Dave and I were lucky enough to get out of Duluth over New Year’s. We were happy to leave the cold, snow, ice and salty roads in exchange for California’s sunny beaches. We flew out of Mpls so we headed down 1 day early to spend the night at our friend Kristen’s house. She is a super entrepreneur who owns her own flight catering company, Atiki’s Catering. She also makes me laugh my head off. Dave was talking about how he thinks everyone has a secret talent (his is blending in to any culture; mine is facial recognition). Kristin wondered what hers was and I knew right away – she is a funniness magnifier. She makes everyone around her feel like the cleverest and funniest person. She said, “I just thought all my friends were super funny.” I said, “No- only with you.” Anyway, we had a great time catching up and eating the delicious Pad Thai Kristen made for dinner.
The next day we headed to California for Bud and Jenifer’s wedding. The gathering took place at the Asilomar Retreat Center in Pacific Grove (near Monterey). The retreat center is located on a state park so the feel inside the rooms is slightly government. If you’ve ever stayed somewhere run by the military you will know what I mean. I’m not saying I didn’t like it because I did. It was awesome. No TV’s, no phones, just woods, beach and quiet. The Center has tons of cedar shingled “cabin pods”, each with about 10 rooms plus a common room. The wedding party took up about 3 of these pods plus a few extra rooms.
Dave and I got there early the first day and were able to walk for hours on the beach checking out the tide pools and the pathways throughout the resort. It was soooo nice to be able to walk around in just shirtsleeves.
The rest of the family arrived throughout the day. We were in the same pod as Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jim, the Pratts, Bud’s parents, and a number of Bud’s siblings and their kids. There was one unfortunate couple who were not part of our party but who were stuck with us in our cabin pod. I think we were ok to be around though. We observed quiet hours for the most part and shared some delicious wedding cake.
In the morning the day of the ceremony the family was able hang out, walk on the beach, and get some visiting in. Mary Alice and I even waded in the ocean. Definitely gave you an ice-cream-headache in your feet but it was still super fun dodging the waves.
The ceremony was both fun and touching. They interspersed their vows with singing (see youtube video – Bud and Jenifer sing their vows) and at the end the whole wedding party sang to the new couple (see youtube video – The wedding party sings to Bud and Jenifer). Bud and Jenifer are so clearly in love. It is so sweet to see them together. I wish them as much happiness as they can hold in their new life together.
The wedding and reception were on New Year’s Eve and held at the Asilomar Retreat Center. After the ceremony we took pictures then adjourned to dinner: an excellent meal and delicious dessert. We were left to our own devices after dinner and luckily the moon was full, the tide was extreme, and the whole beach was lit up by moonlight. Dave and I took a late night walk (not quite til midnight but it was midnight in Minnesota – body clock time) on the beach and were amazed by the brightness. Each whitecap glowed as it came to shore, the white sand beach looked like snow it was so bright, and there were a number of small beach parties going on with little bonfires. And it was warm! Warm enough to walk without a coat. It was a lovely New Year’s Eve.
On New Year’s Day we all went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was soooo cool. The jellyfish tanks were super serene. And the tank with the sharks, tuna and other fish seemed really big. The room where you could stand and watch was dark so the tanks seemed super blue and soothing.
That evening we went to Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery for dinner. It’s a family style restaurant – meaning that you sit at any old table even one where people you don’t know are sitting. Not sure that would go over in MN. The food was great. And even though they were primarily a seafood place they offered vegetarian options and I had one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten. We rode there and back with Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jim which was fun because we were able to catch up and also devise a sure fire TV hit “Bridget goes to the Quetico.” (Bridget being the northland version of Gidget.)
On the 2nd, Dave and I left the warmth and sunny skies of California and headed back to our regular life here in Duluth, MN. It’s ok to be back. We like our life. But it sure was nice to take a break! Thanks to Bud & Jenifer for bringing us all together for such a fun and memorable event. Best to you both in your new life together.