Freckles in April: In Which I (Kind Of) Surprise My Husband with a Trip

Friday, July 7, 2017

In Which I (Kind Of) Surprise My Husband with a Trip

In December I wrote out my resolutions for 2017 (which, as I go back through, I am seriously rocking that list), including "Take Aaron on a surprise trip."

Last week was the week, my friends.

Aaron is not super happy in Arizona. We're here for the long haul due to deep family and career ties but he loves to daydream about retiring somewhere (anywhere) else. Back in January he made a comment about how we should retire somewhere near both a body of water AND a forest and maybe we should start checking out some potential options. My brain went, DING! TAKE THAT MAN TO TAHOE.

If I had done a shorter weekend trip then I think I could have pulled off a total surprise of the "Pack a bag, we're taking a trip today!" variety but going to Tahoe meant more time and more money (which I didn't feel comfortable spending without his knowledge) so I did tell him that I was planning a surprise trip. Telling him also allowed me to get some input from him when making some trip choices. I gave him two options: we could fly directly to our destination (Reno) OR fly to the nearest big city (San Francisco) and spend a couple days doing the tourist thing there and then drive 4ish hours over to our final destination. He chose the big city option and I think involving him just a little bit got him even more excited.

We stayed at the Marina Inn in the Marina district in SF. It was old and kind of beat but with cool details. Which is basically San Francisco in a nutshell.

I got our SF hotel through and our condo in Tahoe through AirBnB. I also got a couple Groupons for activities. This made it so our credit card statement never showed exactly WHERE we were going, just a general charge through a non-location specific company.

Got a Groupon for Bay City Bikes so we could bike the Golden Gate

I kept the details of the trip a secret for MONTHS only to have Google Calendar spill the beans for me a week and a half before we were to leave.

See, Google likes to be SUPER helpful and when I got confirmation emails about our flights and hotels, it added them to my calendar. Fortunately, I noticed that early on and quickly moved everything to a secret calendar. EXCEPT! Google (again, trying to be helpful) assumed that I wanted to share that calendar with Aaron since all my other calendars are shared with him. So in late June Aaron came to me with guilt all over his face. "I think I know where we're going. It showed up on my calendar today."


On the plus side, we spent the last few days before our trip planning more specific things and it was fine. Still, it would have been a lot more fun to just give Aaron his plane ticket the morning of and be like SURPRIIISE.

Maybe next time.

The Brian Head wildfire made for a really dramatic drive through southern Utah

I drove my kids up to Utah so they could spend the week playing with cousins then I caught a super early morning Uber to the airport and flew to San way of Phoenix. There were no direct flights so yeah, I flew back home and then Aaron and I were on the same flight up to SFO.

We spent two perfect days in the city. We ate amazing food and walked (and biked) all over and reeeally enjoyed wearing jackets.

The best places we ate while in SF:

The Grove Fillmore- Recommended by Kristen Pear. We walked the mile-ish from our hotel and had a suuuper yummy breakfast. It was the perfect cozy spot to eat on a foggy morning.

Super yummy breakfast at The Grove
Delarosa- a Yelp find while we were in the area, this place had excellent pizza. We both love burrata and they have a burrata margherita that was SO GOOD. Aaron got spicy coppa on his half but I had mine straight and we both loved it. Perfect little lunch spot.

La Boulangerie de San Francisco - right around the corner from The Grove! We walked the same mile the next morning to get breakfast from this little French bakery. I had the turkey and brie croissant and Aaron had some kind of breakfast sandwich and the sour cherry lemonade before we split a chocolate croissant. All excellent.

We had dinner in Chinatown one night- some of what we ordered was really good, some was pretty mediocre. Not really worth recommending but it DID put us right by Coit Tower so we made the climb and had gorgeous views.

View from Coit Tower

Can you spot Lombard Street there at the back?

We stopped at Ghirardelli Square, obviously. We had to get a hot fudge sundae AND hot chocolate- for balance.

We biked the Golden Gate one day and spent some time exploring Sausalito, which Aaron was completely sold on. The city was chilly and gloomy but Sausalito was warm and sunny and totally bike friendly. We had lunch at Le Garage. The stuffed squash blossoms were REALLY good but everything else was good-not-great, which was kind of disappointing considering how pricey the restaurant was.

June Gloom as we biked across the Golden Gate

On Wednesday evening I discovered I'd made a huge mistake: I somehow didn't book a rental car. The plan had been to pick up a rental car on Thursday morning to make the drive to Tahoe but either something went wrong or I just never clicked "book" but I went through my email over and over and I could not find a confirmation anywhere. We had to book a last minute car and it was DOUBLE the price it had been when I looked 4 months prior. It was painful. I felt awful.

So Thursday morning we picked up our practically gold-plated rental car and drove to Land's End on our way out of San Francisco. I never made it to that area while growing up in the Bay Area and I've always wanted to. It was so so good. We did a small stretch of the trail and saw whales and it was just perfect.

Sutro Baths

There's a little whale plume in the back of this photo

The second part of Aaron's surprise was that his good friend from college, Andrew, and his wife Shawna were meeting us in Tahoe. They arrived in Tahoe shortly after us on Thursday and we had a late dinner with lots of laughs and catching up.


We kayaked, swam, hiked, ate and laughed for 3 days. It was the best. We're already planning on taking a trip together again next summer. We said over and over that we were so glad they were there with us. It made the trip just that much better.

Exploring the Truckee River

You know how I'm always linking to cheap bikinis on Amazon? I finally got one and it was awesome. The bottoms were a bit too tiny (like, they sort of exposed my c-section scar) so I usually wore a pair of plain black bottoms with them instead. But I love the top and $20 was totally worth it.

SO GORGEOUS but I kind of wish the water was like 15 degrees warmer. Tahoe is COLD y'all.

Mission accomplished!! Aaron was surprised (I mean, 2 weeks ahead of time, but still! surprised!), we got out of the heat and had so. much. fun.


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  1. I'd say MAJOR WIN.

    And that rental car thing made me a little sick to my stomach because it would totally ruin my day. Although when I read it on someone else's blog, I'm like "what's the big deal?" even though in my own life, I'd be quietly weeping into my breakfast.

  2. This sounds super awesome! I've really wanted to go to San Francisco for awhile but haven't convinced my husband yet...maybe if I surprise him he wouldn't have the chance to say no...

  3. Aw man, what an extremely cute idea! My s/o's kind of a homebody so I'm not sure exactly /where/ we'd go, but I love the idea.


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