While I generally do not book weddings on holidays (WHY do people insist on getting married on Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. anyway?!) I went ahead and booked a wedding on Valentine’s Day this year. It was hard to say no when the location was so ROMANTIC!
So my husband and I spent Valentine’s Day weekend along the Central California coastline on a working vacation – which was far more romantic than I’d expected it would be! On Valentine’s Day (which we deemed “Valentine’s Day Eve” this year) we shot the wedding which took place at the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis, followed by a gorgeous seaside tent reception on Grover Beach.
After the wedding, (and a romantic night at the Vagabon Inn in San Luis Obispo!), we spent our officially unofficial Valentine’s Day at Pismo Beach, visiting the Monarch Butterfly Grove, the Pismo Beach Pier and nomming on yummy clam chowder bread bowls at the famous Splash Café! Here are some photos from our Valentine’s Day weekend at the coast!
After sleeping in (I didn’t realize how much I MISSED sleeping in.. and I never imagined I would consider waking at 7:30am “sleeping in”) the hubby and I visited the Monarch Butterfly Grove to catch the tail end of the Monarch Butterfly migration.
Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach. The last time we visited (about five years ago, when we were still just dating!) the butterflies were so thick on the trees that they looked like living leaves on each branch! Because we caught the end of the migration there were nowhere near as many.. but it was still fun to walk the groves and see speckles of orange in the trees, and fluttering along the hiking trails.
One of the photos on our fridge is a selfie picture of my husband and I kissing at the Monarch Butterfly Grove from five years ago… so we decided to walk down memory lane with a bit of photography recreation. 😉 Also, since we were missing our baby girl so much, we also decided to take a “duck face” photo for her. She somehow learned how to make the “duck face” (I seriously have NO IDEA where she picked that up, haha) and so it’s somehow become the silly family thing to do for quirky photos.
After a short walk around the Monarch Butterfly Grove, we headed to the foodie famous Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach for some of their award winning clam chowder bread bowls. The bread bowls and chowder are made from scratch every day, and the tiny restaurant goes through roughly 200 pounds of clams a week.. about 30,000 gallons of chowder a year! There is always a line that wraps around the building, and sometimes stretches down the street so far it actually blocks intersections! We got there fairly early, so got in rather quickly. A very yummy way to start the morning!
After eating our fill of clam chowder we went for a walk around the Pismo Beach Pier to watch the fishers lining the pier, and people watch the kids playing and surfers surfing along the shore.
We had fun watching the harbor seals and birds begging for fish scraps from the fishers along the pier. At one point, a bay pelican was hanging out near where we were standing when a fisherman randomly walked up to the bird and was like, “Hey, you want a fish?” And then he straight up HANDED THE BIRD THE FISH! It was one of the coolest frikkin’ things. The live fish was flipping and flopping around in the neck of the bird for a long time, before the bird finally flew off over the water.