How online hotel booking always goes (for me)

Let's spend hours looking for cheaper hotel prices... not.

Let’s spend hours looking for cheaper hotel prices… not.

We are planning on taking a little vacation in a month or two. We haven’t traveled since the birth of our daughter (in January) and my husband has been busy at work with a big project and in need of some rest and relaxation. Although, with a three year old and a 6 month old, there probably won’t be much R&R, but it is still nice to get away. My three year old also LOVES going to the beach. We haven’t gone to the coast for a while and we are all overdue for some time near the ocean!

You would think that I would learn by now, but I guess I keep hope that someday, it will work.

Someday, one of the millions (ok, not really millions) of travel sites would lead me to the perfect getaway.

And someday, that perfect getaway will be discounted.

That someday has yet to happen. I spend hours comparing lodgings on 5 different sites with 15 different companies and at the end, I go back to the actual hotel’s webpage and book the room. I always book directly from the hotel because I have yet to find a better deal anywhere else.

Am I the only one?! The hotel we just booked was actually one Groupon… but not the room we wanted. But it was only $10 cheaper than booking directly with the hotel. Some travel sites will tell me it’s $30 cheaper a night, but when I click to book, the price has jumped up $50 and they haven’t added fees.

I’m curious, have you ever had a travel site that actually had cheaper prices than booking through the hotel? Maybe I’m missing something.





Brunch in Berkeley

Marc and I like going on day trips. We like food and new places, so exploring the areas around our home is a great way to experience both. We are lucky enough to live in California and be a couple of hours or less away from the mountains, foothills, coast, or wine country. Our last day trip was up to gold country, this trip we decided to have lunch in Berkeley.

Even though we have been to San Francisco too many times to count, Marc had never been to Berkeley and I had been there once; to eat dinner with a friend. Oh, and we explored UC Berkeley for school but had little memory of the trip.

With little planning, we drove up to the coast and parked ourselves at downtown. The day was beautiful and the weather was perfect, but it was Sunday and a lot of the restaurants were either closed, or about to close. After visiting the used bookstore we stopped off at Venus to enjoy a local beer and decide what to do for lunch.

Enjoying a beer on the patio

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Continental Portuguese and the Azores Island

This weekend my father-in-law’s sister and her husband were visiting from Terceira.  My husband’s family is from the Azores the islands off of Portugal. He and his cousins were the first generation born here. Most of his mother’s immediate family is here now, but most of his father’s family is not. His father goes back every few years, my husband Marc has been back several times.

The summer after I graduated college (about 4 years ago) I went with Marc and his family during Festas Sanjoaninas. We stayed with his mother’s aunt and a gaggle of cousins for two weeks. We went to the beach, visited other relatives, walked the countryside, went to bull fights in the praca (a type of stadium for bullfights) and the street, and stayed out at night.

Always lots of food and family

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Day Trip to the Gold-Rush Town of Coulterville

The Little Town of Coulterville

Quite often I get the urge to have an adventure (more often then Marc would prefer). Especially now that I am not working, I sit at home and ponder all the cool things I should be doing and all the neat places I should be visiting. I need to get out of the house! This weekend Marc and I decided to do a day trip to the historical town of Coulterville. The night before I made some pizza and muffins to take with us and we packed lots of fruit and water.

To get up to Coulterville we drove thru rolling hills scattered with oak trees. I love that scenery. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a shoulder to pull off and everything is fenced in, so I didn’t get the chance to take any pictures – I just had to enjoy it from the passenger side of the car.

We drove higher and higher and stopped to look down below us on the blue water:

Lake McClure

Excuse Mr. Gruff and his hair, haha

When we arrived at the one street town, we stopped by the visitor’s center and talked with a nice old lady about what was around and got a handful of maps and brochures for all kinds of California vacations (which is still helpful for CA residents!). She told us to go visit the museum and gave us a map of the rest of the town.

Many of the buildings are gone now, but several are still standing. Unfortunately CA’s oldest functioning saloon wasn’t functioning, because the hotel was being renovated.

We walked around and visited the museum,

had a beer at another saloon,

The Sheriff catching the robbers

and visited the old cemetary too.

We drove up more North and then came back home after enjoying the scenery and spending the day in a new place.

Click HERE to view more photos of the quaint gold-rush town of Coulterville, California.