Checking out our new digs in SF

For me, California smells like eucalyptus and sagebrush. You could bottle up that smell and sell it for a fortune’s worth of nostalgia and daydreams to anyone who has ever lived here. The scent is as unmistakable as the pungent cedar of my native Washington state, or the thin burning whiff of aspen in a wood stove from my husband’s Colorado mountain home.

When we blearily maneuvered our Toyota 4Runner and U-Haul full of stuff the final push cross-country this summer over the high Sierras, through the Central Valley, and around the south side of the San Francisco Bay, that smell of eucalyptus is what got us to our new front door.

Mike and I are recent transplants back to California. We met in college in Southern California when we were 19—then he moved to Washington, D.C. to start medical school, and after graduation I threw caution to the wind and decided to join him. It’s a longer story than that, but we’ll keep it at the Cliff Notes for now.

So when we found out he would be doing his residency in the Bay area, it was a welcome back with a twist: Northern California, we’re discovering, is a whole new entrée. The flavors, the vistas, the music, the seasons, the flip-flops—they’re all vaguely familiar, but with a delectable freshness.

This blog is a place to share what I stumble across as a West Coaster returning to my roots: recipes, gardens, books, escapes, and the slow business of making our cottage rental feel homey. With friends and family scattered from coast to coast, this might be the closest we get to catching up over good coffee and waffles for a while. And I don’t want to forget to tell you the good stuff when it happens.

Without further ado then, welcome back West.