I thoroughly enjoyed my time with family but also wanted to spend some time as a tourist. I am very happy to wander around Northern California as a tourist. I left Oakland after Christmas weekend. It was a longish drive south from Oakland through San Jose. I stopped in San Juan Bautista. I had been there before but adore the authentic mission church. There seemed to be a few more upscale shops than I remembered, but it is still an authentic old town with Mexican roots.
I had stayed in a B&B in Pacific Grove on another visit some years ago. I wanted to try a different B&B, and research led me to Centrella. It turned out to be comfortable but not terribly fancy. Thanks to an advance reservation, my room was upstairs in the tower to the right of the picture. I had a laptop and enjoyed the in-house wireless network. The location turned out to be perfect. The extensive parks along the shore were a couple of blocks downhill. The main street was just uphill, and that meant that I could walk to elegant restaurants.
the park along the coast - blooming in Christmas colors