Our Santa Rosa, CA weekend

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This past weekend, we had a fun little getaway to Santa Rosa, CA.  We received a lot of questions and strange looks when we told people we were going away for the weekend and that our destination was Santa Rosa.  People did not really understand why we would plan a weekend getaway just an hour from home and also were very curious about what we planned on doing in Santa Rosa of all places.  My thoughts are that ANY PLACE can become an adventure if you have the right mind set.  For me, just getting away from the house and having time away from work and errands and responsibility is an adventure in itself.  We were only gone from the house for 30 hours, and yet, we came back feeling refreshed and decompressed.  It is not always important to go far away, but rather, just learning to enjoy the time away- wherever that may be- that is important.  For us, the weekend was fabulous and we were even able to have some new experiences along the way.

We started off the weekend checking into the Flamingo Resort and Spa.  We had watched one of those travel shows about a year ago where they showcased this historic hotel.  We thought it sounded interesting, and then I just happen to be checking Groupon one day and there it was!  So I quickly reserved a room.  The hotel is older, but nice.  The rooms were big and unique.  I have to say that I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with a front and back door, so that was interesting.  The hotel had a great looking spa with lots of massage and facial options (which we did not get to enjoy.. THIS trip).  Also a very large pool and a nice hot tub.  I personally love anyplace that has history, so I had a great time walking around the lobby where they had lots of photos of the hotel in the 60’s with Hollywood guests like Jayne Mansfield who used to frequent the hotel.

After checking in and getting settled, we ventured over to the Charles Schulz museum to get some history on the Peanuts Gang (admission was included in our Groupon deal).  We learned some fun facts about the creation of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the bunch.  For instance, did you know that most of the phrases used in the Peanuts comics were actually things that Charles Schulz would say in everyday life.  It’s funny to imagine him saying  “oh, good grief” when he was frustrated, but apparently he actually did.  The best part for me however was the  actives room.  Granted, most of the things they had in there were for kids, but I didn’t mind.  I took a crack at drawing Woodstock (that did not turn out very well) and then made my origami Snoopy doghouse.  Which turned out great if I don’t say so myself.  Next door to the museum was the Snoopy ice skating rink for those into ice skating.  We passed on that.

The rest of the day and evening were spent exploring the area and of course eating (our favorite thing to do).  We did not make it over to historic downtown Sonoma, which I really wanted to do.  That will be on the list for our next visit.
So, that brings us to Sunday morning and the FABULOUS brunch at the Flamingo Hotel restaurant.  The price was super reasonable for a Sunday brunch and the food was fantastic.  We are already making plans to go back again.  I would say my favorite items were the made-to-order waffles, eggs benedict and the prime rib (so tender you could just cut it with your fork).  That being said, nothing compared to the biscuits and gravy.  One of my all-time favorite breakfast items.  The dessert table- although limited- was more than enough for us to get a few treats after our meal.  We ended up spending 90 minutes there sitting and enjoying the ambience and the mimosa’s.

Brunch was a great ending to a perfect one-night getaway.  Whenever we go on these little adventures, we spend so much time talking and laughing that it makes me wonder why we don’t plan more of these types of trips.  I guess sometimes the reality of life gets in the way of the more important things like making memories such as this.  I think it’s time to change that and spend some time reprioritizing what is a more valuable use of our time.  When I am older, I want to have way more “that was a great memory” and way less “I wish I would have” moments.

 

The Importance of the Weekend Getaway

IMG_4992Let’s face it…. life is hectic.  Between work, errands, time with family and friends, cooking, cleaning and the myriad of other things that require time in our lives, often times we put ourselves and our relationships  on the back burner.  I am a firm believer in the weekend getaway.  Just a place to escape for 24-36 hours where we can decompress and reconnect with the one we love (or simply zone out and forget about all we have on our to-do list back at home).

I find the best weekend getaways are the ones that are only an hour or two away from home.  Close enough that you are not in the car for hours and hours, but far enough away that you feel like you have escaped your day-to-day life.

I’ve found some of our best overnight getaways through Groupon.  This weekend our getaway is at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa in Santa Rosa, CA.  The resort is a Santa Rosa landmark.  Opened in 1957, it was once a hotspot for many in Hollywood as “the place to stay in the bay”.  It still holds much of its glamour and has a feeling of the old 1950’s summer resorts of the day.

From wine tasting during the day in nearby Sonoma, to dancing in the lounge in the evening, the Flamingo seems like it will provide just the right amount of entertainment and relaxation that we need.  From what we have been told, there is an  amazing Champagne Sunday brunch (one of the main reasons we wanted to stay at this location).

Wherever we end up, I love that life is always an adventure with this wonderful man beside me.  Our getaways are always full of lots of talking, acting silly, eating good food, but most important TONS of laughter.

 

Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel

 

I’ve already spent a good deal of time discussing the Boysenberry Festival, so I thought I would now spend a little time sharing our experiences at both the Knott’s park and our stay the KBF hotel.

I personally really enjoyed KBF.  Granted, I’m a sucker for wild west themes.  I love visiting all the old western ghost towns, so KBF is pretty much right up my alley.  Here you can ride the old mining train ride, be part of a train robbery and ride a stage coach.  For those wanting a little more action and adventure, they do have several of the larger-modern day rollercoasters as well.  Don and I were both very impressed by the Snoopy kid area.  There had to have been at least 15 rides for the smaller kids.  Definitely enough to keep the little ones entertained.  Spending such a significant amount of time at Disneyland, I’ve begun to be spoiled by the whole Disney experience.  I must say that the folks at Knott’s sure give Disney a run for their money (at least for our 1-day experience there).  Several times we experienced service that was above and beyond by the KBF employees.  One time in particular we were standing studying the park map (we are not regulars there, so I do not know my way around like I do at Disneyland), trying to find a specific area.  One of the workers walked up to us and asked if we needed help and guided us to where we were trying to get.  Definitely 5 thumbs up for that.  We were also pretty impressed with the merchandise pricing.  For instance, the boysenberry festival shirts we bought (which also came with a limited edition pin) were less than $15.00.  I’m sure everyone will agree that you cannot find clothing items at most amusement parks for less than $15.00.  Especially “special event” merchandise.

As for the KBF hotel. Overall, our experience was good.  The hotel is older and the rooms slightly outdated, which is not a big deal for us.  What is important is cleanliness, which the room was.  We opted to get the smallest room (just one queen bed), so the room was small but perfect for just the two of us.  I like to use the word “cozy” rather than small.  Bonus was that from our room to the park entrance was about a 5 minute walk (we love when we can just park the car and not have to drive). We purchased a package, which included the room for two nights, breakfast buffet both mornings, tickets into the park for one day, as well as a boysenberry festival food tasting card.  The price was great and so convenient to have everything included.  We are not normally breakfast people, so this was kind of a treat to get up and have breakfast each morning.  Our normal breakfast on vacations is a granola bar!  The breakfast buffet was very good with lots of options. Oh, and did I mention Snoopy walks around to say hello to everyone while you eat?  So, if asked, I would recommend the KBF hotel for sure.  The mere convince of location is worth the price.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm unless you eat some of the famous fried chicken.  The amount of food is generous to say the least.  We shared a 2 piece chicken lunch meal and it was way more than enough for the two of us.  Between the warm biscuits and chicken noodle soup for a starter, then the chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy with corn, we were both more than satisfied with our portions.

Stocking up on your boysenberry essentials while you are there is a must.  After all, Knott’s is the home of the boysenberry.  If you are a boysenberry fan like me, you will have a hard time picking just a few things.  Here is my loot from our trip.  I would have gotten more, but Don convinced me to save something for our next trip.  So next time I will try the boysenberry bbq sauce, boysenberry dressing and boysenberry butter!!IMG_4687

I’m adding these photos just for fun.  Sometimes Don thinks he is so funny.