Weekend Getaway in Sonoma (Near Napa)


My honey and I decided to escape the city for a weekend in Sonoma to celebrate our first year together and found an adorable Airbnb.

Our host Teitzah was such a sweetheart! She made us a welcome goody bag (which I forgot to take a picture of, of course) filled with local fruit, Trader Joe’s probiotic drinks and some delicious raw dark chocolate. Yum! She even gave us a bottle of rose wine for our anniversary. She was so sweet I didn’t have the heart to tell her we’re not married… we’ve just been dating for a year. We’ll be sure to come back if we do get married though ❤

Her home felt just like a peaceful getaway spa. The colors were so warm and earthy, and she decorated it with beautiful sculptures from Bali and Thailand. Make sure to check out her Airbnb and use this link if you’ve never used Airbnb before. I’ll get a referral for introducing you ;D

If you do stay at the Sea of Bamboo Retreat Center, I highly recommend you book some massages! Teitzah gave me an amazing massage and offered us a package deal: we got to use the spa and hot tub in the backyard for free =] Plus, she went out of her way to find a second massage therapist so we could both get massages at the same time.

It was a great, lazy weekend. We cuddled lots, tried out a couple of restaurants and wondered into a winery the bar tender at Sunflower Caffe recommended: Gundlach Bundschu. (Highly recommend both — the cocktails and duck sandwich at Sunflower are delicious, and we really liked the wine at Gundlach.)

Strawberry Fields Cocktail with Duck Sandwich

Strawberry Fields Cocktail with Duck Sandwich

Mural at Gundlach Bundschu

Mural at Gundlach Bundschu

Enough of all this typing though, enjoy the pictures!

Welcome to the Sea of Bamboo

Welcome to the Sea of Bamboo

Teitzah's beautiful front yard

Teitzah’s beautiful front yard

Did I mention I love her yard?

Did I mention I love her yard?

Windchimes

Peekaboo

Peekaboo

It gets even better when you go inside!

It gets even better when you go inside!

Thai Statue

Thai Statue

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Our bed looked like something out of a story book!

Our bed looked like something out of a story book!

And now for the backyard =]

Backyard

Nap Time

Nap Time

Backyard

Backyard

Backyard

Hot Tub & Sauna

Hot Tub & Sauna

Backyard

Hammock Chair

One of the coolest things in the backyard: a pizza oven.

One of the coolest things in the backyard: a pizza oven.

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Napa, Round 2!! Continued…


Here’s the rest of my pictures from my second trip to Napa =]

Chateau Montelena

This winery is supposed to be really famous!!

 

 

I really liked its cute little koi fish pond ^^

 

 

They had some HUGE bottles on display!

Baldacci Winery

 

 

 

Baldacci had some really pretty vineyards out back…

 

Stag’s Leap

This one just looked awesome from outside!

 

 

Bakery Bouchon

We wanted to end the day on a sweet note so we went to the famous French bakery Bouchon. I was surprised to find it was actually really good! I can be a bit of a food snob since I’m originally from France and was just raised on ridiculously good food… but this place was worth the detour =]

 

 They had a decent amount of options and their pistachio macaroons were delicious =3

 

The area around there was really cute too!

 

Napa, Round 2!!


My amazing friends David and Renee not only took me to Napa once before I moved to Paris,  but a second time when I got back too!! ^^ Thank you guys. You two are the absolute best!! ❤

Cosentino Winery

 

 

 

Amazingly enough, Cosentino Winery makes their own honey!! =3

 

Beringer

Beringer is the only winery from the first we went back to. I had to get some more of their delicious sweet wine, Nightingale ^^

The CIA (Culinary Institute of America)

 

 

From left to right: David, Isabela and Renee

Freemark Abbey

 

 

Sterling Winery

One of the coolest wineries we visited was Sterling. It was kind of like skiing. We took a lift all the way up to the top of the mountain.

 

 

 

 

We got to take a walking tour of the winery while sipping wine there. We had some cab, chardonnay…

 

 

 

At one point we wandered onto this nice terrace with a gorgeous view of the valley. Unfortunately, my photography isn’t to the point where I was able to take a picture that did it justice though =/

 

 

 

The view from the lift on the way back down.

 

 

We found this gorgeous spot once we got back on the ground =]

 

I even found a swan ^^

 

Napa Was Amazing!!


I went to Napa Valley this weekend with my good friends David, Renee and Alex and had so much fun! We visited 10+ wineries over 2 days.

Before I get into all the details and pictures from my trip, thank you so much David and Renee for planning this trip for me! You guys are simply amazing! 

I’m only going to give you guys the highlights today so this can be more of a  picture-blog. Looking at pictures of vineyards should be more fun than wishing you went wine-tasting with us ;D As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Joseph Phelps is the second winery we went to on Friday. All the wine-tasting took place on a beautiful terrace overlooking the vineyard.

What a great view just from the parking lot!

The Entrance

The terrace was gorgeous!

Aren't we a photogenic bunch?

The view from the terrace was so beautiful!

Another memorable winery we visited Friday was Beringer. Check out their website for recipes and wine-pairing tips! The barista(?) who poured our wine here was so friendly and the grounds were absolutely gorgeous.

Did I mention there was a castle?

... and a fountain too!

Beringer's legendary dessert wine, Nightingale, has a beautiful color!

Those two think they're so cool!

On Saturday, our second day, we went to Santa Rosa to get away from the more touristy places. We visited several great places Saturday but the 2 most memorable were Williamson and Valdez. Williamson had a small tasting room where we were served a small bite to eat with each wine. We had things like chocolate cake, blue cheese, and candied walnuts with honey (yum!)

I don’t have pictures from this winery and it’s not very well-known, but I highly recommend anyone who loves wine and food visit! The pairings were amazing and brought out wonderful tastes we didn’t expect. I know next to nothing about wine but even I could tell this was something special. They also only make as little as 300 cases of many of their wines, so don’t wait too long!

This last set of pictures is from a wonderful winery called Valdez. This is a smaller vineyard which is not very famous yet, but several wine magazines have been writing great reviews for a few years now (and their wines were served at the White House in 2008!)so it won’t be long before recognition and prices go up.

The owner, Ulises Valdez, was fantastic. He was laidback, down to earth, and immensely kind. He took us to look at the vines at his St. Peters lot (the vines grow right behind a church!), something no other winery did. Thank you for being so kind and generous with your time Ulises–I really appreciated it! This winery was worth going out of our way much more than I can explain with my limited knowledge! Enjoy the pictures =]

The vines were so beautiful!

These grapes reminded me of stained glass

The owner took us on a private tour and taught us about his Zinfandel grapes.

His oldest vines are a whopping 130 years old!

  

I had fun playing hide and go seek in the vines

All of these wineries were wonderful and the scenery was amazing! I had such a great weekend–Thank you so much for planning this trip for me David and Renee!! ❤

Napa… Here I Come!!! Hmm, Alcohol and Drinking Ages?


Hello everyone, thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving interesting comments! I truly appreciate it and it makes me very happy that you guys seem to enjoy reading my nonsense just as much as I enjoy composing it =]

I don’t have musings on growing up and trying to figure life out for you today… because I’m in Napa Valley! I’m writing this Thursday night so that you’ll have something to read right on schedule Friday, but by the time this is posted I will be in sunny wine country enjoying delicious wine, beautiful scenery, and quality time with some very good friends. 

My wonderful friends David and Renee read in one of my posts that I’d like to visit Napa Valley before I leave for France, and they offered to plan a weekend trip for me. How kind of them!! So Sunday you will have the next installment of my California adventures series.

I’m sorry tonight’s entry is nothing more than a “be back soon” sign, but I promise I will have something fun for you to read Sunday, as well as tons of pix from my weekend. Maybe a photo blog?

Let me know if there are any other places I should go see before I hop on that plane!

And just so I don’t feel like I let you down completely tonight, let’s talk about alcohol just a bit! Preparing for Napa tomorrow got me thinking about drinking ages. In France, it’s 18 but kids can pretty much buy alcohol as soon as they reach puberty.

I’ve heard that this is a good thing since it gives young adults an opportunity to learn to drink alcohol in less self-destructive ways before they leave their parents protective nest. Going to university in the US where the drinking age is 21, I can see why some people would say it’s a good idea to let teens experiment with drinking beer and liquor before they move out on their own. Not all adolescents go nuts, but a lot of kids have a lot of fun and do some things they’re glad their parents aren’t around to see.

I’m not going to go into any statistics since this is a short post, but what do you think? Is the American drinking age a good idea? How does it affect young adults?