John and I were married on August 6th, 2009 at the Lawrence Courthouse. On the 7th we drove up to see his sister's new baby, Xander. He was born a week earlier and John's sister and her husband were both on 'maternity' leave for the week while we were gone, so they were going to watch Charley! Luckily, Charley loves babies!
We flew in to San Diego and had dinner with my brother and his girlfriend.
They have lived in San Diego for about a year and were in the process of packing and moving to Dallas when we were there.
We visited the beach and Balboa Park. We only saw a few seals, I was hoping to pet one. Balboa Park was awesome. We visited the rose garden and another 'natural landscape' garden. The trees were so crazy!
This tree was hollow. I could fit inside of it!
This rose was the best smelling rose I had ever smelled!
HWY 1 had some great views!!!
We then drove up to Ventura to visit my dad. We didn't get any pictures there. It was really good to get to see my dad, even if only for a few hours! On the way we drove through LA so we did get a picture of Mulholland Drive (even though they spell it wrong)!!!
We then drove up HWY 1 to Monterey Bay, which is near Pacific Grove, Carmel by the Sea, and Pebble Beach. That was by far the most beautiful and quaint area we visited! It was so foggy every night that there was moss hanging off of all of the trees!
The drive up HWY 1 was really very pretty. John probably didn't enjoy my backseat driving, but those cliffs were pretty steep and the mountains were really close to the other edge of the road!!
We stayed at a cool resort called Asilomar in Pacific Grove and it was actually a state nature preserve. John saw 5 deer, but I didn't see anything! There were some great restaurants around and we even drove down Cannery row!
The beach was amazing in Monterey Bay. The sand was so smooth! I hopped a small fence and skipped on some golf grass. It was the best barefoot grass ever! I later learned that greens fees in that area can range from $180- $450!!!
The water was icy though, and I highly recommend enlarging the picture of John to see the look on his face!
Isn't he cute?
Our next drive was up to San Fran and on to Guernville which is in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
Once we got settled in to the B&B, we kind of stopped taking pictures, except of this great statue.
On the way up we stopped at a beach with a really nice view. We ate a picnic lunch and had a bottle of wine and some goat cheese. This beach was really nice and we got a bunch of fun pictures!
This was probably the best view up the old HWY 1. The fog finally burned off and we got some great light! I love these pictures!
We did a ton of wine tastings and brought home a ton of wine. Two and a half cases, in fact. In our defense, one case was a total bargain. Martin Ray Winery also distributes another label, Angeline, which is a wine John and I first had together when we had just started dating. It is one of our favorite labels. I personally love a dry riesling, but didn't know Angeline made one. Well, it turns out that their riesling is 'too dry' for most people and they are discontinuing it. I thought it was amazing, so we bought a case at $5/bottle! We also bought a few bottles of their Gewurztraminer for my 'sweeter' days.
I don't remember the exact order of places we visited, but I think we went to Harvest Moon next. Harvest Moon was really cool because we got to meet the owner/grower/bottler- Randy. He was so involved in the process! We got two bottles of their Zinfandel and a bottle of their Winter Harvest mission style olive oil. Yum!
The next day we went to Foppiano which is like a 4th generation family owned operation. We bought a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon. We then went to Camellia, which I was less impressed with than the others. Many places we visited had almost all good wines, Camellia had mostly bad with only very few good ones. We liked their 02 Cab Sav much more than the 05, so got a bottle of 02 and we also got a bottle of Dolcetto which is a french table wine that they had imported.
The best place we went to, hands down, was owned by the same family that owns the company John works for! It was a smaller operation, but the sommeliers knew so much about the dirt, the weather, the temperature, the grapes... it was incredible. This was Michel-Schlumberger and their wines were incredible. The pours were generous and I felt like we really got to enjoy each wine. We were left for about 5-10 minutes between each pour and could really take our time to enjoy each variety. We bought a Chardonnay, a Pino Noir (John's fav), and a Cabernet Franc. The Cab Franc was by far the best wine I have ever tasted, ever.
After that we went to Amista. Amista means friend and their policy is to only sell to people who come to their vineyards. They do not distribute or ship out. Their wines were very good. We got a Syrah and a Rose of Syrah.
After that we went into town (Healdsburg) for lunch and then visited La Crema. I wasn't as impressed by these wines at all and was kind of disappointed by stand alone tasting rooms in general. I really like to see the vines. We bought a bottle of Syrah from them and then moved on to Simi. Simi was really good and we enjoyed the tasting there. We ended up with a Petite Syrah, which is from a totally different grape than Syrah and a late harvest Riesling (dessert wine).
The last place we visited was Dry Creek and their wines were really good, but somehow too heavy for me. However, their Cab Sav was amazing and it ended up being the most expensive bottle we bought. It is our bottle 'to age'.
The wine tasting was really pretty fun and I enjoyed being outside so much and drinking great wines! I also discovered that wine can have a similar effect as coffee at 11am. :)
The B&B we stayed at was called Sonoma Orchid Inn and was wonderful. Their breakfast was served family style and was to die for. They has a "feather egg" casserole one morning with fruit salad and home made sausage. Another morning they served french toast souffle! One of the best restaurants we are at was in Occidental and was called Negri's. It was totally cheesy, with red and white checked table cloths, but the ravioli was hand made and the best I had ever had and the meat sauce was also to die for. Overall, best and cheapest meal we had!!!