Heavenly Hawaiian Cruise on the Star Princess

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I was so excited about this cruise for many reasons.  First, we would be stopping in California to visit family.  It has been way too long since we had seen Brian, Antoinette and our lovely niece Francesca.  Second, it goes without saying, especially if you have been following the blog over time that we love to cruise.  And, third, we honeymooned in Hawaii back in 2000 and have always talked about returning.

We were actually going to be traveling with other members of our community.  However, we went out to California a few days before the cruise and eventually meet up with our group at the airport on the day we boarded the ship.

Our flight was smooth although we did encountered a few delays making our arrival later than we had anticipated.  We arrived at their home at about 2am.  Fortunately, Antoinette left the guest house door open for us so we were able to just collapse in bed.

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How wonderful it was to get a good night’s sleep and wake up to Brian bringing freshly squeezed orange juice to our door.  The juice was delicious.  The kitchen had been stocked with our favorite breakfast foods and coffee so, we had a lovely time just settling in and surveying our surroundings.  The view from our door was beautiful.  There was lush landscaping including giant Birds of Paradise, a trail down to the pool, and a view of the main house.  I immediately fell in love with the house with its wrap-around porches on both levels and a bank of windows that overlooks the Pacific.

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DSC01556bCalifornia 2Friday was a school day so Francesca was off for the day.  Brian and Antoinette decided to take us on a leisurely ride along the coast up to Los Olivos to visit the Demetria winery.  They packed an al fresco lunch meats, cheese and fruit and off we went.  I could not help but notice how brown and gray the hills looked as we drove along seeing firsthand the results of the drought the state has been suffering the last few years.

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DSC01556bCalifornia 1We arrived at the winery passing by rolling hills filled with vineyards as far as the eye could see.  The winery itself reminded me of a scene from Tuscany.  The sun was shining and the air was crisp making it a perfect day to sit on the veranda and enjoyed our lunch and five wonderful wines.  We sampled two white and three red wines.  Randy and I loved the 2011 ‘Eighteen’ Chardonnay and the 2011 Syrah so much we bought a bottle of each to take on the ship.

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DSC01559DSC01566On our way back we stopped in a lovely town established in 1911 by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish colony called Solvang.  The architecture of many of the façades and buildings were built in the traditional Danish style and the town is filled with bakeries and other wonderful shops.  I loved the windmill in the middle of town.  We just walked up and down the quiet streets stopping periodically in a shop to look over their wares.   The bakeries were amazingly tempting but we settled for a sample of delicious fudge.

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DSC01570bDSC01575We headed back to the house to rest a little, freshen up and go to dinner.  We went to a restaurant called The Lark  in Santa Barbara.  What a great choice.  There was a chill in the air but the restaurant had these wonderful heaters and a wonderful fire pit around the outside patio that kept us toasty throughout dinner.  The restaurant serves family style so, after reviewing the choices we decided to order the Fried Castelvetrano Olives, the Cheese Board, the Little Gems ‘Wedge’ salad, Mary’s Roasted Chicken and the Braised Beef Shortribs.  Randy and I washed our meal down with a lager called  Flying Dog Underdog Atlantic Lager.  The entire dinner was mouthwateringly delicious.

Every part of the day was wonderful, but the best part of the day was reconnecting and catching up with Brian, Antoinette and Francesca.  It was a very nice day indeed!

Tomorrow Randy and Brian are going in one direction, while the ladies are headed in another.

Enjoy,

Mary

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13 Responses to Heavenly Hawaiian Cruise on the Star Princess

  1. Randy says:

    Nice house, nice trip to vinyard, Nice dinner and visiting my relatives.

  2. Judy says:

    Nice way to start a cruise!

  3. Sal says:

    Solvang is a neat little town. I enjoyed my visit which was many years ago. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Connie says:

    Beautiful home. I would love to go to CA and view the wine country. Drive along the coast. See the redwoods. I really need to get to CA. Happy that you two are enjoying beautiful views, great food and catching up with family members.

  5. Lana Halpern says:

    Mary and Randy,
    Francesa is so grown up. OMG! Where has the time gone. Barry and I loveeee Solvang.
    The Andersen Pea Soup is one of our favorites. I bought their dried peas and made the soup
    at home last time we visited there. The peas they sell are very different than the ones you buy
    in the supermarket. Who knew at the time, or I would have gotten more. It is so nice to hear about it.

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