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We had big plans for our daughter’s first school Winter Break. We had Santa Barbara and Solvang in mind, then we would coast along Highway 101, to make frequent Missions stops. I imagined us walking on the wharf in Santa Barbara, parading about like tourists, taking in the scenery, the ocean and the breeze. Our faces would be lit up from our stress-free mini-vacation; our cheeks flushed from our excursion. Then, we would end our winter break vacation with a one night stay in Solvang. I imagined my husband and I wine tasting and walking the streets of the quaint Dutch town. I would be fascinated with what my eyes are seeing already forming words, sentences and ideas to blog about. Only we didn’t go and in a way, I’m glad we didn’t. The forecast was rain all week in Santa Barbara! So, in lieu of a Santa Barbara and Solvang trip, we hooked up for a day with my sister and her family and headed to San Francisco and Half-Moon Bay. Here is our adventure.

sheryll rea

The rain did not dampen anyone’s mood, nor prevent tourists, visitors and residents alike from staying home as the parking was full and those on foot, are oblivious to the rain. After parking, the kids are anxious to get out and explore. We follow them as they are ahead of us climbing on a hill. The result was this pond. Then the sky opened up!


The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is among the many attractions within walking distance in the Golden Gate Park. The California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum and San Francisco Botanical Garden are all within minutes from each other. This is my first time visiting the Japanese Tea Garden and immediately, I reminisced on my trip to Butchart Garden in British Columbia some two years ago.


The kids had a great time exploring. Next up, Half-Moon Bay.

We drove on Highway 1, a more scenic alternative route to Highway 101. Here, the ocean is just over your shoulder. From below the water is blue, big waves crashing on the rocks with a splash and finally, ending on the sandy beach in white bubbly foam. It pulls back again, sucking water and sand, and it crashes again and again…


The beach littered with broken shells. We collected a few to add to our sea-shells collection.

There are about 15 people at the this beach: four brave souls are surfing, the rest of us saner people, are on land.

I found this shell intact, barnacles growing on it. The two curious M’s examined the surface of the shell. They were both about to get up from their squatting position; I anticipated their move to capture this shot.

Santa Barbara, Solvang and Missions stops will have to wait for the summer. They are places best enjoyed anyway, when the sun is out.

What’s your local family adventure?