Let me just start out by saying that the minute we left the coast to head back home from this trip, I missed it. I missed the salty air, the wind, the sand, the fog, the glorious sunsets, the food, the wine (oh MAN, was the wine good) the quality time, the restfulness - all of it.Even editing pictures was a difficult task. Lots of sighing took place.

Here's why:

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Yes, that was our view upon arrival. From the deck.

I know! That's what I've been trying to tell you.

I have so many amazing things to share from this trip that I'll need to break down everything into several posts.

First up: The Vacation Rental

My mom and I decided early on in the holiday season last year that instead of giving gifts, we'd give each other a trip for Christmas. We had done this once before and it worked out really well. This time, we took it up a notch and decided to stay in Pescadero, California. Pescadero is located just south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1.

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{Photo courtesy of The Half Moon Bay Review Coastside Guide, which was incredibly useful}

When we started searching for a place to stay, we came across this vacation rental in Pescadero and it looked...well...incredible. It's a big house for two people, but the location and amenities had us completely sold. Lucky for us (not so much for you, sorry), they had yet to raise their nightly rates. We got a great deal. To be honest, this house is still a great deal if you split it between more people (it sleeps 6 - 8).

Located on the ocean side of Highway 1, the property is aptly named Captain's Landing.

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The property entrance from the front gates:

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Just a portion of one of the fabulous wrap-around decks:

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Needless to say, we were pretty happy with our choice of accommodations. The inside was cozy and felt like a well-loved home, which is perfect for a vacation rental. I don't know about you, but I enjoy vacation rentals because they feel less like a hotel and more like a home:

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I mean, bridge art?! Are you kidding me?! Hello, beautiful:

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The vrbo.com listing has more great pictures of the interior, if you're interested.

Just look at this place from the private beach below:

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Mmm....hmm...I said private beach. The small beach serves just a few private residences, which means no crowds. Captain's Landing even has its own set of stairs:

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The house is situated on about an acre of land and we could have easily gone all weekend without seeing another person had we stayed at the house the entire time. Here's a view of the spacious yard:

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As we settled in on our first day at the rental, we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets we'd seen in a long time:

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{Shameless plug: I've entered the photo above, along with several others, into The Great Outdoors Photography Competition. I'd love your votes in the People's Choice category, if you have a minute. You can vote here. Thanks, friends!}

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Not bad, Mother Nature. Not bad AT ALL.

Stay tuned this week for more about our stay in Pescadero. I've got a beach excursion post, food and wine recommendations, information about a lighthouse that needs help and an elephant-sized post on...well...elephant seals.

So what has you sighing this week? I hope it revolves around wonderful memories.

Happy Monday, all!

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Part 2 of this series here and Part 3 here.

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