Monday, August 31, 2009

California Recap - Part 1

We had such a wonderful time on our vacation. We were in the Bay Area - Alamo, Sonoma, and San Francisco. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and headed to Alamo for Matt's aunt's wedding celebration. She and her now husband were married at their beautiful home in Alamo, which is in the Oakland Hills. They have an absolutely amazing property and they were able to house 12 of us for the festivities.

One of the cutest flower girl fairies I've ever seen.

The other cutest flower girl fairy I've ever seen.

Beautiful bride, Mariah, and handsome groom, Brad.

This one has her Uncle Matt wrapped around her little finger.

belly dance performance


The funny thing about having this nice camera is I never get any pictures of Matt and me on it! Oh well. The wedding was amazing. They had a fortune teller, caricature artist, belly dance performance, and absolutely amazing food. Oh my, the food was good. And dessert consisted of cupcakes from a local bakery that Brad built (he's a contractor) and an ice cream sundae bar. Yum.

We spent Sunday and Monday in the Sonoma Valley enjoying some good wine and great weather. On Sunday, we hit up Cline, known for their zinfandel, and Lynmar, which had great Russian River pinot noir (all of the scenery pictures are from Lynmar... it was so pretty).


We stayed in Sonoma Sunday night with Matt's cousin Aaron while the rest of the crew headed back to Alamo. We went to a great dinner at a place in Healdsburg called Ravenous and ended up staying at the bar drinking afterward. I haven't had a ton of opportunities to get to know Aaron, even though I see him a lot. It's always around a lot of people, so it was nice to hang out with him on a more personal level and really get to know him a lot better. We had a good time and maybe too much to drink. :)

On Monday, Aaron had some meetings so he dropped Matt and me off in charming downtown Healdsburg, and we got Flying Goat organic coffee and doughnut muffins from a local bakery, both of which we were told were must haves. They didn't disappoint. At lunchtime, the rest of the crew met us in Healdsburg and we picked up lunch and headed to the Teira vineyards. One of Aaron's partners owns the vineyard and has a summer house in the middle of it. The house was awesome, and we were able to eat lunch in their courtyard just feet away from vineyards.

This tree (or one just like it) is on their bottles.

very old head pruned vine

Most of the gang - see how close we were to the grapes!?


After lunch, and I can ensure you we did NOT want to leave that house, we went to A. Rafanelli for some delicious zins. Their vineyard was gorgeous, and we got a tour of their cave, which was completely spontaneous. I guess we impressed the owner/wine maker. :) While we were down there, they lost power so things went completely black, but thank God for modern technology, we all used the light of our cellphones to make our way out!

Not pregnant, just trying to keep the wind from blowing my dress open! :)

After that, we headed to Armida for Saxon Brown tastings straight from the barrels. We got to taste a wine that won't be in production for a few more months and won't even be available until probably February. It was delicious, and I will be having Aaron get us a few bottles when it becomes available. So yummy.

The barrels were stacked about 2o feet high.

We ate dinner at Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg and headed back to Alamo that night. We spent the rest of our trip in San Francisco. More on that next time! Way too long of a trip for one post. :) But, if you make your way to wine country, I highly recommend Sonoma. Matt has been to Napa, and he thought Sonoma was better, but we like the more laid back vibe. Napa's wineries are closer together and fancier, if you will, where Sonoma is more spread out and more agriculture based, according to Matt.


Jessi said...

Looks like a wonderful trip. We too prefer Sonoma area over Napa. We love RR Pinots. J vineyard is our favorite, and not because of the "J" (we're jessi and james)

Prissy Southern Prep said...

Sounds and looks like you guys had a great time!! I want to visit California soon!

LindsB said...

looks like a great trip- such beautiful photos from the vineyard

Hannah D. said...

Your pics are gorgeous! So happy you had a good trip and got to spend some quality time with your Man and his fam!! I would def like to visit wine country some day - looks beautiful!!

Marden Family said...

Look at you becoming the little photographer! I love the pics of the girls- has Rachel seen them? Can't wait to hear more. Let's drink some wine together soon :)

Heather said...

What a great time!! Everything is gorgeous!! The wedding, the vineyard, the flower girl, you!!! Love these pictures and now I want to visit Cali!!!