A look back: Labor Day weekend.

Like I said, I love holidays. All of them. I especially love them when we get out of town on a holiday weekend. My hubby needed some time off so we decided to see if we could go to the cabin for the long weekend. The “cabin” is his uncle’s vacation home (that he graciously lets us use) in Camp Connell. It’s a 3 bedroom – plus a loft – 2.5 bath home and is close to Bear Valley, Murphys and Arnold, three towns that I have fallen in love with. This is the fourth time I’ve been to the cabin. My hubby’s been going there since he was younger than Lyla. His uncle bought the land and the family built the home – isn’t that cool? It’s such a special place to him and is now very special to me, our family and my parents. They came with us on this trip and on my first trip. I think I’ll have to do an entire post on just the cabin because I could go on and on about it, and this is supposed to be about Labor Day. But, I love the cabin. I feel so blessed and grateful that his Uncle lets us use it. It’s good for the soul. Back to the weekend…

My hubby took the day off of work on Friday so we could leave as soon as Lyla got out of school. Another great thing about living in Tracy is that it’s much closer to the cabin. It usually took us about three, three and a half hours to get there from San Jose and our trip is now cut in half, awesome. John walked Lyla to school that morning and picked her up at her request. Its special for her Dad to take her since I do it every day and I love that they get to share that quality time. While Lyla was at school, John ran a couple of errands and I packed for all of us except for Lyla. She wanted to pick out what she wanted to take herself. This caused me slight anxiety because letting Lyla pack herself could take hours but with my supervision, it actually wasn’t all that bad. She tends to want to bring everything (I’m not sure where she gets that from…) and this time did great! Lyla gets out of school at 11:34 and we were crammed in the car and ready to go by 12:30.

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We didn’t hit any traffic and only stopped once at the Darby Red Apple Ranch fruit and bakery stand. It was a tradition in my hubby’s family to stop here for cider, pie and apples and we’ve continued that tradition. We stop at least once or twice every time we go to the cabin. We usually take a picture there and I’m bummed because I forgot this time 😦 Here is a pic from our trip to the cabin in January. I can’t believe how little Lyla looks here and Sophie was only five weeks old (and sleeping in the car).

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So if you ever go to Murphys, Arnold, Camp Connell or Bear Valley, you MUST stop here. I’m not kidding. Everything is amazing. We always get their cider (it’s unbelievable) and we always try their goodies. We’ve tried the apple donuts (out of this world), apple strudel (phenomenal) and the pies are to.die.for. Seriously, the apple pies are fresh and delicious and the best I’ve ever had. There is always so much to choose from and it all looks amazing, its hard not to want to try it all. They sell fresh fruit (apples of course), dried fruits and nuts, jams, flavored syrups and so much more including honey. I love their honey. It comes in a big jar and lasts forever. They had pumpkin butter that I wanted and I thought we’d be back but we forgot to stop on the way out. I’m so bummed because I love pumpkin and I really wanted to get some to try out in fall recipes. I really can’t say enough about this place and I’m not the only one who thinks its great, check out the Yelp reviews. It’s cute and quaint and just perfect. We wolfed down our donuts and popped open the cider in the car, I told you we loved it.

We got to the cabin, unpacked, checked out what we needed from the store for dinner/breakfast/snacks and headed back out again to the market in Arnold. Boy, you could tell it was a holiday weekend. I’d never seen that market so crowded. The hubs really wanted steak so we decided on filet mignon, prawns, roasted potatoes and I honestly cannot remember the vegetable, oops! The girls were just hanging out playing while the hubs prepared dinner. He made a killer filet, he is the king of the grill.

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My parents arrived the next morning at 11, and we had plans to head to the rec center to swim and relax by the pool for the day. Lyla is a fish and can swim forever. Born and raised in Florida, I could lay out by the pool all day long and not complain. Knowing that the pool would be crowded, we tried to get there right at noon when they opened. We probably got there by 12:15 and it was already packed. We had such a lovely day. Check out how gorgeous the pool is. The sky was a brilliant blue and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. We soaked up the sun, swam and relaxed surrounded by the redwoods.

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We decided to have dinner in Arnold at the Snowshoe Brewing Company. This is another one of our “cabin” traditions, I’m a sucker for a tradition. We stopped here on my first trip up and the relaxed atmosphere, yummy food and good beer keeps us coming back. They also have a little arcade area which helps to keep Lyla entertained. We knew it would be crowded so we got there early (right after 5) and we were seated right away. We had a great dinner and Sophie used a highchair in a restaurant for the first time! Big milestone 🙂

On Sunday John cooked up a big, hearty breakfast. Eggs, blueberry pancakes (don’t know why, but I’m been craving these big time lately) and bacon. It was delish. Lyla really wanted to go to Mercer Cavern (we took her there when we were at the cabin in the summertime and I was pregnant with Sophie) so we all got ready and headed to Murphys. Obviously we couldn’t take Sophie down into the cavern (you go sixteen stories into the earth!) so my parents took Lyla while John, Sophie and I headed to downtown Murphys.  I’ve been dying to check out the cute shops and restaurants in the downtown area. I’ve been there before, we ate at a pizza place once and we’ve driven through it many times but never really strolled along the main street. All of the shops and wine tasting rooms have caught my attention every time and today was the perfect day to check them out. Now my hubby isn’t really much of a “window shopper” but he played along at my request 🙂 The area was super busy and really hard to navigate with a stroller so we strapped Sophie in the Bjorn and got to walking. We strolled through several stores and eventually met up with my mom and decided to get some wine while we waited for my stepdad (he had to run back to the cavern – lost his phone!). We stopped at Zucca winery and it was so cute. There was a beautiful outdoor area with tables and fire pits and we set up camp there. It was terribly hot that day but we enjoyed ourselves like we usually do. We stopped for ice cream before heading back up to the cabin and ate it by the historic downtown Murphys Hotel. It is so cute and I am begging my hubby for an overnight trip there, I love this little town.

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After a quick breakfast and packing up, we decided to stop by the city of Columbia on the way out. It’s a state park that is a living gold rush town. John really wanted to take Lyla here and I love historic towns so this was a lot of fun. We stopped in all the little shops, Lyla made a candle and we sampled the homemade candy. This place was so cool. It was really hot that day so we didn’t last long and we had to get on the road but we definitely want to come back. There is so much to explore, there are even places to eat and drink wine, cha-ching, so  I know we’ll be back here on another one of our trips to the cabin.

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This was a great trip. But then again, every trip to the cabin is great. Both John & I agree that we feel so relaxed and rejuvenated after every trip. There is no cell service or Internet there so we truly “unplug” and its so nice to really get away from it all. Plus, Lyla just adores it. She gets so excited whenever we start to talk about a trip to the cabin, I love seeing her so happy, it’s truly is our happy place 🙂

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