Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Russian River Valley, CA

It's really true love when you can keep traveling to the same places over and over again and still find new and amazing adventures to be had. This time, we were lucky enough to travel to Russian River Valley with our great friends John and Mallory! Our flight times synced up perfectly, so we arrived and headed straight to Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa. We had a delicious dinner of pizza and wings (and some pretty epic beer of course)! I tried the Supplication (a brown sour) and the famous Pliny the Elder.

We drove to our AirBnB in Monte Rio that night, but didn't get to appreciate it in all of it's glory until the next morning. We stayed at the appropriately-dubbed "Pyramid Castle" right along the Russian River. God, this place was gorgeous and so peaceful!

After a breakfast of leftover pizza, we headed out for our first tasting. Korbel was on the way to our appointment, so we dropped on in for some morning bubbly. Always a good way to start the day! We skipped the tour, but definitely enjoyed our free sparkling tasting (5 tastings for free? Pretty awesome deal!). They have many other sparkling wines beyond the normal stuff you see at the supermarket, and we all really liked their organic!

We had made reservations for a tasting at Copain. The views were obviously incredible, the wine was delicious and the food pairing was perfect! Basically just an excellent tasting. Made even better when our server smacked Jason in the face to kill a mosquito - I still laugh thinking about his face. HA!

For lunch, we drove into Healdsburg and grabbed some sandwiches and libations at Oakville (aka Old Folk's?) Grocery. Afterwards, we wandered into Noble Folk for ice cream. The coffee-flavor was excellent!

Our very favorite winery was up next. We are wine-club members for this great little "garage-style" winery right outside of Sebastapol, so our free tastings were an added bonus. Taft Street is pretty amazing - we grabbed a few bottles to take back for our dinner that evening.

Our last stop of the day may have been the day's best though. Sparkling wine is my favorite and Iron Horse's was incredible. The setting didn't hurt either. That night, we picked up some groceries and were treated to an amazing meal by Chez Lineberger!

The next morning, the boys went to play golf at Northwood Golf Club in Monte Rio and Mallory and I headed to grab a bite to eat at Big Bottom Market, enroute to Boon Hotel for our massage and facial! This relaxing morning was much appreciated! We caught up with the boys afterwards and grabbed lunch in Guerneville. Our lunch at Boon Eat + Drink was super tasty. After our meal, we set off for more wine tastings!

I love just driving on the backroads of this area. So many beautiful vineyards, bridges and windy roads! I definitely don't love all of the bikers though. I get it - it's beautiful, but oh my gosh, they are going to get hit by someone! Anyways, our first stop was VML. The winery itself was beautiful, but I don't think any of us particularly cared for the wine. They did have fun games scattered around the property, so we got to channel our "Texan" with some corn hole.

Next up was a brief stop at Matrix, where we split a bottle of rose while the boys played bocce. Unfortunately we just didn't have a ton of time to enjoy the winery because we had an appointment at...

MacRostie! This winery may have been the prettiest we visited. I loved that each tasting was seated and that we got to try a variety of wines. We were definitely glad we had made reservations though - make sure you do if you want to visit! We took a bottle of their rose home which will be enjoyed the next time the four of us get together!

We had dinner reservations for tapas in Healdsburg, but we all really wanted to go back and enjoy our Pyramid Castle some more. We grabbed some take-away at Taqueria La Tapatia and some s'more supplies at a local market. We settled in and enjoyed a nice, relaxing evening.

We really only had one goal in mind for our last day - drive along the coast and find somewhere to have a picnic. We gradually made our way south towards San Francisco -  stopping a few times to take pictures, walking on the beach and grabbing a baguette and freshly-picked cherries for our picnic. We also found a great little place to have lunch at - Samuel Taylor State Park. After that, we had to make our way towards the airport - ending a pretty amazing trip!

At the end of the day, I only have one complaint about this trip - I wish we had more time! I know we'll be back though - our love affair with Northern California continues. I would love to kayak along the river and check out the redwoods in Armstrong State Park. Thanks to the Linebergers for accompanying on this wonderful trip and thanks Jason for winning Employee of the Quarter and ensuring us confirmed seats :)

Up Next: We're headed to Ireland (with a few days in Boston) in a few weeks. These are positive space (aka confirmed) tickets that Jason won, so no praying to the standby gods for us this time. We'll just be busy switching our mentality from wine to plenty of Irish whiskey and Guinness! Stay tuned!!

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