Birthday Shenanigans Part 2

Even though my birthday was a few weeks ago, I’m just now getting around to blogging part two of the celebration. My fiance and I moved from San Diego to Pasadena in the last week and then flew across the country for a wedding, so our time has been very occupied. Now that we’ve settled into our new place, I’m excited to finally share my surprise trip to Julian, California with all of you!

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When we woke up on Sunday morning, I had no idea what we would be doing or where we would be going. Mike planned our two-night getaway in Julian on his own, without giving me a single detail until we hit the road. Image my surprise when I walked through our cabin, only knowing that we would be staying in Julian but not fully aware of the extent of where we’d be resting our heads.

The Cabin at Strawberry Hill can be described as breath-taking (that being an understatement). The places specializes in charm and attention to detail, all of which provide a cozy home for a quiet stay away from the city. Farm-fresh eggs and locally-made bread were sweet gifts from our property owners, both of which came in handy when we needed a pick-me-up before our town adventures.

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It didn’t take long for us to feel settled and this was due largely to the instrumental music preset for our arrival. Along with a vast collection of music, we were provided with inspirational reading material, which came in handy considering I forgot to bring a book with me (a rare occurrence).

Sunday’s arrival brought us to the tail-end of Julian’s annual apple festival, which brought a fair number of people to the small town. We decided to get dinner at Romano’s, home to a marvelous lasagna (I cannot recommend it enough), and spent the night snuggled in bed. Unfortunately, with the festival came strong winds so we were never able to use the fireplace during our stay. But the firewood was a nice touch and I imagine it really comes in handy during the winter months.
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We spent more time in town the next day, which was expectantly much slower than the weekend. Wine tasting seemed like a great way to pass the afternoon and we were not disappointed with this decision. Orfila Vineyard and Winery has a really great selection of wines to taste for $10 a couple (score!), and I particularly love their reds. The dessert wine is a top choice.

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Our last night ended with a bang: pizza, two glasses of wine (each), a game of scrabble, and a gorgeous sunset. While Mike and I enjoy a fun night out on the town, we really appreciate quiet nights in where we can do cheesy coupley things. And Strawberry Hill was our perfect setting for some R &R.

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Right before we headed back home on Tuesday morning, we joined in on my favorite tradition of Strawberry Hill: we left a note in the guestbook/journal, along with the previous guests who have stayed. We really enjoyed reading past entries upon our arrival, so we felt pressure to jot down something that would leave the next guests falling for the place as much as we did. I think we managed to do our stay justice, and it’s nice to know that a part of us will always remain at the Cabin.

Every year Mike tries to make my birthday feel extra special, and not once in four years has he failed to do so. This short trip was filled with love, comfort, and peace–three things that we both needed before the busy weeks ahead of us. And while I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday surprise, I needed only to spend time with Mike in order for the day to be wonderful.

Here’s to another year older! May it be a good one.

-Ciara

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