmas tree Display, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, and even had time for a quick work out at the gym.
During our 48 hours in San Francisco, we did get a lot accomplished and did not feel rushed. Upon arriving at SFO from Miami, Fl, we picked up our rental car and headed straight to the hotel. We checked in, dropped off our luggage and walked over to The Ferry Building Marketplace for lunch and sight seeing.
At The Ferry Building Marketplace, we did our sightseeing and customary selfies before getting in line at Hog Island Oyster Company Restaurant. At first sight of the long line, I actually wanted to find a different choice for lunch, with a shorter line, but after seeing the delicious plates of food and the smile on the customers as they took their first bites, I opted to stand in line. It was a great thing we decided to wait. The line moved quickly and the food iwas amazing.
After lunch we did catch a quick Uber to Union Square, and of course that also was complimentary. As American Express provides all Platinum members a $15 free Uber credit monthly. At Union Square we visited Neiman Marcus. It is such a gorgeous store. We did our shopping and headed to see the Christmas Tree display at Union Square.
The Christmas tree is gorgeous and there is also an ice skating rink right next to it. They play beautiful holiday music while you ice skate. The perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. After taking pictures and spending sometime soaking it all in we headed to the hotel to shower and get ready for our special dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Campton Place.
The following day we woke up, had a quick work out in the hotel’s roof top gym and had our complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We then went to the Golden Gate Park. The park is gorgeous, we spend a few hours at the Japanese Tea Garden. A must for anyone visiting San Francisco.
Since we did have a $100 credit at the hotel, we returned to the hotel and had lunch at The Campton Bistro. The lunch was as amazing as our previous night’s dinner. We also had cocktails at the bar, all compliments of Amex. We then checked out and headed to our next stops, Monterey and Napa where we spend an amazing week.
ON THE RETURN TRIP BACK TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
On our return back to San Franciso Airport, we had a few hours before our flight. We finished our San Francisco vacation by visiting the famous Fishermen’s Wharf. We stopped at Pier 39 to visit the cute Sea Lions. Visited the Wharf, did a bit of shopping and exploring and had lunch at the famous Fog Harbor Fish House.
You can visit San Francisco in 48 hours, there is so much to do and see. We do think that our American Express card helped us make the best of our vacation. If you do not have an American Express and are a traveler, we recommend that you apply for one. You can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Platinum Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. You will be able to choose from all available American Express Personal and Business Card offers. For this special offer, please apply here link.
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Kill the Pasta crave, Perfect Low Carb Keto Friendly Recipe!
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