Cruising around the California Coast

My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary(!) by taking a grandiose tour of the Central California Coast.  We planned on camping in Big Sur, but so did a LOT of other people. At the site we were coveting (which had 5 empty but reserved spaces), we found a handwritten note on the “camp host” site (since they were not anywhere to be found) that said to go to a campground 12 miles inland where there was space. Well…it wasn’t exactly an easy 12 miles. It was a VERY narrow and VERY steep road that lead us to the most dry, boring, and bug laden campgrounds we had ever seen. We would have had the place to ourselves, but when it became obvious we would not be staying, my husband decided we may as well keep going because we were close to a military reservation that he has trained at in the past. So we kept on truckin’ and headed through quite beautiful untouched land. My husband assured me there would be a vacancy in the hotel and we would just stay one night, get our game plan ready and head out early in the morning. When he said I would love the place, I kind of thought, yeah, right…as I looked around at old buildings spread out in desolation. But he was right. I loved it. Nothing fancy, and far from civilization, but so neat to stay in a mission-style hacienda built by W.R. Hearst in 1930.

*warning–iPhone photos! Gasp!

This was the view of Big Sur as we climbed up the steeeeep hill of winding road in search of a campsite.

View of Big Sur

When we drive up to the lodging, to my surprise it was a beautiful Spanish Mission style building!

Hacienda at Ft Hunter Liggett

I absolutely loved the carved wood windows and doors. Everything had so much character.

wood carved doors and windows

As I start looking around, I realized this would be an amazing place to have a wedding!  Typical wedding photographer. I could always marry my husband again…

Hacienda Lodge

This tile right outside our room was a rare example of Talavera Tile work c1930 Puebla, Mexico

spanish mission tile

The more we walk around an explore the Hacienda, the more I love it. I can envision a wedding ceremony on this grassy hill!

grassy hill at ft hunter liggett

Back at our room, I couldn’t get enough of the details. They have kept it as historically sound as possible.

spanish style details

The view from the Hacienda was pretty great as well.  I think this sunset lasted for 2 hours. Not kidding.

View from Hacienda at Ft Hunter Liggett

We will be going back to the Hacienda!  It is very close to Moro Bay and San Luis Obispo (Hearst and his farm hands used to ride horses from here to San Simeon!), and the great rates make it worth stopping on the way to your destination.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the Hacienda or have a destination wedding on their beautifully manicured landscaping overlooking the Santa Lucia mountain range, check out the pdf or the military website. It is open to civilians!

Hacienda Sunset

As always, feel free to contact me or view more of my portfolio here. 🙂

The cutest almost 2 year olds explore the forrest

I may be a tad biased, but I am thinking these kiddos are pretty cute. I am creating a really cool album through BLURB. I am a little behind on making personal albums (ahem) so when I saw the flash sale for 35% off I had to go in and finish up some projects to get my books ordered by monday (tomorrow!!!)

These sweet children are a bit older now, but they still love each other! I will be doing an actual photo shoot with these two coming up soon, so stay tuned for that!
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Pleasant Hill Spring Wedding

Noemi & Joe 

Pleasant Hill, CA 

What can I say, Noemi and Joe are such fun and laid back people! They were so nice…it was a pleasure to be their wedding photographer!  This wedding was in the beautiful town of Pleasant Hill, CA.  Luckily, the bride and groom had some great ideas for wedding party photo locations and actually went to scout them out ahead of time.  This was awesome for me, as they picked out a couple of really great spots! One was the taproom at The Hop Grenade (one of their favorite places to get a cold beverage and hang out), the other was the beautiful Briones Regional Park. 
 
I quickly learned that when Noemi and Joe first met they shared many interests, including reading and, most importantly, Harry Potter.  Therefore it was natural that they pick Harry Potter as their wedding theme! There were carefully crafted decorations, flower bouquets, boutonnieres, arrangements and centerpieces. 
 
The ceremony was at Christ The King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill. Afterwards, the reception was at Pleasant Hill Community Center. To call this a community center is misleading.  The high ceiling and wall of windows made a perfect backdrop for the reception.  It was a fun filled evening for everyone, including delicious food and craft beer. The night concluded with the most high energy dancing, I wanted to throw my camera down and join in!
 
I wish Noemi and Joe the best of luck and forever happiness!  They truly deserve it!  ~Julie

And they lived happily ever after!  
 
You can look through more galleries or contact me through my website