The Secret Getaway – Part One

Have you ever been swept away by your loved one to a destination unknown?

We were approaching our 4th wedding anniversary and my lovely wife planned the getaway venue and dinner reservation. I was kept in the dark. She had solicited suggestions from her friends via Facebook and created a message that blocked not only me but all the kids as well (in case they leaked the information).

The only thing I knew was that it would be an overnight destination to somewhere within a few hours of of our home. I asked questions and tried to get clues from her but to no avail. She was very good at keeping it a total secret.

The night before, she gave me a checklist of things to pack. To keep me guessing, she suggested a wide range of attire. This included shorts/sandals, a nice long sleeve shirt with slacks, nice leather jacket, gloves and ski jacket, wool cap, etc. She was not going to let me figure it out.

Finally the day arrived and she told me that she would be driving to the final destination. We left early on Friday morning to begin this mysterious road trip but where would it take us?

The first stop was to a Tea Room in Napa for a late breakfast. I had no idea “where” we were going in Napa but she certainly did. It was meant to be our day as we found a parking spot directly across the street. Good breakfast, strong cup of coffee, and back into the car for the next destination.

We drove on northbound on Highway 101 and eventually crossed over to the coast on Highway 1.

Finally – my first clue!

However, the California coast has many places to stop in for the night so at this time, the only thing certain was that we were headed north. The drive along Highway 1 was winding yet picturesque as expected (if you know the California coast line). We could only admire the Pacific Ocean and the various beach coves because we were on the “other side” of the road so stopping along the way would have meant running crossing the highway for a picture – I don’t think so!

After a couple of hours, we drove onto a wooden bridge in Albion, California.


I have never heard of this little town but the coastal views were magnificent! As it turned out, the wooden bridge is the longest wooden one in California. We drove into the parking lot of this small inn that had twenty cottages along the high ridge of the cove. The place was called Albion River Inn and I have to hand it to my wife – it was the perfect destination.

We were directed to the last cottage (#20) and it was a private location and detached from the others. As we opened the door, we gasped at the private view of the cove that led into the Pacific Ocean. There was a private deck with a couple of chairs inviting us to sit and enjoy the beauty that lay before our eyes. The ocean splashed violently against the rocks while birds soared majestically between the landing points from our room to the other mountainside – divided only by the wide strip of waterway.

I held onto my camera as I captured raw images of wildlife that roamed quietly beyond our patio deck. My wife used the camera to capture some amazing pictures as well.  Deer grazed silently while a large turkey vulture perched itself on a nearby limb, occasionally spreading its wings to remind us all that he is the king of the skies in this little cove. Thank goodness for a good zoom lens as I would not dare challenge the domain of this large predatory bird.

After a quick (and late) lunch in a little town called Mendocino, we came back to the room to relax and took more pictures. The cove was silent now as all wildlife seemed to know that evening was quickly approaching. Unlike my experience in San Francisco in which fog would be rolling into the coastal areas at this time of day, this cove seemed to avoid that snowy blanket entirely.

Finally, it was time to change into our dinner attire and celebrate our wedding anniversary. The restaurant was apparently “up the road” but I did not recall passing any dining establishment on the way to Albion.

And so the adventure continues…


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