Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Winding Through Wine Country

Previous Post: Dinner and Drinks with Mark and Kathy

It is a gorgeous day in Sonoma County’s wine country so we head up and out through Forestville and across the Russian River on the rustic Wohler Bridge.

The scenery is lovely as we work our way through the Russian River area toward Healdsburg.

We make a brief stop in the pretty little town of Healdsburg (some day we’ll spend a LOT more time here) to buy items for a picnic lunch and other goodies and then we are back on the road again, now headed into the Dry Creek Valley.

We thought a day of touring and tasting in wine country was the perfect way to spend Easter, but apparently that thought is not universally shared and many of the wineries we’ve wanted to visit have been closed.

Fortunately the tasting room for the Dry Creek Family Wineries is open. There I meet Barry Collier of Collier Falls Vineyards and buy a bottle of his 2003 Zin. The tasting room at Kokomo is also open and – after a delicious picnic lunch overlooking the vineyards – I get to meet one of the winemakers responsible for the nice bright bottle of chardonnay that goes home with me.

Leaving wine aside for a bit, we head up to Lake Sonoma simply to take in the scenery before getting back on the wine trail, working our way through the Alexander Valley and Chalk Hill regions before heading back to Sebastopol for dinner.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dinner and Drinks with Mark & Kathy

Previous Post: Sonoma Wine Country

Our friends in Sonoma County have moved into a new house where pre-dinner cocktails come with scrumptious views over the vineyards.

Sonoma Wine Country

Previous Post: We Drive Straight Through San Francisco

We are joining friends for dinner tonight, but we still have a couple of hours, so it seems fitting that we head out into the countryside – it is a gorgeous day for a drive!

Of course, we aren’t out simply to enjoy the scenery. We are actually on a mission of sorts, hoping that De La Montanya Vineyards still has some of the wonderful late harvest viognier we had found there a number of years ago.

Of course they don’t, but they do have other good things to taste :-)

And the vineyard itself is gorgeous.

We Drive Straight Through San Francisco

Previous Post: Madeleine’s Meadow

Madeleine's Meadow

Previous Post: Along the Coast

A couple of years ago Madeleine attended a wedding where the guests were all given little packets of wildflower seeds. Since most guests left these behind, she collected them and later had a seven-year old friend help plant them in the boulevard.

The resulting mini-meadow is delightful.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Along the Coast

Previous Post: Filoli Gardens

The day has become gloriously warm and sunny, but the wind is howling – it’s hard to stand still enough to snap a picture! Still, I manage a few shots because, after all, it is really, really lovely at Half Moon Bay.

It seems as if almost every spot along the road is gorgeous.

Further along, I dash out to check out Pescadero Beach. The wind is really fierce here, so I’m on my own to take a few quick photos while the others wait, snug in the car!

It is an amazing spot, with a wonderful mix of sandy cliffs and beaches and ragged exposed rock. I wish we had a nicer day so we could do some exploring here. . .

Of course, it is getting late and it has been a few hours since we last ate, so maybe it's a good time to move on!

We are planning to have dinner tonight in the town of Pescadero, where we take a pre-dinner stroll.

It is a charming little place, with a few enticing looking shops like the Arcangeli Grocery Company, but we are hungry after our afternoon on the road. Time for seafood at Duarte’s Tavern.

Filoli Gardens

Previous Post: Memorial Church - Day

Filoli is one of those grand estates from the beginning of the last century, notable for its exquisite gardens.

The house is also lovely and elegant.

This house has a sister property in Ireland, Muckross House, which was purchased for the daughter of Filoli’s builder. I hadn’t been planning to stop there while in Ireland this spring, but it is in the area where we will be traveling, so perhaps we will.

Next Post: Along the Coast