Our first full day in California last week was Nick’s birthday, and we wanted to do something special. We decided to make a trip down to Orange County, where we spent time checking out some of the same places I briefly visited with my aunt this past April.
Since we aren’t very good with adjusting to the time zone change, we woke up around 4AM local time and were on the road by 5:30. We made it to San Clemente just after the sun had risen and parked ourselves at the beach to run along the beach trail. It’s a sandy surface, but firm enough to easily run on, with a clear view of the ocean. Once we made it out and back, we walked along the beach itself. Of course I kicked off my shoes and ran through the waves…Nick kept his shoes on, but wasn’t able to escape the water.
After drying off, we hopped back into the car and headed for Mission San Juan Capistrano. I’m fascinated by the history of the Spanish missions, and we both love the architecture. We’ve have made it a life goal to see all of them. (You can read about when Nick and I visited San Gabriel here.) The landscaping at this mission was incredibly beautiful.
By the time we finished exploring the mission, we were ready for lunch. We went to a Mexican restaurant nearby, El Maguey, that I had been to before and knew Nick would like. We both got the vegetarian burrito with a ranchera sauce, and I ordered a horchata to drink.
Around this time, I got a text from a Louisville friend who was visiting her family in Orange County, and we spontaneously decided to try to meet up in the afternoon. Nick and I took the Pacific Coast Highway north and drove into Costa Mesa. We had agreed to meet at The CAMP, an outdoor collection of restaurants and shops. Our first stop there was at Blackmarket Bakery for Nick’s birthday dessert. I ordered a double chocolate cookie with toasted coconut, while Nick chose an oatmeal cookie with dried cranberries.
After enjoying our cookies, we walked around the shops there, and across the street at the LAB Antimall. We did see my friend, but for a sadly short time because Nick and I needed to head back inland before rush hour traffic hit.
When I asked Nick how he felt about celebrating his 25th birthday in California, he summed it up as awesome.