Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego

Last month we took our first trip since lockdown. I would be lying if I said I didn’t go back and forth on whether it was safe for us to travel with Covid-19 and the global pandemic. But in the end, after countless rounds of failed infertility treatment our entire family NEEDED this. And we needed this dearly. My goal was to find a hotel that had great outdoor spaces so that we could hang with Otis and let him run around. Basically a change of scenery for all of us. I also wanted something a short drive away so we found the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.

We spent 2 nights during the week since I know weekends can be more crowded. We purposely planned to go mid week to avoid any crowds. I am telling you, we barely saw anyone during the week except for at dinner. I felt safe to be there. They had hand sanitizer set up EVERYWHERE and the majority of the hotel is outdoors so we didn’t need to spend any time inside except for our room. The other hotel patrons were also super respectful of staying social distanced from us which I was very appreciative of. And OF COURSE everyone was wearing a mask.

It was our first eating out experience since February so I was nervous about how that would be. But I have to say I am so impressed with how they truly spaced the tables out there, wait staff wore masks and gloves and everything was outside. It was a good experience all around. Eating out with a toddler though is a different story! HA. Otis was pretty easy going at lunch but I forgot how much work it is to go out to eat with a little one. Keeping them occupied and busy and happy BEFORE the food comes and then keeping them happy while you actually eat your own food.

The room itself was great and they even cleaned the carpets before we got into our room. We had a great little outdoor patio too. I love to request rooms that have patio access rather than a balcony with a child. The reason I request this is because we put Otis’ travel crib in our bathroom so we can set it up dark, with his nightlight and sound machine and recreate his room set up. We also bring a travel sound machine to put on the door of the bathroom to drown out any noise in our section of the room. I am telling you this is a game changer. For our nanit baby monitor, if the wifi is open we can connect it easily to the hotel wifi. If it’s not, we create a hotspot with one of our cell phones to connect the camera to wifi. Then when your kid is sleeping, you can still leave through your patio and hit the hotel lobby to use the restroom if you have to. Below are all the things we use for our hotel sleep setup for Otis:

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Another night thing about going somewhere during the week is that the pool was EMPTY. We got to go to the pool 2 times. Otis has not been in a pool in a VERY long time so it was a really cool experience to get him in with no one around. We also didn’t need to make reservations for the pool during the week which was nice because toddlers don’t do reservations. HA!

They have a little cafe that you could grab coffee and a pastry at as well so we did that most mornings. The best part about the property for Otis was the water fountains. HE IS OBSESSED with them. They had water fountains EVERYWHERE so it was basically a toddler dream of him running form one fountain to the other and us chasing him. Man I love seeing Otis happy!!! Overall we had a GREAT time and I am so happy that we were able to sneak away during the week. We are headed to another local staycation next week and I can’t wait to share our experience!

Shop the looks:h&m dress / Ancient Greek sandals / ray-ban sunglassesh&m dress / Jenni KayneFreshly picked diaper bag

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The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in Santa Barbara

Given that we are still in lockdown here in California, I know it’s strange to be sharing a trip here with you. We took a road trip to The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort more than a month ago and I am just getting around to gathering all these photos. Hopefully they can serve as a bit of inspiration for a road trip in 2021 when California opens back up again. I realize that not everyone has the ability to take a mid week staycation and times are very strange in this Covid pandemic and hard but I wanted to share my experience with you in case you are itching to find a safe and friendly place to visit. Blake and I did a lot of research on where we could drive to that wasn’t too far (since driving with a toddler is NOT fun) and a spot that has lots of open space and outdoor amenities so we can stay away from other people and safely be outside the whole time besides being inside of our room. We LOVE Santa Barbara and it’s about a 2.5 hour drive for us so right at or driving threshold with Otis.

For our trip, we decided to book a mid-week getaway since hotels are usually less busy during the week days. Blake was able to take a few days off from work so it was perfect. Check-in was done by walking up to a checkin window outside which was great and easy. Our room was great with a working wood fire place and view of the horse fields right out front. Everything was sanitized, wrapped noting it’s sanitation. I was impressed. Felt good to know that things were properly taken care of. We had a 1 bedroom room that actually had 2 bathrooms making it easy to put Otis’ travel crib in so we still had access to our bathroom without having to walk to another one on the property. We also used the fireplace every night. Such a cozy way to unwind from the day and such a treat since we don’t have a fireplace at home.

As far as food goes, breakfast and dinner were organized through reservations at their restaurant and I was able to secure outdoor dining. It was cold while we were up there but it wasn’t a problem since they had lots of heat lamps. Also to note, there were not weird tents surrounding the outdoor dining so it was truly outdoor with the addition of the heat lamps. Indoor dining was also open but we opted for outside for a safer experience. The food was SO freaking good. The dinner menu changed each night and the dessert menu was INSANE. I feel I would go back just for the dessert. We picked 2 things each night just to share and try something else and then took home a home baked chocolate chip cookie. For lunch, they have a casual restaurant you can get togo food which was actually great as well. I indulged in the bbq chicken sandwich which I got 2 days in a row because I loved it so much. There were also plenty of kid friendly options which made it easy for Otis. We would either sit at a table outside or bring lunch back to our room.

When it came to activities, traveling with a toddler can be unpredictable so we didn’t plan too much. They have a barn (which is all outdoors) that is open daily which was great to be able to walk in and pet and see the barnyard animals. Otis was obsessed with the duck and chickens. You didn’t need to schedule to go there so we could come and go as we please. We also brought Otis’ scooter so he could get his energy out and enjoy the outdoors. We visited the pool once which was heated but obviously it was cold so not ideal in the Winter. Otis did have a blast though. They have ride along horse rides for toddlers and little ones also. We tried to put Otis on a horse.. let’s just say, it didn’t go well. He started crying so we took him off. I posted a photo above for the .5 seconds that Otis was on the horse. Next time! I think the real gem of this ranch is the horse back riding which we sadly didn’t get to experience because we couldn’t do that with Otis. But it was still really cool to be able to see, pet and interact with the horses on the property daily. There is something to calming about being around those gentle giants. It was a highlight of each day waking up and seeing them from our bedroom.

Each day when Otis would nap, Blake and I would sit outside on our patio in our lounge chairs, grab a glass of wine, and just watch the horses and relax. The resort is a true hidden gem and feels like time just magically stands still. Nestled into the valley the mornings are foggy and cool and we would light our wood fire to heat the room.

One important thing to note was the my phone reception and internet was spotty. Yes we had access to wifi, but it was spotty for me personally. Also the rooms do not have a tv. So it’s truly about being mellow, enjoying each others company and being present in this special place. Did we miss the tv? YES. HAHA. But was still nice to chill and relax and just giving you a heads up if you plan to visit! Get into the ranch vibes people.

One of my favorite moments of the trip was our wagon ride to breakfast. You can check the hotels website for a list of daily activities for each day. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they have a wagon ride (or horseback ride) to The Old Adobe. You take the wagon to a ranch-style buffet breakfast at the historic Adobe Campsite (accessible only by horse or hay wagon), complete with campfire, fireside sing-alongs, cowboy poet, and famous buttermilk pancakes. The live music was SO freaking cool and it really felt like a slice of another time. The wagon ride itself was also a great way to really see how large the property is and to also get a glimpse of the other wildlife out there. This was by far one of my favorite experiences of the trip. Such a unique breakfast experience I highly suggest it if you visit.

Besides eating, watching the horses, playing on Otis’ scooter and visiting our barnyard friends, that was pretty much it on our agenda. It was the perfect escape and I can not wait to go back in the future. Was such a great gem of a spot to be able to be outside the whole time and enjoy some much needed relaxation as a family. Feel free to ask me any more questions you may have in the comments below.

Also! Something fun and random to note was that we had 2 monarch butterflies in their chrysalis state that we brought with us on our trip. We were lucky enough to see one hatch into a butterfly while we were there. Our butterfly friend Billy wanted to live at the ranch. So that was a really beautiful moment to share there. Hope he is enjoying life as a ranch butterfly.

hat: preston & olivia / dress: the great / sneakers: p448hoodie: the great / jeans: jbrand / sneakers: p448otis hoodie: the great / jeans: zara kids / shoes: vans / hat: beau hudsonsweater: the great / jeans: jbrand / boots: uggjacket: aritzia (similar) / sweater: naked cashmere / jeans: jbrand / sneakers: p448