Monday, July 9, 2012 / 30 Comments / , ,

Carmel Valley Ranch {family travel review}

 I hope you had a festive fun 4th of July and weekend! 

Mr. Yummy Mummy had some business in Monterey, CA over the 4th and at the last minute the girls and I decided to tag along. I turned the copy edited version of my cookbook in to my publisher on the 3rd (whoohoo!) so it was the perfect time for a quick getaway. 

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about riding in the car for 4 hours with our 2-year-old. Sometimes just a trip to Trader Joe's seems like an eternity if something sets off a tantrum. And watching kids who can't swim at a pool is just anxiety inducing.
This pretty much sums up how I was feeling. Thankfully I was so wrong, thanks to the Carmel Valley Ranch. Even with my hubby away all day, it was a relaxing vacation.

The girls were great in the car (whew!) and arrived happy. We were greeted at reception by Roxy, the resident English Bulldog. She is the sweetest thing ever and has clearly gotten used to kids giving her a lot of love every day. 
Deer and wild turkeys roam the 500 acre property. Isn't this the cutest little fawn and mama? We loved being immersed in nature while still being pampered by all the resort amenities that made it feel like vacation. 
 Every night a s'mores bar was set out by the fire pit. The kids weren't the only ones who looked forward to ending the day with gooey s'mores.
Spending afternoons at   the pool turned out to be fun for the kids and relaxing for me. There was a 1-foot deep kiddie pool and "splash zone" perfect for my non-swimmer. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to sit at the edge of the kiddie pool and relax for hours while the girls safely played in the water. The photo on the right is the breathtaking adult pool, which I wasn't able to enjoy, but was really beautiful. 
 We ventured 20 minutes away from the resort to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We have been to the Aquarium several times in the past and the kids always love touching the sea stars and watching the magical jellies, seahorses, and even hammerhead sharks.

 The highlight of our trip may have been the beekeeping experience. I have such an appreciation for bees and honey now. I am going to save all the details, along with a delicious honey recipe, for another post. Keep an eye out for that one - bees really are fascinating and important creatures.

7000 lavender plants create purple hills all throughout the beautiful property. The lavender is harvested and made into lavender olive oil soap for the guest bathrooms. 

The Ranch is all about appreciating the little, but important, things: flowers, food, wildlife, roasting marshmallows, bees, organic gardening, a swing, just playing... We can't wait until our next visit. 

Are you going on vacation this summer? Where is your favorite vacation spot?

I have an amazing s'mores pie to share with you later this week. It's the perfect dessert for summer barbeques.

Until then...

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