Carmel Valley Ranch With The Lees

We had planned to skip our annual summer trip to Carmel Valley Ranch because we went to Las Vegas instead. Julie and Albert were going for 4th of July weekend and we got the hard sell to join them, the main argument being that Albert didn’t want to golf alone. Grace and I could not let Albert golf alone.

The kids were all in golf camp together last week, so we all didn’t leave until Saturday. We had a late lunch, which threw a wrench in our pizza dinner plans. The kids ended up eating s’mores before we headed to the pool for a late dinner. They showed us their golf skills as we waited for the bus to take us back.

On Sunday, Julie insisted that she was fine taking all five kids while we golfed. She does this all the time throughout the school year, but we still feel she should have just golfed with us. She has many reasons why she isn’t golfing: needs new clubs, will get frustrated, will get angry, etc. We tried to assure her that we all need new clubs, get frustrated and get angry, so we might as well do it together. It’s our mission to get her out there.

This was the first time golfing there for me and Grace. It was fun, but Grace and Albert need new clubs and everyone was frustrated and angry by the end of the round. We met up with Julie and the kids at the pool and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

I dropped off the kids at minimum security (kids club) while Julie, Albert and Grace got a head start on cocktails. We enjoyed a leisurely adult dinner together. Despite the pace, there was still time for Grace to fetch the kids for one more night of s’mores.

On Monday, we had our usual breakfast together, followed by a photo session. All the big kids were coerced into going on the bee experience. While Julie and Grace took them to face their fears, Albert and I took Theo to the range to face our own fears.

After lunch in the club house, we went to downtown Carmel as Olivia and I were on a mission to get more Mackintosh’s Toffee, which we scored last year at the Cottage of Sweets. When I was a kid, my friends would bring this back from Canada, and to this day, I think it is the best candy in the world.

The Lees were staying one more night, but we were heading home that evening. We said our goodbyes after an awesome trip together and got on our way. Thanks for letting us crash your summer vacation!

Inaugural Summer Trip to Carmel Valley Ranch

Grace pressed replay on our summer kick-off trip to Carmel Valley Ranch, which we enjoyed last year. When you live in California, vacation takes on a new meaning. Ski trips are nothing like being home, but warm weather trips can sometimes feel just like being home.

The good news is that the kids and us can have fun just about anywhere. The bad news is we drove two hours to rent a pool. Just kidding – it’s beautiful and awesome down there. We ran into the Foleys, who called an audible on CVR because their campground in Santa Barbara was surrounded by a wildfire – yikes.

Everything else was the same as last year. We couldn’t have a meal with a 5-15 minute stop on the swings. S’mores were well-stocked, but Lucas was too tired to indulge. Olivia and Lucas were mostly excited about driving the golf carts to the practice range, but I think they both made some real progress on their swings.

After crushing a 2nd afternoon at the pool, we packed up and headed to Carmel for a short walk around town and a nice dinner. We caught the sunset on the way home (photo by Olivia), and three hours later, our one-night vacation was over. It was a great getaway.

Kicking Off Summer at Carmel Valley Ranch

The kids finished school last week, so we kicked off summer at Carmel Valley Ranch over the weekend. This was a raincheck on the birthday weekend Grace planned for us, which was supposed to be unlimited golf, no kids. Instead, we had unlimited kids and no golf. It was all good.

We arrived in Carmel on Friday for a late lunch downtown before checking in. I ran into Maggie from work and found out a few friends were in town for Kellan’s wedding. After we checked in, the kids had a couple hours to swim before dinner. We ran into the Peppers from school, who were there with a huge group to celebrate their dad’s 75th.

There were a couple main attractions at the resort: the swings and the smores. The kids enjoyed each every time they encountered them. Lizzy and Luis were also at the resort and we ran into them at breakfast, which was fun. I think we thought we might see them at the pool sometime, until we realized they were in the safe haven of the adult-only pool, while we were required to keep our riff raff at River Ranch.

We actually did get a little golf in on Saturday when we went to the range for the first time as a family. The kids have been taking golf lessons after school this spring. They quickly found that driving the golf carts is really the most fun part about golf and that everything else can be frustrating. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the day at the pool.

On Sunday, we enjoyed brunch at the resort and then headed out to Monterey. We took the kids to the aquarium for the first time. Afterwards, we crushed it at Ticos Tacos before heading for home. We were on the road for exactly 7 minutes before everyone else in the car passed out. Petting starfish and sea cucumbers can tire one out.

There was an accident on the 17, so Waze pointed me up the 1 from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay. It was the first time either Grace or I had been on that route and it was a beautiful drive, despite the fog and wind. We made it home just as Lucas woke up and he said it felt like 10 minutes, which makes sense.