Soaking Up Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa is a gem! We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-night, day-and-a-half experience. After rising after our evening arrival from our full day on the road the day prior, we woke up feeling good about and looking forward to the day ahead.

We checked out of our AirBnB accommodation and headed downtown to a local coffeehouse, Flying Goat Coffee, for some coffee (one of my favorite things to do at home and while traveling). I’ll get Starbucks if it’s the only place nearby and I’m in the mood for coffee, or if I have a giftcard, but experiencing and supporting local roasters is my kind of vibe. We enjoyed sitting inside and sipping on our warm mocha (me) and latte (Aaron) while sharing a breakfast sandwich and house-made granola with milk (a favorite of mine in coffeehouses also). For more details, check out my Yelp review here.

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After coffee, we headed to Spring Lake Regional Park for a stroll, and it turned into a place for an epic workout later in the day in addition to our scenic walk and lunch venue for the next couple of hours! There were actually 2 lakes to walk around and 18 fitness stations to take advantage of to break up the walking (or jogging, which we did later together). We ended our initial walk, where we stopped to take photos of our surroundings periodically and I performed some of the exercises illustrated at the fitness stations sprinkled throughout the park, with eating our sandwiches we prepared from our cooler supplies on a bench facing the lake. How relaxing and serene that was! 

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View from our park bench while eating our lunch together

Back on the road exploring the area, we stopped for cheese tasting at Matos Cheese Factory, where we sampled 2 of their available cheeses made from the cows visible from the parking lot just outside of their mini tasting room counter area. We each preferred the opposite cheese, so we bought a small-to-medium-sized chunk of both for about $6 (what a deal)! This is one of the many reasons we’ve found it’s great to take a cooler on a road trip! For more details, check out my Yelp review here

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Aaron pulled off at a random winery, Emeritus Vineyards, while driving, and I’m so glad he did because it was one of the most relaxing parts of our day! We sat on some comfortable outdoor patio furniture while our wine hostess poured for us. The weather could not have been more perfect; it was sunny with a light, comfortable breeze in the cool, fresh coastal air. I lounged back in my chair and enjoyed double-fisting my wine and water while breathing and taking it all in. Their flight of 4-5 wines with the offering to revisit any were all good. The tasting was a splurge for the day though at $15 per tasting and the fees don’t get waived with bottle purchase (which can be expected in this area, and we didn’t purchase a bottle anyway). It was worth the experience! One of the great things about having your overnight accommodation reserved is you can be spontaneous and fully embrace and enjoy the day!

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Entryway from the parking lot to the tasting room and outdoor lounging patio

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We checked into our yurt (after Google made it appear to us that a house very close to it was it, and we walked up to the door, knocked, rang, and waited — thankfully, no one answered and our host called us shortly thereafter responding to our message that we were there, indicating we were not at her place where she was waiting for us outside). Jane, originally from Boston, houses several rescue dogs in her home and has a yurt and separate dwelling in her backyard that she rents out to guests via AirBnB (she keeps the dogs inside or enclosed within separated fencing outside, so no worries for those a bit uncomfortable around larger dogs with big personalities, like I tend to naturally feel). Our private, outdoor shower, compost toilet, and sink were near our yurt and the separate dwelling had their own as well connected to it. We were both excited to stay here for the yurt experience, as neither one of us had ever stayed in a yurt before! It’s pretty much like glamping (a.k.a. glamor camping), as it had a comfortable bed, chairs, and tables included, as well as outlets via extension cord for turning on a space heater and plugging in our own gadgets. Using the outdoor compost toilet was also an experience, though it was clean, didn’t smell stinky, and was much better and different than any porto-potty I’ve used, and certainly welcomed for me as opposed to doing my business outside in nature (which Aaron prefers, lol). It was nice to have a sink outside next to it with running water and soap available, aiding in making the experience feel more sanitary/hygienic for me. Overall, this helped to slowly ease me into being outdoors, as camping was in our near future to follow (which was a highlight for Aaron, of course).

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Yes, if you can’t tell by now, we loved the yurt!
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This is facing the shower side of the split shower/compost toilet enclosures (separate from one another and the sink)

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We went to Happy Hour at Stark’s Steak & Seafood, where we shared small servings of ahi poke tacos (discarding the fried shells, with the exception of 1 bite) and a mini burger for $5 each, and Aaron ordered a house cocktail for only $3.50. A sufficient snack, but not enough to fill us up for dinner. We had initially planned to check out a 2nd Happy Hour afterwards at Russian River Brewery (they brew sour beer, my favorite type, that they don’t distribute, according to Aaron), but we instead decided to ditch the drinks and head back to Spring Lake Regional Park for the solid workout that we’d both been craving (I know, only us)! 

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Post-workout stretching cooldown
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Feeling spent and accomplished!

Afterwards, we each enjoyed a nice, hot shower adjacent to our yurt! The shower was the 2nd best shower I’ve had on this trip so far, although it required walking outside into the cold to get to it (via the bath robes and slippers we were provided, which was a nice touch and very useful). The water felt so good after a hard workout with tired muscles and joints; I savored it!

We enjoyed the local cheeses we had picked up earlier in the day, Triscuts, beef jerky, and almonds for dinner that night on the bed and utilized the WIFI before turning out the lanterns for the night. Our bodies were all tired out from our park workout earlier in the evening, and it felt good to lay in bed.

The next morning, we braved the cold for a workout in a nearby park down the street. It had a playground and we incorporated some of it into our workout, which I put together for us as we went, while also utilizing the resistance bands and tubing we brought with us (they take up so little space and are so versatile for our workouts). 

After another delightful yurt shower, packing up, and saying goodbye to the yurt, we checked out another local coffeehouse, Bella Rosa Coffee Company, by the airport and backtracked a bit to the produce store we had passed on our way there, Mike’s Truck Garden, to stock up on items for our cooler. In addition to the produce we picked up, they had our favorite Caesar salad dressing we eat at home, so we picked that up for later and some pre-shredded Parmesan/Asiago blend cheese to mix into it. We know we are going to miss the fresh, local California produce when we travel away from the West Coast, so we are mindful of soaking it up while we still can! 

After picking up some oysters and an oyster shucker at Bodega Bay Oyster Company (they only offer to-go during the week; BBQ and shucking service on weekends only), we got back on the road to find a place to picnic and continue along our northern route. It is notable that to date, the oyster shucker purchase, over $13, has been our most expensive item we’ve acquired (and we have one at home we bought for less than $5, from our recollection, from Sunh Fish; who would have thought to bring that with us, but in that moment, we wished we’d had)! At least now it’s a funny, personal shared experience we smile back upon and refer to throughout our travels, and I’m sure we’ll continue using it once we return home, sentimentally recalling the story behind it.

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Until next time,
Elena 🙂

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