Category Archives: Sonoma

California Part Deux

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To celebrate our 1st anniversary, Kevin and I decided to use our soon-to-expire Delta miles to take a trip to one of our favorite destinations: wine country!

We didn’t waste any time getting to Napa for a 3-day stay, and we had a blast visiting some of our old favorites: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards (Sonoma), Andretti Winery (Napa), and Silverado Vineyards (Napa).

Some new favorites were Mumm (bring on the bubbly!!!!!), Domaine Chandon, and Chateau Montelena. Hollywood turned Chateau Montelena’s story into a movie starting Chris Pine called Bottleshock. For those of you who love wine and haven’t seen it – you should definitely check it out. Their award-winning Chardonnay is nectar of the gods…and I’m a Cab Sav kind of gal.

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Chateau Montelena

Andretti

Andretti

Bubbly at Mumm

Our last day in the valley, we decided to spend a leisurely morning downtown Sonoma.  We had a delicious breakfast of bread and cheese at the Sunflower Caffe, and we shopped at the quaint boutiques we fell in love with last year.

Sunflower Caffe (Sonoma)

Sunflower Caffe (Sonoma)

After Napa, we spent a night at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. Chinatown & the Golden Gate Bridge are always a must-see, and the Tonga Room is always a must-do (see my previous post from June/July 2012). But this trip, our experience in San Francisco was quite unique because it was Gay Pride. Not only was Pride the weekend we were in town, but it was just days after gay marriage was legalized in California. The city was ELECTRIC, and so much love was reverberating through San Francisco. Attending the Gay Pride Parade at such a historical time in the fight for equality, was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Happy tears were streaming down my face for the thousands of people who were able to marry the loves of their lives that weekend. It was truly beautiful.

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SF Pride 2013

I will ALWAYS want to be in California. The city by the bay and wine country hold so many wonderful memories for Kevin and I, and our visits have been highlights of our marriage (so far). We will go back as soon as we can! (after some new adventures, that is!)

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Wine Country (Napa Valley and Sonoma, California)

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Before our honeymoon, I heard several wonderful reviews of Napa & Sonoma, and I was worried I’d be disappointed. There have been many places that I have been dying to see, but they don’t live up to the hype….but believe me when I say, Wine Country in California was EVERYTHING I hoped for and more. It was…heavenly.

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After spending a few days in San  Francisco, Kevin and I rented a car and drove into the valley. It was a pretty short drive – only about an hour and a half, AND we got to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge! The temperature changed dramatically as soon as we left the Bay-area. It was about 80 degrees once we entered Napa. Picture perfect weather. We stayed at the SpringHill Suites in Napa (a Marriott hotel). It was a great place to stay – a great breakfast, a lovely pool, and a spacious room. The day we arrived in Napa, Kevin and I decided to drive “downtown Napa” to have a nice dinner. We decided on a place called Ristorante Allegria. The potato gnocchi al pesto was OUT OF THIS WORLD. For about $100, we enjoyed a fantastic meal and a nice bottle of wine. Downtown Napa isn’t anything fantastic, but I’d definitely go back just for that restaurant.

Kevin and I got up early the next day because we had to catch a bus….the Napa Wine Shuttle! For $75 a person, a driver picked us up/dropped us off at our hotel, and drove us around the entire day. There were 2 other couples on our shuttle, and we became good friends after the first winery. Our driver, Lawrence was a hoot! He knew many great places, and we didn’t have to worry about thing! We visited Andretti Winery, Jessup Cellars, V. Sattui Winery, Silverado Winery, Frog’s Leap Winery, & Robert Mondavi (most  tastings are between $10-$20). All wineries were FANTASTIC, but my personal favorites in Napa were Jessup and Silverado. At Jessup the employees actually sit down with you at a table and pair different wines and foods together. They actually teach you about their wine, which was a lot of fun! They require reservations. Silverado was beyond picturesque. I’d like to spend an entire afternoon there just sitting on their patio overlooking the valley. (The first picture on this posting is from the patio of Silverado.)

More Napa    Jessup V. Sattui    Corks

The day after our wine tour (which lasted the whole day and into the evening), Kevin and I decided to take it easy and spend the day in Sonoma. Sonoma’s wine tastings are cheaper than Napa’s, and the whole experience is less commercial. We walked around downtown Sonoma which was a lot nicer than downtown Napa and stopped for a delicious, light lunch at The Girl and the Fig.

Girl and Fig

After lunch and some exploring, we went to a couple of wineries in Sonoma – Robledo Family Winery and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Both were great, but Jacuzzi was the best winery we went to in California. Not only do they allow you to taste all of their wine for free, but the bartenders caught wind that it was our honeymoon and gave us discounts on bottles of wine and other freebies.

Jacuzzi

Kevin and I will DEFINITELY return to Napa Valley. It is a place we will visit over and over again. Wine lovers, you will not be disappointed.