No, the object of my swooning is not some tragic protagonist in an 18th century novel, it's a gloriously quirky 4-storied cottage nestled in the woods of the Inverness mountains near the San Francisco Bay.
These pictures seriously do not do it justice. Every inch of its handsome structure was beautifully decorated and curated by some designer who did a darn good job.
And there was a hot tub! No grand cottage is complete without one.
The only problem was the staircase. Long and narrow like a cathedral tower, little Noah refused to step foot on them. And so I became his personal stair piggy-backing elevator the entire 2 days we were there. Ugh.
Blackthorne is one of those places I would see casually flipping through a travel and leisure magazine at the dental office and NEVER think of booking a stay at.
1. Because I'm lazy and like hobbits, don't like venturing far from home. And
2. Because I'm cheap, like hobbits.
I'm basically a hobbit?!
But thank goodness for life-long friends who are our complete opposites and call you up on a random Wednesday morning to see if you'd like to go on a big trip the next day.
Most of the "cool" experiences I've had in life, I attribute completely and solely to this girl. I'm pretty sure, one day, she'll be the reason I parachute out of an airplane or some other such nonsense.
But as if staying in such a charming lodge wasn't enough, we had myriad other delights!
One of the house guests was an expert in Japanese pancake art! She made Judah a jaguar y'all (his favorite animal)! WOW!
And made Noah a bulldozer! IMPRESSIVE!
And we visited a cool nature center complete with surrounding kid-friendly hiking trails.
One of the trails led to a preserved Native American village. The kids enjoyed running into every teepee. One day I'll tell Judah about the slaughter of the first peoples and he'll feel as sad as I did during the visit. But until then - all smiles!
There were beautiful views of Tomales Bay and the kids enjoyed picking up all kinds of sea shells along the shore.
We passed by a quaint little town that had artisanal shops like Cow Girl Creamery.
An old man in a wheelchair passed by while we sat down to rest and exclaimed - Let me take your picture!
I handed him my iPhone and he confessed he did not know how to use it.
Not a bad shot for a non-phone shooter!
Afterward he kept thanking us for just being there. Family, it's a beautiful thing, he kept on saying.
We didn't bother correcting him about our actual non-blood relations.
Because, well, he pretty much got it right.