Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wining and Dining through Sonoma and Napa

Let's see the Sonoma Weekend was constituted of two main things -- race walking for a few hours and wine for the rest of the weekend. Which seemed to suit the three of us just fine. :-)

The race was Sunday so we "trained" Saturday by breakfasting on tasty pastries at the Chalet, then we headed to town to check in at the race headquarters and meander through a bit of Sonoma. We visited the mission --
which was so authentically preserved that the rafters were tied with animal hide --

After a bit of Sonoma culture we wandered through hilly, winding roads to Clos Pegase winery in Calistoga. It's beautiful even if you (like me) aren't the fan of modern art:
Primarily we went there because they used to have a Chihuly hanging in their cask room, but no longer. This was what it *looked* like:
It turns out that it was a temporary installation for a Napa Wine Auction in 2000. Rats. No Chihuly for me. Despite the absence of world-class art glass, it was a beautiful place. The tasting was interesting, but not particularly educational. It struck me as a little too much Coyote Ugly and a little too few personnel of taste and decorum. Too bad; it's a very stately place.

From Clos Pegase we headed for Mumm and their patio of sparkling wines. Talk about tasty! While it was loud and very sunny, we enjoyed their outside patio, the view, and our 3 glasses each of "champagne." img_4092
Mind you, it was let's-see-what-Ruth-can-try weekend so I had closer to 4.5 full glasses. Let's just say it was a very pleasant afternoon, shall we? Pleasant enough to be grinning gloriously in the commemorative photo at their sign --

From Mumm we headed off to Sonoma's central park around City Hall for the Red and White Ball, a festival of wine and food tasting. If you were there, we were some of the few not wearing red and white --

Saturday evening, one of the very hefty squirrels at Sonoma Chalets was busily remodeling his nest in the eucalyptus outside our cottage. img_4044 I can't prove he was the squirrel who tried beaning me with a wild plum earlier in the day, but he was certainly related, and he gave the distinct impression that h might like to toss some fruit at someone. The property had these beautiful wild plums trees all over it -- they were quite tasty, but they looked like cherries -- long stems and all. See:
img_4046 img_4043

Sunday dawned...... much later than when we got up!!!!!! We dropped my BIL off for his early bus at the high school parking lot. Like high schoolers everywhere, boredom creates prankishness. Meet the school mascot at 6am:
And here he is that afternoon:
I for one, must applaud any school with a dragon for an emblem! :)

While my race walking heroes were off doing their thing, I wandered around the main square in Sonoma, checking out City Hall (where does everyone park who works there??? There's maybe 10 spots in its lot.)
But in City Hall's tiny pond I got to meet an adolescent heron (species pending until I go get the Sibley's)
And I also bonded with my usual-- lots and lots of flowers --

Sunday afternoon's adventures in wine will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm too tired now to manage coherency.



Kathryn said...

We used to go to Sonoma almost once a month when we lived in the Bay Area. I always liked it better than Napa. We like wine (especially Pinor Noir and Zinfandel), but I went for the FOOD, Sonoma Cheese Company, Sonoma Sausage Company, and the bakery right on the plaza (good bread). We would get a picnic lunch and eat it at Buena Vista (lovely shaded tables).

Whenever I need a Chihuly fix I can always go to the Bellagio. They have a ceiling full of Chihuly. We have some pieces of art glass, but no Chihuly. Have you seen?

It's great, if you love Chihuly.

tkdchick said...

Wow what a fantastic advendure and beautiful photos!

Lavender Rose said...

Love your pictures and "travel" notes, Ruth! Yummy things to see and eat and hear about...Oh! wish I'd been with you guys. And, you have my heartfelt understanding about your desk. I really think you should give it/her/him a's taken on a life of its own. I know these things because of the "Veleteen Rabbit," and my own computer area, "Agnes of Gosh!"
Thanks for sharing!

Mia said...

Hi Ruth,

thanks for your comment in my blog. Life is finally settling down, even though it's learning how to be a singlemum.

I love the pictures you have posted, specially the flowers!

All the best