One Last Time

When to Go

Most people choose to take a trip during the woman's second trimester. In the first trimester, morning sickness may be in full swing. And then, "a lot of times, by the third trimester, women are just too big and uncomfortable," says Lisa Petrocelli, owner and publisher of the online Babymoon Guide.

Not that you need to be pregnant. Petrocelli and her husband took trips before the arrival of each of their adopted children—and enjoyed the peace and quiet before the sleepless nights ahead. (Added bonus: they could plan their trip with whatever activities they wanted, and pop open the champagne to celebrate).

My husband and I settled on a road trip along the California coast during the end of my second trimester, when I was finally off the couch and eating regular meals again. We'd have the opportunity to do a lot of hiking and kayaking, but in case I wasn't feeling up to it, the locales we chose were beautiful enough to enjoy just sitting in a chair and gazing out at the water.

We started the trip along the Sonoma Coast, staying at a private home at The Sea Ranch, a community that began in the late 1960s and early '70s and is known for its weathered architecture and ecological orientation. An extensive network of trails weaves through the property, which runs for close to ten miles along the coast. We also found pools, saunas, and tennis courts at the several on-site recreation centers, along with golf, stables, and a lending library. It's the kind of place where you could have a full vacation without leaving the property. Or you could use it as a base camp to explore the seaside towns of Gualala, Point Arena, Mendocino, and more.

For me, the perfect balance involved both. We took several day hikes along bluffs overlooking wild beaches—one day, I misread the map and a three-mile stroll turned into an eight-mile adventure. But we just took plenty of breaks, had water and snacks along, and kept a slow pace, which allowed me to spot a distant spout in the water and, after a moment, the dark back of a migrating gray whale. The next day, we visited Mendocino, gorging on pastries at the Garden Bakery and hiking among the redwoods and ferns of Van Damme State Park.

When evening came, dinner in front of the ocean-view windows at the Sea Ranch Lodge involved the perfect autumn comfort foods like butternut squash soup and fresh fazzoletti pasta. The house where we stayed had plenty of movies, books, a kitchen in case I didn't feel like eating out, and even a telescope.


Published: 28 Dec 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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