Road trip: Sonoma

Mike has the day off work today, so we thought we should do something fun with our long weekend. The Napa/Sonoma area is only about a 45-minute drive for us, so we thought, why not?

We started off by driving to Santa Rosa for lunch at the Russian River Brewing Company. It seemed like a great place to take a group of people. Lots of fun and great beers. We took home a growler of Pliny the Elder. All the beers there have great names.

Then we started making our way through the wineries up there. We didn’t really have a plan (which is a good idea since there are so many options up there), but we had fun just stopping wherever we felt like it.

We tasted a few wines at St. Francis, and bought a Cabernet Franc to take home. Being a winery newbie I didn’t realize that there’s quite a price difference between the shelf at Trader Joe’s and a local place up there (or even any of the other wineries I’d been to previously). But it’s fun to save up and build your collection.

Did I mention it was pretty much the most gorgeous and perfect day ever? We really did have to pinch ourselves.

Next we went to Chateau St. Jean, where we discovered that we need a clementine tree. Since they grow in pots they don’t even take up that much space.

This winery has a picnic area, where you can grab a seat on an adirondack chair and look out at the vineyards and mountains. (Note to friends and family – the guest room is ready for you anytime…)

Finally, we stopped at a smaller place, Mayo Family Winery, where we got a better deal on a huge tasting. They had some pretty unusual varieties there, and we ended up getting a sparkling wine, of all things, just because we pretty much never buy them normally.

Pretty close to there is Jack London State Park, which we didn’t have time to visit (like everything else around there, it closes at 5), but I’m putting it on my list to return to. I just love the gnarly, moss-covered trees back there, and I think it would be a great place for a hike.

Around sunset, we drove into Sonoma. The guy at the last winery said that businesses on the town square there are open later. We looked around at the shops and restaurants, which kind of reminded me of a place like Aspen or Estes Park (frumpy clothing and fudge, mainly), and then we picked a really good Mexican place for dinner.

There’s quite a bit of history down there, including the Mission and a general’s home. I’m thinking we’ll be back again to explore more, and then I want to see Napa as well.

When I got home I was dying to watch “Sideways”, which I have on DVD. It was as funny as I remembered, and much more meaningful after a trip to wine country.

2011 resolutions

First of all, apologies for the long absence. Our internet has been down for the last few days and we finally got it working again.

I’m not usually a big resolution maker, but I thought that since my life has completely changed in the last year, that it would be a good time to get a fresh start in some ways. My first big goal was to take the box of wedding/honeymoon albums, miscellaneous travel souvenirs and extra photos and put it all together into something that someone could actually view!

It cost me about $100 in prints (for 600+ photos in various sizes) and a few days of putting together albums, but I finally got that project finished.

My helpers were not so helpful.

I am also going to try another cleanse over the next four weeks. The last few months have involved a lot of overindulgence, stress, and adjustment to change. I feel a bit unhealthy and low energy. I read about the book “Clean” in the latest issue of Outside, and it got a pretty ringing endorsement from a skeptical editor.

So I’m going to try it (one week of elimination diet with no wheat, dairy, or highly acidic foods, and three weeks of the Clean diet with two daily liquid meals and one meal from the elimination plan).

After that I am really going to try to work on my relationship with food, which has never been particularly healthy. I want to release myself of the guilt and anxiety I feel about eating certain things, and try to focus on eating what makes me feel good physically rather that emotionally. I have been working on this already, and have been amazed at how less stressed I feel about eating generally.

Hopefully having more energy will lead to more adventures in California. We’re in the middle of a long stretch of great weather (60s and sunny in January!), so we’ve been trying to get out and enjoy it. We went to the dog park again the other day, and it was just gorgeous.

I love the birds out there, and Mike sees something new every time we go.

We spent a long time just watching this pelican dive into the bay.

That’s not something I ever thought I’d spend my weekends doing!

What do you want to do more of this year?