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the Sundholm Family
Florida: Disney World, Key West & Miami Beach
Florida proved to be the place for sun and fun, and we had a fantastic time on this vacation. We began by spending five full days at the Happiest Place on Earth, (well, one of them anyway) Disney World. We had the opportunity to visit all four parks including Animal Kingdom, where we rode the Kilimanjaro Safari and Expedition Everest, and saw the spectacular Finding Nemo - the Musical. At Magic Kingdom, we rode Dumbo and It's a Small World, met Alice at the Mad Hatter Tea Cups and watched the parade and fireworks. At Hollywood Studios, we rode Toy Story Mania 4D, the newest attraction at the park. But we all agree that Epcot was our favorite, as we all enjoyed visiting the different countries in World Showcase, riding Test Track and exploring the Seas with Nemo and Friends.
We drove down US Highway 1 to beautiful Key West, stopping by the incredible Theater of the Sea at Islamorada along the way, where Anna volunteered to participate in the marine mammal show and got a kiss from Twister the Dolphin (click here for the video). From Key West we took a boat ride to the Dry Tortugas and did some excellent snorkeling. On our way back from the islands, we made a quick stop in the Everglades National Park to see the Royal Palms, then spent the last couple of days in South Beach and admired the awesome art deco architecture. To see just a few of our photos from the trip, click here.
Yosemite National Park
We had a very relaxing time during our annual Summer trip to Yosemite National Park. The waterfalls were full and beautiful, and there were wildflowers and butterflies aplenty. When we visited Glacier point, we once again spotted a mama black bear and her two cubs (don't know if it was the same mama we saw two years ago). We spent a day up in the high country, where we walked the 3 mile trail up to Dog Lake and back. Despite much complaining on the way up, Anna was proud to complete her first hike on her own two feet (no free rides from mom or dad). And that's AFTER falling into the muddy shore of a stream while trying to cross on rocks. And a trip to Tuolumne Meadows is not complete unless you stop to see the marmots at Olmsted Point (pssst - they like Cheez-its!).
Nothing is more exciting and enjoyable as riding a bike around Yosemite Valley. We rode to Happy Isles, where we had a picnic lunch by the shore of the Merced River, and then to Mirror Lake, where the kids had fun swimming and splashing in the icy cold water. On the last day, we visited Yosemite Falls and took the new family picture you see on our home page. We also visited the historic Ahwahnee Hotel to live like royalty; well, for a few moments anyway. See some of our favorite pictures from the trip here.
Winter Trip to Arnold
Instead of our usual Winter trip to Oakhurst and Yosemite, the Sundholms and Scalettas opted this year to try something different and rent a house in beautiful and snowy Arnold, CA. We really lucked out and had lots of snow to play in, with even more falling during our stay. Everyone had plenty of room in our big, comfy house, named Silverado; which we rented through Cedar Creek Realty. The house is conveniently located in a country club community, so we were able to do some serious sledding on their golf course (which was covered in snow, of course!) without having to drive far.
While in Arnold, we had a hearty meal at the Snowshoe Brewing Company, which we all thoroughly enjoyed (be sure to take home a jug of one of their signature beers). Everyone agreed that the trip was a blast, and we intend to try out one of Cedar Creek's other properties soon. Click here to see some of our favorite pictures from the trip.
Disneyland Park and 2nd Annual Half Marathon
The 2nd Annual Disneyland Half Marathon was this past Labor Day, and it happened to be during one of the worst heatwaves that Southern California has experienced all Summer! Thankfully, both Carl and Milva finished the 13.1 mile journey relatively unharmed. Needless to say, neither of them beat any previous half marathon running times. It was already 79° F when they began the run at 6:00 a.m., and the temperature reached over 100° F before the day was through.
The following day brought a little relief (only 93° F!) so we headed into the park to enjoy ourselves and the air-conditioned rides. The park was not crowded at all, so we were able to enjoy a lot of rides without much of a wait. We got soaked on Splash Mountain (which Anna now calls "Wet Mountain"), had a teeth-chattering ride on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, zipped along in Matterhorn Bobsleds, fought aliens on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (see Carl's official pic here), and only rode through Small World twice (Anna's favorite). See a few pictures from the trip here. The holiday season is a great time to visit Disneyland: for more info, visit the official theme park website.
Seattle and British Columbia
Our most recent excursion brought the Sundholms to "The Emerald City" (aka Seattle), and beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Seattle is one of our favorite cities, and on this trip we visited Pike Place Market to watch the famous "fish tossers," took an elevator to the top of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center and experienced the EMP (Experience Music Project), a music museum dedicated to Seattle native Jimi Hendrix and other rock music icons. The weather was perfect. Anna enjoyed having her photographs taken with many of Seattle's "Pigs on Parade;" 100 artistic pig statues placed on streets throughout the city in celebration of Pike Place Market's 100th year.
In Victoria, we revisited the Royal BC Museum which featured a special exhibit of hundreds of actual artifacts recovered from the Titanic. We also toured spectacular Butchart Gardens, and spent an afternoon at China Beach in the Juan de Fuca area of Vancouver Island. After a brief visit to Nanaimo, we ferried over to the city of Vancouver to test our nerves on the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which was great fun! Our last day was spent touring Vancouver's famous Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium, where Anna was absolutely captivated by the beautiful white Beluga Whales.
For more information on the cities and attractions we visited, go to: www.seattle.gov (the official Seattle city site) and www.vancouverisland.com. To see some pictures from our trip, click here. To watch two YouTube videos of us on the Capilano Suspension Bridge, click here and here.
Yosemite National Park in Summer
Summer has come early to Yosemite National Park this year, but there were still plenty of beautiful wildflowers to see, and even some blooms left on the dogwood trees. Thankfully, the mosquitos must've been full and were actually quite forgiving! And, keeping with Sundholm Family tradition, we once again stayed in a rustic cabin at the family-friendly and historic Curry Village, which opened in 1899. We didn't have any close encounters with bears in the camp this year, but did hear one sniffing around our cabin one night!
Tioga Pass is open, so we spent a day up in the high country of Tuolumne Meadows, where Anna completed (albeit under protest) her first "real hike." We decided to try the 4.6 mile roundtrip trail to Elizabeth Lake, a sparkling alpine lake under Unicorn Peak. This trail, incidentally, was also Sam's first "real hike" at about the same age Anna is now. Another day, we rented bikes for the whole family (Anna rode in a pull-along trailer, much to her delight) and explored the Yosemite Valley on the miles of bike trails they have. And, of course, we had a lovely picnic lunch at Happy Isles. We ended our stay hanging out in the grand lobby of the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, taking in the historic splendor of it all. It's always sad when we leave. Needless to say, we've already booked our cabin for next June!
Skiing Trip at Lake Tahoe
With all the late snow the Sierra had received, there was still plenty of the white stuff on the ground and at the ski resorts to enjoy. This year, we stayed in the beautiful town of Tahoma Meadows, just a couple of miles south of Homewood, at Tahoma Meadows Bed & Breakfast. While we're not usually the B & B type, we loved staying at their famous Sugar Pine Cottage, which was built in the 1930s and truly has that "old Tahoe" feel. With two fireplaces and a whirlpool spa, it was difficult to leave. We got in a half-day of skiing at Homewood Mountain Resort, and did a lot of relaxing by the fire. And, of course, when the gambling bug bit, South Shore was just 30 minutes away (no luck this time, however).
On the way up, we stopped at Donner Lake Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum, the latter of which has been greatly improved from our last visit. It's definitely worth a stop to marvel as to how anyone survived that ordeal at all. At Lake Tahoe, we hiked down to Vikingsholm, a majestic Scandinavian-style castle overlooking Emerald Bay. There are no indoor tours during the Winter months, but the hike was beautiful and it was fun exploring the castle grounds. We truly had a fantastic time on our trip and agreed that we'd come back to both Vikingsholm and the Sugar Pine Cottage again. To see some photos from our trip, click here.
Oakhurst Snow Trip/Yosemite in Winter
We delayed our annual trip to Oakhurst by two weeks due to schedules, but it paid off for us with excellent sunny weather and tons of snow still on the ground. There were no chain restrictions in Yosemite, so we were able to do some sledding at the historic Wawona Hotel Golf Course (Hole 7 is the best hill!), and we were even able to drive into the Valley to see the breathtaking Winter scenery.
At Wawona, we sledded and built Frosty the Snowman, who unfortunately did not come to life when we placed his hat upon his head. But, we had a lot of fun, even sneaking in a quick snowball fight before we headed into the Valley. We made the obligatory stop at Inspiration Point to take a group shot and see the view from the overlook. At Yosemite Falls, we were greeted by some hungry coyotes, who were nice enough to pose for some photos. Another year, another great time had by all. Click here to see the photo page from this trip.
Yosemite National Park in Autumn
We visited Yosemite National Park in November, our first time seeing it in Autumn. Although Yosemite is not known for its Autumn colors, the trees were at their best and Carl was able to take many beautiful pictures. We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge (also a first for us!) and upgraded to a lovely room with a balcony and view of Yosemite Falls, and North and Half Domes. Anna enjoyed walking the newly updated nature trail to the Falls, although the Falls themselves were no more than a trickle compared to when we usually see them in late Spring!
It was a wonderful trip that rounded out our multi-seasonal visits to the park. To get more information on Yosemite National Park, visit the official website here. To check the latest road conditions (the last storm brought snow to the area a bit earlier than usual) visit the government-run national park website for Yosemite. See some photos from the trip here. Can't wait until we visit again in the Winter!
Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival
The Sundholms made our 8th annual family trip to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and this year we made sure to get a nice, early start. It paid off in that we beat the huge crowds and actually were able to see the wonderful arts & crafts for sale before sitting a bit to enjoy the music and pumpkin cookies, pie and ice cream.
We also made our annual stop at the Muzzi Pumpkin Patch in San Gregorio (the one with the original corn maze). Although the maze was more difficult this year, we did successfully make it through - yay! Visit the corn maze's myspace profile here (spoiler alert: map to the maze is shown). Sam and Anna really enjoyed climbing and jumping off the haystacks. We came home with lots of nice pumpkins to carve and lots of hay in our clothes. See some of the cute pictures here.
Maiden Voyage of the Dagmar
October has been an exciting month so far as Carl finally did what he'd been threatening to do for some time now and purchased a 19' West Wight Potter sailboat. We took our first trip together on it as a family recently, departing from the Port of Redwood City, as its boat launch is near to where the boat is dry-stored. It was a beautiful day, although a bit too choppy to actually do much sailing. There were so many types of birds in this part of the bay to see, and we even spotted - for a brief instance - a seal. Also in these waters is the wreck of the USS Thompson (DD-305), which first served as a floating restaurant in San Francisco after being decommissioned in the 1930s, but later was sunk as a target in 1944.
A fun time was had by all (especially Anna). We can't wait to take her out on more adventures! See some of the photos from the maiden trip here.
Yosemite National Park
Our annual summer trip to Yosemite was fantastic, as the waterfalls were full and the wildlife plentiful. In the four days we were there, we saw five bears! More than any of us have ever seen in all the time we've been visiting the park. Anna and Sam enjoyed cooling off in Mirror Lake, and visiting Glacier Point, where we spotted a mother bear and her two cubs and also a young grouse. Later in the week we hiked to Taft Point; however, the day was quite overcast so all we had was a foggy view of the fissures and no view at all of the valley below. On the last night we were there, a black bear tore into a tent cabin in search of food (folks, don't leave your coolers in your tents!) Still, it was a very beautiful and relaxing trip and needless to say, we've already secured our reservations at old Camp Curry for next summer!
Visit the Yosemite National Park website for more information. See some of our favorite photos from our trip here.
The Southwest & Las Vegas
The Sundholms just returned from a family trip to the Southwest and Las Vegas, were we visited Grand Canyon National Park and took a six-wheel drive open-truck tour of Canyon de Chelly National Monument with a stay at the famous Thunderbird Lodge located on Navajo Tribal Land. We also visited Monument Valley Tribal Park to tour the rock formations and Mesa Verde National park in Colorado to see the fabulous Anasazi cliff dwellings. At Arches National Park we hiked the "moderately strenuous" and breathtaking Delicate Arch trail. We also visited Dead Horse Point State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
We ended the vacation with a few fun-filled days in Las Vegas, where Carl & Sylvia had a chance to see the musical Avenue Q at the Wynn. View some of the photos from the trip here. For more information on the places we saw, visit www.americansouthwest.net. Great website!
We visited Lake Tahoe in mid-March as we have done for the past few years. There always seems to be a lot of snow and more falling this time of year, and the views are quite breathtaking. This year, we had over three feet of snow, and had long icicles outside of the windows of our rented vacation home at Chinquapin, in Tahoe City.
Although the roads were closed at Emerald Bay, we were able to see quite a bit of the lake and take some beautiful photos. After a quick stop at the Cal-Neva Lodge, we found a park with sufficient hills for a little sledding action. But the best part was returning to our rented "home" on the lake, with its stunning views and nice, warm fireplace!
Disneyland Family Trip
In the beginning of March, we had the opportunity to visit Disneyland as a family and stay in the famous Disneyland Hotel. What a treat! The weather was so nice that we were able to swim in the hotel's pool, where Anna especially enjoyed the mini waterslide that was just her size. We also had reservations for Breakfast with Minnie, where we got to meet many of the Disney characters as they strolled from table to table. Anna really enjoyed herself.
We rode many of the rides, including Small World twice (Anna's favorite), and watched the Disney Playhouse show at Disney's California Adventure (a nice break and fun for the little ones). We ended the day with the parade, which always leaves you feeling like you've had a magical experience. See some of our favorite photos here.
Oakhurst Snow Trip
Over Presidents' Day weekend, The Sundholms and the Scalettas made our annual journey to Oakhurst, California for good times and some fun in the snow. Usually on this trip, we visit Yosemite National Park, which is an awesome sight in the winter. This year, however, we were unable to enter the park due to the snow level and road conditions. The storm that even brought snow to the San Francisco area dumped about five inches on Oakhurst the first night of the trip.
We still had plenty of fun driving around Bass Lake and snow-sledding in North Shore. The kids all had a great time taking turns down the hill. See some of our favorite photos from the trip here. It was a fantastic weekend and it's always nice to spend quality time with such good friends!
East Coast Trip
At the end of September, we took a week-long trip to the East Coast to see family and foliage. In all, we visited or drove through 12 states, with the highlights being Washington D.C., New York City, Vermont, Maine and Cape Cod. Although we were a bit early for much of the fall color, we still had a tremendous amount of fun driving across the area and seeing the sights.
In D.C., we strolled the Mall, and visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History. In Manhattan, we shopped on Fifth Avenue after going to the top of the Empire State Building, and enjoyed a perfect afternoon in Central Park, which was closed off to automobile traffic for the weekend. Carl had the opportunity to visit his cousin Victor and old friend Bill in Connecticut, then we were off to Vermont for a stay at the Trapp Family Lodge and an early peek at the fall foliage. We also visited Kennebunkport, Maine, where we saw some lighthouses and had a lovely "lob-stah" dinner. After a brief visit to Salem, Mass., we ended the trip with a spectacular sunset on Cape Cod. See photos here.
Gold Country Expedition
Over Labor Day weekend, we drove up to Milva and Russ' ranch up in West Point, in the heart of Gold Country. We stopped in Columbia along the way and had the obligatory "old time" portrait taken of us. We also stopped in Sonora for some shopping, visited the quaint little town of Volcano, and stayed in historic Jackson. At the ranch, Sam enjoyed learning how to operate Russ' bulldozer and backhoe, but had the most fun riding the ATV. The following day we hiked at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park and saw petroglyphs and Miwok chaw'ses (grinding rocks). We also went below the earth to explore the Black Chasm, a cavern of breath-taking stalagmites, stalactites and helictites. We all had a great time and look forward to visiting the ranch and surrounding area again soon. See photos here.
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